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3 for Free

1. A visit to the Web site Wordle (www.wordle.net) may begin as a creative diversion but could easily evolve into a useful examination of your own writing. Visitors to the site can type or paste a selection of any length into the text box—or enter the URL of a site with an Atom or RSS feed—then hit Go, and Wordle will generate an original piece of graphic art, or "word cloud," with changeable font, color, and layout. The words occurring most frequently appear the largest, so you can use Wordle to help trim similes from a poem, notice what diction you unconsciously gravitate toward in a story, or perhaps discover where your obsessions lie—we tried it with Hemingway's story "Hills Like White Elephants," and the most prominent words were want and girl.

2. In July Starbucks coffee shops across the United States began offering free wireless Internet access courtesy of AT&T WiFi to all visitors to its stand-alone locations (outlets located within other stores and airports are exceptions). If you're looking for a Web fix along with your espresso-fueled writing routine, log in to the "attwifi" network. Once you accept the terms and conditions, you'll be online—but it's an open network, so be sure to exercise caution during your session. To help protect your computer or smartphone from interlopers, you could download—also for free—Hotspot Shield (www.anchorfree.com), which establishes a virtual private network, or VPN, on your machine.

3. The Center for Book Arts (www.centerforbookarts.org), a letterpress print shop and gallery in New York City, hosts free exhibitions throughout most of the year. The exhibit Poems and Pictures: A Renaissance in the Art of the Book, open until September 11, showcases more than sixty books of poetry integrating visual art created between 1946 and 1981, including works by poets Joe Brainard, Robert Creeley, and Joanne Kyger, assemblage artist Wallace Berman, printmaker Philip Guston, and pop artist Jim Dine. Sound/Book, an exploration of texts with audio components as well as aural works that evoke books in structure or aesthetics, will run from September 22 to December 4.

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