A holiday wish
By JULES ALLEN
© St. Petersburg Times, published December 21, 1998
My thirst for computer language translators may finally be quenched. Translating from German to English or from French to Spanish on the fly, while useful, is old hat. Where the action is really hot revolves around the ability to translate meaningful English text into Pig Latin. The waggish Times editors who shared this link with me suggested I might start turning in my columns post-translated as the readership might have a better idea of what I'm blathering about. Be warned: This site is no speed demon during peak Internet times.
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I've been absurdly lucky with technology prognostications. When you build Web properties, a mild to healthy dose of ESP will do your business a world of good. But I've also backed my share of stinkers, including IBM's ill-fated yet not-quite-dead OS/2, favoring CP/M over PC-DOS, and saying the mouse and graphic interfaces would never catch on. My gut reaction to Apple's precursor to the Mac, the Lisa, was "this is the dumbest thing I've ever seen." And now the mouse turns 30. Just to get back at me, the Universe will allow me to buy a PC without Windows 98 preinstalled, but do you think I can buy one without a mouse? Ha! Where is Janet Reno's e-mail address?
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I've come across a few kids' sites on my meanderings. Most of them are okay, but the majority are designed by adults for kids, which, if you still remember the blur of when you were a teen, is as bad as your parents using hip youthspeak to bond with you. Ah, but this site is a breath of fresh air: It is a disgustingly simple, no plug-in ramble that'll appeal to the under-10 set in a big way. I know. I tried it out on the neighborhood kids and they loved it. It is a plug for Peggy Rathmann's book 10 Minutes Till Bedtime, but you'll find out only if you dig deep into the links. Now if only the kids would stop calling me "sir." I feel so old.
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Sorry about the URL (Web address), but this story is worth the read. If you've ever hung out with bright, young high-techies, there is sometimes an annoying undertone of smugness about their unquestioning belief in their abilities and certainty of their future. If this article from Upside is to be believed, think again. Statistically, it seems that mid- to late thirtysomething programers will do a lot worse than their peers in other industries. Techno youth worship is even worse than, say, being a model. Yeah, well at least we don't call each other "dah-ling."
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When Broadcast.com started its thing, it was seen as a revolutionary move: bringing what is essentially local content to a sound-equipped PC wired to the Internet. It is a big hit with me as I miss some of the radio stations from towns I no longer live in. But Imagine Radio has usurped Broadcast.com as my favorite audio spot on Web-dial. It is customized listening, playing the music or talk that you've preselected. Genius idea! Your PC must support either Real's G2 player (www.real.com/) or if you're a Windows-head, you can use Microsoft's new Media Player (www.microsoft.com/windows/mediaplayer/). Now if only I could get this in my car.