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Off The Rails


Volume 1, No. 3, 9/2/2000


discover new sites and the secrets to web success

Volume 1, No. 3 Off the Rails February 9, 2000

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

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Well, the trains might have stopped in Brisbane but the web rolls on

This week’s newsletter only just made it. I took delivery of a new PC on
Monday and, between playing with it and finishing web
work, little time was left over.

When I first discovered the wonders of the Net, I owned a 486
that almost groaned under the multimedia demands of the web. An upgrade to
a Pentium 200 with a 33.6k modem helped a lot but I
still felt as though something was missing (particularly while
trying to surf with a copy of Word, Outlook Express, Web Ferret
and other assorted programs open at the same time).

Now, with a super-slick Pentium III (500) and a 56k modem, a
whole new dimension to the Net has opened up. Not only can I view
streaming video without the jerky Thunderbird effect, I can
videoconference with my youngest brother on Hamilton Island (as
soon as he hooks up his new PC this weekend, that is).

The point of all this geek talk is that the quality of your
surfing experience depends a lot on your equipment. Just as you
can’t surf real waves on a plank, you can’t get the best out of
cyberspace with a machine from the dark ages (ie more than five or so
years ago).

If you are in the market for a new computer, don’t make a move
until you read Brisbane computer guru Ray Shaw’s free “No
Nonsense Guide to Buying A Good Computer”. You can download a
copy at his site: www.rayshaw.im.com.au The advice is in plain
English and Ray doesn’t pull any punches.

Ray has seen the best and worst of the industry scams during 20
years in the industry. He hosts a computer talkback show on ABC
Radio 612 4QR from 8 to 9pm on Mondays and runs a free email help
line. In his “spare” time, Ray is managing director of the
Intermedia Group of Companies.

Anyway, as one who has had her fingers burnt on several occasions
by fly-by-night computer cowboys, I urge you to tread carefully
and go for quality over quantity or price if you can afford to. Oh, and I
don’t get a commission for saying that.

Enough of that. Onward and outward.



1. Web content tip
2. Special site translation offer
3. Next web content workshop
4. New teachers' workshop
5. Surf Club links
6. Weekly chuckle


1. Web content tip

Always include your actual email address on your web pages. Some
web readers are still stuck with old browsers, have not set up
their email settings properly or use other programs for their email that
can’t deal with an email hyperlink. A contact us link
is not much use in such cases. Include your entire address and a
hyperlink if you like but just make sure it’s there somewhere to
save your visitors frustration and valuable time online.


2. Special site translation offer

Did you know that business users on the web are three times more
likely to purchase when addressed in their native language?
That’s a fact according to Forrester Research.

Software Engineering Australia (Qld) has a Language Translation
and Localisation Laboratory in Brisbane. If you’re just starting
out expanding your site to other languages, look into their
starter special:

* translation of a one-page summary of your offering into
Spanish, Chinese and Japanese, or the three languages of your
choice (you can leave it hyperlinked to your English Web site);
* registering these pages in five indexes and search engines per language.

The package deal is designed to attract international traffic to
Your site with low risk. The service costs $792. SEA also offers
Multilingual site promotion. For details, phone 1800 77 57 67 or
contact tanja.hill@sea.net.au

(Please note that this offer applies only to the translation of
one standard A4 size web page).


3. Web Content Workshop

If you’re quick, you can still book a seat at the next web
workshop on Wednesday (16 February - 10am-3pm). The venue is
Education Queensland's Internet training room, floor 6, Gabba
Towers, 411 Vulture St, Woolloongabba. You'll learn to create a
site with substance as well as style (eg how to write for the
online reader, plan a content strategy, maximise accessibility and
usability, and promote your site online and offline).

The cost is $250, including a great lunch (new caterer) and
handouts with lots of useful links ($220 for full-time students,
those not yet employed, members of QWC, QAA, ALCQ, WIT, SEA).

To book, email yvette@brizcomm.com.au or phone 041 771 8683.


4. The new Web Content Workshop on Friday, 25 February, at Gabba Towers is
specifically designed for teachers, librarians and others associated with
school web sites is also filling fast.
Contact yvette@brizcomm.com.au or phone 041 771 8683.


5. Surf Club

What breed of dog are you?
If you were a member of the canine species, which breed would you
be? Take this quick quiz to find out. You might be surprised. The
site offers lots of other fun human interest tests.
In a net shell: Ruff.

Best Books of 1999
Since 1985, the Library Journal has provided an end-of-year
overview of the most interesting and important books the year had
to offer. For the end of the millennium, the book review editors
offer 55 titles, from John Keegan's and Niall Ferguson's
divergent studies of World War II to novels by relative newcomers
Diane Leslie and Frederick Reuss that look at the world from a
child's “cockeyed yet haunted perspective”.
In a net shell: Year books.

To find out anything about the Net, start at computer scientist
Bill Stewart’s site, “the net's most comprehensive source of
information about the Internet". The site is divided into seven
sections: the Internet, E-Mail, the World Wide Web, Usenet
Newsgroups, Internet Relay Chat, Multi-User Dimensions, and
Mailing Lists. Each section describes how the technology was
invented, how it works, advanced use, why it’s important,
security issues, help resources and other useful information.
In a net shell: The Net in a net shell.

3 Fat Chicks on a Diet
Low-fat food doesn’t have to be boring. That’s the message from
this site run by three sisters as a source of diet support.
You’ll find free tips, success stories, food reviews, fast food
info, five steps to get you started, recipes (including a new
low-fat chocolate recipe each month), forums, and links to recipe
sites and calculators.
In a net shell: Go for it.

Plagiarism Tip
If you suspect your students are stealing their writings from the
web, enter a sentence or phrase containing “significant and
somewhat peculiar words” and type the words, within quote marks,
into the search field. Click “search” and the engine will come up
with locations of any article on the web containing the same sentence or
In a net shell: Caught in the web.

Sports Glossaries
Sport and the weather are two topics bound to fill in awkward
gaps in conversation. If you don’t know your puck from your
dribble, brush up on jock-speak with sporting glossaries for
soccer, ice hockey, football (American, that is), and basketball.
In a net shell: Stump the experts.

Free Web Design Training Course
Desktop publishers and typesetter seeking an easy way to learn
web design can take a free online course with former DTP and
typesetter Victoria Ring. Each lesson includes screen shots so
you can follow along on your own computer.
In a net shell: Building blocks.

Travel Envoy’s Wine Guide
This site is for the travelling wine connoisseur. The winery
directory lists more than 4000 throughout the world as well as
hours of operation, email addresses, tour details and links.
Other features include organic and kosher wineries, tasting notes
and a glossary.
In a net shell: Cheers and bon voyage.


5. Weekly chuckle

Signs That You’ve Bought The Wrong Computer:

The monitor is certified for low emissions by JiffyLube.

The infrared cordless keyboard has only 15 keys, and one of them
is marked Fast Forward.

You see the salesman you bought it from hawking genuine Rolexes
on street corners.

The sound board and speakers are a separate unit, and they
receive only AM.

It has only two expansion slots, and they just popped up a couple
of rounds of toast.

It's labelled "energy saving" only because there's no power

You just got another one with your Happy Meal.

The sticker reads "nothing of value inside".


Thanks for your company. See you next week.

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

(c) 2000 Brizcomm Pty Ltd

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