Internet: 28November1999

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Internet Story: 28 November 1999

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In this issue:

US Free Phone Calls

Woolies Online?

BA gets personal


OK, so things have been a bit sparse this month as I've been away at Comdex/Fall in Las Vegas and on business in Los Angeles.  More opinions and goodies from Comdex later!  Here's just a few goodies to be going on with...

Call the US for FREE!  Ever got sick of paying vast amounts of money to BT to call relatives or businesses in the USA?  Well here's a way of calling ANY phone (not just those internet connected phones) in the USA for free (or the cost of a local call, in most cases in the UK). lets you use your internet connected, multimedia PC as a phone at this end and, using a special java program downloaded from the site, lets you dial any phone in the USA and converse with people at the other end.  The Java app that you download passes voice traffic to and from the DialPlus server in the US.  The DialPlus server handles the dialing and connections to US numbers.  The quality of the sound is reasonable though it sometimes takes a little time tinkering with the microphone volume to get things right.

Woolworths Online  Well, not quite Woolies on the Web.  They were due to have a site live by November (it even says that on their site.  Note (01 Dec 1999): they obviously change this every month!) - there's not much time left guys!  The site should compliment their recent expeditions into e-commerce on OnDigital satellite TV shopping channel.  Eventually you should be able to buy music and videos (via Entertainment UK, another Kingfisher sibling) and toys, though they'll have a tough job on their hands competing with the likes of Amazon (CD's, etc.) and EToys (Toys).  BTW, you can simply call and get their catalogue on 0845 607 0804.

BA gets Personal  On the 5th of November we not only saw the abolition of hereditary peerage (Zzzzz, snore) but we also saw something far more interesting: the introduction of web site personalization by British Airways.  BA is one of the most forward thinking UK e-commerce companies; they have had a presence on the WWW since 1995.

In return for registering at the BA site, a visitor gets to see a personalized page of British Airways offers and benefits, called "My Travelspace".  On subsequent visits to the site, a visitor can login either from one of the selected gateway pages with either a new embedded login box or a new login button.  Using their user id and password, a visitor will then be able to amend their personal details online, and review the offers in their personalized page.  Now, if BA can only keep their new e-commerce platform up for more than 5 minutes in a row... ;-)  (It was down again when I tried to register when writing this.)

I was also going to mention BA's new London Traveler site, but I won't because I can't get past the front door - pesky, damned Flash animation guarding the entrance!


Andrew Stringer, Pendle.Net Ltd, 1999

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