TECHNOLOGICAL MARCH There is no denying that we live in a technological world. You can resist using a cell phone, opt for the public library over the Internet or play your games on slabs of cardboard manufactured by Hasbro instead of the XBox, but technology marches on. Nikon just announced that it will stop production on 99 percent of its analog cameras, switching over to almost an entire digital line (with the exception of its F6 line) and Kodak will stop producing black-and-white photo paper at the start of this year.

CENTURY-OLD CELL PHONE TAX One area where technology has not marched forward is with our cell phone taxes. Ever try deciphering where that additional money tacked onto your already-bloated bill is going? Here is some help: The Spanish American War. According to NewsNet5 from Ohio, there is a 3-percent fee on every cell phone bill in America that acts as a federal excise tax to fund a war that ended 107 years ago. Check the article out for yourself at:

EVIL ELMO It appears that a hacker hit a most unlikely technological target, a talking Elmo book named Potty Time with Elmo, according to Instead of hearing the high-pitched voice of the Sesame Street character say, “Who wants to try to go potty?” toddlers hitting a button in this multimedia book adorned with porcelain receptacles and toilet paper images hear, “Who wants to die?” Most parents are having a difficult time appreciating this unusual prank.

WIRED IN CHICO Few will argue, outside of a handful of religious fanatics and technophobes, the point that the Internet has made our lives better. Sure, print pornographers and the music industry had to redesign their business plans, but cities across the nation are embracing the advances of the World Wide Web by setting up free Wi-Fi hotspots in public places like parks and baseball stadiums. Meanwhile, private companies, mostly coffee shops, realize free Internet access attracts latte drinkers and the cost for wireless hardware and DSL bills are well worth the returns. That is, except in Chico. For the most part, Chico is a bit behind the hotspot curve and, if you are reading this column, I assume you are in favor of more hotspots in our hometown. I have a favor to ask of you my tech geek readers: Help me find out who has public wireless Internet service here in Chico. Just let me know via e-mail and include how much they charge (if anything). I want to let CN&R readers know who is already set up for public Wi-Fi and I want to help those who are not to get there. Full report next month; log on.