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9th June 1997
The changing face of the Net
Once upon a time, any kind of grouping of Internet users or providers was pretty much a techno-geek-fest. All you'd hear were jargon-words and acronyms such as bandwidth, SMTP, Ping, TCP, FTP, server, router, etc, etc.

The Net-mavens ruled and the common man would have felt very uneasy about rubbing shoulders with such an awe-inspiring bunch.

My how times have changed.

Attending and speaking at the IDG Internet Expo a week or so ago I saw just how much the Net is rapidly becoming the domain of the business-person.

Gone was the techno-jargon, only to replaced by business-speak.

Marketing, branding, strategic positioning, ROI, cost/benefit analysis and many more words and phrases that few techno-nerds would want to know about were the order of the day.

Seems that in the past 12 months, the Net has become a real business, for users, access-providers and content creators alike.

A better net and fewer fax machines?
I can remember when Net sites that asked you to part with your hard earned cash were very few and far between - but that was before "the invasion of the suits".

Now we have sites such as NBR charging for access to some levels of its site and even IDG talking about making certain aspects of their site available on a "pay-per-view" or subscription basis.

So what does this mean to the average Net user?

Probably nothing bad - maybe even something really good.

The suits will demand much higher levels of performance out of the Net and they'll probably be prepared to pay the money that it will cost to achieve this. Odds are that all Net users will benefit as a result.

Already email is carrying much of the messaging that was previously performed by fax or direct phone conversations. Given that even the smallest of businesses tend to have computers these days and that fax/data modems are now cheaper than fax machines, I'd say that it won't be long before the fax becomes the secondary rather than primary method of non-vocal telecommunications.

Of course the fax won't disappear overnight but with the arrival of remote-printing across the Net, it can't be expected to remain king of the castle for too much longer.

It's my bet that within 12 months, over half of all businesses in New Zealand will have Internet connectivity, even if just for the purposes of email. After all, once you've got your PC, all it costs is $200 for a budget modem and (if you use a time-based ISP with no minimum monthly charge), your monthly charges can be as little as $5, about the price of a single roll of fax paper!

here come the suits...
a line in the sand...
Last week it was announced that the pending law-suits against TotalNews have been settled by way of a "linking license" between CNN and the other plaintiffs.

Now when you click on the CNN button at the TotalNews site, you still go to CNN's web site - but instead of framing the CNN content, TotalNews spawns a separate browser window.

As I've said all along - framing someone else's copyrighted material is tantamount to republishing and is therefore unacceptable behaviour, even if not yet proven to be illegal.

The out of court settlement of this case may well set a useful "line in the sand" which represents the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable linking practices in the commercial world.

Based on this outcome, I feel that the new NZ News Wires page on 7am should not upset too many people - although I expect someone will try to prove me wrong :-).

Cowboys ride the Web (again)
Last year, when Telecom launched their Xtra site, seasoned surfers went ape over the huge 135Kbyte graphic which made up the front page, and fair enough. All good Web designers know that a good page has no more than 50K-60K of graphics on it and that any single graphic of more than 45K is inadvisable. And... of course you NEVER build a page that doesn't also have text-links for navigation, do you?

Well... here's a site that reported (Infotech Weekly) cost "a six figure sum" to develop. Unfortunately it looks like yet another case of "Cowboys at work". Check out the 119Kbyte front-page graphic (which is not even a menu) and then the 131Kbyte second page menu.

It wouldn't be so bad if the second-page graphic was worth waiting for but it really looks like the kind of work a 9 year old with a copy of Windows Paintbrush would knock up in about 15 minutes.

Just to add insult to injury, in an article on IDG's web site, NetCheck's managing director is quoted as saying "We have sufficient security measures so that break-ins don't happen". An eagle-eyed Aardvark reader reports that they're currently running the site from a copy of of Microsoft Personal Web Server 2.0 -- can you spell "sieve"?

Sorry guys.. you win the "I Can't Believe it's True" award this week!

Yehaa! Giddyup!
Smack my hand!
There was no Aardvark Weekly last Monday - it was Queen's Birthday Weekend. Boy was that a mistake!

My mailbox was flooded with complaints - so I apologise to those who missed their weekly fix.

I Can't Believe It's True!
Yes, as I said in the article up the page a bit - cowboys ride again!

I are a wEb dEsiGna

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