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Daniela nd the DolphinA PIECE OF MY MIND: VIRTUAL-OSITY

I'm writing this in the car (don't worry, I'm not driving) on my Palm Pilot. It's a far cry from the way I once wrote in a car—with a 25 pound Underwood manual typewriter on my lap. I lugged it on a car trip through Arizona and wrote a story called "101 miles to Gila Bend."

I didn't appreciate how very "twenty oh two" (2002) writing on this tiny computer was until I remembered the typewriter and the painful dents it made in my lap.

I tend to take technology for granted. For example, I was able to create a new company called http://www.EditMySiteOnline.com with a partner in Denmark—virtually over the web. I thought nothing of it until a friend said it sounded like science fiction.

Even though we're at opposite ends of the earth we've worked together as if we were in the same room, using e-mail, ICQ, and the occasional web cam. It's how more people will work in the future.

You don't need the financial overhead of expensive office space and commuting in polluting cars, or the mental overhead of endless-useless meetings in airless conference rooms—you can work from anywhere in the world.

While web technology enabled us to build this company and is the core of what makes the service work, one thing worked the old-fashioned way—it all started with a need that sparked an idea. Necessity was the mother of this invention—and I was the co-father.

THE NECESSITY: I created custom web sites for non-technical clients who were unable to update the sites themselves. They didn't have time, experience or inclination to learn how to maintain a web site. Understandably, they often didn't want to pay an hourly fee just to update their text and graphics. So their sites got stale, they lost interest, and in the end weren't able to get the most out of the web. I asked other web designers and found it was a common problem.

THE IDEA: To create a way for non-technical people to edit the text and graphics on their site with no learning curve at very little cost. I could see it in my head—but I didn't know if it was technically possible.

So I e-mailed my friend Jack Dalaa in Denmark. I met Jack over the web. His real name's "Tavs" but he uses "Jack" for those of us he thinks can't pronounce it. Then I met him in person when he was doing work for NetObjects. Jack said he knew how. It helps that he's something of a genius.

Now we had to figure out if it was practical. We did research to see if there was a site that already did this. We found one, but its poor designed and tedious operation defeated its purpose. We found another, but it was too expensive and so difficult even I couldn't figure out how to use it. Now we knew there was a need.

So we went to work. I worked on a name, created a logo, designed the site, built flash presentations and wrote copy. Jack built the entire technical infrastructure single-handedly—from an order-management and accounting system to a smart group email-support system that lets us handle support email in our own time zones—and add support people around the world who can work from their homes. I told you he was smart.

So we're like Rolls (the marketing guy) and Royce (the engineer). And what our site lacks in fine wood veneers and butter-soft leather, it makes up for it by being efficient, and having an interface I hope you'll find easy and fun (check out the way I used Flash to tell the story on the home page).

www.EditMySiteOnline.comTHE SOLUTION: HTTP://WWW.EDITMYSITEONL INE.COM

Here comes the blatant plugging. I can't help it, I'm a proud father of invention.

To use it, just add one line of HTML to your web page. It's easy whether you hand-code or use any web building program. Publish the page to your web server, and the browser automatically and seamlessly replaces that line of HTML with the content you edit on our site.

After that all you and your client need is a web browser. No special software, hardware or experience required. To see an overview of how it works, go to www.editmysiteonline.com/how

Then you can either copy from your existing web page and paste it directly into the Edit My Site Online editor, or just type from scratch. If you've used a word processing program, you can use our familiar editor. It's all WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get)--upload pictures and place them wherever you want within your text.

Edit your pages from any Windows-based computer connected to the Internet—anywhere in the world. It's good for everyone involved—designers have an advantage with clients, and stay closer, which leads to a more long-term relationship and more work. Clients can easily update their own site in real time. We even protect them from mistakes—if someone messes up their page, simply choose any of five backups to restore a previous version.

It's extremely useful for web designers. It's great if you built your own corporate site—delegate different pages to different people. It's handy for travelers. It's even a simple way to syndicate content—for example, put this column on your own site by adding this HTML: <script src="http://www.editmysiteonline.com/e/page.cfm?ID=d5a92602bc004f1 7928b4afb1ffa8be1"></script> For instructions on how to add HTML in NetObjects Fusion, see http://www.EditMySiteOnline.com/nof

As a special introduction you can TRY IT FOR FREE: Put it on your site. Edit all you want. Our cunning plan is that you'll like it so much you'll want to pay for more pages. 10 pages costs as little as $20 a month.

GET 20% to 40% OFF: Sign up before July 1, 2002 and get 20% off. Just enter "schmooze-special" (without the quotes) in the promotion code box. SAVE UP TO 40% by using this code and selecting a longer billing cycle.

Well, that's enough plugging for one column. I hope you try it and like it.

Daniel Will-Harris

http://www.EditMySiteOnline.com
http://www.SchmoozeLetter.com
http://www.will-harris.com
http://www.elementoftime.com
http://www.mydailyyoga.com

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DO GOOD WITH A CLICK

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ONE LAST WORD:

http://www.EditMySiteOnline.com . I couldn't help myself.
 

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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.