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Kelly's i: Keeping you up to speed on the net.

Byline: MATT KELLY

AMSTERDAM police have a brilliant new anti-mobile phone theft strategy. Report your phone stolen, and they'll send it this text message every three minutes: "This handset was nicked. Buying or selling it is a crime - The Police."

There's one flaw in the plan, though - as it's Amsterdam, what if the victim is too, er, laid-back, to notice his phone's missing?

THE world's first official online eye test has been launched. Drivers in New Mexico will be able to take the compulsory test online as long as they have a webcam, so officials can check it's actually them taking it, not an eagle-eyed pal. The firm behind the test says it checks for long-distance vision, night vision and colour blindness.

YOUR mobile phone may seem desperately low-tech compared to GPRS net mobiles coming on to the market, but GSM (the technology your phone uses now) is not a spent force just yet. It still has potentialfor smart applications like the Ericsson Communicam. It's a a digital camera that clips on to any Ericsson phone with a built-in modem. Take a snap, and the Communicam uploads it straight to a web page, where you can view or download it when you get to a PC. It will go on sale by Summer. It's aimed at teenagers, so prices shouldn't break the pounds 100 mark.

NET NEWS: ENEMIES ARE AT THE BILL GATES

BILL Gates may be suffering an unnerving sense of deja vu this week as his critics prepare to tear into his new bold net plan, Hailstorm.

Some have suggested the name of this package of online services, designed to let you access your own personal files on a central server from any machine, betrays Gates's ambition.

It's certainly true the name has a sort of Viking rape and pillage feel to it - and that's exactly what top brass at AOL and Yahoo are worried about.

They believe Hailstorm is to the net what Internet Explorer was to browsers - a way to sneak a monopoly by bundling a broad application in with Microsoft software.

Gates argues that Hailstorm will work on competitors' software as well, but because all the information - for example your diary, contacts, agenda, email - will be channelled through Microsoft servers, the competition is enraged.

Besides monopoly fears, they also point to concerns about privacy and the threat from hackers.

Microsoft has already been successfully hacked in a couple of embarrassing high- profile incidents last year. The juicy bag of data Hailstorm promises will only encourage more attempts.

Gates has clearly grown fond of litigation - Hailstorm is certain to give him the opportunity to spend a lot more time defending his company in front of a judge in the near future.

NEW NET

www.circuitdriver.comFAST-car site for drivers who prefer race tracks to roads. News on open days at tracks, well-written, in-depth road tests and driving features. Nicely done, but only for the real enthusiast.

e-HEE

Thanks to Roseanne. Keep your email funnies coming to kellysi@mirror.co.ukwww.pinstruck.com

SITE OF THE DAY

A FRIGHTENINGLY good site - send your enemies a virtual voodoo cursed doll. Very professional with a spooky Blair Witch feel.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 3, 2001
Words:530
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