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Est. 1995

Welcome to the ModemJunkie's Portal

Also still online: Len's Albums page

Len CindyCindy Barnard and I have been married since January, 2008 and life is better than ever.

A complete album of photos and more is online at Cindy and Len's Wedding.That is one of more than fifteen photo albums collected in Len's Albums.

Every once in a while I write an essay or comment on a topic of interest, these are collected in the Ordinary Potato series. I hope to add to this series as time goes on.

A few days before my 65th birthday in November, Cindy surprised me with a large dinner party at the Parthenon Restaurant in Chicago's Greek Town. The biggest surprise of the evening was a leather-bound volume containing many of the essays and other non-legal writings I have written over the years. Many of them she captured from my ModemJunkie articles and elesewhere on this website. But she also included well over a dozen other essays and "d'vrei Torah" (mini-sermons on biblical themes) and some other materials. I am working on converting some of the divrei into html. But in the meantime, the entire book is online under the name she gave it Extraordinary Words.

The ModemJunkie's Portal

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Visit the ModemJunkie Archive - - Impressions and commentary on the online world and much, much more.

You can find most of my frequently visited pages in the My Pages and Other Links section below. Or try this search engine from FusionBot.com:

Search our Site:



This page has been my portal, my gateway to the Web for a long, long time.
Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

Enjoy your visit.

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Getting Started

Getting started on the net is easy with the right tools. The most important is a good starting point. I have resisted the commercial lists of hot sites and portal pages and have found a number of alternatives.

A very useful beginning point is a Start Page I have modified based on a page created by Jorn Barger the granddady of the Weblog. Also available is a collection of Useful Bookmarks with more than 50 categories of links I have also cribbed from Jorn. These pages are very dated but you may find something useful. I have had to eliminate Jorn's original Robot Wisdom website since he continues to maintain not only linls to anti-semitic material but containues to lead his page with directly, unabashadly anti-semitic language. It is sad to see a great mind warped, but Jon's went years ago.


Since I created this site in 1995 weblogs have become ubiquitous. And the meaning of the term has morphed into something new and almost unrecognizable. Today blogs seem to be personal diaries or collections of opinion. Few, if any, retain the original meaning -- a log of sites visited on the web. Most today are political and I have created my own The Ordinary Potato. There I have linked to a few favorite political sites.

A relatively new and interesting site is Gapers Block, which is a collection of Chicago centered blog-like features.

A few of my old favorites are
  • Lindsay Marshall's Bifurcated Rivets. Very eclectic, this is my favorite site. Lindsay finds new and strange things almost every day.
  • Cameron Barrett's Camworld is now archived but this link will lead you to links to his newer sites. The joys of parenthood seem to have refocused his energy.
  • Dan Bricklin's Log. This site maintained by the creator of Visicalc, continues an interesting commentary on developments the software industry.
  • Dan Hartung resurfaced as Stilicho in January, 2006. Dan was the pioneeer blogger who created Lake Effect, which disappeared a some time ago. He started his new blog in January 2005. Unfortunately it hasn't been updated in a couple of years. Dan, Are you still out there? Are you o.k.?

    If this isn't enough here are a few lists of Weblogs:

  • Jim Bowman regularly issues literate and pithy comments in a collection of blogs, I don't agree with much of what he says, but he keeps me on my toes.
  • Jorn Barger's Other weblogs, an annotated list of the sources he uses to find more links.
  • The WebLog Monitor. Search tool for weblogs.

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Search Engines

The Web can be a bewildering, vast, source of entertainment and information. There are many fast search engines designed to help you find what your are looking for in seconds.

Also available are tools like Who/Where to enable you to find e-mail addresses, phone numbers and even reverse directories to tell you whose number that is scribbled on that scrap of paper in your wallet.

I do my searches right from here. If you don't find what you are looking for, try Lycos or Excite, or one of the many other search engines available on the Web. Here are some of the best:



All The Web

FAST Web Search Web Search

- H o t B o t -

HotBot is easily configured and is great for large searches so here is a link to their service.


This form will enable you to search the Usenet news groups, I have found it extremely useful.

Search Discussion Groups For:

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If you are looking for just the right word to use in your next page or project, check out the OneLook Online Dictionaries That site allows you to search over 50 online dictionaries with one click.

Use this form to search for items in todays news:

News Search

the News
Excite Channels
the Web

Search Help

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Breaking News

Links to many sources of the latest news and commentary from around the world.

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Great Lite Software

For many years I was hooked on creating and editing Web pages.

That burning desire has cooled somewhat but every now and then I like to touch things up or create something new. Readers of my columns and viewers of my pages know I like to keep things simple. I believe it should not be necessary to upgrade your computer every 6 months or add RAM every few weeks to write a letter or browse the Web or even to create Web pages. So, I appreciate applications that do their job with out requiring much in resources. I am happy to share with some of my finds:


Most of my recent photo albums have been generated by JAlbum. A small, free, easy to use application which is constantly being developed and expanded by loyal users.

DiDa for Windows

DiDa is a simple, small, freeware HTML editor for Windows created by Godfrey Ko. The orignal beta version 1.72 is dated but is still available here. The whole zipped file, dida172.zip is barely 300 K. While it is not a WYSIWYG editor, the app includes a fast previewer which will let you view your page without opening your memory-hog browser (and it will let you see how your masterpiece will look in browsers that don't handle "netscapisms," as well). This streamlined application has features not found on much bigger editors, including a status line indicating what line you are on, an invaluable feature for making corrections after running validation programs like Weblint.

A professional version, DiDa Pro is now available from the DiDa home page. This app also serves as an excellent "view source" tool to substitute for notepad or the default viewer in your browser. Godfrey can be reached directly at godfreyk@faico.com. Tell him I sent you. Check back here regularly for the latest version of the freeware edition. He has also created a whole range of useful web related tools. Check out the Faico home page. Most of my pages are edited or created with a version of DiDa.

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Opera -- A browsing masterpiece

My great find keeps getting better!! And now it's free. Opera meets my requirements for special mention. It is relatively small although it no longer fits on a single floppy -- or even two, it is still only about 4 meg.. It offers many innovative features. Its zoom feature is worth your attention. With just a click you can magnify a page (both text and graphics) as much as 1000% or reduce it to 20% of its original size. Thus vision impaired users (including bleary eyed late night surfers) can enlarge the screen to legible size. On the other hand, it is also possible to reduce the screen so that you can see how a whole page is laid out at a glance.

The most recent versions are now available to download for evaluation and purchase. Opera's authors will listen to any problems or suggestions you have and are very responsive. Additional information, including links to sites with software for the disabled is also available at www.opera.com.

You can find more in depth software reviews and commentary in the ModemJunkie archive.

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PC User Groups

Although the role of PC user groups is changing, they can be quite useful in getting started. For a list of user groups around the world go to Ash Nallawalla's List of User Groups on the Web.

DO CACHE OR NICOL STILL MEET? Let me know whether I should eliminate these links.

My addiction to computers can be blamed on George Matyaszek's great BBS, Chicago Syslink and the people who hang out there. Sadly, it is long gonr. Thanks George. It was on George's board that I first learned of two great user groups:

  • CACHE (Chicago's oldest computer user group) meets the 3rd Sunday of each month at The Levy Senior Center, 2019 W Lawrence Ave Chicago (SW Corner of Damen & Lawrence) from 10:00 until the middle of the afternoon.

    For more information, visit the CACHE website.

  • NICOL (The Northern Illinois Computer Owners League) meets the 1st Wednesday night of the month, from September through June at 7:30 p.m. in the home of a member.

    Further information about NICOL can be found on its own home page.

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Searching for Real Estate

I am proud to announce that my daughter Sarah Grossman is partnering with her Mom in selling real estate throughout the Chicago area. They are affiliated with the Baird and Warner Real Estate Agency in Oak Park and are among the top Baird and Warner "teams" in the city. Sarah is a recognized "staging" professional who can help you show your property to its best advantage. So if you are looking for a house or condo or have one to sell, in Chicago or the suburbs, drop Sarah a note at sarah dot grossman at bairdwarner dot com or visit their website

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Here are links to pages I have created or maintain and other places of interest including law and government related sites and some special sites related to the Web itself:

Sites I Created or Maintain

Best O' CIWA In April 1996, this page was included on M.L. Grant's Best O' CIWA list of outstanding sites.

"Best O' Logo" by Kate McDonnell. The Living Computer image created by Don Showalter. In the interest of readability I have removed the crumpled paper background. I miss it. I have replaced it with a more sedate background source which was modified by Terry Sullivan to whom I give thanks. I removed the old animated computer graphic and no one seems to have noticed, If you miss it click here.

I've heard that there is a 12-step program for modemjunkies. Unfortunately, you have to log on to participate. I hope I haven't made things worse.
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