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September 1999

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Here’s to the New Millenium

By Brad Ross

The internet and the rest of technology that surrounds us, is still in its infancy. Looking forward – and back – can be a fascinating journey.

The Internet is not unlike the wheel in its R&D stages. Cave dwellers knew they were onto something, and through grunts and a simultaneous quest for fire, they discovered that, perhaps if they rounded the edges this wheel thing might be made a tad more effective.

The grunting continues on the ’net-front today. Fire has pretty well been fine-tuned, but those darn rough edges of the ’net still abound.

The web, and the technology that supports and delivers it, is truly mind-boggling. Some of us are so overwhelmed or averse to it, that they’ve simply abandoned it – for now. Others, of course, embrace technology and what it holds for the future.

The web sites reviewed below are all interesting, educational and fun. As we approach the pivotal Year 2000, the Y2K bug is front and centre. While it’s unlikely to be technology’s downfall, all eyes will be on computers of various ages and complexities as internal clocks click over on December 31.

The dawn of the new millennium is a celebration and Ontario is celebrating in many fun and exciting ways. The future also holds out great hope and promise, as eyes are cast to the stars and the unending quest for more knowledge. Then there are the Luddites. Believe it or not, they have a web site.

CBC News Online: Y2K

As 1999 draws to a close, the phrase "Y2K" will permeate every media outlet, utility bill insert and after-dinner discussion. This web site, or web page rather, provides an excellent primer on what the Y2K bug is all about and what is being done to ensure our tech-dependent lives don’t grind to a halt at one second past midnight.

Luddites On-Line

The irony of this site’s very existence is sweet indeed. It takes a run at technology and those who embrace it. As the site declares, "Our user-friendly graphic interface allows you to discuss strategies for undermining the growing cybourgeoisie and explore luddite-related links on the hated Internet. We even have t-shirts (printed by hand of course)." The underpinning of the site, of course, is to simply let people know that not everyone is wedded to technology and that life does, indeed, go on without it. Fun and informative.

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Ontario 2000

Celebrations abound all over the world as we pass into a new millennium. In Ontario, much is being done to ring in the future – not just on December 31, but throughout 1999 and 2000. Truly interactive, this site is great fun for children and adults alike, with quizzes and events throughout the province. The site also includes an opportunity to submit names of those whose lives have spanned three centuries in Ontario.

NASA Human Spaceflight

What ’net column about the future would be complete without a reference to NASA? Information, images and the always-enjoyable artists’ renditions make this particular NASA site more than eye candy – it also excellent educational value. For example, research on life sciences, earth sciences and space science are discussed in detail.

This is Brad Ross’s final NetWatch column. Brad is now manager of public relations for a Toronto high-tech firm specializing in web-based business solutions. We wish him all the best in his new endeavours.