Names For The Games. The next Winter Olympics will be in Salt Lake City in 2002. Instead of one cute, furry creature as a mascot, these Games will have three — a horseshoe hare, a coyote and an American black bear. From now until July 31, the organizers are inviting the public to name the mascots. Unfortunately, you can’t just suggest a name; they make you pick from some already suggested by schoolchildren. If you find the choices pretty insipid, why not let your kids vote on the names?
Where’s The ATM? Whether your summer travels take you to Bangkok or Bangor, Maine, a vacation always costs more than you thought it would. That’s when the plastic in your pocket comes in handy. But to get cash, you need to find an ATM machine that will accept your card. Thanks to the Net, that’s easy. All three major cards have ATM locator sites — Visa, Master Card and American Express.
Take That! Computers can be frustrating, nerve-wracking and annoying. And that’s on good days. Anyone who’s ever lost a file, had a hard drive die or used Windows will get a charge out of the humorous Illustrated Guide to Breaking Your Computer. Tom Murphy VII suggests various “fun” methods for destroying your keyboard, monitor or — best of all, he says — your hard drive.
The simplest act might relieve the most stress, though. “I find the best time to crush a diskette is right after it has failed while trying to copy important files from home to work,” Tom says. “Pop it out of the drive, crush it in your hand and you will feel slightly better.”
Seeing Spots. When you spill Chinese food down the front of your favorite silk blouse, mark your new shirt with a ballpoint pen or get grease on a wool sweater, how do you remove the stains? Tide has all the answers at Clothesline Stain Detective.
Your Favorite Books. When Random House had experts name what they considered the top 100 books of the century, they set up a website for ordinary readers to vote on what they consider the10 best books of the past 100 years. You have to register to receive a password, which they will e-mail you. Then you can add to their list the books that have influenced or meant the most to you.
World Wide Wait. When surfing the Web is like slogging through quicksand, do you ever wonder if it’s the fault of the sites you’re visiting or your ISP? It could be heavy traffic on the Net. One way to find out is to check the stats at Internet Traffic Report. It monitors the quickness and reliability of the flow of data around the world. With scores from 0 (everything’s stopped) to 100 (whizzing along at the speed of cyberlight), it’s easy to tell at a glance how things are humming along in North or South America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
Can We Take The Kids? You read a review of a movie, which makes it sound suitable for children, so you take the whole family — and are disappointed that the reviewer didn’t mention the parts that were too frightening for a 6-year-old or the ubiquitous use of profanity. Parents, grandparents and other caregivers can avoid that with Screen It, which calls itself an “entertainment review for parents.” Not only does Screen It provide reviews that take family values and kids’ sensibilities into consideration, but it also constructs a chart that rates the movie on all kinds of content that parents may find objectionable — alcohol/drugs, blood/gore, guns/weapons, smoking, sex, violence, even bad attitude. The site also reviews music, videos and DVD in a non-sanctimonious but practical way.
Chitchat. Chat with Chicago. Not the city, the band. On Thursday, July 8, at 5 p.m. PDT (8 p.m. EDT), band members will be talking about their 30 years of music and the kickoff of their summer tour. Baseball great Tony Gwynn will be chatting the same evening at 6:30 PDT (9:30 EDT). Both will be online at Yahoo Chat.
What’s The Word? Spell checkers have made life easier for the spelling challenged, but dictionaries aren’t going to disappear anytime soon. For one thing, a spell checker can’t tell you what a word means or if you’re using it correctly. Some great dictionary websites include:
Dictionary.com, where, in addition to looking up the spelling and meaning of words, you can enlarge your vocabulary with the word of the day, discover common errors in English, and enter a word in English and find out what it is in German, Greek, Latin or Spanish. Or type in a word in one of those languages and get the English equivalent.
A Web of Online Dictionaries, which provides more than 800 dictionaries in 160 different languages.
And the granddaddy of them all, OneLook Dictionaries, which will send your word through 536 dictionaries — many of them quite specialized — in one shot.