Mom's online

My mother used to be unable to work a clock radio. Now she's reading e-mail and working the web. If that isn't an indication of how pervasive the web is, I'm not sure what is.

Why? Because mom was born 95 years ago (last Sunday). Not really, but that's her story. While most people adjust their age to make themselves younger, she's always taken the clever tact of claiming to be 25 to 30 years older than she really is so everyone who sees her will say, "You look so young!" It helps that she bears a resemblance to Elizabeth Taylor and has an unforgettable personality.

I think the reason she claimed not to be able to work a clock radio was that it was a good excuse not to set an alarm. She's always been good at logic like that and has been a constant inspiration when it comes to seeing the world from a different perspective.

For example, when I was little, she invented the "between meal snack" not just as a treat, but as a way of life. It took years for science to catch up and claim it was better to eat a lot of small meals than a few big ones. When I was sick, she let me sleep on her mink stole, redefining luxury. She always felt that you could learn more from real life than from a class, so as a kid I won the "worst attendance record" award in school, while at the same time I could identify a Frank Lloyd Wright building, a painting by Monet, a sculpture by Claes Oldenberg, and every model of car on the road.

When she went back to college, she had me study with her, so it was like I got to take college classes when I was 12. In high school, when I wasn't doing well in one class, she blamed the teacher instead of me. She went to every show I was ever in, and sat in the audience saying, "That's my baby!" (just a little too loud, but that was OK).

And she gave me lots of good advice:

  • Enjoy today, you could be hit by a bus tomorrow.
  • Eat something good, you'll feel better.
  • Be open to everything except infection.
  • Pickles count as a green vegetable.
  • There'd be no reason for all those big football players to fight if someone would just buy them each their own ball.

She's managed to survive everything that life has thrown at her. She's even written cookbooks:

She may not have passed on the world's healthiest genes (you can't have everything), but she's passed on something more important—spirit.

So, what's the point of all this, other than scoring points with my mom?

First: sometimes people think that there's no one over 30 on the internet. The truth is that there are people in their 80's and 90's on the web—I know, because they e-mail me, telling me things like how they've built their own computer. (Hey, they could build a crystal set, why not a computer?) Mature people appreciate the web more than kids do, because they can remember the world without it. (I know kids who can't remember the world without remote controls and personal computers).

These days a lot of companies focus on teens because they figure a teen can be a customer for a lot longer than a grown-up. But adults are more loyal to brands—and they need more help, because even though teens have all that angst, adults actually have it harder.

Second: Every once in a while it's good to stop and remember that your parents had a lot to do with the good things about yourself (not just the bad :)

Third: E-mail your mother. She's sitting there, by her computer, waiting. Who'd have believed it?


Alert the media!

On the eight day, God created the press release. Press releases can help you get more visitors to your site, but in order for the press to take your releases and print them (or post them on their sites), you need to make sure your releases are really newsworthy. So to help ensure your press release gets released in the press, Dan Janal, an eminent (and practical) publicist, shows you how to write a professional-looking press release.

What will your site do for me?

When people visit your web site, their first question is, "What will this do for ME?" That's not crass, it's just human (and animal) nature. Mary Gillen, of www.ideasiteforbusiness.com explains how you need to show and suggest ways people can do business with you. What does the customer really seek when doing business over the Web? Four things. How do you find out what these four things are—and read 15 specific tips on how to get your site visitors more interested in what you do or sell.

Classic NetObjects Fusion for $99? That's right!

After much nagging by me to the very nice people at NetObjects, they have finally allowed eFuse to let you buy a fully-functional copy of NetObjects Fusion 4 for Windows for just $99! That's right, Fusion 4, in all it's glory, and under $100. And this price is good almost everywhere in the world!

Count Me In

One of the questions I'm asked most often is, "How do I add a counter to my page?". One of most common answers is, "Why would you want to?" I understand that you want to know how many people are visiting your site, and that some ISPs (especially the free ones) don't offer tracking services (the good ones you pay for all do). But it's no one else's business how many people have seen your page. If the number is low, it makes you look bad. If it's high, then you don't need to impress anyone.

That said, there are ways to choose counters that let you see how many people visit your page without showing the number to the world. Two sites that have a good selection of interesting-looking (or invisible) counters are http://www.honesty.com (great for auction pages) and http://www.thecounter.com.

thecounter.com also lets you see "Global Statistics" culled from over a half a million counters and a 250 million visitors. There you can learn that what percentage of web visitors are still using 640x480 resolution (11, down 1% since December) or what percentage still only have 256 colors (8%, also down 1% since December). Or even how many people are still using Netscape 3 (only about 1%, and only about 17% percent are using Netscape 4).

The first step is to go to one of these sites and choose the counter you want to use. I recommend you either choose an invisible counter, or one that's "in code" (my favorite at honest.com is their butterfly counter which is beautiful—but on most web pages, I advise that you use an invisible counter.

They'll show (or email) the HTML you need to add to your page. Copy it from the page or your email by selecting it, then choosing Edit/Copy. Don't try to retype it, that only leads to errors!

Adding this HTML code to NetObjects Fusion is actually quite easy, no matter what version of the program you use.

    1. Create a text box.

    2. Right click on that box and choose "object html"

    3. Paste the html code you were emailed into the tab called "After Tag" (this will place the counter below the text box you created).

    4. You won't see the counter in NOF, but you will see it when you preview and publish your page!

Who's minding your visitors?

In a previous FuseLetter (#15 to be exact http://www.fuseletter.com/no_15.html ), I wrote about NetMind, a service you can use as a webmaster to help your site visitors "mark" a page on your site so they get email when the page changes. At the time I said I thought it was better to create your own mailing list (and I still believe that).

But I was reminded of this service today when I went to a site that didn't have a mailing list. I thought, "I can use that NetMind thing to mark the page myself," and that's what I did.

So if you visit a site that doesn't have a newsletter, and you want to be notified when there are changes on the site, try http://www.netmind.com/html/ - it will check the page daily or weekly and then alert you to changes. Very handy as a site visitor.


Go sendletter! Coolmaps new mailing list service

If you're reading this FuseLetter, then you should know how e-mail can help get people back to your site, or learn something new from you. Now it's easier than ever to maintain a mailing list. Coolmaps' new "SendLetter" makes it easy for people to subscribe to your mailing list, makes it easy to add the mailing list to your site using a NetObjects Fusion component, Manage Contact information via your browser, and send Newsletters to selected Lists of Contacts including automatic unsubscribe option. The service is really easy to use—and best of all, it doesn't place anyone else's ads at the bottom of your e-mail (the way free services do).

With SendLetter there is no limit on the number of Newsletters you can send per subscription period, and you can maintain up to 5 separate lists with up to 400 names per list. It's reasonably priced and easy to use. For more information, go to: http://club.coolmaps.com/services_sendletter_index.cfm

Small Biz Newz

The NATIONAL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION (NBA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and informing the small business community and the self-employed. Their weekly electronic newsletter contains valuable articles and website tips for the successful entrepreneur. To subscribe to their FREE e-newsletter, go to the NBA homepage at www.nationalbusiness.org and enter your e-mail address.

Stay informed...

With the FREE tips, tricks, and other information you need to make the most of your hardware, software, and time online with this lively and spam-proof e-newsletter from computer author and editor Fred Langa. FREE Sample Issue/Subscription: send email to subscribe-ef@langa.com

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.

Two Final Words

    Thanks Mom.




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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.