2 min read

Your secret phone number

Security goes beyond personal and Corel's Snap decision

While this is not too technical, it does show what lengths people will go for security. PrivatePhone.com provides free phone numbers you can give out in situations where you don’t want to give out your real number.

Anyone calling that number can leave messages. You can listen to those messages by calling your private phone number and entering the star key plus your PIN (private identification number). You can also be notified by e-mail or cell phone whenever a new message has come in at the private number.

The secret phone numbers are provided by NetZero, the popular free Internet service company. It makes its money by delivering an ad at the end of each message. (It’s unobtrusive.)

It’s pretty much a Snap

Corel has a new $40 photo-editing program called “SnapFire Plus.” We tried it out, and it did a nice job of organizing our photos into one long scrolling view or into albums. In fact, it is the easiest photo organizer of any we’ve seen.

You can edit your photos to soften wrinkles in faces, whiten their teeth, add a suntan and sprinkle butterflies around the picture. You can e-mail the pictures in a compressed form that won’t take up tons of room and drive the recipient nuts trying to open them. You can also use the photos to create greeting cards, fake magazine covers, collages and photo albums.

You can do this with several other photo programs as well, so what we really liked is you can get the basic SnapFire program for free. Near as we can tell, the differences between the Plus and the basic were trivial. You can’t do magazine covers or smooth wrinkles, but just about everything else is the same, so you might as well go for free. Info at www.snapfire.com.

A font of unusual fonts

There are several Web sites that have type fonts you can download. A couple of them are Fonts.com, which we’ve written about before, and TypeNow.net, which we went to just recently.

TypeNow has lots of fonts specially created for movies and TV shows, like the slashed font used for “Blade Runner” and the cheerfully scary one used for “The Addams Family.” Others include the special fonts used for “Jurassic Park,” “The Godfather”, “Looney Tunes” cartoons, “Finding Nemo” and “The Matrix.”

Downloading a font, however, is only the first step in being able to use it. If you’re using Windows XP, save the font to the “My Documents” folder and unzip it. Then go to the “Control Panel” and open the “Fonts Folder.” Select “Install” and “Browse” to where you’ve put the font. If you have a different operating system, you can find instructions for Windows and Mac at Fonts.com.


Short games are best for us; the big adventure games can take months and even years to play. No time. We used to play “Connect Four” with our nephews, a game where you try to connect four checkers in a row before your opponent can block them. You can play a “Cities” version of the game and many others for one hour for free at PlayFirst.com. If you want to go longer, you have to download the game to your own computer and pay US$20.