Tangerine Travels #3: The ABCs of the WWW

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There's nothing to cure the sleepiness brought on by Thanksgiving turkey--and a nasty cold--like a quick trip across the World Wide Web. Watch out, Vapo-Rub--a sinus-clearing visit to a Web browser will do the trick every time.

Name Dropper!

From one of my loyal readers--he's read both of my columns!--comes a recommendation for Big Time Name Dropping . It's a page by a guy named Kennedy Grey, and the page itself is delightful shade of gray. How's that for synergy?

In any event, the page contains a list of all the famous people Kennedy Gray has seen since he moved to Malibu in 1998. From has-been hacks like Dom DeLuise (what's he doing now, infomercials?) to people still seen on the screen like Goldie Hawn. Not only does he mention where he saw them, but he also makes some editorial observations, like what condition they were in, if they were friendly, who they were with.

For the record, I once rode in an elevator with Tom Bosley. Or was it Peter Boyle ? Or David Doyle ? I can never tell those guys apart.

Shall We Play a Game?

Let me make this clear: I don't suggest attempting to break into government computer systems just to play a nice game of chess. But if you're in an '80s frame of mind, you can still have a good time without starting a global thermonuclear war. Just download a copy of Macromedia 's Flash and visit the official Atari Web site .

Once you're there, you can play a handful of classic Atari games (Frogger, Missile Command, Centipede) from within your Web browser. Note to cubicle dwellers: you may want to turn the sound down. The last thing you want a nosy co-worker to hear is you attempting to get a frog across a busy intersection.

Flash this Feline

Another creative use of Flash is the original, clever cartoon called simply " Pat this Cat ." Cat lovers will think it's the cat's pajamas, but if you're looking for a high-tech special effects extravaganza, you may be disappointed.

Who Wants to Get a Million Web Hits

Two weeks ago ABC attempted to do a simulcast of The Drew Carey Show . There I was, remote in one hand and mouse in the other. I had already downloaded the Windows Media Player for Macintosh--I know, that turn of phrase sounds sick and wrong--and was ready for the show to start. One problem: Windows Media Player kept crashing my iMac! Finally, out of frustration, I gave up, opting for the traditional form of entertainment we call television.

Do you think we could convince them to use QuickTime the next time?

Mmmm... Web Site

All right, I confess: I watch The Simpsons almost religiously. For anyone else has a thing for Homer Simpson, have I got the site for you. It has a certain je ne sais pas ! (And I say that only because I enjoy getting letters from people who don't think I know it's not real French)

At The Homer Simpson Homepage you'll find a wealth of Homer sound files, Homer pictures, and my personal favorite, the "Mmmm lines," a detailed list of every "Mmmm... [fill in the blank]" line Homer has used.

Weekly World Web

Often I look at the Internet as a sort of binary wasteland, filled with useless junk, false information, and stories about what might happen should I have a roofie put in my drink at some sleazy bar. (For the record, I'll wake up in a bathtub full of ice without my liver.)

The UFO Web Site confirms that belief. I enjoyed chatting in the Chat Area 51, although no one would answer my questions about what really happened to the alien who killed Kennedy.

Also on the site: A list of recommended books, a sign-up form to become a member of UFO.org, and a link to cool photographs that I couldn't get to work. (Personally, I suspect a cover-up.)

Reader in a Can

Rather than print individual letters this column has received, I've decided to take a page from police sketch artists and create a composite letter. This is a letter that represents most of my mail from the past week in a fun and easy-to-read format!

I've also left room for you to insert your favorite words to make it more interesting.

Dear Brett,

I don't bother reading your mess of a column, you [nasty word]. In fact, I think that you are trying to be Mac the Knife. Is your work edited at all, or to you pull it out of your [a place where the sun don't shine]? By the way, that's where I think you can shove that iMac of yours!


Mr. Unhappy Reader, Esq.

I've always associated the Macintosh with fun -- and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. The Mac is about being yourself, having a good time, and using a computer that suits you -- even if it deviates from the norm. That's what Apple's Think Different campaign is all about.

Mr. Unhappy Reader apparently can't do that. Fair enough. For you, I'd like to point out Macworld's large selection of product reviews, how-to articles and tips, and analysis of breaking news events, not to mention the hard news from our sister publications MacCentral.com and MacWEEK.com. My little corner of Macworld.com isn't about that. It's a fun place where iMac users (and any Mac user) can have a little fun.

Hey, most of the time I appreciate CNN for what it is -- a serious source of information. But what I wouldn't give to see Wolf Blitzer say, just once, "The president didn't do anything important today! It's 30 below out here, and I'm freezing! Get me a warmer coat! Now back to you in the warm, cushy studio!"

Thanks for listening, devout readers and devout letter-writers alike. Until next time...

Previous Columns

Brett Larson writes educational software in his free time. Among his creations are "See Dick and Jane Learn E-Commerce Strategy and Make Millions in an IPO from Their Milk Money" and "Little Nancy's RSI, and The Employer Who Fired Her For It!" Send your Web site suggestions to Brett at brett_larson@macworld.com.

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