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go to contents of current issue The Brisbane PC & IT show 1998
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Suffice to say that the Multinational companies know how to put on a good show. The Canon printers was only undershadowed by the Canon digital camera section where they had two young ladies in bikinis throwing beach balls in the air for you to aim at testing the cameras. Microsoft had a big showing but nothing real there to demonstrate, other than the fact that the majority of computers there use Windows 95.

The main thing of note was a more than usual number of CD-friendly stands, from the latest CD-writers, CD-ROM towers that you just plug in next to your computer (for when you want to run 12 CDs at once) and cheap CD-ROM games. (I bought a disk of tetris games from the Sprint Software stall that showed a picture of the fully running Super Puzzle Fighter II that turned out just to be the demo version. Not immpressed. I was thinking for springing for their I.Q. disk as well, but who wants 40 I.Q. testers that refuse to work a week later unless you register.)

Some of the local I.T. special interest groups, associations and businesses really shone through even with the big boys just next door, while others saved space on their stalls by managing not to have any computers to clutter up their displays.

For ISPs to watch out for was the Thiin Line SiteStak. In the simplest sense it is a web server that you can purchase for around $5,300, capable of holding up to 160,000 pages and allow for web traffic going into the millions. All you need to do is plug it into your ethernet and you're up and running. New technology doesn't just make the web accessable, it makes it controlable. (www.thiin.com)

Next door to the stalls was a new feature, in an attempt to break (or rather set) the world record for the largest internet cafe, were free terminals for use. The cafe didn't seem to be doing much business being at the very back of the hall as it was. Still when you offer free net time to people, no one is going to complain too loudly.

One thing that did take my notice here, away from the maddening crowds was a small stall put together by DSTC, showing off their networking programs, and tools that enable sharing of research and resources. One of the resources they showed off was the online HOToil search engine. Instead of bringing back the exact results of a one word search, it presents the other options that can be followed along. For example, a search for the word "tower" brought back 33 separate responses for strange tower, tower frankfurt, radar tower, greeting tower, cooling tower, tv tower, the tower and tower of babel. Invaluble when you're not partiuclary sure of what aspect of something you are looking for. (www.dstc.edu.au/cgi-bin/RDU/hotOIL/hotOIL)

In the end, if you wanted a reason to attend the Brisbane PC & IT show it was to meet and hear some of the attendees at the WWW7 conference that was also being held. Some of the greatest minds and original creators of the web were present to help guide the new minds of the feild in the directions to take the web into.

HTML is no longer the concern of W3C as they start to concentrate on new languages like MathML for use in web pages. The main concern for them all is the burgeoning field of metadata search engines and ways to improve upon them so that way the search engines can find the things you need. (this is universally agreed upon to be the main thing the net needs to be finaly accepted as a real research medium.) So, with these boffins from around the globe working on it we can look forward to a standard of searching that will get us the results that we desire.

- Simon Feeney

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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Filed: 2-May-1998 : Last tested: : Last updated: : Last compiled: 16-Aug-2014
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