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Arts & Entertainment | Computers & Technology | Philosophy & Politics

Mindspring Yep, after spending more than a year with a local-yokel Internet service provider, yours truly has finally taken up residence with the widely-acclaimed and infinitely-dependable Mindspring! Now THEY sponsor Free Lunch Studios (so you know they're cool) and they can also provide extensive selections of account options for YOUR variable needs: from barely-interested dabblers on Welfare to maniacal cyber-zealots like me who love to needlessly squander wheelbarrows of moolah on nifty things like multiple E-mail accounts, domain names and fiberoptic ISDN connections.

UndernetSo where does one go to converse in real time with other online users after the expensive novelty of America Online's chat rooms has worn off (with your bankruptcy)? Well, once you figure what Internet Relay Chat is and how to make use of it (for Mac users, a shareware program called "Ircle", for Mac-wannabes that are nevertheless satisfied with their IBM's lame imitation, something called "mIRC", I think) you're set to go on the knarly, balls-rad Undernet, my favorite IRC chat server, spread the world over like some electromagnetic multinational corp. You'll find me on occasion in #politics, #macintosh and #punk as the beloved "Kerplunk," heaving all sorts of vitriol at foolish people who refuse to submit to my benevolent rule.

Artemis ProjectHey, remember that thing we did a couple of decades ago? What? You don't? Come on, you know, that whole space business, landing humans on that piece of rock revolving around the Earth? Yeah! The Moon! Whatever became of that? Weren't we supposed to have a city or something on the surface by now? Will we EVER go back? Apparently NASA has written our only natural satellite off (idiots), but quite a lot of entrepreneurs have not. Visit the Artemis Project, a private financial venture to build a self-sustaining habitat on the Moon, and thereafter a prospering colony, thriving on tourism and scientific industry.

NaniteImagine, for a moment, a world of plenty. Food is easily available; there's so MUCH of it that it's not even SOLD anymore; the massive supply has reduced the price to the point where it is no longer profitable. Beautiful buildings, from a skyscraper to a single dwelling, are built in minutes without a construction crew, heavy machinery, or even excavation. Vast forests, lakes, and parklands are even easier to create. In fact, EVERY manufactured item that can be concieved of is also similarly created on-demand, no longer requiring assembly lines, factories or workers. Human disease and illness is a thing of the past; and the aging process is so stunted that people in their eighties (unless they decide otherwise) look like young adults. Notions of a "marketplace" and a "economy" are no longer needed, for the only concern of the populace is what to DO with all that free time. For the emerging applied science of Nanotechnology has the potential to accomplish ALL these things and more in one fell swoop; the only question is how much money and time it will take, and how many people will be foolish enough to impede their own liberation... from the ancient burden of "survival".

ArcosantiWhat is Arcosanti? Well, it's a prototype for a new form of human habitat. Architect Paolo Soleri has founded the first fully-realized "arcology"... put simply, an entire city contained in a single structure and optimized to handle available resources without the burdensome sprawl, pollution or commuting that characterizes most "open" cities. Construction started about 30 years ago, outside of Phoenix, Arizona, and continues to this very day. I'm not an architect, but the notion of such a community has fascinated me since I read Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle's "Oath of Fealty." Could arcologies like Arcosanti and Todos Santos become the strip-malls of the future? We'll have to wait and see.

Icon FactoryBeing an avid Macintosh fanatic who cherishes his Finder desktop like a family heirloom, the Icon Factory is an idiot's playpen. "Icons? Aww... they're nothin' but itty-bitty baby pictures..." Oh yeah, jerky? To create a great file icon takes the skill and patience of a devoted artisian... at a point when yours truly had FAR too much time on his hands, he TOO had made a similar attempt to create a library of 32-by-32-pixel masterpieces to use on hard-drives, folders, programs, et cetera. The results were disastrous and to this day I STILL have bouts of digital claustrophobia. But THESE guys/gals have succeeded brilliantly. Download their "Star Wars" collection and you'll see what I mean. They have vehicles THERE that Doug Chiang is still trying to draw successfully.

P.A.U.C.I.The WWW is an ever-changing, fluid medium, full of potholes and dead-ends. Some sites break down, others get accelerated to handle increased traffic. Pages are always changing and forever incomplete or outdated. Everyone who has used the Web knows this, we encountered it in one form or another practically every other time we use a browser. So why waste time and bandwidth telling us something we already gathered with the barnacle-like fungal growths of "under construction" images? Join People Against Under Construction Images if you've had enough of this menace! By the way, this page is still under construction.


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