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Tech > Netropolis

Cluttered drives

 

Published 3/8/2000

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After a long winter of wild Web carousing, allow me to clear out my hard drive and unsort my bookmarks.

In other words, it’s time for another cybersurvey edition of Netropolis. Here is my latest list of clickworthy pages, guaranteed to chase away any remaining cold-weather blahs.

MEET THE CUBE

Is it the destiny of all pop culture objects to go virtual? Maybe ... Visit the Rubik’s site (rubiks.com) and you’ll find a full-color, 3-D version of the once trendy ‘80s puzzle game. Click on any side of the cube and you can rotate it – just like the original cordless handheld model.

The site also offers a historical treatise on the cube’s humble beginnings in Budapest, Hungary, as well as a free Rubik the Cube screensaver. My prediction: Scores of corporate office slackers will find this site and forget all about their lunch hour obsessions with Windows Solitaire and Minesweeper.

CLUTTERED MINDS

I’ve stuffed way too many important files on my hard drive. If my system ever crashes, I fear I’ll suffer instant technological amnesia. But what’s worse is all the file folders I’ve got nested inside each other. It can take hours to find a letter I wrote a week ago. You too?

I think I’ve found an answer. It’s called the Personal Brain (thebrain.com), an inexpensive piece of software that eschews those annoying little folders for a more elegant solution. How? Your computer files are arranged using associative techniques borrowed from the human mind.

"While computers artificially separate tasks by application, such as word processing (documents)," explains Susan Johnson in California Computer News, "the Brain seamlessly integrates all the information a person has on their computer regardless of what form it’s in."

It’s a natural premise, actually. The Brain lets you categorize files on your computer using "thoughts" you assign (such as "work," "school," "love letters," etc). Each thought can be attached to anything on your PC – from documents to e-mails to Web pages. Then, related thoughts are linked to one another.

Before you know it, an interconnected visual diagram appears onscreen (it looks like a big spider web). It sounds simple, but it’s remarkably effective (click on "finance" and before you know it, you’ve followed the diagram to last month’s grocery bill).

However, the most intriguing aspect of the Personal Brain’s technology is where it might lead. The latest version of the software allows users to publish their brain diagrams to the Web. Someday soon, I might invite you to log on and read my mind.

MOVIE ADDICT

Corona’s Coming Attractions page has been around for a while, but it’s a definite classic. The mother of all movie rumor Web sites, you’ll find all sorts of insider news here for future movies – both real and imagined.

For example, weeding through seven pages of gossip about the (sort-of) upcoming Wonder Woman flick reveals this disclaimer: "No cast has been determined. It’s just too early ... Don’t expect any concrete news regarding this film for a few years at least." Hmm, I guess we can ignore the posted rumor that Madonna is slated to play Lynda Carter’s old part.

With constant updates, the site is hilariously exhaustive and addictive. So, consider yourself warned.There’s even a link to a Web cam where you can watch the new live action Lord of the Rings movie being filmed (estimated release, summer 2001).

What’s my personal favorite thread? Ongoing coverage of the fight to remake the ‘70s sci-fi television show "Battlestar: Galactica." Apparently, a nasty battle is unfolding between big money producers and one of the original TV show’s aging stars, who’s spearheading his own campaign to film a separate version. It’s more soap opera than space opera right now, but just as fun.

STORY FANATIC

Speaking of movies that might never get made, there’s an enormous alternative universe of nonexistent films and TV shows waiting to be explored at the Fan Fiction page. Fan fiction is one of those uniquely Internet phenomena: Completely original short stories and teleplays for old movies and television shows, each written by a new breed of online über fans.

You’ll be amazed at the variety of stories available. The usual suspects are all here – the Star Wars sequel that wasn’t, the "Star Trek" episodes that weren’t. (Yes, there’s even a "Battlestar: Galactica" section.)

But you’ll be absolutely dumbfounded when you discover the sizeable story collections for TV non-classics such as "Airwolf," "Miami Vice," and "CHiPs."

However, my vote for tales "Most Likely to Puzzle Future Historians" is the giant collection of TV fetish erotica. Yes, we’re talking prime-time television pornography, folks – dirty little tales involving everyone from "Buffy: The Vampire Slayer" to the "Power Rangers."

It may sound ludicrous, but trust me – once you’ve read "Gilligan’s Island: Passion Fruit," you’ll never look at Mary Ann the same way again.

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