by Sandy McMurray
read.me is © Copyright 1998 Sandy McMurray
and may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
Please note: The information in this article may be out of date.
If you find a hyperlink that goes nowhere, please let me know.
| WELCOME NEW READERS!
published Wednesday, October 21, 1998 in Sun Media's Connect Monthly
Hi. Thanks for picking up the new expanded version of Connect.
My name is Sandy. I'd like to tell you a little about my job.
I get paid to explore the Internet, to play games, to try out new printers, scanners, cameras and other toys. Each week, I collect my thoughts and submit about 800 words about the topic(s) that grab my attention.
When my wife finds me playing Starcraft on-line, it's research. Two hours spent browsing at Computer City or Future Shop? Research. If I need an HTML editor to tune up my Web site, Macromedia or Adobe is happy to send one over so I can try it out. That's research, too.
When I install something new, and Windows eats it -- resulting in six hours of configuring and reinstalling -- I don't have to cry like everyone else. I can write about it and get paid.
I have the best job in the whole world!
I cover technology stories that the other guys miss. Last week, for example, I updated this Web site within hours of having two wisdom teeth extracted. I was doped up on Tylenol 3 at the time, and said so in a note on the site.
Within hours, I received e-mail from a concerned reader who suggested that I should not be driving "under the influence" on the Information Highway. He urged me to turn myself in to the proper authorities. Perhaps they would only suspend my ISP account for 30 days if I confessed.
This made a certain amount of sense. (I was still taking the painkillers.) Hoping to avoid a scandal, I immediately called the CRTC to confess my crime. But it turns out that the CRTC isn't legally responsible for regulating the Internet. Not yet, anyway. They're working on it.
And, apparently, "Information Superhighway" is just a metaphor! The Internet is actually just a bunch of computers all over the world, hooked together in a way that makes sharing information really easy if you have a computer and a modem.
So I'm off the hook, for now.
A few years later, our neighbour two doors down invested in an Atari 2600 game system and a pile of games. I spent long hours playing with that machine, and its little one-button joystick. Ah, memories.
Video games may have come a long way in 15 years, but my five-year-old, Alex, thinks River Raid and Boxing and Atlantis are pretty cool. The only thing that would make this package complete is a paddle controller. Kaboom just isn't the same with the multi-button PlayStation joystick...
SPEAKING OF VIDEO GAMES: As the Christmas season approaches, the battle for dominance in the console market is far from over. People often ask me, "Which system is better?"
It's all about the games.
I think Nintendo still has more good games for young children than PlayStation, and I like the fact that you can have up to four players on N64. However, there are more games available for PlayStation, and a greater variety than N-64. (At least, that's my perception.)
Sony and Nintendo recently dropped the price of their competing systems. You can get one or the other for about $180 (Canadian). The PlayStation now comes with a cool vibrating joystick instead of the old controller. Not to be outdone, Nintendo has packaged a new "atomic purple" controller with its N-64 game system.
Which system is better? My son, ever the diplomat, summed it up for me this way: "I like the one that has a new game this week." It's true. He thought 'Bomberman Hero' for N-64 was the best game ever until 'Spyro the Dragon' for PlayStation arrived... It's all about the games.
If you're considering the purchase of a Nintendo 64 or a PlayStation, take a look at the titles available in stores (and at your neighbours' houses). Then choose the system that's right for you.Don't forget to check the basement. You might still have an old Atari 2600 down there...
Do you always use Yahoo, AltaVista or Metacrawler when you're searching for information? Next time, try something different. If you're looking for a little fun, bring your tough questions to Ask Jeeves (www.askjeeves.com) or Highway 61 (www.highway61.com), and see what happens.
Thanks for reading!
Let the record show that my friend Darryl, the Pastor of the church I attend, says he has the best job in the world. I stand corrected!
by Sandy McMurray
| read.me Extra
The stuff that didn't fit.
Wednesday, October 21 (Click here for the previous read.me Extra.)
THE BIG SHOW
The OJ show held the interest of the American public for more than a year. It was a ratings bonanza, and producers took note. Then the court case ended, and there was air time to fill. Uh-oh.
But now that the show is on hiatus until the impeachment mini-series. The yawning maw of television "news" needs something new to chew on.
Hey, isn't that Microsoft monopoly case starting up this week? Yeah! You can follow the case on the Web at Yahoo News, get documents from the Department of Justice, or follow Microsoft's side of the case.
Smart PR move of the week: you pay less for OS 8.5 if you bought a Mac in the past 30 days, or if you own an iMac (which shipped with OS 8.1 inside). Rather than soak everyone for US$99, you'll pay US$19.95 (which includes a license for QuickTime Pro, which costs about US$30 by itself). For details, visit www.apple.com.
There's lots more going on, but it's 4:00am (again), so I think I'll go to bed.
I'd love to hear from you -- especially if you're a new reader.