Apple eating

Apple is getting into the cybercafe business, but it plans to offer more than just the usual mix of computers and cappuccino. Last week, it announced plans for a chain of theme restaurants that will accommodate up to 250 customers. The cybercafes will be designed by Landmark Entertainment, whose previous projects include the Jurassic Park attraction at LA's Universal Studios and the Star Trek attraction at the Las Vegas Hilton. The first Apple cafe is planned for Los Angeles, with others to follow in New York, Paris and London. It's not clear whether the cafes will feature pull-down menus from which hungry Net surfers can order big Macs.

Beeb wires up Budget

Budget junkies who can't wait for The Independent to arrive on their doorstep after Kenneth Clarke unveils his Budget next week will be able to get instant gratification from Budget 96, a Web site set up by the BBC and the Institute of Fiscal Studies. Net users will have access to Budget news as soon as the Chancellor delivers his speech, and then be able to work out whether they will be better or worse off. They'll also be able to play Virtual Chancellor, making their own adjustments to the tax rates and then seeing the effects on the economy. The site is now up and running, so Mr Clarke might want to have a go.

Roger Ridey