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By JULES ALLEN
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 19, 1999
Geeks want it all. We get our brand-spanking-new computers and, after a few weeks, we're bored. So we set about either "fixing'" things (often called reinstalling) or finding virtual machine emulators for different computer architectures. My personal favorite was the Timex/Sinclair Spectrum emulator until I found this nifty idea from VMWare. Its application is revolutionary: It allows you to run multiple operating systems concurrently. That is an emulator on steroids. (Make sure you have a lot of random access memory on your PC.)
This site has become the No. 1 one entry in my rather lengthy bookmark list. Built by people who obviously have way too much free time, it is News of the Weird with live links to real online weird news. I caught myself modifying the target address a few times just to check these waggish linkers at ObscureStore.com were not pulling my leg and slipping in their own modified content. How evil of me to think such a thing as they're all legitimate. Now it's time to dust off the occasional Site Seeing humor disclaimer: Some people may be offended because this site isn't sanitized as prime time TV is.
The Web is a brilliant communication medium for those who read English and have access. Imagine being hard of hearing or deaf and then imagine how the Web could enable your communications. It certainly made me think. This is a great site for SHHH, a non-profit education, self-help and advocacy group for people with hearing impairment. My only gripe with the site is that a great deal of it uses graphics instead of text for navigation. That makes it invisible to search engines and, more important, those with visual impairments.
The Dot.Com Artists
When you type a Web address such as www.sptimes.com, there is a behind-the-scenes technology at work called DNS. It takes those hard-to-remember IP addresses and gives them nice names humans can understand. To know what maps to what, somebody has to maintain an ever-growing data base for all of the domain names. That somebody is Network Solutions, a government contractor that recently overhauled its Web site to do away with a bunch of tools Web heads like myself rely on. Soon its monopoly of registering domain names is going to evaporate as other registrars will be appointed by The Powers That Be. And in what appeared to be a desperate act, Network Solutions recently redirected traffic away from InterNic.net to its own corporate site. Naughty beyond belief, and the government is hardly overjoyed either. This should be very interesting as it plays out.
It's a puzzle
Forgive me, for I am weak. I lust after visually pleasing, monster graphics and cram my hard disk with gigabytes of MP3 audio files. My Jaz drives overfloweth with text documents filled with obscure technical information and complete Monty Python scripts. If I can work on my waist, then can I work on my Net bandwidth too. This puzzle site should be a treat for those who dial into the Net rather than being hard-wired into it. It is full of Java-powered applets and other low-bandwidth distractions that are quick to load and fun to play. Less filling.
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