ISSUE 474: The high-tech office- Nov 24 1998


Wanderings reveal Web page contests, reunion data,
computer virus updates and the little island that could

This week, it's tidbit time -- a collection of byte-sized chunks of information from my Web wanderings.

* You too can be a winner. Or at least your Web site can be. And in two different contests!

MecklerMedia is holding the third annual Internet World Canada Impact Awards, with seven categories for best consumer and business Web sites. Entries have a deadline of December 4, with the winners to be announced February 3 at Toronto's Internet World Canada event. Nominations are available at
(yes, you can nominate your own site).

And while you're nominating your Web page for that contest, don't forget the International Web Page Awards. Entries here tend to be submitted by ad agencies showing off their efforts on behalf of their clients, though Web page designers, businesses or individuals can also enter. With entrants from around the world, there are 30 categories including advertising, arts, entertainment, corporate, finance, education, health, news, personal Web pages, religion, philosophy, science, sports and travel. You'd better hurry, though. Closing date is November 30, with a US$85 entry fee. Check out the competition at www.webpageawards.
or contact Colin MacDonald of Vancouver's pro.Net Com-munications:

* Here's a shameless plug for a colleague. I've enjoyed reading Tod Maffin's monthly analysis of Vancouver-based Web sites. He's also producing a monthly trends digest, full of "news tips from the future" on biotech, e-commerce and more of what we have to look forward to. The current issue, along with instructions on how to receive it regularly at the right price (free), is available on his Web site at, where you'll also find a Webcam looking into Tod's condo living room -- just in case you're interested in the secret life of a BIV columnist.

* I recently missed my high school graduating class's 30-year reunion. If you're nostalgic for those days you may want to check out (no, not a misprint -- no "www" in that address). They're helping track alumni of more than 30,000 U.S. and Canadian high schools. Free registration is required to see if they have tabs on any of your long-lost classmates, with message boards for virtual class reunions.

* My personal favourite in the "making the most from the little you have" category goes to the world's smallest country, the South Pacific nation of Tuvalu. Just as Canadian Internet addresses can make use of the na- tional domain-code "ca" (rather than U.S.-based generic domains such as "com" or "net"), Tuvalu was assigned the "tv" domain.

You can just see the lightbulb lighting up above someone's head at this point -- Tuvalu spent three years looking for
a marketing partner, before
settling on Toronto-based .TV Corp. (www.Internet.TV). Their goal is to sell Internet addresses ending with .TV, hoping these will "become home to a community of quality television content providers from around the world." The majority of revenues from selling these addresses will go to the nation of Tuvalu.

* Give yourselves a pat on the back. According to the International Computer Security Association, fully 98 per cent of businesses surveyed claimed to be using antivirus software on their desktop computers. In last year's poll, only 73 per cent of businesses were protecting themselves this way. As a result, while the survey reported 48 per cent more virus incidents this year, network server downtime due to these virus incidents actually decreased.

The survey looked at 300 businesses and government institutions representing 750,000 computers, and reported an average of 86.5 virus incidents per thousand machines, up from last year's 62.5 per thousand.

Most of the rise involves macro viruses, typically spread by attaching Microsoft Word documents to e-mail messages (the way I send this column to my editor, for example). Opening an infected document in the word processor infects any future documents you read or create. Most new antivirus software (though not the popular, free Mac Disinfectant!) can identify and remove Word-macro viruses .

The survey results are posted at

* Up until now, there have been far fewer virus reports on Macintosh computers than on PCs. With Apple's comeback, that seems to be changing. Not only can Mac users catch the same Word macro viruses as PC users, there's also an upswing in new Mac-only virus strains.

Case in point: MacAddict is a monthly magazine that includes a CD-ROM disc each issue. The disc enclosed with the December issue is infected with the AutoStart 9805 Worm. (They claim to not be one of the two per cent not using antivirus software in the ICSA survey, but rather that the virus variant was too new to be identified by their software.) The magazine optimistically sug-gests that it's a harmless variety that will self-destruct on Christmas Eve, but suggests purchasers of the magazine can prevent infection by turning off the QuickTime Control Panel's Autostart feature. More at *


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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan