Internet: Spy in the sky

m.walker@independent.co.uk
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Webcams, digital cameras linked directly up the Internet, have come on in leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. Ever since someone had the idea of hooking up a camera directly to the Internet so that anybody could see live pictures of Bondi Beach or the centre of Dublin live at any time they wanted, there have been more and more coming on line. They have been responsible for many of the news stories that have hit the newspapers: especially the so-called girlcams and guycams that some people for some reason saw fit to set up in their bedrooms. You might be a little nonplussed when you visit The Webcam Theatre. It keeps a running total of webcams around the world, which it reckons are worth looking at at any given time, depending on whether or not it's daylight or if it's indoors or whatever. Most of them are based in North America, although the site also has one which it claims is based in the solar system. It turns out to be a virtual view of the Earth from the Sun, which you should look at if only to see just what a tiny little country Britain is and how far north it is. Although The Webcam Theatre is one of the most user-friendly sites around, there are plenty of other comprehensive indexes. If it's quantity you're interested in, then take a look at The Live Cameras Page (home.c2i.net/jrath/honey/webcam.html) which has a very long list of webcams, although its credibility is somewhat compromised by its view of London's Oxford Street, which appears to show nothing more than a piece of the kerb. For something a little more entertaining, you could always try the BBC's Walfordcam, which has a live image of Albert Square, where EastEnders is filmed. The URL is www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/walfordcam.

Know It All

www.theknowledge.com

There are only a few really good names for publications. The Information is clearly one of them, closely followed by The Knowledge, which happens to be the title of a website devoted to the indie music scene. Its looks extremely good, is very professionally put together and the authors obviously have an enthusiasm for their subject. It has all the hallmarks of a site that could really take off. If you're over 25 years old the first thing you'll notice is just how few bands you actually recognise. But it does contain disarmingly irreverent accounts of a number of record labels, as its profile of Richard Branson's V2 record label shows: "At the beginning of 1996, Richard approached Jeremy Pearce, who had been responsible for setting up Sony Music's Licensed Repertoire Division, to work with him in establishing his new record company. Jeremy foolhardily left his lucrative and secure employment with Sony and at the beginning of April found himself ensconced in what had previously been Richard's PA's stationery cupboard, drawing up the business plan." Less well put together but still very comprehensive is the self-styled Complete British Indie Index which you can find at homepages.tcp.co.uk/bob866/altindex/. This is essentially a series of links to Indie labels, festival organisers, gigs, merchandising and a host of other related homepages. It's strongest in its list of artists, which extends beyond the indie scene, taking in, as it does The Beatles and Blur, but if you know whose site you're looking for, it could prove to be a good place to start from.

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