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MICROSOFT HARDENING

www.microsoft.com/protect/

Much as I like to hold Microsoft's feet to the fire when it does stupid things, I'm all wobbly with praise about this area of its gigantic Web site. It's a collection of software and educational materials that will help you protect your PC, data and sanity should you decide to connect the computer to the Internet. This guide runs the gamut from Windows 95 to the current XP. You can get 12 months of free antivirus software, a free or discounted firewall and a good talking to about why you need to run those Microsoft online updates.

IPOD TINKER TOOL

www.iPodDeCloak.com/

Getting music on to an iPod is so simple even your mom can do it. Plug the beastie in to your Mac or Windows computer and let iTunes do the rest. Getting the music back off, in case you lose it on the PC side, has been a near impossible task if you're a mortal. Until now. Here's some Mac OS X-only software that will set you back a whopping $2 and will expose the musical contents of your once opaque iPod. It would be cheap at twice the price.

ODD COLLECTIBLES

www.ToothPasteWorld.com

I live for sites like this. It's an odd collection of toothpaste from around the world, and it even offers a potted historical perspective on the stuff. Of course, it's not such an odd site once you realize the owner is a dentist. But if you've ever pondered about what toothpaste from Belarus looks like, why modern toothpaste is so sweet, or what turn-of-the-century Russian toothpaste might be flavored with, this site will allow you to rest at night.

AUTO ART

KatieHorn.com/StarWars/XwingCar/

Katie Horn has a thing for Star Wars, which is reflected in her off-the-wall choice of a paint job for her Toyota Tercel. Rather than going with a nice, solid, yet boring green or blue, this dedicated fan has given her vehicle a paint job that's reminiscent of an X-Wing fighter from the popular 1977 movie. There are no actual wings or other prosthetics attached to the car, but who knows what the future holds? This area of her site details one fan's voyage of turning her devotion in to reality.

THREE FINGER SALUTE

www.JacSoft.co.nz/MacKeys.htm

The Mac pleases me on many levels yet bugs the heck out of me on others. Take, for instance, the lack of keyboard efficiency built into the operating system. It's mouse friendly but that does not help power users or wannabe power users. If you want to change options or force certain settings on boot up the story is very different. Here's a collection of Mac Ninja keyboard combinations that will impress your friends and might just get you out of a bind.

_ Jules Allen has been building Web sites since 1994 and has been writing for Tech Times since 1997. Send suggestions by e-mail to techtimessptimes.com or write P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

_ To visit these sites, type in the addresses exactly as shown above. Not every Web address begins with "www" and sometimes that final "/" is crucial. Direct links to the sites can also be found in the online version of Site Seeing, which can be found in the online version of Site Seeing, which can be found at www.sptimes/Technology.shtml.

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