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Published 06-Dec-2001

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  100 Years of Radio  

A couple of paces away from where webWiz is typing sits the old wireless ("wireless" sounds much better than "radio", doesn't it?) he enjoyed listening to as a youngster. One of the fascinations of those times was to switch to the shortwave band and go from one end of the dial to the other to see what overseas stations could be heard. Stations in other countries probably gave the young webWiz his first experience of foreign languages.

This is one of the enduring features of wireless. Who hasn't been driving along the freeway at night, listening to a Melbourne station, and then, suddenly, you're listening to Brisbane, Adelaide or Sydney? This experience is just what Marconi discovered when sailing on the "SS Philadelphia", that at night, he could receive a stronger signal.

The Marconi Calling site has an extensive range of audio recordings, as well as photographs, models and explanations. You'll be able to enjoy listening to Marconi himself, his supporters, and excerpts from other famous wireless broadcasts, Dame Nellie Melba included.

  File Downloads  

During the holiday season and some spare time, we'll all be looking for a free game or application to download. When you've found a particular piece of software that you just have to download and install, it's a good idea to check any reviews from users.

To start, visit CNet's download site ( to search for the software you have in mind and follow the link to user opinions. Some can be quite surprising! As well, check the software includes Windows' install/uninstall features. Finally, most software listed has the author's site - visit there as well for any documentation or comments.

After deciding to download, remember to scan for viruses before installation.

  Holiday Projects  

Nobody wants to spend the hottest part of the day in the sun, so perhaps you'll be inside for a few hours, wondering what you can do on your computer. Here are some ideas.

Firstly, music buffs might want to start making their own. Acid Xpress is a free application that creates techno or dance music. Load loops for drums, guitar and other instruments, paint the notes onto the timeline and press play! There are plenty of free loops online to build your music, especially a free 8 Pack from AcidPlanet each week.

Holiday time is a good opportunity, too, to get to work on your web site, whether it be for a fan club, hobby, general interest, or on a topic you think we all should know about. Take a free subscription at a site such as Tripod and use their online web page creation tools to have your site online for all to enjoy and share.

There are many good sites for the younger ones to play games, do some colouring or listen to stories. Begin at the ABC Playground and try the stories at Bedtime Classics or Candlelight Stories.


At some stage you'll want to search for a particular site. The easiest method for IE users is to type your search words into the address bar to let IE's default search engine go to work for you.

Google is many people's favourite search engine but if you're looking for something that's proving more difficult to find, visit Search Engine Watch for help on which particular engine might be specific for your task. To save yourself a lot of time, however, you'll probably find the site you want by browsing through the categories at webDotDirectory. There are more than 5,000 sites now listed in the webDotDirectory and new sites are added every day - look under "Recent Additions".


Being a Grey Fergie fan, webWiz thought it was time to mention some sites where this little work machine is recognised and still talked about. A couple of sites review Harry Ferguson's connection with Henry Ford and others discuss the invention of the 3-point hydraulic linkage system. If you're more interested in other models, such as John Deere, visit the Antique Tractor Shed. A site for K.L. Bulldog aficionados is forthcoming.


Before you start browsing the Web for the holiday season, users of IE 5.5 and IE 6 need to put aside a few minutes to download and install a critical update, released on December 13. This update solves several possible vulnerabilities.

If you enjoy Mastermind, there's Nevermind available as a free download. Cricklers Word Puzzles are a different form of crossword and there's Fun Com where you can join in a multi-player game online.

On 12th Decemeber, ten years ago, Paul Kunz, a Stanford University physicists, posted the first Web page. His page consisted of three lines of text, an email link, and a link to a huge database. Not much different to what we have today, is it?

Remember that the webDotDirectory lists all Australian University sites and, in this week's list, the VTAC and VCAA sites are included for anxious Year 12 students.