WebWatch is the cooperative effort of two of Phnom Penh's most experienced Internet
David Lewis of Telstra's Bigpond and Bill Herod, information technology consultant
at the NGO Forum on Cambodia. Contact through: [email protected]
YOU may have heard recently about developments in the Internet domain name system.
The domain name is the name by which we refer to the locations of resources on the
So, for instance [email protected], is an email address associated with "Company
A" and www.organizationb.org.kh/services is a section of web site of "Organization
The domain names in these two examples are "companya.com" and "organisationb.org.kh".
One may register these names either under a country specific code such as kh for
Cambodia or th for Thailand, or under one of the nongeographic top-level names.
The latter currently consist of .com for commercial, .net for network, .org for organization,
.mil for military, .edu for education and .gov for government. These nongeographic
names have tended to be the most popular and have become rather congested with the
rapid expansion of the Internet.
Last week the organization responsible for this naming scheme, the Internet Corporation
for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced seven new additions to the top-level
Have you ever considered establishing your own domain name? Why would you?
Well, for a business the prestige of having a domain name is probably obvious. Why
not promote the name of your organization within your email communications by making
its name prominent?
You also gain a level of independence from your email provider whether it is an ISP,
HotMail or Yahoo. A similar argument of independence exists for personal email users.
Setting up such a domain is now relatively easy and can be very low-cost. For domains
under a country code one must approach the country's nominated registry which in
the case of Cambodia is the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.
But for the nongeographic domains (.com, .net, .org) there are now a large number
of websites which can register your name. And the surprising fact is that some of
these will do it for little or no charge.
Namezero has signed up several hundred domains in the past couple of months for no
Registration really is very easy and they offer email forwarding so that you can
send on your mail to either the webmail facility of your choice or your local ISP
mailbox. They also have free web hosting for your domain, though this does include
Another such service is DirectNc which charges US$15 a year but provides a more sophisticated
email and web hosting features.
general purpose sites
professionals, including lawyers and accountants
Publish and be damned
Getting a web site up and running can be a complex task requiring the knowledge of
the code that makes up the web page (HTML) and special software on your machine to
author the pages and transfer them to your ISP's web server.
But there are alternatives. Several providers are now offering web sites which one
can update easily within a web browser and that require no knowledge of HTML. The
simplest of these services takes the form of a journal to which the user can add
entries at will.
Visitors to the site can view all your current notes and search through the archives
too. Examples include Blogger and LiveJournal. More sophisticated services feature
sites with news items, feature sections, graphics, discussion groups, the ability
for several people to collaborate on the site and viewing restrictions based upon
a membership system.
One of the most popular technologies being employed to achieve this is called Manila.
You can get your own Manila site from EditThisPage, WebLogs or WebLogger.
So if you want to publish your diary while on an extended travel, keep your family
and friends informed of your news, run a special interest site with contribution
from people disbursed around the globe or run a community site then this might be
the answer. And best of all, these services are free.
Web-based email (Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, etc) is in increasingly wide use throughout
the wired world, including Cambodia. These programs are convenient, flexible and
- except for the cost of Internet access - free. You can access a web-based email
account - including your address list - from any computer connected to the Internet
anywhere in the world without any special setup or program. All you need is your
user name and password.
As the digital deluge of email continues, the active user may want to consider having
different email accounts for different purposes, or even different accounts for different
For example, you might want to reserve one email address to give out online when
you subscribe to a service or register a product. You could use one address for a
particular project or for correspondence with a particular person or group.
Many web-based email programs give you a simple way to filter out junk mail (the
mail is usually isolated in a special folder until you review it). Some programs
will also allow you to block all mail except messages from users you designate. Some
programs will even alert you at your primary email account when you receive mail
on the secondary account or will forward your mail to that account (look for "free
Several popular web-based email programs are now bundled with instant messenger software,
easily permitting two or more users of the same system to communicate with each other
in real time. Both Hotmail and Yahoo! offer this feature.
For more information on these email programs, enter "free email" (with
the quotes) in your favorite search engine or visit the Free Email Providers Guide.
What's in a name
Publish and be damned
Blogger: HYPERLINK http://www.blogger.com
WebLogs: HYPERLINK http://www.weblogs.com
Conversant HYPERLINK http://www.free-conversant.com
Free Email Providers Guide