A random peek at the Web
By JULES ALLEN
© St. Petersburg Times, published September 28, 1998
ere is a random roundup of all that's fit to link. If you are one of those lazy types who hates keying in URLs, visit http://www.sptimes.com/Technology.html and you will find all these links prekeyed to save your weary fingers.
Robert X. Cringely is a pseudonym for a couple of writers who take often vicious, yet deserved, swings at the computer industry. While one of the Cringelys sometimes graces the back page of trade publication InfoWorld, the other has taken roost at PBS and pens the consistently excellent Pulpit column. I, Cringely -- the online Cringley -- is computer industry focused, and while you might think that your interests won't be served, the site will give you some insight on why and how our latter day robber barons get their jollies.
Once upon a time, some friends threatened to take me to a baseball game as I sat deer-in-the-headlights-like during their "who's on first" live office rendition. This is what happens when you work with weirdos. Knowing absolutely nothing about baseball is as anti-American as torching the flag or refusing to eat apple pie. Keen as I am to live in harmony with my fellow Americans, I promised myself I would at least try to understand the need for tight pants and why Chuck Taylor has less to do with shoes than I had imagined. This site seems to be an excellent start and some of the whizzier bits require Shockwave (http://www.shockwave.com). I'm still not sure who's on first, though.
Cuba, being closer to most Floridians than Atlanta, is one of those places a lot of non-Hispanics seem to have a fixed idea about. Plus hopping on a plane, going there (Cuba, not Atlanta) and spending money are technically illegal without a license from the federal government. Surely this adds to the misconceptions. So, the Web comes to the rescue with the Cuban Experience, a surprisingly rich, hypertext view of the country. Its Yahoolike entry page makes navigation a breeze and gives a good overview of what the site has to offer.
Don't party like it's 1999. Take your money and head for the hills! The sky is falling! If it's not black helicopters or bits of comets dropping through your roof, it's the occupation of our info-addled minds with weird theories about the Year 2000 bug. Why must we colonize our thoughts with such doom and gloom? Are things really going that well that we have to do something to derail it? Misery loves company, I suppose. I am so sick of Y2K alarmist theories that y2ktoday.com is a welcome relief. Yes, it could be a tricky time ahead, but heaven forbid something might upset our comfy, spoon-fed existences for a few weeks. Let us pray the TV doesn't fall victim, eh? (Note to self: less coffee and sugar before writing Site Seeing.)
Here is a good nerd test: Go to How Stuff Works and count how many things you already know. If it's more than three-quarters of what is on the home page, you are a brain all right. I thought I slept through all that induction, compression, ignition, exhaust stuff in my high school physics classes, but apparently that doesn't seem to be the case.