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Published 08-Feb-2001
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All this week's Wiz!

  Storing Your Files  

Until recently, backing up important files entailed putting aside time to copy files to floppies - a slow process and no fun. Now that several sites offer online storage, there's no such drudgery and really no excuse for not having copies of your valuable data stored elsewhere than on your hard disk.

As a first step, download and install Winzip if you haven't already. This utility compresses files into one single packed file and that will simplify the upload step to whichever online storage site you choose. You don't really need to choose from those listed this week - since they're free, use two or three at different times for better protection against Murphy's Law.

  Technology News  

You might be wondering why it's important for a country to encourage spending on research and development, and, as well, to encourage our young to become interested in science. Well, to get some idea of what happens when companies direct a significant proportion of their budgets to research, subscribe to Internet Wire's free technology newsletter for two or three weeks. Alternatively, read each Tuesday's edition of's technology section.

To see how we compare, visit a couple of sites (e.g., Newswire and ABC Online) which report on Australian research and technology news in computing and the Internet.

  Net Traffic  

Visual Route is good site to enable you to see where data goes between your computer, your ISP and another server somewhere in the world when you're online.

From the opening page, follow the live demo link. When webWiz visited, he looked at the route traced between his ISP and Leatherhead in the UK - it went from London to New York to Canada, then Sydney, Melbourne, then his ISP. Look down the output and notice all the servers involved in Canberra and/or Sydney. Scroll down the page to display the world map with the route traced.

  Test Your Shopping Skill  

Imagine you're in the U.S.A. for work or an extended holiday. You've become accustomed to shopping online and having your order delivered within two or three days at the most. One of your family or friends at home in Australia has a birthday in a week or two and you'd thought an air mattress would be a good present this year.

In the US when you're looking for an item, you use the search facility at Web Buying Guide to give you a list of possible etailers. There are many, many others, but that's been your favourite for a while. As well, you keep an eye out for any discounts or coupons on offer.

After looking through some of the etailers in the U.S. who sell air mattresses to check for quality and brand names, you carry out a search for Australian etailers using Yahoo and Excite. How easy will it be to order from an Australian etailer and have the present delivered on time?

  The Best Sites  

Whether you've just started using the 'Net or been a long-time user, there are those days when you wonder which sites might be interesting to visit.

One of the goals of webDirectory is to give you quick and easy access to a large variety of sites. Another alternative is to visit sites which draw up a list of best sites each week or so. To get started, try USAToday, Forbes Magazine or Bay Area.


Following mention of the Arts and Letters Daily in the last column, you might like to visit Lingua Franca to take on some more serious reading.

If you're an MS Office user and you want to make the most of your investment in Word and Excel in particular, a worthwhile investment is a subscription to the Australian Communique magazine. Each month's issue provides a wide range of tutorials and tips to enable you to accomplish more with less effort.

The Australian media had a number of issues raised over the past week or so. Visit the Bio-Integrity site for information of the case against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding GM foods. For a different perspective on the alleged benefits of Celebrex, see the news story on the FDA's advisory committee's findings.

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