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As Seen On TV 9 May 2003 Edition
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What do you do if you're a TV or movie producer and you want to include reference to a fictitious website in your programme or movie?

If you're really stupid you just make up a domain name without checking that it's already in use. However, we all know that nobody's that dumb.

In fact, I was impressed by the way the producers of the very popular CSI TV programme handled such a situation in this week's episode.

Now I have to admit that I'm not a big TV watcher but I just happened to catch a piece of CSI while working at my PC the other night as they interviewed "Lady Heather" as part of a fictitious murder case.

The Aardvark PC-Based Digital
Entertainment Centre Project

Yes, at last, this feature has been updated again! (31 Mar 2003)

Lady Heather was a dominatrix with her own website ladyheather.com.

Out of curiosity, I typed that URL into my browser to see what would come up.

Did it simply bring up some cheap gaudy porno site?

Did it simply take me straight to a "reserved" domain?

Did it simply take me straight to the CSI website?

Well the answer is -- none of the above.

Readers Say
(updated irregularly)
  • Alexa... - Martin
  • CSI isn't the only... - Tara
  • the Simpsons... - Daniel
  • Have Your Say
    Try it for yourself.

    Did that get your hopes up for a moment?

    I think they way they did that was rather clever and shows they really put some thought into this small detail.

    So how many people were as curious as me and actually typed in that URL after watching this episode of CSI?

    Well if Alexa.com is to be believed, not very many.

    Oh, you did know about Alexa didn't you?

    As the number of Net-rating companies in NZ continues to dwindle (and those which still survey the local market charge like a wounded bull for their results), Alexa is often an interesting way to see how your favourite website rates.

    Bear in mind however, that the accuracy of results and rankings decreases rapidly as you move towards the bottom end of the scale and since those providing the data are effectively self-selected group, there may be other factors which affect the veracity of the results.

    It can even provide some interesting comparisons between competitors -- like this face-off between the NZ Herald and Stuff -- or even this head-to-head between Aardvark and its competition.

    Broadbandly Speaking
    The piece I wrote earlier this week about the issue of flat rate DSL provoked a raft of "not for publication" feedback, much of it promoting the perspective that it's not Telecom's fault that we don't have flat-rate broadband here in NZ.

    It was with great interest therefore that I read the following in this story from the NZ Herald today:

    "Since March, Iconz has been signing up business customers on a 256 kilobits per second (Kbps) "all you can eat" internet-only deal for $99 a month (plus GST), or 512Kbps for $120 a month"


    Suffice to say I will be looking deeper into the issue of flatrate uncapped *broadband* in New Zealand with the view to publishing another column on the subject next week.

    And are those "uncapped flatrate" deals really what they claim to be?

    So, if you're an ISP, bandwidth provider, or anyone else with a finger in the broadband provision industry, please feel free to drop me a line with any facts or opinions you'd like to contribute. The normal confidentialities apply of course.

    If any Aardvark readers have an opinion on today's column or want to add something you're also invited to chip in and have your say.

    Yes, You Can Donate
    Although the very kind folks at iHug continue to generously sponsor the publication of Aardvark, the bills still exceed the income by a fairly significant amount. It is with this in mind therefore that I'm once again soliciting donations from anyone who feels they're getting some value from this daily column and news index. I've gone the PayPal way of accepting donations because the time involved in processing a bunch of little credit-card billings sometimes exceeds the monetary value they represent. Just click on the button to donate whatever you can afford. NOTE: PayPal bills in US dollars so don't accidentally donate twice what you were intending :-)

    Contacting Aardvark
    The Best of Aardvark Daily As always, readers are invited to submit their comments on material covered in this column. If you'd like your comments published here then please be sure to use this form and select For Publication.

    Other media organisations seeking more information or republication rights are also invited to contact me.

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    Security Alerts
    Media Player flaw peels open PC security
    (CNet - 7/05/2003)

    Another Flaw Found in Microsoft VM (CERT - 10/04/2003)

    Apache patch to thwart DoS attack (CNet - 03/04/2003)

    Holes found in RealPlayer, QuickTime (CNet - 02/04/2003)

    New Sendmail glitch (CNet - 31/03/2003)

    Virus Alerts
    Nolor worm threat minor (ZDNet - 29/04/2003)

    E-mail virus exploits war interest  (BBC - 21/03/2003)

    Deloder slowly worms its way on Net
    (CNet - 11/03/2003)

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