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Preview: - Web Watch -- Frank Ahrens's Guide to What's New and Interesting Online ( - Web Watch -- Frank Ahrens's Guide to What's New and Interesting Online (

In Web Watch, The Post's Frank Ahrens points out new and interesting developments on the Internet.


Fun to Be Boring And Bumming

Sun, 12 Nov 2006 00:00:00 EST

Hard-core Web users are constantly fighting unfair stereotypes:

A Wikipedia Of Secrets

Sun, 05 Nov 2006 00:00:00 EST

Imagine if, in August 2001, the U.S. intelligence agencies had dumped all of their information into one secure, online resource where it was searchable and accessible to anyone who had the proper clearance.

Don't Give Up the Flagship

Sun, 29 Oct 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Amid all the bad news about the future of newspapers -- and there is plenty -- a good news story quietly has been building: Online newspaper revenue is growing.

Music Store Cold War

Sun, 22 Oct 2006 00:00:00 EDT

An online music store in Russia caused headlines and created some unintentional yuks last week.

How a Bathrobed Reviewer Drew a Full House

Sun, 08 Oct 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Lazydork was just another loser in a bathrobe, doing movie reviews on his Web site that no one watched. Then, he discovered YouTube. Then, he discovered Emmalina. And a splendid story began about dual lives, the mechanics of Internet fame and chest hair. It leads all the way from a courtroom in Miami to a casino in Vegas.

Steps and Stumbles For Cellphone Screens

Sun, 01 Oct 2006 00:00:00 EDT

The big media companies aren't looking at just the Web for new viewers and more advertising revenue. Increasingly, they are turning to mobile devices, and with mixed results.

New-Media Richcraft Invites Priceless Comparisons

Sun, 24 Sep 2006 00:00:00 EDT

About a month ago, the two founders of Facebook came to The Washington Post, excited to tell me about a product they were planning to launch.

The Lessons of 'Lonelygirl': We Can Be Fooled, And We Probably Don't Care

Sun, 17 Sep 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Three months and millions of page views after lonelygirl15's debut, the most recent Internet phenomenon turned into a detective story and came to a conclusion last week.

Defining Reliability In a Wild Wiki World

Sun, 10 Sep 2006 00:00:00 EDT

In the wacky Wiki world that is the Internet, it's hard to know which information is reliable and which isn't.


Sun, 27 Aug 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Frank Ahrens is away. His column will resume when he returns.

Videos That Explain Life but Leave The Verifying to You

Sun, 20 Aug 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Some of the most popular programming on cable television networks today revolves around the do-it-yourself theme -- from Bob Vila showing you how to tile a floor to the team on "While You Were Out" offering tips on how to brighten a room with the right colors.

A Welcome Voice of Inexperience

Sun, 13 Aug 2006 00:00:00 EDT

My late mother first logged on to the Web in 1999, when her office in West Virginia got Internet access. She was 76. She didn't blog, she didn't shop online, she didn't download music. She learned how to use the Web because it let her do something she wanted to do: read articles that her son wrote in The Washington Post. Months later, when she was given a work e-mail account, she took to it instantly because it gave her another way to stay in touch with her son.

It's on Wikipedia, So It Must Be True

Sun, 06 Aug 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Last week provided another fascinating chapter in the evolving story of Wikipedia, the almost-anybody-can-edit-it online encyclopedia.

A Home For Quick Hits

Sun, 30 Jul 2006 00:00:00 EDT

So, you say you don't have the attention span for YouTube and its seat-squirmingly long two-minute videos?

Networks' Nervous Foray Online

Sun, 23 Jul 2006 00:00:00 EDT

PASADENA, Calif. -- Summer in Southern California means sun, surf and a chance for television journalists from around the country to question the big networks -- and some bigger Hollywood stars -- about the fall prime-time lineup.

Protecting a Senator? Or Just Enforcing Copyright Law?

Sun, 16 Jul 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Come and listen to my story 'bout a man named Ted,

Death by Wikipedia: The Kenneth Lay Chronicles

Sun, 09 Jul 2006 00:00:00 EDT

The surprise death of Kenneth L. Lay last week did more than throw a monkey wrench into the government's plans to jail and fine the Enron Corp. founder. It further exposed the critical weakness of Wikipedia that prevents it from becoming the go-to source for Internet knowledge that it ought to be.

Adoration of the Adorable Raises the Cuteness Factor: Pups, Hedgehogs and More

Sun, 02 Jul 2006 00:00:00 EDT

It must be a sign of encroaching age that one's tolerance for cuteness increases.

Look the Anime Expo In the Eyes

Sun, 25 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Anime and the Internet go together like Kirk and Spock, Han and Chewie, Gates and Ballmer, Dungeons & Dragons.

Just Like Emmalina, Whoever She Is

Sun, 18 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

What does it take to become an Internet video phenomenon?

Picking Over Enron's E-Mail Remains

Sun, 11 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Perhaps the biggest obstacle that federal prosecutors overcame in winning fraud and insider-trading convictions of former Enron Corp. executives Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling last month was the lack of a smoking-gun e-mail that directly linked them to criminal doings at the failed energy giant.

A Showdown in Sweden Between Pirates and Police

Sun, 04 Jun 2006 00:00:00 EDT

It looks like there's a war brewing between Internet movie and music pirates and authorities in Sweden, of all places.

Martha's New Invitation: Your Space, Or Hers?

Sun, 28 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Last week, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. -- which already has magazines, a radio show, a television show and a line of furnishings featuring the eponymous founder and domestic expert -- said it would enter the social network space by launching a site in late 2007. It will be similar to, the social network site hugely popular with teens and young adults, but aimed at adult women, the company said.

Baseball and Band Practice, A Match Made on

Sun, 21 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

From the Further Merging of Sports and Entertainment Dept.: Tomorrow, Major League Baseball's Web site, , will begin directing viewers to , a site that features video of musicians rehearsing for upcoming tours and sitting down for interviews.

Peer-to-Peer Networking For Podcasts and People

Sun, 14 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Morpheus, the popular peer-to-peer file-sharing software, is celebrating its fifth year in existence -- and a bumpy five years it's been -- with a new version allowing users to share podcasts.

For Mexicans and Americans, A Nudge to 'Think Together'

Sun, 07 May 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo (the celebration of Mexico's May 5, 1862, military victory over the French, for those not versed in their Mexican history) and the flare-up of the immigration debate comes the launch of , the Web site of "Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together."

Multicultural Parody Along The Information Highway

Sun, 30 Apr 2006 00:00:00 EDT

I have mentioned the fabulous parody power of the Internet. What I find fascinating is how the parodies often reveal the remarkable transfer of culture that technology enables these days.

Following Baseball's Pay-by-Pay

Sun, 23 Apr 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Back in the early days of Internet streaming, around 1997 or so, I used to listen to Cincinnati Reds games by going to the Web site of WLW, the team's hometown flagship radio station, and clicking on the site's streaming audio. A year later, Major League Baseball stepped in and consolidated the Web broadcasts, inking a deal with Yahoo to stream them through the portal at no charge.

An Educational-Film Spoof And Other Webby Nominees

Sun, 16 Apr 2006 00:00:00 EDT

At one point back in the early '90s, newspaper sports editors made fun of the "ESPYs," ESPN's annual awards show for best female athlete, best play, best game and so forth. "A made-up event," they grumbled, and refused to cover it. Well, that's probably what music writers said for the first few years of the Grammys. Now, the ESPYs get good ratings and fewer folks are reading sports pages.

Comedy Central Is Leading A Humor Revolution

Sun, 09 Apr 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Launched on cable in 1991, Comedy Central was, for most of that decade, a small-viewership niche channel that was probably best known for the cult show "Mystery Science Theater 3000" and being the first home of Bill Maher's "Politically Incorrect."

Enjoy the Blossoms Without Sight-Sneezing

Sun, 02 Apr 2006 00:00:00 EST

One of the noteworthy things about the Internet is that it lets you experience the world and, indeed, significant pieces of the universe, without having to actually experience it.

Shatner's Latest Enterprise

Sun, 26 Mar 2006 00:00:00 EST

Ah, William Shatner. How effortlessly he moves from show to show, era to era, platform to platform.

Online Front Page Morgue Is Intriguing but Incomplete

Sun, 19 Mar 2006 00:00:00 EST

Those of us in the newspaper business hope that the Web will save our future. Now, it's saving our past. For a small fee.

'Personal Space' Sites Bring Old Media Back to the Net

Sun, 12 Mar 2006 00:00:00 EST

Last week, NBC Universal Inc. became the most recent Old Media giant to graft on a small bit of New Media with its $600 million purchase of iVillage, a collection and aggregator of Web sites that target women. Or, as it calls itself, "the Internet for women."

Bloggers on the Reasons Behind Their Daily Words

Sun, 05 Mar 2006 00:00:00 EST

Last week, I asked: "Why do you blog?"

30 Million Blogs And Counting . . .

Sun, 26 Feb 2006 00:00:00 EST

There's been some recent chatter about whether we're entering the twilight of the blogs, even though it feels like we're only in the late morning. Noon, at the latest.

The Online Shots Kept Coming . . .

Sun, 19 Feb 2006 00:00:00 EST

Let's all gather 'round the world's virtual water cooler now and talk about Dick Cheney.

Love Advice? Just for Me? I'm So Flattered!

Sun, 12 Feb 2006 00:00:00 EST

We humans have an endless capacity and desire, apparently, to have other people tell us what to do.

Internet Satirists Feast On Cultural Icons

Sun, 05 Feb 2006 00:00:00 EST

The Internet rage of the last days of '05 was the viral success of "Lazy Sunday," a digital short film produced by "Saturday Night Live's" Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg. "SNL" broadcast the film during the Dec. 17 show, and the thing caught fire on the Internet, becoming a must-see around office cubicles. (If you're one of the dozen or so people who haven't seen "Lazy Sunday," a rap about two New Yorkers going to see "The Chronicles of Narnia," go to . It's in the site's "videos" section.)

When It Comes to Blogs, There Aren't Enough Words

Sun, 29 Jan 2006 00:00:00 EST

Okay, Web fans, it's time for new lingo to help us get a grip on the vast self-publishing landscape known as the blogosphere. Blogs vary so much that they cry out for pithy names to describe each of their many genres.

Online Video Presents: The Waste, the Wacky, The Wonderful

Sun, 22 Jan 2006 00:00:00 EST

Just because Apple Computer won the first round of the Internet video wars, I wouldn't count out Google's rickety video store just yet. Google's new video service is weak partly because it is attempting to do far more than most of the new wannabe Internet TV channels do.

Advertising Gets Personal: Rule No. 1 -- Sell Yourself

Sun, 15 Jan 2006 00:00:00 EST

The Web's bizarre bazaar now offers adventures in nearly naked capitalism.

Wal-Mart Sees How Fast Bad Press Spreads Online

Sun, 08 Jan 2006 00:00:00 EST

Used to be, when you were angry with a corporation or a government or even a person, you had to stand outside the building and hold a sign, or at least yell a lot.

Back From the Future: Messages to Yourself

Sun, 01 Jan 2006 00:00:00 EST

The early advocates of the Web predicted it would create a global community. They said it would cause an unslakable thirst for knowledge about others. That it would raise our eyes to the horizon and open our minds to the world.

Sites and Sound Advice For Your Eve

Sun, 25 Dec 2005 00:00:00 EST

Finally -- December 25. Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Seasons Greetings. Yadda yadda yadda.

Santa Claus Is Camming to Town

Sun, 18 Dec 2005 00:00:00 EST

Marketers have long relied on children as their most effective pitchmen. Kids get Mommy and Daddy to buy most anything. Now, kids are being enlisted to get their folks to sign up for Sony's video and voice Internet service.

Independent Filmmakers Are Alive, Irreverent And Thriving Online

Sun, 11 Dec 2005 00:00:00 EST

I heard of Pixar Animation Studios in 1989 when I saw the company's first short film, "Luxo Jr.," at a short-film festival at Georgetown's Biograph Theater. Thanks to "The Incredibles," "Toy Story," "Finding Nemo" and Pixar's other blockbuster feature-length films, filmgoers are now accustomed to the film studio's signature computer-animation style.

'Lost' Fans Find A Niche on the Internet

Sun, 04 Dec 2005 00:00:00 EST

Suppose you're considering an airline trip and you stumble onto the Web site The first thing you'd probably notice is the picture of a gorgeous beach and the airline's slogan, "Taking you to places you've never imagined!"

Looking For Middle Ground In Forbidden Territory

Sun, 27 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

Religious leaders in a tightknit Orthodox Jewish community in New Jersey have instructed parents who have Internet access in their homes to unplug from the Web, else their children will face expulsion from the area's 43 yeshivas, or Jewish private schools.

A Boy, His Site and His Civil Liberties Lawsuit

Sun, 13 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

Hey, kids: Wanna pocket a hundred large?

Online Sports Pages Score a Few Points By Adding Giggles

Sun, 06 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

The best thing I read on the Web last week was the most recent version of the semi-regular Uni Watch column written by Paul Lukas on , posted on the Web site's irreverent Page 2.

A Window on Ourselves -- Our 2003 Selves, Anyway

Sun, 30 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Nothing says "can't-put-it-down reading!" like census data.

Daily Diversions In Cartoons and Postcards

Sun, 23 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Each week in Web Watch, we seek to bring you the freshest Web sites, the hottest news, the biggest scoops and the smartest ideas. We're not saying we actually do that, but we try.

With 'Vingle,' Apple Looks to Branch Way Out

Sun, 16 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

What is Steve Jobs going to pull out of the sleeve of that black turtleneck next?'s Criss-Crossed Lovers

Sun, 09 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Internet dating can be scary. You agree to meet complete strangers based on blurry headshots, puffed-up self-descriptions and furtive e-mail exchanges. The guy who said his body type is "about average" shows up with a body type that is "about average" in a crowd of baby hippos. The girl who said she "loves reading" turns out to "love reading" only "Star Wars" novelizations.

Google Shows How To Get Personal in An Unobtrusive Way

Sun, 02 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

I have always wondered why Google has such an empty search page. A snowfield of white space, dominated by a multi-colored nonsense word, one simple rectangular box and only two buttons. So simple, it reminded me of an HTML student's first page. Or maybe the computer screen in a Hollywood thriller where the hero types in a code to stop an A-bomb countdown.

AirTroductions Sets Up In-Flight Connections

Sun, 25 Sep 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Unless you can afford a first-class seat on an airplane, you're stuck in steerage -- a cargo area where solo travelers have little say about the person who will become their seat neighbor -- also known as the person you plan to claw your way through when this thing ditches in open water.

New Look and Feel For Top Web Mail Service

Sun, 18 Sep 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Yahoo is giving its Web-based mail service the biggest makeover since it launched in 1997, switching to a format that looks more like Microsoft Outlook and other desktop computer mail programs.

Pandora's Music Database Personalizes Internet Radio

Sun, 11 Sep 2005 00:00:00 EDT

If Internet dating sites can match people by trying to compute the elements of attraction, why can't songs be matched with people in the same way?

In the Face of Catastrophe, Sites Offer Helping Hands

Sun, 04 Sep 2005 00:00:00 EDT

The Internet offers a ton of ad hoc resources -- along with many official relief sites and an annoying number of bogus ones -- for people who want to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Amazon's Anthology Of 49-Cent Literature

Sun, 28 Aug 2005 00:00:00 EDT wants to revive the art of the short story by selling 49-cent digital downloads of new writing from a variety of name-brand authors. The Web retailer last week introduced "Amazon Shorts," (, consisting of 60 brief works of fiction, nonfiction, mini-plays and sample chapters from upcoming books that people can buy and download in a variety of formats -- none of them protected against piracy.

Revamped Yahoo Local Sites Still Lack Sizzling Specifics

Sun, 21 Aug 2005 00:15:00 EDT

District residents spent a lot of time cruising the Web for liquor stores and temporary employment last week -- or so it would seem from the new "top searches" feature Yahoo introduced Monday.

Writers' Plot Thickens Into Auction for Free Speech

Sun, 14 Aug 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Now's your chance to die in a Stephen King novel or be portrayed "in a good light" in the next thriller from John Grisham -- while championing the cause of free speech.

Browsing for Photos With 'Interestingness'

Sun, 07 Aug 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Flickr, the photo-sharing service Yahoo bought this year, says it's figured out a search system that will lead to smarter image-surfing.

Microsoft's Mapping Site Presents a Fuzzy Image

Sun, 31 Jul 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Microsoft's new MSN Virtual Earth site can look both sharp and blurry at the same time. This new, free service cleverly combines aerial images of buildings with business details extracted from phone directories to let people zoom around neighborhoods across the United States -- but many of those images are fuzzy, black-and-white photos that, in some cases, appear to predate the existence of the Web itself.

Venture Capital Is Custom-Made to Give Zazzle a Little Zip

Sun, 24 Jul 2005 00:00:00 EDT

A company called Zazzle wants to be the place you express yourself online by creating custom goods such as personal postage based on your photos, T-shirts featuring your dog or stationery adorned by doodles you drew in your zanier moments.

You've Got Integrated Messages

Sun, 17 Jul 2005 00:00:00 EDT

America Online, as part of an overhaul of its AOL Instant Messenger software, released a new trial version that adds new communications tools.

Internet Users More Savvy About Security, Study Finds

Sun, 10 Jul 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Web users, beset with problems from spyware and viruses, are starting to wise up online. A new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project reports that online users are trying harder to steer clear of trouble on the Web.

Internet's Big Players Streaming to Video

Sun, 03 Jul 2005 00:00:00 EDT

You'd think the World Wide Web was about to spring to life as a movie theater, given the way major sites are racing to create tools for finding and watching videos online. Decides to Offer Free Video -- Again

Sun, 26 Jun 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Cable news channel CNN, which had tucked its online video content behind subscription screens for several years, began offering free access to video clips this week. CNN ( ) is offering the free online video in 14 categories of news and sports, in addition to two-minute updates of the latest breaking news.

Yahoo Subscription Search Won't Do Much for Most

Sun, 19 Jun 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Yahoo, locked in a feature war with Google, rolled out a new service Thursday that it touted as the first from a major search engine to let people sift through Internet subscription sites from a single query box.

Mercora Turns to Users To Generate Streaming Music

Sun, 12 Jun 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Mercora wants to be your music search engine -- and jukebox, too.

A New Channel For Couch Surfers

Sun, 05 Jun 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Everyone on TV seems to be touting an affiliated Web site, where viewers can vote for some celebrity or unravel some deeper mystery beyond what aired on the boob tube. Web-TV links have been trying to push beyond marketing into storytelling for years, with modest success.

Search Engines Move Toward Satellite Future

Sun, 29 May 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Microsoft and Google are trying to move satellite imagery on the Web beyond the gee-whiz-look-at-my-neighbor's-house stage into something more useful. They want to use this technology to make their local search services more helpful and useful, which in turn would enable them to sell more ads.

Yahoo's Messenger 7.0 Joins Internet Phone Derby

Sun, 22 May 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Everybody wants to be your phone company, but nobody's sure what a phone is anymore. Consider Yahoo's latest instant messaging software. Released in trial form last week, Yahoo Messenger 7.0 ( ) lets users talk over the Internet for free to other Yahoo Messenger users, as well as send them text messages. To stage these Internet phone calls, both parties must use the latest version of Yahoo's messaging software (Windows only) and have a microphone or headset plugged into their computers.

Yahoo Music Gives Napster A Run for the Money

Sun, 15 May 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Want to hazard a guess when the price for listening to music from RealNetworks and Napster will drop? It's hard to imagine the Internet's two leading subscription music services can continue charging three times what Yahoo is asking for the rival service it introduced on Wednesday.

LinkedIn or Put Out? Networking's Downside

Sun, 08 May 2005 15:17:00 EDT

The business-oriented networking site LinkedIn just celebrated its second birthday, and the free service now boasts more than 2.5 million members around the world.

Hoping Free Songs Get Subscribers Streaming In

Sun, 01 May 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Music subscription services may make economic sense to those selling them, but most customers have yet to agree. RealNetworks Inc. seems determined to change that with a 25-free-songs-a-month listening service it introduced Tuesday.

Google Accommodates Search History Buffs

Sun, 24 Apr 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Don't take this personally, but Google wants your Web search history.

Services With Mini-Screens in Mind

Sun, 17 Apr 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Two popular Internet services recently rolled out free, bite-size versions of their sites that can be used on cell phones and handheld gadgets. Google rolled out a new Google Local site last week, allowing users to call up local business listings quickly, while introduced a reference service that offers look-ups on the go.

Google Service Homes In On the Street Where You Live

Sun, 10 Apr 2005 00:00:00 EDT

For a weird walk down memory lane, visit Google's latest mapping service (, type in old addresses where you once lived and click on the "satellite" links appearing at the upper right. That should call up aerial photographs of your old 'hoods.

Early Version Of Yahoo 360 Confusing All Around

Sun, 03 Apr 2005 00:00:00 EST

It's a blog. It's a dog. No, it's Yahoo 360!

Online Scrapboooks Let Globetrotters Trace Their Travels

Sun, 27 Mar 2005 00:00:00 EST

Soon you may be able to search your life history online to recall where you ate that fabulous dinner in New Orleans six years ago or the names of those two dopey dudes you met in Acapulco when you were 21.

Awards Salute Best in Blogging

Sun, 20 Mar 2005 00:00:00 EST

Blog mogul Nick Denton's gossipy online empire walked off with four awards at the 2005 Bloggies, while a woman fired for her Web log also snagged four prizes for her edgy postings about motherhood and the mundane annoyances of life.

News Junkies Can Custom-Design Online Channels

Sun, 13 Mar 2005 00:00:00 EST

One of the Internet's busiest paperboys got a bit more personal last week: Google News, which culls headlines from 4,500 news sources across the Web, added a custom feature letting people design their own news channels.

Retooled Netscape Gets Back Into The Browser Game

Sun, 06 Mar 2005 00:00:00 EST

Netscape, the Web browser out-muscled a decade ago by Microsoft's Internet Explorer, has undergone an extreme makeover in an attempt to regain its former relevance.

A Leap To Thumbnail Photo Sharing

Sun, 20 Feb 2005 00:00:00 EST

Digital shutterbugs have a new way to share photos online, a program called Photoleap that shrinks image files from 5 to 15 times to get around slow Internet connections and the size limits many e-mail services impose on attachments.

Internet Video Adds Cable Programming

Sun, 09 Jan 2005 00:00:00 EST

Internet video is sneaking up on us. That became clear last week in Las Vegas, where all sorts of firms announced new Internet video services at the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show.

New Online in 2004: The Wonderful and Wacky

Sun, 02 Jan 2005 00:00:00 EST

Internet experiments made a comeback during 2004. Here are some of the year's notable Web innovations:

Yahoo Traffic Reports Join A Crowd

Sun, 26 Dec 2004 00:00:00 EST

Want to know whether traffic on the Beltway is good (doubtful), bad (more likely) or intolerably miserable (the norm)? Yahoo has added a traffic-update feature to its maps section ( that hands out nearly up-to-the-minute information on accidents, construction and traffic speeds.

Video Files Present a Search Challenge

Sun, 19 Dec 2004 00:00:00 EST

Indexing Web pages looks like child's play next to indexing video files -- the next big frontier for Internet search engines. But they're giving it a try.

More Search Products Prowl for Market Share

Sun, 12 Dec 2004 00:00:00 EST

We need a search engine to find all the search engines. Two more Web-query services launched last week, Accoona and Blingo; their initial performance, however, suggests market leaders Google and Yahoo don't have reason to worry yet.

A So-So Debut For Microsoft's Blog Service

Sun, 05 Dec 2004 00:00:00 EST

Microsoft Corp. made a belated entrance into the "blogosphere" Thursday, unveiling a free Web-log publishing service one day after Merriam-Webster Inc. proclaimed "blog" the word of the year.

Weather Data In Your Own Back Yard

Sun, 28 Nov 2004 00:00:00 EST

WeatherBug wants to make meteorologists out of its users. The Internet weather service based in Gaithersburg has begun selling sensors that can turn anyone's back yard into a Web-connected weather station.

Virtual Storefronts Are Rent-Free on LiveDeal

Sun, 21 Nov 2004 00:00:00 EST

A locally focused Web marketplace called LiveDeal made its official debut last week, offering "free for life" storefronts to sellers and the ability to list anything for sale or rent at no cost. The site ( is one of many Internet ventures exploring new ways to make money from local commerce.

Microsoft's Search Falls Far Short of Google's

Sun, 14 Nov 2004 00:00:00 EST

Google engineers must have breathed a sigh of relief Thursday when rival Microsoft Corp. rolled out a new search engine that proved glitchy and failed to wow reviewers.

Service Sends Traffic Images To Cell Phone

Sun, 07 Nov 2004 00:00:00 EST

Now you can check traffic conditions across the Washington region from your cell phone -- not by calling a friend already stuck in traffic, but by subscribing to a new video service that sends updates to any Internet-enabled phone.

Pop-Up Videos Hit Instant Messengers

Sun, 31 Oct 2004 00:00:00 EDT

It has come to this: Pop-up video attack ads on instant messaging software. The ads are part of a noticeable ramp-up in Internet political advertising that some Web sites report in the last days before Tuesday's election.

Photo Sites Put a Sharper Focus on Prices, Products

Sun, 24 Oct 2004 00:00:00 EDT

Internet photo sites are scrambling to exploit the digital camera boom with new products and -- in some cases -- lower prices.

Services Help Social Networks Get Connected

Sun, 17 Oct 2004 00:00:00 EDT

Two new Web services launched last week that aim to help people tap their friends for tips about where to eat, shop and play.