Hot fun in the summertime
Site-seeing by Jules Allen
In these hot summer months, you'll find geeks like me avoiding
the outside at all costs and scurrying from air conditioning to
air conditioning like palmetto bugs. So, avoid the Big Blue Room
and Web it up with this week's batch of useless links.
Actually, this one is kind of useful. Have you ever been at a
friend's or colleague's place and needed to check your e-mail?
If you've got one of those Web-based services such as Hotmail
or Yahoo!, it's not a problem. But if you've got something like
AT&T, GTE or a local Internet service provider, you're pretty
much out of luck unless you want to go through the hassle of reconfiguring
your chum's e-mail client. Ugh. Step in MailStart, a safe and
secure way to get your e-mail when you're out and about. MailStart
leaves your mail on your server, so when you get back to your
home or office, it's waiting for permanent download. Not a bad
idea for checking personal e-mail from work, too. This free service
relies on a standard mail access method called POP3. Therefore
it won't work with proprietary services like AOL or MSN Classic.
Pass this one around to your co-workers and see how quickly they
figure out how this magic online card game does its thing. Unfortunately
for my research, but fortunately for the company, I work with
a bunch of logical thinkers and most had this one figured out
on or before the second pass through. It even loops back to the
first page, and the terminally dumb could be clicking for hours
until hunger or exhaustion kicks in.
Can't drive at 55? Then this site's for you. It's a user-compiled
list of speed traps, and this particular page has good coverage
of the Tampa Bay area. Especially St. Petersburg. Don't get me
started on driving but, speeding be darned, I'd love to see my
tax dollars going toward enforcing minimum speeds to help improve
traffic flow, fines for the ultra-rude non-usage of turn signals,
or at least keeping slow traffic out of the non-passing lanes.
And if I have to take corrective action because one more self-important
clown can't drive and use a cell phone at the same time, I'm going
As areas go, the Tampa Bay area is a pretty nifty place to live.
It's usually sunny, and the cost of living is reasonable. So what's
the "but?" I know I'm going to catch merry hell for this, but
the radio stations are awful. WMNF (www.wmnf.org/) has its moments,
but 90 percent of its programing alienates 90 percent of its listenership.
And that's the brightest point on the dial. The overplayed, tired
format of the other stations is, in a word, sad. Bless the maker
for Wall Street's latest net darling, Broadcast.com. I can now
get the groovy radio stations from the cities I used to live in
(got thrown out of?) via Real Audio (www.real.com/).
This is a fun site that has some lively message boards and a remarkable
collection of now-defunct candy bar wrappers. (Anybody remember
Rollo's and Caramello?) Seinfeld aficionados will remember the
based-on-real-life Soup Nazi episode, and this site contains some
rather interesting clones of what is supposed to be the real thing.
Maybe soup for you after all. Hey, we get ripped off all the time
in the software business, so it's good to see other industries
suffer a similar fate.
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