The internet is changing – and I think it’ll be confusing.

By | June 15, 2012
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In the Computers newsletter this time:
  • The end of .com and .co.uk?
  • Control your PC by your thoughts alone?
  • A quick tip
  • Info for any budding authors
Hello

The internet is changing – and I think it’ll be confusing. Not to mention a bit pointless. That doesn’t stop the tech folk in charge, though…

Why .com and .co.uk could become passe (and how I’m betting)…

Even the way it’s explained is confusing – they’re bringing out a series of new “top level domains”. Right-o. Clear as mud.

A “top level domain” is just the bit at the end of the web address – most often you’ll see .com or .co.uk (or .au for Australia or whatever abbreviation is appropriate if you’re in another country).

There are a few others that are around at the moment: .biz .org .me and so on. But in general most websites use either .com or something based on the country they’re in.

The idea at first was that companies would use .com (for commerical), Universities and the like would use .ac.uk and other organisations would use .org, so you could tell at a glance what type of website it was. But it all got a bit more mixed up.

Now they’re planning to make it more confusing by introducing lots and lots of new endings. The idea is that anyone can bid for a new ending, which could be anything at all. For example Microsoft will get .microsoft There’s a bid from the BBC for .bbc and so on.

Sounds all well and good – but I think it’ll be confusing. At the moment you can spot a web address because it’ll usually end in .com or .co.uk – that won’t be true any more, it could end in anything. And since Microsoft’s website is currently www.microsoft.com, what are they going to use? www.microsoft.microsoft?

The other problem is that anyone can bid for any word. If two people or organisations bid for the same thing at the same time, then they’ll give it to the one that has the best claim. But if only one person bids, they automatically have the best claim. For example, although lots of companies have bid for their own names, Coca-Cola haven’t – because they think the whole idea is a bit daft and could lead to them having to bid on hundreds of variations of their name. So if anyone fancies it, they could get the top level domain .coke – then sell your home made lemonade from it. (Or make it a page all about why they should be drinking a stiff G&T instead)

All right, it’s a silly example, but the point is that just because a website has the ending .coke (say), doesn’t mean it’s actually Coca-Cola’s website.

So I suspect that when these new endings come out they’ll be popular just long enough to confuse everyone and then most people will go back to using .com or .co.uk or whatever. Apart from anything else, it’s less typing.

(By the way, if you’re thinking about getting the .coke domain, you’d have to want it very much. Each application costs £119,227)

Get your PC to do what you want – by mind control

I know, I know. Most of us would be glad to get the computer to do what we want by any method, let alone something as bizarre as mind control. It sounds like something out of, I don’t know, Star Trek. Actually I think even in Star Trek they had to talk to the computer, it couldn’t read your mind.

But it’s possible, though only in a limited way. A company has developed a headset that tracks brainwaves that you can use in the same way you might use a mouse or joystrick. They’re selling it along with various games – so you can play them by concentrating on what you want the computer to do.

You can read more about it here:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304707604577426251091339254.html?mod=WSJ_Tech_RIGHTTopCarousel_1http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304707604577426251091339254.html?

I’m not sure how useful it really is, but I still find it amazing that it’s possible.

A quick tip

If you’re working on a document or email and you want to select all of it, maybe to copy it all or to change the font or size or something, there’s a quick way. Click anywhere it in, hold down the ctrl key on the keyboard and tap the A key, then let go of ctrl. The whole lot of text should now be selected. Now you can change the font, font size or whatever. Just don’t press the delete key unless you want to delete it all!

One last thing – for any budding authors

I know there are several people who read this newsletter who have written and published books – and I’m sure there are others working on their great novel, biography or collection of poems. If you’re thinking of publishing them yourself and need some help with designing a decent cover, getting the book typeset or getting it printed, let me know. It’s not something we do for books apart from the ones we’re publishing but there’s a chap I know who’s recently gone freelance and he’s helped several people publish their own books. He’s very good – in fact in the past he’s worked on several books that have sold over 100,000 copies (though to be fair, not only because of his covers!) But don’t let that put you off – he’s also helped people publish some very small scale books.

I can’t guarantee he’ll be able to help you but if you want to get in touch with him, just email me and I’ll pass on the details of your book to him. Unless anyone’s publishing a book about how to use computers , in which case I might accidentally lose them…

Yours,
Tim Wakeling
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