Bits & Bytes
Hot games & great websites
Published: Monday, December 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 30, 2003 at 10:12 p.m.
BUSINESS TRAVEL TIPSYou don't need to soak your company when you travel for business. To travel smart and efficiently, check out some business travel tips at the MIT Web site at http://web.mit.edu/cao/www/travel/news/corptravtips.htm.
2003 APPLE GIFT GUIDESure, www.apple.com/giftguide is on Apple's site, so there are obvious hard sells on some of the products. Still, this guide is a good source for ideas for the Mac enthusiasts on your gift list. There are descriptions of new products, as well as those that are compatible with most Mac systems. Find out the basic information and then shop around the Web for the best value.
'SOCOM II' SENDS SEALS BACK INTO ACTIONThe U.S. Navy SEALs are at it again. Last year, Sony and Zipper Interactive combined a powerful squad-based combat game with a nifty headset and unleashed "Socom: U.S. Navy SEALS" on PlayStation II owners.
It was a huge success, despite some flaws.
Most of those flaws have been fixed, and "Socom II: U.S. Navy SEALS" is now available for action fans everywhere, with a dozen complex and trying missions, featuring multiple objectives.
The game is designed for online play for up to 16 players, but the single-player game is excellent, whether you use the headset or the drop-down menu from the controller to issue commands.
This time, the four-man squad, armed to the teeth, has been sent off to handle a series of highly dangerous missions beginning in Albania and moving on to other chores around the globe.
Stealth is the key to your success. You spend a lot of time crawling through bushes, sneaking along river banks and creeping through buildings and streets, trying either to avoid enemies or take them out silently.
There's even a command that lets you pick up fallen enemies and hide the bodies.
Be patient. Stealth can be wearing as you creep along on your belly for minutes at a time to avoid alerting enemies to your presence, but it's often the difference between success and failure.
With "Socom II: U.S. Navy SEALS," the developers have taken an already excellent game and tweaked it close to perfection. If action is your bag, you will love it.
JOB OPENINGSIf you're planning on looking for a new job in 2004, it makes sense to know what professions are in need of employees. Check out the U.S. Department of Labor's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey at www.bls.gov/jlt/home.htm, which can help provide you with some insight into your upcoming search.
DIGITAL CAMERA TIPSKeep Santa in focus this holiday season with a few tips on digital cameras at Shortcourses.com. Learn how to create captivating, clear images so you won't look back in regret at your 2003 holiday photo collection.
LEASE VS. BUYDepending on where you live and how often you use your car, there may be benefits to leasing a new vehicle instead of buying it. But you can't know for certain until you understand the basics of leasing. Visit the Federal Reserve Board's Web site at www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/leasing, which offers definitions of some of the terms you'll hear when considering a lease.
RENT VS. OWNWhen it comes to your homes, the old buy vs. rent argument is almost a cliche. But despite what your father-in-law says, it may not always make sense to own a home. In fact, for some, renting property is a good bet. If you're considering making the switch from tenant to homeowner, visit Yahoo!'s real estate calculator to see how the switch will affect your financial present and future. Go to http://list.realestate.yahoo.com/re/calculators/rent.html.
UNDERSTANDING CREDITBefore improving your credit score, you have to understand it. About.com has put together a concise list of facts and factors on a credit report. There are also tips on how to improve this important gauge of your financial responsibility.
CABLE MODEMSStill crawling along with that dial-up modem? It's time to speed things up a bit, but before you buy a cable modem, check out Cablemodeminfo.com's reviews of all the latest hardware. You'll find out how to get the best value for your money.
POCKET PC REVIEWSIf you're in the market for a new pocket PC or PDA, or are considering some of the new software or accessories popping up on the market, Pocketpcpassion.com is filled with a ton of reviews. There are frequent updates, so check back often for the latest product info.
JEFFERSON FANSThe University of Virginia has been producing informative and exciting Web sites for years. The Thomas Jefferson Digital Archive, at http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson, is devoted to the founder of the school. Browsers will find more than 1,700 electronic text items, an online biography of Jefferson by B.L. Rayner, a comprehensive collection of Jefferson quotations and much more. If you're a student of American history, this site is a must.
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