59. Services deliver news to
By Mark Alberstat
You work all day in an office. Chained to your desk like a newspaper box
to a pole, you feel the world is progressing around you. Once home, you
flick on the TV and tune in your radio to catch up with the day's events.
Why not keep up with the latest celebrity gossip, sports updates and stock
market jitters while at work in front of your computer, without spending
many hours surfing the Net?
Several companies now deliver their news to your desktop. As long as you
have an Internet connection, you can get information without your web
browser showing that you have been on the Net. One caveat about any of
these products is that you almost always have to have a permanent link to
the Internet. News tickers are set to regularly get updates by going to a
parent server. With dial-up access, your computer's phone line would be
almost constantly tied up.
The BBC has a world news ticker that is free of charge and easy to
configure for your Windows or Mac computers. One of the nice features
about this ticker is that if you see a headline scroll by that intrigues
you, simply double-click on it and a browser window will open to that
story. Some basic weather information is available through this software,
but it merely states the temperature in a preset list of world capitals.
This ticker also tells you when the headlines you are reading were last
updated, and with a simple right click you can tell the application to
American-based FoxNews has its own free ticker for Windows-based machines
with Internet Explorer 4.0 or above and Flash 6.0. The developers of this
application are working on versions for Unix and Macs, but neither is yet
available. This ticker cycles through U.S. and world news, politics,
business and FoxLife, and features a search bar for FoxNews. It's a small
application but seems to also be an advertising site for Fox Broadcasting.
WorldFlash will send you the latest headlines, weather, stock quotes and
sports from a variety of information sources. The information bar appears
at the bottom of the screen and scrolls by like a stock ticker. The
options on this product are extensive, and it may take a few attempts to
set it up just the way you want. The download is good for 45 days, after
which you need to purchase a two-year licence for the software that costs
about $45 US.
Instant messaging services such as AOL Instant Messenger or Yahoo!
Messenger also offer news in their respective applications. Both companies
have produced versions for Windows, Mac and Unix computers. For the Yahoo!
user, the news or sports headlines appears at the bottom of the
application window. These headlines are clickable and open your browser to
the full story. AIM takes a different approach with a news ticker the user
can move to anywhere on the desktop.
To see which service is best suited to your needs, you may have to
download and trial each one until you find just the right look, feel and
options that you want.
Here are Internet sites for the above listed applications:
- BBC Desktop ticker
- FoxNews ticker
www.worldflash.com/ - WorldFlash
www.aol.ca/aim/aim55/ - AOL
Canada Instant Messenger
Yahoo! Canada Messenger
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Originally published 8 May 2005