internet cafes

Virtual feast

Time was when the most hi-tech thing down your local cafe was the coffee-machine. Now, there’s a new breed of wired caff that serves a slice of Net action with its brew. Jonathan Trew forgoes his stomach to check out the digital menu at Edinburgh’s three lntemet cafes. Cgbena

Space-age look franchise of the super-

hip London-based Cyberia. 88 Hanover

Street. 220 4403. Glasgow branch of

up existing skills. One-to-one sessions

are tailor-made to suit individual needs.

Support Fully trained 'cyber guides’ at your disposal.

Special events Corporate breakfasts; product launches; Christmas parties.

Web 13

Small. fn'endly. locally-owned and run establishment with a real ‘caff‘ type feel to it. 13 Bread Street. 229 8883. Opening times Winter: Mon—Sat 10am—8pm. Summer: Mon—Sun 10am-9pm.

lntemet access £2.50 (£2) per half- hour; £4.50 (£3.50) per hour. Services WWW; IRC; e-mail; newsgroups; scanning; photocopying and more.

Number of terminals Nine.

Type of connection 64K leased line.

internet guide 3—)

Other services Personal e-mail boxes approx ill a week; Web design; Web consultancy; Web space; games nights. Training £25 for one and a half hours (intensive); £8.50 for one hour (including half hour with guide); £6.50 for one hour (including fifteen minutes with guide).

Support Fully trained-up. super- knowledgable staff ready to answer all your Net queries.

Special events Live lntemet broadcasts; children's parties.

Electric Frog

The newest addition to the city‘s cyber cafe ranks, with an enticing multi- media look to it and as much emphasis on the cafe as the cyber. 42—44 Cockbum Street. 226 1505.

Opening times Mon—Sat lOam-lOpm.

lntemet Access £2.50 per half hour/40p per five mins thereafter (£l.90/30p per five mins thereafter); £4.90 (£3.70) per hour.

Services WWW; e-mail; lRC; newsgroups and more.

Number of terminals Seven.

Type of connection 64K leased line. Pipex

Other services Private e-mail boxes approx £1 a week; Web design; Web consultancy; Web space; four multi- media PCs and one Mac; CD-Rom machines; nine headsets for peaceful Netsurfing.

Training To begin in New Y‘ar: one hour sessions for around £10 (to be confirmed).

Support Ongoing help from fully~ trained staff. First-time surfers get a ten-to-fifteen minute run-in.

Cyberia opening in Jan. Watch local press for details.

Opening times Winter: Sun—Tue

l lam—7pm; Wed—Sat l lam—10pm. Summer: Mon—Sat l0am—lOpm. Internet access £2.50 (£2/£ l .50) per half-hour; special rate for sixteen hours plus a week £2.55 (plus VAT) per hour. Services WWW; lRC; e-mail: newsgroups; CUseeme; scanning; word processing and more.

Number of terminals Sixteen.

Type of connection 64K leased line. Easynet through BT Net.

Other Services Personal e-mail boxes approx £1 a week; Web design; Web consultancy; Web space; home visits from independent lnternet consultants; games nights: gift vouchers.

Training Group sessions £25 (plus VAT) for two and a half hours. every Wed 7—9.30pm; one-to-one sessions £20 (plus VAT) for one hour. times by appointment. Group sessions are geared towards two levels: those who're entirely new to the world of computers and those who want to brush


I ..

the shape or coffeehouse: to come: Cyberia, Edinburgh

internet cafes

Surfing sornies

If your appetite for technology is waning there is more on the menu at the new lntemet cafes, writes Jonathan Trew.

First up let's skip the cracks about ‘chips with everything' and having a ‘byte' to eat. Webheads have heard it all before and are unlikely to be satisfied with anything relating to virtual food after a hard session spent trudging down the information highway.

Using your brain uses your energy and. happily. the only way to replace these lost kilojoules is through cramming the old cakehole with goodies. No pain but lots of gain as trough aficiumidos from one end of the world wide web to the other like to say.

The folk who run the cyber cafes in Edinburgh logged on to this idea pretty swiftly and they all offer brain food running from a quick pick-me-up coffee to more substantial meals on a plate. At WEB 13 they find that cheese toasties and carrot cake top Net surfers' stomach- dictated shopping list. Not that mere snacks are all that web browsers are fond of: chilli. lasagne and the like are also available and perhaps the only unifying theme is that all the comestibles offer instantgratification. Just to ensure everything is in keeping with the computing theme. would-be rnunchers can send their order to the kitchen via an on-line menu.

The latest addition to the cyber cafe ranks. the sharply named ELECTRIC FROG. offers a similar kind of menu but with more of an emphasis on bagels and baguettes. However. its Cockbum Street location has led to certain differences in their customers‘ preferences with hot chocolate taking precedence over coffees in the favourite flavour stakes. This could have something to do with the fact that hot choc goes beautifully with the Frog's other big seller: cheese quake. a toffee-based

concoction that puts normal cheese cakes to shame. Of the three cyber cafes. this is the tnost cosy with bright. primary wall colours. regularly changing art exhibitions and a huge mirror creating the illusion of space (virtual reality is what it‘s all about after all) while the cafe is. in fact. quite small.

The Edinburgh branch of the national CYBERIA chain takes the biscuit on the caffeine front with enough varieties and variations on a Java theme to keep a speed freak who was foolish enough to try them all wired fora week. Cyberia has found people tailor their eating habits to their enviromnent. with non-drip and crumb-free food proving handy for one-handed typing. Thus caramel shortcake and Rocky Road cake come before creamy patisseries. For tappers who like to tipple. Cyberia is also the only cafe to have a drinks licence. All its hot

food is prepared by Wigwam‘s around the corner, so watch out for vegetable burritos. chillis and tortillas.

If the three cafes have one thing in common, it is that they are frequented by a huge diversity of customers. Foreign students use the E-mail facilities to touch base with home. adolescent girls favour the chat lines, while adolescent boys opt for Doom game-playing sessions. Septagenarian Net virgins rub shoulders with whole families and business people scouring the Net for information. Not that everyone who ventures past the portals is a dedicated screen gazer up to 50 per cent of the cafes‘ custom comes from people whojust pop in to soak up the coffee and catch the buzz. quite content to look at other people cruising the web and feed the stomach before thinking of nourishing the head.

See above for opening times.

terminal heaven: Electric Frog. Edinburgh

The List l2-25 Jan [996 21