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  Computing
 
COMPUTERS
Details Written up In Computer Active's Excellant Webguide If you wish your website to be added to this list call 0870 199 3871 or email : info@chardnet.co.uk
Dixons
www.dixons.co.uk
Dixons sell a reasonable range of computers, laptops, handheld computers and add-ons including printers, modems and scanners online. The site lets you compare several products at once so you can be sure you're picking the best one for your needs. The prices are competitive and there's next-day delivery on some products. You'll also find some useful online guides to topics including handheld computers and digital TV.
Jungle.com
www.jungle.com
Not only is the Jungle site home to a good selection of computer products but it's also the place to buy audio CDs, videos and computer games. The site is friendly with the jungle theme running throughout its pages. Special offers and discounts are plentiful and you even rack up loyalty points every time you buy a product from the site. The range of computer products on sale is good, prices are keen and you're linked to more information and, in many cases, independent product reviews. What's more, delivery is free.
Microwarehouse
www.microwarehouse.co.uk
This good looking site is packed full of computer products stocking everything from printers to palmtops to PCs to software and printer supplies. There's free delivery to UK addresses and the prices are keen. The Notifier option is useful - if a product you're after is out of stock it sends you an email as soon as it's back in stock.
Simply Computers
www.simply.co.uk
Simply Computers has built up a good reputation as a discount mail order company specialising in selling computers, notebooks, printers, software and just about every kind of add-on for your home computer. The prices are really competitive and the selection of goods is impressive. It's also worth keeping an eye on the site for its regularly updated special offers.
21st Store
www.21store.com
This site is home to all things gadget-related and it's a boy's idea of paradise. You'll find palmtops and every kind of add-on for you personal organiser, useful stuff like global positioning systems and bizarre products such as binoculars that let you see in the dark. The prices are not especially cheap but the range of items on sale is always interesting.
Applestore
www.apple.com/uk
Fancy one of those cute little Apple iMac computers or perhaps you've taken a liking to the new multicoloured notebooks, the iBook. These candy coloured lovelies can all be bought direct from the Apple UK website, along with a selection of Apple accessories and software. You can alter the specification of the computer to match your needs (such as the size of the hard disk and memory). All the background information you need is there and there are no pushy salesmen hassling you to buy. The final price you'll pay is listed clearly including VAT and shipping costs.
Dabs Direct Online
www.dabs.com
Dabs Direct is known as one of the best-value mail order suppliers of computers, peripherals and software. And make no mistake, the prices are keen on the Web site too. The pages are nicely designed with plenty of clear photos of the products and lots of attractive special offers. There's a huge range of stock and you can search by manufacturer, product type or by price. Delivery is free in the UK.
Dell
www.dell.co.uk
Dell was the company that started all this selling PCs over the Internet malarkey and now most of its business is done from its website. You build your computer entirely to your own specification deciding on the amount of memory, the type of processor, the size of the hard disk and so on. As you add items to your computer the price is automatically updated. If you want to do a bit of pre-purchase research you can read the independent product reviews of Dell PCs. Check out the Refurbished Outlet of the site for some second hand bargains. Once you've ordered your computer you can even keep track of its delivery progress from this site.

 

COMPUTERING
Ars Technica
www.arstechnica.com
Despite a rather dubious sounding name, Ars Technica is a great resource for the PC enthusiast. At the lower end of the spectrum are hardware reviews, guides to upgrading, and basic PC news. However more hardcore subjects are covered, such as a description of how to go about over clocking your PC. The sites very well designed, and layed out in such a way that information is easy to access. Everything is split into categories so that you can quickly jump to the information that you are interested in. A great site for people of varying technical knowledge.
Illustrated Guide to the PC Hardware
www.karbosguide.com
Most great ideas are simple and simplicity is what Karbo's Guide to PC Hardware has in abundance. The opening page lists just about everypart of your PC and invites you to click on the link to find out more. Behind the links are easy to understand explanations of how your PC's components work, together with illustrations to help you understand. Recently the developer have added one more, very useful section, a dictionary, or glossary, of computing terms, so you can find out what all the geeks are talking about.
The PC Guide
www.pcguide.com
If you want to know how a part of your PC works, this is the place to look. The site is devoted to explaining just how each component and peripheral works in the most minute detail. However most users will find the extensive optimisation and troubleshooting guides far more useful. So if you want to soup up your PC, or it simply is not doing what you want it to do, you may well find the answer here.
Sharky Extreme
www.sharkyextreme.com
Sharky Extreme has a killer instinct when sniffing out the latest hardware news and product reviews. It database of hardware reviews is hard to beat and it is constantly added to with products that few other sites manage to get hold of. Add to this a great set of guides on things like overclocking your processor or what kind of memory to choose and you have everything to help you put together an excellent machine.
BX Boards
www.bxboards.com
Referred to as 'mobos' by computer nerds, BX Boards is all about motherboards. If that still leaves you in the dark, this site is probably not for you. The newest motherboards are reviewed and also other hardware such as sound cards and graphics cards. One other big section is the over clocking tips, which shows enthusiasts how too eek out the maximum performance from their hardware. Group tests are another highlight of BX Boards, which gives you the chance to find out the best product to suit your needs. Also, the daily news section keeps you right up to date.
Tom's Hardware
www.tomshardware.com
Tom Pabst has a reputation for getting hold of hardware long before anyone else does and then reviews it meticulously, giving you the benefit of his well thought out and well researched opinion. The information on the site always gives you lots of background on the kit reviewed and there are plenty of easy explanations of how and why things work well or do not work so well. You can always pick up plenty of hints of how to make your PC work to its optimum by following Tom's advice.
Cprogramming.com
www.cprogramming.com
C++ programming is serious stuff, only for those who are well and truly dedicated. Cprogramming.com is a resource site purely for the aforementioned dedicated people. As you'd expect this site is not much to look at, in fact the homepage logo is the only graphic you'll find in the entire site. To the dedicated programmer this is nigh on perfection, no frills; just straight information. That's what Cprogramming.com excels in, C++ help and information for every level of programmer, from beginner to big boss.
Webopedia
www.pcwebopedia.com
Webopedia is basically a glossary of computing terms. So if you are unsure what SCSI stands for or exactly what the difference is between burst and sustained transfer rates you will find it here. Perhaps more useful is the list of links to other useful sites which will either give you more detailed explanations or will give you hints and tip on how to get the most out of your PC's performance.

 
Ars Technica
www.arstechnica.com
Despite a rather dubious sounding name, Ars Technica is a great resource for the PC enthusiast. At the lower end of the spectrum are hardware reviews, guides to upgrading, and basic PC news. However more hardcore subjects are covered, such as a description of how to go about over clocking your PC. The sites very well designed, and layed out in such a way that information is easy to access. Everything is split into categories so that you can quickly jump to the information that you are interested in. A great site for people of varying technical knowledge.
Illustrated Guide to the PC Hardware
www.karbosguide.com
Most great ideas are simple and simplicity is what Karbo's Guide to PC Hardware has in abundance. The opening page lists just about everypart of your PC and invites you to click on the link to find out more. Behind the links are easy to understand explanations of how your PC's components work, together with illustrations to help you understand. Recently the developer have added one more, very useful section, a dictionary, or glossary, of computing terms, so you can find out what all the geeks are talking about.
The PC Guide
www.pcguide.com
If you want to know how a part of your PC works, this is the place to look. The site is devoted to explaining just how each component and peripheral works in the most minute detail. However most users will find the extensive optimisation and troubleshooting guides far more useful. So if you want to soup up your PC, or it simply is not doing what you want it to do, you may well find the answer here.
Sharky Extreme
www.sharkyextreme.com
Sharky Extreme has a killer instinct when sniffing out the latest hardware news and product reviews. It database of hardware reviews is hard to beat and it is constantly added to with products that few other sites manage to get hold of. Add to this a great set of guides on things like overclocking your processor or what kind of memory to choose and you have everything to help you put together an excellent machine.
BX Boards
www.bxboards.com
Referred to as 'mobos' by computer nerds, BX Boards is all about motherboards. If that still leaves you in the dark, this site is probably not for you. The newest motherboards are reviewed and also other hardware such as sound cards and graphics cards. One other big section is the over clocking tips, which shows enthusiasts how too eek out the maximum performance from their hardware. Group tests are another highlight of BX Boards, which gives you the chance to find out the best product to suit your needs. Also, the daily news section keeps you right up to date.
Tom's Hardware
www.tomshardware.com
Tom Pabst has a reputation for getting hold of hardware long before anyone else does and then reviews it meticulously, giving you the benefit of his well thought out and well researched opinion. The information on the site always gives you lots of background on the kit reviewed and there are plenty of easy explanations of how and why things work well or do not work so well. You can always pick up plenty of hints of how to make your PC work to its optimum by following Tom's advice.
Cprogramming.com
www.cprogramming.com
C++ programming is serious stuff, only for those who are well and truly dedicated. Cprogramming.com is a resource site purely for the aforementioned dedicated people. As you'd expect this site is not much to look at, in fact the homepage logo is the only graphic you'll find in the entire site. To the dedicated programmer this is nigh on perfection, no frills; just straight information. That's what Cprogramming.com excels in, C++ help and information for every level of programmer, from beginner to big boss.
Webopedia
www.pcwebopedia.com
Webopedia is basically a glossary of computing terms. So if you are unsure what SCSI stands for or exactly what the difference is between burst and sustained transfer rates you will find it here. Perhaps more useful is the list of links to other useful sites which will either give you more detailed explanations or will give you hints and tip on how to get the most out of your PC's performance.

 

COMPUTING 
HELP
ASP Help
www.asp-help.com
When fully functional computers are without a doubt the most important labour saving device created by mankind to-date. But when things go wrong the owner or user is dragged in to a whole world of frustration and despair. That's where ASP Help comes in, providing a searchable, categorised online resource for all active server pages problems. ASP Help features reviews and articles written by those in the know with regards to ASP technology and programming.
HelpMe.com
www.helpme.com
HelpMe.com is an online support centre with a difference. The site wide search facility enables you to conduct a search by company or product then select a more specific title from a hyperlink list. This makes it really quick and simple to find the help you need. 
HelpMe.com is no designer's dream but having said that it's not as boring as the average functional site and the content is very comprehensive, covering almost every product on the face of the Earth and then some!
No Wonder! Technical Support
www.nowonder.com
It's annoying to be faced with a problem that you can't fix, and then be faced with the expense and hassle of resorting to a technical support line. No longer do you have to suffer this with the help of No Wonder. The site offers you free technical support. Choose the platform that you are running on, type in your problem, and you'll have a response sent to you within 24 hours. Not enough for you? Then why not try the online message boards as well? It's a great site, and easy to get into, as befits a problem solving page.
Computer Don't Bite
www.bbc.co.uk/education/cdb
As seen on TV! Computers don't bite is the BBC educational guide to computers with Carol Vorderman. The site is split into five sections including details of the BBC's campaign itself and information for teachers. The main section 'Webwise' caters for Internet users at all levels offering an opportunity to get an introduction to the Internet or to perfect your surfing skills. As you'd expect from the BBC, the quality of this site, in both content and design is very high. It is also quick and easy to use, an obvious necessity considering the target audience.
PC-Help Online
www.pchelponline.com
PC-Help Online does not strictly belong on the help and advice category, as it does not provide direct help or advice itself. The site is basically a huge searchable database of names, addresses (including Web addresses) and contact details for every computer-related company imaginable. The philosophy is that it will save the consumer a great deal of time and effort searching the Web for the details they're after if they can go to one central resource for the information.
PC Mechanic
www.pcmech.com
The PC Mechanic is a reference site for PC users. It includes a rather nifty guide to building yourself a PC, and free technical support via email. Beyond this you can visit the discussion forums which are split into sections depending on the equipment that you are having trouble with, and download some useful utilities and helpful text files. It's a great site, and stands a good chance of either helping you out, or at least teaching you something new. Particularly impressive are the discussion forums, which have a huge amount of postings in them, and if you can't find something of use in there, then heaven help you.
Help-Site.com
help-site.com
Help-Site.com contains categorised computer manuals, hints and tips. There are numerous sections ranging from DOS through to Windows NT, each includes sub sections detailing more specific aspects of the main category. Design wise it's nothing to write home about but it's quick, very simple to use and more than likely has a titbit of new information for even the most savvy PC users. External links to other sites of interest and a few chat forums means that a visit to Help-Site.com will almost definitely be worth your while.
PC Show and Tell
www.pcshowandtell.com
PC Show and Tell is beginner level help on a wide range applications and subjects. On your first visit to the site you'll have to download a site-specific player to run the tutorials available. You can then search the site by the name of the product you're having problems with and then watch a simple, easy to understand tutorial, hosted by a frog by the way!

 

E-COMMERCE
ebizplan.com
eBizplan.com
Though e-commerce is in its infancy, consultancies are already springing up to help companies get online and get a competitive advantage over their rivals. EBizplan will work with you to develop e-commerce business strategies and e-business plans - plans that could make the difference between surviving and thriving on the Internet. Everything is covered, from research, to website design and management, dealing with orders and maintaining a customer database.
Consumer Protection - E-commerce and the Net
www.ftc.gov/bcp/menu-internet.htm
A US Government site, but then if you wait for the good old UK to come up with a list of tactics and strategies for making the most of e-commerce while avoiding the pitfalls and security snags, you'll be waiting a long time. Nothing flashy, just a solid list of reports on '12 scams most likely to arrive via the Internet', online auctions, secure transactions via the net and so on.
The E-commerce Advisor
www.ecommerceadvisor.com
With an eye on the little guys who could be the next Internet start-up millionaires, E-commerce Advisor is aimed at website owners who are new to Internet marketing. Containing articles, tips, and resources, its line is that 'the Internet is a great place to make a living - if you know what to do!' The first thing the site does is disabuse you of the notion that it's easy to build a successful business on the Internet.
E-commerce Times
www.ecommercetimes.com
Where the Network payment and digital cash site is informative but dry as dust, E-commerce Times takes a much punchier, news-driven approach. 'Everything you need to do business on the web' is the site's catchline and you certainly won't be sold short on what's happening in the business, which big players are going online, and legislation by governments worldwide, all aimed at smoothing the path for companies to get on the web.
Electronic Commerce Guide
ecommerce.internet.com
This site has the muscle of IBM behind it, and there are few global corporations with more to gain from the burgeoning of e-commerce. This is an excellent starter point for businesses wishing to push their trade onto the net, start-up firms, or just the interested observer.
Network payment and digital cash
ganges.cs.tcd.ie/mepeirce/project.html
No-one knows exactly how e-commerce will develop, the one sure thing is that with each year that passes in our new millennium, there will be an exponential surge in the amount of business transacted online. But how will we pay for our goods? And when we pay, how can we be sure that our credit card numbers are safe, that our purchases are confidential and that the stuff will actually arrive?
Sell it on the web
www.sellitontheweb.com
Much more of a novice's guide than E-commerce Times, Sell it on the web won Netscape's "rave of the day" award back in March 1999. You can see why. Colourful, cleanly laid out and easy to navigate, it makes the business of selling online seem an exciting opportunity rather than a scary venture. Free books! Free reports! Free business opportunities! Free everything in fact, and excellent free advice on design and marketing.
Web Commerce Today
www.wilsonweb.com/wct
A free twice-monthly electronic newsletter about Internet marketing and doing business on the Web. Circulation passed 80,000 subscribers worldwide in December 1999. As well as reading the current issue you can search through the 68 back issues for particular features - email newsletters, how to get a top-line listing on search engines, building site traffic or dealing with reader feedback, for example. You can even brainstorm ideas with other Web entrepreneurs.

 

INTERNET
PROVIDERS
Alta vista
www.altavista.co.uk
Alta vista is yet another search engine, reinvented as a Web portal. By incorporating regular news services, email and shopping they have increased their functionality and stickiness ten fold.
AOL.com
www.aol.com
As we wrote this, AOL had just merged with TimeWarner to make one of the largest companies in the world. As you might expect, AOL knows its business well and has a long track record for providing excellent online content.
Free-online
www.free-online.net
One of the first free services on-line. A very efficient service with few problems.
Freeserve
www.freeserve.co.uk
Freeserve was the third Internet service provider to offer free, unlimited access in the UK. Distributed through Dixons, this is now one of the largest Web portals for every day home users.
The Globe.com
www.theglobe.com
The Globe can offer all the features and added extras of other Web portals but with one simple but highly effective difference: the text is larger and the pages aren't over crowded. This, in itself, makes Globe.com one of my favourites, as it is comparatively so much easier to use.
Ic24.net
www.ic24.net
Free internet service provided by the Mirror Group of Newspapers with no connection charges on weekends. Has good news and sports content.
Lineone
www.lineone.net
Lineone is free to join and offers free Internet access and up to 1000 minutes of Internet phone calls free to every member. The Lineone website also contains regularly update news headlines, online shopping, an Internet search facility.
Netscapeonline.co.uk
www.netscapeonline.co.uk
The free service which is part of the AOL stable.Mainly distributed through Woolworths
Snap
www.snap.com
Offering free email, online shopping and a the opportunity to tailor the content of Snap to suit your needs, as well as a very comprehensive and easy to use, categorised Web search facility, makes Snap well worth a visit.
Compuserve.com
www.compuserve.com
Compuserve was one of the first free Internet service providers on the market, giving it a firm foot hold in homes of users world-wide. With free services like email, personalisation of the homepage and up to date news headlines under a multitude of topics, it's no wonder they're still near the top of the pile.
Tesconet
www.tesco.net
What do Tesco know about being an ISP, we hear you say! Apparently, quite a lot. Tesconet's main focus is online shopping, but the comprehensive list of sections, each containing a website of the week and related sites makes Tesconet one of the most user friendly ISP's around.
Virgin Net
www.virgin.net
Richard Branson played a lot of Monopoly as a child, consequently he has a finger in every pie. In the case of Virgin Net this is definitely a good thing: Jobs, music, travel, news, it's all here.
X-Stream
www.x-stream.co.uk
This was the first company to offer both free internet and also a service through a free 0800 numbe. However one has to put up with adverts at the top of the screen which makes it awkward to click onto screens on the bottom of the page.
Yahoo UK
www.yahoo.co.uk
Practically everyone with access to the www has used Yahoo for some reason or another. Initially a search engine, Yahoo is a now a gateway for online shopping, news, email and a whole load more. Only problem in my opinion is that the pages are cluttered with excess information.
Zoom
www.zoom.co.uk
Zoom is distributed through high street clothes stores such as Burtons and Principles. Zoom is not a bad little package, including free copy of IE5 and Outlook Express 5 on the set-up disc. As a portal they provide a wide range of functions and features.
WHSmith Online
www.whsmith.co.uk
We associate the high street WHSmith stores with a good service and a comprehensive range of products and their online presence certainly upholds this conception with competitions, online shopping and all the features of the best ISPs available.

 
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