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Lighten Up 12 July 2002 Edition
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Yes, it's time for another weekly dose of the unusual, oddball or just plain stupid stuff from the web.

Never work with kids or animals. Well that's what they say. However, I can't help but wonder whether someone had trained and was working in concert with this bird so as to keep themselves in Maars bars.

Here's a link for Helen Clark which is particularly topical in light of recent events. You've got to keep an eye on these things you know and there's no better way than over the Net.

Not for the squeamish but great proof that you are what you eat

Feature: Promoting Your Website
Dont' forget to check out the series of hints on how to promote your website which will be regularly added to throughout the next few weeks.

New this week: The Importance Of Branding

Be Careful With Wireless
It's the buzzword of the year: "Wireless", and chances are that you'll be using some form of this technology in the near future.

If you are anything like me your home or office has more than one PC and if you're unfortunate enough not to have any kind of networking then transferring files from one machine to another is a real pain.

Back in the days when an entire program would fit on a single floppy, such transfers were trivial - but these days even a whole CDR sometimes isn't big enough to transfer some bits of data.

Besides which -- have you noticed that the 3.5" floppy disks you buy these days are incredibly unreliable? Maybe it's just me but I find that brand new floppies are only good for about six months before they start losing data and won't reformat reliably. The strange thing is that I have quite a few floppies I bought more than a decade ago and they're still 100% reliable.

But I digress...

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Networking computers together, even in a home or small-office environment offers huge benefits over stand-alone operation. That file-transfer problem is solved and you also get the ability to share a single internet connection.

One of the big down-sides however, is the need for extra cabling and, as anyone who has visited my place knows, creating a "carefully concealed network of cables" is sometimes one of those things that always gets put off until "tomorrow."

Wireless networking offers to solve that problem and allow you to roam freely around the house with your laptop, PDA or other portable device -- and that's good.

I often listen to overseas streaming radio stations when I'm out in the workshop -- but in order to do this using my existing setup I have to plug a little home-made FM transmitter into the soundcard on my PC so that I can transmit the signal to a radio in the shed. Wireless networking would allow me to simply take the laptop out there and listen directly through a shared Internet connection.

There are numerous other areas where wireless networking will probably make life a whole lot more convenient for most of us.

If you don't believe me -- just look at how cordless phones have effectively replaced the old hardwired handset in so many homes.

The down-side however is that, as in the case with cheap cordless phones, you really need to be aware that anyone nearby with the same type of gear, tuned to the same frequencies might be able to hear everything you say or use your line.

Given the price of over-cap DSL traffic, how long before we find people cruising the suburban streets in their cars, armed with a laptop and a wireless networking card -- looking for someone with poorly configured security on their home PC that also has a wireless network and a JetStream connection?

And, in case you hadn't figured it out -- don't leave your cordless phone out of the cradle when it's not being used. If you do, a passer-by could easily use your phone line to make any number of long-distance or 0900 calls -- and it'll be the same for a poorly configured home wireless network.

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