Realising it had to do better to regain its popularity as a search tool, the once mighty AltaVista (www.altavista.co.uk) has had a makeover. When it first hit the web in 1995 it offered something other sites didn’t: excellent searching. But over the years, it lost its focus and went into different ventures, including trying to become a portal and an internet service provider. Now, a leaner and meaner AltaVista is trying to reclaim some of the ground it lost to Google. But looking at the new AltaVista, I don’t think Google need lose any sleep. The new site looks cluttered with banners and other imposing advertising, unlike the more discreet and effective text advertising on Google. It doesn’t seem to have the power or the breadth of search that Google does. The only positive thing to say about AltaVista UK is that when you run a search, the default is set towards UK sites. I looked forward to seeing how AltaVista could improve, but sadly it hasn’t really. It just reminds me of a sad entrant that has lost its focus.
As Microsoft announces its intention to shake up the world of notebook computing with the introduction of Tablet PCs, I would be interested to hear what readers think of them. One of the first computer manufacturers will be Toshiba, which will sell the Portege 3500 for £1,799 plus VAT. Users will be able to switch quickly and easily between writing onscreen or using the keyboard. As the machines become more popular, prices will drop, but will journalists carry these devices to press conferences instead of paper notebooks or hand-held computers?
Last month, I gave you the opportunity to win one of three copies of Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 2.0, and the response was overwhelming. The answer to the question was that Acrobat was another Adobe product. The three winners are Victoria Shooter from Watford, Matt Kurton from Winchester and Elizabeth Owen from Herefordshire.
This week’s award for creating a web page that doesn’t make sense goes to the Sunday Mirror (www.sundaymirror.co.uk). Hot with its Marie Burrell story, it reveals all and invites readers to look at the "FULL STORY: PAGES 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 AND 7". But none of the pages was hyperlinked, so how are people supposed to read the story? Under its picture of the week are links to the stories, but when you click on them you get taken back to your original page. Its good to see news-papers on the web, but it is also important to double check that pages are put online correctly.