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5th May 1997
BBC's Net resources struggle with election
In case you missed it - there was an election in Britain last week - and two of the UK's TV broadcasters turned to the Web as another method of disseminating the results to the greater world.

ITN set up this site to keep Net users informed and although it appeared to be a little behind in its news-feed, it was always available and carried some other useful tidbits of information.

It was the BBC who seemed to have the real problems. Their election site seemed to be unavailable much of the time - perhaps overloaded.

What's worse was the way the BBC World News announcers on their global TV channel consistently gave the wrong URL for the site. In fact even when it was displayed correctly onscreen as www.bbc.co.uk/election97 they were calling it www.bbc.co.uk.election97 (note the slash became a dot) - I wonder how many Net neophytes were frustrated to death by that? And.. it wasn't a one-off occurance, I saw it mentioned incorrectly at least three times. You'd think they would take the time to educate their announcers as to the basics don't you?

Have I ever mentioned that the mainstream broadcasters and publishers still don't understand the Internet?

Now "that's" interesting
Last week I made a change to the way the links on Aardvark Daily's news page worked. The normal mode of operation was that when an off-site story was linked to, the new page was loaded into the existing browser window.

When I changed this behaviour so that clicking on a link opened a new browser window I was deluged with email saying "don't do that!".

So... it's back to normal now. Thanks to all those who voiced their comments so freely :-)

I got it wrong!
Sue sue sue...
Don't chase ambulances - sit on the Net!
Yes, that's my advice to up and coming lawyers. It would appear that the Internet is starting to offer rich pickings for the legal industry as litigation becomes an increasingly common way of dealing with disagreements.

There was a time when almost any dispute on the Net could be settled with a quick flame-war but these days, now that the fat-cats have worked out that there's real money to be made, things have become far more serious.

Here are just a few of the higher profile suits underway at present:

  • Image Online Design is seeking an injunction against the IAHC
  • Time/Compuserve battle in court over Web content
  • Ticketmaster Sues Microsoft over Web-site links
  • AOL sued for trolling
  • LA-Times/CNN/Washington Post sue Total News over links
  • Shetland Times battles Shetland News over links
  • Class action suit against PC Monitor manufacturers
  • IHUG taken to small claims court
  • Teleguide threatens IHUG with suit

With venture-capital so readily available and new IPOs (private companies going public) in the US almost daily -there's a lot of money at stake - and where there's money and competition you can guarantee the lawyers won't be far away.

NZ Usenet becomes political hotbed
If talkback radio's not your scene - but you're interested in seeing what people are saying about Tuku Morgan, the proposed 94 million dollar Government palace and other things political then the nz.general newsgroup seems to be the place to hang out at present.

It's also a hotbed of discussion on racial and treaty issues. I wonder if politicians in Wellington are paying as much attention to these discussions as they do to talkback radio? In reality, I suspect that few of them even know that the Internet extends beyond the Web and email.

Probably just as well - I doubt they'd like the tone of the messages being exchanged and it must be remembered that Net users don't (yet) accurately represent a reasonable cross-section of our society.

It makes you wonder though doesn't it... how long before citizens are able to have their say on the really important subjects through the use of interactive voice-response phone systems or even the Net. Just enter your IRD number, a PIN, and your vote - bingo.. instant (true) democracy!

Now why was it again that so many politicians are afraid of the Internet and seek to regulate it?

Well I didn't know that!
It's getting better..
TVNZ Revisited
Some time ago I berated TVNZ for the quality of their Web site and the "dirty tricks" such as displaying other sites within their own framed branding. It's been a while since then so I decided to re-visit and here's what I found...

Starting at the front page it's obvious that there are now more programme-support pages on the site, but unfortunately they're still relying on a 74Kbyte GIF for the main menu (that's *way* too big) - only some of the options are available from a text-based navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.

Congratulations are in order now that they've dropped that silly client-pull updating of the advertising panes on their news and some other pages - now a Java applet is used.

The news pages (which were once the focus of a dispute between TVNZ and 7am News) are now nicely organised - albeit the stories are mere "snips" of news, shorter even than the IRN articles found on Xtra's site.

Biggest bouquet of all goes to the fact that they now use links to other sites (such as CNN) in an honourable and ethical manner.

Of course their TV Listings are still far from what one might expect from an organisation that has TVNZ's resources - but I'm sure they'll get around to revamping that aspect sometime.

All in all - a much improved site - but do something about either reviewing that 75K front-page graphic or add full support for browsers in text-mode.

New flat-rate ISP in Auckland
There are two main true flat-rate ISPs in Auckland, IHUG and Sinesurf. Well, there was until recently, now there's a new provider on the scene, operating under the name of Jets Internet Ltd.

This has to be the cheapest ISP option available anywhere in the country with monthly flat-rate access costing as little as $20+GST per month (plus a one-off $29+GST connection fee).

Unfortunately it would appear that they don't have much bandwidth and that what they do have may be pretty much over committed - it took a full minute to retrieve any page from their Web site on Sunday evening. Still, ya pays ya money and ya takes your chances!

value or cheap?

I Can't Believe It's True!
So you want to be a millionaire? No problem! If there's one thing you can be sure of, it's that on the Web there are a million ways to become one.

See.. it's easy!

They may be optimistic - but at least they're honest.
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