Internet: 13Jan1999

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Internet Story: 13 Jan 1999

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In this issue:

2000 Jobs@Dixons!

New Internet PCs

Year2000 Anxiety Therapy

It's not just BT!

Metasearch is best

Web for the Blind

 

2000 more staff at Dixons!  The UK's largest consumer electronics retailer, Dixons Group, plc., is to create up to 2000 new full and part-time jobs this year, mainly in its Internet Service Provider division - Freeserve, and in the opening of a further 78 stores (Dixons Group also own the PCWorld chain) this year.  This announcement today, came as Dixons posted excellent results for the Xmas shopping season against a backdrop of most high street retailers' gloom and despondency. dixons.jpg (21867 bytes)

Although most retailers were reporting falls in sales, parts of the Kingfisher group seemed very buoyant; thanks to Woolworths and Superdrug (reporting a

 

 

 

superdrug.jpg (11750 bytes)

WoolworthsNelson4s.jpg (15142 bytes) 5% rise in like-for-like sales each), Kingfisher reported a 3.2% rise in like-for-like sales - B&Q didn't perform too well, and as usual Comet showed a poor performance.

 

New Internet PCs  An new breed of PCs is about to hit the market; they incorporate special keys that take you directly to sites on the Net.   Both IBM and Compaq have made announcements in this area.  IBM have teemed up with Yahoo!, Excite and Lycos in their latest Aptiva and ThinkPad i-series.  Compaq with AltaVista (belongs to Digital, bought by Compaq last year) and Shopping.com (which they acquired yesterday).  A Compaq spokesman added that, under Compaq's consumer products division, which is headed by Schrock, AltaVista will become an additional feature on its "Internet PC" initiative. This will allow Compaq users to access AltaVista or Shopping.com e-commerce services simply by pressing a single button on the PC keyboard.

 

Year 2000 Therapy  Worried about the Year 2000?  Call 1-800-THERAPIST.  Well OK, call only if you're in the US, but they do support international referrals on their web site.  On December 1, 1999, also known as "Y2K Anxiety Day" in the trade, experts on calming anxiety about the Year 2000 will be available by email and online chat forums on their site.  For now you can soothe your fevered brow with the dulcet tones of Deanna Troy (aka Marina Surtis) of Startrek: The Next Generation.

 

Not just BT ripping us off!   Looks like some of our European friends are having similar problems with extortionate telecoms charges.  On Thursday the Greeks, angry at rising telephone connection costs, plan to boycott the Web in the first such mass protest in the country.  The French have already held one (13 Dec 1998) and are to hold another at the end of this month.

 

Metasearches often are best   One of the best searching tools on the Web is MetaCrawler, which simultaneously does parallel queries of nine databases including Yahoo!, AltaVista, Excite, Infoseek and Lycos.  Then, it equalizes the scoring and eliminates duplicates.  There's an excellent article (with lots of similar metasearch links) in USA Today, today.  They are quite right, the metasearch engine usually do throw up the most relevant items; try doing a search for Pendle in Infoseek (now GO) - erm, where's the relevance to Pendle guys? - oh yes there is one there, just!   You have to dig really deep to pull out Pendle.Net!  Try the same search on Metacrawler.

 

Web for the Blind   Today the BBC announced a new piece of software to help blind and visually impaired people access the Net.  The "open source" software will be freely available in the hope that it will become widely used.  The program is called Betsie - an acronym for BBC Education Text to Speech Internet Enhancer. It is being shown off at the British Educational Training and Technology Show (BETT) at London's Olympia.  Se their site for more details.

 

Andrew Stringer, Pendle.Net Ltd, 1999

 


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