By Ron VandenBoom
Its not uncommon here at the Havre Daily News to have press releases come across my desk about new web sites.
Most are commercial advertisements. The companies send them hoping that I will be inspired to write something favorable about them.This, of course, amounts to little more than free advertising for them, and because it comes from me, rather than some high priced glossy ad, a certain credibility is given to their claims.
Most of these end up lining the special file 13 basket under my desk. Occasionally, though, the exception shows up. Its still an ad, but for one reason or another I checked it out.
This was the case with Tiger Electronics LTD.
For those of you who dont know, Tiger Electronics makes toys mostly electronic toys like the famous Ferby that was last years hottest ticket at Christmas time. They are a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., also a well-known manufacture of toys.
The site is located at www.tigertoys.com and is worth a visit whether you are in the market for toys or not.
What first caught my attention about the press release Tiger Electronics sent were the words Shockwave site of the day.
For those of you not familiar with Shockwave, it is an animated graphics program used mostly for special effects. It requires a special downloadable player that is available free from www.shockwave.com.
Surfing over to take a look, I couldnt help but be impressed by the quality and entertainment value of the site.
You are greeted with an animated graphic of a tigers eye that ultimately leads you to the index page where you can choose from the Store, News, Links, Talk to Tiger, and all the traditional pages. What is unique is the non-traditional-like Quad.
Click on Quad and you can watch the latest weekly episode of an on-going cartoon series about a mind-reading teenage girl, her friends, and a rather ugly space alien.The animation is great and the plot, believe it or not, is really kind of interesting. Back episodes are also available for viewing and new episodes are posted each week.
The rest of the site is pretty typical of what you can expect from a site selling toys. A complete list of all the toys, a healthy dose telling us how great they are, and the ever present list of stores where they can be purchased.
Feel free to check it out just for the graphics and for Quad, if nothing else.
On a somewhat related subject, I was listening to a report on CNN about how special touch-pads were now available that allow the blind to surf the Internet. Instead of looking at the site, the data on the screen is transferred to braille and the sight-impaired can interpret the screen by sliding their fingers over the keypad.
The only problem the sightless surfer has with the procedure is that the computer touch-pad can not differentiate between what is text, and useful information, and what is banner ads or graphics. What is most exciting and informative to the sighted is the greatest headache to the sightless.
With the number of ads on the Internet increasing every day, it does not seem likely the problem will go away any time soon. But this, too, is the price we pay to live in a free country. An annoying country at times, but free, nonetheless.