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Lifelong learning


Vol. 2, No. 7, 7/3/2001


discover new sites and the secrets to web success

Vol. 2, No. 7 Lifelong learning March 7, 2001

Yvette Nielsen, Editor, yvette@brizcomm.com.au

This free newsletter is distributed by subscription only. If you
wish to unsubscribe, please see the instructions at the end.


Life is one long learning curve. Just when you think you know where
it's at, somebody moves it.

Twenty years since fronting up at the University of Queensland as
a meek and unworldly "fresher", I returned to the scene of my crime
today to begin a Masters degree in online communication through the
journalism department.

Spooky stuff. The lecture room looked exactly the same, apart from
the number of overseas students - from China to Scotland - sitting
in the chairs.

Their fresh faces and noble ambitions made me acutely aware of how
far I'd come since 1981 - jaded by 11 years in old media, reborn
after just four years in new media.

I just hope these 21st century journalists realise the potential of
the new media before their high ideals are shattered by the old.

Life's too short to waste time in a job without passion or purpose.


PS Brisbane News magazine had to ditch a column this week and mine
drew the short straw. Instead, I present for newsletter readers only,
a few links from my column in Queensland Brides magazine.


1. Web content tip
2. A divine web experience
3. The Y Files (Q&A)
4. Columns
5. Surf Club
6. Reader's choice
7. Weekly thought


1. Web content tip

Wireless Mobile Internet (WMI) was a popular topic at the content
and web site management conference I addressed in Singapore last week.

If you've tried surfing the web on a mobile phone, you'll appreciate
the limitations of mContent (mobile content).

But Dr Madanmohan Rao, director of 4Cplus.com in Bangalore, India,
listed a few interesting regional variations in the use of mServices:

* United States (email, surfing, news, travel; comfortable with credit
cards; uncomfortable with location-based privacy; professional use)
* Japan, Korea (entertainment, downloadable ring tones, email)
* Europe (banking, email, uncomfortable with credit card use)

Australia's highest users of mServices are most likely to be
affluent professionals, due to the relatively high cost of handsets.

Significantly for we content creators, local content and time-
sensitive information is more important for wireless applications
than in the wired world.

Dr Rao said other popular wireless applications included:

* stock quotes, stock trading
* email (order confirmation)
* alerts (traffic, weather, new book releases)
* sports scores
* flight confirmations
* news flashes
* B2B (sales tracking on mobile Intranet)
* currency conversion
* online database access (eg directories)
* games
* online shopping carts
* mobile banking
* auctions

As you would expect, context, clarity and brevity are even more
vital for wireless content than on the web.

Sounds like good news for savvy content creators.

* Dr Rao provided a list of online resources. Email me if you're
interested and I'll pass on your request to the good doctor.

See how a WAP phone faces a mCommerce challenge at:


2. A divine web experience

You need to do more than create a massive portal site of external
links to succeed on the web these days.

As the novelty of the Net slowly wears off, competition among
commercial sites has intensified.

We online evangelists know the secret is to create a successful,
almost divine, web experience for your visitors.

Follow the steps on the stairway to heaven at:


3. The Y Files (Q&A)

This week's question is from Brisbane's Sue Leitch, who receives
a new novel from HarperCollins for her trouble.

Q: "I have developed a web site for a client. Only problem is how
do I get the site into the search engines (ie how do I make sure
the search engines find the site?)"

A: The best tip I can give you, Sue, is to make sure the site has
great content. Good sites sell themselves and word spreads like
wildfire on the Net. The second tip is to ensure your site is
optimised for search engines (ie accessible to them). Search
engines can't read graphics so include ALT text, supplementary text
links, relevant page titles, keyword-rich body copy and META tags
(to describe how you're listed and provide alternatives to unfriendly
frames and tables). Don't even think about trying to trick the
search engines into a higher ranking by "keyword stuffing" with
popular search terms. Submit your top two or three pages manually
to each of the major engines and write a careful site description
for submission to the more valuable directories/indexes (eg Yahoo).
Be patient, be persistent and plough your other publicity fields.
And attend my Web Content Workshop where I cover all this.

* See Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Watch for more tips:


4. Columns

* Pollyanna discovers mushrooms at the bottom of her bathroom

* Cameron Koo finds an all-you-can-eat restaurant more than he can

* Bill Harper tries to control his "walking rage"

Read them at:


5. Surf Club

This Australian site provides a virtual community for virtually
married couples. Search the database of wedding-related services
or share your experiences in the forum or chat room. Read real-life
stories, create an online gift registry, find pre-loved wedding
goods, enter competitions and pick up tips and traditions. You
can also check the A-Z of wedding dreams or the bridal horoscope
and download free planning worksheets. Grooms, best men and MCs
have their own page of tips.

Poems for Disposable Cameras
No, these aren't love poems penned as odes to throwaway cameras.
If you're providing disposable cameras to guests at your wedding,
the poems are a handy way to let the guests know what you want
them to do with the cameras. For example: "Here is a camera,
Please use it a lot, To take pictures of, What the photographer
will not."

TV Wedding Trivia Quiz
Which TV show was the first to feature a gay wedding? Who proposed
by spelling out "I Love You" with his socks? Couch potatoes might
like to test their wedding trivia knowledge with this quick
online quiz.

Etiquette Hell
You won't believe some of these stories about wedding faux pas,
bridesmaids from hell, bridezillas, devilish guests, wicked
witches, and tacky invitations, toasts and thank you letters
(eg the boss who sent one small thank-you note in an inter-office
mailer envelope with instructions to cross off your name and send
the note on to the next person). Guaranteed to make you feel much
better about your own wedding.

Wedding Flowers
Pick a flower, any flower. This site has a bunch of handy tips
on choosing a bouquet, selecting a florist, decorating the church,
corsages, saving money, top 10 trends, and the meaning of different
flowers (beware pennyroyal - it means "you had better go").

Cutting the Wedding Cake
A spectacular multi-tiered wedding cake is enough to give anyone
the jitters. No surprise then that so many couples are prepared
to pay the caterer an extra service charge to divvy up the slices.
Read this FAQ and learn how to cut your cake and eat it too.

Top 200 DJ Song List
If you're struggling to name favourite tunes to be played at your
reception, check this annual list of top 200 most-played songs.
The list was compiled through an annual survey of DJs around the
US. Songs are categorised under party, modern rock, country, bridal,
classic rock, dance, oldies and karaoke.

Entertaining Calculations
Bookmark this page for useful tips, calculations and equations for
figuring out brain-twisters such as how much floor space you need
per guest, how many glasses will a bottle of wine yield, how many
glasses to rent and how many hors d'oeuvres you'll need.


6. Reader's choice (see archives in Surf Club at www.brizcomm.com.au)

Thanks to Belinda Weaver, of Brisbane, for this week's site review.

Direct Search
This site is your best gateway to the Aladdin's cave that is the
invisible Web. Links here will take you to databases - bibliographic,
statistical, news, directory and full text - on a vast range of topics.
The compiler, Gary Price, has also created pages for Breaking
News, Streaming Media, and Fast Facts.


7. Weekly chuckle

A frog goes into a bank and approaches the teller. He can see from
her nameplate that the teller's name is Patricia Whack.

So he says, "Ms Whack, I'd like to get a loan to buy a boat and go
on a long vacation."

Patti looks at the frog in disbelief and asks how much he wants to
borrow. The frog says $30,000.

The teller asks his name and the frog says his name is Kermit Jagger,
his dad is Mick Jagger and that it's OK, he knows the bank manager.

Patti explains that $30,000 is a substantial amount of money and that
he will need to secure some collateral against the loan.

She asks if he has anything he can use as collateral.

The frog says, "Sure, I have this," and produces a tiny porcelain
elephant, about half an inch tall, bright pink and perfectly formed.

Very confused, Patti explains that she'll have to consult with the
manager and disappears into a back office. She finds the manager and
says: "There's a frog called Kermit Jagger out there who claims to
know you and wants to borrow $30,000. And he wants to use this as
collateral." She holds up the tiny pink elephant. "I mean, what the
heck is this?"

(Are you ready?)

The bank manager looks back at her and says: "It's a knick knack,
Patti Whack. Give the frog a loan. His old man's a Rolling Stone."


May the force of the Net be with you.


PS If you've enjoyed this edition, hit your "Forward" button and
send to a friend, relative or colleague - oh, and remind them to
sign up for their own copy at http://brizcomm.listbot.com

Yvette Nielsen, Editor
phone 61 (0)4 41 771 8683

brizcomm - online content consulting and training
PO Box 2026, Bardon, Queensland 4065, Australia

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(c) 2000 Brizcomm Pty Ltd

brizcomm pty ltd accepts no responsibility and disclaims all
liability for any incorrect information that may be contained
in any articles or events mentioned in this newsletter.

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