TECHNOFILE

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The Independent Culture
THE GIRL MOST LIKELY TO ...

What's the connection between Monica Lewinsky, Nicolas Cage, Lenny Kravitz, Richard Dreyfuss, Carrie Fisher, Julie Kavner (the voice of Marge Simpson), Rob Reiner and Andre Previn? That's right, they all went to Beverly Hills High School. And who's the odd one out? That's right, it's young Monica, who has yet to be listed on the Famous Graduates page of the school's website. However you can find her at the Monica Lewinsky Online Fan Club (pictured right).

'Someone should tell that guy to keep his browser separate from his operating system'

Gates on Clinton, as reported (tongue in cheek) by 'Slate'

SLATE PAYMENT

You get a better class of innuendo from Slate, as well as a better class of discussion; and links beyond a search engine's reach, like That Woman's alma mater. But how much is that really worth to you? At Christmas, under the headline "This Time We Mean It", Microsoft's journal for the thinking Netizen announced that it would introduce an annual subscription charge early in 1998. The year before, it prepared the ground with an e-mail survey in which it asked readers whether they would be prepared to pay for the webzine. As thousands of subscribers around the world read the questionnaire, the same cunning thought came to their minds. "No", they typed, and Slate chickened out. Unfortunately supermarkets, bookshops and bars have failed to imitate this approach to the marketplace. Although January came and went without a date being announced, Slate's decision to grasp the nettle of economic rationality marks the moment that Internet commerce grew up.

SOFTWARE

Did you know that cat urine glows in the dark? For more feline fun facts - and if you still imagine there's anything that can't be marketed on the Web - you should check out the Tidy Cat site. Yes, it's cat litter in hypermedia. The Shockwave animation is perfectly hygienic, though.

KINGS ACROSS THE WATER

Max Leggett's home page sketches the tale of Redonda, which began in 1865 when Matthew Shiell, a Montserrat merchant, landed on this tiny, guano-covered Caribbean island and proclaimed himself King. His son M P Shiel [sic] found a niche in Bohemian London and became a fantasy novelist. Shiel bestowed the crown to a poet named John Gawsworth, whose circle of acquaintances was more impressive than his literary accomplishments. Gawsworth created a Redondan aristocracy which included Dylan Thomas, Henry Miller, Lawrence Durrell, Edith Sitwell, Victor Gollancz and Max Leggett's parents. Later, as he sank into alcoholic decline, he would sell his kingdom for a drink.

The result of his cavalier attitude to the succession is that there are now several monarchs. Max Leggett, aka King Juan II, is the first to put Redonda on the Web, but with luck the others will follow. The court of King Cedric, a Montserrat lawyer, has done the most to develop the concept of Redonda as a non-territorial state. Although the Web would be an ideal medium in which to implement this virtual realm avant la lettre, Cedric's nobles believe in a circumspect approach to new technology, and have yet to fully accept the telephone. Their suspicions will not be allayed by the fact that one of the pretenders, King Leo, happens to be known in everyday life as Bill Gates.

LAVA LOG

Meanwhile in the real world, the Montserrat Volcano Observatory is still putting out daily bulletins on Soufriere's condition. These are about all that gets on to the Web from the island nowadays, with the official tourism page looking very much like a site abandoned in a hurry.

FUN FUN FUN ON THE AUTOBAHN

Busy but precise, the German-based Fork site showcases the group's electronic design skills with a clutch of gimmicks that includes the A- Klasse Diana Tunnel-Racer game. You have to steer an A-Klasse Mercedes - the model notorious for rolling over in a test - along a tunnel, avoiding motorcycles and other obstacles. Careless knocks mean you rack up red points on the intoxication counter. Crash, and a page for posting your tributes appears. At least the design is in impeccable taste.

WORLD WIDE WEB

YOU'LL FIND LINKS TO ALL THE WEBSITES MENTIONED IN TECHNOFILE ON ITS HOMEPAGES AT: http://www.poptel.org.uk/technofile

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