The end of free internet services?

AltaVista, once one of the reigning Web search engines, said Tuesday it will cut off its free Web email service on March 31 and will neither forward email nor allow access to message archives. The company said it is refocusing on its search mission and getting away from the portal services it started offering in the mid-90s to compete with Yahoo and MSN.

Add to this, the fact that Yahoo themselves are planning to charge for their email newsletter services – unless you’re willing to put up with ads on every email (no more option to pay a minimal amount to remove them) and it seems the Internet is starting to decide that everything can’t be free. It was once thought that advertising – banners on Web sites etc. – would pay for everything, such has not turned out to be the case. Be prepared, the days of free everything are drawing to a close. Anyone from “Blogger” wish to comment? :-)

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Stuff that gets sad when stolen.

I occasionally read “Half Bakery“, a Web site forum for wacky ideas that others can comment on. Generally it’s all pretty daft stuff, but some are highly entertaining and humourous if nothing else. I thought I’d share this one with you. The author says, “Let’s say you have a Walkman or a bike or any other ‘thing-that-tends-to-get-stolen’. The longer you own the thing the more it gets to know you. It’s hard wired and can’t be changed. When stolen, the item starts talking “I miss Susan, she was such a good owner … where is she?” If it can move it keeps trying to get away and look for you. It would make thieves feel guilty – I should take this Walkman back to it’s mother… Imagine a whole pawnshop full of stolen items murmuring sadly amongst themselves!”

Aibo

Have you ever seen a Sony Aibo, Sony’s robotic dog, ”in the flesh”, so to speak? Amazing and stunning.

My other half, June, has one. Technologically, it’s an amazing achievement – I read somewhere that Sony say it’s one of the most complicated and intricate things they have ever manufactured. Featuring a 200Mhz RISC processor, 20 motors, colour TV vision, infra red distance sensing, acceleration sensors, vibration sensors, temperature sensors, touch sensors, voice recognition . . . (etc etc.) it’s a technical marvel. However, as June points out, you cannot interact with it without changing to calling him “he”. June has named him “Maxwell” and he delights and amazes her (and I) every time he’s turned on, and he never fails to do something new.

If you have £1250 to spare, go and buy one. Doubtless Maxwell will crop up from time to time in the Blog, but for now, if you have no idea what I’m on about, click here.

Adobe Atmosphere

There’s a link in the left hand bar to Adobe Atmosphere.

Adobe are in the process of developing a new 3D environment creation program by the name of ‘Atmosphere’. Right now, the Beta software is free to download and Adobe are listening carefully to all the people using it. I’m one of them and if you’re into this sort of graphics, its fascinating. People create “worlds” that others, on the other side of the real world can walk around and meet and chat in. There are some extremely talented “World Builders” out there, too and there are already hundreds of worlds to visit and explore. There’s also a Forum for users, where there’s plenty of help and advice available. Check it out if you’re into that sort of thing. Click here.

Cynical

Is it me being cynical or what? A few times recently, I’ve filled in Web Questionnaires. Sometimes it’s been because there’s a voucher or a prize draw and sometimes because I’d like my view on something to be counted. One gets all the way through the process – right up to the penultimate screen with a link saying “Nearly Done” or “Almost There” or some such, but the last page won’t load – “Page Not Available”. Is this companies getting the information for free I ask myself? Most people would just give up, with the thought, “It’s just a glitch”. I did at first, but it’s happened to me too many times recently. When I give them all the answers then don’t get to input my details for the draw or whatever, I just wonder . . .

New View

If you’re in the UK and loking for a company to build a web site for you, try these people. A small, new company in Guildford, Surrey, they turn out some superbly designed, high technology work and they’re inexpensive too. No, I don’t work for them, and I’m not on commissin either. Just passing on a tip.