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eFuse.com Time Capsule

Where will you be in the year 2100? Not sure, are you? I'm guessing that despite advances in medicine, you won't still be alive on earth—the same "you" you are now. It's just a hunch.

But our thoughts and ideas, the real essence of who we are can live on. We can still read things people wrote hundreds (and in some cases, thousands) of year ago because they were carved in stone, or written on paper. We can read what the ancient Egyptians thought, how Shakespeare felt, what Mozart heard. We can learn what our founding fathers were thinking.

When we do this kind of "time travel," it's amazing how the feelings and ideas of people long gone can seem as vivid as ever. (To take a fascinating time trip into the past, visit the Library of Congress exhibition)

But now, even though there is more information than ever, more of it than ever will be lost. The reason: the same technology that allows me to send this to you instantly anywhere in the world is the same technology that can make it disappear instantly, and will almost assure no one will be able to read it in 100 years.

In the relatively few years I've been storing my thoughts and feelings in electrons, I already have information I no longer can read! I bought my first computer in 1983. Now I don't have a computer that can read those disks. I even have disks from just five years ago that won't fit into any computer I own.

I write in a journal every day, and have for 20 years, about 1,000 pages a year. I can, of course, read everything I scrawled on paper (if I can decipher it). But I have already lost years of my journal to computers.

So look ahead, not 100 years, but just 10. You may not be able to read your disks, or even your CD-ROMS (how many of you under 25 have a turntable for vinyl records?). And what about your web site? It probably changes often—what record will you have of the way it was now?

Well, I have a solution for you. Print your web site. That's right, on that old-fashioned stuff called paper. If you really want it to last, choose "archival quality acid-free" paper.

And eFuse.com is going to make it even easier for you. Visit our time capsule sign-up before January 31, 2000 (it's obviously long past that date as you read this, so don't try to find the signup form, it's down), enter your web site's URL, and tell me a little bit about it, I will print your home page, and place it in the eFuse.com Time Capsule. Yes, it's a real time capsule, (oxygen removed and all).

And here's the best part—it's absolutely free to all FuseLetter subscribers.

Nothing lasts forever, but this will at least help your site last longer than it otherwise could!

Finally—If you're looking for a gift for kids or grandkids, try giving them a journal to write in (and an interesting pen). I wish someone had given me one so I could remember what I thought and felt when I was 8 or 9. But it's never too late, and if you haven't started, try writing a little about your life, every day. And don't forget to print it!

Also, in the spirit of the holidays, here are sites that, with a single click, let you donate food to the hungry, and relief to victims of a disaster.

At Hunger Free Holidays, a $10 donation delivers 340 pounds of food to U.S. food banks, and gives you a macys.com 10% discount.

The Hunger Site - One click a day donates food to feed a hungry person for one day. It costs you nothing except your time and effort (and clicking isn't very hard).

Cause an Effect - One click and you can help a victim of the huge Orrisa cyclone in India.

Brittanica.com, the famous encyclopedia is now free, and when you visit, they'll donate $1 to various international charities.

Toys for Tots distributes toys to needy children throughout the United States. For each dollar you donate here, you receive one 1 ClickMile redeemable 1 to 1 for frequent flyer miles and merchandise.

 

Click A Mile In Their Shoes (and improve your site)

Yes, yes, you're the center of universe. We all are! But when you're creating a web site, you need to make your visitor the center of the universe and tell them not just want you want to say, but what they want to know. Yet many sites today are still written from a "brag and boast" perspective: "Look how great we are!" Who cares, except you?

Visitors are selfish. That's just human nature. They are not interested in you and your business except insofar as you and your business can help them achieve a goal. Visitors are at your site because they have a problem they hope you can solve. Roger Parker (of "Looking Good in Print" fame) helps you "click a mile in their shoes and create a "scenario" that will help you can create a more effective site for your visitor and you. Read more...

Bespoke Web Design (a site design that fits perfectly)

Used to be that anyone could design a Web site and compete with IBM on the Internet. After all, everyone was limited to a gray background and you could use any color font you wanted, as long as it was black, as Henry Ford used to say. But times have changed, and now a single glance can usually tell you which site is professional, and which isn't. A key rule of marketing is to be able to tell customers how you are different and better than competitors. That's awfully hard to do if your site looks and feels like everyone else's.

If you're not a designer, you can use templates, like those that come with NetObjects Fusion (see the eFuse.com Stylizer to see them all). And you may very well find one that fits you well enough. But as your site gets more important to you, you may want one that fits like a glove. To do that, you may very well need a professional web designer. Dan Janal, internet marketing expert, reveals what you need to know about finding a designer who can make a site that's the perfect fit. Read more...

Architectural Watches

I got a lot of email from people asking for the URL of the site I'd redesigned that had products like watches, all designed by architects. I figured once they read the article they'd find it, but in case you were confused, it's http://www.projects-us.com

 

Freeze Your Background

Are there times when you wish that your background image would not scroll? That's how I felt when I redesigned eFuse.com Dan Janal's web site at http://www.janal.com .

First—this only works in Internet Explorer. You simply add: "BGPROPERTIES=FIXED" inside the body tag. In Netscape, the background will scroll, but since more people use IE now, it will look "right" for more people than it doesn't look right for :) So far I haven't found any way, not JavaScript or DTHML or anything, to fool Netscape into doing this (if you know of a way, let me know!).

If you're using NetObjects Fusion, simply right click on the page, choose "Layout HTML" and insert "BGPROPERTIES=FIXED" into the "Inside Body Tag" area.

Fonts too small?

Hopefully you won't find this to be the case on eFuse—we use bigger fonts so everyone can read them! But most people don't know that when you run across a site with miniscule fonts (as I seem to do all the time), your browser can make fonts larger and smaller. In Explorer, choose View/Text Size and choose Larger or Largest. In Netscape, choose View/Increase font.

This doesn't always work—if someone designs their site with CSS font coding that uses points or pixels, browsers don't scale the fonts. There is one way around it, but it can also eliminate a lot of style in web pages. In IE, choose Tools/Options (View/Options in IE4) and click on Accessibility. There you can choose to ignore font sizes (and styles). In Netscape Navigator, choose Edit/Preferences, then click on Appearance/Fonts, and check "use my default fonts."

Perk Up Your Pictures

OK, so you have a digital camera or scanner. And yet, sometimes your pictures just don't look right. They look flat, or sickly. Not enough contrast. Too dark.

Well, now there's a free online service called "Intellihance" which makes it easy to make your pictures look their best.

The site downloads a small component that makes it easy to upload your picture (just drag it into your browser). Then it gives you a few simple controls that really do make photos look better.

It's part of creativepro.com, and you need to sign up for a free membership to use it, but then it's very useful. You can READ about it here.

Or sign up and use it for free here.

The site also features a free service to add interesting effects

And a single place that searches multiple stock photo sites.

How'd I look?

One of the pains of building a web site is trying to figure out how your site will look on different browsers. Now there's Browserola.

This "browser emulator" can simulate many different of versions of IE and Netscape (up to V4). It features a toolbar that lets you switch between different views. It's not as good as using the browsers themselves, but it is helpful.

If you want to do something similar without downloading software, visit http://www.anybrowser.com — It can do many of these same simulations, such as letting you preview your site as it looks on older, and even text-only browsers.

 

Time Flies

Even I have not been immune to the idea of a new century and millennium (and don't argue about whether it starts in 2000 or 2001). So here are some interesting clocks you can use on your computer.

ElementofTime.com: I designed these unique clocks as screensavers so you can have something useful (and beautiful) to see at your computer. You can get a free clock here.

Red Sky Millennium Clock. This very beautiful, very "Jules Vernian" clock tells you the current time and date, as well as the number of seconds to the year 2000. As an added bonus, it sets your computer's clock to the official Network Time Protocol. So it's attractive, interesting, and actually even useful. Imagine that. It's not a very big download and it's free. You will like this.

Time by Design Clocks. Anyone in the world can see these interesting Flash-based clocks for free. You can also buy downloadable versions that don't require your browser.

Official US Time. If you live in the US and want the "official" US time, accurate within .4 seconds.

Radio City Music Hall Virtual Tour

Can't make it to NYC for the Radio City Music Hall holiday spectacular? Here's the next best thing—a fascinating tour of the newly refurbished Radio City Music Hall, featuring many IPIX immersive images.  If you like art deco architecture, don't miss this.

Dazzling Design (does the meaning get lost)

While smurfing around the web (probably looking for Mickey Mouse watches), a ran into this: http://www.disney.go.com/millenniumdreamers

This site, all done in Flash, has a somewhat slow introduction, but then a truly dazzling design inside. It's so interesting to watch and play with, that I actually never bothered to read what it was about!

You should take a look, because it's an incredible contraption full of sound and movement. But if you want to find out what it's about, well, that's kind of hidden on the third button down, and set in small type that's hard to read (you can't zoom in the way you sometimes can with Flash presentations—which means it unkind to those with vision problems), and impossible to copy (which is a problem if you want to e-mail it to someone). The music never stops, which also gets you to the point where you feel compelled to leave :)

While the design is incredibly imaginative and fun, after you try a few things you kind of wish it would just get to the point. So what's my point?  That design shouldn't overpower your content. There's a balance between technical and visual brilliance like this, and something people can and will actually use.

New for NetObjects Fusion

Apollon's New Component of month is AutomaticDownload 3.50/4.00 - Have you ever wanted to create download pages like the ones that are

used on Tucows or at the NetObjects Download pages, where the download of the file starts some seconds after the page has loaded ?

With this Component this is possible in a second ... http://www.apollon.de

Two more words...

Happy Holidays!

Daniel Will-Harris

 

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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.