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Time to regroup


Volume 2, No. 2, 31/1/2001


discover new sites and the secrets to web success

Volume 2, No. 2 Time to regroup January 31, 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.


One of the attractions of the web for me has always been its ability
to level the playing field.

Anyone, not just media barons, can publish anything anywhere anytime.

Still, somebody has to pay somewhere. Just a shame if it turns out
to be the smaller players - again.

In case you haven't heard, Yahoo! has finally launched Yahoo!Groups,
a new community service using eGroups technology.

I was just about to export this newsletter to eGroups.com but decided
to wait to see whether Yahoo! would introduce fees for the service.

The trend toward web users paying for formerly free services (such
as submitting sites to search directories) is worrying.

brizcomm's recent survey revealed that many of you (42%) would like
to read this newsletter in HTML rather than plain text.

Your wish is my command. I'll give eGroups a go and hope for the best.


PS New dates and venues for Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide web content
workshops (as well as the new one-day Just Write workshop for former
workshop "graduates") will be up at www.brizcomm.com.au this week.


1. Web content tip
2. Network with PR women
3. The Y Files (Q & A)
4. Columns
5. Surf Club links
6. Reader's choice
7. Weekly thought


1. Web content tip

The words you use in your content say as much about you as they
do your readers.

We worldwide writers must respect our visitors as individuals if
we want them to respect us.

Read Crawford Kilian's tips for avoiding unnecessary offence:


2. Network with PR women

If you'd like to meet other women in PR - or you'd like to work in
PR - here's your chance.

Brisbane-based non-profit group Women in IT (WIT) is seeking
volunteers for the PR sub-group of its marketing committee. If you're
willing, contact Melanie Mayne-Wilson direct via

WIT's also after helpers for other sub-groups including Alliances,
Media, Memberships, Promotions, Sponsorships, Standards, and Web.

Visit http://www.wit.org.au for more information about WIT or
email WIT founder and ambassador Sonja Bernhardt at:


3. The Y Files (Q & A)

Here's our first reader's question courtesy of Brad from Brisbane,
who wins a free copy of "How Digital Is Your Business", the new
hardback from Slywotzky and Morrison - authors of best-seller
"The Profit Zone" (the book is courtesy of Allen & Unwin):

Q: "Your newsletter advocates the importance of content in web
sites, and seems to discourage flashy presentations that may
detract from the content. I can say that I fully agree with the
importance of content and ease of site navigation. After regular
visits to the brizcomm web site (which I expect would conform with
the standards you promote) I have noted a complete absence of
animations. Don't you feel that visual content (such as Flash and
Director presentations) can play an important role in attracting
visitors to sites, particularly when with careful design these
features can have very little adverse impact upon page load times?"

A: Good question, Brad. While I love multimedia wizardry as much
as anyone, animation is often unnecessary on information-driven
sites UNLESS it enhances the content enough to justify the development
expense, distraction and Net lag, no matter how minimal. When used
effectively, animation can help educate, entertain and inform (eg by
demonstrating a complex concept). As with everything web, the
decision comes back to your reader's goals and your site's goals
(which can be best met by meeting your reader's goals). Know your
readers (eg bandwidth, tech know-how). If your site is for
teenagers, TV-style visual jolts are essential. If Flash can
improve the user experience by making a site better and easier
to use, go for it (but please "skip intro"). While I can't think
of a valid reason to use animation on my site at this stage, I'm
open to suggestions.

Read Macromedia's excellent collection of usability tips here:

Email your question to yvette@brizcomm.com.au


4. Columns

Pollyanna's back with a sad saga about an aga' (agapanthus, that is).

Old Grumpy sends his apologies. Says he's "not with it enough to
appear, brain withering and unable to write, but hopefully will
come good in due course in fullness of time".

Cameron Koo's gone AWOL while Carol Ann White is bound to offend
a few this week with her offering, "Mrs Jesus".

Read them at http://www.brizcomm.com.au

* New "reader writers" are always welcome at brizcomm - check
the guidelines then submit your contribution for consideration
at: http://www.brizcomm.com.au/f-nity.htm


5. Surf Club

My Health Specials
If you've decided to take better care of yourself this year, this
site might save you time finding help close at hand. Just click on
the map of Brisbane to find a local specialist in natural health,
fitness and beauty. The site also lists sporting links, local
charities and associations.
In a net shell: Healthy start.

Jimi Hendrix: Purple Haze
Experience guitar legend Jimi Hendrix's single, Purple Haze, as
never before. This psychedelic, interactive Shockwave version is
studded with video clips and special effects you control. Click
on the spinning square and move your mouse around the screen for
extra dazzle.
In a net shell: Freaky.

The Sanskrit word "karma" describes a fundamental law of the
universe that says every action, no matter how small, brings
similar consequences. In other words, spread happiness and it
will return, spread misery and that's what you'll get back. Learn
more at this site by emailing a karma counsellor, joining the
karma club or following a link in karma connections.
In a net shell: Karma chameleon.

The Online Hideout
Help yourself to freebies galore at this personal labour of love.
Brisbane artists Kez and Mike, who met on the Net, have amassed
an amazing collection of animated gifs, fonts and other web-related
artistic resources. Send free postcards, download free tools, read
"The Protest Weakly", find recipes for paper, cut out paper dolls
or follow one of the many eclectic links.
In a net shell: All out.

To help track down the creators of irritating spam (ie junk
email), download Karen Kenworthy's URL Discombobulator. The tool
will reveal the IP address of any computer on the Internet just
by entering the domain name (eg Microsoft.com). The application
can also show ways each URL might be represented.
In a net shell: Gotcha.

Yahoo! Australia & NZ Games
Whether beginner or expert, you're bound to find someone on the
planet to play with at this free new multi-player gaming community.
Choose from card classics (eg bridge, poker, blackjack), board
games (eg chess, checkers) or tile games (eg Mahjong, dominoes).
If you prefer your own company, try a brainteaser, Solitaire or
crossword. All you need is a Java-enabled Web browser.
In a net shell: Play away.

The Blurb
This Brisbane-based e-zine covers news, reviews and gossip in
the Australian arts and entertainment industry. Find out what's
on this month in the theatre, movies, music, visual arts and
book scene throughout the country. Special features cover the
Woodford and Sydney festivals.
In a net shell: Local culture.

POP! The Human Male Pregnancy
Imagine how it feels to be male and pregnant. Follow the pregnancy
of Mr Lee Mingwei from artificial insemination to caesarian
section with a live cam, interviews, video, vital signs and
ultrasound. Sadly, it's all fiction - as with a sister site at
http://www.genochoice.com where you can "create your own genetically
healthy child online!" See the "credits" page for links to the
artist creator's site.
In a net shell: History in the making?

Party Games
Pep up your next party with a few games. Categories include adult,
drinking and kids games.
In a net shell: Game?


6. Reader's choice

Well, so much for that idea. Didn't receive any suggestions for
this newly debuted spot.

I'll give you one more chance. Don't be shy - just whack out a
couple of sentences about your favourite non-commercial site and
send it to yvette@brizcomm.com.au

I've been doing it weekly since 1997 so how hard can it be?


7. Weekly thought

"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists
elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact
us." - anonymous


Till next week.


PS If you like the newsletter, please forward to your friends -
and suggest they sign up for their own copy ;-)

Yvette Nielsen, Editor
phone 041 771 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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