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Hey, Are You Crying or Is That Just Something in Your i?
November 2nd

Gary: Well...

Randy: I guess that's it.

Gary: Yeah, I guess so.

Randy: The cave seems so empty, man.

Gary: Yep. It sure does.

Randy: More room for me!

Gary: Well, at least I found a great new cave for me down south. And it is so much less expensive than this Manhattan cave.

Randy: Yeah, and now it means I can walk around the cave in my underwear whenever I want.

Gary: Dude, you do that already. In fact, you're doing it right now.

Randy: Yeah, I'm pretty cool.

Gary: I should put the last of the bags into the truck. It's gonna be a long drive to Houston.

Randy: It sure will be different now that The Idiots are nationwide. Sure we'll still write our weekly columns, and we'll still develop multimedia content, but we won't be drinking nearly as much beer.

Gary: Hey, are you crying?

Randy: Well, I really like beer!

Gary: You Idiot.

Randy: It's so cold and delicious.

Gary: Actually, there will be some differences in upcoming columns, but it will a change for the better. Now that we are about eighteen-hundred miles apart, we will get more into multiplayer gaming, and internet-based gaming.

Randy: Thank the beer gods for Scott Kevill's excellento online gaming service GameRanger. With this awesome service, from the creator of the Mac Quake editor Quiver, Gary and I can hook up for a session of online gaming anytime. Besides offering persistent player accounts, profiles, chat rooms, game rooms, audio voice chat, paging, and powerful filtering, Game Ranger can check for servers on the web who are hosting any one of over 20 networkable games and let you join them without even knowing a single IP address.

Gary: But gaming online won't be quite the same without all the lame jokes flying between you and I while we are actually gaming. Sure we can type in a line or two while were killing everything in site, but that's no substitute for real in battle taunting.

Randy: Well you are in luck my friend. Another online gaming utility that I think we are going to find indispensable is Roger Wilco. This gaming add-on allows you to use voice to voice communication while you are playing your favorite internet networkable games. The Wintel world has had this cool program for a while now but finally it's coming to the Mac.

Gary: You mean I can still taunt you nightly while I toast you in a game of Unreal.

Randy: Just like always.

Gary: Be prepared to die, my yankee friend.

Randy: Right. You southern boys spend too much time sipping mint juleps to pick up a gamepad. Methinks I shall spank you at any game you can think of.

Gary: Did you actually say "methinks"?

Randy: Methinks I am about to kick your ass!

Gary: Somehow I am not too worried.

Randy: Anyhoo, we will also be delving into the world of online communications. For example, MagicalDesk.com is a complete web-based personal information manager. You can have your address book, your calendar of appointments, and all of your e-mail online and accessible by any computer that has a browser installed.

Gary: And that's not all. It also lets you share files across the Internet. You can have public and private folders, so the agony of making sure you have encoded a file properly to send via e-mail is a thing of the past.

Randy: It also has built-in file translators to help make sure whoever you are sharing a file with can open it. And one real nifty thing is that they have created translators that can convert a ton of file formats to HTML. That means that if you send a PowerPoint file to someone who doesn't have PowerPoint, they can get an approximation of the document right in their browser window. Cool, huh?

Gary: Another example is Excite.com. Everyone knows that you can get a free web-based e-mail account from Excite, but did you know that they offer free nationwide voicemail as well? You just set up an account by using a ten-digit code, and your friends and business contacts call an 800 number, type in your code and then can leave you a voicemail.

Randy: Here's a tip. Use a code that is easy for people to enter into the phone when they call to leave a message. We used "IWS Studios" as our code and it takes people about seventeen minutes on average to pick that out on a phone keypad.

Gary: The coolest thing about this service is that after someone has left you a message, Excite sends it to you in RealAudio format, so you can hear all of your voicemail right on your computer. And it is all completely free!

Randy: So, while we won't be hanging out as often in person we will be making up for it by hanging out through the Internet. You all thought there was no way for us to become geekier, but we proved you wrong. Hah!

Gary: Actually, the lowered intake of beer will give me a fighting chance to make my fortieth birthday.

Randy: And maybe we will actually become productive again as a company.

The Idiots: Nah!

Gary: Man, you really crack me up.

Randy: So look for a lot of future columns on ways to stay in touch with friends and family without having to sacrifice your firstborn to AT&T.

Gary: Well, it is really about that time. I have about a 35 hour drive ahead of me. I'll see you real soon, man.

Randy: Hey, are you crying?

Gary: I was just thinking of this AT&T long-distance commercial I saw earlier. Johnny couldn't come home for Christmas.

Randy: You Idiot.

Gary Randazzo and Randy Soare are the co-founders of IWS Interactive, a New York based game developer for Macintosh. The IWS in IWS Interactive stands for Idiots With Sticks. How that came about is a long and boring story, but suffice it to say that at four in the morning, it seemed like a good idea.

The demo for IWS Interactive's upcoming mystery-adventure game, Manhattan Apartment Hunter, has recently been released to rave reviews. The Idiots have been into gaming on Apple computers even before the Mac was around. Does anyone remember Choplifter on the Apple IIe? (Boy, we know we do.) Now, they are committed to help ensure that the Mac remains the premiere gaming platform on the planet.

You can email your comment and suggestions to Randy at , and Gary at .


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