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Published 02-Aug-2001
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All this week's Wiz!

  The Weather  

As webWiz is typing this column, light rain if falling (with so little rain this winter, readers could just about work out when this paragraph was written). Although visiting the Bureau of Meteorology's site won't necessarily bring rain, at least the site has been re-designed and it's more comfortable finding forecasts and climate information.

The launch failure of a new satellite to provide images to the BoM will effect forecasting. WebWiz noticed that the present satellite now only supplies sixteen images per day (formerly 28) and doesn't photograph further south than forty-nine degrees (that puts a sail down to the Antarctic on hold). Being somewhat curious, webWiz looked around for other weather services. In this week's sites, several are listed: NOAA (U.S. National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration), Accuweather and GWS (Global Weather Services).

Primary producers might be interested, too, in visiting a site such as Agrimine which reports on agricultural news from around the world. As well, sites such as GWS and NOAA also have reports and information that would be of interest. After viewing these sites, webWiz wonders whether other countries know more about our vegetation and crops than we do ourselves.

  Avoid Spam Mail  

For those occasions when you want to subscribe to a newsletter for just a short time and avoid your address being passed onto spam mailers, Mailshell's email address feature may help.

UXN Combat provides online tools for tracking down spam mailers; this is not always possible but administrators may have occasion to use it. You can also check out the list of ISPs who have been blacklisted for not implementing sufficient anti-spamming controls on their servers.

  Admiral Grace Hopper  

It seems that 2001 is the year for celebrating various landmarks in the history of computing. One particular person who did so much in the development of computers was Grace Hopper. She was a mathematician and was the third person to work as a programmer on the U.S.'s first computer.

In 1952, Grace wrote a paper on computer compilers, a piece of software that translates English-like commands into the language that computers can understand. During the 50's, she was a member of a committee on data system languages and in 1959, mainly from her work, the Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL) was released. This language became the foundation for software run by banks, financial institutations and others on their mainframe computers for the next forty years.

Grace Hopper not only had a brilliant mind but a sharp wit. Often in her public talks she would berate the young (anybody who was half her age) for going overboard on management and forgetting about leadership. Her office clock ran counter-clockwise to make the point that looking backwards achieved little. As she said, "A ship in port is safe but that is not what ships are for. Sail out to sea and do new things".

In the 1940's, Grace Hopper had joined the U.S. Navy Reserve and she rose in rank over the years. In recognition of her contribution to mathematics, computing and the Navy Reserve, on retirement she was given the rank of Admiral.

  Tongue Twisters  

To extend your range of tongue twisters over and above the traditional "She who sells sea shells...", visit the site for many more. If those in English aren't sufficiently challenging, try some from among those in the other eighty-six languages.

Of a more serious nature, when stumped for words visit the Vocabulary Generator and make some sense out of acronyms and anagrams at Wordsmith.

  See What You See  

Looking for a way to fill in some idle time while online? Why not try to decipher some stereograms, those random dot images that only make webWiz's eyes go more blurry? Begin at G and P's gallery where there are also lots of links.

  webSnippets  

There are still some major sporting events to be held soon, including the Goodwill Games in Brisbane and the final Golden League athletics meeting in Melbourne on September 9 (to be telecast on SBS TV). However the most important event this year in sport is the chance for the South Sydney Rabbitohs to re-enter the N.R.L. in 2002. Up 'em, Souths!

August 12 this year was the 20th anniversary of the IBM PC (personal computer) becoming available to consumers - more in the next column. In the meantime, visit PC Biography.

Finally a site you don't have to visit very often. As you know, plenty of sites feature a webcam - a special one to visit is that displaying the progress of the drifting of the earth's continents.

 
 

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