Network: Sites: Take a walk among the stones

Andrew North steps back with the druids, rubs shoulders with Vogue models, and exchanges tips with some 'real' surfers
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Stone Age Site: the much-heralded virtual Stonehenge has arrived and is available on the Internet at www.intel.com - if you have the right equipment. As a Mac user, I don't have access to the software tools needed to view it; if you have Windows, and a fast Pentium processor, you should be OK.

Judging by the preview shots, though, this is quite a site. You can wander around a scientifically accurate 3D model of Stonehenge, choosing 10 eras from 8,500BC to the present day. You can switch between sunlight and moonlight and even watch the sun rise on the solstice.

This is the only way of getting inside the monument now, as visitors have not been allowed among the real stones for many years. You can also see 450 nearby ancient monuments - archaeologists stress that Stonehenge itself should not be looked at in isolation.

The model was developed by Intel (hence the Windows bias), English Heritage and the British virtual reality company Superscape.

Surf Site: you might have thought real surfers would have boycotted the Net in protest at the blatant word-hijack perpetrated by us cyber surfers. I feel sorry for them. These days, they almost have to pull on a wetsuit before they can convince people they are not talking about staring cross- eyed at frozen computer screen.

But it is obviously a case of "if you can't beat them ...", because the Web is full of surf sites, covering the globe. And in the best matey traditions of the Web, many of them link to each other.

For British breaker freaks, the UK Surfing Pages (http:// www.wdi.co.uk/westwind/surf/ index.html) are a good place to start.

As well as links to official bodies, it provides news and tips from popular surfing locations around the UK, weather and surf forecasts and a series of links to suppliers, surf schools and a surf music list. And take a look at the linked Surfers Against Sewage site, which is full of details and pictures of their campaigns.

Vogue Site: the Net is no longer the sole preserve of anoraks and nerds. That's official. Well it must be, because Vogue magazine, that bible of high-price fashion, has just set up its own Web site (http://www.vogue.co. uk). The well-dressed things at Vogue would not go near anything associated with zip-up, furry-hooded Parkas.

As you would expect, the site is very glossy. In addition to extracts from Vogue, it has a daily fashion news round-up, a travel service (who doesn't these days?) and links to Vogue's sister titles, including GQ and Tatler.

There is also a weekly diary by someone called Laura Bailey, a British model living in New York. Inspiring stuff.

The piece de resistance is an unfolding fashion picture feature, which editor Dan Conaghan claims is "like being in the middle of a shoot". But he has a high-speed ISDN line. With my steam-driven modem and standard telephone line, it was not quite so impressive.

But does Conaghan really think the average, well-heeled Vogue reader will be rushing to get on the site? "Vogue readers who are connected to the Net already are certain to look at us," he says. "But we are also hoping to pull in lots of new readers who would not normally buy Vogue."

Book Site: puritans may be outraged at the thought of buying books via a Web site, and I have to admit I would rather browse through a real bookstore. None the less, the Internet Bookshop (http://www. bookshop.co.uk/) is a pretty impressive set-up. IBS's fast-search facility, covering 780,000 titles, allows you to find out if a book you want is available immediately, instead of hanging on the phone for a bored shop assistant.

You can order online, or head for one of the bookshops linked with the IBS, although these are mostly in the Oxfordshire region. The IBS runs regular promotions and also divides up its stock by specialist categories, allowing you to browse as if you were in a real bookstore.

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