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Network: Bytes

Internet Explorer 4.0 release

Internet traffic is likely to be heavy on Saturday when Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0 browser for Windows 95 and NT is made available for free download at http://www.microsoft.com/ie/. Because of the expected download demand - more than one million copies of the second preview version were downloaded within a week of it being posted - the company is also making the browser available on CD-Rom for $6.95. The software includes Active Channels push technology, conferencing features and the Outlook Express e-mail package. Boasting a comprehensive set of communication tools, Microsoft seems to have stolen a march on its competitor Netscape. Netscape's latest Navigator browser, originally bundled as part of its Communicator suite, is now also available as a stand-alone browser after pressure from companies such as Lotus, which had planned to drop Netscape and bundle Internet Explorer with forthcoming releases of Notes because it saw the Communicator suite as a rival to its own software. However, the stand-alone version has been criticised by users because it does not have the e-mail and newsreader facilities of its predecessors - features without which a browser is of only limited use.

SIB warns of bogus investment sites

The Securities and Investments Board (SIB), Britain's self-regulatory board for investors, has warned about the dangers of copycat Web sites where the pages of genuine firms are copied by bogus ones passing themselves off as the real thing. "The global nature of the Internet makes it easy, cheap and very tempting for cyber-cheats to try to exploit potential investors with offers that seem too good to be true," Andrew Winckler, chief executive of SIB, said. "In our experience many end up not being true and investors can lose their money." Investors can check with SIB's Central Register on 0171-929 3652 to see if sites are legal. SIB also has general information about investing over the Internet on its Web site at http://www.sib.co.uk. The board plans to compile a list of bogus sites. Information on suspect financial services sites that may be seeking to attract UK investors is welcomed at enforcement@sib.co.uk

Businesses expected to fuel Net growth

A report from the market research company Dataquest last week said that 82 million computers will be connected to the Internet by the end of this year - an increase of 71 per cent on last year - and that by the year 2001 the number will have risen to 268 million. The report predicts that the market for Internet software and services will be worth pounds 32bn by 2001. The driving force behind growth in Internet connection and use is identified as the business market. "Businesses that already pay for desktop computers for employees increasingly recognise the incremental benefit of adding Internet access," Kathryn Hale, principal analyst at the company said. "By 2001, it will become nearly pointless to pay for a desktop computer for an employee without including Internet access."

Lottery windfall for trAce project

The trAce International Online Writing Community project is to be set up at Nottingham Trent University following an award of pounds 356,621 of National Lottery money through the Arts Council of England Arts 4 Everyone scheme. The project is designed to benefit readers and writers around the world by teaching them how to use the Internet for writing, reading and workshops, as well as supplying information services and support networks as a virtual community is built up. Three e-mail writers-in-residence will be involved as well as one based physically in the East Midlands. Competitions for Internet-based writing, online events, performances, readings and open days (physical and virtual) are also planned. Schools, colleges and libraries in the region will be involved with projects such as Kids On The Net written by children. The International Writing Community aims to be "one of the most significant UK-based Internet communities yet devised," according to Sue Thomas, artistic director of trAce. Details are on the Web at http://human.ntu.ac.uk/foh/ems/ema.htmln