Issue #28
30 September 1996
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A weekly E-zine about the NZ internet industry
Aardvark

Edition #28

CHINESE EGG ON MICROSOFT'S FACE
China, it's a huge market for all manner of goods and services with computer software being high on the list of money earners for western exporters such as Microsoft. It's no surprise therefore that MS has produced a special version of MS Windows designed to cater to the special requirements of the Chinese and their language.

However, it seems that the Tienamen Square incident has not been forgotten by someone within the MS development team because the Chinese version of Windows'95 has been pulled due to the the occasional appearnce of anti-communist slogans while using some parts of the system.

Chinese Political officials have requested users to stop using the programs and "personally seal up the disks". No doubt the penalties for not doing this will be severe.

A new version is being prepared with great haste and will be available for users to download from the net.

COMPUTERS YOU CAN TALK TO
IBM has released the latest iteration of its OS/2 product and one of its "claims to fame" is the voice recognition software built into it.

Texas Instruments (TI) has also announced that it has developed new voice recognition software and is emphasizing that it can be linked to provide voice-operated net-surfing.

But what's the point? How much easier is it to press a single key than to spout out "page down" in stilted English. And how frustrating would it be to say "location, http://www.xtra.co.nz" and end up with a DNS lookup error because you were sent to http://www.extra.co.nz ??

AND SPEAKING OF EXTRA.CO.NZ
But maybe someone else is working on the assumption that voice-operated computers will become the norm. A quick check of the DNS register indicates that "someone" has already registered extra.co.nz and has deligated the entries to the ICONZ servers. Given the laws against "passing off" and the recent court-ruling against The Domain Name Company it might not be such a good idea for the owner to try and use this URL.

AND SPEAKING OF .LTD.CO.NZ
It appears that someone gets good value from Aardvark weekly. Almost before the virtual ink on last week's column was dry, someone rushed out and registered ltd.co.nz - for obvious reasons :-)

XTRA ISN'T THE ONLY ONE!
If you followed the Xtra security saga with interest then here's a link worth looking at - but of course I couldn't possibly comment.

HEAVEN SAVE US FROM THE PRINT MEDIA!
Why is it that so many print-media journalists seem to be completely clueless when it comes to the internet? What is it about the net that makes it so difficult for these people to report the facts accurately?

I refer of course to the regular monotony with which we read in the paper about yet another link between pornography and the internet. It seems that a cocktail of smut and computers is simply too much temptation for some journalists who refuse to let something as trivial as the facts get in the way of a good story.

Take recent events for example. Both the print and broadcast media reported that IAD had been monitoring a web site in the USA. BZZT! Wrong! It didn't take more than a couple of minutes for Aardvark to find out that they had been sitting on an IRC channel - a difference which has significant bearing on such a story - but that doesn't seem to matter to our would-be tabloid press.

Then there was the article in Friday morning's Dominion (who as publishers of the extremely good Infotech Weekly should know better) by Giles Wilson who seemed more intent on creating a good headline than a factual account when he wrote a piece implying that Xtra had cut access to 10,000 newsgroups. Maybe it's about time the internet industry demanded a better standard of reporting from the traditional news media.

WHERE NEXT WITH NET-PORN
In the light of Xtra's pulling of the contentious newsgroups this week I spoke to a number of ISPs about whether they plan to do the same. It seems that the concensus amongst those I queried is that they have no plans to follow Xtra's lead but will remove access if IAD demand it. Given Mr Ross Allan's stand against net porn I suspect that IAD, NatRad, Holmes and numerous MPs will be receiving a regular barage of correspondence from Mr Allan as he attempts to ensure that every ISP complies with his own personal view of what the internet should be. If he doesn't continue his campaign then it can only be assumed that his actions against Xtra were solely motivated by the threat that they pose to his own ISP venture.

Mr Allan... the ball is firmly in your court - do you dare to enrage even more internet users by forcing your beliefs upon them, or will you play the hypocrite?

ANOTHER REAL-ESTATE SITE
Several Aardvark readers wrote and told me that I'd forgotten to include the Property Press site last week in my review of the big boys in real-estate on the web. Well my original rational was that the Property-Press wasn't actually a real-estate company but merely a publisher of real-estate listings, however since others obviously feel they are an important component - here's what I think of their site:

Well it's visually very nice - I could almost smell the fresh bread baking, the hot coffee brewing and the vanilla essence in the cupboards. The level of information provided on each property is pretty minimal, about the same as you get in the print-version of the publication.

Obviously the Bank of NZ think there's value in buying banner space on this site and providing a morgage calculator - however it's a pretty unimpressive attempt with no mention of whether the mortgage being calculated is flat or table and no indication of the prevailing rate of interest being offered by the BNZ - both important factors to the would-be home-buyer.
Aardvark rating: Nice presentation, needs details

RIGHT OF REPLY
Anyone mentioned by Aardvark who feels that they have been misrepresented or who wish a "right of reply" are invited to send email to me at ror@aardvark.co.nz and the contents of that email will be printed verbatim for all to read.

RIGHT OF REPLY
A response to the article in last week's Aardvark regarding the Duke Nukem censorship in Australia and NZ

Duke Nukem 3D


FROM THE "I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S TRUE" DEPARTMENT:

Now here's a company which is more than a little pessimistic about its ability to create a web page that will attract visitors... look what you get for your $28 per month - and is it really that impressive when touting to a market of 50 million?

Is that all I get?

Is it just me or do you get the feeling that clients will be charged as if every byte on their site is downloaded each time a hit is registered?

So You Don't Forget!
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The entire contents of this publication are copyright 1996 to Bruce Simpson, all rights reserved. Don't copy it without my permission - just ask, I'm unlikely to refuse any reasonable request.


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