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Simple pleasures


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 9, 1998

I'm a simple man. With simple needs (most of which can be met with high-end, expensive technology) and a few choice Web sites to pass the time.


I have a few hot buttons, most of which revolve around gross stupidity. Such as those self-indulgent, nobody's-buying-this corporate "'Success" motivation posters. Imagine addressing morale problems by putting a poster on the wall encouraging people to "'Soar." Such a poster would indeed cause some to soar -- away from the idiots who hung it. So imagine my deep joy when I found this parody turned real business Web site. "If we don't take care of the customers, maybe they'll stop bugging us." Hysterical


"The world doesn't need another browser,'" I thought to myself when my intrepid editor packed me off to take a squint at Neoplanet's offering. But it's an interesting idea that piggybacks itself on top of some of the core bits from Internet Explorer (and soon Netscape, they say). In fact, Neoplanet fixes a bunch of annoyances with IE4 that actually makes it usable again. For example, IE4 has a way too-small area in the status bar to show you the URL when your mouse moves over a hyperlink: If the URL's too long, it's truncated. The Neoplanet browser also has a "'channels" metaphor that you'll either love or immediately hate and turn off. Currently in 32-bit Windows flavor, it requires either IE3.02 or 4 to be already installed. A Mac version is apparently in the pipe


Life is full of little surprises. Like coming home one day and finding your live-in partner suddenly isn't a live-in anymore. Or finding your now buttonless stuff strewn across the yard and the locks changed. Ouch. It's been quite a while since I've had to deal with either of those things. But even in the bad old days, it was always easier to laugh than cry. Cue Breakup Girl: a graphically sexy, witty, fun site with great content and maybe a way to try laughing your way out of the gloom instead of sobbing


* * *

There are some things you should do with your employer's computers (like work) and there are some things you shouldn't. It's quite common to hear of companies that actually have defined acceptable usage policies, just in case some employees are lacking in moral fiber and that all important common sense gland. So, just when you thought you'd heard it all, consider this tale of a consultant who hijacked computing time from a Baby Bell and brought its network to its knees.


It's often said the human mind is an amazing storage device but has a really bad indexing scheme. So picture yourself chugging away on the Web or reading e-mail one evening and you spot a line from a song in somebody's signature file or in a net.news post. You know, or at least used to know, the song well but the title evades you. If you're excessive-impulsive like yours truly, you're going to spend the weekend spinning your old albums searching for the song in question. Sanity is at hand in the form of this Web site that will do a full text search of more than 100,000 songs

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