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SITE SEEING

The line starts here

By JULES ALLEN

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 10, 1999


The line starts here www.phantomcast.com/

What would it take to get you to put your life on hold and live on the streets for a while? An audience with space aliens? A ton of money? A chance to be first in line to see the new Star Wars flick? I'm a sci-fi fan of the highest magnitude and, in fact, you can't be a programer in the state of Florida without being a Star Wars fan -- it's the law. But what would compel an individual to park himself in front of a theater, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to wait for a movie? I must really be too old to understand.

Cable TV costs more www.enchilada.com

A few weeks ago I flew back from the Left Coast and was subjected to the horrors of airline food. "Lunch" was a micro-mini sandwich with a piece of turkey that was so thin, I doubt if the bird even felt it when they shaved it off its back. With that metaphor in mind, how do outfits such as e-Machines make money? They took the razor-thin margin PC business and cut it even closer to the bone. And we have Enchilada, which will bring a new, fast PC to your home, set it up, and charge you a mere $20 a month.

They'll huff and they'll puff . . .

www.thirdpig.com/

. . . But if this innovative software stands up to the test, they'll never hack into your server. Cheekily named after the little pig that didn't build his house from straw or wood, this Web server approaches the security issue in a completely different way. And, so far, it seems to be working: The vendor of this Web software freely gives system accounts to crackers who want to attempt damage.

"I don't get it'

mrl.nyu.edu/perlin/demos/quikwriting.html

Ah, but when you do, a megawatt light bulb will go on inside your head. Handwriting recognition has been a tricky thing for PCs to work out. Having spent some quality time hanging out with my doctor recently, his cliched handwriting on my prescription made my pharmacist's eye twitch, and I imagine it would melt down the coolest of Pentiums. My original Newton MessagePad turned Jules Allen into "Flynn's Alien," and the state of affairs still isn't that much better. So until voice recognition really is with us, schemes such as QuikWriting and Palm Computing's Graffiti may continue to increase in popularity. Sometimes you just don't have room or the inclination for a keyboard.

Finally, a good use for PCs

members.home.com/jlower/family/slyvester/catbox/xtbox.html

You may have seen an aquarium made from an old Macintosh SE computer shell. I can't say I have, but I did know a chap who covered the outside of his working Mac SE with lime green fake fur. People love their Macs, and only recently have we seen any kind of affection on the PC side. Maybe Jim Lower's IBM PC Catbox could be the start of a recycling trend. Or maybe not.

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