Internet: 31Dec1998

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Internet Story: 31 Dec 1998

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In this issue:

Buy your relics online

The year of E-Commerce

Victoria's Success

Chalk & Pixels

Relics for sale!  The Holy Land's largest shopping mall on the Internet opened its doors last week.  With backing from several major investors, provides religious, historical, and travel information in addition to selling books and CDs. has already had 1 million hits, most came from "virtual pilgrims" attending a cyber-midnight mass broadcast live from Bethlehem on Christmas Eve.  The site represents many denominations of the Christian faith and was set up with the advice of the Middle East Council of Churches.


The year that E-Commerce took off   Far more people than were ever expected took their first steps into online purchasing this year.  The Xmas holiday season was where it really all happened.   By all accounts consumers put aside fears about security, privacy, and cyber-crooks.  The Boston Consulting Group released figures that show online revenues are up 230% over last year at the same time.  The main areas of explosive e-growth this year have been in stocks & shares, travel bookings, small item/price - fast turnover items (like books, CDs, videos, DVDs, concert tickets, etc.), and online auctions.   Not everything in the bed is rosy though.  Customer Service (that old chestnut!) has taken a severe beating.  There has been a large increase in the number of complaints about the severe lack of customer service from e-commerce sites.  We at Pendle.Net intend to keep our eye on what's happening in the UK e-commerce scene.  We have started a links page to any major national retailers in the UK.


Victoria's Secret - online sales success   Victoria's Secret Says Web Sales Boost Q4 Sales.  Despite its late entry into the Xmas trading season (as we reported on 5Dec1998) sales were reported as being brisk.


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Chalk & Pixels  This year we saw major steps forward by the UK government in sponsoring Information Technology in our schools.  Similar, more advanced efforts, were also seen in the USA.  Here we saw the launch of the National Grid for Learning, a noble step forward in connecting our schools together.  "The Grid will be a way of finding and using on-line learning and teaching materials.  It will encourage the development of a rich mosaic of interconnected networks and education services.", says the original proposal.  We're still quite some way behind our US counterparts.  A recent NY Times article goes in to some detail about just what has been achieved in some US schools.  For example, Hunterdon Central Regional High School (Flemington, New Jersey), has more than 1,200 PC's for its 2,160 students.  Every classroom has at least six computers linked by a high-speed network. All students have E-mail accounts.  They have had a policy for many years of finely integrating the use of computers, multi-media and the Internet into the classroom.  The article quotes a recent field trip that some students took to a boulder field in northern Pennsylvania.  The students were armed with digital cameras, laptop computers, tape recorders and the technological capability to transfer their information directly to computers, capitalizing on their school's sophisticated use of technology. The images are now on the school's Web site; they emerge in a 3-D panoramic tour complete with sound.  All this has been achieved because the school has been sponsored by local industry, in this case AT&T.   An international effort to enhance the learning experience is being carried out by the US government under the auspices of the NOAA/Forecast Systems Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado.  Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) is a worldwide network of students, teachers, and scientists working together to study and understand the global environment. Students and teachers from over 6,000 schools in more than 70 countries are working with research scientists to learn more about our planet.  Check out Don Tapscott's book, Growing Up Digital, for full analysis of how important these technologies are for our children's futures.


Andrew Stringer, Pendle.Net Ltd, 1998


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