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

       Editor: Peter Kent
         Top Floor Publishing

        Over 45,000 Subscribers in More Than 100 Countries!

   ~~~ IN THIS ISSUE ~~~

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

   Beginner's Column:
       Cleaning Up Web Sites for Use on UNIX Servers

   TextSoap for Windows

   Yet Another Search Engine

   Amazon and the Light Bulb Patent

   Tapping Into International Markets

   Poor Richard's Web Site and Other Top Floor Books

   Book Reviewers Wanted

   Reading Back Issues

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

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   {{ Beginner's Column:
        Cleaning Up Web Sites for Use on UNIX Servers }}

   Many new users don't understand a critical difference between
   UNIX and Windows, nor even realize that their Web sites are on
   UNIX servers. But this minor issue can turn into a major
   problem if you don't understand it.

   On UNIX and Linux computers, the case of each letter in a
   filename matters. Filename.txt is not the same as filename.txt
   or FILENAME.txt or FILENAME.TXT. On a Windows computer all
   these names, regardless of case, are the same.

   This means that if you create a link in a Web page to
   filename.txt, and the actual filename is FILENAME.TXT, it works
   just fine on a Windows computer. But if you take the page and
   file and place them on a UNIX computer ... the link no longer
   works. Despite the fact that the file FILENAME.TXT is
   available, the UNIX server regards it as a different file from
   filename.txt, so clicking on the link displays a "file not
   found" error message.

   By the way, the same applies to directory names: case matters.

   There are two simple ways to get around this problem. First, be
   very careful when you type a directory path or filename. Make
   sure that you match the case _exactly_. And if you are creating
   both the link and the file to which you are linking, it's a
   good idea to _always_ use lowercase. That way you're less
   likely to make a mistake and get case mixed up, typing
   ThisPage.htm instead of Thispage.htm, for instance.

   Even if you don't plan to put your pages on a UNIX server ever,
   it's still a good habit to get into. Who knows what the future
   holds? Perhaps for some reason those pages _will_ one day be
   moved to a UNIX server, or perhaps you'll find yourself
   creating other pages, for another purpose ... on a UNIX server.

   What happens if you inherit a site that was created for a
   Windows machine, and that has all the filenames messed up?
   Well, you could change all the names and links by hand. Or you
   may be able to find a program to help.

   I know of a cgi script, that you can install on a Web server,
   that can do this for you ... but be warned, installing perl
   scripts is not easy (I wrote about installing cgi scripts a
   long time ago. See "CGIs -- What Are They, and Should You Touch
   Them?" at http://www.poorrichard.com/newsltr/003.htm#cgi ).
   This program changes all filenames, directory names, and
   relative URLs in the Web pages, to lowercase. (A relative URL
   is one that doesn't include the full address of the Web page --
   it doesn't include the domain name, and may not include the
   full directory path.)

   I don't know of any other products that can do this ... if
   anyone knows of a Windows or Macintosh product that can do
   this, please let me know and I'll mention it in the next


   {{ TextSoap for Windows }}

   The TextSoap for Windows beta is now available. I've mentioned
   this product in the past -- originally it was only available
   for the Macintosh. In theory the product should allow you to
   clean your text of non-ASCII characters, so you can safely send
   e-mail across the Internet. Characters from word processors,
   such as emdashes, ellipsis, and curly quotes, can do strange
   things to your messages when they pass through certain mail
   servers (see an earlier newsletter article
   http://www.poorrichard.com/newsltr/007.htm#=20 for more
   information on this problem).

   TextSoap for Windows contains a variety of "cleaners":

   * Remove unwanted spaces
   * Remove forward characters (ie. >, >> )
   * Fix MIME encoded characters
   * Fix Paragraphs (removes hard returns)
   * Convert cases (UPPERCASE, lowercase)
   * Capitalize Words, Sentences
   * Remove smart quotes
   * Clean HTML text (removes tags, encoded characters)
   * Remove Tabs
   * Expand Tabs to spaces
   * Remove control characters
   * Remove multiple carriage returns
   * Supports cleaning text files as well as clipboard contents

   Unfortunately it's not quite ready for prime time ... I was
   eager to use it -- advertisers often send me ads with non-ASCII
   characters in them. But it isn't currently cleaning up emdashes
   and ellipsis characters, though it does seem to handle curly
   quotes correctly. Also, it needs the ability to run all the
   cleaners you want a once -- there's a SCRUB function that runs
   them all, but you should be able to pick the ones you need. (I
   think the Mac version can do this.)

   On the other hand, I did use it to clean the article I'm using
   at the end of this newsletter, I'm not sure what bad characters
   were in this article (I tested it in the manner I describe in
   my earlier article), but TextSoap immediately cleaned it all

   You can find the product here: http://www.TextSoap.com/

   Try it out, and e-mail the publisher ( [EMAIL PROTECTED] )
   with your comments ... perhaps they'll add these missing
   features before the release.

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   {{ Yet Another Search Engine }}

   A few weeks ago I talked about free search engines for your Web
   site. A reader recommended yet another, Atomz, which apparently
   can even index text in Macromedia Flash pages. It's free (with
   the exception that you have to post the Atomz logo on your Web
   site) for a site with up to 500 pages, though a more advanced
   version, Atomz Prime, starts at $75/year. The free version,
   unlike some others search systems, does not post ads on your

   You can find this product at ... http://Atomz.com/


   {{ Amazon and the Light Bulb Patent }}

   No, Amazon may be "pushing the envelope" on grabbing patents
   but they haven't taken the light-bulb patent, at least yet.
   However, a reader sent me the following URL, which describes
   the controversy and patent-fight related to the real inventor
   of the light bulb:


   Meanwhile, I'm happy to report that Amazon's patents are
   getting weaker all the time, as other Web developers are coming
   forward to claim they had been working on the one-click and
   affiliate ideas well before Amazon. Reportedly one developer
   even claims that his logs show that Amazon.com staff were
   visiting his Web site while he was developing one of these

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   {{ Tapping Into International Markets }}

   The following article describes a good example of how to use
   the Internet to find new markets for one's products, in this
   case intellectual products -- writing and photography. The
   principles, though, apply to many types of products.

       How To Sell Everything You Write To Publishers
       Here and Abroad Using The Internet and E-Mail

   by Phil Philcox, Editor, The Press Association USA

   People around the world read newspapers, magazines,
   newsletters, online magazines and books and they're interested
   in basically what we Americans are interested in: how to have a
   happy life, how to raise kids, how to buy a house or TV, how to
   save money or take a vacation. Lots of people are interested in
   a good fiction novel. And I can't think of anyone who isn't
   interested in looking at a good photo, so what I'm about to say
   pertains to both writers and photographers. Question? How come
   more American writers aren't tackling the foreign markets? One
   reason might be that foreign publishers are just that ...
   foreign. Before the Internet and e-mail, you had to find their
   address, print out your letter, query or article, stuff it in
   an envelope, address it, attach postage (about $1 airmail to
   Europe per letter) and wait weeks for an answer.

   In this day of computers, you can send an article, short story,
   a photograph or book outline to a publisher here in the U.S.,
   Canada, Texas, Scotland, China or France (among many other
   places). Just open your e-mail program, insert their address,
   write your message and click on the mouse. Tomorrow they'll
   open their mailbox and see what you have to offer. That editor
   might be in Hong Kong, Paris, Chicago, Miami or Sydney.
   Amazing! This e-mail thing is the communication tool of the
   21st century and something we writers should use to market our
   material. Considering all the publications in the world, those
   editors out there must require tens of millions of words every

   I've sold over 1200 articles and 46 non-fiction books to
   publishers here in the United States and around the world. I've
   written about skin diving for Skin Diver (US), Plunge (France),
   and Aqua (England), vacationing in California for magazines in
   Japan and Australia, motorcycle touring for a magazine in Hong
   Kong, boating articles for boating magazines in Germany and
   articles on everything from health to self-help to magazines in
   the United States. My book subjects have ranged from computers
   to travel and some are listed on Amazon.com under my name (take
   a look). You might not know this but publishers in foreign
   countries, even those who publish only in their native
   language, are interested in American writers like yourself. If
   the subject or story is of interest to their readers, they
   might buy it, translate it and publish it.

   And don t overlook online magazines either. There are thousands
   out there, scattered all over the world and they need material
   for their online pages. I received an e-mail one day from an
   online magazine that covered the e-mail marketing of products
   and services. They asked me to write 2,000 words on the subject
   and paid me $450. I've written articles on the how-tos of
   writing and have sold six to publishers of online newsletters.
   The bottom line? There are tens of thousands of outlets for
   your writing out there and you can increase your chances of
   success by contacting some of them.

   With thousands of publishers here in the U.S. online and more
   popping up every day, there's the opportunity to almost
   eliminate paper printouts/envelopes/postage from your writing
   routine. Everybody's got an e-mailbox and if you observe
   standard e-mail etiquette, you might just make a sale or two.
   About eight months ago, I wrote an article on investigating
   potential employees before you hire them. Looking over my list
   of publications and their e-mail addresses, I found 15 regional
   business magazines covering different areas of the country
   (Alaska Business Monthly, Baltimore Business Journal, etc.), 11
   trade magazines written for florists, pizza shop owners, auto
   repair shops, etc. and an assortment of publications read by
   parents (investigating nannies), singles (investigating
   potential mates) and others. None of these were big paying
   magazines but multiple sales would make up for that. I sent
   each of these magazine editors the entire article by e-mail,
   assuming they'd read it, make a decision for or against, delete
   it if they weren't interested, buy it if they were. With my
   first e-mail mailing to the above magazines, I sold the article
   nine times for a total of $688. The second time I sold it five
   times for $344. Now I'm rewriting it for overseas markets,
   magazines reaching the same type of audience in Europe, South
   America, Japan, Australia, etc. Three weeks ago I sent a how to
   buy an old house article to Adirondack Life (upstate New York),
   Austin Home and Living (Texas), The Living Magazine (Ohio) and
   six others and sold it four times for over $500. I attached a
   sample photo in the e-mail to give them an idea of the photos
   available. Now I'm rewriting that article for the foreign
   markets. Hey, they've got old houses in Japan, France,
   Argentina, Germany, Scotland and other countries.

   For book proposals, I send a one-page query to a bunch of
   editors via e-mail and hope someone will reply. In this day and
   age, sending one proposal to one editor and sitting around for
   six months or more for a reply is not the way to succeed in the
   writing business. If I get multiple responses, I'll deal with
   each editor individually until I get an advance/contract that's
   the best deal.

   Anyone can do this. Just compile a list of magazine and book
   publisher e-mail addresses and send them your stuff. Writer's
   Market lists some e-mail address and you can use any of the
   search engines to find publication e-mail addresses. I'm using
   E-Mail Publisher 2000 which lists over 7,000 magazine, online
   and book publisher e-mail addresses. The magazines are listed
   by subject, the book publishers by country and subject.
   Information on this is available at

   This is the 21st century and times have changed. You can keep
   operating in the 20th century mode and write on your computer,
   print out hard copies, fold, address envelopes, lick stamps and
   sit around waiting for an answer or you can take advantage of
   the latest technology and who knows? You might just find
   yourself making more sales than you ever have before.

   As I mentioned before, the basic principle works for all kinds
   of businesses, not just writing. It's so easy to reach people
   who are interested in your products -- no, I'm not talking
   about spam -- yet many small businesses totally ignore the
   power of e-mail.


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

   Top Floor Publishing now has five books in print:

   Poor Richard's Web Site, 2nd Edition: Geek-Free, Commonsense
   Advice on Building a Low-Cost 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%,
   1-Year Guarantee. If you feel the book wasn't worth the
   money, send it 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
   you buy!


   {{ 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 Top Floor's 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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