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Newsletter No.25


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                             Free Pint
         "Helping 13,500 people use the Web for their work"
                    http://www.freepint.co.uk/
ISSN 1460-7239                                    29 October 1998 #25
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                           IN THIS ISSUE

                             EDITORIAL

                        TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
                    "Delivered to your Desktop"
                           by Ben Heald

                          FEATURE ARTICLE
                   "Making it part of your life"
                           by Ian Watson

                        FREE PINT FEEDBACK

                        CONTACT INFORMATION

              ONLINE VERSION WITH ACTIVATED HYPERLINKS
            http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/291098.htm

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              ARE YOU MAKING THE MOST OF THE INTERNET?
If not, you need to read Net Profit. http://www.net-profit.co.uk/
"Other newsletters I skim through. I read all of Net Profit." Mark 
Buckley Birds Eye Wall's. Net Profit is Europe's leading publication 
covering electronic business from supply chains to web advertising. 
Net Profit is jargon-free. It is written for business managers by 
prominent business journalists and analysts. 
Request a FREE sample copy. Email: info@net-profit.co.uk

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                             EDITORIAL

    Brimming, bursting, chock-a-block, jam-packed and stuffed ...

... are all good words for describing this issue of Free Pint! We 
have articles packed full of useful links. We have a Feedback section
containing letters about charity links, searching, Internet access 
and even a competition where you can win rare movie merchandise by 
helping a Free Pint reader promote his Web site on a tight budget.

Have you visited the Web site recently at http://www.freepint.co.uk?
You can read and download all past issues of Free Pint as well
as seeing the handy index of links on the Free Pint Community
page at http://www.freepint.com/

 >>> EARLY CONGESTION WARNING ~ Avoid stand 414 at "Online 98" <<<

May I now invite you to read on and enjoy your twenty fifth Free Pint!

Kind regards,
William

William Hann MIInfSc, Managing Editor
e: william@freepint.co.uk
t: +44 (0)1784 455435
f: +44 (0)1784 455436

PS: Printing Free Pint means you can read it at a more convenient 
time. The newsletter looks best in a fixed width font like Courier and
you can reserve your free copy by visiting http://www.freepint.co.uk/
or email subs@freepint.co.uk with the message "subscribe" now.

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*** DO YOU NEED TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE INFORMATION INDUSTRY? ***

If so, then you should be reading Information World Review. 
With key coverage of online, Internet, intranet and CD-ROM content 
worldwide, IWR is all you need to stay informed.
To receive all this every month for only 38 pounds UK/ 45 pounds ROW
please visit www.learned.co.uk or email: customerservice@learned.co.uk

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       >>>  Shouldn't you be advertising in Free Pint?  <<<
                http://www.freepint.co.uk/advert.htm

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                        TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

                    "Delivered to your Desktop"
                           by Ben Heald

One of the things that often surprises newcomers to the Net is the
ability to subscribe to electronic newsletters on all manner of
business and leisure pursuits; most of which are entirely free.  You
will end up settling on just a few, but I want to run through some of
the wires that I've used over the last year that can be worthwhile
from a business perspective.

There are literally gazillions of these wires, and as with everything
on the Net, the search engines can be a good place to start.  Type
"newswires" or "newsletters" into Yahoo and you will be faced with
hundreds of sites that offer these things. http://www.yahoo.com/

There are also many other services that you can pay for, which I'm
ignoring!

But if you want some resources pre-sifted for you - read on ...


HM Treasury releases as they break
----------------------------------
For quite some time now, the UK Treasury has been offering a service
that emails you their press releases.  Pithy, this is the stuff the
journalists start with, but if you want it in its unadorned state!
http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/pub/html/news.html


NewsPage
--------
NewsPage is a service from NewsEdge that you can either configure as
your own free page that you visit or for a subscription of $4.95 per
month, you can have 20 stories a day that meet your profile delivered
to you by email.  You only get sent the first paragraph; and then
link to your personalised page at NewsPage.
http://www.newsedge.com/products/newspage/index.htm


NetMind
-------
The premise of NetMind is slightly different.  You register as many
web addresses as you like with it.  It then sends you an e-mail
whenever the page you register changes.  Not so good for dynamic
sites that change every day, but invaluable if there is something 
you're waiting to see happen.  These days, what people are saying 
on their web sites can be useful. http://www.netmind.com/


ITN
---
ITN has just announced 'Britain's first personalised desktop news
service', which is stretching it rather a long way, as the only
degree to which you can personalise it is whether you choose
1, 2 or 3 stories in three categories (World, UK and Business 
stories). http://www.itn.co.uk/desktopnews/webpage/preferences.htm


The Economist
-------------
The Economist sends out a summary of the week's news every Thursday
night.  It is really no more than a taster, but if you want to spend
no more than 2 minutes gaining some perspective on the business deals
of the week, this is for you. http://www.postbox.co.uk/economist.htm


Infobeat
--------
Infobeat is a service that has quite a good range of business and
finance wires (with a US focus), plus weather and sports. It even has 
a First Tracks alert that will be starting up again soon that tells 
you when there has been more than 3" of snow at your chosen
ski-resorts.  Particularly if you are interested in the business of
Internet sites, you need their 'Internet Daily'.
http://www.infobeat.com/


Ziff Davis alerts
-----------------
Inevitably the best exponents of the genre are from the computing
industry.  Try Jesse Berst's Alerts from Ziff Davis.  These are
really quite opinionated, and when you follow the link to the full 
story, you get both links to other relevant stories and the 
opportunity to 'sound off' on the subject. http://www.anchordesk.com/


Notable absentees
-----------------
Particularly in the UK it is still interesting to note who is absent
from this list.  Wouldn't it be great if The Times sent out the
equivalent of their First Section back page every morning?  The
dilemma for The Times (and all the other broadsheets) of course is
that they don't want to cannibalise their traditional revenue
streams.

For example the FT has a 'while you're away' service but this is just
a one off rather than something you can register for.  This will all
change completely next year as the publishers realise that while they
sit on the fence new businesses are only too delighted to be given
the opportunity to fill the void.

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Ben Heald is the Director of Virtual Communities at Sift plc.  He can
be contacted at bheald@sift.co.uk

Sift plc own three focussed communities for UK business professionals,
AccountingWEB, BusinessZONE and TrainingZONE, all of which include
free weekly newswires that sift and alert users to developments and
features made available on sites within their sector.
http://www.accountingweb.co.uk
http://www.businesszone.co.uk
http://www.trainingzone.co.uk

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        INTRANET MANAGEMENT - A TFPL GUIDE TO BEST PRACTICE
This report will assist in getting the maximum return from an intranet
and reducing the risk of disappointment that staff often feel when the
hype fails to match the reality. Of particular assistance to managers
and intranet project teams who have been asked to develop an intranet
strategy and are committed to achieving success through good content
management. COST 85 pounds & PP. Email kim.mullings@tfpl.com or 
visit http://www.tfpl.com/consult/intranet_management_tfpl.htm
SPECIAL OFFER: 5 pounds discount to freepint readers quote ref: FP123

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   >>>  Recommend Free Pint to colleagues and friends easily  <<<
                 http://www.freepint.co.uk/reco.htm

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                          FEATURE ARTICLE

                   "Making it part of your life"
                           by Ian Watson


In Free Pint No.9 I suggested that to get the best from the web you 
have to incorporate it into your life and work.

This column looks at some sites which have proved useful both in my 
work in a newspaper library and socially.

First, work.  The Editor & Publisher Interactive
(http://www.mediainfo.com/) is a well designed site full of useful
information about trends in the newspaper business, especially the
online versions. It has links to the world's online newspapers and an
archive which costs about 10 US dollars a month for access. At the
time of writing it has an article predicting that the 'free content' 
times on the web may be coming to an end. Fees for obtaining popular 
online information - from movie reviews to airline fares to stock 
market quotes - will rise at the same time that the cost of gaining 
access to the Internet will continue to decline.

Many helpful sites are still free however. Take the Internet Movie
Database (http://www.imdb.com/) which allows searches by TV/Movie
title, cast & crew and character name. Very useful for checking out 
the work of specific artistes or directors, finding who has played 
a certain character or for general background on a film.

The UK Government has made a lot of progress in providing free
information on the web. Scottish devolution is a big
issue at present and up-to-date information is available at
http://www.scottish-devolution.org.uk/

The Register of MP's Interests is available at
http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm199798/cmre
gmem/memi02.htm
while the Number 10 home page (http://www.number-10.gov.uk/)
is worth a visit for, amongst other things, some history of the Prime
Minister's official residence, a list of past PMs (including short
biographies), cabinet committee membership and discussion forums on
government policy.

On the international front http://www.trytel.com/~aberdeen/index.html
is the route to finding addresses for world politicians 
(including e-mail), while for economic, social and political 
background information on countries the CIA World Factbook
(http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook) is a convenient 
source.

The DTI provides export market information at 
http://www.dti.gov.uk/ots/emic/ which includes vital statistics for 
all countries.

Finding out about policies and places is an important part
of everyday work but finding people is something newspapers need to
do from time to time. Courtesy of Dutch company Bureau van Dijk, the 
UK electoral register can now be searched on the web
(http://cameo.bvdep.com/). It's not free but is certainly worth 
checking out if your business requires finding people. You need to 
buy credits and the more you buy the cheaper it gets. Entry level is 
1000 credits for 500 pounds while 250,000 credits will cost you 
13,400 pounds.  It costs 2 units to kick off a search on, say, 
surname, but you can refine the subset of surnames at no charge. 
Displaying addresses costs another 2 units. You can also get 
socio-economic profiles of the locality for 1 credit.

It works very well but there are some problems with content.  For
example, I live in an eight flat tenement property but the service
was unable to work out who lives in which flat: in fact it seemed to
think we all live together in a communal establishment "like an old 
folks home". Charming!

On checking with the supplier I find that they must re-key all the
information from the electoral registers in the UK. What a waste: 
this data must exist electronically so why not make it available 
to resellers?

If you need find out if someone is disqualified from becoming a 
company director have a look at http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/
You'll also find out how to get information on UK companies. A good
jumping off point for UK business information is Sheila Webber's site
at Strathclyde University:  business.dis.strath.ac.uk.

Sport is well covered on the web. Match Facts
(http://www.matchfacts.com/) is a treasure trove of football 
results, fixtures, club and player profiles, and league tables. It 
also includes a news section on transfers and managerial moves. The
subject of football provides a seamless link from work to play ...

Off-duty, I have a social life to organise and the Web can be quite 
useful. First, with some friends I wanted to find a restaurant in 
Edinburgh, so I went to http://www.leisurehunt.com/  This service had
changed since my last visit, the useful feature of clicking on a map 
having disappeared to be replaced with a simple search box for name, 
type of restaurant etc. Having found a restaurant, you can call up a 
map showing its location and there is a useful feature of looking for
other restaurants in the locality.  Unfortunately 'locality' means
within 5km which is effectively the whole of Edinburgh. Not much use
if the one you want is fully booked and you'd like to try another
nearby!

The Restaurant Marketing Association (http://www.nosh.com/) also 
claims to provide guidance on eating establishments in central 
Scotland. Inexplicably, for Glasgow, it lists only 21 restaurants, 
none of which would be classed among better known city 
establishments. For each establishment there are buttons for a 
photograph, menu and wine list, none of which were active.

Eventually I took the Rough Guide to Scotland off the shelf and found
the place we wanted in minutes. The lesson here is that although the
web can be a great source of information, some sites are not all they
claim to be, but neither are many printed directory and listings
services.

Still in adventure mode I turned to http://www.multimap.com/ for 
interactive maps of the world. This is a useful service which allows 
you to zoom from a map of the world right down to city level and then 
search for local information. Or you can search by postcode, locality 
or telephone code, or (London only) for street names. The local
information available includes cinema listings, hotels, restaurants
and tourist information points, but the information can be patchy.

Multimap is quite useful for picking up local information but these 
travel sites do give the impression that content is lagging behind 
technology.

Hotel booking by the web is quite easy.  For example on 
http://www.travelweb.com/ you can browse hotel listings, look at 
photographs and make a booking. Before a trip to Berlin a visit to
http://www.berlin-info.de/ proved very worthwhile. From a map of the
city you can check out hotels in the various Bezirks and search by
price and facilities. There are an increasing number of hotel booking
services available: a search for city name and hotels on search
services like Yahoo, Ask Jeeves or Excite will provide the necessary
links.  The facility to make a booking from your terminal is very
convenient.

If you don't want to spend ages on the phone asking about rail 
travel, Railtrack offers a web-based alternative. Go to 
http://www.railtrack.co.uk/travel/index.html and enter details 
about where you want to go, from where and when you want to leave 
or arrive and it will suggest a train.  You can then ask for earlier 
or later trains.

Most of these services are free but if the predictions are right we 
will soon see charging mechanisms for some. Last word to 
Rajiv M. Dewan (http://www.ssb.rochester.edu/) of the University of
Rochester as reported in Editor & Publisher:

"The Internet is fast becoming an amusement park that charges both
for admission and tickets to individual attractions. As the cost of
admission drops, more Internet attractions will charge higher fees."

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Ian Watson is Information Services Manager at The Herald & Evening
Times. He can be contacted by email to iwatson@cims.co.uk

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             >>>  How do YOU use the Web at work?  <<<
                         rex@freepint.co.uk

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                          FREE PINT FACT

            Through manual tracking of new subscribers,
     we know the geographical location of 93% of our subscribers

       How many Internet services can boast that percentage?

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                        FREE PINT FEEDBACK

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Subject: Competition - Web Site Promotion
From:    Robert Lyn Davies, Editor, media01
Date:    Thursday 22nd October 1998

"As a regular reader of Free Pint I have recognised the expertise of
your staff, correspondents and readers as something of great value.
Especially since I have a new advertising conundrum to sort out:

I publish an arts and entertainment interests Web site called media01
(http://www.media01.com/).  Its purpose is to provide news and
reviews, publishing opportunities for new talent, online games, and
other additional information related to the very wide area of interest
it encompasses. The problem is that traditional marketing techniques
apparently do not apply to such an unfocused publication - which means
we are not getting through to the audience we would like to reach ...
although our experience is that, on the Web, the problem should vanish
and perhaps become an advantage.

The question I would like to put to your readers is: How do we attract
as many visitors to the site as possible? Since media01 is currently
being run on a shoestring how can we do this on the smallest budget
possible?

I do not expect such useful comments for nothing and would therefore
like to offer this up as a competition. We have a bag full of film
stills, merchandising, and other hard to get items up for grabs and
will gladly give it to the Free Pint reader who supplies the best
solution to this problem."

Robert Lyn Davies, Editor, media01

William Hann, Managing Editor, adds:

We think this is a great idea and very inventive.  Send your
suggestions and ideas to competition@freepint.co.uk.  We will print
the winning entry in a forthcoming issue (along with other useful
suggestions).  We have the bag of goodies here in the office and can
confirm that it does indeed contain some rare merchandising (including
Godzilla yo-yo's no less!).

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Subject: Charity Links
From:    Rex Cooke, Editor, Free Pint
Date:    Wednesday 28th October 1998

In Free Pint No.24 we had the following query from a reader:

"I am trying to ascertain some decent sites that contain information 
on UK charities (any kind of info!)."

We had a tremendous response and here is a summary of the feedback:

Charities Direct - http://www.caritasdata.co.uk/index.htm
  "Covers around 5,000 of the UK's leading charities with information 
  drawn from CaritasData's Charities Database." DM

Charity Commission - http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/

Charity Net - http://www.charitynet.org/

UK Fundraising - http://www.fundraising.co.uk/
  "I myself spent quite some time looking at charity related sites a 
  while back, following the death of my grandfather, who was heavily 
  involved in UK fundraising, and I found UK Fundraising to be an 
  excellent source of information." DS

Voluntary Organisations Internet Server - http://www.vois.org.uk/

National Lottery Charities Board - http://www.nlcb.org.uk/index.htm

Demon Charity Pages - http://www.demon.co.uk/charities/

http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/dave/TOC_H/Charities/
  It is a page of links to various charities and associated 
  organisitions (I have found it a little slow to load however!)." LR

http://www.oneworld.org/
 "I'd like to recommend that the gentleman tries OneWorld as it links 
 to lots of charities and also the Reuters site
 (http://www.alertnet.org/) which has good coverage of what is going 
 on all over the world." SW

We would like to offer special thanks for their help to:

Juliet Eve, Central Library, Croydon
  http://www.croydon.gov.uk/
Donald M Mackay, Health Education Board for Scotland
  http://www.hebs.scot.nhs.uk/
Leonie Reynolds
Dan Sumption
Sinead Wilson

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Subject: Internet Connection Costs
From:    William Hann, Managing Editor, Free Pint
Date:    Wednesday 28th October 1998

In the last issue we asked the question "How would users in other 
countries feel if they had to pay per minute charges for their 
Internet connection as we do here in the UK?". Here are some
of the responses:


"I think I would lose my mind if I had to pay per minute for an 
internet connection.  I don't see how it's quite fair."
Jon D. Atwood - http://welcome.to/options.unlimited


"As regards to having to pay /minute for internet access ...Glad that
has changed.  In summary:

            Lower rates = (de-regulation + Competition + users)

Government de-regulation of telephone companies (+ most utilities we 
use) brought about competition, which in turn ensured lower rates for 
both internet access and long distance.  As well, I expect we have 
many more individuals on-line within North America than the UK, which
obviously supports the competitions' profit + loss statements.

For the past 12 months I have been paying Cdn$21.95 per month for 
both unlimited internet access, as well as discounted 'any time 
or day' long distance calling.  I have NEVER had a problem with 
internet busy/slow responses.  However, my ISP (http://www.acc.com) 
is not widely known in Canada as yet.  Other companies local to my 
area are quickly adopting rates similar to what I have been paying 
this past year - but I often hear complaints about access 
difficulties." Anonymous, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


"I'm here in the UK too. I also thought that HomeHighway would be 
great. Alas, no dice. I have been told that ADSL and 1MBit access 
will be extensions to HomeHighway in the future, but I don't know 
when they will be available.

You have probably heard of BT Click, BT's light user service. 
Cable & Wireless made a package to compete with BT Click, but 
introduced it before BT introduced theirs. I confronted the Customer 
Service manager of C&W (Alasdair King) and told him that what we 
needed was permanent, fast connections at affordable rates. He has 
told me that they are working on it. I think that within 6 months, 
we will see some changes in the way we access the Net here in the UK. 
Incidentally, I was playing on the T1 line at the college where I 
study currently, and managed to download a 12 Mb file in 4 minutes. 
In the middle of the day. A record!   Thanks for a great Free Pint!"
Mike Reed, Reeds Web Hosting, http://www.reedsweb.net/


"I had no idea you guys had to pay by the minute. Why is that? I have
seen a fledgling company in the U.S. which doesn't charge any access 
fees at all, only about $100us for the software and setup fees. They 
are still working out the bugs, and getting advertisers, but it sounds
like a good deal. Please explain to me why you have to pay by the
minute. Are there just no ISP's willing to start some competition.
I am looking forward to your response." Jay Burgess, Texas, USA

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Subject: Search Engines
From:    William Hann, Managing Editor, Free Pint
Date:    Wednesday 28th October 1998 

Search engines is an important topic which fills out postbag and so
here is a selection of some the feedback:

"Sorry, the voice of scepticism once again but ... I thought I'd try 
out Mamma after it was recommended in Free Pint.  However, I am not 
convinced it is entirely accurate.  It seemed to miss obvious links 
that would appear at the top of a search in various engines.  Anybody 
else had the same problem?  Thanks." Olly Ogg

"Another search engine, a rival to Mamma and Dogpile, would have to 
be "ProFusion". I've used this since it started at the University of 
Texas. Since then, it has its own domain http://www.profusion.com/
and has won numerous awards. Need I say more?" Mike Reed

"I would like to introduce you and your readers to a new
search engine tool EXPRESS BY INFOSEEK(TM) available at
http://express.infoseek.com/  This new software is amazing in that 
it searches 300 sources on your desktop and is free!"
Phil McKinney, Phil&Moke's Secret Free Place http://www.maxpatch.com/

"Reason for my message regarding the similar sites search is to 
mention to you the alexa.com software, which you probably have come 
across but I didn't see mention of in the article.  Alexa has some
other good analysis features too and it's available as a free 
download (basic version).  It is a handy tool. Thanks for your great 
resources and editorials." Jan

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             DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION, COMMENT OR REPLY?

Let us know your feedback or favourite site by sending an email to 
the Free Pint team now by email to feedback@freepint.co.uk
remembering to include your name, title and company or organisation. 
Please note, if you write to us we may publish your letter in whole 
or part for the interest of our subscribers unless you request 
otherwise at the time of writing. Please let us know if you wish 
your contact details to be withheld.

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Thank you for reading Free Pint.  We hope you will forward this copy
to colleagues, friends and journalists, or ask them to visit our Web 
site soon at http://www.freepint.co.uk/

                       See you in two weeks!

                           Kind regards,
                   William Hann, Managing Editor
                      william@freepint.co.uk

(c) Willco 1998
http://www.willco.co.uk/

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                      FREE PINT FUTURE ISSUES

12/11/98 #26 - Cookies and CD-ROM and the Web
26/11/98 #27 - Innovation and What to expect at "Online 98"
17/12/98 #28 - Best of the Year and Review of "Online 98"

                                                        [Provisional]
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                        CONTACT INFORMATION

William Hann, MIInfSc, Managing Editor
  e: william@freepint.co.uk
  t: +44 (0)1784 455 435
  f: +44 (0)1784 455 436

Rex Cooke, FIInfSc, FRSA, Editor
  e: rex@freepint.co.uk
  t: +44 (0)1784 455 435
  f: +44 (0)1784 455 436

Jane, Administrator
  e: jane@freepint.co.uk

Address (no stamp needed)
  Willco "Free Pint", FREEPOST (SEA3901), Staines
  Middlesex, TW18 3BR, United Kingdom

Web - http://www.freepint.co.uk
Advertising - ads@freepint.co.uk
Subscriptions - subs@freepint.co.uk
Letters & Comments - feedback@freepint.co.uk
Latest Issue Autoresponder - auto@freepint.co.uk

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Free Pint (ISSN 1460-7239) is a free email newsletter for anyone who
uses the Internet to get information for their work in any business
or organisation. The newsletter is written by professionals who share 
how they find quality and reliable information on the Internet.

To subscribe, unsubscribe, find details about contributing, 
advertising or to see past issues, please visit the Web site at 
http://www.freepint.co.uk/ or call +44 (0)1784 455 435.

Please note: The newsletter is published by the information
consultancy Willco (http://www.willco.co.uk/) providers of Internet 
consultancy, training and publishing services. The publishers
will NEVER make the subscriber list available to any other company
or organisation.

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Latest: No.550 10th September

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