This program keeps going, and going . . .Most of us are...

COMPUTER Q & A

June 14, 1993|By Knight-Ridder Tribune

This program keeps going, and going . . .

Most of us are familiar with the Energizer Bunny commercials. You know, the ones where you think you are watching a legitimate commercial and then, suddenly, this bright pink rabbit beating a drum walks across your TV screen.

Along with the booming of the drum, an announcer says that the Energizer Bunny keeps going, and going, and going . . .

Well, it was bound to happen. Computers mimic real life. PC Dynamics has released a Windows program called, of course, Energizer Bunny. The bunny does to your programs what it does to the commercials.

You're diligently working with your word processor, checkbook program, whatever, when, all of a sudden, you hear a loud booming sound. Appearing from the side of your screen is the Energizer Bunny, complete with bass drum and wearing sunglasses and sandals. If your computer is equipped with one of the more popular sound cards, you'll hear the soundtracks used in the commercials along with the announcer.

To keep things interesting, the bunny might be wearing one of his famous outfits, such as the snorkeling ensemble. It might choose to parachute down your screen. PC Dynamics also includes a collection of eye-popping wallpaper background patterns. It's also possible to control the frequency of rabbit appearances with a timer setting.

Bunny is just a fun little diversion program. I can assure you that after the hare makes its 40th appearance, you'll probably turn it off before it drives you crazy.

We use programs like these for the same reasons we buy fuzzy dice and other functionally useless decorations.

Drop the program into someone's computer, then sit back and wait for the screams of laughter, or outrage. It's worth the $24.95 price.

Energizer Bunny requires Windows.

PC Dynamics, (818) 889-1741.

Easter Eggs' can brighten up your screen

Q: What is an Easter Egg?

A: Easter Egg is a term used to describe a hidden surprise thaprogrammers leave behind for users to find. It probably evolved from the hollow candy Easter eggs that, when opened, reveal a tiny surprise trinket.

On a Macintosh, an Easter Egg is usually triggered when the user holds down one or more keys while using the mouse to select some normal program operation. The undocumented combination can trigger anything the programmer might have put in.

The most elaborate Easter Egg I've seen was with the old Apple fax modem. If you pressed the buttons in a specific sequence as you powered on the device, you would hear the modem speak digitally recorded voices of the three developers saying their names.

If you like these pleasant little tricks, you can read more about them in Voodoo Mac ($19.95) by Kay Yarborough Nelson, available from your local bookstore or the publisher.

Ventana Press, (919) 942-0220.

'MouseMitt' provides portable relief for wrists

Q: Computer work at the office has become a nightmare. Several of my colleagues have developed carpal tunnel syndrome. Do you know of a product that will help me when I'm not using my own computer? Many times, I have to use computers in other offices, and although my personal computer is set up to reduce strain, most are not.

A: Carpal tunnel syndrome, sometimes called the business affliction of the '90s, is a painful condition that affects people who type on typewriter or computer keyboards for long periods of time.

In past columns, I have talked about special keyboards, mechanical desk braces and keyboard pads. But, as you say, most of these devices are not portable and, with the exception of the wrist pads, are fairly uncommon.

A new product that might make things easier for you is th MouseMitt glove. MouseMitt is a fingerless glove made of expandable Lycra with a built-in wrist pad. The pad provides a cushion between the wrist and the desk or keyboard surface. The pad is fairly thick and gently keeps the wrist in a more natural position. A slick patch on the glove allows you to glide your hand over smooth surfaces.

MouseMitt comes in two styles and a variety of sizes, colors and patterns. MouseMitt Computer Glove is a single glove (specify right or left) with a small pad. This glove is intended for those who find they need support when using a mouse.

MouseMitt KeyBoarders is a pair of gloves intended for keyboard use. The built-in pad is nearly twice as wide.

MouseMitt Computer Glove sells for $9.95; a pair of MouseMitt KeyBoarders sell for $19.95.

MouseMitt International, (408) 335-9599.

(Craig Crossman is the host of a weekly radio show, Computer America, heard nationwide. Send questions in care of Business Monday, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla. 33132. Please include your phone number.)

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