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4th August 1997
The America's Cup is Coming!
The finals of the America's cup are still a few years off but it seems that a number of sites have already started appearing on the Web.

Xtra have launched their "official" America's Cup site but they'll have to watch out for some strong competition from others.

The US syndicate America One have their site up and running already. Despite being a US site, it has a rather "quaint" set of pages about New Zealand. On these pages we learn that NZ is not (as so many Americans apparently believe) a part of Australia and of course we're reminded that there are sure a lot of sheep here.

The Cup is another US site which claims to be the premiere online source for America's Cup information (don't they all?).

A little closer to home, Team NZ's site disappoints somewhat when you find that you can't click on the team-picture to get bios and extra info on each team member. Come on guys... how about it eh?

How's your Japanese? If you can make sense of the lingo then you might want to visit the Nippon Challenge Site, if not then don't bother.

Of course our own Dave Blyth of WebDesign has produced a site with what must be the most valuable of all America's Cup domain names www.americas-cup.co.nz. It has some good information and news on the lead-up to the Cup plus the usual stuff about NZ.

One thing's for sure - just as with the Mars landing, the Net will probably the first "port of call" for huge numbers of people seeking the latest info on the racing when it starts.

Whether the "official" sites will be usurped by the independent sites remains to be seen. What I want to know is who's going to do the "live" racing info page using Java applets linked to the GPS units in the boats?

Oi! Where'd the biscuits go?
Aardvark's spies report that the budget-trimming at Xtra is cutting deep. It seems that one of the since-departed Chris Tyler's initiatives was the provision of "free biscuits" for staff.

Well, those halcyon days are now gone and it's BYO at Xtra. Mind you... with the cost of this perk rumoured to be well into four figures - it's not surprising that now the Cameo Cremes are kaput.

I guess that's the way the cookie crumbles guys and gals.


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Thar she blows!
NBR's shaky facelift
Since its launch, the NBR site has been hailed (mainly by themselves) as NZ's largest Web site, now claiming to offer over 200 on-line services and an all-new emailed News-push service.

The recent face-lift however seems to have been somewhat problematic.

Most attempts to access the site using the no-frames option results in nothing more than a system error and Aardvark has received quite a number of emails from people whose unified voice seems to be "much nicer design - but very unreliable".

No doubt Clearview are burning the midnight oil to fix the problems but one has to ask why a pre-launch site-survey was not undertaken to catch and fix these faults before the public got its hands on the "new look".

It's great having a raft of new features such as breaking news stories dropped right into your mailbox - but it would also be nice if the site was still able to be used in the normal way.

'The leading Internet consultant in NZ'
This article in last week's Aardvark produced more mail than any other article I've ever written.

It seems that a lot of people were able to identify the "ex-spurt" I mentioned last week - simply from the description I gave.

After reading these emails, I certainly feel vindicated in my comments regarding this guy. It would appear that a great many people in the industry have already had "encounters of the unpleasant kind" with him.

For those who didn't figure it out for themselves or haven't encountered Mr Danny de Hek before, I'm including his name and the link to his own delightful home-page for your enjoyment and enlightenment.

Yellow dots?
Will Telecom Clean Up?
What's the most popular and effective business directory (of the printed kind) in New Zealand?

Of course, everyone knows that it's the Yellow Pages, published by Telecom Directories. For just an arm and a leg, you too can advertise your business in this delightful tome whose choice of colours must be attributed to a Henry Ford type mentality (You can have any colour you like so long as it's yellow!).

Until now, the Web has seen a proliferation of small business directories, all aspiring to become the Yellow Pages of the local Net scene. One of the first and still most innovative is FaxMail, a system which continues to thrive while others have come and gone, including the infamous "Coloured Pages" run by ex-CyberNet people.

Web-directories such as Access NZ and NZ Pages perform a useful role, but deal mainly with those business that at least have an email connection.

Well of course it was only a matter of time before the Yellow Pages people got themselves sorted-out and decided to go onto the Web.

The Yellow pages site at www.yellowpages.co.nz is currently in a holding pattern but you can get more info by sneaking past the front door to their Display Advertising section. Here you'll see what options will be available to those who want to spend extra money to go into the on-line directory.

But... do you realise that the UK Yellow Pages site is offering FREE Web sites to its customers. Yes, while here in New Zealand we'll be paying $600 a year or more to get a few megre "standardised" pages, the good old pommies are getting it for free!

So, are Telecom Directories going to walk in and take over the on-line business directory business? Will they get away with charging big bucks for standard-template-type Web pages? Maybe, maybe not. What's going on at http://yellow.pages.co.nz? Is this a serious site or a send-up?

I Can't Believe It's True!
As mentioned above, NBR's site now offers 200 services, many, many thousands of Web page permutations and a huge amount of content. The Press is acknowledged as being NZ's best on-line newspaper with lots of interesting and diverse columns and news features - but this deluge of information can eventually produce mental overload after a while.

How refreshing it was therefore to find this site which is, in a word "concise". Every kind, honest act ever performed by a contemporary politician is listed on this site, no mean feat!.

The New Zealand Times

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