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Human Error

I'm a firm believer in "human error." It's one of the building blocks of civilization as we know it. Without it, things might run smoothly with the exception of natural disasters and the occasional pet stain. And how boring would that be. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.

What's more, good things come out of mistakes. Chocolate chip cookies. The Post-It Note. And hard-won, first-hand experience to name just a few.

We here at eFuse.com have had our fill of human error the last month, as you, a FuseLetter subscriber saw first hand. The first time was an understandable error. The second time was an error that was not understandable and not acceptable. And I was determined not to let it happen a third time (don't worry, no human was harmed during the making of this FuseLetter).

So we've switched to the Lyris email system (which is reasonably priced and appears to be easy to manage), and we'll see how this works. So far, in our tests, it's worked perfectly, of course. The fun will come when we send out tens of thousands of copies and I hear whether everyone has received one, or more than one, or perhaps mysterious attachments showing Teletubbies in compromising positions (like reading a book, perhaps?).

I am thankful to all the loyal readers who wrote very nice messages. What can I say, except, "Live and learn (from your mistakes)."

Your fearless leader :) DwH

 

GETTING YOUR PHOTOS ONTO THE WEB

OK, I have to admit something that really drives me nuts about the web—too many people don't know how to put graphics in the right format. It's simple:

* if a graphic has just a few colors or flat colors, use GIF.

* If a graphic has many colors, like a photo, use JPG.

Choosing the wrong format not only makes photos look bad, but take forever to load. A photo saved incorrectly as GIF can easily take 80K. The same photo, saved correctly as JPG, will look better and take as little as about 12K. That's the difference between waiting 40 seconds to see a picture (and most people won't wait that long), or waiting just SIX seconds (most people will wait that long).

That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to getting photos onto the web, and graphics guru Gary David Bouton tells you how to get pictures from cameras (both film and digital) and scanners, and how to make them look their best on the web.

SAILING THE WORLD,
SHARING THE WORLD

At one time or another, we all wish we could just sail away from it all. See all those exotic beaches with clear water and swaying palm trees. Believe it or not, some people actually manage to do this—and some of them, like Jeff Johnson of "Out of Bounds" even manage to keep the rest of the world up to date on his travels using the web. Jeff shares his experiences of the trip, and the task of getting it on the web. It's a fascinating story, and the gorgeous exotic photos don't hurt, either :) Sorry, no topless natives of either sex.

CREATING AN ANIMATED AD BANNER

Last month we presented our simplest animated graphic tutorial. This month, Gary Priester goes into more detail, and gives you a step-by-step tutorial for creating an animated advertising banner. If you haven't tried the first, simpler tutorial, you should start with that at our new tutorial (we don't want your head exploding—that gets so messy). But if you have done that, or know the basics, follow along as Gary goes gaga (in a nice way, of course).

PAN HANDLE MAKEOVER

The State Bar of Texas, Computer Section wants advice. They appeal to Gary (what would any of us do without him?). He argues the finer points of design in this case. The verdict is at hand. Does Gary raise the bar? You be the jury.

 

PUBLISH SELECTED SECTIONS IN NOF3:

If you're using Fusion 4, then you appreciate the fact that it can publish a single section or
page at a time. If you bought NetObjects Fusion for $99, then you realize it's not possible in NOF3. But Barry Austin of Custom Print Brokers sent in this clever tip:

You CAN publish one page or section at a time but you first have to tell it not to publish all the other pages. There are two ways to do this:

First, go to SiteView and select the entire site by holding down SHIFT then clicking on the HOME page (the top most page of the site—whatever you've called it). This will highlight all the pages in the site.

Select the Property Palette's "Don't Publish" button. NetObjects Fusion will add a red dot to each page it's not publishing.

Then single click on the individual page (or section, and to highlight an entire section, hold down the SHIFT key while clicking on the top most page of that section) you want to publish and choose "Publish" from the Properties Palette.

The next time you publish, this is the ONLY page that will be published.

White SiteView is the easiest place to do this because you can select an entire site at once, you can do something similar in publish view. Right click on each folder under the directory structure, and select properties, then check the box that says 'Don't Publish.' When you do, NetObjects Fusion will display the section with a line through it, visually indicating that it's not going to publish that section (but it won't put a red dot in SiteView). barry@1cpb.com | http://www.1cpb.com

DO YOU HAVE A NetObjects Fusion OR WEB TIP?

If so, e-mail it to me at – and if I use your tip I'll send you something. I haven't figured out what, yet. Do you want baseball caps? Software? A review of your site? Send me your tip, and let me know what you want (within reason, of course).

FLASH!
NETOBJECTS TECHNICAL DEVELOPERS
BRING YOU THE BEST IN ADD-ON TECHNOLOGIES

(Imagine official-sounding typing noises in the background): Dateline—Redwood City. Our top-notch community of NetObjects developers have been working around the clock to bring you, the NetObjects customer, the very best in component technologies.

Whether it's accessing databases, adding e-commerce shopping carts to your online store, or using a site registration wizard to promote your site to the world, we have just one word for you, my friend: Components! (In case you didn't know, they can be the perfect solution for your Web challenges.)

Now you have the exclusive opportunity to get a "behind the scenes" peek at the developer community itself (I know you must be as breathless with anticipation as we were when we wrote this). Be the first on your block to view at our swank developer's Web site.

Of course, we're always looking to add developers to our community. If you are interested in building components for NetObjects products, why not sign up and join? Basic membership is free and joining will, of course, make you the envy of your peers (and even some of your pets)! Get the details on how to join by visiting the developers site and clicking on the "Join the Program" link.

Don't click—run! There's no time like the present. You have nothing to fear except fear itself and maybe Dennis Rodman. We dare you. We double dare you. We triple dare you. We look forward to seeing you at the site.

EDITOR'S NOTE: GET A CLUE:

There's a fascinating new site called http://www.cluetrain.com that does a great job explaining one of the "secrets" behind why some sites (like eFuse) are so popular and effective. I've known and done these things, but ClueTrain articulates them really well: talk like a human being; do what your visitors do; be concerned with what your visitors are concerned with.

ClueTrain has a list of 95 statements that you can print out and drop surreptitiously on your bosses desk to help them get a clue (or, as my wife likes to say, "buy a vowel").

While people are busily talking about how the web is or isn't like TV, they're missing the point. The web is a whole new world. It's not only the first truly radical change in distribution since the invention of the wheel, it's the first truly radical communications change since, well, maybe the telephone—but it's even more than that, because it's so global and so cheap (yes, cheap is important).

So visit this site and read these statements and learn from them. Learn to think of your customers or readers like your friends (because they can and should be). That's what I do, and most people (I'd say around 98%) like it. The two percent think I'm too informal and want me to be boring and stuffy. Well, there are plenty of boring and stuffy places they can go to be put to sleep, I don't need to give them another. And if I do appeal to them, I turn off 98% of the people who do want something personal and comfortable, so what's the point?

So stop trying to look so serious and official—that's usually the cover for people who are insecure. Be yourself. Let that show through. Communication between people is what the web is about. And yes, that can help you make a living and sell things and distribute ideas and make the world a better place to live.

That's it for now. Talk to you again soon,

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.