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Published 29-Aug-2002

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  World wide information  

Recently webDotWiz heard a spokesperson on radio telling us how lucky we are to have such low prices for our petrol, in fact, lower than U.S. prices. Now that would have been alright but webDotWiz had just read in one of the email newsletters he subscribes to that U.S. drivers were incensed that petrol prices had risen 2 cents to about $US1.60 per gallon. Without going into all the maths, webDotWiz wondered why spokespeople for companies still think we don't know what's going on in the rest of the world now that we have the Internet to gather information world-wide.

Another topic webDotWiz came across the other day relates to the Bush Administration's Terrorist Information & Prevention System (TIPS). This scheme involves Americans, for example truck and taxi drivers, watching out and reporting possible terrorists among the people they mix with on a day-to-day basis. Some elements of this U.S. project have found their way into Australia's way of life. To gain a clear idea of the implications this type of surveillance by a government over its citizens can be examined by browsing various sites on the Net.

Free email newsletters are a handy means of keeping track of various overseas news items. Perhaps you're thinking of travelling overseas and want to know more about the countries you'd like to visit. Or you have family, relatives or friends who are working or travelling overseas. What's happening in the places they're visiting or living in? What's the weather like? Are they being effected by bushfires, floods or other extreme weather conditions? For those with a Hotmail account, it's easy to subscribe to various newsletters from other countries so take advantage of this facility when you need to.

  The webDotDirectory  

Last week a small group of us held an information session at the Rushworth Community House on viruses, hoaxes and junk mail. The first site we visited was the webDotDirectory to take advantage of a number of sites listed there under the headings of Security and Anti-virus. Those sites gave us a starting point for further information and discussion about coping with spam (junk mail), virus hoaxes and actual virus attacks.

One of the most difficult aspects of starting out when making the first connection to the Interent is: Where do I go now? Which site do I visit? What sites give me information about such and such?

The goal of the webDotDirectory is to help you take that first step. The opening page lists a number of topics, such as Daily Living, Computers and the Internet, Homework Help, Sports and Games. Each of these topics is then broken down into specific areas such as hobbies, privacy, shopping online, keeping in contact with others, family history, about the Net, computer programming, making your own web site, farming and agriculture, and many more.

Having chosen a topic, a list of sites is offered. By letting your mouse hover over a link to a particular site, a brief description of what the site offers pops up. Clicking the link opens a new browser window and you can skim the site to check if it offers you the information you're seeking. If not, close that window to return to the list and choose another site to investigate.

While the webDotDirectory doesn't in any way assume it's the ultimate directory of web sites, it does aim to give everybody in this area a place to start from when browsing.

  Online banking  

Most online banking begins with the necessity to download a large program from the particular bank in order to communicate and access your account. Our Community Bank shouldn't require this and you can try out their online banking system by working through a demonstration at the Bendigo Bank web site. Follow the link for Online Banking from the navigation menu on the opening page.