The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on April 6, 2000 · Page 46
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 46

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Chat with us: Write, fax or e-mail favorite Web sites and aues- 31 2 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202; fax 768-8330 e-mail nberlierenquirer.com. The Cincinnati Enquirer Mil Mi Sunday People Monday Fresh Start Tuesday Books Wednesday Health Thursday Home Pge Friday Family Saturday Home & Garden Electronic games, videos, CDs, Internet and gadgets Thursday, April 6, 2000 E3 news La wKiSsjU Things la! change the way pa live Games PlayStation: Though this NewKid- Co. product is, indeed, a PlayStation CD-ROM, Disney's Mulan ($38; www.newkidco.com) is not ; a video game per se; it's more of an interactive plaything from the ! Disney's Story Studio line that encourages and coaxes kids '. through ' various ' problem-solving . and motor-: skills lessons. ' Terrific and friend-'. ly voice- over work blends story development with pleasant tutorial as players guide Disney's cross-dressing heroine through a series of activities, such as bathing and getting dressed, playing Mahjong and a game of dodge ball as Mulan makes her , way down an avalanche-plagued slope in her back yard. . Ultimately, with no way to lose ' and with all the problems and conundrums completed, Mulan is crowned the Imperial Story-maker and can henceforth create her own stories, play sing-along Karaoke style or paint her own story boards. Harmless and pleasant interactive fun from the preeminent early childhood Zen masters at NewKidCo. New York Times News Service Sitings Doggedness: Just in time g'J for tax sea- t a -J. son; j. r-- . www.dog- ware. :ferzr". i com1040- -J DOG.htm. :TJT The U.S. tf" I ."" - i Individual 4ti- Canine "Ss.-.-A-.i Income Tax ; Return is a ', tax form for dogs. It's funny. ' Trust us. Cox News Service Child Support Austin-based sup-portkids.com bills itself as the largest private company in the nation dedicated to collecting past due child support. Visit the site to take action, or find out more about how do deal with deadbeat parents. Cox News Service E-Shopping Auction junkies: Do you buy and sell on one of the services such as eBay? If you do, you may spend more time than you need to log on to the Web site to see how the item you care about is doing. If you'd like to save some time, check out the March issue of Popular Mechanics. You'll find an article that tells you how to check yoi r online accounts and place bids using a cell phone. If you don't have access to the magazine, ou can read the article at www.popuIarmechanics.comele ct9911EFCOWFARhml. Cox News Service Virtual buy: When most people think of e-commerce, they think . of books, sweaters and shipping fees. Get a little virtual, and think of something really valuable to purchase; buy a domain name, Rcgister.com, one of the companies that has taken up where longtime registrar Network Solutions left off, makes setting up your domain an easy six-step process. Must buy: Your name.com before somebody else steals it, $35 a year. Cox News Service Beacliwear Sandals & Such has your shoes, sandals, hats and sunglasses so you can make your walk in beautiful weather all the more pleasant. The easy-to-navi-gate site includes photos of its ' products and a u able iAi'vCA Shop here and walk well. Go to www.sandal- sandsuch.com. Must buy: New York Hat Co.'s Khaki Floppy, $23 plus $5.99 priority shipping. - Cox News Service weo wise Browse through growing list of Web-based how-to books BY MIKE PULFER The Cincinnati Enquirer New York's Dorling Kinder-sley Publishing Inc. has published a series of matching how-to paperbacks to help you with your Web woes. The titles are as similar as the colorful graphics and cover designs: Internet: Browsing the Web; Internet: Email; Internet: Building a Website; Multimedia: Digital Photography, Spreadsheets: Creating Worksheets; and Word Processing: Letters & Mailing. More books to come: Internet: Getting Connected; Inter- .,1.1 net: Parental Control; Creating Presentations; Spreadsheets: Formatting & Printing; Word Processing: Designing Documents; and Word Processing! Tables, Charts & Graphs. Each book delivers step-by-step visual guides "designed to help beginners acquire all the techniques necessary to use 3 F3 & 3iiiS.i today's infor mation the cover flap explains. Read them all and you might learn how to work with text and images, tables, forms and links to create your own Web site; how to use e-mail address books, keyboard shortcuts and user identities; and search for people and top ics and move between pages, save content and understand Web addresses. Each 72-page book is focused on a particular computer-related product. For instance, Building a Website guides you through Microsoft FrontPage 2000; Browsing the Web is all about Internet Explorer 5.0. Which makes you wonder why you didn't get these books or something very similar when you bought your browser and software, instead of paying $6.95 extra to learn how to use them. Program changes l ook, not operation, of Windows but is a new 'do' really worth it? 9 y Wig, . : , ., , I T"'" ' . .. , . ' ffi mIKC U , itdork l itiiM'li ,tniOor 1 ;i Ki eh e fh".' : ' - ; rQ. ffh 1 -3 "! 'M - i ' "L tJ s . pj ri n row ! CwfcolPjnsI (R , SchedJed THt f , J SJ J , Jpzt , ' (' "' ''l-'j-'----':' i r ' '' Dtbut 2 W I ' - 17obdll ' . ' 'I I 't4 J : " . ;' ,A g rj j hri '', " ' ' ''',' I"' bua bw.drei bugidno 1 . '-, 1 m s - 1 I i 1 1 Type ihe nam oog(m loWet of document and i '!V , x4 I TT ' 5 j lvc0CTn M0480.on d,pa ( . i -P T' ' ; -'! I v s lv'Rur.tSepattMroiySpe " ;i " : k. I i " " " 1 objedMielecled 470bylei : J I j f 0 Cane- 'jiw , r " - - -" " 1 lMt8i3Sill ; EmlRC32-9tafdock j; C Palm Desktop g,MyPC i; -jsluW j WindowBlinds software can dramatically change the appearance of-your PC's desktop. Download a new 'skin' for your ki! mmm' BY JACK WARNER Cox News Service Generally speaking, I adhere to the dictum that, like the old commercial in which a woman in robes intoned that "it's not nice to fool Mother Nature," it generally doesn't pay to fool Windows. However, I'm having a lot of fun with a $20 shareware program called Window-Blinds from Stardock. WindowBlinds is a one-trick pony, which is really to its advantage. It doesn't try to change the way Windows works or add anything to it It just changes its appearance a little or a lot, depending on your taste. It does this through the use of what it calls "skins," which apply different colors, borders and so forth for Windows and the programs running under Windows. The program comes with half a dozen of these skins, and you can download a lot more from the company's Web site. , You can even make your own, if you are so inclined. It involves learning the pro- 53 1. I - v.! f - V.-.-r, V- ' i - fit f psa-W fl" - - Stardock's Object Desktop adds features to Windows. gram's simple programming language, but I don't think it would be a huge task. This is one of the selling points of WindowBlinds: if you are running a company with a lot of PCs, you can design a skin that includes your company logo not only on the desktop but also inserted artistically into the title bar or whatever on every screen. Some of the skins are quite soothing and tasteful; one I just downloaded is a zingy number with lights chasing each other constantly along the title bar. In the extensive help file, StarDock warns that you may very well have problems with WindowBlinds at first, generated by various programs or pieces of hardware that don't get along with it. Trouble-shooting routines are provided to help you work around these problems. I had a problem which, according to the guide, was caused by my display card. The suggested work around took care of it. Every once in a while I get an obscure error message that doesn't seem to be having an effect on anything. If I intend to keep using WindowBlinds, I'll have to spend some time figuring out how to cure whatever's causing it. This is the rub. Do you want to do a cosmetic make over of Windows badly enough to spend $20, a mere pittance as software goes, and likely inherit problems that have to be ironed out? I think the skin I'm running now looks great. It remains to be seen whether I'm attached to it enough to put some time into troubleshooting. WindowBlinds is a subset of Stardock's Object Desktop, which is an elaborate program that does change the way Windows works and adds features to it. You can go to www.star-dock.com and follow the menus to get more information on WindowBlinds and download the program for trial. tech toys New Discman ready for the streets Cox News Service You want to look good while listening to your tunes. That's why you need to pick up Sony's Street Style Discman ($160, www.sony.com). The industrial-looking Discman is a must-have for the trendy, on-the-go set The device is finished in chrome and red translucent plastic and has a carrying strap, making it the ultimate accoutrement to a rollerblading escapade. The Street Style Discman also comes with Street Style head phones that wrap around the back of the head and provide awesome sound. If you think this portable CD player just looks good, think again. This Discman is equipped with Sony's patent ed ESP2, which is some of the best skip protection on the market With ESP2 and the Street Style Discman, youll never miss a beat and look good in the process. Wreview Syphon Filter 2 lives up to original BY JUSTIN BRAXTON-BROWN Enquirer contributor If it's not broken, then don't fix it 989 Studios' Syphon Filter 2 is no exception to that rule. The highly anticipated follow up to the smash hit, Syphon Filter lives up to all of the magic of its predecessor and in some cases moves beyond. The story of Syphon Filter 2 is similar to the original. You are a highly skilled top-secret government agent with very important objectives to accomplish. Your job is to accomplish those objectives at any-cost even if it means destroying communication satellites, infiltrating highly secure compounds and even killing people. The story opens with a newscast covering a sup posed accidental nuclear explosion. Ofcourse.it was not an accident and the main character, Gabe Logan, is investigating. Being a highly trained government agent is not all it's cracked up to be as Gabe finds out when he is attacked during the investigation, and Gabe's partner from the original Syphon is kidnapped. While continuing to meet his objectives, Gabe also has to track down his partner and punish the kidnappers. The pursuit of his partner leads Gabe into many exciting levels and pits him against unbeatable odds. The fighting gets so thick at times, it is easy to forget that you are playing a game and not watching a James Bond movie. Syphon Filter 2 is armed with a slew of weapons and a dozen new missions. Each mission, like the original, is intertwined with video clips. A clip is shown when a new objective is added to your mission, or when you confront an evil villain for the first time. These video segments add to the game's interactivity and make it seem as though you are playing out a big budget movie. Km.. "M K4 Syphon Filter 2 Publisher: 989 studios Ages: Mature Requirements: Sony PlayStation Difficulty: Medium Rating: The controls have not changed from the original game. Gabe is very easy to maneuver and can dive into corners, avoid probing searchlights and scale imposing walls with ease. Because the controls are basic, they are also easy to master, making the game very entertaining. Perhaps the best feature of Syphon Filter 2 is the new two-player mode. In this mode, players can battle head-to-head in many different environments, fighting to see who is the best secret agent. The head-to-head mode allows players to customize each battle by setting the number of times a person can be killed, the types of weapons they can use and which character they would like to be. The player who kills the other wins the match. Syphon filter is gory. Like many action movies and video games, the goal is to stop the bad guy at all costs even if that means killing the bad guy. The game can be disturbing. Due to the war-like casualty rates, it has been rated Mature. Because being a secret agent is cool to almost everyone, Syphon Filter appeals to people in all age ranges. Diving out of planes, rolling behind rocks for cover and sneaking up behind an unsuspecting foot soldier makes Syphon Filter a great escape from everyday life. The game is spectacular to look at and the integration of video and audio allows gamers to feel like they are taking part in an interactive action flick. The menus are easy to follow, and unlike some first-person shooting games, it is very hard to get lost The game almost makes you follow a pattern to avoid getting caught in the catacombs that are indigenous to some levels. With the addition of new weapons, characters and the dual player mode, Syphon Filter 2 surpasses the original and is by far one of the best games in its class. m sounds Stereo speakers stand up to the elements 7 OS ' -" ; limn ti'i n Tm in iimi i I Bose indooroutdoor speakers BY KEVIN HUNT The Hartford Courant An indooroutdoor speaker used to be defined as an indoor speaker you'd drag outside for the cookout and when the guests left, you'd drag it back inside. Now there's an ever-expanding selection of speakers built specifically for the outdoors, ranging from for the porch to waterproof for hanging in the breeze. Most are encased in sealed polypropylene, but if you truly desjre the camouflage look, you can even buy speakers that look like garden rocks. The Bose 251 Environmental Speaker ($400 a pair), due . in stores soon, is said to withstand rain, snow and temperature extremes from minus-22 to 140 degrees. Bose says the speakers survived salt tests for 66 percent longer than the Marine Industry Standard. Each speaker, about 13 inches high, 6 inches wide and 8 inches deep, has two, 2-inch wide-range drivers and a 5-inch woofer. The earliest outdoor speakers were mostly cheap (and cheap-sounding) imitations of the indoor variety. Now you can find speakers using surprisingly high-quality parts. NHTs OutdoorOne speakers, even at $200 a pair, feature a 1- inch dome tweeter and a 6-inch polypropylene woofer in a sealed enclosure with gold-plated, corrosion-resistant speaker binding posts. The OutdoorOne's design is comparable to NHTs indoor SuperOneXu. The Niles Audio OS6 ($300), with a rustproof aluminum enclosure, is designed for the outdoors, but the company also recommends it as a surround- . sound speaker in a home theater. JBL's new North- ridge Series, the N26AW ($299) and the N24AW ($249) are, in fact identical to the company's indoor speakers except for the waterproofing. But as a rule, don't expect an outdoor speaker to sound as good as an indoor speaker. The weather-resistant B&W LM 1 ($350), for example, is perfect for a porch but sounds a bit thin next to comparably priced indoor speakers. For faux authenticity, Stere-ostone manufactures an assortment of speakers that look like river rocks, garden stones and planters. The Classic Stone ($300) is 15 inches wide, 1 1 inches high and 1 1 inches deep, with a lifetime guarantee, and looks like a rock except for punctures that look strangely like a speaker grille. The River Rocks look more like the real thing, with no holes.

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