in The National on July 28, 2000
Free online presence
By Daniel Lam
now have an e-mail account with one of
the many free account providers like Hotmail, Yahoo!Mail, Ivillage, etc. But the
Internet offers more than just e-mail accounts for free.
The Internet is also a valuable publishing
medium, available at a very low cost to anyone who has Internet access.
If you want to create and manage your own space
on the web and use it to publicise your work or business, or show off pictures
of your newborn or family, you can!
You can, of course, pay someone to do it for you
(design the webpage, post it online and host it), but there is an alternative
... free web-hosting!
Before you search for some benevolent patron
willing to help you with your dream webpage, check with your Internet Service
Provider. Some ISPs provide one or two megabytes' worth of free space for their
In PNG for example, Online South Pacific offers
its dial-up Internet access subscribers a total of 500kb space free. Daltron on
the other hand does not offer any free web space, but its rates are relatively
reasonable at K40 per month for 5MB of space and three e-mail accounts, with the
option of increasing the real estate for K10 for each additional 5MB.
If your ISP does not provide free web space, or
the space is too limited (as may well be the case), try the Internet.
You may have to do some research, but worry not
... the Internet is full of helpful people.
With many free web-hosting services like
Yahoo/Geocities, Tripod, Xoom and NetTaxi, you can design your webpage even if
you have no idea what HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), the main language of the
web, is or how it works or how to use it. And you don't have to buy web design
software like Microsoft's FrontPage or Macromedia's Dreamweaver either.
With the hosting services cited above, you have
access to a user-friendly editing facility to help you create your webpage.
There are plenty of graphics and cartoons you can
choose from to add colour to your webpage.
Xoom even offers resources such as counters,
which keep track of the number of visits (called "hits") made to your
There is a downside, however.
With paid web-hosting services, you may get a
chance to have your very own domain name (like, say, www.tokITpage.com, for
example). With free we-hosting services, we are looking at something like
www.geocities.com/creek/9813/tokitpage.htm ... not a very catchy URL (a web
address, or Uniform Resource Locator).
You also need to make sure whatever you put on
your webpage does not breach the terms and conditions of the web-hosting service
provider. In short, read the fine print.
What you can do is explore the Internet/World
Wide Web and look for such services.
Here are a few:
- Homestead (www.homestead.com) - Offers
16MB of space and an easy-to-use page builder and cool stuff like counters and
password protection (to limit who can access your webpage and who can't).
- NetTaxi (www.nettaxi.com) - NetTaxi
has been around for quite a few years. It offers 25MB of free space.
- Tripod (www.tripod.com) - You
get 50MB with Tripod. The Tripod Site Builder is user-friendly as well.
- WebJump (www.webjump.com) - Offers
25MB of free space. This site is better suited for people who have some basic
knowledge of using HTML.
- Xoom (www.xoom.com) - Xoom
offers unlimited (yes!) free space and its Easy Page Builder to help you build
web pages. Other add-ons include counters and stats, and even adding a chat room
to your site! The Xoom counter and stats can reveal the email addresses of the
people visiting your site.
- Yahoo! Geocities (www.geocities.yahoo.com) -
of the largest collections of personal webpages on the Internet. Very
user-friendly, with Yahoo! PageWizards ready to help beginners. Includes File
Manager and an Advanced HTML Editor for those who are eager to try something
more advanced. You can build your webpages using Yahoo! PageBuilder. Yahoo!
Geocities offers 15MB of free space.
Published in The
National on August 11, 2000
Worldwide window to PNG
Last week the new, improved online edition of The
National newspaper was launched. Tok IT examines the website that
aims to be PNG's first real newspaper on the Internet.
By Daniel Lam
In today's world every organisation that aims to
be "tuned in with the times", be it a private company, government body
or even an educational institution, has an online presence.
In early 1997, The National launched its website.
It was a first for Papua New Guinea, being the first daily newspaper to have an
It was simple even by the standards then ...
minimal graphics, no pictures, no frames, mostly text, etc. But it was effective
in getting across to the world the news from PNG.
The simplicity was necessary because of the
limited infrastructure and resources available at the time.
Then, late last year the management of The National decided that the time and circumstances were right for The National
Online to be upgraded.
Senior editor Sinclaire Solomon was appointed
Online Editor-in-Chief. Web-design talent Rhandy Libiran was reeled in to
redesign the website. Senior journalist Sanjay Bhosale was enlisted to
coordinate between the print and online media.
The resulting effort was well worth it.
Last Friday, Aug 4, 2000, The National's
refurbished website was launched. The URL remains the same (http:\\www.thenational.com.pg),
but the website has changed - for the better.
Gone are the dull text links and still images.
Now The National Online is in full colour, with plenty of pictures and graphics.
The various sections (Nation, Opinion, Sports, etc) have been expanded, and
additional sections added.
All the things visitors liked about the old
website are still there ... great news stories, accessibility,
user-friendliness, neat layout, etc.
The National Online is a "complete"
newspaper. Practically everything from the print format is there, so people from
around the world can have access to things PNG.
In addition to all the cool new features, an
online poll has been added to give an element of interactivity to The National
Online. Every week there will be a poll on a major issue involving the people.
So popular was the online poll that within the
first few days of the launch, nearly 800 people have voted on an issue that
affects everyone in PNG.
The website, designed using Microsoft's FrontPage
software, was tailored in a way that blends a combination of flair and
The website has been designed so that it
downloads reasonably fast in PNG, where connection speeds can be erratic. It is
hosted locally with Global Technologies, and there is a mirror site with
ZipWorld of Australia.
Published in The
National on September 1, 2000
Tok IT gets into the Papua New Guinean
message boards on PNG Online and PNG Net Search.
By Lena Liew
"DID Bill Skate do a good job as the prime
minister of PNG? Yes; No; I don't know ... Vote".
Now who wouldn't click on that button? I
certainly did. It was on the website PNG Online (http://www.niugini.com).
On July 12 - a week before the vote was supposed
to close on July 18 - three people had voted. Two said yes, one said no. I
concluded that the vote might have just started.
The next day, I checked again. There had been 81
voters already! Thirteen said "yes", 63 said "no" and four
chose "I don't know".
Browsing through the messages posted on the
website's "Wantok's Forum" two days later, I found a posting that made
me laugh out loud.
"I have a confession ... I voted 'no' three
times!" said the person.
Right under his posting, someone else had
replied: "I have a confession too ... I voted 'no' 19 times!" I shan't
elaborate on the reasons they presented.
The day after the vote was supposed to have
closed, the tally had reached 126 votes - 34 "yes", 86 "no",
and six "I don't know".
People were still voting a few days after the
vote was to have closed.
The vote sparked vigorous debate in the Wantok
Forum itself on the accuracy of the vote and the merits or demerits of Bill
Skate's leadership. Other hot topics over the past month have been the existence
of non-Christian religions in PNG, the assault on the two UPNG female hostelites,
passport scams, West Papuan independence, the Bougainville issue, the coups in
Fiji and Solomons Islands and the ever-present campaign by "Bill
White" against Divine Word University.
I actually enjoy going through the various
postings and the replies to them. Maybe not everyday, but at least once during
the week. Although the contributors each remain anonymous because they use
nicknames in their postings, some regulars really have a lot to say about so
many things! And it is obvious that some people have become virtual friends
through the message boards. Dates are given next to each posting, indicating
when each message was posted. And reply-postings follow.
These messages certainly provide an idea of what
so many of the country's ordinary people (although not quite the grassroots from
the bush) think and feel about various social, economic and political issues in
PNG. Leaders in both government and opposition should indeed harness this source
PNG Online's Wantok Forum contains more serious
stuff. It also provides interesting information on PNG which could be very
helpful for potential travellers and expatriates coming to live and work here.
Archives for the message board date back as far back as April 2000.
PNG Online appears more sophisticated since it
offers also the "Garamut Forum" for finding friends/family and for
exchanging fun and jokes; the "Wantok Lotu Forum'" for discussing
religious issues (very interesting board, I say!) and the "Wantok Sports
Forum" for sports. There were nevertheless people who did not follow
instructions and simply posted whatever wherever they liked.
PNG Online also has a "Wantok Chat"
which is, unfortunately, quite lifeless. The same goes for the chat site of PNG
Net Search (http://www.pngnetsearch.com) - "Hauswin Chat".
PNG Net Search's "Tok Save Board'"
announces itself as a "teen zone" - so no wonder the messages are more
frivolous and immature in nature. The language sometimes gets rude, though,
although those messages are deleted once the administrator discovers them. One
day, I posted a query on censorship of vulgarities on the Board and the very
next day I got a reply from the Board's administrator and saw a warning on bad
language posted on the Board itself.
Postings that extended into a discussion included
the assault of the two UPNG female hostelites, non-Christian religions in PNG,
smart Keremas, Morobeans producing like rabbits, and the "Bill White"
campaign again. And archives go as far back as 1998 - when the website and
message board was founded. It was heartening to note 12 items on archive so far
this year, when there were only three items last year and the year before.
PNG Net Search also presents directories under
the categories of business, education and career, news and media, art,
environment, religion, travel and personal homepages. The latter was the most
These two message boards are no doubt invaluable
for Papua New Guineans overseas to keep abreast of developments at
"home", as well as to find support and community spirit among wantoks.
Wanem hao yu stap.
story of PNG Net Search