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Published 12-Apr-2001
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All this week's Wiz!

  Let's Travel  

The Web is a great resource for planning your next overseas holiday. In fact, there are so many resources online that all your time could be taken up visiting all the available sites before you can even get out the front door!

Among this week's sites are just a few that you might start with. SBS Online's World News site has a World Guide where you can get facts about any country of interest: its geography, transport sytem, and history.

If you're travelling in Australia, check out the National Tourism's See Australia site for ideas. WhereIs is a handy online street directory when you're travelling interstate to a capital city but don't yet have an ink-and-paper directory.

Accessing some of the travel groups in the Usenet newsgroups might also be informative and of help. It's certainly a practical way of seeing what newsgroups are all about. You can read the rec.travel groups at Google's newsgroup site or read and post at News-2-Web. Travel posts are in the general "rec" area and usually are named as "rec.travel". For more specific topics, you'll find such groups as "rec.travel.australia+nz".

  PDAs  

The first Personal Digital Assistant webWiz remembers using was his slide rule in his latter years of school. Well, I suppose a slide rule is not really digital in the true sense except digits (that is fingers) were involved in counting on occasions (slide rules only multiply and divide).

Anyway, PDAs are one of the modern day devices. If you want to compare and contrast models, the usual popular sites that talk electronic devices all carry plenty of information for your perusal.

  Newsgroups  

As you know, most email clients such as Outlook Express also work as a newsreader. You might find it more convenient however to access Usenet newsgroups through your browser if you're just going to occasionally read or post.

News2Web is an easy-to-use site giving you access to all newsgroups. As well, you can both read and post to any group. Google has taken over Deja.com's access but as yet you can't post.

  Securing Your Computer  

No, webWiz isn't going into another diatribe on antivirus software. It's more insidious this time: some marketing-types with no respect for privacy and trust decided some time ago to break that trust by secretly gaining information about us. In many cases, this was achieved through offers of free software which also installed what's now come to be known as "spyware".

If you're wondering just how many pieces of spyware there are, visit Spychecker or the Spyware infected software site. The latter lists over 800 pieces of spyware (as of early March).

One simple tool to detect and remove spyware is Ad-aware - it's free and only a small download from www.lavasoft.de. After downloading and installing, Ad-aware found several cookies that it removed because they could be used to track webWiz's site visits and so build up a potential marketing profile. These are some of the spyware that Ad-aware detects and removes:

Adware, Alexa, Aureat, Comet Cursor, Cydoor, DoubleClick, DSSAgent, EverAd, Flyswat, Gator, OnFlow, TimeSink, Web3000, Webhancer

After coping with the insidious marketing-types, there are all those kiddy-hackers who want to "have fun" by attempting to break into your computer when you're online. Cable and ADSL users are most vulnerable to attacks from these types because the kiddy-hackers have to first find IP addresses of online computers. Modem dial-up users aren't as vulnerable because each time you dial into your ISP a different IP address is assigned to your computer.

Fortunately there are now several free privacy suites and firewalls available to give you protection against the kiddy-hackers. Refer to this week's sites for several free applications. If you have a network of just a few computers, where file and print sharing is enabled, you really should have a firewall such as ZoneAlarm installed.

  Webware  

A previous column gave you some sites where you can set up your virtual office with calendar, word processing, spreadsheeting and mail. This idea has expanded since then, particularly the development of the Application Service Provider segment of the market for business. The idea is for business to cut costs by not needing to purchase large application suites and instead use online services as required.

Take a look at what's available for both personal and business use at CNET's Webware site. Travel planning is one relevant area for this week on the personal level. Business webware ranges from accounting to payroll to presentation tools.

  webSnippets  

There isn't that much space remaining after a big blurb on spyware. However, the ABC Online's Public Record is an interesting site to stimulate discussion and debate.

With the arrival of more powerful computers, working with videos is now a possibility. ABC-tv.com (not related to our Aunty ABC) has a free video editor for download and this application may satisfy your requirements.

In the next column, webWiz will be discussing how you can transfer your musical treasures from vinyl to CD and showing you where you can view some intriguing satellite images.

 
 
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