Picturing The Century. It’s like looking through an old photo
album, with sepiatone pictures of people self-consciously staring at the
camera. Who are those people? What are they doing? The Christian Science Monitor asked
its nationwide readership to share family photos that they felt in some
way exemplified the 20th century. So far, three photo spreads have been
published in the Monitor’s Snapshots of the Century series. The one on
shows America’s love affair with the automobile. The most recent, family
snaps featuring women,
might surprise you a bit — especially the 1906 women’s basketball team.
The spread that will most remind you of your own family — and maybe
send you scurrying to find those old scrapbooks — was called Milestones,
which chronicled great and small events — from earthquakes to the first
fish a child caught.

Searching The Search Engines. Most people on the Web search
for information at some point and often are disappointed not to find
what they’re looking for. Why they don’t find it is often a result of
how they’re looking. You can learn more about conducting successful
searches at Windweaver’s Search
. It gives you basic search information, such as how to use six
popular engines (they don’t all work the same), searching hints, using
the right terminology, which engines are best for which kinds of
searches, as well as recommendations among 35 other engines. The latter
isn’t as up-to-date as it ought to be, but this is still helpful
information and I learned of a couple of spots that I didn’t know, and
I’m on the Web all the time. So it’s good, whatever your level of

Will It Happen? It’s a game where if you choose the correct
outcome of a future event, you might win some money. At the Invisible Hand Electronic Market, you
register and get $10,000 “play money” so you can buy and sell contracts
on such happenings as who wins the Rugby World Cup or the Super Bowl and
whether Y2K will turn the world upside down. Some of the contracts are
pretty silly (do you care who gets custody of Pamela Lee Anderson’s
children?), but you can make up your own contract and put it out for

Woof, Woof. Have a question about your dog, cat or other pet?
You can get an answer from a vet who specializes in care of reptiles,
birds, fish and small animals as well as cats and dogs at Petstore’s Experts on

Speed Up Your Surfing. When you feel yourself grow older as
you wait for Web pages to open, consider a better way. Download Net Sonic, freeware that
offers advanced Web caching and plenty of help with log-in names and
passwords. It’s gotten outstanding reviews in the tech press (CNet said,
“Pages load almost instantaneously”).

If you’d like to find out how fast your Internet connection is (and
rarely is it the touted speed of your modem), head to test
your Internet connection speed
. The page automatically tells you at
what speed you’re connected. The last time I visited, mine was a
disappointing 26.2 Kbps (with a 33Kbps modem).

The Tiniest Pages. At the Microbe Zoo, kids
can visit Dirtland, Animal Pavilion, Snack Bar, Space Adventure and
Water World to discover what microbes are and how they affect our lives.
Most surprising statement in this learning adventure created by Michigan
State University’s Digital Learning Center for Microbial Ecology:
“Without microbes, eating would be a boring pastime.”

Revisiting Free Internet Access. First, off I goofed. NetZero isn’t the company that gives a
free computer for signing up for so many years of Internet access. It’s
simply a company that offers free Internet access. Joel from Cincinnati
had written to say he wasn’t happy with it. Unlike a service that you’ve
committed yourself to because the company gave you something, you can
change ISPs anytime. And that’s what Joel did.

On the other hand, Ken, a Mets fan who lives in the San Francisco Bay
area, weighed in to say he’s happy with NetZero. He uses it for work and
pays for his Internet connection at home because NetZero doesn’t support
Macs and that’s what he has at home. Ken says that yes, the ad bar does
slow down your connection but he feels that’s the trade-off for not
having to pay $20 or more per month. I imagine your level of happiness
with NetZero might depend upon how much surfing you do.

Finally, Jerry, a Braves fan in Georgia wrote to say that anyone
interested in free, Web-based phone calls needs Mediaring. He also recommends the free
Internet access company he uses, Freewwweb.

Dr. Fun Returns. David Farley of the University of North
Carolina’s Metalab has built quite a following for his daily and weekly
Dr. Fun cartoons and
now they’re back on a regular basis. Occasionally you’ll find one that’s
off-color (they aren’t for kids), but mostly they’re cute. See whether
Dave and you have the same sense of humor.

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