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1. THE GAMES KIDS PLAY -- a 55er

The boy winked before dropping a black beetle on a girl, who screamed and whirled around to smack him. He dodged and dashed off, glancing backward, slowing occasionally. She was furious. His grin stretched ear to ear.

I turned to my wife. "Did I ever..."

"Worse." She laughed. "Boys are crazy when they're in love."

E-Mail to flashXer@yahoogroups.com

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2. ETIQUETTE -- 55 words

"Out to in," she said earlier; my silent mantra as I contemplated the bewildering array before me. Chose the outermost.

Her parents were quiet for the rest of dinner.

Waiting for a cab, I flipped through the etiquette book she lent me. Damn. They skipped a course on purpose. Wrong fork.

Tough, dating a WASP.

- In response to "you had a choice in life, buddy. you came to a fork

in your road, which one did you take?"

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E-Mail to FlashXer@yahoogroups.com

3. Nifty Japanese stuff: Kakasi

Kakasi is an external utility for converting Japanese text between coding systems. It can also add furigana after kanji or convert a text file to romaji.

Debian users can apt-get install kakasi kakasi-dic. There's an Emacs interface, a Perl module (Text::Kakasi), and a Ruby library.

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4. Creating Passionate Users

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Do you know about http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/ yet? If you're a teacher, trainer, manager, developer--in fact, even if you're not one of the above--stop reading my blog and click on that link.

Here it is again if you don't want to move your mouse up: http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/

These people _rock_.

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5. Business idea! =)

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I've never seen a cybercafe that made it easy for people to study without getting distracted by games or other people talking, perhaps by giving them desk space and small partitions.

I've never seen a cybercafe with programming tools or rates low enough for people to consider programming or studying in them. I've never seen a cybercafe that had little programming contests--perhaps with prizes?--or computer tips and trivia.

I've never seen a cybercafe that made it easy for students to work on group projects by letting them use whiteboards, scratch paper, pencils, Post-It notes (sold at the store) in a semi-private room.

I've never seen a cybercafe that helped you focus on your work instead of your movie download or your chat. I've never seen a cybercafe explicitly devoted to studying, with help just a call or hand-raise away.

I've never seen a cybercafe that allowed parents to establish accounts or lines of credit for their children so that they could be assured that money was spent on computer access instead of games.

I've never seen a cybercafe that made it easy to conduct small seminars by having some kind of projector, even an OHP--although of course a digital projector would be much cooler. (This is pushing it, but only just.)

Maybe I just haven't looked hard enough, or maybe there's a business opportunity here somewhere. I want to make it easy for people to study even if they're only renting bedspace somewhere. I want to make it easy for people to find other people to study with, to form study groups, to ask questions if they need help.

This idea lends itself to franchising, too. Computer geeks who would like an excuse to work on personal projects while making some money can take care of a lab. Internet all day. An excuse to keep computing books around. The occasional question, sure, but after you set it up it's pretty much self-running.

Hmm. Far future. I hope someone beats me to the punch, because it looks like something that might be good for students.

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