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   Geek-Free, Commonsense Advice on Building a Low-Cost Web Site

       Editor: Peter Kent
         Top Floor Publishing

        Over 44,000 Subscribers in More Than 100 Countries!

   ~~~ IN THIS ISSUE ~~~

   ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

   Beginner's Column:
       Favicon -- Adding an Icon to Internet Explorer

   Poor Richard's Web Site, 2nd Edition

   Add a Translator to Your Web Site

   Hampsterdance and Other Viral Marketing Vehicles

   Sell Your Own Branded Products at Your Site

   Create Your Own Online Magazine

   Free and Easy Discussion Board

   Coming Soon, TextSoap for Windows

   Did You ...

   Poor Richard's Web Site and Other Top Floor Books

   Book Reviewers Wanted

   Reading Back Issues

   ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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   {{ Beginner's Column:
        Favicon -- Adding an Icon to Internet Explorer }}

   Like it or not, most Internet users are now working with
   Internet Explorer. (In fact Netscape gave up the battle long
   ago, and have done little to improve their browser sufficiently
   to keep up with Internet Explorer.) There's a good chance that
   60% or 70% of all your site's visitors are working with
   Internet Explorer.

   So here's a quick and easy way to add a little icon to those
   visitors' browsers; use favicon.ico.

   It's a little known fact that if someone using Internet
   Explorer 5 bookmarks a page, the browser requests a file called
   favicon.ico from the Web site; ico files are Windows icon
   files, such as the icons you see on your desktop. If the
   favicon file is present, in the same directory as the
   bookmarked page, Internet Explorer does a number of things with
   it. It puts it ...

   1. In the Location bar, before the URL of the page.
   2. In the Favorites menu, next to the name of the
      bookmarked page.
   3. In the Favorites frame, next to the name of the
      bookmarked page.
   4. On the Windows desktop, if the visitor places a
      shortcut there.
   5. On the Windows taskbar, if the visitor places a
      link to the Web page there.

   Where do you get one of these .ico files? You may already have
   a program that can create them, but if not visit
   http://www.favicon.com/ , where you'll find a little Java
   applet that runs in your browser. It's a simple little image
   editing program in which you pick a color, then click on the
   pixels you want to change to that color. When it's finished,
   the applet will e-mail the image to you, in .ico format. You
   can then save the image in each of your Web site's directories.

   The site provides a lot of information about favicon.ico:
   examples of how Explorer uses it, what to do if you're using a
   hosting service that doesn't allow you to put extra files along
   with your Web pages, why Explorer doesn't always use favicon,
   and so on.


   {{ Poor Richard's Web Site, 2nd Edition }}

   For some strange reason Amazon listed Poor Richard's Web Site,
   2nd Edition, as not yet in print -- with an in print date of
   2001! The problem has been fixed, so you can, if you wish,
   order the book from Amazon.

   The first edition turned into perhaps the most widely reviewed
   and praised title in computer-book history (see
   http://www.poorrichard.com/review.htm for some examples). The
   2nd edition is completely updated -- all the links have been
   checked and updated where necessary, but there's a lot of new
   information, too, thanks to the tremendous change that we've
   seen on the Web since the first edition.

   Check it out -- and buy your own copy -- at

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   {{ Add a Translator to Your Web Site }}

   Go.com is providing a way to add a translation engine to your
   Web site. You grab a bit of HTML code that you insert into a
   Web page, creating a drop-down list box. Visitors to your site
   can select a language from the drop-down box, and a program at
   the Go.com site grabs the information from the page, translates
   it into the specified language, and sends it back to the
   browser. I suppose you could even put that code into an
   electronic newsletter, if you publish in HTML format.

   So what's the catch? No, not cost, it's free. The problem is,
   that these translation engines don't work well. Is it good
   enough for your purposes? Perhaps, but I'd find a few people
   who are fluent in the target languages to see how your pages
   come out.

   One thing that is fun to do with these things, though, is to
   translate the text into another language, then translate it
   _back_. Better still, translate through several languages (for
   instance, English to French, French to German, German to
   English). The resulting text is always amusing ... it never
   returns to the original state.

   If you'd like to use the translation system, visit


   {{ Hampsterdance and Other Viral Marketing Vehicles }}

   I told you, almost a year ago, about the Hampsterdance Web, an
   amazing bit of guerrilla marketing. A very low-cost bit of
   "multimedia" (a goofy little song saved as a .wav file, along
   with a few animated gif files), that became tremendously
   popular. I'm sure some of you have seen Hampsterdance's latest
   success -- it's been featured in a U.S. TV ad for Internet
   service provider Earthlink. (See
   http://poorrichard.com/newsltr/025.htm#dance for more
   information about this.)

   Just goes to show, this cheap marketing stuff really can work.
   I'm not sure they've really exploited all the traffic they've
   got, but I'm sure they did get a lot of traffic. This sort of
   thing is a form of what's become known as "viral marketing," a
   low-cost way to get people to talk about you, your products,
   and your Web site.

   I noticed another great viral marketing vehicle ... although it
   wasn't actually being used to market anything. It appears that
   the author, Victor Navone, created the animation while learning
   computer animation, as an exercise. He was surprised, he
   claims, at the popularity. (I should note that this animation
   is not necessarily "cheap"; it took 250 hours of work.)

   It's a hilarious animation in which an alien sings Gloria
   Gaynor's "I'll Survive." There's a really funny twist in the
   plot, which I won't reveal; see for yourself at
   http://dwp.bigplanet.com/vnavone/3danimation/ . I'm sure many
   thousands of people, perhaps hundreds of thousands, have seen
   this animation, as people view it, fall off their seats
   laughing, and e-mail it to their friends. Strictly speaking the
   song was stolen, used without permission; but Gloria Gaynor
   loves the animation, and has even stored a copy for download at
   her Web site.

   The animation was released to the Web without much in the way
   of attribution. It does end with a copyright notice saying that
   it was created by Victor Navone. But no contact information of
   any kind -- no URL, for instance (you can find Victor Navone's
   Online Gallery at http://dwp.bigplanet.com/vnavone/home/ ).
   Nonetheless, Navone's alien character, Blit Wizbok, is growing
   in popularity, and I wouldn't be surprised if we hear much more
   about him. And in the meantime, Navone got a job at Pixar
   Animation Studios today.

   Finally, take a look at MessageMates (
   http://www.MessageMates.com/ ), where you'll find scores of
   little animations you can take, and attach messages to, and
   send out. The first I saw was a little animation in which a
   group of children, in Halloween costume, ask you for candy --
   if you don't give them candy (you'll be presented with two
   buttons, one to provide candy, the other to refuse), they moon
   you, then throw eggs at you. Finally, a text message is

   MessageMates are being used by a variety of companies. Union
   Bay Clothing has a dancing jeans MessageMates, which is perhaps
   a little amusing, but probably not enough to prompt recipients
   to send it on. They've also been used by Rockwell, Polygram,
   IBM, MGM, Money Magazine, The Eastenders (a British TV Show),
   and sex-toys company, Adam & Eve (that's a fun one).


   {{ Sell Your Own Branded Products at Your Site }}

   Do you have a distinctive logo or design at your Web site that
   your visitors like. Do you think you could convince visitors to
   buy T shirts, mugs, and mousepads? If so, you might want to
   learn about CafePress.com.

   You can quickly set up a store at their site. You upload your
   image, you define your prices (a markup over the base price),
   define a few simple design options, and that's it, you have a
   store. You simply point people through to your CafePress store.
   There's no cost to you -- they sell your products, and send you
   the markup price.

   You can find out how to work with CafePress here:


   {{ Create Your Own Online Magazine }}

   I ran across an interesting little site called Zinecast.
   They'll provide free facilities to help you create an online

   They provide the tools for you to post articles, and to host
   bulletin-board discussions based on the article. You can create
   an archive of articles, and provide a mechanism by which
   visitors can submit articles to you.

   Visit http://Zinecast.com/


   {{ Free and Easy Discussion Board  }}

   Need a free discussion board for your Web site? One that's easy
   to install? A friend recommended Discusware. It certainly looks
   easy to work with, and it's got lots of great features.

   You don't need to understand Perl or CGI scripts in order to
   install this. You fill in some information in a form, click on
   a button, and they create a custom set of files for you -- you
   don't have to edit any of the script files. You then transfer
   them into the appropriate directories, and away you go.

   It has lots of nice features. You can assign some topics as
   private; allow the upload of images in messages; search
   messages; format information in tables within messages, and so
   on. It's an attractive system, too, unlike some of the clunkier
   discussion boards I've seen.

   Discus is a free product. For $99 you can upgrade to Discus
   Pro, which provides a number of sophisticated features:
   automatic message backups, user profiles including photographs;
   message moderation; automatic archiving of messages when a
   topic reaches a certain length, and lots of other good stuff.

   See http://www.Discusware.com/


   {{ Coming Soon, TextSoap for Windows }}

   TextSoap is a great little program that cleans text files of
   non-ASCII characters. Why do you care? Non-ASCII characters are
   not good things in Web pages, and they're a lot worse in e-mail
   messages. If you publish an e-mail newsletter, you _really_
   don't want these things in your e-mail, because some mail
   servers choke on them and do strange things to your messages
   ... such as insert =20 at the end of every line.

   I really need TextSoap -- I often run into problems with ads in
   this newsletter, for instance, where an advertiser has created
   an ad in a word processor and inserted curly quotes, emdashes,
   or some other non-ASCII character. However, the current problem
   with TextSoap is that it's only available for the Mac, but a
   Windows beta version should be here any day soon. I'll let you
   know when it's available, but if you really have to know at the
   earliest possible moment, register at http://www.unmarked.com/


   {{ Did You ...  }}

   ... go to the MessageMates site to see the Adam & Eve
   MessageMate? Come on, admit it ...


   {{ Poor Richard's Web Site and Other Top Floor Books }}

   Top Floor Publishing now has five books in print:

   Poor Richard's Web Site

   Poor Richard's E-mail Publishing

   Poor Richard's Internet Marketing and Promotions

   The CDnow Story: Rags to Riches on the Internet

   MP3 and the Digital Music Revolution: Turn Your PC into a
   CD-Quality Jukebox

   Order direct from the publisher, and you'll get a 100%,
   Guarantee. If you feel the book wasn't worth the money, send
   back for a refund!

   And remember, these books are discounted at the Web site, and
   you pay just one shipping cost regardless of how many books


   {{ Book Reviewers Wanted }}

   Do you review books for newspapers, magazines, newsletters
   (electronic or paper), Web sites, or other media spots? If
   so, perhaps you'd like to review Top Floor Publishing's
   latest book, "Poor Richard's Web Site: Geek-Free, Commonsense
   Advice on Building a Low-Cost Web Site, 2nd Edition"? Or
   perhaps you'd like to review one of the other books I
   mentioned above?

   Contact my Marketing Director, Missy Derkacz, at
   [EMAIL PROTECTED] Include your full mailing address, the
   name of newspaper/magazine/whatever in which the review will
   appear and the probable date of publication, and the editor's
   contact information.


   {{ Reading Back Issues }}

   If you need to refer to back issues of this newsletter -- and
   search the archives -- you can find them at the following


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