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 Jan 27-28, 2001      TIPS to search 1billion Web pages fast!

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Nidhi Taparia

Life is a fish bowl.

Yes, for those who missed the Truman Show and dotcomguy.com, Josh Harris and Tanya Corrin are a New York based couple currently broadcasting their every move on the Internet. They've also got a Web cam in their toilet bowl, not to mention 32 other heat and motion-seeking cams.

Their site, We Live In Public, already boasts 40,000 registered users with over 500 fans who spend all day chatting and watching them do just about anything. From simply hanging out to playing chess to watching TV, catch the duo living their private life in public.

The site gives registered users the couple's meagre schedule listing what the couple will be doing all day, which usually alternates between interviews and cleaning the loft to being in the chat room at the site. A detailed plan of the Loft also shows where cameras have been placed so that one can watch live footage of the two. The archives section has video stills and a menu from which one can choose which images of which video camera, at which time, one would like to see.

Josh and Tanya are also using the Net to find out whether it can help them answer some major questions in life. Like, as Josh questions, "Can my relationship with Tanya hold up under your scrutiny?" Or, the female perspective, with Tanya asking, "Will we ever forget for a minute that you are watching?"

Whether they manage to live their fishbowl existence or not, time will tell.

If you think this is taking reality a bit too far, check out Mandiberg. The opening pitch will have you entranced: "Buy me! My name is Michael Mandiberg. I am for sale. Buy my objects and dismantle my identity." An artist living in New York, Mandiberg is not letting his anxieties about selling out get in his way of letting go of his favourite possessions, which include everything from his underwear to his favourite coats, apartment keys, and even his "mostly used" jar of strawberry jam.

The motives are noble, he claims: "Shop Mandiberg aims to undo the process of shopping. The department store, catalogue and, now, the e-commerce sites dominate our lives as individual consumers." He exonerates you to buy a part of himself with a lot of distinctive stuff to choose from: Coats, pink coloured CD cover with a Panasonic CD player with batteries, his toiletries or even personal letters and cards that he has received from friends and family for over a thousand dollars. And if that's not enough, get to know the man inside out, there's his bank account, identity card, and journals with all his writings up for sale too!

For those who are not blessed with his powers of hoarding things and seem to forget their valuable possessions all over the place, there's an interesting service called Etagid. It works on the lost and found formula on the Net, one that could work wonders at the ongoing Kumbh Mela.

The service works like this: Customers buy 10 stickers for 10 bucks -- stickers that can be affixed to any possessions they are afraid to lose. Each sticker (or 'etag') is printed with the etagid.com URL, a unique identification number, and instructions explaining that anyone who finds the object should go to the site and arrange for a pickup.

Etagid.com clients can offer a reward for their property's safe return. The company gets the item from the finder, ships it to the person who has lost it, and pays the promised reward on behalf of the owner. Simple, huh? Might not be very useful for those who misplace their keys on a regular basis, but if you are the kind who misplaces your cell phone or Palm VII regularly, better register pronto.

Another must click is the Web Shredder especially for those who have just discovered the Web. The site allows you to slice dull boring web pages into pieces of art. And while the Shredder may look very plain, its actions are not. What it does is grab the HTML of any page on the Web, chew it up, swirl it around and spit it out again as part of a bright and funky collage. Perfect for a bit of colour in your life.

Adding some spice to boring old cream mayonnaise is this site for foodie freaks. Put up by fans of the egg-based condiment, it has everything from recipes to even a gallery of paintings made by great masters like Picasso to Otto Dix, inspired by the cream. There's also a list of just the right mayonnaise to choose for that special occasion, whether it is an anniversary bash, birthday party, funeral wake or bar mitzvah celebration.

Finally, if all this cheesy humour doesn't kill you, The Obituary might. According to the site, it 'provides an opportunity to create a permanent memorial page' where one can publish photographs and profiles of one's loved ones who are no more. The site also boasts of a 'message space' on each 'memorial page' to receive and keep any obituary, condolence or in-memoriam messages sent by friends and relatives. Also has a rapid search that lists any memorial page you want simply by typing in someone's first name, surname, family name or even the date of death. Talk about finding an eternal resting place for your loved ones in cyberspace, huh?

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