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A cyberspace oddity


Vol. 3, No. 27, 14/8/2002

In This Issue:

* From the editor
* Next workshop
* Web content tip
* Email tip
* Readers Write
* The Y Files
* Surf Club (web site reviews)
* Reader choice
* Weekly chuckle
* Survey comment
* Survey comment
* Survey comment
* AD - Do not let your kids see this e-booklet

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From the editor
Weird is what the world wide web does best, wouldn't you

In six years as a professional web site reviewer - first
for Brisbane News magazine (small fee) and now for you and
ABC Radio (free) - I've seen a lot of strange stuff.

Rather than let these sites become cobwebs in my "censored"
folder, I've decided to package the reviews into an
adults-only e-booklet for sale via my site.

Believe me, I've seen even worse material online but, as an
ethical journo, have to draw the line somewhere for fear of
promoting hatred, violence or crazed sickos.

The first e-booklet is "Odd Bods - 50 bizarre sites about
the human body". These "outer sites" are not for the
faint-hearted or squeamish.

Take or leave them, but just be warned.

Your regular, family-friendly, Surf Club site reviews will
continue free each week as usual.


PS the link to the inaugural e-booklet is at the end so you
don't get distracted before finishing the newsletter - you
might never return ;-)

Next workshop
"I have been involved in web site development for over 10
years and have seen many "new" developments over the
period. One of the most abused issues is
content. There are many technologically sound sites on
the Net that haven't paid enough attention to
content. The brizcomm web content and e-newsletter
courses focus on the content and what mistakes to
avoid. These
journalistic and marketing skills are in big demand and
short supply. Well done, Yvette!" - Danny Anderson,
project officer, Marine Industries Taskforce, Brisbane,

Book now for Australia's original -

Brisbane - Wednesday & Thursday, August 28-29

* customised in-house workshops anywhere in the world can
be arranged at discount rate

More: http://www.brizcomm.com.au/workshops/overview.asp?id=1

Web content tip
What exactly is an e-book anyway? NetLingo.com defines it
simply as "a book that can be downloaded and read on a
computer or other digital device".

Although harder to read on screen, e-books are easy to buy,
update and produce plus you can include search and

Some e-books, including Adobe's .pdf format, can be printed
out for easier reading offline. Others use proprietary
formats for reading on specific devices (Gemstar, Microsoft

Other e-books (including mine) are self-running
computer programs - an executable (.exe) file -
containing HTML pages in a
browser-style interface.

After you've created the HTML in Word or a web-authoring
program (Front Page, Dreamweaver) use a compiling
program to turn the pages into an e-book. If anyone's
interested, I settled on this compiler (I get a small cut
if you buy via this link) -

Compare e-book formats -

Learn about the Open eBook Forum initiative to specify a
standard (based on HTML and XML to allow publishers to
distribute content across devices) -

Email tip
Email filters and blacklists are devastating the fledgling
e-newsletter industry.

While good e-newsletter tools let you monitor how many
messages are opened or bounced, you might never know
who's being filtered unless you know which email
program they're using.

Even then, the recipient might just be busy,
uninterested, on leave or not receiving your

More online publishers are resorting to deliberate typos or
other tricks to help prevent their newsletters from being
blocked (p**n, s^x, s^pam, f^ree).

Discover the top 5 ways to avoid filters -

Readers Write
Patty cakes are a favourite with kids of all ages
(including me). Pick up some tips with veteran party cook

Pam Rushby reviews Deborah Smith's book, "On Bear
Mountain", from HarperCollins.

Send your book or movie review to yvette@brizcomm.com.au

The Y Files
Margaret Greer from Brisbane asks -

Q - More and more people seem to be using the option to
request a receipt for an email. What concerns me
is what is to stop a spam sender from activating this
option? He then knows that the message was received. I am
inclined to refuse to acknowledge receipt and maybe
personally explain to the sender, if he/she is known to me,
why I did this. What do you and others think?

A - Don't know about you but I'm not a huge fan
of read receipts. Too many people overuse or
misuse them. I probably wouldn't respond to a read request
either unless I knew the sender. Every extra
click is a pain when you're busy. To avoid offence,
use read receipts only when absolutely necessary (as with
certified mail) as advised in a previous tip. What do you
think? Let's get a rapport going on the Australian Online
Content Discussion List.

Email your question to yvette@brizcomm.com.au

More: http://www.brizcomm.com.au/freetips/

Surf Club (web site reviews)
Red Balloon Days
When you can’t think of a gift for the person who has
everything, how about giving an e-voucher for a new
experience? This Australian site offers a wide range of
“unique, fun and extraordinary experiences” including
driving challenges, extreme outdoor sports, special
flights, unusual breaks, aqua adventures, family fun,
animal magic and tours (city, history, gourmet, pampering
and art).
In a net shell: Novel ideas.

The 1000 Journal Project
This privately funded social experiment, launched in 2000,
aims to follow 1000 blank journals throughout their
travels, to see where they go, and what people do with
them. Read the postings, view the cover art or sign up to
receive a journal.
In a net shell: Collective collage.

Top Ten Dot Cons
New technology has opened doors to great opportunity - and
opportunists. Con artists use the Net to defraud consumers
in a variety of clever ways. US law enforcement officials
have identified the top 10 dot cons facing Net surfers -
Internet auctions, Internet access services, credit card
fraud, international modem dialling, web cramming (ongoing
charges after free trials end), multi-level marketing plans
(pyramids), travel and vacation, business opportunities,
investment, and health care products and services. Read the
tips so you don’t get caught.
In a net shell: E-scams.

The Time Travel Fund
Want to visit or live hundreds of years in the future? Time
travel may be possible but the technology is a long way
off. Once it happens, people living far in the future may
be able to retrieve you from your current frame of
reference (their past - your present) and bring you into
the future (their present - your future). Contribute to
this fund and, in a few hundred years, hopefully your
investment will have grown enough to support your
retrieval, medical “rejuvenation” and new life. Yeah,
In a net shell: Return ticket.

Bookmark this one for when you’re typing on a computer
without the luxury of Spellcheck. Just copy and paste a
slab of text (up to 5000 characters) into the web page and
click “spellcheck”. You’ll also find links to useful tools
including a calculator, encyclopedia, rhymer, translator
and thesaurus.
In a net shell: Spot on.

The Four Word Film Review
“Since most films start off as a short sales pitch, it
makes perfect sense to return a film to its humble
beginnings and sum it up in four well-chosen words.” That’s
the philosophy behind this site, which invites you to
contribute your four-word review of any film (eg Hannibal -
“was crap without Foster”).
In a net shell: Concise.

More: http://www.brizcomm.com.au/surf/default.asp

Reader choice
Rod Wright from Brisbane sent in this week's favourite
site -

This one is supposed to help you find the nearest parking
area and price to any address you type in. I tried a couple
close to me but the car parks it recommended were a fair
way away. It might be of more benefit in the city.

Send your review to yvette@brizcomm.com.au

Weekly chuckle
"The phrase "working mother" is redundant." - Jane Sellman.

If you'd like me to do an in-house web content,
e-newsletter or online writing workshop for your
organisation - or if you need an in-depth site or
e-newsletter critique - please email yvette@brizcomm.com.au

Survey comment
"The new look is really great! I didn't think the newsletter
needed to be updated, but wow, what a great new look!" -

Survey comment
"It is a pleasure to see your newsletter in the in box...I
am constantly amazed at where you find your links! It takes
me days, sometimes, to get thru them!" - anon.

Survey comment
"Well done, Yvette - I really like the new-look newsletter.
I'm always keen to hear that local companies are offering
more effective and lower cost solutions too. I don't have a
need for a newsletter tool at the moment but will certainly
be recommending people 'tune' into yours as an example of
how it should be done." - anon.

AD - Do not let your kids see this e-booklet
Ready for some extreme surfing? Want to be
titillated, taunted and tempted?

Buy a copy of Odd Bods - 50 bizarre sites about the human
body and shock your dinner party guests with tales
from the dark side of the Net.

Grab your credit card to pay online for instant access to
professionally reviewed sites that could take years to find
among the millions of dead links, scumware and

Only $6.95 (Aussie dollars) - less than a bottle
of red wine.

Available in .exe format for PCs or .pdf for Macs. Don't
worry, we'll tell you how to do it - it's super easy.

Go on, live dangerously and get it while it's hot -


Bobby Approved (v 3.2) Unusual Corporate Gifts other than a Gift Basket

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