The FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center have teamed up, super hero-like, to fight Internet fraud. And what better way to do it than through a Web site? I was pleased to see this one jump into secure mode for each page access. The security is the same as if you ordered something with a credit card or used an online bank. An interesting application of this means that snooping employers can't watch the traffic between you and the site. Your browser's cache might turn you over but what goes over the Net is encrypted. Once you submit suspected fraud, you're given a reference number and your case is turned over to the relevant department for analysis.
It's no secret that just about any operating system worth its salt will play user-definable sound files when it starts up. It's fine entertainment value for the easily pleased. And just about any executive worth his salt will attempt to pepper PowerPoint presentations with whimsical ear candy, at least they do in the software business. While the two areas aren't related, both suits and geeks will be entertained by what's up for grabs at WavCentral.com. The files probably are all blatant copyright violations, and the music biz is frightened senseless by electronic formats (go to any news site and search for Napster). And it has a lot more money than you do.
Buying Mac software is getting easier, mostly thanks to the iMac. However, obtaining software from brick-and-mortar outfits is a royal pain. Retailers such as CompUSA have a pitiful selection of Mac software. When quizzed, their answers range from "What's there is all we have" to "I don't care" (really). So imagine my joy when stumbling on eMacSoftware, an instant gratification site that swaps your money for downloadable binaries.
Immoral or amoral?
I'm fascinated by the notion that others consider inanimate objects and technologies to be either evil or benign. Consider Macromedia's ubiquitous Flash animation technology: Ask any two Web developers and you'll get a love it or hate it reaction. Web users with visual disabilities are increasingly left out while the majority without such disabilities get a richer multimedia experience. Which way should one lean? Being on the fence about this issue isn't one of Dack Ragus' strong points. The owner of this site goes out of his way to explain his position and posts e-mail criticisms to his views. Naturally when adults argue over such topics, adult language and extreme viewpoints abound. Stay clear if you're offended by such things. Or give Dack a piece of your mind if you've got a slice to spare.
No nonsense domain advice
If you've got your own domain name, you have a choice of registrars to handle your account. In addition to differing levels of service from the often default Network Solutions, one can save money on transferring domains to a different service. I have used both joker.com and totalnic.net with good results. One thing that has confused people is just how to transfer a domain name, and this site contains excellent advice on how the process works. Be sure to scan the satisfaction ranking lists to see if your registrar measures up.
_ Jules Allen is director of interactive services for Best Software in St. Petersburg. Send suggestions by e-mail to techtimes sptimes.com or P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.
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