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Free ISP Model Takes Another Bashing?
A major Free ISP in the UK, Breathe.com has gone belly-up with losses of over NZ$150m.

Closer to home, local free ISP ZFree has stopped accepting new members after reaching its 250,000 target.

The Worm Wave Has Started 18 December 2000 Edition
Previous Edition

As predicted in the weekly edition of Aardvark, an onslaught of email-borne worms, trojans and viruses has started just in time for the festive season.

Just last night I detected and disabled an email carrying a copy of the Hybris Worm as it arrived in my mailbox. I doubt it will be the last nasty little package that will be received in the coming weeks.

I'd be interested in hearing from others who find similar unwanted payloads over the next few days.

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Online Shopping's Time Has Come?
Dot-com etailers have been going to the wall this year faster than most of us can keep count -- but the silly thing is that those who have been able to tread water long enough and who have their fulfillment systems sorted out are (by all reports) doing very well right now.

The Christmas rush, combined with the death of many etail wannabes has left those remaining in a good position to post some very impressive turnovers.

However, that which is etail's greatest strength can also be its greatest weakness.

By this I mean that you might as well put your mouse away now if you were planning to do some last-minute online shopping for Christmas.


Well, with less than a week to go there are only a very few online vendors that are willing to promise delivery in time for the 25th. If you want that last minute present for Aunty Maude then you're going to have to leave the keyboard and fight the crowds on the streets I'm afraid.

Which is why I'm surprised more etailers haven't woken up to the potential for selling vouchers online.

It seems that every time I visit The Warehouse (in person) you can guarantee, no matter which check-out queue I join, the person in front of me wants to buy a dozen gift vouchers for friends and family. This means the poor checkout operator is burdened with the task of typing in a whole lot of information through a keyboard not really designed for the task and then positioning and printing each and every token separately.

If you're unlucky enough to be behind such a person then you might as well swap queues there and then because I've yet to see this procedure performed in under 10 minutes -- per voucher!

So why not offer an online system where you can, at 11:30pm on Christmas Eve, drop into a shop's website, fill out a form, hand over your credit card details and have your PC print out a valid gift voucher that can be redeemed as soon as the shop is open for trading again?

Come on retailers -- wake up -- start using the unique power of the Net to your advantage and to the benefit of your customers. Let's get creative!

Aardvark Weekly, Have You Got Yours?
I'm still sorting out the "features" of the Aardvark Weekly mailing list so some subscribers won't have yet received the latest edition -- but I'm planning to clear the backlog today. Please be patient.

If you want to subscribe, just drop me a note and I'll put you on the list.

As always, your feedback is welcomed and...

Did you tell someone else about this website today? If not then do it now!

Security Alerts
AIM Flaw Could Open Users' Computers to Attack (InternetNews)

Denial-of-Service Vulnerabilities in TCP/IP Stacks: (CERT)

Sun advises of a potential compromise of 2 specific security certificates (CERT)

IE 5.5 hole lets hackers read files (CNet)

Bug hunter finds another hole in Microsoft IE browser CNet

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

Virus Alerts
Virus: Snow White not so innocent ZDNet

Wild Worm With Pro-Linux Message (Wired)

Antivirus firm says Shockwave virus spreading quickly (CNet)

Virus Wishes You A Merry Christmas (TechWeb)

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

4  Knowledge industry council planned
An umbrella group called the Knowledge Industries Council is expected to be launched early next year as a critical adviser to the Government and a catalyst for New Zealand's economic development...

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4  Mega-Corps Fawn Over Linux
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4  Mobile E-Commerce: Stuck In Neutral?
No one, including a growing group of wide-eyed business and IT managers, can deny that mobile e-commerce has huge potential...

4  Streaming Gets Down to Business
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4  Telecom warned over Optus buy
ANALYSTS have welcomed Telecom New Zealand's admission it was interested in certain parts of Cable & Wireless Optus, but have warned the group against taking on more than it can handle...
Australian IT

4  Sharon unhappy with Spike
ONLINE adult products retailer SharonAusten.com has slammed web designer Spike Networks, claiming it built a site too slow and cumbersome for thousands of Christmas shoppers...
Australian IT

4  Pleasant Jinx for cable users
BY THE middle of next year, up to 50,000 Australians will have free broadband Internet access. Sound too good to be true?...

4  Queensland goes bandwidth 'bananas'
Looking for more bandwidth? Go to Queensland, it has plenty to spare. In fact, according to the state government much of it is going to waste...


4  Online stores learn from past mistakes
E-tailers improve their order-fulfillment and customer-service operations to complete more sales. The failure rate in 1999? One sale in four...

4  DeCSS case hits California roadblock
Hollywood loses a ruling in its fight to outlaw DeCSS, an open-source Linux computer code that allows copying of protected DVD disks...

4  States Seek Sales Tax Overhaul Aimed at Internet
At least 30 states will attempt to simplify their sales tax codes next year with an eye toward eventually capturing revenue from Internet sales, a key state legislator says...

4  Clicks-N-Bricks Retailers Show Big Traffic Gains
A handful of brick-and-mortar retailers with shopping Web sites are giving pure online retailers a run for their money during the holiday season, with traditional merchants making up eight of the 10 fastest-growing retail Web sites last week, according to a new survey...

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

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