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by Joe Kraynak

The Web is constantly evolving, presenting users with new tools, new forms of expression, and new annoyances. Since the first edition of the Internet Yellow Pages, the Web has seen the introduction and explosive growth of blogs, easier mobile access via cell phones, and the escalation of unsolicited advertising via pop-up ads. The following sections provide the information you need to keep abreast of the latest, most significant developments and enhance your web browsing experience by reducing the number of ads that pop up on your screen.


Short for weblog, blogs are personal journals that enable individuals to voice their opinions and insights, keep an online journal of their lives, or enable families and other groups to stay in touch. Blogging hosts provide all the tools and instructions a user needs to create a blog online and update it in a matter of minutes. This enables even the least tech-savvy web users to establish a presence on the Web.

In section B, look for the section on Blogging. We have included a list of blogging hosts that can help you create and manage your own blog, a list of blog directories that can help you sift through the thousands of excellent blogs already running on the Web, and lists of some excellent blogs that you might find intriguing.


The commercialization of the Web has enhanced it a great deal by providing a profit motive that has generated the investment and innovation required to seed its growth. However, it has also inspired some companies to attempt to force-feed unsolicited advertisements to web users. Many of the most annoying ads are in the form of pop-ups, ads that automatically appear in separate windows or boxes on your computer screen.

Pop-ups come from two sources:

  • Pop-up software and/or spyware that is installed on your computer with or without your knowledge. Some sites automatically install software on your computer that can track your web browsing habits, or they automatically call for pop-ups as you browse. Web users often unwittingly install adware on their own computers when they install a “free” game or other software from a website on their computers.

  • Websites themselves often are programmed to generate pop-ups. You just open the site or click a particular link, and the pop-up appears.

If pop-ups are driving you crazy, you need to attack the problem using two utilities: a spyware remover and a pop-up blocker. You can download two freeware programs on the Web at Tucows (www.tucows.com) that, together, can prevent at least 90 percent of the pop-ups on your computer:

  • Spybot Search and Destroy removes spyware. Install the software and run it every week or so to remove any spyware installed on your computer. (Ad-aware is another excellent utility, which you can download from www.lavasoftusa.com.) Research any companies that offer heavily advertised adware or spyware removal utilities before purchasing any of them. They are often scams.

  • 12Ghosts Popup Killer blocks most pop-ups that websites try to automatically display on your screen. The only mild inconvenience this adds is that if you click a link for a site and the link is set up to open in a separate window, 12Ghosts prevents it from opening; to get the window to open, you simply hold down the Ctrl key while clicking. The Google and MSN toolbars and other specialized browser add-on toolbars also offer pop-up blocking.


More and more people are beginning to access the Web and their email by way of wireless connections, using their Internet-enabled cell phones or personal digital assistants (PDAs). With one of these handheld devices, a user can connect to a wireless-web–enabled site to obtain news, weather reports, stock prices, sports scores, driving directions, and other information from the Web. The following sections provide a brief introduction to the wireless web and explain how to access some of the more popular search sites, directories, and wireless-web–enabled sites on the Internet.

What Is the Wireless Web?

If you saw a cell phone or PDA advertisement that touted the device as wireless Internet-ready or web-enabled, you might envision a phone or PDA that displays miniature web pages in their full glory—colorful, graphic, animated, and interactive. If you purchased one of these devices based on this common misconception, you will be sorely disappointed.

The wireless web is anything but graphic and interactive. It is primarily text-based. When you connect to a wireless website using a cell phone, for example, a short menu appears on the screen, enabling you to pick a command by pressing a particular button on the phone's keypad. The phone's display is capable of displaying only a few lines of text at the very most.

When you “surf” the wireless-web, you are actually surfing a different, smaller Web than the Web you surf using your computer. The wireless Web comprises text-only web pages composed according to the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) standards. These web pages are actually scaled-down, text-based versions of the pages you would access using your computer. The wireless Web is not designed for leisurely browsing of mass amounts of data, graphics, music clips, videos, and animation. It is more useful for obtaining small bits of data when you're on the go—sports scores, local weather updates, phone numbers and addresses you may have forgotten to bring along, headline news, stock prices, current flight information, driving directions, and so on.

Accessing the Wireless Web Via Menus

Most web-enabled cell phone providers feature their own directories of sites that you can access via a text-based menu system. For example, Sprint PCS web-enabled phones come complete with a mini web browser that you access using the phone's menu system. When you choose the browser or web option from the phone's opening menu, the browser appears and displays a menu that includes options such as 1. Google, 2. Bookmarks, 3. Shopping, 4. Finance, 5. News, and 6. Weather. Using your phone's keypad, you simply press the number next to the desired option and follow the trail of menus to the desired destination.

Accessing Wireless Web Directories and Search Engines

Many of the same companies that feature website directories and search engines feature wireless web versions of their services as well. These so-called portals filter out all the standard websites, providing you with links to only those sites that are wireless-web–friendly. The following list provides the names and addresses of some of the most useful wireless web portals:

  • Awooga (wap.awooga.com) provides news, sports scores, entertainment suggestions, business news, weather reports, and a TV guide. Ananova, the company that manages the mobile Internet service directory, also offers WAP hosting and email.

  • MoPilot (mopilot.com/wml/index.wml) displays an opening menu that contains options for accessing the dating pilot, search engine, chat areas and other fun stuff, mail, and a any account management tools you might need. Check in, it's free!

  • MSN Mobile (mobile.msn.com) provides you with a scaled-down version of several of the Microsoft Network's most powerful tools, including MSN Messenger and Hotmail. MSN Mobile also features access to MSNBC News, ESPN sports, movie times, restaurant listings, a searchable yellow pages directory, and various online games.

  • Google Wireless (Google or www.google.com/wml www.google.com/jsky or www.google.com/imode or www.google.com/palm) enables you to use Google's search engine to locate wireless websites that match your query. Choose Search Options and choose Mobile Web to search only wireless websites. Type your query using your wireless device's keypad; on a cell phone, press 0 for a space between words or a 1 to insert a quotation mark.

  • Yahoo! Mobile (wap.yahoo.com) enables you to check your Yahoo! email, use Messenger, check your calendar or address book, obtain headline news and weather reports, and check stock prices and sports scores. Yahoo! mobile is best used in tandem with a standard computer. Use the computer to set up and manage your Yahoo! account and specify the type of content you want to access when you're on the road.

  • Newsvendor Headlines (wap.newsvendor.com) features news and information from around the world. The opening menu contains options for checking out world elections, TV guide (Tuner), information about WAP in Ireland, the Google search engine, various news services, the BBC TV listings, and BBC radio listings.

  • go2online (wap.go2online.com) is one of the more unique online directories, acting as a yellow pages directory for your cell phone or PDA. Do you want to know the movie times at a local theater? Then select Movies, pick the movie you want to see, enter your ZIP code to find out where it's playing, and select the desired theater to view a list of show times. go2online can help you locate malls and local businesses, find out the current weather conditions, and even locate restaurants. Businesses must pay to be listed, so this site is very commercialized, but it's pretty cool nevertheless.

  • Mobone.com (wap.mobone.com) features a directory of more than 1,000 of the best wireless websites in the world. Mobone leans toward the European market, where the wireless web is more fully developed and used. This site is updated by users who submit and describe the sites.

  • m-central.com (wap.m-central.com) is another wireless web directory that caters more to the European user. m-central.com features a collection of its favorite links (called m-links), m-go (for pulling up a specific page by entering its address), m-mylinks (for bookmarking your favorite pages), m-find (to search for wireless web pages), m-translate (to translate a word or phrase from a dozen different languages), m-cocktail (to view a recipe for your favorite alcoholic beverage), and dozens of other m-categories to search.

Although you can connect to and search many of these directories from your cell phone or PDA, a better way to use one of these directories or search engines is to search for and research wireless websites using your computer and then bookmark the sites on your cell phone or PDA. (For example, instead of using your cell phone to go to mobile.msn.com, use the web browser on your computer to go to mobile.msn.com, and search its mobile Internet directory to find sites.) This saves you the time and aggravation of using your cell phone or PDA's slow connection, dinky display, and clunky navigational tools to track down sites. Most wireless services charge by the minute, whether you use your device to talk on the phone or browse the Web.

Keeping Up on Late-Breaking News, Weather, and Sports

Many websites that support the wireless web also feature alerts—short text messages that deliver late-breaking news, weather, sports scores, and other tidbits to your phone while you're on the road. For example, if you're on a business trip and are following the World Series, you might want to check the latest scores as runners are batted in.

To receive alerts, you must register at the site that offers the alerts you want and specify your preferences. You typically do this using your computer. For example, at Yahoo! Mobile (mobile.yahoo.com), you log on and then click the Alerts link to display a list of items for which you can request alerts—Breaking News, Email, Auction, Sports, Horoscope, Stocks, and Weather. Next, you specify the device type (cell phone, PDA, or pager) and device name and the number of times you want to be alerted during the day (from 5 to 30 times). Yahoo! Mobile then prompts you to specify your phone's email address or your cell phone provider and your phone's 10-digit phone number. The service then sends your phone a confirmation code, which you must enter to confirm the alert. Other sites feature similar procedures for requesting alerts.

Top Wireless Websites

Although you can scan and browse wireless web directories and use wireless web search engines to track down hundreds of wireless-web–enabled sites, this book is dedicated to sorting out the fluff and pointing out the best sites on the Web. For a list of wireless-web-enabled sites, flip to section W and look for the “Wireless Websites” section.

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