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In those old days, computers were slow and didn't have oodles of cheap memory. Software programmers had to write applications with these restrictions in mind – bloat was not permitted, partly because hard disks were tiny. Partly because they took pride in writing compact, efficient code.

But all of that is behind the pretty face, the 'graphical user interface.' Its age is 25 years and it hasn't changed much. These days the mouse is thought to slow things down, especially for people who cannot take full advantage of a graphic view.

So some people – some of those who worked on the Mac's original concept – are saying that it's time to move on. They are not particularly welcomed by Apple, which seems happy enough if customers want to use Macintoshes as jukeboxes, over–clever game machines or DVD–movie players.

There is a lot of vested interest in leaving things as they are. Using a Mac as a jukebox sells music tracks for $1 a pop, and using one as the basis for digital photo albums helps sell cameras – and bigger hard disks. It's easier to innovate a little faster than Microsoft, and less risky than re–inventing the Macintosh and maybe ending up too far in the future.

But as it is, the people who made the Macintosh and all the programmers who worked on creating software, made a tool – for making graphics, images, music, movies – starting with tools enabling creative individuals to print their own stuff.

And they made it so even their right–brained grandmothers could use it. If you are using a PC, a Mac is still cooler than you think.

Headline of the Week

"100 kilos de shit grillés au feu rouge" – Libération, Monday, 26. January.

The Regular Plugs – Not for the Last Time In 2004

Metropole's Lodging page is online and in every issue. Listing your apartment or house for rent on this page will create a good chance of finding tenants for it.

Unlike Metropole Paris and the Café Metropole Club, listing your property in Metropole is not 'free.' Write today to enquire about details. Your suggestions will be welcome. To those who have already enquired, thanks.

Metropole's Only Version Is 'Shareware'

To get around the problem of being a free virtual magazine, I am asking readers to consider Metropole Paris as 'shareware.' If the magazine 'works' for you, contributing a bit towards its upkeep will do wonders for keeping it online.

'Keeping Metropole flying' is simple. You can send your contributions today by hitting this link to the 'support Metropole' page.

Café Metropole Club 'Reports'

Pop this link to have a look at the last meeting's the 'Find of the Week' clubphoto: france, us monument 'report.' Paris seemed deserted, but the club booked several one member plus some of its complement of repeat–club members.

One of the two monuments at the Place des Etats–Unis.

Some insignificant details concerning the club can all be found on the 'About the Club' page. The virtual club membership card shown on this page is free, so long as you print it for yourself using your own ink and paper. The card is valid for your whole lifetime worldwide, but super–valid in Paris.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 29. January. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint–Gildas, who was a British missionary who reorganized the Celtic church and founded the Rhuis monastery, located near Saint–Gildas–de–Rhuis. Saint–Gildas died in 570 but is not forgotten.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 8.05 – 27. Jan 2003 – The Café column's headline was, 'Earless In New York, Buffalo Grass Returns.' This issue was mainly about New York, with '"I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door" – Visiting Liberty In New York' and 'Hollywood East In Queens – The Marx Brothers Were Here Too.' The Café Metropole Club update for 30. Jan was the 'Not at the Rendez-Vous' report. Metropole's Wine News was titled, 'Quietphoto: sign, place des etats unis but Busy Times at Moonlight.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's cartoon of the week had the caption, "Another 59th Birthday!"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 7.05 – 28. Jan 2002 – The Café Metropole column's headline was 'A Fine Time With Real Buffalo Grass.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled, the 'Big Wheel' Deal.' This modest issue contained one tiny feature titled, 'An Oasis In the 7th – Stone Palaces and a Park.' The Café Metropole Club update for 31. Jan was the 'Victor Hugo Is Not a Club Member' report. The headline for the Scène column's was, 'The Year of the Horse.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' again and Ric the wheelie–crazed editor and cartoonist thought the week's cartoon caption should also be, 'The Big Wheel Deal.'

Countdowns Forever, Part 49

Jim 'Countdown' Auman wrote, "This year celebrates the 100th anniversary of the death of the colossus of Colmar, Frédéric–August Bartholdi, the designer of the Stature of Liberty. His death occurred on October 4. We should start counting down early, especially if the EU wants to outlaw these countdowns."

Since the EU is still mulling over its ban on countdowns, there should be as many here as possible while there is still time. As you are 'counting–down' 253 days until Monday, 4. October, you'll have an opportunity to learn more about Bartholdi's life and works by visitingphoto: sign, chinagora the virtual Musée–Bartholdi, plus the real one as well if you happen to be in France.

Another big figure in French history to have a countdown this year is Saint– Augustin. He was born on Saturday, 13. November 354 at Souk Ahras in Algeria – formerly Tagaste – and died 76 years later in Annaba – formerly Hippo Regius – on the coast, about 75 kilometres away. The days remaining until the anniversary of his birthdate this year are 293. It is 1574 years since Saint–Augustin's death in 430.

On a major literary note, we should also be 'counting–down' to the 150th anniversary of the birthdate of Jeant–Nicolast–Arthur Rimbaud, which is on Wednesday, 20. October, 269 days from now.

An even bigger literary splash will be made this year for George Sand, who was born 200 years ago on Sunday, 1. July 1804. Named Aurore Dupin – this year will officially be the 'Année George Sand' all year long. For lots more, Cécile Pichot's Web site is worth a visit as is the one run by Marc Nadaux. I almost forgot. This 'count–down' lasts 165 days, until 1. July.

Web–searched recently but not included until now is the date of the Normandy landings in WWII on Tuesday, 6. June 1944. The 60th anniversary of this fateful day for 2,846,439 allied liberators is 133 days from now, on a Sunday this year.

Paris, Ville Antique

This not a count–down exactly, but a Web site tip. The Ministry of Culture's 'Paris, Ville Antique' is worth an in–depth look, firmly in the 'now–for– something–different' department. Amaze your friends and neighbors with new–found knowledge about daily life in Paris 730,000 days ago. Metropole's server–lady, Linda Thalman, was properly amazed.

Buried In 2004

There are still 340 days left the year, which is a big number of days as well as a bit more than 11 months. There are only 35 days left until our bonus 'Leap–Year' day extra in February, which will actually be a public holiday in many parts of the world. .

In spite of the rains and winds – and maybe snow – we are still able to skate on semi–frozen rinks in front of the Hôtel de Ville, the one in front of the Gare Montparnasse, or maybe even the one out at La Défense – where local winds may force horizontal skating.
signature, regards, ric

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