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ATPM 11.04
April 2005



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About This Particular Web Site

by Paul Fatula,


In the first decade of the twentieth century, Pink was one of the top 1000 most popular names for newborn baby boys, and while girls were most likely to be named John in the 1920s, the name remained popular straight through the 1980s. Whether or not it’s entirely accurate, it’s fun to play with this site, which lets you see how popular many boys’ and girls’ names have been during the last ten decades, and how their popularity has changed with the times.


Whenever I get a credit card bill, it’s accompanied by an invitation to spend $30 to $40 a year to get a copy of my credit report. The federal government had a better idea: each of three major credit reporting agencies is now required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once a year. It’s being rolled out gradually, so it’s not yet available nationwide: check the Web site to find out when free credit reports will become available in your region, or to learn how to request a free copy of your credit report. (Note that, for privacy reasons, it is recommended that you call or write for your credit report rather than request it via the online form.)

Canadian Flag Proposals

Though the Canadians never came up with anything quite as wordy as the American “Don’t Tread On Me” flag, Canada did see a large number of flag proposals before adopting its current flag in 1965. This Web site shows many of the proposed designs, a few of which look like they were drawn in crayon or marker by schoolchildren. The site also offers a little information about some of the proposed flag designs, and some history of the Canadian flag.

Mike’s Ad Blocking Hosts File

Since ATPM is a computing publication, I try to include at least one computing-related item in each ATPW. This is it. Many of you are still using backwards antiquated Web browsers that display banner ads on Web pages. Maybe even on this Web page. A customized hosts file is one way to block ads (and all other communication) with known ad servers. While it’s not nearly as powerful or versatile a solution as Firefox, OmniWeb, iCab, or PithHelmet can offer, a hosts file like Mike’s can help you cut down on the number of banner ads you see.

Think! Baby Names

This site lacks the eye candy of NameVoyager, but makes up for it by giving the meanings and brief history of popular boys’ and girls’ names. The site is searchable by various keywords, and related names are shown in case you find a name which is close but not-quite-right. If you don’t want boring American names, you can browse lists of popular names in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Sweden as well.

A Guide to Ethnic Fried Doughs Around the World

From Andagi to Zeppole, this Web site offers the histories of many different sorts of fried dough. Here you can explore the origin of the word Doughnut, learn what a Fritole is called in Piemonte, or find out how to say Vetkoeks. On the surface, this Web site looks pretty good, and offers some interesting bites of information. But when you dig in, it falls apart: source links are often provided, but many of the links go to non-existent pages or servers. Clicking on a picture from a particular fried dough’s page may yield a recipe, a larger picture, or (rather frequently) a broken link. A lesson to webmasters everywhere: it’s not enough to create a great Web site; you also must maintain it.

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