When the noted science fiction author Robert Heinlein used the acronym TANSTAAFL in his novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, he was coining a hard-to-pronounce catchword for the truism that There Ain't No Such Thing As a Free Lunch. No phrase could more aptly capture the impact of exchanging free hardware or net access to schools for allowing the "donor" to display advertisements in the headers, footers, and borders of the web pages whenever a user is online.

One of these companies, ZapMe!, gives schools "free" computers packaged with a satellite internet service. The ad-bots show up in


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