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Dateline: 22 March 2000 Early Edition
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What's Up At The Herald?
It looks as if the wheels have fallen off the NZ Herald's website.

For more than 24 hours now it has either been displaying nothing more than an error screen or coughing up its content like a choking baby.

The Herald has been having this same problem on and off for quite some time and regular readers will recall that I commented on it when doing a roundup of local news sites in the February 24 edition and again on February 28.

What ever the problem is -- it's certainly knocked it out for the count this time.

I must admit to being surprised that they would let a problem like this persist for so long -- especially when Nzoom.com is clearly challenging them for the crown of NZ's most popular online news site and while Neilsens/NetRatings are collecting data for their first round of local web ratings reports.

I did drop an email to the site administrator yesterday asking for some kind of clue as to what/when/why -- but to date there's been no response -- maybe they've all been murdered at their desks? Can someone please pop downstairs and check?

What Makes A Good Startup Page?
Wow.. what a lot of feedback in response to yesterday's column and the "secret ingredient" was almost universally mentioned by those who emailed their thoughts.


It seems that your average Net user doesn't like some web-designer or computer geek trying to second-guess them when it comes to determining what should be on that startup page.

The site which was mentioned more than any other in glowing terms was, as I suspected, NZ City. Writers praised its flexibility and personalisation abilities. Some did say that it was still a little cluttered for their liking -- but most seemed quite happy.

I guess in this regard Nzoom.com would have to be considered a bust. It makes no concession to tailoring its content to the individual -- but hey guys -- now you know what you've got to do!

Tomorrow I'll outline another startup-page option that a few Aardvark readers are already using but which may not be immediately obvious to most Net users.

How About That Sausage Eh?
Can you believe the good fortune that has smiled on Steve Outram?

Depending on which news source you believe, he's now worth somewhere between $250m and $900m -- which is a lot of money.

It's a shame that there's simply no way on earth anyone could repeat his astronomical success in the new economy without leaving NZ to do so. It's not that Australia's economy is so much bigger than NZ's -- it's just that they don't consider hi-tech entrepreneuring to be the kind of undesirable activity that deserves being hit with a penalty tax in the way New Zealand does. In fact -- the rumour is that the Australians are actually encouraging people to start hi-tech ventures!

Speaking of which...

The Anderton Factor
I received a very nice email from a switched on reader within Parliament yesterday asking for a copy of the email I sent to Jim and querying whether I might have sent it to the wrong address.

Well I sent it to an address that was given to me by two sources -- and it didn't bounce so I assume it was delivered -- to someone.

I've asked the writer to please confirm whether my email should have found its way into Jim's mailbox but haven't got confirmation of that yet. If it wasn't the right address then I'll gladly restart the Anderton Factor clock.

It has now been Six days since I sent my email to Jim Anderton with suggestions on how to encourage the "new economy" and requesting a reply from our Minister of Economic Development.

Still No response from the minister himself.

Free republication rights available on request


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