Screensaver helps clear writer's block
Discover new sites and the secrets to web success
Vol. 3, No. 2 February 13, 2002
In This Issue:
1. Web content tip
2. Email tip
3. Readers Write
4. The Y Files (Q&A)
5. Surf Club - web site reviews
6. Reader's choice
7. Weekly chuckle
Only a few seats left ...
Web Content Workshop ($995+GST)
Brisbane - February 27-28 (almost full)
Canberra - April 18-19
E-newsletter Workshop ($495+GST)
Brisbane - 11 March
Web Design Basics Workshop ($495+)
Brisbane - 13 March
From the editor - Screensaver helps clear writer's block
As promised last week, I have a small gift for you - a colourful screensaver loaded with tips for effective content creation.
The quotes should jog the memories of workshop graduates but will be useful for anyone who writes anything.
To download your free copy, just follow the online instructions -
Thanks to web designer extraordinaire Matt Tanner for his aesthetic brilliance yet again. Don't forget his new Web Design Basics Workshop in Brisbane on March 13 - see http://www.brizcomm.com.au/workshops/next.asp?calnextid=16
Thanks too to all those techies who offered to help tweak my site. Sydney-based Sarah Owen will take the reins for now. Sarah co-founded Digital Eve Australia and has more than six years' experience designing, building and maintaining web sites. Her portfolio is at - http://www.exsoft.com.au/sarah/
Thanks, finally, to programmer Elizabeth Ure for all her hard work on my site to date. You can see her portfolio at -
PS I have two vouchers to give away for four sessions with Eclipse Personal Training Studios on the Gold Coast. First in, first served.
Web content tip
Integrity in communication is vital in an era where anyone can communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Colleague Jonathan Halls, from the BBC in London, and I have been discussing the need for values, rather than rules, to drive the editorial aspects of web production.
At a conference in Zurich, Jonathan suggested audience, purpose and discipline should be core values to media practitioners.
"We live in a world where, sadly, people not trained in the craft of storytelling are creating all sorts of awful content on the web," he said. "Good media practitioners are effectively just good storytellers who use their media to do just that. So any text, graphic, flash animation, video clip etc will have a purpose in telling that story, be told in a way that our audience understands, and be produced in a way that plays to the strength of our medium."
Jonathan also attacked the hype surrounding the buzzword of usability. Media creators have been practising usability for years when we ask ourselves how we can make our stories easier to understand.
Ultimately, people are still seeking a good story, whether on print, screen or radio. If the story's dull, no amount of usability or marketing will save it.
"At the end of the day, we're all playing in our playpens with Play-Doh, making different shapes but still understanding the goo we're shaping."
Couldn't agree more, Jonathan.
Martin, of Brisbane, gave us this week's tip -
"On a website I visited recently, all the email addresses had UNSPAM in caps in the middle of the address. This stopped auto spammers working but enabled human beings to work out what to do."
Another idea is to filter the phrase, "This is not spam", which was found to be the most commonly used phrase in junk email, according to http://www.u-publish.com
Pollyanna muses on the long and short of fingernails this week.
In reviews, 18-year-old Natika finds much to ponder in the essential handbook on love, relationships and spiritual growth - "Girlosophy 2: The Love Survival Kit".
Read them at - http://www.brizcomm.com.au/readerswrite/default.asp
* Send your review to email@example.com and I'll be happy to publish it - along with your own web site address.
The Y Files
Ask no questions, get no answers - or free books.
Email your stumper to firstname.lastname@example.org
Planning a class reunion can be hard work. This site will help reunite you with your old school chums. Once you've registered (it's free) you can search for people or schools from the database of more than 10,000 schools, TAFE colleges and universities in Australia and New Zealand. You can collect mail, post messages on the board, talk virtually in the chat room, upload photos or list reunions.
In a net shell: Time saver.
When you have absolutely nothing better to do, have a go at GoogleWhacking - ie using the search engine Google to find a web page that is the only one on the Internet containing a cluster of words, but you can't use quote marks (eg zoomorphic epicurean).
In a net shell: Wacky.
View free videos online. This site offers more than 200,000 videos, usually about 1-3 minutes, which present an explanation, demonstration or performance on-demand. Watch snowboarders or a water-skiing squirrel, learn about chicken farming, find out how to surf, or pick up tips on getting over a break-up, cycling in traffic or computer basics.
In a net shell: Information on demand.
Kids, big and small, will enjoy this little online toy. Just click on the red dot in the center of the picture and drag it around slowly to create colourful, symmetrical patterns.
In a net shell: Fun.
Lord of the Rings in Lego
You've read the book, you've seen the movie, now join Frodo and his colourful friends in an adventure built entirely from little plastic blocks.
In a net shell: Snap to it.
Experimental digital art sites abound on the Net and this one's a cracker. When the new window opens, roll your cursor over the small squares along the bottom and click to select. Don't miss the zoo to see a creepy monster beetle, zippy mosquitoes and flying giraffes. Turn up your speakers, click on the creatures and drag them around for a few surprises.
In a net shell: Weird.
Brisbane's Craig Butcher offered this favourite site -
Media Education Foundation
The Beyond the Frame section provides alternate views on September 11 from people not usually given a voice in mainstream media.
Send your brief site review to email@example.com
Valentine with a vengeance
A guy walks into a post office to see a middle-aged, balding man standing at the counter methodically placing "Love" stamps on bright pink envelopes with hearts all over them. He then takes out a perfume bottle and starts spraying scent all over them. The onlooker's curiosity gets the better of him and he goes up to the balding man and asks him what he's doing. "I'm sending out 1,000 Valentine's Day cards signed, 'Guess who?'" "But why?" asks the man. "I'm a divorce lawyer."
View your web pages in 16 browser & computer combinations
While close to 70% of web surfers do use some version of Internet Explorer, the remaining 30% (over 17 million potential customers) use another browser such as Netscape, AOL, Opera or WebTV. Don't let browser display problems drive visitors away from your site! Let Browser Photo 2.0 take snapshots of your pages and show you how they appear in 16 different browser and computer combinations at -
Yvette Nielsen, Editor
firstname.lastname@example.org phone 61 (0)41 771 8683
brizcomm - online content consulting and training
PO Box 2026, Bardon, Queensland 4065, Australia
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