Everyday Magic

Charmed, I'm sure...

I just got the new Harry Potter book and the best part is how it immerses you in magic. As I put down the book and looked around my house, I realized magic isn't just in the book—we're all surrounded by the amazing Muggle magic we call technology.

We take so much for granted, but even plain old electricity is somewhat supernatural. The invisible flying electrons are just there in your wall, waiting for you to plug in an otherwise immobile object which they'll bring to life—as if by magic!

I hear a ringing noise and pick up a black plastic block and my friend Jack talks to me from Denmark. It's only after I hang up that I think about the fact that he's 6,000 miles away, and we were talking as if we were in the same room. That counts as magic in my book. Even more amazing is the small silver plastic blob I can carry on the street far from home, and use to talk to almost anyone else in the world. Yes, there can be some static and I do have to say "can you hear me?" a lot, but it's still amazing.

On my desk sits a lifeless box of plastic and glass which suddenly glows with electric enchantment. I run my fingers over a plastic slab with buttons, and words appear etched in light. Now the glowing box conjures up words I didn't type. They come from somewhere in the ether… in this case not another dimension but from Seattle and my friend Fred. More words from my lovely friend Jeanne in LA, my funny friend Karen in Beverly Hills, and my mate Pete in Australia! And somehow I just know that your glowing box is letting you read this. We're so lucky to have these enchanted hunks of plastic!

And wait—this plastic substance is remarkable, too. Look at all the shapes it's taken, just in this one room. Things I can look at, talk to, touch. Wow! I even have a clear plastic sphere that holds a pansy blossom, forever fresh.

It's 90 degrees outside and I can open this big white cabinet in my kitchen, and inside everything's cold or frozen. What kind of enchanted appliance is this? I try not to take it for granted, even though I remember charmed cubes from my childhood that would cool entire rooms when it was hot outside, making me chilly, even in summer.

My wife calls from downstairs because there's a person in a box she wants me to see. This person, named Katie, is in New York, and I can see and hear her talk to a guy named Matt who has a good suit but a bad haircut. It's a miracle!

Then the box flashes and suddenly I can see Harry Potter, because my wife put a beautiful rainbow plastic disc into a black slot. She summons a tour of Dumbledore's office. He's got some cool tchotchkes, but I don't see anything like the extraordinary little item I have on my desk. It's a little white box with a propeller, and when I flip a switch it starts spinning madly and pushing air to cool me.

I press another button and my garage door magically rises. Inside are two large metal contraptions sitting on black rubber tubes. I get in the smaller one and flip some levers and the top completely disappears! I turn an enchanted key and its alchemy brings the metal to life with a growl. Then, at my command, it backs out of the garage. And soon I am flying faster than an owl.

What else can you call this but magic?

It's getting dark outside, but not inside; a mere touch causes lamps to glow miraculously. And I've done all this without a wand—though I must admit I do have one. It's pearly metal and clear plastic, and when you press a rubber button it glows magically, first red, then green, then blue, then a rainbow of colors. And it cost a big $5. A lot cheaper than what you'd find on Diagon Alley.

Now, if we could only get together and use some of this brilliant constructive magic to enchant others so they don't use dark destructive magic, well, then we might create a world that's truly charmed.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

If you build web sites in these tough economic times you need a competitive edge. The edge? Let your clients them edit their own pages—right in their web browser. It's easy and takes less than a minute a page to set up.

Clients love it—and you'll love it, too, because you'll keep in contact with your clients when more work is needed. It's good for them. It's good for you. Everybody's happy. Service starts for as little as $9.95 a month. Get an additional 10% off by entering "schmooze-special" (without the quotes) in the promotion code box. RISK-FREE. Give it a try right now. http://www.EditMySiteOnline.com

. . . . . . . .
Drop Down Navigation Made Easy

BitMotion's Cascadia Menu component for Fusion makes creating drop down menus easier than in any other program I've tried. You select the pages you want to include, you move them anywhere you want in the drop down structure, and can rename them any way you want. You have complete formatting control for each level--font, size, color, outlines, drop down, left, right or even up. This flexibility provides a lot of power.

I just used Cascadia for http://teacherswithoutborders.org/html/ctlc.html - the drop down menus are neatly at the top of the page. Cascadia ensures the drop down (or left or right) always fits on-screen, and drops them another direction if necessary. It also works with all browsers.

Put Cascadia on your MasterBorder and it automatically becomes available on every page in your site, generating the correct link from one page to another, regardless of how your site is structured or how many times you reorganize pages. Works with NetObjects Fusion 4, 5, MX and 7.

At $47 it's a bargain. Blake at Bitmotion is so convinced it'll be worth every penny that he gives you a 100% money-back guarantee. See it in action! http://www.bitmotion.com/products/cascadia.asp

. . . . . . . .
Free Anti-Spam--Enkode Your E-Mail Address

You probably know that putting your e-mail address on your web site is a like putting up a sign that says "SPAM ME!" This is because e-mail address harvesting robots scour sites for addresses and put them in their hateful Spam databases.

But there's a free, easy, and secure way to include your e-mail address on your site in a way that Spam robots CAN'T read, it's the e-mail Enkoder from Hiveware, at http://www.hiveware.com/enkoder_form.php

I've been using it on my site and have yet to get a single spam at the address I use.

It's easy to use--Just enter your e-mail address, link text, and even subject, and Enkoder encrypts your address and converts the result to JavaScript. Your address will be displayed correctly by web-browsers, but will be virtually indecipherable to email harvesting robots.

Because it actually encrypts your address, it's not likely that harvesting robots will ever spend the time to try to decrypt it, so it's more secure than older scripts that still contain an @ and your address in normal ASCII.

To drop the code into NOF, click inside a text box, click on the property palette's HTML button (in NOF7 it's on the second tab), then paste the code in.

. . . . . . . .
Effective Spam Blocker e-mail

As I've mentioned before, I'm using a new service called www.MailBlocks.com which asks emailers to confirm that they've sent an e-mail before it goes in your inbox. This prevents automated Spam from ever getting there. People in your address book are never asked to confirm, their mail gets right though and you can set it to allow all e-mail in from certain domains, such as your domain registrar or other sites where they send you mail with different return addresses but at the same domain--that way you can ensure important email gets through.

I've used this system for about three months now and am VERY happy with it. Combined with the Enkoder, it's effectively kept ALL spam out of my inbox and now even though my address still gets hundreds of spams a day, I can delete them in a minute, and my real mail never becomes needles in a spam haystack.

. . . . . . . .

Giving your e-mail address to just anyone, or any site, can lead to trouble. Now a new free service lets you create a "disposable" email address that works for a time period you set, from 24 hours to 8 days.

Enter your _real_ email address, then click the button and the service creates an address like sluclostxqq@jetable.org (this one will work for 8 days). If someone sends mail to it after the allotted time, the mail gets bounced back to them. It's useful when you want to post something online now but don't want to get spam later.

The French site recommends you use it for forums and newsgroups, as well as when meeting guys or gals. That way they can contact you without you giving them your real address.

However you use it, http://jetable.org is smart and free.  You have the "Association Pour la promotion de l'Internet Non Commercial" to thank, and their site even calls it "e-mail," not "courriel."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
One Final Word

My thesaurus conjured that Science is the antonym of Magic. I think not. As Arthur C. Clark said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

And for those of you in the US--Happy 4th of July. And remember, democracy means freedom of speech--so speak out!



Like the stories? Buy the book!

Home | Subscribe | Index | Will-Harris House | MyDailyYoga | ElementOfTime
eFuse: Learn to build a better web site | Need Fusion Support?

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.