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Dear Ms. Feet,

I am a returning Winter Texan and am really looking forward to crossing that causeway again. Over the past year, this old dog managed to teach himself a few new tricks and discovered a whole new world with the internet. Now that I have it, I don’t want to give it up while I am on Padre -- the grandkids are going to be expecting some e-mail from me. Can you give me some tips on how to stay connected on SPI?

With pleasure.
If you are bringing your computer with you, you will have several options for connecting locally. Some of the nationwide access services, including AOL and AT&T, have local access numbers. Or, you can set up a temporary account with a local provider such as South Texas Internet (http://www.ies.net/) or Acnet (http://www.acnet.net/). Brownsville is a local call from the Island, so any provider that offers a Brownsville number will save you long distance charges.

If you don’t have a computer stashed in the Winnie, you can still stay connected. Island Traders Coffee Pub & Book Store is now offering public internet access for a very nominal fee -- and you can sip a most excellent cup of java or hot tea while you chat with the grandkids. My suggestion would be to set up a free e-mail account with hotmail.com or a similar service (there are many) that will let you check your regular e-mail account from any browser, saving you from having to mess with e-mail program settings.

Once you are up and running, be sure to stop by my Winter Texan pages at http://spionline.com/wtex.html. You will find lots of useful links there collected just for you -- and you can also tap into the the Winter Texan forum, a great place to meet and exchange thoughts with other Winter Texans.

Dear sandy,

In addition to your sandcastling skills, you have the reputation of being something of a computer wiz -- but when I called you recently and asked if you could help me find the windows on my computer, you just sighed and told me to “get a Mac.” That wasn’t very helpful! Why do you persist in using a system that hardly anyone else around here uses?

Short Answer - Because it is the best tool for the job. Period.

Longer Answer - People who love Macs are a lot like people who love SPI -- we are members of a relatively small, elite club; we seek out beauty, simplicity and elegance wherever we may find it; and we are not afraid to take the path less trodden. Here are just a few reasons why I have stuck with Mac through thick and thin:
• Macs are the fastest and most powerful machines on the market
• All the coolest computer users I know use Macs
• I think different
• I can make it do what I want it to do with zero progamming skills
• It smiles at me when I turn it on
• When installing a so-called “hybrid” program (one that works on both Mac & Windows platforms) the instructions generally run about 3 pages shorter for Mac than those for a wintel machine
• When I get asked to diagnose and repair a friend’s mac, I just break out my copy of Dr. Norton
• When I get asked to diagnose and repair a Windows machine, I can shrug, raise my hands, plead ignorance... and suggest you get a Mac.

sandy mac

sandy feet’s contribution to the “group build” sculpture at the recent Ft. Myers Beach sandsculpting festival, a walk-through tour entitled “The Road to 2000".

See more photos of this sculpture here.

Related Note: I will be posting live updates from the MacWorld Expo2000 in San Francisco Jan. 7-9 - please join me!

Dear sandy,

Is this e-mail address for real? I hope so. I need a list of baby-sitters for New Year's Eve. No sand castles, no biker questions, just a few dozen people bringing money to your lovely barrier reef, unfortunately with a few rug rats. I've checked out several Padre sites, and yours seems to be the best bet. Or at least has the best bragging. Can you help?

This type of request comes up fairly frequently and I am very sorry to admit that I do not know of a single babysitter in the area. And so I am sending out this urgent request - if you or someone you know does babysitting, please drop me a line (or preferably an e-mail) ASAP so I can connect you with people who are no doubt willing to pay big bucks to be relieved of child care duties for a few hours while partying on SPI. I will post your contact information at spionline.com at no charge -- thanks!

Feet's Totally Non-Scientific Just For Fun Net Poll Results: My most recent on-line poll was designed to give some lucky local restaurant best burger bragging rights: The overwhelming victor was Hookers Upstairs Bar, with 54.9 % of the vote. Blackbeards was a distant second place with 27.4%, followed by Kelly’s diner (5.8%); Ben & Jack’s (3.9%) and 1.9% each for also rans Jake’s, D’Pizza Joint, Burger King and Tom & Jerry’s. Thanks to all 51 of you who participated in the burger wars poll.

Sandy Asks: Continuing in the culinary vein, this month’s poll comes from a reader-submitted question: Which local restaurant serves up the most satisfying mound of peel & eat shrimp for the money? Vote today at http://spionline.com/polls.html.

There are five (5) ways to submit your questions/comments for future Ask Sandy columns: In person; by phone (761-6222) or fax (761-8930); the US Postal System (box 2694,spi,78597) and E-mail: (sandyfeet@unlitter.com). Visit my web-site (http://spionline.com/) for tips on sandcastling, contest info, recent Ask Sandy columns, and my reviews of local businesses.

See some more sandy feet columns


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