And another thing...

SONIC BUST. Any weapon can be turned against its creators, and that's sort of what has happened with the Mosquito Teen Repeller, which was a pretty wacky idea to start with. The Repeller is a high-pitched tone (at 17 KHz, which is near the human threshold of 20 KHz) created by a company in Wales to drive away teens hanging around shopping malls. Most adults can't hear it, since they reportedly begin losing the high frequencies of their hearing range in their 30s. But teens and children can, so they'll leave the malls and go hang around somewhere else. Aside from having a 1960s sci-fi feel to it'teens driven mad by a sound only they can hear!'the plan doesn't seem very practical, since presumably it would drive away, for instance, people in their 20s with jobs and money to spend. But it's also coming back to haunt the Adult World, at least in the classroom. Teenagers here in the States have appropriated the tone, re-dubbed it Teen Buzz and propagated it via the Internet.
One use: They load the tone into their cell phones for use while sending text messages to each other in school. The clueless, stone-eared geezers at the front of the classroom (they're about 35 or so) never know what's going on. Serves the adults right for coming up with such a half-baked, diabolical plan in the first place. Now, if we can only find a tone that can be heard only below a certain GS level.

TEST DRIVE TRAFFIC. The newest version of Microsoft Corp.'s ubiquitous desktop suite'Office 2007'isn't scheduled for release until late this year (for corporate customers) or early next year (everybody else), but you can take it for a spin at the Microsoft Web site ( The site lets you run through the Office 2007 beta, with looks at how Word, Excel and PowerPoint shape up. But one word of caution: The test drive requires a setup, which isn't so bad, but when we tried it, we were told the test system was busy, with an estimated wait time of 94 minutes. Maybe Office 97 isn't so bad after all.

Give us a try at [email protected]


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