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Roger Ridey looks at a 'digital time capsule' of our virtual world
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Spectacular site: Earlier this month, some 1,000 photographers in 27 countries took part in a project called "24 Hours in Cyberspace" (http://www. cyber24.com). Devised by Rick Smolan, the photographer behind the A Day in the Life ... series of picture books, the project was an ambitious attempt to create a "digital time capsule" portraying how online technology is changing people's lives. On 8 February, the photographers - professional photojournalists, amateurs and students - took thousands of photos depicting life in cyberspace. These were then beamed from around the world to San Francisco, where a team of 80 picture editors, designers and programmers assembled an instantaneous Web site showcasing the best of them.

Their stories ranged from archaeologists in Egypt who use the Net to help schoolchildren in the United States learn about their discoveries, to US soldiers in Bosnia who use the Net to send digital images of their operations back to the Pentagon top brass.

The photograph shown here is from the "Digital Caves" page, which tells the story of a group of Italian cavers who produce a Web page dedicated to their sport. Their digital cave provides other members of their 70- strong group scattered across Italy with the latest information on conditions underground. When they are not exploring caves together, they communicate via their Web page.

The project serves as a proof of the power and value of the Net, and should convince even the most sceptical technophobe that cyberspace is not just an elaborate computer game or a passing fad. You can view a sample of the stories from "24 Hours in Cyberspace" now. The completed version will be published on the Net on 17 March.

Useful site: If you ever find yourself lost for words, now you can look up a few, with the help of Project Gutenburg's online version of Roget's Thesaurus (http://web.soi.city.ac.uk:8080/ text/roget/thesaurus.html). You simply type in a word and hit return and a list of alternative words will appear on your screen. Click on one of these words and yet more options appear. If you're more interested in what other people have to say, try the online version of the Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. (http:// www. cc.columbia.edu/acis/bartleby/bartlett/)

Sport site: How are England doing in the 1996 Cricket World Cup? If you really must know, you can find out from CyberCricket (http://www. cybercricket.com). This impressive site provides ball-by-ball coverage of each match along with summaries, standings and schedules.

If you have the right software, you can even listen to live audio broadcasts (is cyberspace ready for Fred Trueman?) and download video replays of yet another dropped catch by England.

Business site: They say that some day we will be able to do our shopping and banking in cyberspace. That day has already arrived at MarketNet (http://alpha.mkn.co.uk/HELP/SIGNON). Whether it's buying a box of chocolates, booking a hotel room or seeking advice on writing a will, you can do it all here. This site, which seeks to be the pre-eminent electronic marketplace on the Net, offers a broad range of services, including electronic banking, legal services and an online stockbroker.

MarketNet is provided in 13 languages and transactions can be made in nine different currencies. You can set up an electronic current account (no charges for overdrafts!) and use it to pay for transactions with the participating businesses. It even provides the opportunity to create your own free Web page.

Leftist site: Feeling left out because you're left-handed? Drop in to the Lefthanded Universe (http:www.xs4all.nl/ riksmits/pg001e.htm), where you can find just about everything you ever wanted to know about left- handedness. It includes sections on the latest research, books for lefties, folklore and superstitions, curious facts, a list of shops that sell left- handed products, and there's even a list of famous left-handers. All in all, it's right handy.

Silly site: If you're a Trekkie or just appreciate fine music, stop by The Captain James T Kirk Sing-a-long Page (http: //www. ama.caltech.edu/users /mrm/ kirk.html). Did you know that way back in 1968 Captain Kirk (aka William Shatner) recorded an album that featured covers of such hits as "Mr Tambourine Man" and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"?

You can download samples from what surely must be one of the worst albums ever recorded, and sing along with the help of lyric sheets. There are also links to recordings made by other crew members of the Enterprise.

If you know of any interesting sites, e-mail details to network@ independent.co.uk

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