Internet Story: 03 June 1999
BT fails to impress again BT announced yesterday that it will be offering, via BTInternet, a free ISP service that you pay for from 4 June 1999. In its usual half-cocked blundering way, BT is to allow users to access the Net via a free 0800 number at the weekends. Sound good? Sound not bad to me (well it's better than nothing) until I discovered that you can only stay online for 2 hours at a time at the weekends. The service will pull the rug from under you every 2 hours (it's 20 minutes if your line is inactive). Their stated reason is for "network efficiency". Their real reason is likely to be so that you are greatly hindered in running a web server (and hence a business) at home as each time you redial you are likely to get a new IP address as well as have interruption in service. So 1 out of 10 for effort BT. Best stick with Freeserve, or one of the other local-call free ISPs - especially Screaming.Net, if you're in the Localtel area, as they don't pull the plug after 2 hours at weekends and all off-peak calls are free.
European Telecom Boycott On Sunday the 6th of June 1999 (the first weekend of the BT scheme! - did BT choose this weekend deliberately for this reason?) there will be a Europe wide boycott of Net use. Internet users in fifteen European countries are being asked to turn off their modems and phone users to pull out the jack on Sunday to protest at high telecoms charges. The campaigners favor the American model of a flat-rate fee for a phone service enabling the free local calls that would encourage extended Internet surfing. The countries set to take part are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. You can get more information from telecom.eu.org and in the UK from The Campaign for Unmetered Telecoms. There will be no updates to any of our sites on Sunday in support of these efforts. We believe that the greed of the telecoms companies in Europe is throttling the Internet here. If we want to fully embrace the Net like the US then we need unmetered telecoms. Interestingly, AOL(UK) has just given the boycott its full backing!
Wild West Shoot Out Sounds like something akin to a virtual wild west shoot out in the new electronic frontier. A group of crackers (that special breed of malevolent hacker) are riding into town, guns blazing, trying to take down as many US government web sites as they can. This is in response to the FBI making several raids on US cities (Houston being where it started) and arresting alleged hackers. White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart said in a briefing, "For those who think that this is some sort of sport, I think [it will be] less fun when the authorities do catch up with them...and these people are prosecuted." So far the FBI has been offline for a while. The Senate, Energy Department, the Interior Department, and the White House have been attacked. According to sources all ".GOV" domains are at risk. On Wednesday the FBI made raids in 12 US cities. The question is, are the FBI wasting all their resources on kids that have walked up to the virtual Whitehouse and spray painted graffiti when the real threat, from expert crackers, goes unnoticed? See article.
Funerals Online You can now prepare for a funeral online. The Co-Op have launched a service to advise the bereaved on what can be done and how to go about arranging a funeral. From the most suitable type of casket to planning an inflation proof funeral, this site has it all! Now if I can just arrange for my ashes to be scattered in cyberspace...
Andrew Stringer, © Pendle.Net Ltd, 1999
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