Brickbats & Bookmarks

Blue Tooth becomes juggernaut
According to the market research firm Cahners In-Stat Group, there will be over 670 million bluetooth-enabled devices worldwide by 2005.
Ericsson, Nokia, IBM and Intel are some of the nine companies leading the 1300 member Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), which was formed in May 1998. The primary site for more data on the Bluetooth short-range radio technology is

Election ’99
A belated thanks and congratulations to the Electoral Office, and especially the makers and maintainers of on which it was possible, for the first time, to watch an entire election.
What did you get? Information pouring on to your screen; accurate information, hot off the ballot-box; as up-to-date as your latest mouse click. No crashing bore of celebrity or panel of celebrities; no long-winded guff; no introverted talk-fest to fill in time to the next exciting commercial break.
No commercials at all. Just numbers, analysis, breakdowns by booths, electorate by electorate. Nothing but election results. Just that fascinating count and very accurate prediction. Welldone.

A plea to Telecom, Clear, ISPs, someone!
If you’re having problems with the Internet and need to work out what is causing them, it would be nice to have number you could dial into and run some tests on, either download or two if that was where the problems were surfacing, or series of uploads, ditto.
At the moment you’re at the mercy of distant helpdesk operators, who may or may not know what they’re talking about. But even if they do know, they will all too often, with the best will in the world, be compelled to guess at the solution because of lack of definitive data. Which means almost always that you’re left on the rack of trial-and-error, begging for the mercy of software reloads or some such. You may never find the solution, and if you do it may take an exhaustion of time and energy and repeat calls to the helpdesk.
The process is not helped by the fact that Telecom’s sophisticated line tests can’t tell if there’s noise on the line, which means good result to the tester may not be good from the modem’s point of view.
Obviously, the only way to eliminate transmission as cause is to be able to test the thing online. So when will some enterprising ISP add that service to its repertoire?
And/or when will Telecom add it to its testing repertoire?
Soon, please. Or is that asking too much in the 21st century?

Hotlist tip
Hotlists, or bookmarks, can get pretty cluttered after time, but you generally find yourself going to handful of them more than any others. So it makes sense to put those at the top of the list.
Putting them there is easy enough, but if you have developed the good habit of using the facility in your browser to keep your book marks tidy, you’ll find that sort makes your useful handful scamper all over the place.
A simple way of making that handful conveniently stay at the top of the list takes advantage of the fact that when computers sort things, they always put numbers ahead of letters. All you do is edit the descriptions of the bookmarks you want at the top, by adding numbers at the start of the lines.
For example, someone with liking for the salt-spray might have this at the top of the hotlist:
1. Anzwers
2 Ask Jeeves
3. Earth View above NZ: Auckland
3a. ClearNet Weather – Auckland
3b. ClearNet: Weather Map
3c. Latest NOAA image : New Zealand
4. Auckland Tides
5a. Team New Zealand
5b. America’s Cup 2000
The presence of the numbers sorts them to the top of your hotlist, the order of the numbers puts them in the order you want them at the top, and any afterthought, or desire to group like with like, can be accommodated by putting letters after the numbers, as with the weather-related marks in the above sample.

Gain drain
Ninety percent of the money New Zealanders spent on the Internet last year went overseas.

Definitive aid
If you get lost in Internet and Web jargon and need help, is good place to start.
Nobilangelo Ceramalus is writer, desktop publisher, graphics designer, webmaster and image processor.

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