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Only You


(990401) Marshmallow Peeps!
The Official Peeps Website
http://www.marshmallowpeeps.com/

Just Born, Inc.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA

I've always had a thing against Marshmallow Peeps. Nothing major, just a disdain for the food and the cultural popularity they have acquired, a recognition fueled mostly by the Internet. As a kid I'd eat only the heads, right before slipping into the annual Easter sugar coma. When a reader by the name of Lynn suggested this site I was unsure about visiting it. Peeps sites I'd seen up to that point were always placing an inanimate, fruit-flavored, sugar creation in such high regard. "Welcome to my warm and fuzzy Peeps page" they would read, forgetting that when food products go warm and fuzzy it usually means one thing — poison.

The Just Born site is an official Peeps site and the company has an item and site to be proud of. After absorbing the Rodda Candy Company in 1953 for its jelly bean manufacturing process, the company found themselves with a unique novelty item. Hand made marshmallow ducks (or are they chicks?) that once took over 35 hours to create are now produced at the amazing rate of 2,000,000 a day. The site has a complete history of the company and pointers to sites for their other products which include Hot Tamales, Mike and Ike, and Teenee Beanee gourmet jelly beans. You'll also find a factory tour, news, Fun Facts and company press releases about the Marshmallow Peeps line. In true commercial form there is a large section called Recipes & Crafts offering a bunch of ideas for using Peeps. Baskets, candle holders, fishing lures and cup cakes are just a few. My favorite recipe is the one for PeepS'mores:

"Ingredients: 2 graham cracker squares, 1/3 plain small chocolate bar, Marshmallow Peeps

Toast Marshmallow Peeps. Put Marshmallow Peeps on graham cracker. Place chocolate on Marshmallow Peeps and cover with second graham cracker. (The heat from Peeps will melt chocolate)."

I can hear them screaming now!

As previously mentioned, other sites celebrate Peeps. A search engine will produce many of them, some being nicer than others. Two standouts are Peep Research (http://www.learnlink.emory.edu/peep/) which takes a Peep into the laboratory, and the folks at Tripod are in on the fun again this year with their Springtime Festival of Peeps! (http://www.tripod.com/explore/fun_games/peeps/).  (Back to top of page)


(990402) The Rebate Company
http://www.rebateco.com/

Joel Granik
The Rebate Company
Cedarhurst, New York, USA

The Rebate Company offers a novel approach to buying personal electronics and household appliances — manufacturer's rebates. In order to increase brand loyalty, companies will run limited time promotions to the consumer. In many cases, the cash rebate is equal to or greater than the original purchase price. The Rebate Company further amplifies this potential saving by moving factory reconditioned models at lower than retail pricing. Sometimes they are manufacturer returns that are reconditioned to as good as new condition and come with the same warranty coverage as an original purchase. This method of business saves money for everyone involved, and prevents returned merchandise from piling up in warehouses or dumpsters. Not all items carried by The Rebate Company are reconditioned or closeout, but all have one thing in common and that's a rebate.

Promoting what they call Freebates, certain items will eventually only cost postage. Shipping charges here are modest, US$3.99 for most orders placed through the site plus the stamp later required to mail the rebate certificate. Certificates are either included in fulfilled orders or mailed under separate cover and the rebates usually arrive in 8-12 weeks. If 2-3 months is too long a wait for a check you probably don't need to make the purchase in the first place, but if it's something you would have bought anyway the rebate is an added bonus. Part of the Yahoo! Store System, The Rebate Company doesn't carry a full line of goods and orders are only taken from US and Canadian residents. They do have "a 30 day No Questions Asked Full Refund for all factory serviced items" which is not so common. Suggested by TheREALJoeyP who knows a bargain when he sees one, The Rebate Company is a great idea. With the nature of rebates, there are bound to be new products all of the time.

The Rebate Company is not affiliated with, nor directly endorsed by Site du Jour of the Day. As with any purchase, use your best judgement when ordering or responding to an offer. Bring a jacket with you just in case it gets cold later and never ever stand on the deep-fat fryer to clean the hood.  (Back to top of page)


(990403) ChannelZ
http://www.zchannel.net/

Anneabelle Corporation
Seattle, Washington, USA

Streaming video continues to present challenges to content providers and end users alike and that struggle is evident among other places at ChannelZ. Using RealAudio/Video technology, the programming here is an eclectic blend of movies, shorts, and television in the public domain. Syndicated music and information shows plus original content help to keep things fresh but like any emerging media form consumers are left wanting. The delays inherent to this form of data transmission leave viewers/listeners hanging when congestion on the wire causes periods of silence. Without a fast connection or during times of heavy traffic it is possible to spend more time waiting than not.

A few tips:

Wait for everyone to go to bed — North American users put a huge drain on the infrastructure but by midnight in New York (-5:00 GMT) things get better.

Connect on the weekend — business traffic hogs bandwidth all day long so when the working week is through an entire segment of traffic is eliminated. Early Sunday morning is usually the best time regardless of where you are.

End user technology — Having a decent connection makes all the difference in the world and that faster modem has dropped in price since you last looked at it. A new computer may be tougher to justify for the sole purpose of watching television on the computer but it helps.

End user technology (Pt. II) — A better pair of speakers (or a sound card to begin with) will only set you back a little bit of money and the difference will be evident on first use. Updated software for existing cards may help out too, see The Driver Guides (http://www.driverguide.com) (SdJotD 971031) for assistance and resources.

Content at ChannelZ is well rounded and in the case of the public domain material there's a whole lot more where this stuff came from. A smattering of Shockwave games and the two tracks from the webmaster's band Clean Fun Mickey lend a big helping of Do It Yourself flavor to ChannelZ.  (Back to top of page)


(990404) The Easter Egg Archive
The oldest and largest collection of Software Easter Eggs on the Net
http://www.eeggs.com/

David Wolf
The Easter Egg Archive
Kirkland, Washington, USA

During the development process of almost any given computer program, tools and shortcuts are coded into the works for testing and the amusement of the team. Some of these "Easter Eggs" are never removed and even intentionally added to the latest build of the product before release. Production credits are quite common and in the case of games, cheat codes go undocumented and are leaked out or just found by people with way too much time on their hands.

The Easter Egg Archive was started in August 1995 as an exercise in HTML and CGI programming and has led to a site for people around the world to learn about and contribute new Eggs. The success of the archive led to publication of Easter Eggs: Software Surprises, a book detailing the history and culture of Easter Eggs. Eggs in IBM, Mac and UNIX programs are listed here in the following categories; Applications, Games, Operating Systems, Hardware and the ever-popular Other. A search feature, pointers to other sites and opportunity to rate and submit tips make The Easter Egg Archive more durable than other sites and sources simply listing these amusing goodies.  (Back to top of page)


(990405) The NIST Time and Frequency Division Home Page
http://www.bldrdoc.gov/timefreq/

National Institute of Standards and Technology
Time and Frequency Division
Boulder, Colorado, USA

Consumer technology is a wonderful thing, with the switch to Daylight Saving Time yesterday there were three clocks I didn't have to change at home. The clock on the VCR, the computer and a recently purchased alarm clock. Living in the lightning capital of the world it's not uncommon to lose power several times a day in the summer. Finding a VCR that reads a time signal broadcast by the local PBS station was a plus the last time I replaced one. With the voltage stored in a capacitor it holds the time for a few minutes but occasionally the power is out for an hour or more. Resetting the flashing 12:00 isn't really that big of a deal once or twice a year, it gets silly more than twice a week though. Computer operating systems have grown sophisticated enough to make the change to Daylight Saving Time and tell us about it. Many of us found this out booting the machine up recently. The alarm clock in question also adjusted itself in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday. As a matter of fact, it is constantly adjusting itself by monitoring a radio signal originating in Fort Collins, Colorado. Upon purchasing the unit all I had to do was install a 9 volt battery, plug it into the wall, set one of the two alarms and then set the time zone. Like magic the machine found the broadcast signal, waited through two cycles of a message and set the time, day and date. The only time I have to touch it now is to whack the snooze bar a few times in the morning. So smart is this machine that the alarm only goes off Monday through Friday although the second available setting could be programmed for the weekends if needed. Circuitry in the clock uses the radio signal from the Time and Frequency Division of NIST so there really isn't magic in play but it sure seems that way.

The analog clocks still needed to be changed which allowed the opportunity to get them all as synchronized as possible. That had been a problem in the past, leading to the question of which clock was set closest to the real time. Trusting the Atomic Clock in Boulder, Colorado and not being terribly concerned about a few seconds I set them all to my wristwatch which had just been set to my fancy new radio clock radio. Without the benefit of this new clock I would use the computer clock which is set to the time from Boulder using a free utility that adjusts to telephone network traffic and is accurate beyond my level of concern. Visiting the NIST Time and Frequency Division Home Page will allow you to explore the options available for setting time. Either download the small utility and call Colorado through your modem, call the voice line and set it that way* or if your browser has Java capabilities as most do, set it with the NIST Atomic Web Clock (http://www.bldrdoc.gov/timefreq/javaclck.htm).

* The voice line call is limited to three minutes and is the subject of many a tale involving a jilted lover and a weekend/month-long toll call showing up on the phone bill a few weeks after the relationship has ended. If the story doesn't involve Boulder it usually mentions Time and Temperature in Tokyo. Probably true at one point but the calls shut off nowadays.

For an excellent essay on Daylight Saving Time see Saving Time, Saving Energy, Daylight Saving Time, Its History and Why We Use It (http://www.energy.ca.gov/daylightsaving.html) (SdJotD 970405). Written by Bob Aldrich, Information Officer for the California Energy Commission this page details the history and usefulness of changing our time.  (Back to top of page)


(990406) Astronomy Picture of the Day
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

Robert Nemiroff
Michigan Technological University
Houghton, Michigan, USA

Jerry Bonnell
Universities Space Research Association
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Hosted by the Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Maryland, USA

Much more than a simple picture site, Astronomy Picture of the Day serves up a brilliant image or photograph and a description of what's in that picture with pointers galore. Some of the pictures are from NASA, some from universities and a few from individuals, all are selected and annotated by assistant professor Robert Nemiroff and scientist Jerry Bonnell. Whether it's a red/blue stereo image of Saturn (http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap990130.html), the Kitt Peak 2.1-meter Telescope during a thunder storm (http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap990119.html) or The Small Cloud of Magellan (http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap950919.html), there is always something here for even the most casual observer. The Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive goes back to June 16, 1995 and the extensive list of mirror sites is quite impressive, of particular note are the mirrors in Russia (http://www.sai.msu.su/apod/), Taiwan (Chinese language) (http://phyhp.phy.ncku.edu.tw/~astrolab/mirrors/apod/astropix.html), and Brazil (Portuguese language): (http://www.aguianet.com.br/cosmosdirect/).

No matter what level of expertise you have in Astronomy, this site will prove educational and entertaining. There are so many Astronomy images available on the Internet that it becomes overwhelming at times. Astronomy Picture of the Day takes a great deal of the frustration out of the equation without seriously limiting the possibilities. It's not often that I recommend a site as a startup page for your browser, but if you're looking for one that's out of this world, here it is.  (Back to top of page)


(990407) Stacks & Stacks
http://www.stacksandstacks.com/index.htm

Stacks & Stacks
Richmond, California, USA

It's probably just a matter of semantics, but I've always maintained that there is a serious difference between the concepts of clean and organized — especially when it comes to the subject of a desk. A place for everything, and everything in its place doesn't necessarily have to mean tiny cubbies with pencils and pens separated, papers all in a row and like that. Being fond of the stratification method of organization, I, like many others can locate an item with no pain whatsoever simply by remembering where I last saw it. More importantly, when I last saw it. On my desk at this very moment are a stack of Compact Discs — The CMJ New Music volumes for April and May, disc 2 of Elvis Presley — The Top Ten Hits, On To The Show! The Beau Hunks play more Little Rascals music, the first Ben Folds Five album and The Godfathers-Birth, School, Work, Death, in that order, starting from the top. I'm not really sure what's below the paper they are sitting on, but the CDs sure are handy at that level. Most likely a few more CDs and floppies, a paper clip or two and probably some other stuff. If something needs to be found it will still be there and the chronological trail would remind and lead me to it so I'm hardly worried.

By now a few of you are just plain sick, wondering "how the heck can anyone live like that?" Sorry to upset you so, but it's only a desk. If you've got time to clean, you've got time to lean. When my turn comes around to be featured in Beautiful Desk Monthly you can be sure I'll let you know, and you can bet I'll make you proud. Soon however it will be time for the monthly Clearing of the Desk. The CDs will go back to live with their little CD buddies, the paper clips back in a drawer somewhere and a portion of whatever else is under there will be either filed away or sent to visit to other people and their desks. The rest of it will eventually take up valuable room in a landfill because some guy at the recycling plant lost an important work order on his desk. It'll be discovered later that someone with a bad case of tidyitis put it up with the rest of the work orders so that people would be able to find it.

If you are saddened by the messydesk person here's an opportunity for you to make a difference by motivating somebody you know into cleaning their desk. The rest of us should pay attention as well. DO NOT CLEAN YOUR DESK until you have visited Stacks & Stacks. Through the end of April 1999 they are holding the Stacks & Stacks Major Office Mess Contest (http://www.stacksandstacks.com/messcontest1.htm). The winner will be awarded $500 in merchandise from the Stacks & Stacks site and two hours of help from a professional organizer. This person will guide you in the task of putting your desk together in such a manner that you will never be able to find another thing ever again. Cute plastic boxes and buckets, shelves and other neat items for getting things in order at home or in the office are available for purchase at the site. Stacks & Stacks has a lot of cool things in stock, but I couldn't find what may be the best desk cleaning tool of all. Fortunately I already have a good shovel.

Thanks to Site du Jour of the Day reader B. L. Ochman for suggesting this particular site.  (Back to top of page)


(990408) Google!
http://google.com/

Sergey Brin and Larry Page
Google Inc.
Palo Alta, California, USA

Google initially appears to be just another search engine but after using it for a number of queries over the past few days it's quite obvious how wrong that first impression was. Three years of scientific study and research have given rise to what may be the best search engine yet. Still in its beta test, the features available include cached pages from located sites. These pages are only as recent as the last time Google looked at them, a fair trade off considering that they load like lightning. The "I'm feeling lucky" button is aces — when entering a keyword or proper name, something unique like say "sdjotd," Google will take you directly to a best guess URL without the daunting task of wading through unrelated listings.

In their paper titled The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine (http://www.roedu.net/~cmatei/search/google/google.html) Sergey Brin and Larry Page expressed concern about results from other search engines showing paid placement over pertinence in certain cases. While not a large concern for many people, forced results lower a search engine's credibility and accuracy, two subjects high on the list with this team. A site's relevance at Google is based more by the number of other sites with pointers to it than how fantastic the site itself claims to be, they figured that if enough people point to it, maybe it rocks. The paper also gives a glimpse into the developmental stages of such a grand project — a search engine capable of indexing and storing one hundred million pages at any given time. Formerly the Google Stanford Project (http://google.stanford.edu/) at the Stanford University Computer Science Department, Google Inc. was founded in 1998 and remains a privately held company. Before digging in be sure to read the FAQ and other documentation at the newer site for a better search results.

Google!

While on the subject of search engines, don't forget that the Site du Jour of the Day Archives can be searched from the Search the Site du Jour of the Day Archives page (http://members.tripod.com/~SdJotD/search.htm). The Archives go back to February 20, 1997.  (Back to top of page)


(990409) Larry's Aussie Slang and Phrase Dictionary
http://members.tripod.com/~thisthat/slang.html

Larry
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

The Australian version of the English language is an interesting study in linguistics. Unlike the United States, ties to the Crown are still evident in many of the country's expressions. With the exception of Canada, slang in North America is almost terse in comparison to that from Australia. Perhaps severed ties to anything British had a lot to do with our creation of a dialect that continues to evolve away from rhyming slang and euphemistic expression, see Richard Smith's Compendium of Britishisms (http://toronto.planeteer.com/~rsmith/phrases.htm) (SdJotD 970624). On the contrary, Australians can be so colorful with even the most base of questions. As goofy as it sounds, the American question "who cut the cheese?" pales in comparison to the Australian "Who cut the dog in half?". Similar enough, but not quite the same. Larry's Aussie Slang and Phrase Dictionary is ripe with examples from the Australian vernacular, over a thousand of them complete with basic translations. Combined with Larry's other pages, this site will keep most visitors busy for a while If you look at this site from the office you'll want to have an accomplice, two people laughing is much safer than one and if the boss is frightened by some of the minor adult themes here you'll at least have someone to keep you company during detention.  (Back to top of page)


(990410) The National Fraud Information Center
http://www.fraud.org/

National Consumers League
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Most of us have messages forwarded to us about scams and fraud. I receive more than a few of these every day, and most of the time the scams can be defeated with a little common sense. One message recently told of an individual calling and claiming to be with a telephone company, that he was testing the lines. He then asks for you to press 9-0-# to complete the test. The problem arises at that point because in the US you have just turned all access to your line over to the caller, who can then run up toll charges. Not a pleasant thing, but in most cases the phone company will eventually credit your account. E-mail messages of this type are informative but a far more reliable source for updates on this sort of activity is the National Fraud Information Center. A division of the National Consumers League, NFIC was founded in 1992 and includes reports and articles on fraud prevention and awareness. Pointers to governmental agencies around the world and a toll-free hotline 1-800-876-7060 also increase the power of this service. Since 1890s, when the National Consumers League started protecting the rights of consumers the scams have grown more sophisticated. Crucial in the passage of Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, the League helped establish a minimum wage in the US and has served an important purpose in society.  (Back to top of page)


(990411) It's the fabulous 60 minute Price is Right site!
http://www.tpirsite.com/

Tony Harrison
Lawndale, California, USA

Our man Bob Barker has been through quite a bit as the host of America's longest running game show, The Price is Right. Twenty seven seasons is a long time for a television show to be on the air, especially a game show with one host the entire time. For those unfamiliar with The Price is Right, imagine the most idiotic people in America attempting to guess the retail prices of goods and services on your show, and then imagine the thrill of seeing them hug and kiss all over the host when they finally did manage to pull a correct price out of thin air (or the audience). Running on CBS television (http://www.cbs.com/) during lunchtime, millions of Americans experience the thrill of seeing some buffoon win a car or trip by working through a series of pricing games. The most entertaining contestants are the ones you cannot imagine having the skills to even figure out how to open the doors at a grocery store. That they know a box of seasoned rice mix costs more than a package of chewing gum is almost as amazing as the look on their faces when the taxes on that thirty eight foot motorboat prize come due. It's a great show really, and Bob Barker is an amazing man who has not only hosted The Price is Right, but served the same duties on another show before it called Truth or Consequences for eighteen years. The combined forty five(!) years have made him one of the most recognized entertainers in the history of television. It's the fabulous 60 minute Price is Right site! is a fan site in the extreme. You'll find everything you've ever wanted to know about The Price is Right and then some. Tony Harrison obviously enjoys the show and who can blame him.  (Back to top of page)


(990412) Pass the Pigs
http://www.ultranet.com/~gkramer/PassThePigs.shtml

Gary Kramer
Burlington, Massachusettes, USA

_________________________________

Großes Ferkelwerfen!
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/hertramph/pig.htm

Herbert Hertramph
Ulm, Germany

Pass the Pigs is a delightful game played with little rubber pigs. By rolling the pigs as you would dice, different scoring combinations come up depending on how the pigs land. The first time I played the game must go back about fifteen or twenty years, and for some reason it sticks in my mind that it wasn't the version of the game currently manufactured by the toy maker Milton Bradley. It's entirely possible that the people I played with invented the game, they had a few dozen of the thumbnail sized creatures at the time. This version requires a Java enabled browser and was written by Gary Kramer. The site has detailed rules and allows visitors to play against the computer or another person in the room with you. It is also possible to download a small file allowing play without an Internet connection. Gary Kramer makes a good suggestion to folks interested in playing against each other on a single machine. Go buy a real Pass the Pigs set — I've seen them recently at Walgreens and Kmart stores for just a couple of dollars. Herbert Hertramph's German language version is based on Gary Kramer's but could prove to be more entertaining once you have mastered the game, even if you don't know the language. For added dimension before playing Pass the Pigs, visit Sounds Of The World's Animals (http://www.georgetown.edu/cball/animals/animals.html) (SdJotD 971003).  (Back to top of page)


(990413) Stomp Tokyo
http://www.stomptokyo.com/

Scott Hamilton and Chris Holland
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

The next time a trip to the video rental store comes around resist the urge long enough to visit Stomp Tokyo first. What you'll find is a collection of reviews written by two witty guys who appreciate bad movies. Using a lava lamp scale the duo take on everything from Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein to Zombie High. While monster pictures are important here, there a few titles which may surprise — Stomp Tokyo's four lava lamp review of Disney's classic The Parent Trap convinced me to give the picture another chance when it came on the cable recently. It's just that sort of thing that makes Stomp Tokyo important, the fact that they let you know a movie is stinky without giving away what plot it has. Visitors are never completely warned off, simply informed about a potential wasted rental fee. Their lava lamp scale works out to genuine American greenbacks too, the higher the rating the more you can reasonably expect to shell out without feeling gypped. Sorta like the old Pay No More Than stickers that used to come on phonograph records. Of course you can purchase video tapes through Stomp Tokyo and Reel.com (http://www.reel.com/). Their affiliate account makes the boys a few bucks here and there, and rightfully so. If you are after quality reviews and enjoyed the likes of Oh, the Humanity! The Worst Movies on Earth (http://www.ohthehumanity.com/) (SdJotD 980719) and/or Count Floyd's Movie News (http://www.amused.com/cfloyd.html) (SdJotD 971023), then get over to Stomp Tokyo.  (Back to top of page)


(990414) PDFzone.COM
http://www.pdfzone.com/

Knowledge in Motion, L.L.C.
Madison, Wisconsin, USA

On April 12, 1999, Adobe Systems Incorporated (http://www.adobe.com/) released the latest version of Acrobat to the world. Acrobat is the printing utility used to create Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files and Version 4.0 touts many improvements. A key benefit of using PDFs is the fact that they are platform independent. No font hassles, giant file sizes or native application worries. Something created in PageMaker on a Mac can be viewed, printed and to a larger degree, edited on a Windows machine without degradation. PostScript is the key here, PDFs are basically the code certain printers use to print all dressed up in a candy shell. Acrobat Reader 4.0 is available as a free download from Adobe Systems Incorporated or PDFzone.COM. The reader alone does not allow users to create the file format, but for manuals and other documents which would require a large printing budget it cannot be beat. The flexibility and cost effectiveness of Acrobat has been recognized by software houses and commercial printers, and many argue that it is the best thing to happen in the field of desktop publishing since the desktop part was dropped.

PDFzone.COM is not an Adobe site, but instead a gold mine for PDF enthusiasts. Here you will find plug-ins for working with the utility, tips and tricks, and in the PDF Gallery (http://www.pdfzone.com/resources/showcase/gallery.asp), a growing collection of documents and esoterica never before so easily shared. The site also has a well written FAQ section which explains the how and why of Acrobat. I really like PDFs and from the standpoint of a developer and end user, maintain that PDFzone.COM is probably the single best source for finding things Acrobat.  (Back to top of page)


(990415) The Archive of Fun Facts and Trivia
http://www.funtrivia.com/trivia.html

Terry Ford
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Every now and then a foray into trivia is a heap of fun. What passes for a true fact can sometimes be so wrong that it becomes amusing and if nothing else, food for thought. The Archive of Fun Facts and Trivia has over 6,700 true or nearly true items spanning over 340 categories. It can easily be an entertaining waste of a half hour. Submissions are accepted and from the looks of things, barely verified so it's not all that uncommon to find conflicting statements in the pile. With that in mind, a visit to The Archive of Fun Facts and Trivia can be rewarding and maybe a little frustrating all at the same time. Either way, the content here will lead to bigger and better things in your own mind which never hurts. Especially when it starts a trip on the gotta-find-out-for-sure-express.  (Back to top of page)


(990416) The Day It Happened In Australia
http://www.magna.com.au/~wwfred/

Frederick W. Weightman
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

As far as On This Day lists go, The Day It Happened In Australia is fairly interesting. These lists generally cull information from around the world, and it's nice to see historical events only from Australia. Today for example, marks the anniversary of the founding of the University of Queensland back in 1910. Another notable feature here is that every day of the year is accessible, no waiting for a special date to roll around. The Alphabetical List of Names acts as an index for the whole site, allowing visitors to jump to dates associated with that person. An interest in Australian history is a good thing to have before visiting The Day It Happened In Australia. With a dozen or so entries for every day of the year there is a strong probability that there is more about the history of Australia on these pages than most of us learned in primary school — including certain students who grew up in Australia.  (Back to top of page)


(990417) Word of the Instant
http://www.6u.com/instant/

Chris Stakor
Pinckney, Michigan, USA

No intended vocabulary expansion or fancy definitions, just this instant's official word. Sure it's silly.  (Back to top of page)


(990418) Canadian World Domination
http://home.golden.net/~cmkerr/

Generals Claire and Jenny
General Headquarters of the Campaign for Canadian World Domination
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

As funny as it might sound, Canadian World Domination might not be far from reality. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) opened up commerce between the US, Canada and Mexico we have noticed a serious influx of Canadian goods and visitors crossing the border. This winter the number of cars in Florida from Ontario seemed higher, and the old joke, "Did you hear about the Canadian who came down with a fifty dollar bill and a pair of underwear? — Didn't change either the whole time he was here." wasn't all that funny this year. Inroads to financial domination have been made, more television shows are being filmed in Canada, lumber and paper costs have dropped and even the Imported Foster's Lager we get in the States is brewed in Toronto. Sharing a common border and culture most noticeable in those border towns, not too many US Citizens have given much thought to Canadian World Domination but maybe it's time we should. As much as many of us enjoy the sport, when curling shows up on US TV instead of bowling we had better take notice. The alliance between the two countries has been pretty solid for the better part of the last two centuries and even so, offers from the Pentagon to help with that whole Quebec problem have fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps when our air forces are done saving Europe from whatever the heck is going on we should test the waters in Quebec. We'll free the French speaking wage slaves in the province and find out exactly how much of a build up the rest of the country is working on. The first few days of the campaign should tell all.

This site from General Headquarters of the Campaign for Canadian World Domination outlines the basics of the Canadian plan and serves as a propaganda machine for the movement. Those Socialists are dangerous and must be contained. Think about it for a minute, do you want to see Budweiser replaced by Molson as the best selling beer in the land? How about your kids being forced to watch Mr. Dressup instead of Barney? Or worse than that, maple-flavoured everything? It could happen.  (Back to top of page)


(990419) ZDNet Software Library
Download top-rated shareware, freeware, demos and more
http://www.zdnet.com/swlib/

ZD Net
Ziff-Davis Inc.
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Ziff-Davis Inc. publishes computer magazines and often includes Compact Discs loaded with free and trial software with issues, they also use these collections as subscription premiums. Tools and utilities have made up the bulk of these free files in years past, but lately the goodies are something else and keep getting better. This site is just a small part of ZDNet and if you use Windows at all, there is bound to be something to interest you. Other sites offer free downloads, yet not too many have the quality and consistency found here. As with any installation, perform a back-up of your system first and by all means, follow the directions along the way.  (Back to top of page)


(990420) Bad Art
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Gallery/3502/

David Bradbury
London, England

We've all seen his work or pieces like it in the past. Whether it be at thrift shops, yard sales or on occasion, the art league shows at the mall. Those anonymous, pathetic, yet compelling canvases the artist was hesitant to part with in spite of pleading family members. Proud enough of his technique to offer free paintings to all who send a photograph to work from, David Bradbury has created a collection that goes so far over the line it comes back around. Visit if only to see the picture of Laa-Laa from the Teletubbies (http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/teletubbies/tubbies.htm) (SdJotD 980601). Unlike most of the genre, the subjects here are happy and the artist probably paints this way on purpose. It's nice to see this much bad art in one place and even nicer to know where it all came from.  (Back to top of page)


(990421) Ask Earl, The Yard-Care Answer Guy
http://www.yardcare.com/new/

Toro Corporation
Bloomington, Minnesota, USA

The Toro Corporation manufactures push and riding lawn mowers and other similar products including snowthrowers, gardening tools and lighting. It makes perfect sense that they would have a utility such as Ask Earl, The Yard-Care Answer Guy for consumers to learn about lawn and garden issues. Summer is fast approaching here and as the amount of time spent outside increases, the pressure is on to have a great looking lawn. Maybe this site will help, and then again maybe you should get a goat.  (Back to top of page)


(990422) The Really Big and Important Survey of Human Tendencies
http://www.kkcltd.com/survey.html

Clayton T. Claymore
Kranzler Kingsley Communications, Ltd.
Bismark, North Dakota, USA

The Really Big and Important Survey of Human Tendencies isn't going to come to any important conclusions in the end, beyond the fact that people sometimes enjoy answering surveys. If you are a survey taker then this site is for you. Questions ranging from how you determine contents of the refrigerator have gone science project to the shape of your navel help pass a good fifteen minutes. If you are a student of the Human Condition you'll want to look at the results of each question. Not concerned with scientific accuracy in the least, The Really Big and Important Survey of Human Tendencies holds results which some may find surprising.  (Back to top of page)


(990423) The National Agricultural Library
http://www.nalusda.gov/

National Agricultural Library
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Beltsville, Maryland, USA

This is a tremendous resource for anyone interested in Agriculture. One of four National Libraries (the Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/), the National Library of Medicine (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/), and the National Library of Education (http://www.ed.gov/NLE/)), the National Agricultural Library was started in 1862 for the U.S. Department of Agriculture U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (http://www.usda.gov/). For general interest a visit to Collections of Interest (http://www.nalusda.gov/speccoll/interest.html) is probably a good start. Sections include the following; Forest Service Historical Photograph Collection, Thomas Jefferson Correspondence Collection, Nursery and Seed Trade Catalog Collection, Poster Collection and the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection. For more detailed information the NAL Databases (http://www.nalusda.gov/pubs_dbs/) hold Agricultural Genome Information System (AGIS), GC-ASK : Global Change - Assisted Search for Knowledge, Healthy School Meals Training Materials (HSMRS), International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements (IBIDS), Nutrition Education Materials Developed by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and USDA/FDA Foodborne Illness Educational Materials. This is one of those sites you'll want to bookmark for future use.  (Back to top of page)


(990424) Coronation Street Visual Updates
http://ds.dial.pipex.com/town/plaza/ec91/

Mike Plowman
Kidlington, England

Every fan of Granada Television's Coronation Street should be aware of this unofficial site. Using video captures and brief plot summaries, daily updates are posted to correspond with UK and Canadian air dates. Having seen the show only a couple of times I can understand the appeal of what may be considered just another Soap Opera by some. To others the broadcasts are the cause of serious addiction and missing a single episode can ruin the whole week. Coronation Street Visual Updates are useful for people who travel for weeks at a time or enjoy the show every now and then. For viewers in Canada and other places around the world who are several weeks behind the UK broadcast, here's a chance to ruin the story lines for yourself and others by looking ahead.  (Back to top of page)


(990425) Funny Sounds
http://www.funny-sounds.com/

Wei Wen Li
San Francisco, California, USA

Most of the material at Funny-Sounds comes from varied sources which include radio services, television soundtracks, and other sites. While this sort of harvesting may be in violation of certain guidelines and laws it doesn't change the fact that some of this stuff is hilarious. Finding it all in one place is a definite plus. Audio files in WAV format include fake commercial announcements, song parodies, and some of the goofiest bodily sounds around, jokes and cartoons round out the humor. Most of the stuff here is inappropriate for children and early teens but ironically, it's the kids who find this junk the funniest.

For a slightly higher intelectual challenge and additional WAV files, be sure to visit The Daily .WAV (http://www.dailywav.com/) (SdJotD 980131) and perenial favorite, The Whistleblower Newswire or "Some of the News They Seem to Lose" (http://www.queencity.com/whistleblower/) (SdJotD 980128).  (Back to top of page)


(990426) Bad Astronomy
http://www.badastronomy.com/

Philip Plait
Laurel, Maryland, USA

One of my favorite nuggets of bad astronomy has to do with standing an egg on end on the first days of spring and fall. A popular misconception has led millions of people to believe that these two are the only days during the year when such a feat of balance can be achieved. In that I've never tried it to any extent during other times of the year my science is sub-par and remarkably suspect. Bad Astronomy looks at topics like the spinning egg and the Moon Illusion, with additional articles and lessons that attempt to rid Popular Culture of astronomy gone bad. One section in particular looks at what I refer to as That special Jeff Goldblum Brand of Bad Science all too common in the movies. Think about how many times he has saved the world and/or explained other worlds to audiences with wrong answers. Most of us know that it's only the movies, but it is good to see someone taking the problem on with Jeff and the rest of Hollywood. If you like what you see here be sure to also visit Philip Plait's Bitesized Astronomy and Mad Science pages.  (Back to top of page)


(990427) SETI@home:
Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence at Home
http://www.setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/

SETI@home
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, USA

Here's an opportunity to participate in the largest listening party for life in other parts ever assembled. With a UNIX based client already working on thousands of machines around the world, the folks at the University of California (http://seti.ssl.berkeley.edu) are about to release a version for Windows and Macintosh computers. The experiment will utilize hundreds of thousands of machines to filter and analyze radio signal from space. A powerful screen saver will download data, collected from radio telescopes starting back in November to machines running the software. For the next two years people just like us will be able to help with the search and the site will show results and explanations of possible hits. Redundancy is the key here, and for good reason. To verify a signal once has proven difficult enough so far, but imagine the thrill of seeing a spike on the monitor and realizing that you are not alone. An e-mail message to those who have signed up will announce the availability of Windows and Macintosh versions sometime in mid-May. Appropriately enough, the material at the site is available in thirty different languages. Happy hunting kids!  (Back to top of page)


(990428) Oxford Bottled Beer Database
http://www.sparks.co.uk/beer/

Sparks Computer Solutions
Oxford, England

The Oxford Bottled Beer Database contains reviews and photographs of over 450 beers from the four corners of the Earth. A few of the more obvious brands are missing, but there should be enough here to keep you going for quite a while.  (Back to top of page)


(990429) No Back Roads:
The Internet Meets Rural America
http://www.nobackroads.com/

Jim Heid
Albion, California, USA

In similar fashion to the early days of telephone and electric service, the wiring of America continues. Internet service to rural America has been overlooked by the large corporations interested in huge profits and little expense. Many electric cooperatives were formed as a result, so too are Internet Service Providers in remote locations. School systems and even electric cooperatives are now getting into the communications business. PV Net (http://www.pvis.com/) (SdJotD 980331) created and maintained by students in the Prairie Valley School District, Gowrie, Callender & Farnhamville, Iowa is a classic example and a terrific program for education. Intrigued by the innovations and determination to link small towns with the world, the No Back Roads team set out on a trip that saw them through twenty six states in seven weeks. The purpose of this trip was to experience the impact the Internet is making on rural America and vice-versa. The site continues in the spirit of the 1997 trip, and introduces visitors to people who are modern day pioneers. Bringing the world to the middle of nowhere is no mean feat but here is part of the story. While visiting, make sure to see the No Back Roads: Home Cam (http://www.nobackroads.com/homecam.html) for a splendid view of the Pacific Ocean and a chance to see ships in the distance getting dangerously close to the edge.  (Back to top of page)


(990430) International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association
http://www.snowmobile.org/

International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association
Haslett, Michigan, USA

On the last day of April, the site for a trade group pitching snowmobiles is an admittedly odd choice. While watching the noon news with a couple of people yesterday, the weather scores started crawling on the screen. Since our summer afternoon rain patterns are already starting to develop here in Southwest Florida, it seemed very weird to see the lowest high temperature in the nation at 18° F someplace in Montana. I made the crack about there being one guy in Montana who's probably glad he still hasn't put his sled away for the summer. Two of the three people I was with mentioned that they have never seen a snowmobile in real life, and conversation turned to snowmobile dealers and what they do all summer. After a fair amount of thought I'd have to bet that business is still pretty brisk in warmer months. Along the way I found this site for the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association and was amazed by how mature the industry has become since the early '80s when I last drove one. The site has piles of information about the history of snowmobiling, the people and organizations involved in the sport, machine safety, operation education and trail safety. The subject of snowmobile trails is an intersecting one as they provide a great way to see the country side, especially on the Trans-Canada Snowmobile Trail. Other topics here include the strives the industry has made in reducing air and noise pollution and even snowmobiling in Europe. And as the industry would like you to remember, it's never too early to start thinking about the Holidays. Eighteen degrees — yikes!  (Back to top of page)


 

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Updated May 2, 1999

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