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The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida • Page 45

Orlando, Florida
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Orlando Sentinel OrlandoSentineLcom Saturday, July 14, 2001 Section i i "I i Hi Tv Tree guru sizes up the big debate The host of a PBS series pits The Senator against a cypress in Louisiana. By HARRY WESSEL SENTINEL STAFF WRITER Jeff Meyer loves a good controversy, especially one he can exploit for the sake of a good show. So here he stands next to a massive wall of bark on a humid weekday morning in Longwood. The bark belongs to The Senator, which Florida claims is the largest bald cypress in the United States. Dressed in a navy blue polo shirt and Eddie Bauer khakis, Meyer does another take for the camera: "People in Florida think this is a great tree, and I agree with them, but it's on to Louisiana to see how their champion stacks up." Meyer's stand-up will be used to open the first of a 13-part PBS series on trees, American Forest Tree Stories, beginning next spring.

Meyer, a nationally recognized tree expert and author of the new book, America's Famous and Historic Trees (Houghton Mifflin, $30, hardcover), is the host. The series will devote entire shows to such topics as tree houses and wildfires. The first installment will be on the country's biggest trees, thus Meyer's visit this week to Big Tree Park. Louisiana, for those not up on this controversy, has the reigning "champion" bald cypress tree. Champion, in tree-speak, means it's the biggest of its species.

The Louisiana tree, in a swamp near New Orleans, is a good 35 feet shorter than The Senator? But the good people at American Forests, the nonprofit group that maintains the champion registry, use trunk circumference and canopy spread as well as height to determine a tree's size. Louisiana's champion is wider near the ground and has a bigger canopy than The Senator. But complete PLEASE SEE TREE, E4 0 'S SPECIAL TO THE SENTINEL The spirit. A staple at Universal's CityWalk, Eugene Snowden swirls at the center of Afro Beat group Umoja. leaurt, musk beat me Chris COBBS COMPUTERS Windows or Macintosh? It's up to you What's your preference Atlantic or Gulf beaches? The Sopranos or Law Order? Macintosh or Windows? As the 20th anniversary of the PC approaches, this is a good time for reflection, After two decades of playing with DOSWindows machines and 17 years with Macs, I can only say, thank goodness for choice.

Diversity is good. Competition benefits all of us. Mac users as a group have long been more passionate about their computers. The Mac is almost a religion to some. Windows people, who account for the majority of computerdom, tend to be dismissive of Macs, but also are quick to find flaws in Windows.

Now let's compare. XP or OS Both computing platforms can boast of overhauled operating systems. Windows XP, due in October, will finally give consumers the extra crash-proofing built into business versions of Windows. XP is arguably a bit easier to use than its predecessors. But XP also will prevent users from installing their copy of the operating system on a new PC, which seems unfair.

The new Mac operating system, OS represents a bigger departure from tradition than Win XP. Its look and feel require Mac veterans to learn a new way of doing things. I've found the transition to be painless and worth the effort. OS earns a 10 for its appearance, which is both colorful and understated. By comparj-son, Win XP needs polish.

Ease of use? Finding what you're looking for and making sense of your hard disk's organization are essential to a happy computing experience. The Mac makes bigger strides with OS than the PC with XP, but both need further refinement. Personally, I prefer list views to iconic representations of folders and files, and there's little difference in the ways OS and XP present lists. I've long been a huge fan of keyboard shortcuts to reaching for a mouse. Keyboard shortcuts are faster because you don't have to move your hands from the keyboard, and are also easier on your wrist and arm.

In this area, Windows enjoys the edge because you can easily access multiple menu commands by holding down the Alt or Control keys and tapping a letter associated with a given task, like printing or saving a document. Macs don't have as many built-in shortcuts. Cool hardware or more choices? Macs look cool. From the titanium shell of the PowerBook to the expansive canvas of the sleek 22-inch Apple Cinema Display, Macs win on style points. However, Windows systems come in more sizes, shapes and configurations from hundreds of suppliers.

If you seek choice in keyboards, mice, joysticks and other peripherals, go with Windows, not Mac. Low price or lower price? For years, Windows systems enjoyed the reputation of being significantly less expensive than comparable Macs. This is still true, but to a lesser extent. For example, the new $1,299 Mac iBook matches or beats competing Windows laptops equipped with a 12-inch screen, speedy processor and CD-ROM drive. An entry-level Mac desktop, the iMac, costs $899, which also stacks up favorably with the Windows side.

Bottom line: I use a Windows ma chine for daily work because I need compatibility with all the new hardware and software I evaluate. I also like the keyboard shortcuts. But I'd hate to see the Mac go away. Macs keep Windows developers on their toes. If the rhythm muse took human form, it would surely be Eugene Snowden By TYLER GRAY SENTINEL STAFF WRITER No one does a better impersonation of Orlando musician Eugene Snowden than Orlando musician Eugene Snowden.

"I was watching a video of myself," said Snowden, 36. "I must have been on something 'cause I wasn't saying nothing, but I was cracking myself up. It was all "Yabadaba, yabadaba ha ha ha Gibberish. Cut to a recent outdoor show in Orlando's Wall Street Plaza with the band who feeds Snow-den's soul-singer side, the Joint Chiefs. Three songs into the set, Snowden hops off the stage, walks over to the most withdrawn spectator in the bunch, hugs her and sings right through her thin body.

For the first time since the band started, she lights up with a smile. Ira Williams, 36, who had been singing karaoke around the corner earlier, happens upon Snowden and crew. "I wish I had a tenth of the depth he has," said Williams. "He doesn't just have the spirituality, but he has the depth." please see SNOWDEN, E3 RED HUBERORLANDO SENTINEL Tree pro. Jeff Meyer will introduce PBS series with a segment on The Senator.

PHELAN M. EBENHACKURLANDO SENTINEL The swivel. Snowden and the Joint Chiefs turn it up at Will's Pub with a heavy dose of blues and soul. Skeptics shoot down UFOs, shatter crystal balls cisions based on rational analysis. The professors examine the most widely believed pseudo-scientific ideas ESP, astrology, out-of-body experiences and UFOs along with dozens of others such as I Ching to palmistry where's the harm in thinking it just might be? This sort of thinking, however, is what Charlie Wynn, a chemistry professor at Eastern Connecticut State University, and Arthur W.

Wiggins, a physics professor at Oakland Community College in Michigan, want to combat sion is. far more blurry than it's ever been before," said Wynn. "I think it's gotten worse, and to a certain extent I blame the media. The media is so effective in presenting the phenomena realistically." Television shows like Sci-Fi Channel's Crossing Over With John Edward and Fox network's The X-Files, and movies in which computer-generated aliens look almost as real as the humans all of that can diminish people's ability to discern the truth, Wynn said. please see UNKNOWN, E4 By KATHLEEN MEGAN HARTFORD COURANT We are a society that wants to believe it's true whatever it is.

If John Edward can really hook you up with your long-lost and beloved Grandma, isn't that ever so much more interesting than if it's a hoax? Alien abductions, flying saucers, crystal healing, haunted houses, fortune-telling, astrology the stuff of grocery tabloids fascinate us. Not that most of us believe this stuff is true, but, we may ask. EDWARD to spirit possession. The professors say they subjected each concept to scientific testing hypothesis, experimentation, evidence, etc. and they all failed.

The line between reality and illu 1 with their new book. Quantum Leaps in the Wrong Direction. They argue that believing in forces beyond our comprehension and control erodes our ability to think for ourselves, to make important life de- Chris Cobbs wekomes your questions and comments. Phone: 407-420-5447. Mail: Orlando Sentinel, 633 N.

Orange Ave, MP 240, Orlando, FL, 32801. l-mait obbsor la

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