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© St. Petersburg Times, published September 13, 1999

Back door inside

Microsoft's security efforts have taken a beating lately. First there was the Hotmail fiasco, where anybody on the Internet could access a Hotmail account without a password. Now there is a huge to-do about supposed backdoors in Windows. These alleged hooks in the operating system would allow governmental security agencies, such as the National Security Agency, access to one's data. Microsoft denies this is possible, but the security community is having none of it. This should be very interesting as it unfolds.

Something free for Mac types

Hats off to Corel for keeping an interest in the Mac. After a lot of folks caught Linux fever, you would think that the Mac would get the short end of the stick -- not so. It looks as if Corel is giving away an enhancement pack for the little computer that could. It contains free fonts, interface enhancements, an updated copy of WordPerfect 3.5, clip art and bunches of other goodies. It is a big, lengthy download and you have to give up a bunch of demographic information. Or just make it up.

I'd never have to get up again

I couldn't have been more than a third of the way into this page when She Who Must Be Obeyed said, "No, you can't have one.'" This is perhaps the ultimate nerd furniture. When correctly positioned, you could compute to your little heart's content while sitting in your La-Z-Boy or bed. We are just a step away from being jacked into the Net all the time, so why delay the inevitable? My current theory on exercise is your heart beats a finite amount of times, so why get the thing all excited?

Where's the rewind button?

Cast your mind back to the '80s, when musicians got bitten by the electronic music bug and started digitally sampling and bending anything within earshot. Pioneers? I hardly think so. Those brave souls who plonked down hard-earned money to have an 8-track in their lives were the original distortion mongers. The audio seemed to be made of rubber and each playing could fade in different places, rendering a new experience each and every time. Consumers are such fickle types and before you know it, the public was demanding unreasonable things such as decent audio quality. Philistines.

Chilling vision

My non-computing lifestyle revolves around a few simple things: food and sleep. I can't say that I'm your typical technology type, but I do get a bang out of the idea of taking technology and combining it with traditionally non-techno things. While I await the combination microwave-cell phone-VCR-pager-can opener, the Electrolux Screenfridge will make do. It has freaky features including a camera for recording video mail and Internet access. No word on an ice box or if it keeps things cold, though. and">

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