Here are the awful numbers, from a recent study by Yahoo.

More than 80 per cent of all e-mail is spam. Most spam comes from the United States. And that’s because about 20 per cent of U.S. residents admit to buying something from a spam ad.

Spam bothers e-mail recipients the most in Japan,

where about half of all recipients say they send angry replies. This is often self-defeating, since some spammers take any response – even negative responses – as proof that there’s a live one at the other end. That puts you on the preferred list for more spam.

If you want to know who’s doing this, go to www.spamhaus.org. Click on “”rokso”” and that brings up a list. Besides the United States, spammers are in Canada, Australia and Russia. But the map is always shifting (spam from Latvia?).

Big Publishing Package

Art Explosion Publisher Pro is a new offering from Nova Development, a software house that made its reputation with massive collections of clip art and animation. There’s plenty more of that here, and they’ve pulled it together with more publishing and editing tools than you’ll ever figure out what to do with.

This is a nice package, and it handles all the jobs we’ve come to expect from publishing programs these days: newsletters, brochures, business cards and letterheads, greeting cards, calendars, etc. There are 2,500 publishing templates, 500 type fonts and 100,000 images.

The strength is in the graphics, which, we quickly admit, are very nice (love those animations). For Windows, the weakness is the price, which is $100 list from its Web site (www.novadevelopment.com), but we found it for $80 at Best Buy (www.bestbuy.com).

Faster, better wireless

If you want all your computers and printers to be able to talk to each other, and to the Internet, wireless is currently the popular way to go. Please remember, however, that whatever your wireless system is broadcasting can be read by anyone else with a nearby receiver as well.

The new D-Link high-speed wireless router is very fast. Maximum data transfer rate is 108 Mbps, which stands for “”megabits per second”” and in plain English means more than two million words a second. That’s using the catchily titled 802.11g wireless transmission protocol and as a practical matter is about 15 times faster than the 802.11b system you were trying to figure out last year. The router is also backward compatible, as they say, with 802.11b.

The range on the new wireless router is about 150 feet, walls in the way and all. D-Link has longer-range routers and connections, and for those who wonder if everybody in their home or business can be connected in this way, and what they would need to do it, there is a useful section on the D-Link Web site. Go to www.dlink.com and click on “”configurator”” on the left-hand side of the home page. Answer the questions about your requirements, and the site will tell you what you need to get it done. Then you can shop for your best prices.

D-Link routers work with Windows and Mac, and have turned out to be very popular with the Macintosh crowd.

Internuts

The Web site www.meetup.com is an interesting idea whose time has probably come. Visitors can list their location and the subjects that interest them. The site then tries to get people to form groups of like-minded participants. If there are enough in any area, they meet. There weren’t enough people interested in playing bridge to meet in Wilmette, Ill. But Web designers are meeting now in Calgary, and Albuquerque, N.M., and fans of Japanese anime films are meeting in Birmingham, Ala. The vampires are meeting in Chicago.

A different kind of music download is offered at www.musicnotes.com. Books and sheet music, most for pay but some for free. We downloaded some free sheet music by ragtime master Scott Joplin. There’s a free preview of all sheet music for sale, so you can gauge whether or not it’s too difficult. If you’re not sure how something sounds, there’s free software that will let you listen to the piece. There are also free guitar lessons.

That’s Entertainment

True Crime: Streets of L.A., from Activision. When you’re talking the streets of Los Angeles, you’re definitely talking true crime. Lots of car chases, shoot-outs, kung-fu chop-socky, and all backed with pulse-pounding hip-hop music. Play solo or online.

Books

“”The Musician’s Guide to Pro Tools”” by John Keane; from Osborne/McGraw-Hill (www.osborne.com). Very few recordings are made without computer-aided editing these days, and computers and appropriate software are often used for live concerts as well. In software, Pro Tools is the main man, as they say.

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