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Internet's popularity makes new genealogy Web site impossible to reach
By JIM BROOKS
There's no doubt that the Mormon church didn't anticipate what unfolded last week when they unveiled their new Web site devoted to genealogy.
For many of us trying to reach www.familysearch.org, we found nothing -- nothing but the World Wide Web equivalent of a busy signal.
That's because computer servers where the Web site data was stored were overwhelmed by the number of visiting Web surfers and genealogy buffs.
The site was down for more than six hours on Monday as site partner IBM worked to add additional server capacity to try and handle the heavy demand for Web pages.
I wasn't able to access the site Monday or Tuesday. On Wednesday, I finally got through -- and even then, notices posted online informed me that access to the site was being limited to 20 minutes per visit so everyone who wished to use the site could access it.
The Web site includes a search engine that examines Mormon records of 400 million names, making it a must-see for every genealogy buff.
The church will be adding up to 200 million more names to their online database by the end of this year, with plans on making their entire database -- on 2 billion people -- available in the future.
INVEST ONLINE. The number of people buying and selling stock on the Internet has exploded in the last couple of years, and caught the attention of both entrepreneurs and regulators.
This fall, the NASDAQ Stock Market plans to extend its trading hours, adding an evening period to its existing 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. session.
The evening trading session will likely run from 5:30 p.m. to 9 or 10 p.m. Eastern Time.
The move still requires a review by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which officially says the move "requires some thorough and intensive coordination if it's going to be done properly."
The SEC wants to delay the move, but NASDAQ is pushing the plan forward.
NASDAQ officials make no bones about it. The move is solely to accommodate the growing number of investors who trade at home over the Internet -- after "normal" business hours.
The idea is very popular with investors, and even the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange was quoted last week as saying the exchange was also considering plans to extend trading hours.
Fully 10 percent of the total investor population of the U.S. now uses the Internet for stock trades. More than 1.2 million new online trading accounts were opened during the first quarter of this year.
SALE-A-BRATE. There's nothing better than the sale rack at a bookstore to grab my attention when walking through a mall. I've been known to camp out at a rack while my spouse shopped elsewhere, only to be found still searching out book bargains an hour later.
Everyone loves a sale, and mega-bookseller Barnes & Noble has beefed up its Web site to include a great "Bargain Books" section.
You have access to thousands of books discounted to prices between $1 and $15. Many of them recent releases that just didn't sell really well, and others that are older best sellers. Some, like the Webster's Unabridged Dictionary that's a bargain at $24.95, is as bulky as it can be useful.
Another really neat section is devoted to books that are out of print. If you're seeking something rare or unusual, you might just find it here.
Visit their online bargain rack at www.barnesandnoble.com/bargain/
SELLING SPELLING. Veteran Hollywood TV producer Aaron Spelling may be proving he's no slouch when it comes to Internet entrepreneurship.
Spelling, who has had his finger on the pulse of pop culture for the past two decades, is hoping his TV hits will translate into an e-commerce hit on the computer screen.
The Web site, AsSeenIn.com, is featuring housewares and items that make up the sets on three of Spelling's hit TV shows.
The list includes both replicas of the furniture used on the sets, and clothing like that worn by the stars of "Charmed," "Any Day Now," and "Seventh Heaven."
The fall season will see more merchandise added from other Spelling-produced show sets, and items from major films and TV shows from other producers.
The site won't be selling original props, but exact replicas.
The site is now online, but will be relaunched with a broader line of goods around Thanksgiving, according to a story in Daily Variety.
Merchandise connected to Spelling's "Beverly Hills 90210" will also be featured on the site beginning tomorrow -- just in time for the show's demise.
Point your browser to www.asseenin.com.
Comments and questions about this column may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.
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