Column: Late breaking news ... check the Net

One benefit of writing for Computerworld is having access to a tremendous amount of information on the latest and greatest information technology as it comes down the newswire. Such access is matched only the Internet.

One benefit of writing for Computerworld is having access to a tremendous amount of information on the latest and greatest information technology as it comes down the newswire. We often hear about products and mergers before the local distributors. But where can those not blessed with their own private 24-hour news line keep up with late breaking stories?

The answer is the Internet ... where else? One of my favourites is the Nando Times Infotech section at http://www.nando.net/nt/info/. It carries about 10 to 12 new stories each day, many dealing with the Internet. The sources are wide-ranging and include Knight-Ridder and the New York Times news services. A useful feature is the archive, which contains a handy search function. A quick check on Yahoo brought back more than a dozen hits chronicling the ups and downs of the company's stock offering.

USA Today at http://web.usatoday.com also has good coverage, picking up stories from AP, Ziff-Davis and USA Today as well. It provides more in-depth coverage. The big focus last week was the Communications Decency Act. Coverage included the complete ruling, selected excerpts from the act itself, and "spin" from a number of different groups, both pro and con.

A new service, Newsbytes at http://www.nbnn.com, provides late-breaking news from around the globe. Unlike the others, it has a membership option that gives access to the archives as well as expanded coverage on certain topics. The free stuff is worth a visit, however. It does have especially good coverage of the worldwide IT sharemarket. Another specialised service is the Hi-tech Insider at http://www.pensacola.com/~rbethke. It contains news summaries and links to most of the other IT newswires. This is a comprehensive site with lots of info, well worth a bookmark.

And don't forget Yahoo's Technology Summary at http://www.yahoo.com/headlines/compute. This site also has links to many of IT sites around the world. Other good sources of information on specific IT products are the vendor sites themselves. Many even have beta versions for download.

Closer to home, a source of information, opinion, and Internet gossip is Bruce Simpson's Aardvark at http://www.voyager.co.nz/~bsimpson/aardvark.htm. Content changes weekly and usually hits the nail on the head. Simpson claims more than 600 regular readers, many in high places.

All of the above sites can be used selectively to help you make decisions on which systems to implement, a look at futures, or to help you plan strategies. Like the Internet itself, if you are looking up a specific subject, the information is usually there. Just browsing is entertaining, but ultimately a waste of time. If you stay focused, the above sites should keep you well-informed and up-to-date.

(Parent is Computerworld's Internet editor and an Internet consultant with Creative Data. Email him at pjp@iprolink.co.nz or visit Creative Data's Web site at http://www.cd.co.nz/cd.)

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