December 12, 2002

By Karen Kenworthy


Ahem... My I have your attention please? First, I want to thank everyone for coming. It's wonderful seeing so many familiar faces. And it's great to see many new ones too. You're a good-looking bunch. :)

Power Toy Gallery

But let's get down to business. The moment we've all been waiting for has arrived. Today, I'm pleased to announce the grand opening of the Power Toy Script Gallery!

In a moment I hope you'll stroll through its lavishly appointed aisles. There, you'll see works by the best and brightest Toy Script artists -- names like Neil Crosby, Redge Innes, and "Marty" are among our star contributors. Learn from them, appreciate their ingenuity and humor. And, most of all, steal their scripts!

That's right. Unlike lesser galleries, such as France's Louvre, the UK's National Portrait Gallery, or Russia's Hermitage, here you're allowed to take art home with you. In fact, you're encouraged to download these scripts and make them your own. That's exactly why we created this gallery.

As you may remember, the popular Power Toy program was recently revised. As before, it can display cartoon-like characters known as "Agents". Like cartoons, these characters can move, gesture, speak, and tell jokes. But unlike their inky counterparts, agents displayed by the Power Toy can also listen, and respond to your voice commands.

The Power Toy program can also record "scripts". These disk files contain actions an Agent has performed, and words they have spoken. Later, you can replay these scripts, watching your favorite agents repeat their performances whenever you like.

A script can also be played automatically by other Power Tools, such as the Countdown Timer II, Alarm Clock, or Time Cop. This allows you to be reminded of your next office meeting by a squawking parrot, or awakened from your nap by a lumbering robot.

But now, in addition to creating your own scripts, you can borrow scripts from other readers. The Power Toy Script Gallery is a place to share. Everyone's encouraged to contribute their favorite scripts. And everyone's encouraged to help themselves to the collection!

New TLDs

When not putting the finishing touches on the new gallery, I've been reading my e-mail. In one recent message, reader Ron Doyle asked a question about the popular WhoIs Power Tool. When, he asked, would it support the new Top-Level Domains (TLDs) such as .info, .biz, and .name?

Long-time readers will remember the WhoIs program. It accesses over one hundred online databases to discover who operates web sites, e-mail post offices, and other Internet services. In many cases, it can provide a name, e-mail address, postal address, and even a phone or fax number of the owner.

To initiate a search, just provide WhoIs with an Internet "domain name". We've talked about these before, and I won't go into much detail here. But in short, a domain name is a unique name assigned to a computer connected to the Internet. Each full domain name consists of two or more smaller parts, consisting of letters and numbers, separated by periods (".").

Some of the more familiar domain names include:

The last, or right-most, portion of a domain name is called the "Top-Level Domain" or TLD. In the examples shown above, the TLDs are all ".com" (pronounced "dot-com"). But there are several other TLDs in use today. Hang around the 'net for long, and you're bound to see domain names ending in ".net", ".org" or ".edu". Other, less-common, TLDs include ".gov", ".mil" and ".int".

Each of the world's countries has also been assigned a two-letter TLD. For example, the ".us" TLD can be used by residents of the United States. The ".au" TLD has been assigned to Australia, while ".aq" is reserved for those who live and work in Antarctica.

Altogether, these give us a total of almost 250 TLDs!

Now, you might think that's enough, giving the world plenty of options when choosing domain names. But you'd be wrong. At least in the minds of some folks, there was a TLD shortage. According to them, we needed at least seven more TLDs:

  • .aero - available to aviation and aerospace businesses
  • .biz - available to businesses.
  • .coop - available to cooperatives and similar ventures.
  • .info - available to anyone.
  • .museum - available to museums (though oddly, not the new Toy Script
  • Gallery).
  • .name - available to anyone.
  • .pro - available to "professionals", i.e. doctors, lawyers, etc.

The ".pro" top-level domain isn't operational yet. But the other new TLDs have been available since earlier this year.

WhoIs Update

Why does all this matter to my WhoIs program? Each TLD maintains a database of those who use the TLD when naming their computers. This ensures that all domain names are unique, preventing "collisions" (two computers having the same name within a TLD). The database also contains contact information, showing who uses each domain name, and revealing how to contact them.

As you've probably guessed, the WhoIs program searches these databases, retrieving the information they contain. When a new TLD is created, WhoIs must be informed.

And that's just what I've done. It took some doing -- a bit of web research and a few e-mails to domain administrators. But WhoIs now recognizes the new TLDs. It knows where they store their information, and how to read it. And can tell you what it finds!

To get your copy of the new WhoIs, just visit:

While online, you can visit the new Power Toy Script Gallery at:

And don't forget to download your free copy of the Power Toy:

Or if you prefer, get the latest version of every Power Tool, including WhoIs and Power Toy, on CD. The disc also contains three bonus Power Tools not available anywhere else. One bonus programs, Web Update, automatically keeps your installed Power Tools up-to-date!

You'll also find every back issue of my newsletter, and a few even older articles, in the CD's library. All that, plus a special license that lets you use your Power Tools at work. Best of all, buying a CD is the easiest way to support the web site and this newsletter.

To buy a CD for yourself, or for a gift, visit:

Well, that's all for now! Help yourself to champagne and caviar. If that's not your style, there's plenty of peanut butter and crackers, and root beer too. And if you see me in the new gallery, or anywhere on the 'net, be sure to wave and say "Hi!"

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