Bits & Bytes
Published: Monday, January 13, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 13, 2003 at 12:26 a.m.
Deals on computersNow that you didn't get what you wanted for Christmas, look for it on Overstock.com. Check out the Computers & Electronics section for some great deals on the stuff that other stores had too much of.
Classic 'Contra' franchise revivedAnother classic video game series has been revived, guns blazing.
Konami's "Contra" franchise began way back in 1987 and has gone through a long and sometimes painful evolution to reach the newest version.
"Contra: Shattered Soldier" for the PlayStation 2 is a solid side-scrolling shooter featuring the series' signature nonstop action and no-brainer blasting.
This version revives Bill Rizer, who saved mankind during the Alien Wars and then killed his partner and became a despised criminal. Sentenced to 10,000 years in a cryogenic prison (honest), he's been thawed out to deal with another alien invasion as only he can.
Konami at one point mulled turning "Contra" into a 3D title, but finally figured out that locking up the nostalgia market by sticking with the classics is best. While Rizer (or cyborg Lucia, a second playable character) can move both vertically or horizontally, there is very little freedom to freelance along the anointed path.
To counter your enemies, you have access to three weapons - a machine gun, flame thrower and mine launcher. Each can also be charged into a more powerful weapon if you can spare the time it takes. Any tactics involved in this game revolve around selecting the right weapon for the job at hand. Using the right one makes the game easier, although by no means easy.
"Contra: Shattered Soldier" is a wild shooter that will appeal to fans who remember the original fondly and to those who love a serious challenge.
- William Schiffmann The Associated Press
Resume keywordsToday's job seekers should be aware of the latest trend in recruiting: Most resumes are scanned by software looking for the right qualifications. If you're not using the right terminology, you could be out of luck. Rebecca Smith has put together a great list of keywords at www.eresumes.com/ tut-keyres_ examples.html for your career-climbing consumption.
IRS informationBefore you begin searching the house for every last W-2, take a quick break to familiarize yourself with the IRS at www.irs.gov/irs/index.html. Not that it will save you money come April, but it might make that tax bill a little easier to swallow.
Carpal tunnel syndromeA lot of people work all day at a computer only to come home to retreat to a PC in the house for some night-time surfing. If your schedule's like this, you could be harming yourself physically. Check out these tips on ways to avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at www.ctsplace.com/preventative.php.
PDA forumsLove chatting about your PDA? Too bad your wife tuned your technical talk out three years ago. Brighthand.com offers some great message boards for handheld users. And you can't see anyone turning up the volume on the TV when you're sharing your next great thought.
Weather for skiingBefore you make big plans to hit the slopes this winter, check out Intellicast's special section dedicated to snowfall, wind chill and all those other weather terms important to skiers. Go to www.intellicast.com/Ski/.
Cover lettersDon't send that resume without a great cover letter. You need to take advantage of every opportunity to sell your talents. You'll find plenty of cover letter examples at http://content.monster.com/ resume/ samples/ coverletters/.
TurboTax backlashA new anti-piracy feature on Intuit's popular TurboTax software has triggered a consumer backlash.
Intuit says the scathing criticism stems from misconceptions about the product-activation code, which customers must obtain to use the top-selling tax-preparation software.
The activation code, which isn't required on the Macintosh version, essentially ties the software to a single computer to prevent buyers from sharing it.
Customers can use TurboTax on other computers, but all printing and electronic filing of tax returns must be done from the original computer.
The Mountain View-based company announced the new restrictions in September but many customers are just learning about them as they install the software to begin their 2002 tax returns.
Customers are blasting the change as something that could cause problems if they buy a new computer before the April 15 tax-filing deadline or need to amend their 2002 returns a year or two later.
Intuit is making some changes in response to complaints.
- Michael Liedtke The Associated Press
Tax quotesSure, anyone can talk the talk when it comes to discussing their 1040, but who can actually put a little zest into the normally dry conversations? Well, that person could be you, armed with all sorts of colorful quotes about taxes from Tax.org.
How computers workAs long as you're boring your friends with your verbiage, go for the gusto. Tell them all about how computers work after reading up on it at Howstuffworks.com. Really, they'll love you for it.
Keeping resolutionsSo you made a New Year's resolution? But how do you keep it? You might get help at www.how-to-keep-your-new-years-resolution.com. This site offers lots of tips on how to keep the promises you made to yourself, along with a history of the New Year's resolution tradition and a list of most common resolutions.
Figuring your ageIn the giant scheme of things, Re-date: The Creative Anniversary Calculator, at www.re-date.com, means little. But it's still fun. You enter your birth date and the program tells you how many seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc. you've been alive. You can also find out how old you would be on Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and other planets. It will also tell you important anniversaries, such as when you will be two million seconds old or 4,000 weeks old.
Pepys' diariesSamuel Pepys was a renowned 17th Century diarist who lived in London. You can now read his day-by-day accounts at www.pepysdiary.com. The site is operated by Phil Gyford, who will publish a new entry each day. The site was officially declared open on Jan. 1. In addition to the text, there's a running commentary on the famous diary, which covered 10 years of Pepys' life. Entries come from the 1883 edition of the diary edited by Harry B. Wheatley.
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