Well, it has finally happened – The Sunday Times has made access to its website (www.sundaytimes. co.uk) open only to registered users. When you get to the main page and click on a story, users are presented with a "Login Here" message. That in itself is not a bad thing as, after all, newspapers want to know a bit more about who is reading them. But where it is a bad thing is twofold. First, there is no option for a "taster", so if you are not registered you have access to nothing. Second, the registration form since it was introduced over the past few weeks fails to work. After going through a series of questions ranging from name through to even mobile phone number, you are then presented with a screen asking about reading habits. Eventually you get to the screen to continue to complete registration and are then presented with the message: "We are currently experiencing server problems and are working to resolve these. Please try again later." Alas, having tried it about five times from several different computers, the message keeps on appearing. So if The Sunday Times announces a lower than expected usage over the past month, we can all work out why. We all agree that "free" content itself is not the way forward but neither is mandatory registration, especially one that doesn’t work and provides error messages. What do you think of registration forms on websites? Do you ignore them and enter made up information just to gain access? Let me know your views.
If like me you find yourself needing to be connected to the net via a notebook and are out and about, then the best thing you can do is buy a Nokia Cardphone that plugs into the PCMCIA slot of your computer and connects it to the Orange network (www.orange.
co.uk). If you access your internet provider via an 0845 number then for 50p a day you can get 50 minutes of off-peak net access, while peak rate from 7am to 7pm is 12p a minute. Access speed is 14,400 kbs, which is respectable for sending and receiving e-mail. If you want to use Orange high speed, which is 28,800 kbs, then the cost of access is 25p a minute. So for around £15 a month, you have an excellent way to be out and about without running up huge bills.
Friends Reunited, the website that brings together old school friends (www.friendsreunited.co.uk), is branching out to offer a service that allows work colleagues to locate each other. The new service comes as several other rival sites are planning to cash in on the popular web offering.
The winner of the C-Pen competition which Cyberview ran last month, was Donald Fullarton of Helensburgh, Dumbartonshire.