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Beastly sites and a lesson for the new year

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Just when you are starting to feel guilty about having pushed the kid's new hamster past the S bend in the downstairs loo, here is a site which may help. It is at www.saint-francis.co.uk.

The site encourages people to 'set out what is in your heart without fear or ridicule. . .' - anything about their deceased beast. Running a picture of the beast (and who's to know one hamster from another? ) with appropriate words and a floral surround costs £35.95 a year. Thirty six quid a year. Now why didn't I think of that?

Just to show these columns have not been a complete waste of time here is a basic lesson they have thrown up. The first law of the Internet is this: you don't have to tell anyone on the web anything.

Especially your credit card number.

More laws will follow soon. In the meantime, let's review the past year of web magic. Ian Ritchie's site, www.ianritchiearchitects.co.uk, and Haworth Tompkins'site, www.haworthtompkins.com, are interesting in that they work sideways rather than up and down. About Architecture's unintentionally wacky site at www.architecture.about.com is occasionally fascinating as is www.designarchitecture.com. Strictly for computer buffs is the excellent Langalist at www.langa.com/recommend.htm but try www.lockergnome.recommend.html as well. Have a look at the Richard Smith web bug site at www.tiac.net/users/privacy/wbfaq.htm and you will see why I am fundamentally against cookies. I had thought of recommending www.lonelyplanet.com as a virtual Samaritan site for those for whom Christmas was not a time of cheer. But it turns out to be for even sadder people: backpackers.

Stupid Site of the Year Award goes to the RIBA site at www.architecture.com.

Despite urgings from this column to the geeks at 666 Portland Place, it continues to keep some RIBAmembers inaccessible to potential clients.

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