Issue 72, 23 May 2003
Editor: Jean Hollis Weber
In this issue...
My article on marketing self-published books on the Internet
New book: Google Hacks, by Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest
New book: Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization, by Andrew B. King
For Australians: Promote Your Business workshop
International date and time notation
More on UK-US differences in spelling, pronunciation, and grammar
A guide to Microsoft Word from an editor's standpoint
Amusing email filter stories
Inexpensive, no-frills Internet access in the USA
My books: Taming Microsoft Word and others
Subscription information and privacy statement
This issue contains some correspondence. Please note that I do not publish correspondents' names or addresses without their permission. If you do write, and you DON'T want your letter published, even anonymously, then say so in the note.
I've written an article about my experiences marketing my self-published books over the Internet. The article appeared in the ASTC (NSW) journal, Keyword, recently. A slightly revised version (including more recent information) is now available on my website.
Published by O'Reilly, 2003, ISBN 0596004478.
I'm still reading this book and haven't had time to write a full review, but I did want to mention it now, because it's great!
I search the Web using Google quite often, but I admit that I've paid little attention to finding ways to improve my searches, partly because I had no idea that I could do very much. Well, now I know that I can do a lot! And I'm motivated to learn. Even better, I won't have to search around to find the material to study -- this book has collected what the authors call "100 industrial-strength tips and tools" for getting the most out of Google. I haven't even finished the first chapter, but I've already learned several valuable tips that I can put to use right away.
If you need to do Web research, this book will pay for itself almost immediately in saved time.
Published by New Riders, 2003, ISBN 0735713243.
For more info see the companion web site at: http://www.WebSiteOptimization.com
Jakob Nielsen says: "This book should be mandatory reading for all web designers and Internet executives."
Lou Rosenfeld says: "At last, a user experience book written from a technical perspective."
This is another book that I haven't had time to do more than skim, but it really looks good for anyone who maintains a website or is involved in developing one -- or just needs to discuss usability issues with site developers.
My partner Eric says it seems to cover everything, although in some cases you do need some understanding of the topic area before you can really understand the author's suggestions. Eric agrees that even if you don't have the background to understand it all, this book will give you an excellent start on knowing what questions to ask -- and in being able to confront someone who claims "we can't do that because" (followed by some detailed technical obfuscation). You can point to the relevant page in this book and say, "Well, King says it can be done this way. Please explain why you can't do that."
How to write effective marketing material for your small business
Date: Saturday, 21 June. 9.30 for 10am start, 4.30 finish
Venue: Swiss Grand Hotel, Bondi Beach
Parking: Discounted parking underneath hotel for $5.50
Presenter: Mary Morel, The M Factor, experienced trainer and author of Promote Your Business (Allen & Unwin)
Price: $245 GST Incl, which includes a copy of the book.
(Mary is offering a $50 discount for people who mention they read about the course in this newsletter, so you will pay only $195 GST incl.)
This one-day course covers:
- Develop a marketing strategy and action plan
- How to write your brochure
- How to write your website
- How to write direct mail and html emails
- How to write your e-newsletter
There's more information at http://www.themfactor.com.au/.
A reader wrote to point out this web page, which contains a summary of the ISO standard for international date and time notation (ISO 8601).
Someone on the Austechwriter list pointed out this website, which provides a fairly comprehensive list of the differences between UK and North American English spelling, grammar, and pronunciation: http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_Differences
Michael Hardoe wrote this review.
A useful set of notes by someone who makes his living working with long Word documents has become available for free download.
After 15 pages of scene-setting, there are 100 pages of fairly self-contained notes (much like a dictionary) accessible from the hyperlinked table of contents or via the Find command. There are many hyperlinked cross-references between topics.
The free download, titled "Bend Word to your Will", is in itself a Word document - so that the user can check out from within the document the features described in the notes, including through a template that's included in the download. (A PDF is provided, but it's intended for printing out.)
The URL is http://www.mvps.org/word/FAQs/WordMac/Bend/BendWord.htm (the website of the "Microsoft MVP" experts who advise various Word newsgroups). There is a table of contents on this page.
The author, Clive Huggan, is a strategic planner who prepares long documents distributed between many collaborators as they go through their many stages of preparation. The emphasis is therefore on "minimum maintenance" techniques, structural and formatting simplicity for inexperienced recipients, and interchangeability. But equally there is maximum use of styles, specialised toolbars and other time-savers in preparation of the document. Clive does a lot of editing in his work, too, so the mindset behind the notes is very much an editor's. He first started the notes two years ago to help his transition from an earlier version of Word. As he took part in discussions in newsgroups, he refined them progressively. As a result, "they just grew", eventually to 100 pages. The notes will continue to be further developed (the website shows the date of the current version), but future changes aren't expected to be radical.
The download is available as a Zip file (most PC users will choose this) and a Stuffit file (which most Mac users will choose). The notes themselves are based specifically on Word 2001 (Mac), but there is coverage of the main keystroke and menu differences between the PC and Mac platform in Word. That shouldn't pose a problem for the PC user, because the differences aren't many (just as the successive versions of Word vary only in the detail), and the notes have been written from a good knowledge of Word on both platforms.
Most issues of my newsletter get caught by somebody's filter, for a variety of reasons that would be even funnier if they weren't such a nuisance. Here are two recent ones.
"You used three Xs as a placeholder. I would suggest that in the future you use something else (such as several dashes --- or underscores ___) both for yourself and quotes from readers."
In another issue I had a sentence that includes both the name "Dick" (the author of a sentence I was quoting) and the phrase "the text enlarges easily with Ctrl+MouseWheel." This sentence set off someone's filter because the word "enlarge" had appeared within 50 characters of the name, which is one of many slang terms for ... well, you know what!
When I travel to the USA, I usually stay for a month or two, and I need cheap, easy, nationwide Internet access that includes newsgroup access and POP3 and SMTP e-mail services; but I don't need website space (because I have my own domain, hosted elsewhere) or a lot of hand-holding or "portal" type front pages, or a bunch of e-mail addresses. And I definitely do not want to have to use someone's proprietary software.
A few visits ago, I tried free access providers, but they are mostly gone now, or limit free use to an insufficient number of hours for my needs, or require special software. I was never really happy with them, but you get what you pay for.
Two years ago I tried Earthlink, which met my requirements and wasn't bad but is definitely more expensive than I prefer to pay. Just before my last visit, I discovered Copper.net and so far I am happy with them, even though the download speed through the dial-in phone number I'm using is a bit slower than I prefer.
If you're paying more than $10 a month for dial-up Internet access in the USA, you may be paying too much. To find out more about Copper.net, please use this affiliate link:
And if you know a better -- or equally good -- ISP that meets my criteria, please let me know.
Taming OpenOffice.org Writer,
Taming Microsoft Word (3 editions, for Word 2002, 2000, and 97), http://www.jeanweber.com/books/tmw
Editing Online Help, http://www.jeanweber.com/books/olhbk.htm
Electronic Editing, http://www.jeanweber.com/books/e-edit.htm
© Copyright 2003, Jean Hollis Weber. All rights reserved.
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