Not so long ago, the BBC launched a major online project designed to encourage people to write.

It was called "Get Writing!" and it offered all manner of tips and advice for new writers, along with a hugely popular forum in which they could post their work for constructive criticism.

Hundreds of creativeminded people flocked to the site and filled the forums with their work. Many of them became regular visitors, and a sense of community rapidly established itself.

Sadly, along with many other fascinating BBC internet projects, Get Writing! was subject to budget cuts and the forum, by far the most popular part of the site, was axed. Now, all that remains at are a few static pages of advice for writers.

One regular at Get Writing!, Stephen Gritton, thought that perhaps he should do something to help the would-be writers keep their special place alive. He had a spare domain name which he thought might fit the bill, so he put it to work. And Writers' Dock was born.

The site, which is at www. writersdock. co. uk, offered the 'homeless' writers from Get Writing! a new place to exchange tips and critiques of their work.

Not only did it start life with this instant, ready-made vibrant community, Writers' Dock started to attract newcomers too. Hundreds of them. Now well over 1,300 people have signed up for accounts, and many more visit every day.

The forums remain a lively place for discussion of pretty much everything, including the art of writing, current events, and politics.

But delve deeper and you discover the Read, Write, Review (RWR) topics, where people can post their own efforts in any of a dozen or more writing genres. Historical fiction, sci-fi, crime thrillers and poetry all have their place here.

The variety doesn't deter people from diving into the fray. On a quiet day, there might be four dozen messages. Busy days generate dozens more.

Setting up the site was one thing, but keeping it alive has been quite another challenge for Stephen Gritton, who uses the pseudonym Sonny Manou on the site.

The cost of running the site falls entirely on his shoulders. Hosting is a fixed monthly fee, but bandwidth (a measurement of the amount of traffic the site generates) keeps increasing as the site gets more popular. Efforts to attract advertisers and sponsors have met with little success so far.

But with any luck, Writers' Dock can land on its feet financially sooner rather than later. n Obscure Mac browser users rejoice! Camino, the original alternative web browser for Mac OS X, has reached version 1.0 but as yet is only available as a alpha code, which means it is likely to be buggy and to crash unexpectedly.

Don't let that put you off, though; Camino is a work of genius and makes browsing the web a real pleasure. It's free, of course. ("