By JULES ALLEN
© St. Petersburg Times, published July 12, 1999
It seems that being a two-PC family these days isn't that much different from being a two-car family. And while you might have more than one phone line, it is pretty common to see only one PC at a time using it. There is a solution called a proxy server, but traditionally it has been hard to set up and sometimes expensive. As luck would have it, I stumbled across this totally free proxy server that allows multiple machines to connect via a single phone line, cable modem or whatever. It will take a little tweaking but could be well worth the effort. Windows only, I'm afraid.
Okay, it is not a real 900 number (and yes, my editor did double-check), but it is a very nifty contraption. Kudos to Jim Studt who conceived the idea, built the Lego spinning contraption, hooked a camera to his Linux box and then hooked the whole thing to the Net. The bad news is it doesn't work with Internet Explorer 4 for technical reasons explained on the page. You should have more than one browser, anyway.
Just when you got the hang of obscure search engine syntax and how to navigate your bookmarks, along comes Net-o-Matic, a Java based browser that turns the Web into a dream-like state. It flits from site to site, sampling them like some kind of TCP/IP-enabled butterfly. You don't navigate; Net-o-Matic does it for you. Trippy, babe.
My year is complete! The Darwin Awards are out. For those not in the know, the awards are given to exceptionally stupid individuals who have given the human race a greater chance of survival by taking themselves out of the gene pool. It is funny man-bites-dog stuff, though it may offend you if you fail to see humor in the stupidity of others. And if that is the case, I can't believe you would read my column.
Think your personal Web site is the ugliest thing since sliced beer? Convinced that winky-flashy images and blinking text is a God-given right? Then the Muddies is your kind of site: It has picked the best of the worst in corporate bad Web design and thrown a virtual mud brick at each site. In fact, if your personal work is ugly enough, you could probably get a job building Web sites for the winners.
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