KING OF SOMETHING
Richard, Earl of Bradford, set up www.faketitles.com to explain to commoners that a genuine British title cannot be purchased except for the feudal (and expensive) title of a Scottish baron. Lord Bradford, an Internet entrepreneur based in Shropshire, England, is particularly angry about online auction sites, where he said thousands of pounds are spent weekly on fraudulent seated titles and lordships of the manor. The latter are not even aristocratic titles but rather a semi-extinct form of landed property. According to www.noblescams .com, an Ohio doctor paid $20,000 to receive the Germanic title of Prince of Halberstadt, only to have the Hohenzollerns cry foul.
The Hidden Song Archive (www.hiddensongs.com) lists hundreds of hidden and unlisted songs from the albums of lots of musicians. From The Beetles Her Majesty to Phish s Split Open & Melt.
PLUCK AND COMPARE
With one click, users of Pluck can save Web bookmarks into an online folder or e-mail them to others. Fellow Pluck users can dip into the shared folder of links to see all gathered information, saving time and e-mail traffic for co-workers collaborating on research. As others add bookmarks, the Pluck software updates the folder so that all the connected users can see all the same links. The program will also alert to updates at favorite news sites and blogs. Pluck is free and works with Windows 2000, XP and Internet Explorer 6.0.
SMILE WHEN YOU CALL
The Packet8 DV326 videophone, from 8x8, is a VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) telephone that has the features of conventional phone service plus built-in videoconferencing. Plug the DV326 into a broadband Internet connection and you get both, using a single connection point, service provider and interface. The device has a five-inch TFT screen and offers conventional features like voice mail, call waiting and caller ID. Calls, whether to other DV326 units or to ordinary telephones, are initiated by dialing a phone number. The DV326 ($300) is available at 8x8 s Web site (www.packet8.net). The calling plan, provided by 8x8, costs $30 per month.
Toronto photographer Jeff Harris has had his picture taken every day since Jan. 1, 1999. More than 2,000 of these images, in calendar format, can be seen at jeffharris.org. The site s simplicity and enduring nature have inspired many other online photo projects.
QUICK FIX, OR ELSE
Lawmakers in suburban Washington, D.C., may impose stiff penalties on cable television companies that do not quickly fix customer problems with their high-speed Internet access. The legislation is one of the nation s first attempts by a local government to regulate cable modem service. The Montgomery County (Maryland) plan calls for cable companies to restore Internet service within 24 hours of an outage or be forced to give consumers rebates. It allows the county to impose fines, but the regulation does not impose penalties for problems with the quality or speed of a connection. Cable companies say lawmakers are exaggerating the number of customer complaints about cable modem service.
John Deere American Farmer is a new computer game that lets players sow digital crops, milk computerized livestock and raise virtual barns. It s the first game licensed by Deere & Co., makers of the green and yellow tractors and farm equipment. The $20 title simulates market prices, weather, farm hands and the occasional plague. There are 11 modes of play, including one where you have to raise 10,000 hogs. In Fixer-upper mode, you have to dig your way out of $200,000 in debt and repair a dilapidated farm within five years.
Web editor Kevin Cesarz (Wednesday) and country music writer Brian Dugger (Friday) will produce columns this week only on www.toledoblade.com.
FROM THE BLADE S WIRE SERVICES AND STAFF.
CONTACT FUSION AT KCESARZ@THEBLADE.COM