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iSnoop.net/gmailomatic.php

Google's Gmail is still in the beta (or bug testing) phase. Unlike the other free e-mail services, you can't just walk up to the Web-front and ask for an account. You have to have a techno elite friend invite you. If you have a Gmail account and actually use the thing, you'll be given the ability to invite others. If, like me, you have no friends, you can donate your invites to this site, which will in turn dish them out to wanton strangers.

Mobile security

www.TrueCrypt.tk

There was a bit of a flap with a vendor who makes an encrypted memory stick drives a short while ago. It turns out, if you know how to do these things, you could see the plain text password to unlock the drive in the computer's memory, thus rendering the encryption useless. Don't worry, though. If these drives are an important part of your life, you still can have decent protection on your Windows computer with this free software. And like PGPDisk and its ilk, you also can encrypt regular hard drives. Nifty.

Flying skinny

WebFlyer.com/

Do you know how to take your frequent flier points and move them from one airline to another? Or what about transferring your elite status? These and other travel-related curiosities are answered on this visually busy yet informative site. It also keeps track of just about all airline promotions and generally offers sound advice for frequent and not-so-frequent travelers.

iPod standing ovation

www.alscher.ch/podboard.html

IPod accessories are a booming business. Let's just hope Apple will keep the same style for at least the next revision or so. Ah, but how can I not lust after and then throw perfectly good money at this innovative iPod stand? It's visually gorgeous, and the skins feature has me intrigued.

Free backup

www.xDrive.com/ivan

I hope Charley and Frances didn't come to visit your place. And if they did, chances are you had batteries, water and a radio on hand. But what about your digital photography? Or important word processing files? It's not really the first thing on your mind, I'd imagine. So I encourage you to take advantage of xDrive's free offer to backup up to 50 megabytes of your data _ for free.

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