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3rd March 1997
All the Net's a critic
Some of the most popular locations on the Web are the many and varied "site of the day" pages. Indeed, New Zealand has spawned its own collection of such sites with the trailblazer being Wammo which used to feature a new "award winning" NZ web site each weekday morning. Unfortunately Wammo is now only updated randomly (still showing 10th of Feb as I write this on Monday morning).

When Wammo wound down, SODA, took up the challenge and now highlights a different NZ site daily, although I suspect it too will soon find that there simply isn't an endless supply of good quality sites coming onto the NZ web.

There was also the "Soggy Turnip" site which existed for just a brief instant in time and was an attempt to highlight the worst of NZ's web. Unfortunately attempts to contact this site using my old bookmarks simply tell me that the server is no longer responding.

Of course Aardvark's own "I Can't Believe it's True" is focused on the NZ Web whenever possible and is also somewhat judgemental in nature, but the quips are made in good humour.

Let he who is without sin!
A new Net-critique wannabe received a painful shock this week when they burst forth onto the Web with their self-proclaimed Web-authoring expertise. Unfortunately for them, their Computerland's Hall of Shame produced some very red-faces.

Not only were some embarrassing errors found on their pages (people in glass houses..) but the response to their "announcement" in the New Zealand newsgroups drew some very strong and very negative reactions. It might not have been so bad if they hadn't previously breached netiquette by posting a blatantly commercial advertisement and solicitation to the nz.comp newsgroup where such things are strictly forbidden.

It seems that the average NZ Net user is happy to accept an honest and unbiased critique of other sites, but when such an activity is undertaken simply as a thinly disguised way of promoting another company's own wares - it exceeds the bounds of acceptable practice.

Such poorly researched activities also highlight either the naivety or arrogance of an organisation which either hasn't taken the time to research the medium in which they claim expertise, or who simply choose to ignore the rules. Either way I suspect that the whole exercise has done far more harm than good and ComputerLand management might best call in the services of a "real" expert in the field for some help before they try such a stunt again.

people in glass houses
nice site!
By comparison...
If you (and ComputerLand) want to see how to properly critique a Web site in a way which works well, it might be worth visiting Kirsten Harrison's Keyhole Reviews site.

I like it! It's unpretentious and approaches the task of reviewing other people's web pages with a positive and constructive perspective.

Hey, she even reviewed my decidedly bad home page which I created as a bit of a joke using the free web space that iProlink provides to its customers. You've got to admire a site that calls a spade a spade!

After my little rave a week or two ago about the lack of regularly updated content on the NZ Web, it's also good to find another site which changes often enough to warrant bookmarking.

The Hype - Follow-ups
Last week I highlighted the hype which is HyperBanner. Well at the time I wrote that, I sent email to the address at the bottom of the page (webmaster@new-zealand.hyperbanner.net). Guess what... it bounced! N'uff said I think.

Guess what... NBR are now claiming to have achieved 52,758 hits on a single day, attributing this new record to the addition of an RNZ news feed to their site. I particularly liked the use of words such as "skyrocketed", and "surged" - someone call the spin-doctor, I feel giddy!

Come on NBR, skip the hype ("hits" are only a relative measure), tell us how many unique visitors you get each day - that's the real measure of success.

hype, hype, hype.
now that's cheap!
Now that's a bargain!
If you're one of those who don't plan to upgrade to a 56Kbit modem in the near future and if your ISP runs an "fixed" Ascend box or modems which are compatible then there seems to be a pretty good deal going on Motorola Lifestyle modems over at Megadyne.

While it's not my policy to give away free advertising, this deal would be almost too good to pass up if you're in need of a 28.8Kbps external modem from a known manufacturer. They've got the Motorola Lifestyle 28.8 external modems for $190 including GST. I figured it was worth letting my readers know.

As with most modems, some people swear-by them, some swear at them - but I do know of several which have been working well for their owners for many months. Check with your ISP first though to make sure that if they're using Ascend boxes for dial-in support, those boxes have been patched to fix an annoying bug that only seems to occur with Motorola modems.

I believe the problem affected (or may still affect) iHUG and Xtra (among others) - check for yourself first.

And in a shameless desire for gaining advertising revenues in the future, I'd rather like it if you told them that you heard about the offer here :-)

The Aardvark Backlog (update)
The score this week... backlog 1, Aardvark 0.

Yes I'm afraid I've not made much headway in clearing the list of "must do's" associated with this site but I'm getting there.

The review of FrontPage 97 will be online tomorrow, I simply ran out of time this weekend although I can tell you that it will be worth reading in light of the recent news about what some see to be its major competitor, HotDog.

loose ends...

I Can't Believe It's True!
How many of you trust your friends enough to give them the password to your Internet account? Voyager seem to think it won't be a problem.

Do YOU trust a mate with your password?
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