Your computer isn't just a fancy paperweight

Computers can be your friends. No, they won't take you to lunch or buy you a drink. But they can do more than collect dust. Assuming you are human (and if not, don't let that stop you from reading), you probably fit into one of four categories:

1. You still use a typewriter, you're still building a bomb shelter, and your best friend in grade school was Robert "Robbie" E. Lee.

2. You use that thing on your desk to input some data, maybe send a message through what co-workers call "e-mail." You impress your friends by being able to enter names in the scorekeeper at the bowling alley.

3. You're familiar with a variety of programs and applications and have maybe created your own Web site. You can also program a VCR in less than two hours.

4. You eat zip disks for breakfast. You sleep with a keyboard between your legs because your doctor says it's good for you. You have bought a drink or two for your hardware.

It doesn't matter where you fall, you'll find something worthwhile in this weekly column.

My goal here is keep you up-to-date with some of the newest technology, and how we are implementing it, without boring you to death.

I'm a Web site builder for Belo Interactive, a subsidiary of Belo, which currently owns the Messenger. Follow? My brain is about ready to explode from all the new stuff I've learned. I probably fall into category three and will most likely never sleep with my keyboard. But what I can do is bridge the gap between all when it comes to computer knowledge.

The rest of it, I'll just make up, like any good journalist. Here's your first test:

1. Name a Web developing program.
2. What is ASCII code?
3. Who was Robert E. Lee?
4. How can you make your own Web site?
5. Where's the best place to download cool sounds to harass co-workers?

You did well! Congratulate yourself. You figured out the Confederacy did not have computers.

I will attempt to answer questions like these in upcoming columns. I would also like to know what you want to learn more about. In the future, this column will contain more interactive material, some educational, some perplexing, mostly silly. If you don't like it, send it on to your friends and see how much they don't like it, just like forwarded messages (if you're not sure what a forwarded message is, ask a friend after you finish the bomb shelter).

The Web is dynamic and loves interaction. I plan to take advantage of that every week. I can't tell you exactly what it will be like. Not that I'm trying to keep secrets, I just don't think that far ahead.

But I will tell you this -- you aren't wasting your time learning more about your computer. What would you do if you typed your name wrong into the bowling alley scoreboard?