Compiled by Marian Head


Whether you're at your local coffee shop or an exotic, far-away location, it's easier than ever to stay connected to the world and to your friends through your computer. All you need is a wireless-enabled notebook computer and a wireless fidelity or "wi-fi" network. Wi-Fi locations, aka "hotspots," have been spreading like wildfire into coffee shops, hotels and airports around the world. Hotspots are popular on college campuses and have even found their way to truck stops, RV parks, and public parks.

Whether you just want to get out of the house or you're traveling to another city (or country), you can find hotspots easily by browsing through your favorite search engine. Just type "wi-fi locations" or "hotspots" in the search box to find places where you can communicate in cyberspace in comfort.

In an April "Most Unwired Cities" survey by Intel, San Francisco topped the list as the hottest wi-fi spot in the United States. Following are the top 10 US cities and regions where you can sit back, relax and unwire:

1. San Francisco­San Jose­Oakland, California

2. Orange County, California

3. Washington, DC

4. Austin­San Marcos, Texas

5. Portland, Oregon­Vancouver, Washington

6. Seattle­Bellevue­Everett­

Tacoma, Washington

7. Bergen­Passaic, NJ

8. Middlesex­Somerset­Hunterdon, NJ

9. San Diego, California

10. Denver, Colorado

Source: mobiletechnology/unwiredcities.htm


Doggie Dancing

Welcome to the ever-expanding world of sports. Musical Canine Freestyle--dancing with your dog (or vice versa)--is growing in popularity, with 9000 fans in America, Canada, Japan and Britain.

At the recent 2004 International Canine Freestyle in Portland, dogs and their owners enjoyed strutting their stuff in front of judges to "New York, New York." Plentiful workshops had engaging titles: "The showy acting dog, getting audience applause and fun moves and cues" and "Combating ring nerves, confidence in the ring, entry and exit...visualizing your routine." (The latter might be good basic train-
ing for network marketers.)

"The object of musical freestyle is to display the dog and handler in a creative, innovative and original dance, using music and intricate movements to showcase teamwork, artistry, costuming, athleticism and style in interpreting the theme of the music," says Patie Ventre, Founder of the World Canine Freestyle Organization LTD.

Like other sports, top trainers are in demand. In canine freestyle, trainers earn as much as $800 a day, $2500 for a weekend workshop.


Go to Sleep!

Evidence linking sleep with behavior, mood and learning continues to grow. Now scientists are finding that reduced or disrupted sleep appears to increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

"The depth and breadth of sleep problems is not fully appreciated in this country," says US Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona. "Chronic sleep loss and untreated sleep disorders have a profound impact on Americans of all ages--they affect 70 million Americans and cost our nation $15 billion in health care expenses."

At the first NIH National Sleep Conference, March 29 and 30, participants looked at how insufficient sleep and sleep disorders impact the body's immune function, the development of psychiatric conditions including depression, and the progression of other chronic medical conditions such as breathing disorders and lung diseases, arthritis, and neurological disorders.

"We are all affected by sleep problems," adds Dr. Carl Hunt, Director of the National Center for Sleep Disorder Research, a Congressionally-mandated organization. "Even if you personally get sufficient sleep to feel refreshed each day, chances are you interact with someone who has a sleep problem. It could be your mother, whose sleep apnea increases her chances of developing heart disease; your carpool driver, who might be at increased risk for a car crash because of poor sleep; or your child, who has trouble in school because she doesn't get enough sleep at night."


Tips for a Good Night's Sleep

Adapted from "When You Can't Sleep: The ABCs of ZZZs," by the National Sleep Foundation.


* Set a schedule. Go to bed at a set time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Disrupting this schedule may lead to insomnia. "Sleeping in" on weekends also makes it harder to wake up early on Monday morning because it resets your sleep cycles for a later awakening.


* Exercise. Try to exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day. Daily exercise often helps people sleep, although a workout soon before bedtime may interfere with sleep. For maximum benefit, try to get your exercise about five to six hours before going to bed.


* Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Caffeine acts as a stimulant and keeps people awake. Sources of caffeine include coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, non-herbal teas, diet drugs and some pain relievers. Smokers tend to sleep very lightly and often wake up in the early morning due to nicotine withdrawal. Alcohol robs people of deep sleep and REM sleep and keeps them in the lighter stages of sleep.


* Relax before bed. A warm bath, reading, or another relaxing routine can make it easier to fall sleep. You can train yourself to associate certain restful activities with sleep and make them part of your bedtime ritual.


* Sleep until sunlight. If possible, wake up with the sun, or use very bright lights in the morning. Sunlight helps the body's internal biological clock reset itself each day. Sleep experts recommend exposure to an hour of morning sunlight for people having problems falling asleep.


* Don't lie in bed awake. If you can't get to sleep, don't just lie in bed. Do something else, like reading, watching television, or listening to music, until you feel tired. The anxiety of being unable to fall asleep can actually contribute to insomnia.


* Control your room temperature. Maintain a comfortable temperature in the bedroom. Extreme temperatures may disrupt sleep or prevent you from falling asleep.