Aardvark Daily aardvark (ard'-vark) a controversial animal with a long probing nose used for sniffing out the facts and stimulating thought and discussion.

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Lighten Up 7 December 2001 Edition
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Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
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It's time for more of the best and the worst that the Web has to offer.

Real Search Engine Hits
Just what crazy things are people typing into search engines these days?

The National Public Toilet Map
Only the Aussies would go to the trouble of creating a web site dedicated to documenting the location of public toilets right across the nation eh?

Korean Myths About Cats And Dogs
Here's a load of esoterica you probably didn't need to know.

Need Cutting-Edge Copy?
As NZ's longest-running online commentator, I'm looking for extra syndication opportunities for this daily publication -- or I'm happy to write casual or regular material specifically to order for print or Net-based publications. If you're interested, drop me a line

Beyond A Joke?
I recall "the good old days"(tm) when it cost $10 per megabyte to use the Net, speeds were limited to 9600 or 14.4Kbps, and Netscape 2.0 was the greatest browser in the world.

Those were the days when you could almost count the number of local websites on the fingers of one hand and Yahoo was just a bunch of links.

To find anything really worthwhile you could use one of the very few search engines -- but would just as likely fire up a command-line tool like gopher or archie.

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Very, very occasionally you'd run into a website that carried an advertising banner -- and of course you'd click on that banner to find out more about any company sufficiently forward-thinking to consider the Net as a worthwhile place to advertise.

Those days are now long-gone.

So has the arrival of 56K dial-up, billions of pages of information and a much simpler point-and-click interface improved the Internet experience?

Well yes and no.

The rich motherlode of content on the web has grown immensely and you can lose yourself for hours in a surfing expedition -- but then there are those damned ads! Based on my own attitude, and a lot of feedback from readers, I'd have to say that the profile of your average online advertiser has changed from "forward thinker" to "mindless moron."

When I dropped in to Salon.com the other day I was forced to put up with virtually every type of online advertising ever invented.

Firstly I got an interstitial (click-through) ad which I clicked through -- so the advertiser got a really poor deal for his money there.

Then, as the page I wanted to see was loading, a pop-up ad started to load -- so I closed that window before -- once again, cheating the advertiser out of their chance to sell me something.

Finally, once the page I wanted had loaded -- there was a honking great display ad in the middle of it. Unfortunately for the advertiser, I couldn't see it because I had my graphics turned off.

So, did these ultra-intrusive attempts to expose me to some vendor's products or services work?

Hell no!

The advertiser probably paid good money to try and catch my eye -- but due to the flood of stuff that sites such as Salon throw at me, I make a point of ignoring the lot.

Of course I could always pay Salon's subscription fees and avoid all this ad-clutter. However, I'm only a very casual Salon visitor and can't therefore justify spending a fairly significant amount of dosh just to dodge the ads.

No, my strategy, and one which I gather has been adopted by a lot of others who used to visit such sites regularly, is simply to strike such annoying locations from our bookmarks list.

So -- this totally excessive level of advertising and intrusion has produced a lose-lose-lose situation. I don't visit, they don't get the traffic, and even when people drop-by the advertiser probably pays for impressions that are never seen.

You might think that sites and advertisers will eventually catch on to the fact that their efforts are self-defeating -- but I suspect they won't. I see a Yahoo spokesman claiming that they expect to increase the level of intrusiveness even further in order to help offset the falling ad revenues.

Suffice to say that Yahoo Australia/NZ has this week announced the axing of 11 percent of its workforce. Kind of reminds me of that scene from The Simpsons where Homer repeatedly burns his hand by reaching for hot food -- "Hmmm, owch! Hmmm owch! Hmmm Owch!" Some people just don't learn.

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Yes, I have had several donations to the Aardvark fund and I thank those who put their money where their mouse is :-)

If guilt is gnawing away inside you then there's still time to donate.

Just drop by and hand over your loot.

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Security Alerts
Admins asked to check buggy line printer daemons (AAP - 08/11/2001)

New vulnerability exposes Excel and PowerPoint macros ZDNet - 29/10/2001)

Microsoft tightens software security (CNet - 16/08/2001t)

Code Red Worm A 'Runaway Success' (7amNews - 20/07/2001)

Virus Alerts
Hybrid DDoS worm strikes MS servers (ZDNet - 23/11/2001)

Finaldo worm on the crawl (ZDNet - 09/11/2001)

Tripple-threat Worm Strikes (Aardvark - 19/09/2001)

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

Open in New Window Vodafone to roll out new network
Vodafone aims to have a new packet-based network backbone in place by Christmas and, if things go according to plan, carrying live traffic by March...

Open in New Window Say ''cheese''
New Zealand Post and ASB Bank are each understood to have made a quick couple of million on the sale of their stakes in rural Web portal RD1.com back to dairy giant Fonterra...


Open in New Window Big Stink Over a Simple Link
A big-time consulting firm -- so big it has its own song -- doesn't like websites linking to it without permission. Naturally, this has spawned dozens of unauthorized links...

Open in New Window EU Sticking to Tough Spam Law
European Union ministers stuck to a plan on Thursday for a pan-European ban on unsolicited e-mail, fax and text messages, but introduced provisions to ease the restriction in certain circumstances...

Open in New Window Bill Gates: Broadband Woes Hobble Net Advertising
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said on Thursday the Internet's role as an important mass medium for advertisers was hobbled by the slow rollout of high-speed broadband service and was still years away...

Open in New Window '.Info' Domain Tightens Trademark Rules
The company that manages the new ''.info'' Internet domain said on Wednesday it would tighten up registration rules as it prepared to challenge the validity of one out of every five names registered in a special preregistration period...

Open in New Window Users pay price to send e-greetings
Procrastination on holiday cards could cost you this year: Some e-greeting services that were once quick, free alternatives to envelopes and stamps are starting to charge fees...


Open in New Window Yahoo sheds 11pc of Australian, NZ workforce
Yahoo Australia and New Zealand today shed 11 per cent of its workforce as part as a global restructure of the portal's assets...

Open in New Window NSW looks again at looming online censorship laws
The NSW Government's bid to introduce tough new Internet censorship laws has been referred to a parliamentary inquiry by the state's Attorney-General...


Open in New Window No-HTML plug-in for Outlook available
I've always believed that if the US Government were ever to get really serious about Internet security, the top players in Microsoft's management hierarchy would find themselves handcuffed, blindfolded, led onto a tarmac within some obscure Air Force base, and shot...
The Register

Open in New Window Microsoft disowns Nokia cybersquatting prank
Microsoft has blamed a lone, crazed cybersquatter for hijacking Nokia-related domains and diverting them to The Beast's own rival PocketPC website...
The Register

Open in New Window Electronic government slow to take off
The UK Government has given itself high marks for its efforts to turn Britain into a nation of e-literates who are happy to use the net to manage their lives...

Open in New Window VeriSign to act as domain-name watchdog
The company introduces services that help guard companies' brands online, diversifying its own revenue in the face of a potential lag in its Internet registrar business...

Open in New Window Winning Trust at a Web Site
If a visitor is going to fork over personal data to your company's Web site, the process must be quick and private, and you must tell users what is in it for them...

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