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17th February 1997
Swapping pulp for electricity
Yesterday I realised something... I've almost completely stopped buying magazines about computers or the Internet.

Gone are the days when every six months I had to consign huge numbers of printed periodicals to boxes in the garage because they were simply taking up too much space inside.

My collection of Byte magazine stretches back from over a decade in the past, but stops about 18 months ago. Likewise my Dr Dobbs, US PC Magazine, Windows Magazine, Australian Personal PC, Bits & Bytes and a raft of others. Why is this?

I think it boils down to the pace at which the computer and communications industries are moving and the inability of the printed medium to keep up.

Time was when the 6-8 weeks between when an article was written and when it hit the streets was unimportant but these days, industry news becomes very stale in just a few days - so who wants to read "history"?

Meanwhile, down at Microsoft...
Last week I called in to see the people at Microsoft New Zealand and apart from the fact that they didn't have any chocolate cake or chocolate biscuits to offer me, it was a very pleasant visit.

One thing's for sure, they sure know how to pick people who are dedicated to their products and the company line. I expect that it's this almost blind devotion and acceptance of the Microsoft-way by its employees which allows MS to be so aggressive in the market and obtain such performance from its people.

You really have to admire any organisation which can recruit so selectively, but by the same token it must be hoped that it doesn't produce a resource which is less than keen to openly critique its own performance in the market and flaws in its products and strategies.

the company line
every day sites
Is the NZ Web boring?
Every morning at about 6:30am I sit down at my screen and keyboard to start the day's work. The time taken for the computer to boot up gives me time to wipe the sleep from my eyes and reflect on the stupidity of getting just four and a half hours sleep a day.

Anyway, once I've come to my senses, I check out those NZ web sites which have content that is updated daily - and it's not a big job. @IDG, SODA, some bits of the Xtra site, Clear's News page, The Press, the daily news portion of Netguide and, on Monday mornings, Infotech Weekly.

Okay, from time to time I'll also drop in to NBR but I have to say that I still can't find things which I know are there - somewhere, so such visits are few and frustrating.

How ever you look at it, there's only about 5-10 minute's reading in all the above material combined and although the quality of the content may be (in some cases) very high, it's hardly worth firing up the browser on some days.

So, what's my point?

Well I think it's a real shame that there aren't more Web sites in New Zealand which are regularly updated on a daily basis.

Why are TV, radio and newspapers such a popular form of entertainment and information? Because they're "new" every day!

The truth about the NZ Web is that we only have a handful of sites that are anything other than static. Now some sites such as ClearNet give the illusion of being regularly updated, but 99% of that is smoke and mirrors which are used to shuffle the same old stuff around into new positions.

If I were to limit my Net-surfing to just NZ sites, life would soon become very tedious with the highlight of the day being the investigation of any "new" sites.

Okay, as someone who maintains just two sites that get updated once or more per day I can confirm that it's a lot of work, but given that many ISPs are giving their subscribers some free web space as part of their subscription, I'd like to see more small groups of individuals creating some interesting and dynamic content.

Is the NZ Web boring?
Tell me about it!
Now I'm sure I've left out a whole heap of sites which are regularly updated and I think it's fair (and useful) if we all get to hear about these sites, so if anyone has a site which is updated daily and they want others to know about it, just drop me an email and next week I'll list all those which qualify.

Let's get the NZ Web moving and make it worth staying within the .co.nz domain!

Net Shopping
Well I've been barraged with requests to re-vist the Net-shopping scene in New Zealand despite my protests that it might not be seen as a good idea given my own involvements in this sector.

I'll think a bit more about it before I decide one way or the other but in the meantime I thought readers might be interested in knowing that Xtra's Interflora e-shop turned over almost $5,000 worth of sales in the lead-up to Valentine's Day last week. There were also some 3,000 electronic Valentine's cards sent from the Xtra site.

It's safe to say that Net shopping is gathering speed in New Zealand.

in the name of love
Reviews restart next month
Upcoming reviews
From March, I'll be including a product review in each issue of Aardvark Weekly. These reviews will be conducted with a very critical eye and after completely discarding the manufacturer's claims and "reviewer assistance" sheets.

Already in the works are reviews on IBM's Warp 4, Symantec's Visual Cafe and Microsoft's Font Page '97.

If you or your organisation has a product (software or hardware) that you would like reviewed by Aardvark, let me know.

Both readers and companies submitting product should be aware that thanks to Aardvark's "low overhead" operation, advertorial considerations won't affect the outcomes of the reviews. If it's a good product I'll say so, if it's not - I won't be afraid to tell you.

And of course, all reviews will accept "right of reply" emails if others disagree with my findings.

I Can't Believe It's True!
There's nothing particularly out of the ordinary about the contents of this site, but can you believe the length of the domain name?...

The Professional Fire Fighter's Union

It appears that this domain name is the longest one in the NZ DNS.
Right Of Reply

Graeme Coleman for NBR

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