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Eleven months to go


Vol. 4, No. 1, 29/1/2003

In this issue:
From the editor
Motivate your web writers
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

It's a tad late but what the heck - Happy New Year.

Happy, she says? What with extremes of fire and rain (in Europe at least) and the military mustering for war.

Down here in Australia's capital city the worries of the world seem to weigh particularly heavily since devastating bushfires obliterated more than 500 homes and four human lives.

As luck would have it, I drove into Canberra on that hot, windy Saturday afternoon as dark red smoke blanketed the city, fire engines screamed through the suburbs and residents raced home to hose down their houses, or what was left of them.

Despite being there I, like many, experienced the surreal drama unfold on TV, the radio and the Internet.

As after September 11 and the Bali bombings I, like many, had an uncomfortable voyeuristic hunger for news, details and stories of the horror.

Why? Because we're human beings and we empathise with the suffering of others.

And as after September 11, Bali and the bushfires, that empathy translated into a worldwide network of emotional and financial support.

If we don't have the facts, we can't act. Information is the new currency of our knowledge economy and new media helps spread the wealth around.

So don't feel guilty for craving or creating information that matters. Without it, we might as well all stick our heads in the sand and wait for next year.


PS I'll be publishing this newsletter from Canberra for the next six months while working full time with a large government agency on their new web site and intranet. Bear with me if my responses to your always-welcome feedback are slower than usual.

PPS Can you believe this is the fourth year of the newsletter? Welcome to all the newcomers and thanks to all the old hands for hanging in there ;-)

Motivate your web writers

If you can't face another year of badly written and organised online content on your web site or intranet, book an in-house workshop with someone who does it for a living. Choose from web writing & editing (and information structure, content management), content essentials (including usability, accessibility and promotion), or e-newsletters. Email yvette@brizcomm.com.au for a quote.

Web content tip

With a new year under way and the world in a whirl, some people are inevitably asking the big question, "What should I do with my life?"

Writer Po Bronson has spent the past two years listening to the life stories of more than 900 people who have dared to be honest with themselves and found the real meaning of success.

"The current difficult climate serves as a form of reckoning. The tougher the times, the more clarity you gain about the difference between what really matters and what you only pretend to care about. The funny thing is that most people have good instincts about where they belong but make poor choices and waste productive years on the wrong work."

Sounds to me like a recipe for good online content as well as the good life. Read on.

Email tip

Content trumps usability when it comes to e-newsletters, according to usability expert Mark Hurst.

"If your newsletter is good enough (that is, useful or enjoyable or thought-provoking), subscribers will tell their friends to join, and they'll figure out the interface," says Mark.

Read Janet Roberts' interview for more insight into what makes a great e-newsletter.


Readers write

The first day of school is a testing time for parents as well as littlies. Read Pollyanna's take on the big day.

* for new readers, Pollyanna is our silver surfer scribe (and she writes in a voluntary capacity so be sure to let her know if you enjoy her work)


The Y Files

Send your question to yvette@brizcomm.com.au


Surf Club (web site reviews)

50 Places to See Before You Die
The BBC asked readers to nominate the places they believed everyone should see in his or her lifetime. The Grand Canyon was first followed by the Great Barrier Reef, Florida, South Island, Cape Town, Golden Temple, Las Vegas, Sydney, New York and the Taj Mahal. Visit the site to read the rest of the list.
In a net shell: Dream catcher.

Cuss Control
So whatís wrong with swearing? For starters, it makes you look bad, itís bad for society and it corrupts the English language. Thatís the view of the Cuss Control Academy, a non-religious group dedicated to raising awareness of the negative impact of swearing and to helping people reduce their use of profanity, vulgarity and offensive slang. Learn 10 tips for taming your tongue.
In a net shell: Soap avoidance.

SpaceWander Roundtrip First Class
Buckle up and take a 12-minute virtual voyage to Mars and beyond, thanks to NASA photography. Check your instrument panel for temperature, speedometer and miles from Earth as you go. Click the fast forward arrow to speed up the show.
In a net shell: Spacey.

Sockman Calculator
Wanna know how many socks to stock up on for your entire lifetime? Just enter your age and the Sockman will tell you how many socks youíre already worn and how many youíll have owned by the time you pop your clogs.
In a net shell: Sock it to Ďem.

Keep memories alive with a scrapbook. Browse the latest issue for layouts, ideas, fonts, tips and articles or dip into the archives.
In a net shell: Keepsakes.

My Goals
Goal setting is easy Ė itís keeping to your goal thatís the challenge. MyGoals will help you set and meet your personal and professional goals step by step, whether long or short term, or you can choose a pre-made goal plan, from writing a screenplay to backpacking through Europe. Better still, theyíll email you reminders to help keep you on track.
In a net shell: Focus.

Reader choice

BrainStorm for Windows saves you precious time and improves the quality of your thinking, planning and organising tasks. I wrote it originally a long time ago when I was a journalist and it was my "secret weapon". Not only does it help you gather and organise material from different sources, it also lets you publish web versions in a couple of clicks.
- Submitted by David Tebbutt, England

Send a brief review of your favourite site to yvette@brizcomm.com.au

Weekly thought

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." - Mahatma Ghandi


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 design your web site, write or rewrite content, edit or proofread, plan your business strategy, optimise pages for the search engines, promote your online offerings, conduct market research, build the back end... Search the profiles in Content Jobs or add your own.


Things that make you go huh?

"Yvette, this is the best ebook ever! Oh my God, who knew??...BTW, I LOVE the virtual autopsy (mystery lover here...)." - Tina Swift, Library Business Manager and freelance writer, western Massachusetts.

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

© 2000-2003 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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