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Digital Nervous Breakdown

I've always had good computer karma. I don't know if it was because in some previous life I saved a jacquard loom from some luddite or what, but they've always seemed to like me. Maybe it's because they can't sense any fear or maybe it's because they know I know how to pull their plug. Whatever it is, except for the occasional glitch in the past, I've been very lucky.

But that all changed this month. After I put out the last issue of eFuse.com and the FuseLetter, I ignored a very basic rule my wife had made years ago: "Never install hardware or software after 5 p.m. or on weekends." The reason is because tech support is closed, and many times you can go nuts trying to install something when you could have called tech support and they'd say something like, "Well, of course, you need click your heels together three times and say, "There's no place like Redmond," before that will work."

It was Sunday around 10 p.m. Two strikes against me—except that I'd called and checked and the keyboard maker's tech support line was open, so I felt the rule didn't apply.

Well, if you are a man and have been married more than about six weeks, you should have learned that your wife is always right. I'm not joking, it's not a matter of her thinking she's always right, which of course she does, but of the reality that she is always right, no matter how annoying that may be.

So you can't imagine that I got a whole lot of sympathy, even though if you're a woman who's been married for more than six weeks you should have learned that all men want to hear when they have a problem is, "Poor baby!" Instead, women tend to give advice, which they know is right, but which isn't really appreciated unless its preceded by "poor baby."

As you'll only understand if it's happened to you, when your computer doesn't work, it's like a part of your brain doesn't work. For many of us, computers have become our most important tool, and without it, we're like mechanics without a tool chest, painters without brushes, and geniuses with only half a brain.

I knew I hadn't lost any important data, because I backup to a ZIP disk every day, and use a great system called www.connected.com that backs up just the changes on my computer once a day. I can't recommend this service enough; for $20 month it gives you priceless peace of mind.

So, for the moment, I moved my important files to my new desktop (from that cow-spot company), which, right out of the box, didn't work. So I moved them again to my laptop and I'm back in business again.

Well, kind of. I couldn't move my email, because the new Outlook Express wouldn't import the old Outlook Express' email from a different computer. Yes, I know, that makes no sense, but try it yourself. So I bought one email program named after Ms. Welty, disliked it and found a new wonderful one called Calypso at www.mcsdallas.com (it's the best email program I've ever used, and I've been using email since 1984).

So I go back to work, and while I don't have Connected backup on the laptop, I still backed up to ZIP disks. Then, last Tuesday, my new Dell desktop machine arrived, and I started setting it up. In all the excitement, it was perhaps the first time in ten years I didn't backup the laptop.

So you can guess what happened on Wednesday. I turned on the laptop only to find that the disk seemed to have amnesia. My wife says this was probably caused by the total eclipse of the sun, and who am I to disagree? I have to admit, I took it hard. When things like this happen my first thought is to open a window and hurl the offending item out of it like a very expensive Frisbee. Then I always reconsider when I remember I'll first have to remove the window screen and that involves too much effort.

So now I'll just have to restore things to my new machine, and dig through my ZIP disks to find my most current backups, and reconstruct anything I've lost. Sigh.

And all of this explains why there are no new articles on eFuse.com this week. Instead, I'm pointing you to "the best of eFuse.com," articles that readers have said they've found especially useful. You're probably on vacation anyway, so this will just be four fewer new articles you have to read when you get back. I wish I'd just taken a two week vacation and then not come with out a new eFuse.com, the results would have been the same, only I would have had a lot more fun!

If you go to Microsoft's www.windows.com site, you'll read "…If you're like thousands of other businesses already using familiar Microsoft tools to help run your company, a digital nervous system is closer than you think." That's what I they say. What I say is: "…If you're like thousands of other businesses already using familiar Microsoft tools to help run your company, a DIGITAL NERVOUS BREAKDOWN is closer than you think."

So backup. And always listen to your wife.

==>In stable condition, Daniel Will-Harris, Editor, http://www.efuse.com

 

WORK CAN HURT, BUT IT DOESN'T HAVE TO

If you work at a computer many hours a day, then you've probably felt some pain in your hands or wrists; I know I have. And if you don't take care of yourself, those minor pains can become major pains. Ellen Serber, Yoga and Tai Chi instructor, gives you exercises that may help you feel better, and prevent you from hurting yourself in the first place! I created the small but effective animated GIF illustrations (they're only about 6K each) to show how the web can give readers something print can't. You'll feel better if you take a look. And you can stay inside, with the air conditioning, and still feel like you've done your exercises.

NAVIGATION BASICS

Keep your web visitors from being lost in cyberspace (Danger, Will Robinson!). Sean Timberlake tells you how.

WEB GRAPHICS BASICS

Web graphics 101 - All text and no graphics make for a very dull page. Web-designer Mark Bakalor covers the essential software you need.

WEB FONT BASICS

Web Type Basics- Most of the web is made up of words, and whether you know it or not, all your words are set in type. Daniel Will-Harris helps you choose the fonts that are best for your words. And don't miss our cutting-edge font embedding example pages!

BETTER WRITING FOR THE WEB

Shouldn't we ought to write better? Ahem, yes, we should, and Christopher Meeks, noted author, Hollywood screenwriter and teacher shows you how.

MY FIRST TIME

Do you remember your first time? Your hand's trembling while you ripped the plastic off the package? The excitement of putting the CD in? Read about those adventuresome people who gleefully tell you what it was like "the first time" (building a web site, that is).

SITESEEING

(We surf through the junk, so you don't have to) http://www.efuse.com/siteseeing While I'd like to think that eFuse.com is the only place you'll ever need to learn how to build a better web site, I'm not so far into denial that I think this is true! So I'm taking the "Miracle on 34th Street" approach (where Macy's department store pointed people to other stores, which only caused people to go to Macy's first), by showing you some of the best places on the web to learn more about building better web sites. Sean Timberlake, one of the lead producers for the original Snap.com joins us to share his endless hours of surfing to find the best stuff on the web.

SEARCH SITE BASICS

You probably use them every time you use the web. So how do you get your site to place well on a search site so you can get more visitors to your site? Danny Sullivan of http://www.searchengine.com tells you how.

TEWTORIALS
MOUSE, CAMERA, ACTIONS!

Yes, Grasshopper, you too can learn to create dramatic interactive pages in NetObjects Fusion. Martial arts master Rick Tew gives you simple, clear, step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow. Also included are Fusion template files you can download and use, and even animated screen tutorials! In this lesson, he shows you how to add highlighted rollovers in conjunction with mouse over actions using layers. Eek!

A MARKETING IDEA A DAY

Mary Gillen and Andy Attiliis are full of good ideas. For business (of course). They have so many ideas about marketing on the Web and beyond that they are able to produce "A Marketing Idea A Day," e-mail newsletter (as well as an interesting web site). Come take a look at some of their bright ideas--it may just give you ideas that can help your web site, and business, grow. New this week: the "Top Secret Buying Habits of Boomers" ; "The Creative Circle" by Mary Gillen; The Banner: R.I.P.?," "Web Surfing Versus Web Scuba Diving," "Publicity Pointers, "Strategies for Success: Learning Fountain Marketing," "Quick Start Marketing," and "Click Press Direct," a very popular e-mail list that offers access to 1,800 business press release e-mail addresses.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK AND GET FREE STUFF!

We learn from you. You learn from us. And you get free fonts and graphics. Come on, speak your mind and get something good for it!

 

HOW CAN I GET PEOPLE TO SEE THE FONTS I SEE?

There are two ways—one is to set your text as graphics, usually GIF files. You can do this with any good graphics program. I personally use CorelXara (http://xaraxone.i-us.com ) because it's fast, reliable, and produces the smoothest web text I've seen.

Another way is to "embed" the fonts using Bitstream's TrueDoc system. You can do this for free, using a selection of fonts from their site (http://www.truedoc.com ) or you can buy Bitstream's web font wizard (http://www.bitstream.com ) and embed any font on your system (well, almost any, a few font designers set their fonts so that they can't be embedded, and the web font wizard won't go against the font designer's wishes). It's fast, it's efficient, and it works with both Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator 4 and above. It's the only system of its kind that works on both major browsers. Try it!

HOW DO I ADD FULL-TEXT SEARCH TO MY SITE?

Try www.thunderstone.com (that's what I use on eFuse). It's free, easy to set up and it does a great job. Adding full-text search makes it much easier for people to find what they're looking for on your site. Now there's no excuse not to have it.

HOW DO I ADD FORMS TO MY SITE?

First, you have to create the form itself (with NetObjects Fusion you don't need to worry about HTML, just drag and drop forms). Then, to process the forms, try http://www.response-o-matic.com also free and easy (I like things that way).

HOW CAN I TAKE CREDIT CARDS ON MY SITE WHEN I DON'T HAVE A MERCHANT ACCOUNT?

I use and recommend PayPay.  used them on my personal site (http://www.will-harris.com/store.htm ) for almost a year and am very happy with their service. You don't need a merchant account. There's no upfront or monthly fee, just a 2.5% fee plus

Neto News

If you're using NetObjects Fusion 4.0, there's a free upgrade called 4.01 (it doesn't sound like a big improvement, but it is, and it corrects intermittent FTP problems you might have encountered). To download it, go to http://www.netobjects.com/support/html/produpdates.h tml

NETOBJECTS WANTS TO PAY YOU

You like NetObjects Fusion, right? Of course you do. Anyone who's tried it knows it's the best (and I say this from experience). So, why not help other people find the fastest, easiest way to build a web site, and get paid in the process?

How? Easy. Just sign up for NetObjects' Affiliate program (it's free) at http://affiliate.netobjects.com/ and you can earn around $30 big ones each time someone buys NetObjects Fusion because of your site.

Once you sign up, the trusty affiliate team (yes, we have a whole team just for you) gives you a bunch of buttons and banners to choose from (well-designed ones, at that). If you use NetObjects Fusion, there's even a nifty component that'll do all the work for you! When someone clicks the button, they can buy NetObjects Fusion (good for them) and you get $30 (good for you!).

It's a win-win-win situation. That's one entire "win" better than a mere "win-win" situation. So click, don't walk, to http://affiliate.netobjects.com/ (say that three times, fast) and sign up, right now. Yes, now. Go on. I mean, there's nothing to lose and only something to gain.

LEARN FUSION, PERSON TO PERSON

We all know that NetObjects Fusion is the fastest, easiest way to build a web site, don't we? (And if we don't, then we're missing something). And the fastest, easiest way to learn NetObjects Fusion (besides reading eFuse, of course, and taking our Tewtorials), is to take authorized Fusion 4.0 Classes held all over the country. See where classes are held.

 If you're looking for even more advanced and personalized service, take a look at NetObjects Professional Services. They give you access to NetObjects' expertise and knowledge and provide the best solutions delivered on time and on budget. To learn more, visit NetObjects Professional Services.

WEB MIRACLE
FEED THE HUNGRY WITH JUST A CLICK

Here's a great idea. All you have to do is visit this site and click on the "Donate Free Food" button. When you do, a sponsoring corporation will make a donation to feed a starving person for one day. You can do this once a day, and it costs nothing to you personally.

This is a form of public relations for the sponsoring company. It gets their name in front of you and associates it with a good cause. It does not cost you anything to make this donation. So bookmark it, email all your friends about it, and visit it once a day!

One Final Word

I don't mean to complain about computers. I really do think it's amazing any of them work any of the time. I have always said that computers allow me to show other people what's inside my head (which I just assume to be a good thing, though you might disagree). So the lesson I'm trying to learn from all this is that you shouldn't take anything for granted, even machines!

dwh

 

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The SchoomozeLetter is ©1998-2005, Daniel Will-Harris, all rights reserved. If you'd like to use any article on the web or in print, please ask for permission. If you're an agent or publisher looking to publish these pieces, just drop me a note.