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Widdy Web is a shining example for surfers

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If you thought this column was too quick to criticise the web sites of assorted architects and their institutions, spare a thought for MPs, whose sites were roundly rubbished ('inept design', 'sloppy, headacheinducing disasters', among other things) in a report by Tom Steinberg of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

I now have chilling news for people with slow web sites. In the latest e.businessreview magazine, Clive Bates reports: 'Not long ago the standard time a visitor would wait for a site to present itself was around 12 seconds.

Now. . . this wait time has dropped to around four seconds.' I'd argue for five or even six seconds, but not against his belief that users just want to get in, collect the information and get out.

Interestingly, in view of the sad performance of MPs, his organisation, OCS, has the sites for Downing Street and MAFF in its top 10 web sites.

Steinberg also commends the sites of some government departments. On the other hand, Anne Widdecombe is praised for her web site, Widdy's World.

Actually, the site is called The Widdy Web and, yes, it exists at www.annwiddecombemp.com.Odd that. I should have thought it would surely be . co. uk.

Elsewhere, don't book Greece or Turkey holidays this Christmas without checking the update on recent activity at http: //volcano. und. nodak. edu/volcanoe s. html which, as you've guessed, is devoted to volcanoes. There's a current update on eruptions - of which there were at least five in October around the world. Going to press, the volcano of the week was Maly Semiachik, a caldera on the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia. Also on the site are volcano workshops, a kids section and 'Ask a Vulcanologist'.

Still no mention of cookies at the RIBA site and the search facility remains its amateurish self. Oh, and still no obvious indication that there might be other search possibilities to aid friendly developers in worming out the talent.

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