All the things I'm not

DATELINE: REDWOOD CITY, CA. Daniel Will-Harris, editor of eFuse.com and the FuseLetter responds to rumors that eFuse is planning to merge with eBay. Will-Harris states, "I don't comment on rumors."

EFuse has been the subject of statements such as "The synergy between eBay and eFuse.com make a merger a natural," and, "eFuse's ability to explain things simply would help eBay customers increase the value of their items, and thereby eBay's commissions and valuation."

Will-Harris says, "It's true our advice can help people on eBay get more for their goods, and I can see how the rumors got started. eBay is the leading web auction site. eFuse is the leading web site building information site. eBay gets millions of visitors a day.  eFuse gets millions of visitors. eBay begins with an "e." So does eFuse."

Behind the scenes, other indicators have led pundits to mull a merger. Will-Harris explains, "Yes, my wife has 173 positive feedbacks on eBay, which explains why our house full of stuff and the source of the cardboard box avalanche in the garage. But I do not have "eBay envy" and would not consider merging just so that my wife would return my e-mail faster."

"What's more, there are no plans to auction eFuse, myself, or even my stunningly beautiful yet invisible-to-the-naked eye collection of nano-figurines celebrating the invention of the shoe tree."

Will-Harris continues, "Stock and merger mania has gotten out of hand. You can't watch cable without a stock ticker scrolling across the bottom of the screen. I was watching a rerun of "Friends" and when Monica made chocolate chip cookies, there was a news flash saying that Hershey's stock price had jumped two points. This was wrong on so many levels, not the least of which being that http://www.ghirardelli.com makes the best Double Chocolate Chips."

Will-Harris took this opportunity to refute other rumors, "No matter what you've heard, I am not dating Charleze Theron, and despite evidence to the contrary, I am not the love child of Xavier Cugat and Charo. I know that if you close your eyes I could possibly bear an almost uncanny resemblance to them, but if that's the case, then open your eyes!"

Finally, Will-Harris states, "Just because we might buy a new 2-line phone doesn't mean we're also buying Lucent (do I hear another rumor starting?)." In other news, Mr. Will-Harris' chinchilla is looking for another chinchilla to merge with. Film at 11.


Persistence, Patience, And Passion

I know, that sounds like the title of a Jane Austen novel about three sisters. But as Chris Meeks says in his article, "Love and Work," they're really the keys to good writing. Writing isn't easy, whether it's for a web site or a novel. Chris' literary pep-talk will help remind you what possessed you to "create content" in the first place.

Direct Marketing By E-Mail - Doメs, Don メts, Tips, Tricks, And Traps

All right, you've got yourself a spanking new web site to sell your stuff. Now, you sit back and wait for the orders to pour in. But the only people to even peek at your site are you, your family, and a couple of your friends. So you decide to email a million or so people. Think again. Suresh Ramasubramanian's (say that three times fast) two-part article gives you 9 things to do, and several important don'ts that can save you time, money, and your Internet connection.

Postage Due E-Mail - Spam Costs Everyone

On average, 30% of the e-mail you get may be SPAM (unwanted e-mail). A lot of it comes from people who buy millions of names and just blast out e-mail to you, whether you might be interested or not. They waste your time and your money. Suresh Ramasubramanian explains why SPAM is even worse than you thought, and how to avoid being a spammer (even unintentionally) yourself.


That's right! While supplies last (of course). Click, don't walk. Get 'em while they're hot. You snooze, you lose.

Creating effective page titles

Page titles are vital for bookmarks/favorites, and websites. The more descriptive, the better in both places. You'll read a lot about metatags, but a well-written page title can be all you need.

Since this is the case, why do people persist starting their bookmarks with "Welcome to..."? First—you don't have to come out and say that. It doesn't fool anyone or make them feel welcome if your site's content and design aren't welcoming.

More importantly, browsers use page titles to create favorites or bookmarks, so if your page title starts with "Welcome," it's going to be sorted with the 3.5 million other page titles that start with "Welcome," and it's going to be harder for people to find your site later when they're thinking, "What was that site called? I bet it was called 'Welcome!'

So be smart when you're titling your web pages. Remember, "a welcome" is nice, but if you want to be able to say "welcome back," it's better not to start your page title with "welcome." 

To add page titles in NetObjects Fusion 4: Go to PageView. Choose Edit/Custom Names. Type the title in the box that not surprisingly says "Page Title."

In NetObjects Fusion 5: Go to Site View. Single click on the page icon. Enter the page title in the Property Palette (again not surprisingly) where it says "Page Title." That's all, folks.

$2 to targeted promotion

Lately I've noticed people doing a smart thing that helps get targeted visitors (meaning those people who would be most interested in what you have to offer) to their site. This trick can be faster and more effective than search engines, and costs about $2.

What's the trick? eBay auctions. No, this isn't another April Fool's joke—eBay can be a powerful, inexpensive marketing tool. eBay has millions of visitors a day, and if they're looking for what you're offering, you not only have a chance to sell to them, but to also guide them to your web site.

So a listing on eBay can generate hundreds of leads—and be an effective addition to your line e-commerce.

Exporting HTML from Word

While Word is not the best program to use for making HTML files, it is good for writing. And there are times when you do want to save from Word to HTML—like when you want to share a Word file with someone who doesn't have Word, or when you want to import a Word file into NetObjects Fusion 5 in the most compact way possible.

(The easiest way to import text from Word to NetObjects Fusion 4 is simply to select the text in Word, choose Edit/Copy, then make a text box in Fusion and choose Edit/Paste.).

If you have Word2000, then you may have noticed when you export to HTML (or NetObjects Fusion 5) you end up with an inflated HTML file.  This is because Word is exporting a lot of CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) and XML (extensible markup language) information. While that sounds very hip, the truth is that browsers don't use this XML, it's only used for when you open that HTML file in Word. The trouble is, this XML info can be over 17K, which means it can add over 9 seconds of loading time to the page—with no visible improvement for your site visitors.

But there is an answer. There's a new HTML export filter for Word that eliminates much (but not all) of this junk and leaves you with much more compact HTML files. To download it, click here. If that link doesn't work, go to the Office Update site.

It's easy to install this option, and once you do, you just choose File/Export To... Compact HTML. Then you can import that HTML into NetObjects Fusion 5 by going to the page and choosing File/Import/HTML page.

Managing Your E-Mail

Until recently, I felt like I was being buried alive in e-mail. I get over 100 a day and it takes hours to answer them (though I actually do enjoy it). I try to answer all of them every day—but inevitably, I don't have answers for some (or don't want to deal with some) and it didn't take long before I had almost 250 messages in my inbox. It felt like I'd never get through them.

But I have finally figured out a method for managing mail that seems to work.

  1. I took all the old mail in my inbox, and created a new folder called "next." I decided if I separated the old mail from the new, and answered just 10 old e-mails a day I'd have cleared it in less than a month. Since these weren't urgent messages, the delay would be OK, and certainly better than never :)
  2. Now that I had a clean inbox, I made sure I set my e-mail program's filter feature to capture all the messages I knew were vital, and send them to special folders. You know the people or projects that are urgent, so this isn't hard to do. If you're never used filters before, use your program's online help to figure it out. It's not hard, and it really helps. I also set my program to play a distinctive sound when urgent messages came in (the sound is kind of like the tune James Coburn's watch played in "In Like Flint"). That way even if important e-mail arrives when I'm working on something else, I know about it immediately and can deal with it in a timely way.
  3. Now, every day I clean out my inbox (because I can see the end—not just 250 more) and I have the energy to answer more of the older messages, so I can eliminate my backlog.

I don't get less mail, but somehow it's easier to get through because I can see the light at the end of the mailbox.

Security Concerns

A few weeks ago I told you about how DoubleClick was planning to track people and sell their personal information. DoubleClick has since bowed to public pressure and said they aren't going to do this.

But there are new security concerns this week. There is a need breed of "advertiser supported" software that's free, because it shows you ads. There's nothing wrong with that. But some of these programs use a system from a company called Aureate (just renamed Radiate) which tracks you even when you're not using the ad-supported software. And it does this without your knowledge or consent.

If you're concerned about this, Steve Gibson of Gibson Research Corporation offers a free OptOut program that searches your system and can find and remove these programs. A WARNING: using this software can cause the programs that rely on this service to stop working—so BE CAREFUL before you run it. My own system was "infected" and I ran it. It removed all this unwanted software—and all my applications still ran (your mileage may vary and it has to be your decision to run this—don't cry to me if you don't like what happens :)

Another solution—is a "personal firewall" Almost all companies use firewall software, and now that more and more modems are connected more of the time (or in the case of cable and DSL modems sometimes all the time), it's important to consider a firewall to keep someone else from using your computer.

A firewall isolates your computer from the Internet using a "wall of code" that inspects data coming into or going out of your computer to make sure that it's authorized.

The free ZoneAlarm firewall helps prevent hackers from finding your computer or using it in Denial of Service attacks (like the kinds used a few weeks ago at major e-commerce sites). It also discovers and stops programs from secretly planting programs on your computer, or sending information without your knowledge. Basically—it helps keep your machine and your confidential information safe. No firewall is impenetrable, but they do provide a high level of protection. If you're concerned about security, they're worth considering. It's sad that things have to be this way—but as the web grows increasingly like the "real" world, we all have to take the same kind of precautions we'd take in the real world.

Add Sound To Your Site

coolmap's new MusicBox 5.0 adds advanced Midi/WAV Component for Fusion v4/v5.

Take charge of Midi and Wav files with MusicBox. Use MusicBox to create custom graphic-based control panels that allows the site visitor to load multiple Midi and/or Wav files into the one player. Auto-detects available plug ins.

If you want to add Real Audio, coolmap's RealityBytes helps you set it up fast and easy

Tres Cool

Miss Kitty is known for her amazing web designs (she designed the incredible templates you get for free when you モtell a friendヤ about the FuseLetter.

As well as being a brilliant designer, Kitty loves NetObjects Fusion, and her latest site design is truly beautiful—and it does some amazing things with DTHML. Take a look at www.24-7cool.com

Feed the hungry with just one 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.

A few final words...

Happy April Fools Day :)



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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.