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Getting Your Business Smokin’ On The Web

gsotwAs unlikely as it seems, Steve Seiller and his wife, Catherine, aren’t the only folks using the Internet to sell hay for pet rabbits. You can buy a mini-bale from the Web site they run out of their home in the Seattle area, and that scrumptious bundle of grass is a good buy at $3.99, Steve promises. But don’t think Bunny Bytes has no competition. The Seillers know of at least two other online outlets that serve up similar fodder. All across the Web, businesses like Bunny Bytes are pushing home-business Web sites beyond the usual brochure-ware. Air-Fun Kites  is a family-run operation…

Desktop Publishing Still Winning

Ever notice how even the simplest word processing or desktop publishing task takes longer than you planned? Sure, it takes only a few minutes to type your address and the date into a letter or to fill in a fax cover sheet. And it takes only a few minutes to set the line spacing, indent the paragraphs, change the fonts, calculate the number of pages…and suddenly, the morning’s gone. You can’t cut down on your correspondence. But if you find yourself repeating the same steps over and over when you create a document, it’s time for you to tackle templates. An oft-overlooked but…

Bumps In The Road And The Techies That Help Us

Don’t you absolutely hate it when you are just about once a website and you discover your hard drive clicking? I can’t believe the timing of things in life, sometimes. I was trying to get the site launched before I finished my thesis, but of course I had a massive hard drive crash in my raid array. I truly believe that this is one of those things that really make you think about disasters and how they can happen at any second. A lot of people talk about how you can be hit by a bus one day, and let’s just say that…

Keep Your Website Tight As A Drum

kywtadOther firms with e-commerce sites fail to provide any feedback mechanism to let them know how many hits they get or how effective their site is. And simply because they lack such a mechanism, it is not uncommon for companies to believe that their experiments in e-commerce and electronic marketing have failed. Charles Nichols, marketing manager of software supplier Business Objects, says, “Looking at Web sites is now part of the procurement and decision-making process for some customers, but then they will go to a reseller or shop to actually make the purchase. But you need to know how many visit and are…

Managing Web Content Can Be Grueling

Publishing a few pages on the Web is embarrassingly easy. Getting a group of people to do so effectively is difficult. And getting many groups to create a combination of static and dynamic pages, tracking revisions, setting up workflow, and making the framework scalable and secure is nearly impossible. cmThis is illustrated only too well at Gannett Co. Inc., which publishes USA TODAY, USA Weekend and dozens of regional publications. Recently at Gannett headquarters in Arlington, Va., I examined Web content management packages that could enable easier and more consistent publishing and design of Gannett’s intranet content. Gannett’s early experiments with designing and…

Shopping For Good Deals Takes Work

sfgdIf ads shouting “prices slashed!,” “year-end clearance!,” and “on sale for a limited time!” Kick your bargain-seeking radar into high gear, you’re in good company. Whether you’ve got money to burn or you run your home office on a shoestring budget, there’s something supremely satisfying in taking home an outstanding deal. Though great buys abound on refurbished, returned, or slightly dated equipment, it’s also a cinch to score savings on brand-new, factory-sealed software and hardware. To help you do so, we asked five veteran home office shoppers to share their tips, tricks, and strategies for getting the good stuff–cheap. Plan your next equipment…

Talking Scalability

In the deployment of a web content management system, scalability can be anything from a nonissue to a major concern. On most corporate intranets, where as many as 1,000 simultaneous hits are rare, a single Web server running a content management application can easily serve the entire intranet. In such a setting, the capacity of the Web content management application is generally a much smaller concern than its stability. Scalability is a primary concern, however, when a firm deploys content management on a Web site, particularly an e-commerce site. I have seen several cases where sites either crashed completely or selectively lost content…

Browser Madness!

UNTIL RECENTLY, SURFING THE INTERNET MEANT TYPING in cryptic commands and wading through screens of monotonous text. The advent of the World Wide Web means the Net is no longer quite so frustrating and incomprehensible. With navigation as easy as pointing and clicking your mouse, you’ll find the Web’s individual electronic pages are filled with text, graphics, and even snazzy videos and sound files for downloading. Imagine taking a guided tour of the White House, searching a directory of 800 numbers, or checking your stock portfolio, all using the Web’s visual and intuitive navigation system. That’s how simple the Web is–just click on…

Keeping Your Data In Check

ktdicYOU’RE ON THE PHONE WITH A PROSPECTIVE CLIENT. IN the course of a few minutes you learn that she wants to see your brochure, she’d like you to call again in a few weeks, she just got a new e-mail address, and she’s expecting a baby in three months (and can’t wait to take the little tyke to his or her first Detroit Tigers game). A PIM (personal information manager) could leave you scrambling to find places to transcribe this vital information. A contact manager, on the other hand, will simply absorb the details into the client’s record in an instant. The results:…

LAN Building Much Easier Than It Used To Be

lbmeMost people approach the installation of a local area network (LAN) with the same enthusiasm they reserve for IRS audits and root canals. First, there’s all that confusing terminology: Ethernet, 10BaseT, hub, router, and so on. Then there’s the labor: opening the computers to install special cards, running cables all over the place, messing with the operating system to enable its networking capabilities. Pretty daunting stuff. But no more. Today, new networking solutions and improvements to existing technologies have taken the ability to connect computers out of the hands of brainy geeks and into yours. You might think that setting up a LAN…