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Declassified documents chronicle U.S., world history


This month marks the 10th anniversary of the Chinese government's deadly crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators rallying in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Hundreds of protesting Chinese students were killed. Thousands more were injured. The city of Beijing was placed under martial law, and the Chinese government was criticized worldwide for its actions.

For a close-up look at the history of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, students of history should check out the National Security Archive Web site at George Washington University.

There you'll find the recently declassified electronic briefing, "Tiananmen Square 1989, The Declassified History."

The site chronicles the events that as they happened, and as observed by U.S. diplomats in Beijing.

The briefing is extensive, and covers events before the crackdown and in the 10 years since.

You'll find other declassified publications at the National Security Archive, including documents that chronicle Elvis Presley's visit to the White House to meet President Richard Nixon.

Visit the archive at www.seas.gwu.edu/nsarchive/.

WEATHER WATCHING. Surely there are other men out there who, like me, enjoy watching the Weather Channel.

My wife claims it's genetic; I say it's interesting -- and if you're trying to finish planting your garden between thundershowers, watching the Weather Channel can become a necessity.

If you can't get enough of the Weather Channel, the cable channel is offering a new service that's already a hit with me.

It's called Inbox.Weather.com, a service that matches your e-mail address up with the Weather Channel's forecasts -- and leaving up-to-the-minute weather information in your e-mail box.

It can be configured to meet your exact needs, too.

Need your weather info at 7 a.m.? No problem. You can set delivery for weather data up to three times throughout the day for up to three different locations across the U.S.

The forecasts delivered via e-mail also contain handy hotlinks that can take you directly to local Doppler radar. This is a real time-saver, since all too often, the really useful weather data can wind up several mouse clicks deep in a site.

E-mail is still the "killer application" that corporations and businesses rely on, and The Weather Channel's e-mail forecasts make it even more useful.

CIRCUITS ONLINE. Home electronics and appliance retailer Circuit City has announced plans to dive into the waters of electronic commerce in a big way.

The Virginia-based company will expand its existing Web site to include e-commerce, and introduce more than 700 name brands it will sell through its Web site beginning in July. By Christmas, Circuit City plans to have thousands of items ready for sale online.

The E-Superstore Web site will allow customers to better shop for appliances and electronics by offering detailed information before making an either an in-store or online purchase.

Online buyers will have the option of picking up purchases at a their local bricks-and-mortar store, according to a Circuit City press release.

Circuit City will also allow online buyers to return or exchange goods at their physical store locations.

PENNEY STOCK. The popularity of the Apple iMac computer line, with its strikingly translucent-colored case available in five colors, has attracted the attention of the J.C. Penney retail chain.

Penney's is offering the Apple iMac lineup for sale in its ever popular fall/winter catalog.

The iMacs are offered with a variety of software bundles, including screen savers, games and educational titles.

But don't look for iMacs at your local Penney's retail store.

The company sells electronics and other similar goods only through its catalog, preferring to allocate store shelf space to goods like sheets, draperies, and other "soft" goods.

iMAC ENVY. Speaking of the Apple iMac, PC maker Packard Bell NEC is launching a new home computer that takes the iMac all-in-one concept into the realm of PC territory.

Packard Bell is following the leader, with its new iMac-like Z1 all-in-one computer.

The Z1 combines desktop and laptop hardware to create what it hopes will be a hot-selling PC.

Certainly, Packard Bell hopes to attract its share of the sales pie with its new Z1 -- which illustrates just how popular the iMac all-in-one-box concept has become.

The Z1 will pack some impressive computer processing power, too -- 450MHz Pentium III, 8.4 Gbyte hard drive, and an upgradeable 15" flat panel display -- for just under $2,500 retail.

Gateway has also released its me-too all-in-one computer, called the Gateway Profile.

The under-$2,000 Profile comes with a 400MHz AMD K6-2 processor and weighs just 8 pounds.

I recall the naysayers calling the iMac a longshot when it was introduced.

Perhaps imitation really is the most sincere form of flattery.

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

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