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Published 19-Jul-2001
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webWiz Online is published fortnightly, usually a fortnight before publication in print in The Waranga News.
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All this week's Wiz!

  Blackboard & Chalk  

A convenient way of building up a resource of Web sites for teaching and learning is to subscribe to some newsletters. Well, webWiz subscribed to Internet Scout's newsletter to help build up the list of learning sites in the webDirectory.

After a day or two when he checked his inbox, there were about 80 postings! So, by all means take out a free subscription to Internet Scout but choose the option to receive the daily digest for greater convenience.

However, as a result, a lot of work has been done for teachers and students and there's a much greater range of sites to help with homework, extra study and teacher resources in the webDirectory.

  Using MSN Explorer  

After talking about MSN Explorer a column or two ago, webWiz decided to install it and see what it does at first hand. Assuming you've got Internet Explorer 5.x installed, the download and installation of MSN Explorer will take about 30-60 minutes, depending on your modem speed. Remember to tick "Run from current location" when the download dialogue opens. If you haven't got IE 5, all the computer magazines have it on their cover CDs.

Stay online while MSN Explorer installs and when it starts for the first time, you'll be asked to signup, either to your existing Hotmail account or you can create a new one. Explorer will detect your default connection setting and use it to log into your normal ISP.

At the MSN Explorer screen, you've got one-click access to your email, calendar, favourite sites, messaging, chats, music, searching, news and weather without having to enter a site's URL into your browser's address bar. So, for example, if you're reading your mail, and want to see the weather forecast, then just click on the weather button. Then it's only another click to return to your email.

While online, use Help and Settings to make some personal preferences - you'll certainly want to change the image that is assigned to your account! In Settings, there are many other tasks, such as cleaning out the Temporary Internet Files folder, you can carry out to simplify the job of looking after your computer.

When browsing other sites, you'll want to minimise the side bar - use the double arrows about half-way down. The left-hand bar is titled "My Stuff" but changes when you connect to display the name of your nearest capital city - a click on this takes you to the weather forecast. Just as with any Windows program, letting your mouse hover over an icon or button will display a tooltip for more information.

One gripe webWiz has is that the Help content has not been re-written for Australia. However, overall, MSN Explorer simplifies the task of using the Web by putting all the things you want to do on the Web onto one convenient screen for one-click access.

  Online Storage  

Online storage providers, such as XDrive, Freedrive and iDrive, have changed from a free service to a subscription service over the past few months. These services were a convenient means of storing backup files and sharing documents with others.

If it's photos you want to store and share, and you're using MSN Explorer, then you've got direct access to that facility. Otherwise, begin your own community at MSN and you'll be able to store, and share if you want, as much as 10Mb of your own files. Note, though, that any file can't be larger than 1Mb.

  Children's Sites  

Some more sites have been added to the webDirectory for younger children. The ABC's Playground and the BBC's Children sites are among the best, offering plenty of activities and fun and games.

However, if the youngsters have completely explored these sites, visit Kids Excellent Web Links to see what else is available from all around the world. Another site worth visiting is the Reading Village where stories are narrated with an accompanying slide show.

  Internet Facts & Figures  

The Internet Index at www.treese.org is a series of newsletters containing all sorts of facts and figures about what's happening on the Web.

It's interesting to look back a while, say to July 2000 when the dot-coms had spent $US3.1 billion on advertising. In 1999, the average increase in stock prices of the dot-coms at their IPO was 233% - there are no figures available for what the fall has been this year!

Do you realise that 98% of all the words in Webster's English Dictionary have been registered as domain names? Perhaps a dictionary by your side may make the best form of search directory for the Web.

Consumer spending on the Web has been increasing over the past couple of years. In the U.S. over the 1998 holidays, consumers spent $US8.3 billion. But in April 2001 alone, consumers spent $US4.3 billion.

People around the world with a Hotmail account now total 100 million. If all these users were in one country, it would be the 12th largest.

  webSnippets  

There are still many major sporting events being held in the Northern Hemisphere summer. The Ashes continues and there are a couple of Golden League athletics meetings before the Grand Prix final in Melbourne in September. And of course, the Athletics World Championships begin in Edmonton on August 4th.

New search engines appear almost daily (there are nearly 9,000 in total). However, some useful ones worth mentioning this week are the Koori Net, Web Agri and Get Cited, the latter being a project to index working papers, documents, articles and book chapters.

 
 

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