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Vol. 3, No. 37, 23/10/2002

Change the headlines
Vol. 3, No. 37 - October 23, 2002

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In this issue:
From the editor
One-day web-writing workshop
Web content tip
Email tip
Readers write
The Y Files
Surf Club (web site reviews)
Reader choice
Weekly thought
Need content?
At your service
Things that make you go huh?

From the editor

##first name##

With so much despair in the headlines lately, we could all use a little good news.

While this is a newsletter, it's not (and was never intended to be) an objective journalistic resource - you get facts plus my opinion, which hopefully makes you think about - or contribute - yours.

After escaping from print journalism in the mid-90s, I set up brizcomm as a virtual community for anyone passionate about the Net. Some of you want to create better content, others just want to find it.

In the process, we've learnt from each other. The Net connects people and it's not a one-way street.

We can wait for politicians to fix our problems or we can tap into this amazing global network to percolate change ourselves. Together, through the power of new communication technology, we can make a difference.

Now, for the good ne ws - try the Charles Schultz Philosophy quiz -


* Read the response from truckie Bazza on the freelance writing debate and comments about the Bali tragedy - http://www.brizcomm.com.au/readerswrite/musings.asp?x=g
* Australian Online Content Discussion List -

One-day web-writing workshop

You've been asking for it so here it is - the first one-day Just Write Workshop on writing and editing for the online reader.

Whether creating content for the web, an e-newsletter, email or e-learning, you need to "get" the difference between online and print.

Among other things, we'll cover -
* the basics of good writing * prioritising and managing content * grammar/punctuation for the Net * web-writing techniques * tips for snappy text * when to use multimedia * hooking your readers * hints for headlines and captions * effective linking * online style guides * editing process * compelling content ideas and trends * online case studies * hands-on writing/editing exercises.

Brisbane, Friday, November 15 (numbers limited to 10) -
(also available for in-house delivery - minimum of four people)

Web content tip

Search engine Google has long been regarded as a highly usable site with its clear, simple user experience.

Google product manager Marissa Mayer reveals all -

"The utmost thing is the user experience, to have the most useful experience. It's important to differentiate between 'usefulness' and 'usability'. At Google, we make a *useful* tool, and then we put a *usable* interface on top of that. One has to precede the other. If you have usability without a useful product, you don't really have much."

Right on, sister.


Email tip

Having just written a 2500 word journal article on email filtering, I'm fired up to ensure my newsletter is getting through to you.

Alas, my detailed bounce report reveals a problem with at least one major Australian Internet Service Provider which uses Sp*mAssassin. I've written to the ISP but no response.

The best defence against filters is to contact your ISP directly if you notice your newsletter hasn't turned up (you're paying your ISP to deliver your mail so should get anything you've signed up for - minus the garbage).

Chris Kindermann, from kintek IT solutions, emailed his ISP when he noticed my last newsletter was tagged as s*pam for cryptic reasons including "asking to click below", "instant access button" (?), and "font size +2 and up or 3 and up". Huh?

Chris wrote a polite, yet firm, message to his ISP and kindly allowed me to share it with you -

"Because porn sp*m got out of hand on our receiving end a few weeks ago I asked you guys to filter my email with Sp*mAssassin. Overall the result has been good and I find about 15 or so *S**M* emails daily in my sp*m folder in Outlook. Thank you to your team for your help.

"There are a few newsletters I’m subscribing to which unfortunately get the filter treatment as well. Not a huge problem with text based letters as I can set my own rules, if I don’t miss them amongst all the junk that is. However, html newsletters can get quite hacked by Sp*mAssassin and are difficult to read after they have had the treatment.

"Do you have a white list I can add certain sender addresses to bypass Sp*mAssassin? Can you recommend any other way to alleviate the above challenge?"

The response was that "there is no other way of getting around this...we can turn Sp*mAssassin off, but that would then allow the sp*m to come through as w ell as the news letters you have subscribed to. Sorry for this inconvenience."

That's not strictly true, according to Sp*mAssassin itself which states - "the filter can be made a lot less sensitive. To do this, ask your systems administrator or ISP's helpdesk to 'increase the SpamAssassin threshold'. Alternatively, if you just want all your mail, unfiltered, ask your systems administrator or ISP's helpdesk to 'add your address to the whitelist_to list'.

So don't take no for an answer.

Readers write

How do you handle criticism, especially when it's aimed at someone close to you? Find out with Pollyanna.

We could use some new book or movie reviews, if you have one up your sleeve. If a few reviews start coming in for the books I've already mailed out, I can justify the postage and send out more ;-)

Send your review (or any other contribution) to yvette@brizcomm.com.au

The Y Files

Chris Kindermann asks -

Q - It is a bit of a sad story that we are where we are with sp*m. A few weeks ago we had some hardcore sp*m coming through which did not have to be opened to display porn with animals in the preview window. We have a 12-year-old boy who is, as they often are, pretty computer savvy and inquisitive. What the hell can one do to keep things not sterile, as I know he has seen much more than I had in that age and for him that may not be harmful at all, but there have got to be some limitations. Indeed what can be done? Perhaps some readers may be aware of a really worthwhile Net movement to get involved with. Otherwise we have to think of some action ourselves. What do you think?"

A - Once my journal article on email filtering has been published, I'll share it with you. I've also mentioned Cloudmark in the past (see the email category of F*ee Ti ps on brizcomm.com.au). Reader Brad Irwin recommends the f*ee Mailwasher - you can check emails, preview, bounce, block and delete unwanted mail. If you bounce it, the unethical sender gets an undeliverable mail notification and you are removed from the list. "This program finally rid me of a
spammer that has been harassing me for three months."

Anyone else have any innovative ideas?

Send your question to yvette@brizcomm.com.au

Surf Club (web site reviews)

F*ee Web Pages for Babies
Store and share your baby pictures online for no charge. Upload an unlimited number of photos, organise them into folders and build a simple web site automatically (no need to know HTML). You can send pictures to friends and families through a private announcement system, secure your site with a password or tell the world.
In a net shell: Oo baby.

El Nino
Discover when the drought might break with this award-winning site from Environment Canada. Learn El Nino history and science, effects, current status and forecast, and facts about its little sister, La Nina. See “comparing El Nino” timeline for graphs and links to regional sites.
In a net shell: Hot.

La ugh Lab
What makes an American laugh might leave an Aussie stone faced. Different cultures have a different sense of humour. See the Laugh Lab’s unofficial research on what tickles funny bones in various countries. You can rate and submit jokes, learn what makes kids laugh or discover why our brains become amused.
In a net shell: Ha ha.

All My Life For Sale
When life began to weigh him down, New Yorker John Freyer decided to sell everything he owned on online auction site eBay. Among other things he sold an opened box of taco shells, half a bottle of mouthwash, most of his clothes, his sideburns (in a plastic bag) and Christmas presents (not yet given). John’s now on the second part of his journey - to visit his former possession s in their new homes around the world.
In a net shell: Sell out.

Personal Historians
”This packrat has learned that what the next generation will value most is not what we owned, but the evidence of who we were and the tales of how we loved. In the end, it's the family stories that are worth the storage.” - Ellen Goodman,The Boston Globe. The Association of Personal Historians is dedicated to helping others preserve their personal histories and life stories. Find tips and links on capturing thoughts, feelings and memories through memoirs, books, oral histories or videos in the Coaching Corner.
In a net shell: Memory triggers.

The Lost Dogs’ Home and Cat Shelter
Register your lost pet on this f*ee nationwide database featuring more than 300,000 animals. The Lost Dogs' Home, founded in Melbourne in 1912, is the third-largest animal shelter in Australia. You’ll find tips on finding lost pets, top pet names, dogcam, dog photos and pet care.
In a net shell: Lassie come home.

Reader choice

Use this site to see if you have any money from old bank accounts, shares or super policies waiting around. I didn't, and I checked my maiden name too, but I was surprised at how many people do. Maybe a little windfall coming your way!
- Reviewed by Sally Cripps, Blackall


Weekly thought

The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked.

As they went along, they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding.

The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions. Later they passed some people who remarked, "What a shame, he makes that little boy walk." They then decided they both would walk.

Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride. So, they both rode the donkey.

Then they passed some people who shamed them by saying how awful to put such a load on a poor donkey. The boy and man said they were probably right, so they decided to carry the donkey.

As they crossed the bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell int o the river and drowned.

The moral of the story?

If you try to please everyone, you might as well kiss your ass goodbye.

Need content?

To reproduce any content from brizcomm's newsletter or web site in your own publication, please email yvette@brizcomm.com.au

At your service

Need someone to motivate the troops, write or rewrite content, edit or proofread, critique your own site or e-newsletter? Email yvette@brizcomm.com.au

Things that make you go huh?

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 securely online for instant access to professionally reviewed sites that could take years to find among the millions of dead links, scumware and pop-ups.

Only 9.95 (incl. GST) in Aussie dollars (that's about five US dollars) - less than a bottle of red wine and the wicked pleasure will last longer.

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

Go on, live dangerously and get it while it's hot - http://www.brizcomm.com.au/shop/

Remember, this newsletter is shareware. Please give a copy to a friend or colleague and suggest they sign up. Cheers.


Yvette Nielsen, Editor - phone 61 (0)41 771 8683
PO Box 2026 Bardon Qld 4065 Australia

© 2000-2002 Brizcomm Pty Ltd

We accept no responsibility and disclaim all liability for any incorrect information in articles, sites or events in this newsletter. If links do not work, try again later - sometimes the host server for a listed site might be down temporarily.


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

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