Network: Always keep your eye on the ball

Andrew North looks for the winning combination in the lottery and Euro 96; sites
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Lottery Site: which is the least frequent number to appear in the National Lottery so far? If you are a regular lottery sucker and you want to know the answer, check out this astonishingly detailed guide to Britain's most popular flutter. It is called the UK National Lottery Site (http:// www.connect.org.uk/lottery/) and when you first log on, you could be forgiven for thinking it is a Camelot creation.

In fact, it is the work of an obsessed statistician at Liverpool University who has analysed every figure produced by the lottery in every possible way since the whole thing started. You can find out the winning numbers for every draw, on screen or in sound, together with details of ticket sales, prizes and how much went to charity. In the numerical analysis section, you can see how long it is since a particular number turned up in a draw, as well as the frequency of your favourite numbers.

Euro 96 Sites: even before the championships began, Euro 96 madness had consumed the Web. Exploring the various sites that have been set up for the championships took ages, so bad was the crush at the cyber-turnstiles.

Finally, after several "quacks" from my Mac and "Busy, try later" notices, I managed to get through to the official championship site (http://www.euro96.org or http://www.euro96.com). This is the place for football bores to check the details of each of the 16 teams, the matches schedule and ticket information - if there are any left. It also offers a Euro96 trivia quiz.

For commentary from European football writers, try the Eurosoccer pages (http://www.eurosoccer.com), which offer a choice of five languages. They also have cartoons and chat forums and will provide reports on each match as the championships progress. Snickers, one of the official sponsors, has set up its own Euro96 site (http://www.euro.snickers.com), which boasts a penalty game

Software Site: veteran Web surfers may sniff, at the mention of this well-established site. But if you are newcomer to the Web, you might not have come across this giant software supermarket (http://www.shareware. com/) yet. Shareware claims to have 190,000 different applications, upgrades and software patches available for downloading, to suit every system from Atari to Windows NT. You won't find the latest version of Quark Xpress here, but there are all sorts of handy bits and pieces. Each day, they review a new PC or Mac package.

Fashion Site: want to look a million dollars? The cliches are splashed liberally over The Fashion Page (http://www.charm.net/ jakec/), an online fashion magazine. There are features on beachwear, underwear, fabric care, urban glamour and something called Hot, Hot, Hot. Plus various movie clips, links to related sites and a list of modelling agencies.

When you first hook up, it seems as busy as your average fashion glossy, but scrolling through the pages of limply written text you wonder why you are bothering. English stories appear far too often for a magazine that purports to give international coverage. Somehow, reports from the 1995 and 1996 Birmingham Fashion Shows are not a must-read. And is anyone really interested in hearing John Galliano's predictions for last autumn? All standard Net complaints, you might say, but the Web offers potential for covering a fast-changing, global subject like fashion in an imaginative way. This is a good example of how not to produce a Web magazine.

Movie Site: another site for people who like to get deep into their subject. Tap in the name of your favourite movie of the moment and the Internet Movie Database (http://uk.imdb.com/) will give you details on everything from the plot to the filming location, as well as reviews and other related literature. IMDB covers thousands of movies going back to the beginning of the century. It also has all the Oscar winners since 1927, movie listings round the UK, details of festivals, star biographies and a regular quiz.

The site holds a weekly ballot on current films and publishes its 250 most popular and 100 lowest-rated movies. When I last logged in, Star Wars, The Shawshank Redemption and Wrong Trousers were the top three. A curious mix.

Boating Site: with the sun finally out, it is time to start messing about in boats again. But perhaps you need a new sail, some rope (to tie up the kids), or even a new boat. Sail in to the Boats Direct (http: //www.boatsdirect.com) which lists suppliers of everything from motors to winches to Global Positioning Systems.

It is an enormous site, with details on boatbuilders, holiday companies, boating events around Europe, crew hire, sailing schools and clubs, boating organisations and weather information services.

If you don't find what you need there, try the equally comprehensive Yachtlink Web Server (http://www.vossnet.co.uk/ yacht/). Its classified advertising section offers new and used yachts and motor boats for sale in several European countries and the US, as well as the British Isles.

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