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Lighten Up 29 September 2000 Edition
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Time for your weekly dose of the wierd, wonderful and sometimes just downright funny:

The Second Coming Project
"The Second Coming Project is a not-for-profit organization devoted to bringing about the Second Coming of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, as prophesied in the Bible" -- or so says this site which takes a very scientific approach to ensuring that the predictions of the bible will come to pass.
Category: Weird!

Bastard Operator From Hell
For those who are new to the Net or haven't yet seen the infamous "Bastard Operator From Hell" pages then you must check out this classic.
Category: Funny

SiSSYFiGHT 2000 is, like, an intense war between a bunch of girls who are all out to ruin each other's popularity and self-esteem. The object is to physically attack and majorly dis your enemies until they are totally mortified beyond belief.
Category: Fun

Thanks to all those readers who contributed suggestions for the Lighten Up section -- and keep sending more!
Readers Say
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Have Your Say

Define "Popular"
Measuring and reporting the most popular sites on the Internet is big-business these days and a small but growing number of players are battling to gain a foothold in this lucrative area.

A new entrant on the local scene is Hitwise which claims to monitor more than 30,000 Kiwi websites, gaining its figures by checking the proxy-server logs used by some 350,000 NZ web-users.

However, there is possibly a few problems with the way that Hitwise goes about calculating its rankings.

Whereas its competition, ACNeilsen reports a "unique audience" as its primary metric, Hitwise seems to rank by the number of page-views a site gets. While it might be a matter of some debate, I tend to think that unique audience is a more accurate estimate of a site's true popularity than is the number of page views. Page views, like "hits," are a figure that can be skewed significantly by the way a site is constructed. For example, Aardvark is a "one-page" site in which every effort is made to present all the information its readers are looking for in a convenient, single, concise HTML document.

If however, I were to break up this site into three or four separate pages by spreading the commentary over a couple of pages and placing the NZ, Australian and World news links on their own separate pages - then Aardvark would be four-times more popular in terms of page-views.

Likewise I could add indirection to the links in the news sections to create an extra virtual page-load and really boost Aardvark's ranking by having each click on a linked story count as well.

If I broke the page up into multiple frames then I could also boost my score as acknowledged here.

In short -- while Hitwise is a nice idea, perhaps they ought to do some more processing and produce a "unique audience" figure as well as the total page-count metric currently offered. They ought to fix up the glaring errors on their own website too! I'm happy to perform the kind of site-survey they should have performed before launching if they contact me.

For example: What's with all the underlining on this page (check this screen capture if it's been fixed) and why don't the many intra-page links work on this site? (hint -- see the correct way I used an intra-page link to the site a couple of paragraphs above).

An Opportunity
As regular readers will know, I'm preparing to launch a new Net-based e-commerce product/service that I strongly believe will become a powerful and significant global force as a key infrastructure component of many online retail operations.

The Net has changed a lot since I launched 7am.com back in 1997 and it's no longer practical to build, launch and operate such a venture with zero funding. There may therefore be the opportunity for some savvy investor to take an equity stake in this new start-up and potentially make a very significant return in reasonably short timeframe. The business model for this venture is strongly revenue-based with profitability targeted at around 12-18 months from launch.

When I launched 7am.com, the free syndication of news content was unheard of -- indeed it was this site that created the online syndication model that is now so popular. From its humble start, 7am.com has grown into the world's most widely syndicated news ticker network -- to the point where (as of February 2000) it has a unique audience and market reach greater than that of the BBC's own news site and delivers the news over a million times per day through a syndication network of more than 165,000 third-party web-pages.

In respect to this new venture I'm only interested in talking with those who are seriously interested and, having learnt to my cost that the vast majority of "wallets" in NZ simply have no understanding of the importance of being able to think on your feet and move quickly, one of the key criteria will be an investor's ability to move quickly and decisively.

All inquiries treated with the strictest confidence -- contact me only if you're seriously interested, can fund a start-up to the tune of NZ $1m-$2m over 12 months, are capable of moving at "Net Speed," and want to be a part of establishing a new model for transacting e-commerce on the Internet.

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

Security Alerts
Microsoft issues new patch for Windows 2000 Telnet security hole (Computerworld)

Windows ME Bugged by Flaw (Wired)

Microsoft adjusts sign-on feature to patch Windows 2000 (CNet)

Word documents susceptible to "Web bug" infestation (CNet)

Trojan horse rears its head on Palms (CNet)

Virus Alerts
UBS warns of new virus (CNN)

Killer Virus Streaming Near You (InternetNews)

'Pokey' virus hits U.S. (CNN)

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Sites In Trouble


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UK Sites
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The Day's Top News
4 = open in new window
New Zealand

4  Pay us international rates please
To retain "knowledge workers" in the 21st century, New Zealand companies will have to pay at international rates, HR bosses have been told...

4  All about Daylight Savings
A reminder that Daylight Savings starts this weekend. Put your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed Saturday or you could...

4  INL link to Sky cited in 3G frenzy
INL's move towards interactive television through its link with Sky Network could be behind its fierce bidding for third-generation (3G) spectrum, say analysts...
NZ Herald


4  Dot Coms Do Bankruptcy Faster
Internet companies take less time than other firms to close cases in bankruptcy court. It helps that dot-coms don't have many hard assets to sort through, says a top Silicon Valley bankruptcy regulator...

4  My Phone/PDA Is Better than Yours
Companies are in a race to put out converged PDA cell phones. But will Americans take to them as enthusiastically as they have to the phones already on the market?...

4  Mac Cube: Is it all it's cracked up to be?
Apple Computer is fending off criticism its stylish Power Mac G4 Cube is marred by cracks. But are the hair-thin lines the defects they appear to be?...

4  MP3 sites see ad revenue jump thanks to Napster
Napster may or may not be good for CD sales, but online music sites can thank the popular file-swapping service for a substantial surge in revenues last month, according to a new study scheduled for release today...

4  Amazon apologizes for random price test
The giant online retailer sends refunds to almost 7,000 customers following a controversial variable pricing experiment...


4  Old School Australian Tech Houses US Bound
Australian technology players Lake Technology and Adacel announced both announced US expansion plans Thursday...

4  Online casino squeezed out by government ban
Trans-Global Interactive has scrapped its online gambling projects as a result of the Federal Government's proposed moratorium...

4  Web streaming not broadcast
A DETERMINATION by the Federal Government that audio and video streaming will not be considered broadcasting services has been welcomed by an internet industry group...
Australian IT

4  CyberWorks-Telstra pact in jeopardy
Under pressure to make concessions in mobile-telephone and Internet joint ventures with Telstra, a bail out by the Australian telco could put a dent in a US$3 billion debt-reduction exercise


4  Mitnick Talks Corporate Security
Corporate IT professionals on Wednesday took a lesson from an unlikely source: Kevin Mitnick...

4  Unix: Still The One For Enterprise Web Apps
When it comes to large-scale Web apps, most businesses still trust Unix machines over Wintel boxes...

4  New Sony Device Puts Net And TV in Your Hand
The Japanese high-tech giant on Thursday launched a portable screen that can be used to surf the Internet, send e-mails and watch TV, billing it as the digital era's answer to its revolutionary Walkman personal stereo...

4  E-signatures: Signed, sealed, delivered
The first [US] national digital signature law goes into effect Sunday. Will your life change? And for the better?...

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Copyright © 2000, Bruce Simpson, free republication rights available on request