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The advertising
industry is on
the verge of
being shattered
into a thousand
fragments due to
the knowledge explosion
and the proliferation
of new technologies.
There are no
more grand theories
that hold sway
over the entire
Michael Strangelove

Advertising is
one of the minor
arts, so don't
be intimidated
by it. Try
not to lose
your sense of
Keep it fun.
Robert Bly

is more
it seems.
John Gall

The System
is its own
John Gall

It's better to
do a few things
really well than
than to do
a lot of things
If you can't
make the necessary
commitments of
time and energy
to your
scale back
your plan.
John Sumser


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April 25, 1997

The Edge

Entrepreneurial Edge magazine is published by the Edward Lowe Foundation and claims to be "the country's premier small business training magazine reaching over 100,000 owners of small to mid-size businesses. Published quarterly, the magazine offers feature articles on every aspect of operating, managing and growing a business."

As well as a website, the magazine publishes a quarterly magazine, also called - surprisingly - Entrepreneurial Edge.

The site appears to be quite a comprehensive small business resource, having sections labeled Business Builders, Interactive Toolbox, Virtual Network, Pointers From The Pros, Resource Connection, News & Trends.

If you sign up to receive their eMail newsletter, you also get six months of the hard copy.

This site is heavily-framed, and the bottom frame contains three irritating rotating icons. You may feel differently...

There's also a link to another Lowe Foundation publication, smallbizNet, which bills itself as "information services for small business owners, entrepreneurs and assistance organizations". Most of the information is free, but for some there is a nominal charge.

Both of these sites look to be solid resources, although it's fair to say that I didn't examine every internal link.

As for the Foundation itself, its mission is "to champion the entrepreneurial spirit by providing information, research and education experiences which support small business people and the free enterprise system". Which makes it sound a little Reaganesque to my Social Democrat ears... --John Blower

April 24, 1997

A Reader Writes...

Regular reader Hal Pawluk augments my recent column on "Speed"...

"Just saw your speed tips (better late than never) and have a couple more for you and your readers:


If one table for layout control is good, two tables are infinitely better. I use tables but my pages are very long so it was a long wait before anything showed up.

The solution was to split the content into two tables - the first table is about 350-800 pixels high (one screenful or more); the second table holds everything else.

With the first table full and in place, the visitor has something to do while the other table loads in the background.


Because my pages are so long, there are a relatively large number of images, but after the first page, succeeding pages 'snap' into place. I call the technique deja vu.

On my site, as with most, you can determine where the visitor is most likely to go next.

So on any page, I also load all the images for the next most likely pages. To keep the images 'invisible,' I put them at the very bottom of the page and specify HEIGHT and WIDTH of 1 pixel. When the visitor moves on, images are loaded very quickly from local disk cache rather than from the 'Net."

Hal's site is at: temap.htm. --John Blower

April 23, 1997

Faster, Pussycat...

Yikes! 56k modems are here and happening. Here's the lowdown...

Both US Robotics and Rockwell have come out with their own flavor of 56K modem. In a headlong rush to be first to market, we have two incompatible products and no standard.

This is bad news, because your ISP has to spend about $50,000 to upgrade their equipment to support one of the dueling 56K protocols. Lots of small to medium sized service providers either balk at the price tag, or hold off because they don't want to gamble on the upgrade, only to see the 56K standard change in six months.

So even though you can buy a US Robotics "x2" modem, or one of the Rockwell style "K56Flex" modems (made by Boca, Hayes, Motorola, etc.) today, you won't be able to surf at 56K unless your ISP supports the 56K modem you have. (You can still connect at 33.6 with the 56K modems, though.)

Hardware vendors and ISPs are lining up on both sides of the 56K fence, hoping that their gamble will pay off.

Visit these web sites to learn more about 56K and find a list of ISPs that support the 56K protocols:

For Rockwell K56flex -

For US Robotics x2 -

The USR site has an "x2 LineTest" you can use to confirm that your phone lines supports the 56K speed.

The list of ISPs supporting USR's x2 standard seems to be a lot bigger at this point, and includes big names like AOL, CompuServe, Prodigy, Netcom, MCI and IBM Global Network. USR claims that more than 70 percent of online service users will be hooked up to providers that use its x2 technology.

Although the companies are trying to reach an agreement about a 56K standard, it's unlikely to happen until late this year. So confusion reigns for a while longer.

If you already have a 28.8 or 33.6 modem, it might be wise to wait a few months to see how things develop. But if your ISP is already supporting 56K speeds, it's tempting to upgrade, especially if you're running at 14.4 or lower.

Even though most pundits are crying "poor user" about this, I have a feeling that no matter which flavor of 56K becomes the standard, it won't mean you'll have to throw away your 56K modem if you buy today.

It would be a huge PR problem for either one of these companies to suffer the fate of tens of thousands of angry customers, so I'm betting that the issue will become moot either through software upgrades or exchange offers. --John Blower

April 22, 1997

PR Central

PR Central is a kind of clearing house for on- and off-line Public Relations issues.

Despite sporting an annoying "ticker tape" on the homepage, this suitably minimalist site is - well - cool.

"Plug o' th' Week" is quite interesting, but the real gems reside in "Body of Knowledge", which is, in essence, an extensive library of PR case studies organized by category.

PR Central is published by EMMI Inc., which appears to be a pretty high-powered operation - although I was perturbed by the missing images on some of their pages...

At the other end of the spectrum is The Paige/Smith Group.

The site opens with a nice, fat, juicy graphic (as does the site of their latest client), and is "best viewed with Navigator 3.0". So all you MS Explorer users can sod off right now...

"The Web-Paige Division of The Paige/Smith Group develops web sites for our clients...". Hmm. I don't think so, guys.

I'm sure Paige/Smith do a super job for their clients in traditional media, and employ a gaggle of graphic designers to do their 4-color bidding.

Trouble is, this medium ain't a magazine.

Another prime example of the non-transferability of traditional design skills into the New Medium. --John Blower

April 21, 1997

Buckets o' Blood

I have associated "branding" with the current rage amongst those of the younger persuasion for "scarification" as a form of self-expression.

That was until I found Charles Sayer's excellent Who's Marketing Online? site. In which you can find a useful aide-memoire on the importance of product/service branding.

There's loads of other useful stuff at this ste, including an Idea Archive, which covers Online Business Management, Content Strategies, Site Design, Site Maintenance, Building Site Traffic and Visitor Relations; a Resources page (which pretty much covers everything); and Today's Resource.

Charles has an intriguing and engaging writing style.

Attached to the site is what is described as "the sort of business publication you might expect Rupert Murdoch to come up with" - Totally Unfounded.

Totally Unfounded is a hoot, and is well worth an hour or so of aimless clicking and pointing.

You'll enjoy this site. I guarantee it... --John Blower

Take a look at the Archives. We've indexed all the past issues with topic pointers.

Check out the Archives....90 Weeks of Back issues including:

Week Ending April 13, 1997
  • Layout
  • JavaDoubler
  • Integration
  • Website Pricing
  • Japan
Week Ending April 20, 1997
  • A Canary
  • Search Tech
  • Free Lunch
  • Jumpin Jehosophat
  • AT&T Survey
Week Ending April 06, 1997
  • Speed
  • JavaDoubler
  • Integration
  • Website Pricing
  • Japan
Week Ending March 30, 1997
  • Germany
  • Banner Ads
  • Reasons to Send PR
  • 20/20 Hindsight
  • UFO Cult: Bad Design
Week Ending March 23, 1997
  • The Other 51%
  • We Wuz Framed
  • Bandwidth
  • Bad Design
  • Sling Shot
Week Ending March 16, 1997
  • Look Ma, No CGI
  • Banner Ads Revisited
  • Submission Wizzard
  • Labels Up to Scratch?
  • WebTV
Week Ending March 09, 1997
  • Cheap PR
  • Hard Copies
  • Ad Innovations
  • Don't Do This
  • Design Targets
Week Ending March 02, 1997
  • Web Balkanization
  • Mini Malls
  • Liars and Statistics
  • Multiple Search
Week Ending February 22, 1997
  • Direct Marketing World
  • Columbo, Not Just Yogurt
  • New HTTP Spec Speeds Net
  • All 4 One Search
Week Ending February 16, 1997
  • Finding Images
  • The Mining Co
  • Search Engine Stuff
  • Denounce
  • Weekend Reading
Week Ending February 09, 1997
  • Webmaster Secrets
  • New Search Engine Services
  • Learning From Others' Mistakes II
  • Learning From Others' Mistakes
  • Weekend Reading
Week Ending February 02, 1997
  • Purpose First
  • Ad Auction
  • 123 Domain Me
  • Publicity
  • Weekend Reading
Week Ending January 26, 1997
  • Drowning In Links
  • Ad Tutorial
  • Internet News
  • Cookies
  • Weekend Reading
Week Ending January 19, 1997
  • Finding Online Marketing Info
  • Microscope
  • Promotion Tools
  • Bad Form Email
  • Weekend Reading
Week Ending January 12, 1997
  • Ad Placement
  • Oooops
  • Odd Bedfellows
  • Advertising Advice
  • Weekend Reading
Complete Indexed Archives(19 months of marketing and design) Complete Indexed Archives(19 months of marketing and design)

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All material on this site is © 1995, 1996 by IBN (The Internet Business Network), Mill Valley, CA 94941