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Published 14-Feb-2002

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webWiz Online is published fortnightly, usually a fortnight before publication in print in The Waranga News.
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  Are you on the Internet?  

While spending a few days in Canberra over the Christmas break, webWiz watched in envy as coaxial cable was strung from the poles. In a few months, all Canberrians who sign up for this service will have free phone calls with others on the service, cable TV, and, more importantly, broadband Internet access. The latter's speed is measured in megabytes and makes a joke of the kilobytes per second available to us on dialup lines - assuming our phone line is working, of course.

Then, in the past few days, we find out that prices for Internet access are rising, In fact, the EasyMail service, specifically designed for rural users, is to be discontinued in March.

In spite of all that, remember you can come along to the Rushworth Community House to learn what the Internet is all about and why it's such an important communication tool. Find out some of the tricks of email, how to organise your email time, and where to find the sites that will give you the information you want.

  Online auctions - buyer beware  

As in life, the Internet has the good and bad. More scams on online auction sites, unfortunately, have been recently uncovered. Before you commit your money to any auction purchase, do all the necessary checking that you'd normally undertake for a traditional auction.

Is the item authentic? How is the item to be delivered? How do I pay (it should be only by credit card)? What are my responsibilities? What are my consumer rights? What are the seller's credentials and contact details? These are just a few of the questions you need to ask.

  Videos and your computer  

Digital video cameras are still an expensive item but if it's a purchase you have planned for the future, you might want to consider how your computer can help with editing.

Most DV camcorders record as much as 80 minutes on tape. If you want to edit your movies, say to add titles, make some cuts and insert transitions, the first step is to transfer the digital movie from tape to your computer's hard disk. Whereas digital photos and digital music take up megabytes of disk space, keep in mind that digital movies will use gigabytes of space.

Even though the movie on your DV camcorder's tape is already compressed, on your computer's hard disk you'll need about 1 Gigabyte of space for four-and-half minutes of recording. So, firstly, large hard disks are vital. Secondly, you need to transfer the movie from tape to your hard disk as quickly as possible. That's where a Firewire add-on card is used so that data is transferred at about 400 Megabytes/sec between your camcorder and computer. You'll also need this transfer capacity to record back to tape after you finish your edits.

Windows Me and Windows XP come with simple video editors but remember if you want to conveniently edit your digital movies, there are some extras required.

  Upgrading to Windows XP  

Bear in mind if you upgrade your Windows 98 or Me operating system to Windows XP Home Edition or Professional, you will need to spend extra money on upgrading some of your favourite utilities.

Windows XP has a completely different heritage than Win98/Me, particularly with respect to the file system. Thus utilities such as Norton System Works 2001 is incompatible with Windows XP. Various virus applications are also incompatiable. Before you install, run the Win XP compatability wizard to check applications that have to be uninstalled.

  All aboard!  

webWiz doesn't think he's turning into a trainspotter or gunzel (apparently the Australian term for a rail fan), but he is constantly concerned with the notoriety given to so many shoot-em-up games with their emphasis on violence and gore.

So he's happy to talk about games such as train simulators, flight simulators or puzzles until the cows come home. Moreover, he'll point you to sites that expand on these types of games to gain even more enjoyment.


Ever wondered where the music for TV commericals comes from? What about saving some money and just riding a one-wheel cycle? How does the cost of living in different cities around the world compare? Where do all those trillions of dollars come from and get spent in the US budget? All these questions, and more, are answered in the sites for this week.