Claims to Web site names can give clues to companies' plans

Help Line

November 29, 1999|By James Coates | James Coates,Chicago Tribune

Is there a site that lists recently registered Internet domain names (addresses for future Web sites) and who registered them? It could be a pretty interesting insight into companies' plans if we knew what domains they had registered recently.

You clearly have a head for intrigue, and as you suspect, finding out Web site names registered by a given company can tip that company's plans.

If Microsoft Corp. were to buy the rights to www.RaptorOfRedmond.com, for example, it might indicate that the company has decided to admit it is a monopoly and go for broke rather than try to settle its dispute with federal regulators. A move by McDonald's Corp. to register www.holdthefries.com might indicate a change in menu plans and so on.

The best way to track which domain names are registered by corporations is to log on to www.companysleuth.com, a free business intelligence site that tracks these registrations, along with other data about publicly traded companies by ticker symbol.

I'd like to use my desktop computer to combine my scanned images with a little background music, some narration and captions. This digital production would be sent to my VCR, recorded and played on my big-screen TV. Is there a stand-alone external box that will provide these functions?

You can find a wide variety of boxes called VGA-to-TV converters online or in computer stores. Expect to pay from $100 to $300 for the privilege of videotaping whatever you choose to display on your computer monitor screen.

The converter box has standard RCA audio/video plugs and S-video connectors. You plug one into your VCR or TV for taping or viewing whatever you display on the computer's regular monitor.

These devices work by having the user unplug the monitor cord from the back of the PC and plug it into an identical connector on the converter box. A supplied cord then connects the converter box back to the PC so you see the display on the monitor and TV at the same time.

This sounds sweet, but a lot of issues arise that might make you regret buying, especially at the low end. Even the best converters produce soft-looking images on TV that are inferior to the beautifully sharp displays that a high-resolution computer monitor produces.

Cheaper converters tend to support only low-resolution monitor displays, which might mean that the image passed through them doesn't fill the whole screen on your TV.

Also, cheaper devices sometimes produce poor-quality colors and can cause flickering that usually is eliminated in more expensive devices. I have had pretty good luck with a $267 Focus Enhancements TView Gold Pro PC-to-TV Adapter. One of the better converters at the low end is the Avermedia AverKey iMicro PC/Mac-to-TV Converter, at $92.

Pub Date: 11/29/99

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