Tales from the Terminal Room
October 2000 Issue No. 14
Please Note: This is an archive copy of the newsletter. The information and links that it contains are not updated.
Tales from the Terminal Room ISSN 1467-338X
October 2000 Issue No. 14
Editor: Karen Blakeman
Published by: RBA Information Services
Tales from the Terminal Room (TFTTR) is a monthly newsletter, with the exception of July and August, which are published as a single issue. TFTTR includes reviews and comparisons of information sources and search tools; updates to the RBA Web site Business Sources and other useful resources; dealing with technical and access problems on the Net; and news of RBA's training courses and publications.
In this issue:
General Sources http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/general.htm
Business Advice Online http://www.businessadviceonline.org/
This is a straightforward site to use with a refreshing absence of "advanced" technology (Flash, Java etc). My only complaint is that it is difficult to differentiate the actual hypertext links to resources from their descriptions. The site descriptions are in dark blue and the links in black.
As an aside, I do wonder where this site fits in relation to the Enterprise Zone (http://www.enterprisezone.org.uk/) that was launched in 1997 by the DTI and supported by Business Link. The Enterprise Zone claims that it can help you with links to "information, resources, or sources of expertise on Finance, I.T., Marketing, H.R., Export and other key business issues", all of which sounds very similar to Business Advice Online. Admittedly, the Enterprise Zone is for SMEs (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) whereas Business Advice Online is for small businesses, but there is significant overlap in content and aims. And when it comes to choosing between the two it is "No Contest" as far as I am concerned: Business Advice Online wins hands down!
Originally, resources were vetted according to a stringent set of criteria. For a site to be passed by the panel of experts was an honour indeed. Then about 18 months ago, a "questionnaire" was sent to the owners of accredited sites asking their opinion on paying a fee of GBP 750 a year for accreditation. I gave them my very strong opinion and declined their generous offer, as did several other accredited Web site owners that I know. The subscription policy is now in place on the Enterprise Zone. Paid for placements and listings are becoming commonplace but, even with an assessment procedure in place, one cannot help but wonder whether a site is listed because of the quality of its information or because it hands over wads of cash every year. As far as I can tell, Business Advice Online assesses sites purely on merit.
Statistics and Market Research http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/stats.htm
The World Gazetteer http://www.gazetteer.de/
You can browse by continent or the alphabetical list of countries, or view a list of the largest cities. For each country, there is list of the cities and major towns and their populations. Full details of how the figures have been calculated are included in the Information section and there are links to related sources on the Web.
Miscellaneous Day to Day Essentials http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/misc.htm
BAA - UK Flight Arrivals, Flight Timetable, Airport News http://www.baa.co.uk/BAAHome.htm
There is also a neat timetable/flight planner section supported by Official Airlines Guide (OAG) that gives you details of flights between two specified airports, but no prices or ticket ordering facilities. The number of airports covered is limited but one can usually track down similar sites for other airports by using the Google search engine (http://www.google.com/) and typing in the name of the airport together with the phrase "flight arrivals". Unfortunately, not all airport sites are as user friendly as BAA's. Manchester's, for example, insists that you register before it will let you anywhere near their flight arrivals section :-(
National Rail - the Gateway to Britain's National Rail Network http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/
(As an aside, for those in the UK trying to keep up with the current delays and cancellations on the rail network, the Channel 4 News Web site (http://www.channel4.co.uk/news/) has all the latest news with links to sites giving more detailed information.)
Mergers and Acquisitions http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/manda.htm
Zephus Mergers and Acquisitions Data http://www.zephus.com/
In order to get into the service you have to register for a free ID and password. You can then start building up your profile so that news and headlines in your main areas of interest are displayed when you log on.
The Basic Search enables you to search on company name, industry, deal type, time period and country or region. You can choose how your results should be sorted: completion date, announcement date, deal status, deal value or deal type.
The results screen gives the bidder, target, country, deal type, deal status, date announced, target activity, deal value and date when the deal was completed (if applicable).
The actual deal record includes hypertext links to the companies' web sites and information on the financial advisers.
The Advanced Search screen options include company name; bidder, target and vendor country; date and date range search; deal status; deal type and structure; target activity; financial data; and financial advisers. At various stages throughout the search you can choose to save the search for future use; this also includes an email alert option.
All of this information is provided free of charge so how does Zephus expect to support the product in the long term? According to a front page article in Information World Review (October 2000, no 162), Web sponsorship and advertising will contribute a relatively small proportion. The aim is to sell on other products to the user base, for example newsletters, print products, events and Intranet services. Hence the requirement for you to register in order to get past the Home page.
These things are sent to try us!
Uninstalling Unwanted Default Internet Connections
So you've finally messed up your Internet connection! That ultra- cheap, unmetered package was too good to miss, so you signed up online and clicked on the auto-configuration option. Or perhaps you used a special-offer CD? We've all done it - even those of us who should know better. It seemed a good idea at the time but now...
Every time you start up an Internet application, your PC tries to automatically connect to the Internet using your wonderful new ISP. And even if you do manage to stop it in time, all your software defaults have been set to the new ISP. But to top it all, the auto- configuration file decided that your Internet Explorer and Outlook Express needed a serious makeover and your toolbars and icons are now totally unrecognisable. IE keeps trying to connect to the home page of the usurper and you are not that keen on the title bar of both IE and Outlook Express proclaiming, to all your friends and colleagues, your undying allegiance to a service that you would rather not admit to using!
You could try uninstalling the wretched thing, but uninstall options are rarer than Dodos these days. Reinstalling or over installing your favourite ISP connection sometimes works but is not guaranteed. In any case, you may wish to keep your new ISP but as a back up and under your control.
The Practical Solution
Not exactly, but the above should get you operational. If you really want to purge your system of an "ISP from Hell", then going through the above steps and removing or deleting every reference to it that you can find is a start. Total eradication requires a "Find" on your entire hard disk and editing of the Registry, which is another story!
P.S. If you have any comments, experiences, or hard luck stories relating to the above I will be delighted to hear from you.
Gizmo of the Month
If you have ever used an Internet Service Provider's CD or installation software to set up your Internet connection, in most cases you will have found that the installation routine has "badged" your Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. In some cases, it is just a change to the logo in the top right hand corner of the browser and a reference to the ISP in the title bar (for example "Internet Access from WhizzBang Networks"!). In other cases, the toolbar and favorites may also have been "customised". Unfortunately these changes tend to stay put even if you uninstall the Internet connection in question. That is when IE Personalizer comes in useful.
IE Personalizer is a freeware program that allows you to customise IE to your preferences. Your changes are also applied to Outlook Express. You can change the browser's window title, the logos, the background of the toolbar, the page of the search button and its server identification. Or, if you prefer, you can revert to the Microsoft defaults.
IE Personalizer is available for Microsoft Windows 9X/NT4/2000. The program can be downloaded free of charge from the Access Codes Software Web site at http://accesscodes.hypermart.net/
Meetings and Workshops
November 13th, How to Make More Effective Use of the Internet (http://www.rba.co.uk/training/effective.htm)
November 21st, Business Information on the Internet
TFTTR Contact Information
Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services
TFTTR archives: http://www.rba.co.uk/tfttr/archives/index.shtml
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