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Getting faster, Welsher, and a whole lot richer

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webwatch

Readers may remember me agonising over broadband alternatives to BT internet. Wimpishly, I wavered and then forked out a few more pounds per month for the new twice-the-basic-speed BT 1MB system. To be honest, I haven't noticed the difference. I was recently urged to take a look at a new 8MB service breathlessly promoted on the BBC as being 16 times faster. 'The service is possible due to a decision to loosen BT's stranglehold on telephone exchanges, ' intoned the innocents at Broadcasting House. I don't mind them putting the boot in about the BT near-monopoly but UK Online actually started up for the excellent reason that it reckons to make some dosh out of it.

Doubtful about the perceived advantage of the high figure, I checked out UK Online at www. ukonline. net and went straight to the restrictions section.

You have to do this when doing a runner from your current ISP - a number of providers limit the amount of stuff you can download or store. In UK Online's frequently asked questions page there is an answer: 'We do not have a fixed bandwidth restriction. However, we reserve the right to suspend or restrict your use of the service if we consider it excessive. We would consider regular or recurring data transfer in excess of 4GB per day to be an example of excessive use.' Erm, that's a restriction then.

Elsewhere, Welsh speakers, delighted at the recent Welsh incarnation of Windows, will be pleased to learn they have company in Microsoft's conquest of the world's languages. The dear old Evil Empire now speaks in Nyorsk (a variant of Norwegian) and, very soon now, in Quechua, the language of the ancient Incas which, confusingly, was never written down until the conquistadors arrived with their priestly scribes.

I also see that the Business Software Alliance has doubled its maximum reward of £10,000 for snitching on unregistered software use. Personally, I would wait until they triple the reward before reaching for my whistle.

sutherland. lyall@btinternet. com

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