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The best things in life are free


Volume 1, No. 17, 17/5/2000


discover new sites and the secrets to web success

Volume 1, No. 17 The best things in life are free May 17, 2000

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.


Hope those of you who asked for a free demo CD of Macromedia's
web development programs are having fun.

Sorry, Metin in Istanbul, but my postage budget doesn't stretch
outside Australia - yet.

Nothing quite beats the joy of a freebie, even if it's only a Lady
Speedstick roll-on deodorant from McDonald's drive-through (would
you like fries with that?)

Speaking of freebies, two new columnists join brizcomm this week
for nothing more than the chance to vent their spleens.

You can meet Old Grumpy and Brisbane's resident Net Wit via:




1. Web content tip
2. Meet a Net Wit
3. Desktop inspiration
4. Web Content Workshop
5. PR seminar
6. New study confirms research
7. Surf Club
8. Weekly chuckle

Soon-to-launch Brisbane-based, female-oriented vortal seeks full-time
copywriter/promotions co-ordinator to liaise between advertisers and
web site on promotional content/features. Must be an enthusiastic,
solid all-rounder with sharp writing skills and passion for new media.
Job offers potential to grow with opportunities for travel and training.
Email copywriting_responses@hotmail.com


1. Web content tip

The online content industry offers many more opportunities than just
straight content writing for web sites.

Content guru Amy Gahran offers a few ideas for pumping the creative
juices in the fields of sound, video, photography, illustration,
animation, interactive applications and discussion moderating.



2. Meet a Net Wit

Regular visitors to brizcomm.com.au might have noticed the work of
Brisbane-based American humorist Carol Ann Smith.

Carol moved to Indooroopilly from Idaho late last year and, since
attending one of my content workshops, has been a consistently
entertaining contributor and email correspondent.

Today, she becomes a fully fledged member of "The Net Wits", a
a highly read and respected group of more than 125 humour writers
and cartoonists from around the world: "Sort of like a United
Nations meeting during a nitrous oxide leak."

Their motto: "Because together, we'll accomplish even less."

Despite the lure of fame and fortune, Carol has agreed to continue
contributing to brizcomm with a link to the Net Wits at:

Read her first weekly column and weep with laughter at:

More improvements at Gourmet Food Direct - Brisbane's online butcher.
Prices reduced by up to 50%. Our supplier has provided us with better
prices that we want to pass on to you.
Most items can now be delivered next day; delivery times extended
to 8pm; Saturday delivery available. $5 delivery: free for over $50.


3. Desktop inspiration

If you need a little mid-week inspiration in the office, try the
daily quotes and cartoons from Brisbane-based company deskPad.

You can also download a free 30-day trial of the deskPad software to
organise your notes and plan your day.



4. Web Content Workshop

I'm happy to report that places are going fast for my workshop on
Friday, 24 May.

For details, see:


5. PR seminar

Discover the trends and must-know info on PR/communication and
technology at a half-day seminar in Brisbane next Wednesday, 24 May.

The seminar, hosted by the Public Relations Institute of Australia,
promises a "stimulating, jargon-free seminar on the latest
interactive tools and practices being used around the world".

Speakers include:

* Kirsty Garrett from Zivo Brisbane - e-commerce
* Chloe Bryce - e-commerce and communication
* Clive Young from Suncorp-Metway - intranet case study
* Michelle Berardone from Energex - intranet case study
* Elizabeth Dougall from the University of Southern Queensland
- cyber-activism.

The seminar will run from 8.30am to 12.30pm at the Brisbane Polo
Club at Waterfront Place.

Cost is $85 members/$95 non-members with a $22 optional
networking lunch.

To register, email pria@amaustralia.com.au or phone 07 3847 3329.


6. Eyetracking study confirms research

A new Poynter Institute study of newspaper sites confirms the
findings of web content research from 1994 and 1997:

* text attracts attention before graphics
* headlines should be simple and direct
* content must be scannable but provide depth
* design site to allow for interlaced browsing

Uability guru Jacob Nielsen reckons the new study provides more
ammunition in the battle to convince more Internet executives of
the need to write differently for the web and to hire specialist
editors who understand online content.

Hear, hear.

Read the full report at Uncle Jacob's site:



7. Surf Club

Mark's Apology Note Generator
You're in the doghouse what are you going to do about it? An
original, touching, from-the-heart email apology might do the
trick or you could use this infamous form letter to say sorry
for forgetting or neglecting whatever it was you did or didn't do.
In a net shell: Click and make up.

The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search
Win $100,000 and create maths history in the worldwide hunt for
the first 10-million-digit prime number (a new Mersenne prime
number). Four have been found already. To take part, you'll need
to download the free program and install on a Pentium-class
computer that's on most of the time.
In a net shell: Numbers game.

Bad Human Factors Designs
Ever feel as though something is wrong with the design of
something rather than you? This site is dedicated to collecting
examples of poor designs that forget about the human factor.
Click through the scrapbook of "newest and coolest" hard-to-use
things, displays, controls, names, signs, names and labels.
In a net shell: Usability disability.

World Wide Learn
You never stop learning as long as you're alive (and, for all we
know, even when you're not alive). This site is a massive directory
of courses, degrees, training, tutorials and workshops offered
entirely online for adult learners around the globe any time,
any place. You'll find learning on almost every topic imaginable,
from home improvement to system management.
In a net shell: Remember it.

Live Web camera views often feature still shots that update every
few seconds or minutes (or never, in many cases). SpotLife goes
one step further, streaming live video from amateurs over the Net.
Channels cater for all tastes, with titles from TotCam (daycare
videos) to skydiving and "Life Aboard A Carrier".
In a net shell: Outcast webcasts.

Movie Sounds Home Page
Add some pizzazz to your computer sound system with audio clips
from your favourite movies, whether Alice In Wonderland or Young
Frankenstein. If you need guidance in playing or downloading the
files, read the help section or the page on sound tools.
In a net shell: You'll be back.

The Last Page of the Internet
Yep, it's the very last page online. Read it and weep.
In a net shell: Dead end.

Young linen worker Helena Blunden died after a tragic fall in a
Belfast mill in 1912. Many people believe she still haunts the
mill. The printing company now based in the mill installed a web
cam and invites you to watch a live broadcast from a room in the
mill. Report anything you see or read others' hair-raising
In a net shell: Spooky.

Gifplex: A Gallery of Animations
For a fresh look at the animated gif (a web image format), visit
Jeffrey Zeldman's gallery of mini-movies (with the emphasis
on mini).
In a net shell: Pop corn.

Natural Dog Food
Pamper your pet's palate and help him or her live longer with a
home-prepared diet (ie food you would eat yourself). Carol Brescher
Boyle reckons the diet of her Great Pyrenee, Patou, helped the
Pooch live twice its lifespan. You'll find recipes, keystones
for a natural diet, photos, and frequently asked questions.
In a net shell: Can the can.


8. Weekly chuckle

Actual Consumer Labels
On a hairdryer: Do not use while sleeping. On a bar of soap: Directions -
Use like regular soap. On a frozen dinner: Serving suggestion - Defrost
(But it's just a suggestion). On tiramisu dessert (printed on the bottom
of box): Do not turn upside-down. On bread pudding: Product will be hot
after heating. On packaging for an iron: Do not iron clothes on body. On
children's cough medicine: "Do not drive a car or operate machinery after
taking this medication." On sleep aid: Warning - May cause drowsiness. On
most brands of Christmas lights: "For indoor or outdoor use only." (As
opposed to what?) On a Japanese food processor: Not to be used for the
other use. (?) On peanuts: "Warning - contains nuts." On an American
Airlines packet of peanuts: "Instructions - Open packet, eat nuts." On a
child's Superman costume: "Wearing of this garment does not enable you to


Write on.


Yvette Nielsen, Editor
phone 041 771 8683
Brizcomm, PO Box 2026, Bardon, Queensland 4065, Australia

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(c) 2000 Brizcomm Pty Ltd

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