I’d love to be able to report on the site that everyone is talking
about this month - The Sun’s currantbun.com. Unfortunately I can’t and
In order to get the authentic civilian experience, I had a machine set
up with a clean version of Windows 98 and organised a clear analogue
outside line. (For those of you who don’t know, currantbun.com is
designed for people who don’t already have internet access and loading
it on to a computer that already holds internet software can lead to all
sorts of problems.)
I had even carefully arranged to be suffering from a hangover (so as to
reduce my level of technical competence to that of a bloke who drives a
I plugged in the disk and fired up. Six hours later, our IS team was
still trying to work out why the sign-up process froze at the first data
collection screen and the entire installing process had to be
I had great hopes for currantbun.com as a democratising influence on the
web in the UK. We’re way ahead of the rest of the world in the free
internet service provider business model and are moving towards free
hardware deals. It will be a pity if a launch as significant as this
continues to be overshadowed by technical problems.
It’s great to see a site so ideally suited to the medium as the new
Digireels internet front-end. Digital delivery of content and complex
database searching are core benefits of the web and that’s just what
Digireels does for a living.
For a while, the company has been providing an intranet-based ad
retrieval and showreel service but, on the web, this was severely
restricted by download speeds. On the original system, ads could be
found, viewed, compiled and dispatched only if you subscribed to a 2Mb
connection. A limited internet service enabled you to compile tapes
without viewing and then download over time - sometimes a matter of
hours, but still useful for customers in a hurry.
The new service provides a Realplayer facility to enable real-time
viewing at reasonable quality on the web. As a value-added extra, the
top new ads of each week are streamed free at the site. Apparently,
eight of the top 20 agencies subscribe to the full Digireels service.
Using the web front-end, you start to appreciate why.
The prize for the month’s clumsiest URL must go to New Woman Online
But my eight attempts to type it in were rewarded with an engaging
Call me a sissy but I like women’s magazines and the content in New
Woman seems particularly apt for the web - it’s short, funny and punchy.
I’ve just failed the commitment quiz, taken ’The Todger Test’ (the
results of which are strictly sub judice), and I now know 12 facts about
’Mr McGorgeous’, Ewan MacGregor, that I bet you don’t.
I suppose Emap has a bit of a head-start having such a great content
resource, but you only need to cruise around a couple of modern magazine
sites to realise that good content can do things to a site that no
amount of technology or graphic wizardry can compensate for. In a way,
this sort of site is a glimpse into the future. One day people will make
enough money from sites to pay for really compelling, original content.
Then a lot more sites will be worth visiting.
Finally, a triumph of cyber democracy: an online vote on the most
pressing issue of the day. Should we send ground troops into Kosovo?
Should we embrace unified taxation across Europe?
Nothing so trivial. By visiting www.cocovote.co.uk, you can help Coco,
the Kellogg’s monkey, decide on the best name for a peculiarly repellent
looking chocolate-covered puffed rice product. Like right-thinking
people everywhere, you will have been appalled when Coco Pops became
Choco Krispies. Now is your chance to exercise your prerogative and
right this appalling state of affairs.
To arms, cyber citizens! Cast your vote and bring back Coco Pops. Drive
the evil foreign Choco Krispies into the sea.