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An encryption alternative

Mhair Dekmezian’s Really Good Privacy (RGP) is a powerful alternative to
PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), the de facto global encryption standard.
Download the software free here. Tech
support is free, too. Note that the RGP Web site provides rather
skeletal information — email r_g_p@hotmail.com to get the full lowdown
on RGP encryption.

Y2K house call for your PC

Is your computer ready for the millennium? The free, easy-to-use utility
Test2000 from RighTime will test your
personal computer for potential Year 2000 problems. If it finds trouble,
it’ll let you know whether your computer can be made compliant by a BIOS
or software fix.

Other freeware

RocketDownload is an enormous freeware
site, full of goodies of all sorts and varying quality. A few selections
from its cornucopia:

  • Tiny Elvis ()
    displays a tiny, animated Elvis who sits at the bottom of your Windows
    desktop. From time to time, he jumps up and comments on your desktop’s
    contents.
  • Crossword Compiler
    lets
    you create and customize your own crossword puzzles onscreen. The newest
    of several crossword-making utilities available at this site.
  • NetPad is a
    notepad application that’s specifically designed to help you store
    information and links from the Internet. Very useful.

Wine selection for dummies: a guide for the perplexed

At the Wine Navigator,
you can select whatever food you’re planning to serve and receive
suggestions on the perfect wine(s) to complement your meal — in
whatever price range you’ve specified, from under $10 to $50 or more.
Even if you already have a clue or two about wine, you can probably
learn something here: this goes a long way beyond “red with beef, white
with chicken or fish.” Under “fish,” for example, eleven different types
and/or preparations are listed — not counting sushi, listed elsewhere
as a subset of “Japanese”; each of the eleven is referenced to a list of
specific suggestions as to which (red or white) wines are likely to go
best with it. Difficult foods like salads, desserts, and ethnic are
included. You can also do a non-food-specific search for whatever color
and style float your boat — say, a full-bodied imported red between $10
and $20.

Would you like cheese with that?

While you’re still in the mood, take a look at The Best of French
Cheeses
. Ripe cheeses delivered straight from
France within 48 hours — expensive, but irresistible. Also available: a
cheese encyclopedia containing everything you ever wanted to know about
French cheese; an online cheese magazine; cheese recipes (this month:
coussin de saumon au Comté); and more.

Any questions?

Need expert advice on anything whatsoever? The Ask an Expert site
may be able to find
you an email address or a Web site through which you can reach someone
in the know. Do your kids need help with a school report on early
19th-century New England life? Try this site.
Urgently require a priest’s clarification of Roman Catholic doctrine?
Email the Roman Catholic Information Specialist at abl@soundcity.net.
Looking for someone knowledgeable about agriculture? Email AgriHelp at
agrihlp@wco.com. Whether you hanker to talk with a zookeeper, an
astronomer, a rose gardener, a hydrologist, a cartographer, a CPA, or a
composer, this copious and usefully organized collection of links can
point you toward the help you’re looking for.

Look it up

Get that big clunky book off your desk. Merriam-Webster has a Web
edition of its Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus up here. Features include
crossword and rhyming settings, wildcard searches, linked
cross-references, quoted illustrations and usage notes, and a separate
dictionary. Good online help page.

Across the board

Play email chess, checkers, and other board games with friends and
strangers at It’s Your Turn. Member areas
(tournaments, rankings, etc) require a fee, but as of now you can play
games for nothing. The site is turn-based, which means you can play at
your own pace, making a move whether or not whoever you’re playing is
online at the time.

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