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RecordTV

RecordTV

This bright idea for an "online VCR" has been quickly rendered non-functional by the copyright lawyers. Not for the first time, the Hollywood studios objected to a website retransmitting network TV shows, in this case for users to timeshift via the Web. Programmes were being made available for visitors to save remotely (or "record") for subsequent viewing via Windows Media Player. This was a small-scale venture threatened with a large-scale Napster-style lawsuit, though in some ways, as the lively bulletin board argues, the site offered no more than is already possible using a standard VCR. A demo page remains to show how it might still work.

icraveTV.com

Another online TV chancer, closed soon after its moment of glory at the end of last year and, temporarily at least, unable to continue its output of rebroadcast Canadian shows because of "protracted multi-front litigation". Don't miss icraveicravetv (www.icraveicravetv.com), which claims to retransmit once again the already retransmitted contents of icrave, but adding a nice coloured border. With its shots of old Sixties TVs showing static on all channels, this one knows it is joking.

The Dot.Com Deadpool

An adults-only page for those unperturbed by robust language and schadenfreude. It gleefully recounts the slow collapse of overambitious internet ventures, inspired by similar sites predicting the deaths of ageing celebrities. Punters are invited to bet on the survival chances of dodgy dot.coms, with points gained for redundancies, share prices heading south and loss of funding. Boo.com investors should avert their gaze, though anyone who called the Boo débâcle in advance would have received a bonus score of 190.

Sissyfight 2000

Far from demure site at which girl gangs fight it out in an online school playground to gain, or lose, self-esteem points by dishing out violence, gossip and verbal abuse. "The object is to physically attack and majorly dis your enemies until they are totally mortified beyond belief." With strategic advice on teasing, tattling and dealing with sneaky cowards, and a rankings board - currently FreakyFiFi and Babygirl are on winning streaks, but TraceyBitch is Loser of the Week.

21st Century Astrology

Quigley spent seven years as house astrologer to the Reagans, as her site - a slick, Shockwaved number with a retro-Fifties feel - frequently reminds us. Spacey/newagey keyboard tinkles accompany exhortations to "get in sync with the cosmic forces", and details of her predictive triumphs. You can buy books, or sign up for her new, personalised Web-based horoscope service.

DoHistory

Investigate history at this Harvard site based around the diary of an 18th-century midwife. Martha Ballard's journal has already been the basis of a book and TV film, and its zealous curator now invites visitors to compare it with other online material - maps, court records, genealogies - and intepret for themselves issues such as a local rape case and a controversy about male midwives.

London's Virtual Mayor

The Houses of Parliament, a number 38 bus, a red telephone box - this must be London, then. Another amateurish pitch for online democracy, a cybermayor claiming to be independent and free of ego. Disappointingly, not an animated Livingstone/Ananova hybrid, just text, links and boards. But if the general policy plan for London is still in its infancy, its creator can at least boast that he has developed an interactive site from scratch for only £91.63.

websites@dircon.co.uk

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