Okay, let's chill the wonking and up the geeking tonight. Allow me to introduce a couple fun compuker programs.
We all know and love Google maps, especially their satellite feature. Well, you knew it wouldn't be long until Microsoft tried to steal their thunder. And as you'd expect, the Microsoft version, called Virtual Earth, is pretty danged cool. Not really better than what Google offers, just slightly different. I think the satellite map images are a little sharper with the MS version.
But Google hasn't stood pat; they've introduced a wicked cool product called Google Earth, which is like their satellite maps on steroids. You can zoom very deeply (is that the right term for zooming?) on areas all around the world, from the pyramids to the Great Wall to your grandpa's house (I could even make out my Aunt's and Uncle's car out front!). You have to have high-speed internet, and there's a download of about 10 megs. Lots of fun.
A little farther off the beaten path is the Konfabulator, which is an application that allows you to customize your desktop in ways previously unheard of (at least for PC users; Konfabby's been on Macs for years). It basically bells-and-whistle-izes your desktop with various little plug-ins, called widgets, that do things such as show the weather for the next week, report the traffic conditions in your metro area, and illustrate the phases of the moon. Yeah, I thought it was pretty dumb too until I saw it installed on a friend's computer. I think the word that best describes it is nifty. It won't change the way you compute, but it just might improve the quality of your life a little. The download is around 9 megs, and a couple of the widgets (such as the weather and traffic ones) do require real-time access to the internet.
Each of these programs is worth checking out if you've got some time to kill while your turtle porn is downloading.