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August 2001, Week 4 -- You Can Take It With You

 

 Que! M3
Que! M3 Hard Drive

   On the whole, I'd rather carry a portable drive than a portable computer. I've never been attracted to the idea of working on trains or airplanes.

   Two new drives let you take along plenty so you can start up again at your destination, one holds a staggering 80 gigabytes. That storage giant is the new "Que M3" FireWire hard drive from QPS. It has a list price of $399 and is plug compatible, as they say, with FireWire ports on either PCs or Macs. Of course Mac already comes with a FireWire port, but you will have to install one on a PC. Web site for this drive is www.qps-inc.com.

 

   Acer's new portable CD-RW (re-writable) drive for Windows writes to a blank CD at six times playback speed. It rewrites a CD at four times playback speed. The most convenient feature on this small portable CD writer is that it can connect through either the USB or FireWire ports on desktop computers or the PCMCIA port on laptops. List price on this one is $199; CDs hold about 640 megabytes. Web: www.acercm.com.

 

Hard copy

 

   Lexmark has a new laser printer for $199. This is a rock bottom price for a laser printer and they're aiming it at light duty users. Output is 12 ppm (pages per minute), however, which is quite good, and resolution is 600 x 600 dpi (dots per inch). This is lower resolution than other low cost laser printers, which typically offer 1200 x 600 dpi. I've found there is virtually no difference in appearance between 600 dpi and 1200 dpi when printing text but there is a definite difference printing pictures. Web: www.lexmark.com.

 

Internuts

-- www.internshipprograms.com  Internships in government, corporations and non-profit groups all over the USA. You can also post your resume here. Internships are usually unpaid, but can be great experience and often afford entry into a chosen field.

-- www.lunchboxshop.com A commercial site that sells decorated lunchboxes, old and new: Bugs Bunny, Sailor Moon, Batman, Jurassic Park, Wizard of Oz, I love Lucy, Michael Jordan, etc. How about a semi-transparent one in translucent pink plastic. Commercial, but fun.

-- www.crichton-official.com  The official web site for best selling author and film director Michael Crichton.

-- www.okinawaprogram.com There are more people over 100 years old on Okinawa than anywhere else in the world. Or maybe it just seems like they're older. In any event, you can check out their diet here and see if you want to try and emulate same.

-- www.wellnessletter.com  This is a truncated online version of the monthly Wellness Letter put out by the University of California at Berkeley. It has one feature article each month and an "ask the experts" section. The full newsletter is available by subscription.

-- www.aauw.org  The American Association of University Women. Chapter events, meetings, book and film clubs, etc., for women with university degrees. The organization also awards scholarships and grants. Founded 1881.

 

Art and education

 

 Musee d'Orsay

 

   Montparnasse Multimedia in Paris has two new programs: a children's adventure program covering ancient Egypt and a virtual tour of the famous Musee d'Orsay.

-- The collections of the Musee d'Orsay cover the middle to the end of the 19th century. The museum is housed in a converted railway station and as you tour the building you will learn about the conversion and hear lectures from art historians concerning the major pieces. Over 300 works of art are featured. You can select any sculpture or painting and e-mail it as a postcard. CD is $45 for both Windows and Macintosh.

-- "Sethi and the Crown of Egypt" is a children's adventure game set in ancient Egypt. The game is colorful and educational, aimed at ages 6-9; $20 for Win/Mac.

 

  A note: Montparnasse Multimedia has excellent programs but they are difficult to find in the U.S.; I recommend going to their web site at www.montparnasse.net.

 

Games adults try to play

 Nancy Drew in the Royal Tower

   The latest Nancy Drew adventure: "Treasure in the Royal Tower," proves I'm no match for a 10-year-old. The game is based on the famous series of books staring a young girl detective and is advertised for ages ten and up. I'm over ten, but a trip to the web site bulletin board in search of tips on how to solve the mystery shows that I'm also over-matched. A young girl signing herself "Detective Chrissy" acknowledges blithely that she has solved three puzzles, figured out where the treasure is, found the secret entrance to the library but is "having trouble with the round thing," whatever that is. Meanwhile, after three hours of play I can't open the combination lock on a gym locker, even though I know the combination! Nancy Drew is $25 for Windows. Web: www.herinteractive.com.

 

Books

  Palm Handheld

 

   "How to do Everything with your Pocket PC and Handheld PC," by Frank McPherson; $25 from Osborne/McGraw-Hill, web: www.osborne.com.

   Not exactly a catchy title here but it covers all the bases. Though sales of handheld computers have fallen through the floor, there are still millions out there. This might give the owners something to do other than using them as an expensive address book.

NOTE: Readers can search more than four years of columns at the "On Computers" web site: www.oncomp.com. You can e-mail Bob Schwabach at bobschwab@oncomp.com  or bobschwab@aol.com.

 

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