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13th January 1997
The 'new' look
A hearty thanks to the many readers who emailed me with their comments on the "new look" Aardvark.

Almost without exception this feedback was very positive and encouraging, although (believe it or not), there were a handful of people who were disappointed that the ads had gone - what does that say about the editorial content I wonder?

The only point over which there was some debate, was the use of the smaller font size, but only 10% of writers said that they found this a problem while most were quite happy with it. For the time being I'll leave things the way they are but I am considering duplicating the weekly content in a format suitable for those who are visually impaired and rely on a large font or text-to-speech software.

Fawlty Towers?
Remember the days when businesses realised the value of a customer and treated them accordingly?

Well there are still some "olde worlde" businesses around but some of the newer, trendier startups think it's smart to be rude and insult their customers. Look at this site in the UK which is one advertising agency's idea of "making an impression". The site is supposedly going to tell us all about advertising on the Net and expects that you'll have the latest and greatest in browsers and plug-ins. On the surface, it would also appear that like all good designers, they've provided a link for those whose software isn't quite "state of the art" - but try the "text only site" link and see what happens.

It wouldn't be so bad - if it weren't for the fact that their HTML code seems to have a strange character stuck on the end and (in my opinion) is littered with the typical signs of a novice web-designer in the form of huge images (60K+) and cryptic symobism with no alternative text links. Get real guys - treat your customers like idiots and all you get are - idiots for customers.

"Good morning sir, how may I help you?"
"Good morning Dave..."
Watch that door
Did you send HAL a card yesterday?

"HAL who?"... HAL 9000, that's who!

Yes, according to the machine itself in Arthur C. Clarke's classic book and movie "2001 a Space Odyssey", HAL was born yesterday. In his own words:

"I am a HAL 9000 computer, Production Number 3. I became operational at the HAL Plant in Urbana, Illinois on January 12, 1997."

It's rumoured that HAL's software is written in Java and that he's using the neXt OS from Apple - but Microsoft are already working on the beta release of Win-HAL/97 which will be available for download from their Web site shortly. Prospective users should note that the beta comes with a warning which says "This product is not suitable for 'mission critical' applications or the control of pod-bay doors".

TV, TV everywhere!
There's been a lot of talk about the impending arrival of the Net-TV, a device which will double as both a TV and an Internet browser. Anyone with half a brain will realise that this is a concept which is doomed from the start - in most households there's already so much fighting over what channel to watch, so much so that a second set is often manditory. Imagine the fights if "surfing the web" mean't that mom or dad couldn't watch the News or Coronation Street!

Well while we've all been looking at how TV is going to bring the Web into our houses I think we've overlooked at just what a wonderful job the Web is doing at bringing TV programmes to our computers!

Just take a look around, every popular TV show now has at least half a dozen sites on the web, some official, some created by enthusiastic amateurs.

If you don't believe me, take a look at this 99Kbyte list of TV shows, both current and old, or today's programmes for an example.

"Not Net-TV but TV-Net!"
"ready, set... GO!"
Gentlemen, take your marks...
It seems that Aardvark is going to face some competition on the NZ web this year with one existing player increasing their emphasis on web-based content and a new competitor coming out of the woodwork.

Russell Brown from @IDG says that he'll be focusing more on producing content for the Web site rather than the printed publication Computerworld. Already visitors to the IDG site will have noticed that Russell has been re-writing many of the stories from the overseas wires so as to give a fresher perspective.

New pretender to the Aardvark crown is Ron Newton who has just launched a daily Net-news site called CyberZeal which looks very pretty and has some good content in its first issue.

Let the contest begin!

Sorry...
I'm afraid this issue of Aardvark Weekly is a bit short, I've been working hard on some rather nice new features for Aardvark which have cut into the time available for creating editorial content.

The first of these new features is now on-line in the form of an automated New Sites listing which will allow web-designers and individuals to announce their new creations without having to rely on me to find the time to update the page manually.

The Aardvark discussion forums will be online by next week and I'll also be launching a "personal homepage directory" which should provide some rather interesting browsing for those who are looking for some home-grown content to browse.

"but wait, there's more!"

I Can't Believe It's True!
The DNS record says "Absolute Intelligence" but one can't help but wonder if that's not just a little pretentious when you visit this wonderful site:

Absolute Intelligence

Doesn't look too smart to me!
 
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