Hollywood goes Hollyweb: Sit back and enjoy the show

Dec. 29, 1996


More and more companies are moving to the World Wide Web in search of new markets, new promotions and most importantly, new consumers.

For example, the recent Disney movie, "101 Dalmatians" is a fine example of how the Web can both promote a feature film and entertain, too.

The "Datamation" site -- unlike the dark and slow-loading one Disney offers for "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" -- was a lighthearted and genuinely fun romp on the Web.

My daughter enjoyed the mysterious search-for-the-puppies feature built into the site, as well as the online games for those with Shockwave-enabled Web browsers. Fortunately, if you don't care to keep your phone line tied up while your child plays puppy-related games, there are both Mac and PC versions of the online games available to download at no cost.

How many new movie trailers have you seen lately that don't have a Web site tacked somewhere? From the results of my latest searches, very few.

Madonna's new movie "Evita" has a very classy Web site, complete with biographical sketches of the actual Evita Peron. Download Quicktime video clips, and audio clips in a wide range of formats. Point your browser to www.evita-themovie.com.

For links to a lot of current movie releases from Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures, visit movies.com at www.movies.com. They have links to sites featuring current releases and previews for upcoming releases.

For more links to studio and movie-related sites, I recommend pointing your Web browser to a Web site created by Video Tec, a Los Angeles video store, at http"//pw2.netcom.com/(tilde)n1138/moviestudios.html.

WHAT'S UPS, DOC? Have you been looking for a package that was sent to you over the holidays by UPS, and just wondering where it went?

Well if you know the package tracking number that the shipper assigned to your package, you can go to the United Parcel Service's Web page and find out just where it went and when and to whom.

While looking for some computer memory chips sent to me recently via UPS, I used the tracking number I had from the company sending me the package and quickly found out the missing parcel had been sent to my old address.

And that's the beauty of this site -- in an instant, I was able to track the package's path and even determine the exact time it was delivered and who signed for it. No long waits on the telephone listening to Barry Manilow-inspired "on-hold" music; no more wasted time spent looking in the bushes next to your porch for a errant package.

The availability of the tracking service varies by the service selected, but consider it safe to say that most UPS shipments you are likely to receive will have a tracking number. It's one of the new and very useful applications becoming available on the World Wide Web.

For details on the package tracking, visit the UPS web site at http://www.ups.com/

Note that Federal Express was one of the first to offer the same sort of service at its Web site too; I expect others will follow the trend.

COMMUNICATOR DEBUTS. Pushing hard to keep to its promises to investors and users, Netscape Communications unveiled this week a preview version of its new Communicator software for use on the Internet and corporate intranets.

The package -- available now only for PCs running Windows95 -- will eventually combine more powerful e-mail and Web browser applications with other handy Web and corporate communication tools.

If the products' development continues, Communicator's release in March 1997 will usher in a new suite of Internet tools, and bid an eventual goodbye to the Navigator name.

For more information on Netscape's Communicator, visit the Netscape Web site at http://home.netscape.com.

PRICE WARS? Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe's predictions about the future of the Internet just came a little closer to coming true this week.

Netcom, a national Internet Service Provider (ISP) announced recently it would be dropping the popular $19.95 unlimited usage plan from its fee schedule.

Netcom -- the company that helped establish the flat-rate as the standard among ISPs -- is essentially turning its back on the consumer Internet access business to to cater to businesses and corporations.

Now that its once-unique pricing model is standard, the company is seeking to offer faster Internet service to those who'll be willing to pay more for it -- meaning businesses seeking reliable and speedy access.

Prodigy and more recently, America Online and the Microsoft Network, have moved to the "all-you-can-eat" usage plans, sending smaller ISPs scrambling to add value to their Web sites -- either in content or lower prices.

With the speed enhancements that new technologies will soon make available, we as Internet users may be asking ourselves the old auto racing questions: "Speed costs money -- just how fast do you want to go?"

FDIC. It isn't the slickest site on the Web, but the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation web site is chock full of information.

For example, you can download a wide variety of consumer banking information and even peruse some of the data your local bank sends in its quarterly reports to the FDIC. In short, if there's some sort of information about your bank and the banking industry you are searching for, chances are you'll find something about it here.

Point your browser to http://www.fdic.gov/.

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

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