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22 September 1997
Let's get rid of the WWW
What? How can Aardvark advocate getting rid of the WWW?

Well I'm not suggesting that we shut down the World Wide Web, I'm wondering why we still use www in front of URLs, the address used to identify web sites on the Net.

Many of the more popular web sites have already dispensed with the www part of their URLs. These include cnn.com, yahoo.com (although strangely enough, Yahoo NZ still requires you to use www.yahoo.co.nz because yahoo.co.nz doesn't work.

So why get rid of it?

Well these days it's become pretty redundant. We know that typing http://something is going to address a web site - the "http" bit ensures that. Do we need to be reminded by having to include a "www" in front of it? I think this is a convention whose time has come and gone.

Try this ... say out loud "www.cnn.com". Now say "cnn.com". Which do you find more comfortable to say. If you were telling a novice net-surfer friend where to find the CNN site, which do you think would be quicker and easier to relate over the phone?

From a marketing point of view - the WWW is (or should be) dead! Okay - so http://aardvark.co.nz doesn't work (yet) but it will soon. Of course it's probably a good idea to organise your URL so that it works with or without the "www".

Danny de Hek
A few noisy, misinformed individuals have taken me to task for my comments regarding Danny de Hek of late. I stand fast in my assertion that what I've published has been restricted solely to the facts and is not a "personal vendetta" as some have suggested.

Indeed, I've been accused of waging a protracted attack on Danny through repeatedly publishing unsubstantiated criticisms.

Please bear in mind that while Aardvark was the first to comment on Danny's claims, it was not the only online publication to do so and indeed, at least two others have been threatened with legal action - Aardvark has not - because only the facts have been reported here, although it is arguable whether the other publications did breach the law in any way.

For the benefit of anyone who hasn't seen the back-issues concerned, here are the URLs. Judge for yourself whether I've been fair or unfair or just reporting the facts:

Another local E-Zine, The Plug is planning to run a feature on the Danny de Hek saga this week.

I've contacted Danny and reminded him that Aardvark's Right Of Reply is always open, giving him a chance to air any concerns he might have with what's been presented here and the fairness of my commentary. Although he has replied to that email, he has so far declined to avail himself of that option and has not voiced any complaint to me.

And.. to show that I'm a fair-minded guy and to give credit where credit is due, I must say that not only was his latest reply to my email quite professional, his Web design work is definitely improving. Considering this, and the way he has toned down claims regarding his levels of expertise and skill (now claiming only to be NZ's mobile Internet consultant), he seems at great risk of losing the once apt title of "cowboy". Good on ya Danny!

Fair or unfair, you decide

Hello, hello?
This Net Telephony thing
As I've previously reported, there's still no sign of Voyager's Net telephony products and although ICONZ, XTRA and several other ISPs have previously announced their intention to get into it - nothing much has happened - but I can't wait!

On Sunday I spent nearly two hours on a call to the USA using an Internet-based phone-to-phone service. Instead of paying around $2.60 per minute (less the many discounts), it cost me just the price of a call to Wellington ($5 weekend rates applying).

The quality of the call was excellent - albeit somewhat variable. When it was good, it was indistinguishable from a normal local phone call - when it was bad it was very bad, but during the entire 2 hour period it was only "bad" for one brief period of around 20 seconds.

Computer-to-computer Net telephony is not really going to threaten the Telcos, far too few people have - or are nearby their computers when you want to call them.

Phone-to-phone Net telephony - or IP telephony as it's now called is a whole different kettle of fish though. No computers are necessary and call quality is not restricted by the comparatively low-speed and highly variable data connection that a dial-up modem often delivers.

And don't think any savings are going to be restricted to international calls. With a call from Auckland to Wellington costing around $1 per minute during peak hours - IP telephony has some real potential to provide a cost savings to many business and domestic users.

I don't have any details at present but word is that we should look out for a major announcement from an international IP telephony organisation early next week, an announcement that might put a frown on the faces of Telecom and Clear.

Hello, hello - are you there?
As I mentioned above, one of the problems with computer-to-computer Net telephony has been that you've got to have both parties sitting at their computers at the same time.

So how do you know when someone is sitting at their computer? You can send them email I guess - but some people don't check their mail each time they log on or check it when they first connect and then just get on with surfing.

There is an answer to this problem and it's a neat little program called ICQ. What is ICQ?

Well it's lots of things - but perhaps, most importantly it's just like one of those boards that many companies have to show who's in and who's out. You known - they have employees names down the left and little "IN" or "OUT" signs that indicate whether that person is in the building. ICQ is an electronic version of that. When you go online it sets your little flag to "IN" and tells anyone else that wants to contact you that you're online and available.

But it goes further. Knowing they're online is one thing - getting ahold of them is another. ICQ lets you send them little messages or engage in interactive chats. You can also send files, crank up your Net phone and initiate other interactive options - it's GREAT!

It's faster and more immediate than email with the advantage of allowing you to immediately see who's online at any given time - even if they're half a world away.

If you're looking for more info - drop into http://www.mirabilis.com/index.html.

Are you free Mr Grainger
Xerox
I Can't Believe It's True!

I'm sorry but it appears that local-government web sites are a very easy target for ICBIT awards.

I realise that many of them are built on a shoestring and only made possible through the donation of time and effort by unpaid workers - but sometimes I think it's better to do a modest site well than to make a mess of something too ambitious. Now this site is not too bad, they've tried to keep it simple - but TURN OFF YOUR IMAGES before you visit this page and see if it makes sense to you:

New Plymouth District Council

A simple change to use a white background would have solved that problem.

 
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