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TAKE IT; WE DON'T MIND Think you're pretty good at this computer stuff? Think you could hack your way into almost anything if you tried hard enough? Then it may interest you to know there's a business that will pay if you can break into its files. In a one-week test of Web site security, China's Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone Network Development Co. is offering $600 to anyone who succeeds. To collect, hackers must visit and access documents stored in its secu.txt section.

BUY A SET OF BLOCKS FIRST But if you're the parent of a tot and you want to give him or her a head start in computer use, researchers have a word of advice: don't. Tom Lowrie, who wrote the final report on a study conducted by Charles Sturt University in New South Wales, Australia, warns that plunking little Jonah or Brittany down in front of a terminal not only isn't any better than using TV as a baby sitter but also gives a false impression of the "interplay" of size, weight, and perspective that comes from having fun with real toys.

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Poll finds Washington is the US's most 'wired' city A survey of 170,000 adults by New York-based Scarborough Research in 64 major US markets from February 1998 to February 1999 found almost 60 percent of those in the nation's capital and its suburbs were online. That beat out the San Francisco metropolitan area, which takes in Silicon Valley, and Seattle/Tacoma, the home of Micro-soft and other high-tech companies. The most "wired" metropolitan areas with the percentage of adults in each who said they were online:

1. Washington 59.9%

2. San Francisco 56.1%

3. Austin, Texas 55.5%

4. Seattle/Tacoma 53.3%

5. Salt Lake City 50.0%

6. Dallas/Ft. Worth 49.6%

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7. Denver 49.0%

8. Houston 48.8%

9. Los Angeles 48.7%

10. Norfolk/Newport News, Va. 48.5% - Associated Press

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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