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It's 24-Carat...and it's Free
You've probably had the same thing happen to you. You follow a link to a site that looks interesting and - WHAM!! - aural pollution in the form of the theme from "Mission Impossible" comes thundering through your speakers.
If you are anything like us, you hit the "BACK" button toute de suite.
Most people who use the Web do so to acquire information. We're like "most people". If we wanted to listen to "TV Show Themes from the '60's", we'd dust off an LP or two and plug in the turntable.
Unfortunately, encountering unwanted sound is an all too frequent experience. Except in the case of self-consciously "kewl" sites, we suspect that more people are turned off by built-in sound than are seduced by it.
We're neither Luddites nor members of a silent order of monks. Certainly, in certain cases, the judicious use of a sound file can enhance the presentation of your product or service.
The key is to give visitors a choice of whether they want your choice of sounds or not, and not building it in as an integral part of your site.
If you're interested in adding sound to your site, here are a few places for tips and some sound files:
The Audio Database
But remember - "Silence is Golden"... --John Blower
InterVU launched this week the V-Banner video advertising solution, a tool that integrates video into traditional Web site ad banners.
Foote, Cone & Belding San Francisco will be the first advertising agency to implement video ad banners with the launch of a campaign on behalf of Goldwin Golf.
We haven't had the opportunity - or quite frankly, the inclination - to visit the site, particularly in view of the comments of one of our correspondents:
"We got about a three-second video in the banner. When we clicked through, it took more than three minutes to load the page at 28.8, but after waiting we got a full-motion video complete with sound."
V-Banners employ the InterVU Network's All Eyes feature, a proprietary software technique that provides distribution of video and multimedia over the Web.
All Eyes automatically identifies each personal computer's player software and downloads a compatible video format, the company said. In case no video player exists, an animated graphic image is presented.
Via the InterVU Network's proprietary distribution service, end- user video requests are redirected to the InterVU Network's electronically closest video delivery center, an exclusive redirection feature that accelerates end-user acquisition of video and multimedia."
Will Video Banners catch on?
Quite frankly, we doubt it for the vast majority of surfers. At least, not until everyone is equipped with cable modems.
Which is probably about 18 months away... --John Blower
Business Link Marketplace bills itself as:
"Your Direct Link to Internet Marketing Solutions"
Hmm. The homepage can hardly be described as either simple or elegant. It contains a plethora of enormous gifs (of the 100k+ type), unattractively emboldened text, and bordered tables.
It appears to be a thinly-disguised ad for direct eMail marketing (did someone say "Hormel"?).
The site is an object lesson in how to deter users from digging deeper. It may well be stuffed full of useful, relevant information, but we, at least, were totally turned off by the features we've mentioned.
Somehow, we don't think this ugly duckling will turn into a swan... --John Blower
We are constantly advising our readers to heed the needs of their audience, and to communicate with them in clear, direct and unambiguous terms.
This demands clarity of purpose, knowledge of your audience and an excellent grasp of language.
Of course, if you are good at (for example) producing widgets, there is no earthly reason why your grasp of language should extend beyond the world of widgets.
Perhaps you need to employ a specialist.
According to WordsWork:
"Our world places extraordinary demands on our mental abilities each day. We are bombarded by messages and overloaded with information. Only those messages which are clear and have a direct impact on us will be remembered.
The remaining messages are lost, ignored, or misunderstood. Understanding the intricacies of the language and how those intricacies effect the messages in your publications are essential skills."
This rather smart site is, in our opinion, marred by the annoying ticker tape in the status bar, but nonetheless contains some good tips on writing from a published writer and editor.
Well worth a look... --John Blower
According to Symantec, there are now over 1,000 documented macro viruses wreaking havoc around the world. Apparently, the company found 220 new viruses in May alone!!
What's more, over 50% of computer users recently polled by the company do not update their anti-virus software on a monthly basis.
According to Symantec, the Internet is fueling a rapid spread of macro viruses transmitted via email attachments and file downloads.
There's no doubt that viruses exist, and that they can cause havoc if they infect your machine or network.
Nonetheless, we tend to be a trifle leery when a company which manufactures anti-virus software releases such alarming - and alarmist - statistics.
Still, Symantec has released a list of 'Viruses to watch out for in July and August' all of which have trigger dates within the next couple of months. Details are available from the Symantec AntiVirus Research Center Web site.
Most viruses tend to attack PCs as opposed to Macs, if only because of their dominant market share. Mac users have generally depended upon the venerable Disinfectant to rout out these pests.
So MacAddicts will be pleased to know that Disinfectant 3.7 has just been released, this time to combat a variation on the MBDF B virus that was detected correctly by the Disinfectant INIT, but not by the application itself.
Disinfectant 3.7 is also savvier about locked disks and network volumes, and now includes an up-front warning that Disinfectant does not recognize macro viruses.
You can get the latest version from ftp://f tp.acns.nwu.edu/pub/disinfectant/disinfectant37.sea.hqx --John Blower
Take a look at the Archives. We've indexed all the past issues with topic pointers.
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