December 25, 2005

Mousetrap - 33

Jingle *blip* Jingle *blip*
NORAD tracks Santa
In 1955, a store in Colorado Springs, USA, misprinted a phone number in an ad. Instead of its own number, kids wound up calling the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Commander-in-Chief’s hotline. The C-in-C, evidently a kindly man, had his staff “check” radar data, and was able to tell his callers that Santa had indeed been spotted. This tradition has been faithfully followed since then, through CONAD’s merger into the combined USA-Canada NORAD (North American Air Defense Command). Staffers actually stay on watch to answer children’s calls. The web version has been around since 1998, which must have been around when I first saw it (somewhere on my hard disk is an animation of a sleigh crossing the Himalayas). I know you’re reading this on the 25th, but take advantage of time zones, log on and check the SantaCams and maybe you’ll catch ol’ Kris Kringle doing his rounds in other parts of the world. Plus there’s some games, Xmas music to download, and of course, detailed “explanations” on how the whole thing works. Enjoy!

Top of the world
Santa Claus and Christmas at the North Pole
It’s difficult to find Christmas sites that aren’t urging you to swipe a credit card. This is one of the few – not even a banner ad in sight! Well, yes, it does have a “toy shop” that helps you find toys you can buy, but I guess the site does need some kind of revenue. There’s a lot of fun stuff for kids here: games and puzzles, songs, stories you can personalise, free e-greetings, and a dancing Santa. Lots to keep the tykes from getting underfoot.

For auld lang syne
SantaClaus.com
This one’s been around, its owner says, since 1994, which makes it practically an internet heritage site! From the design, and some of the references made, it doesn’t seem to have been updated much for at least the last few years. But it’s a nice little gateway to other stuff on the net (and yes, a lot of it commerce-based), but it also has its own pages, like an FAQ page, recipes, and even a couple of ASCII images (anyone remember those?) that you can copy into your email.

Sihuañu'u Ejaërepa aide'ose'ere
Christmas and New Year Greetings
Greetings from all over the world, for both Christmas and New Year, including the non-religious variety. (And the title for this section comes from Ecuador, the nearest thing I could find to the exact other side of the world. And since I’m not sure what it means here’s my greeting to you: peace and happiness to you and your dear ones.)

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Blog of the week

From the desk of...
Santa's Christmas Blog 2005
With the world turning increasingly to Search, the number of commerce sites that try to game the search engines multiply, blogs being weapons of choice. But, never fear, your tireless columnist found you one that doesn’t seem to be selling anything (despite the tagline, which claims authorship by the CEO, North Pole Inc.), and is just having fun. Track Santa’s days, as he gets into gear for his journey, passes a physical, strolls the Village’s streets with the missus, recovers from a fire in the production facilities, and even a bout of the ’flu! Well written, though a part of me would have preferred that Santa not be made so down-to-earth.


Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to http://o3.indiatimes.com/mousetrap for past columns, and to comment, or mail inthemousetrap@indiatimes.com. The writer blogs at http://zigzackly.blogspot.com.

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 25th December, 2005.

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1 comment:

Aswin Anand T.H. said...

wow!! this one would be really cool...santa giving a visit :D how happy the kids would be...:D :D

Thanks for dropping by ... i enjoyed all the small posts in ur blog..too good