I'm just getting warmed up

Fancy yourself a pretty fair typist, do you? If someone were to time you with a stopwatch, how fast do you think your fingers could correctly bat out the following on one of those little cellphone keypads : "The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality, they seldom attack a human." Probably not as fast as Craig Crosbie did. According to the Guinness Book of World Records earlier this week, the factory worker from Dumfries, Scotland, whipped through that little test in just 48 seconds - 19 fewer than the previous best. Crosbie is still in his early 20s but has been "texting" for eight years . He stays in practice by averaging 75 messages a day. "All my friends," he said after blazing to victory in a 12-person competition in London, "say that the speed at which I text is quite unbelievable."

Youngsters and gadgetry: Just call 'em media-savvy

As a rule, young people today are so media-oriented that they have been dubbed "Generation M" by no less an authority than the Kaiser Family Foundation. Not only are they familiar with almost every new type of consumer electronic gadget, the foundation says, but they're also comfortable using them - often several at a time, in fact. A recent Kaiser questionnaire sought to determine the degree to which 8- to 18-year-olds are using "new media." A list of computer-related, high-tech activities, with the percentages of 3rd to 12th graders who told the survey that they engage in them:

Instant messaging 66%
Downloading music from the Internet 64%
Streaming a radio station through the Internet 48%
Owning/using a cellphone 39%
Using a direct video recorder, such as TiVo, in the home 34%
Having a personal website or web page 32%
Owning/using an MP3 player 18%
Owning/using a hand-held device that connects to the Internet 13%

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