OK, so it's a bit late in the day to get evangelical about the web. But I would advise even the most hardened Luddites to take a look at the AJ's website, at www.ajplus.co.uk. The online discussion forum, launched this week, is not simply another outlet for bored computer nerds, but a highly focused tool for harnessing readers' knowledge and, potentially, a means of receiving expert and highly-tailored advice free of charge. All readers are welcome to put up any queries relating to technical and practice issues.The forum is adjudicated by AJ technical editor (and architect) Austin Williams.We don't guarantee that we will have the answers, but since the service is free you have nothing to lose.
A discussion forum is, of course, a two-way exchange.
The AJ letters page is a source of great pride: informative, passionate, witty, and wise - and, occasionally, petty, embittered or marginally deranged.
And the success of our monthly technical chatroom, launched at the start of 2001, (see pages 54-55 of this issue) is evidence that readers are prepared to be generous not only with their opinions but also with their expertise. If you can answer a reader's enquiry, either in the magazine or online, please do take the time to reply.
If this all sounds a little too serious, rest assured that ajplus has a more digestible side.Astragal has entered cyberspace with Mediawatch, a round-up of the weekly papers. It goes up every Monday and is particularly handy if you didn't get a chance to read the weekend papers.We have reintroduced the Q&A box, which invites visitors to register their opinion on the hot topic of the week - the results are published in the AJ the next week. This week, for example, readers expressed the opinion that the new national football stadium be built in Birmingham (see page 5).All this runs alongside our core services: a daily news service, an archive of AJ articles, details of architectural competitions, product information and an extensive online recruitment service. There is room for improvement, and the site is being developed every day, but we are confident we have a product to be proud of. But don't take our word for it.Take a look for yourself.