Better to be safe
Vol. 2, No. 35,
Discover new sites and the secrets to web success
Vol. 2, No. 35 September 26, 2001
In This Issue:
1. Web content tip
2. Seeing is not believing
4. The Y Files (Q&A)
5. Surf Club - web site reviews
6. Reader's choice
7. Weekly chuckle
New Brisbane dates -
Web Content Workshop
Monday-Tuesday, October 22-23
Thursday, October 11
From the editor - Better to be safe
Australia might be half a world away from New York but the ripples from the terrorist attacks have chilled our shores.
Whether you're in a shop, salon or supermarket, chances are somebody is discussing the crisis.
At a networking event I attended last night, people were more interested in swapping news, opinions and Bin Laden jokes than business cards.
With Brisbane hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from October 6-9, the threat is even closer to home.
A series of emails over the past few weeks alerted me to a potential security risk.
While I often receive workshop inquiries from overseas, these messages - allegedly from journalism associations in two different countries - were suspicious both in format and nature.
Both "writers" requested formal invitation letters be sent to the participants to enable visas. Payment for the workshops would be made on the day (yeah, right).
The fact my workshop is just after CHOGM prompted me to refer the messages to the Australian Federal Police as well as the Immigration and Foreign Affairs departments. Better to be over-cautious, I thought - and they agreed.
These "foreign correspondents" will not be attending my E-newsletter Workshop, leaving extra seats for you. To book your place, email firstname.lastname@example.org
PS I've set a date for the Web Content Workshop in Brisbane. Please don't wait for the next one - in the current economic climate, you might not have another chance this year.
PPS ABC Rural and Local Radio is seeking producers, presenters and rural reporters as well as program makers who can develop content for web sites. Visit http://www.recruitradio.com/
* By the way, the sites mentioned in my talk with Rod Henshaw on ABC breakfast radio yesterday morning are under their own category in Surf Club (sites from the regular Monday evening spot are under NEW).
Web content tip
How to create an e-book
Anyone can publish their own book these days in electronic format.
Free e-books are a great way to bring visitors to your site, encourage subscriptions to your newsletter, boost your credibility and promote your products or expertise.
Learn the simple way to create an e-book -
Seeing is not believing
One of the most innovative uses of online media during the US attacks is the "WTC Emergency Information for New York City" web page.
Blind web developer Gregory Rosmaita set up the page within hours of the attacks as an information resource for other blind and visually impaired people.
Scroll down to the "Descriptions of Images" section to follow links to web pages describing, through extended captions, the mind-blowing images most of us have already seen way too many times in television, online and in print -
Sighted surfers can view an emotional collection of photos showing world response to the tragedies of September 11 at -
When life seems bitter and hard to swallow, take comfort in life's sweeteners. Pollyanna shares a few of her own that might just brighten your day.
The Y Files
Go on, challenge me with a Net-related question. I'll send you a free book in return - email email@example.com
Make A Masterpiece
Paint a great picture without even trying. Just select a master impressionist to mimic (eg Degas, Monet, Morisot, Renoir, Pissarro) then use your mouse to choose colours and customise your brushes (uses Shockwave plug-in). Once you've finished, select a frame and save your masterpiece to a graphics program. Elsewhere on the site, you can read artist biographies, take a quiz or tour a masterpiece.
In a net shell: Mouse paint.
I Seek Golf
If you're a golfer, this should suit you to a tee. This simply designed, content-rich, Brisbane-based site has bags of news, results, rankings, prizes, links, interviews, golf course reviews, photos and forums on thorny topics (eg can you shake your ball out of a tree?).
In a net shell: Stick with it.
Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email
Junk email, or "spam", is a growing problem in our information-glutted world. Learn how to fight back with the help of this volunteer organisation's resources, links, news, proposed solutions and tips on what not to do (eg never respond or ask to be removed - it simply confirms your address for spammers). Follow the links to join your country's branch of CAUCE.
In a net shell: Good CAUCE.
Internet Assistance Program Self Help
The Internet is connecting people throughout the world but universal access is still a way off. This project, a joint initiative between the Commonwealth Government and Telstra, lets rural and regional communities test their Net connection against the program's benchmark of 19.2kbps. If data speed proves slower, you can find helpful tips at the site to improve access. Users can also call the online help service centre on freecall 1800 427 457.
In a net shell: About time.
Win a free drink at the bar with an "amazing bar trick", sober up your mates with a one-liner or silence your critics with a "heckler stopper", mind-reading demonstration or brain-buster. Delve further for the history of magic, links and clever tricks (eg The Down Under Shuffle).
In a net shell: Click to trick.
Brisbane's Carolyn Edmundson has picked up a preview copy of The Tami Hoag Omnibus (Allen & Unwin) for her review of a favourite site -
The Cerebral Vortex Multiplayer Game on this American games site is quite special. I have been using it just about every day for two years - I guess that is an indication of a true recommendation.
Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers - plant your own garden.
Science Writers Festival - October 18-21, Brisbane
The festival kicks off on the Thursday evening at the Mercure Hotel with the Science of Wine and closes on Saturday night with a Festival Feast. Enjoy panel discussions, workshops and masterclasses. Contact Louise Ralph via firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 07 3846 7111 or visit - http://www.asc.asn.au/sciwriters/