Let Your Website Sound Off!

wsdIN DESIGNING YOUR WEB SITE YOU followed all the rules, jettisoned slow-loading graphics, and provided visitors with handy search and even polling and chat features. The next step is to wow them with audio.

You can use sound to enhance your site in a variety of ways–to inform visitors about a product or service, entertain them as they navigate your site, or as vehicle for communicating with you in real time. Although adding an audio component has always been possible, tricky code and hefty downloads have made it tough for all but the most tech-savvy Webmasters to implement. Now, a new wave of tools makes it easy.

“A Web site without sound is like watching The X-Files with the volume off,” says Alexis Vincent Aiosa, a

Finances: Keeping ‘Em Separated

fkesWhether it’s a corporate credit card, a business checking account, an entry in Intuit’s QuickBooks, or just a pouchful of business receipts kept in her purse–and later stapled to an expense report–April Spring has drawn a broad demilitarized zone between her personal and business finances.

“I treat myself as if I were the CFO or the president of a large corporation,” says Spring, principal with Spring & Associates LLC, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based corporate administration and investor relations firm. “I learned years ago that if you want to be like those at the top, you have to act like those at the top.”

Many home office workers commingle their finances, drawing business and personal expenses from the same till. Business checks are deposited into a personal …

Database It, If You Haven’t Already

dyhrTO PROPERLY TARGET YOUR PRODUCTS OR SERVICES to existing customers, you need to know who your customers are. In other words, you need a database that contains as much detail as you can get about them–what they buy and how often, or which promotions are most successful and which customers participate in them. You can then save time and money by targeting events and products more accurately.

There are several ways to create a customer database. An obvious option is to build one from scratch using a database program such as Microsoft Access, Lotus Approach, or FileMaker Pro. If you’re not comfortable with the program’s design and report-generation features, you might consider having the database designed by a subcontractor or professional with experience in business applications.…

Microsoft’s Early Browser War Was A Sign Of Things To Come

mebJudge Thomas Penfield Jackson’s ruling that Microsoft cannot force OEMs to buy Internet Explorer as a condition of their Windows license raises more questions than it answers. But the questions, at first blush, seem either unanswerable or unimportant from a pure force-of-impact standpoint.

While the media can’t have enough of this story, the ruling will hardly be felt by anybody except the main players, spinmeisters, and some programmers and marketers at Microsoft. Let’s walk through it:

There are only two browsers that matter: Netscape’s and Microsoft’s. The judge’s decision won’t change that. What he seemed to be saying is that Microsoft cannot tie the potential success of a rising product to an established monopoly. But he also wrote, “Microsoft demonstrated, at the very least, the …

Desktop Publishing Tips For Time Savers

dptWhat we call desktop publishing isn’t really a A single job. It’s a series of individual tasks performed over and over again until everything looks and reads just right. If we shave even a few seconds off such repetitive tasks as changing type specifications, printing draft copies, and placing the insertion point at the right spot on a page, those seconds can add up to hours over the course of a complex job.

Design for Minimum Maintenance

One of the most time-consuming and nitpicky jobs in desktop publishing is checking for mishyphenations and overly letterspaced words. The major source of these bothersome problems is justifying text in nice, neat columns. By telling the computer to make everything line up flush against both the left and right …

U Of Miami Found IBM’s Servers To Be The Best

ibmsBack in 1997, IT managers at Miami University set out to make their system Y2K compliant–and their technology overhaul snowballed shortly thereafter.

“We realized that the amount we were willing to invest for Y2K could bring us a whole new system that would grow with our future technology needs,” says Kristin Froehlke, associate provost for computing and information services and CIO at Miami University. “We knew it was time to seize the moment.”

Their first need was for a more robust software solution to handle the school’s many administrative duties. They had been operating with a patchwork of commercial, custom and homegrown legacy systems and applications running on an IBM 9672 R21 mainframe under OS/390 MVS and CICS.

“We had a hybrid of homegrown and vendor-supplied …

So How’s Your Privacy Doing?

pvpIF YOU THINK YOUR PRIVACY IS PROTECTED, GUESS again. Anyone with access to a computer and certain online services can dig up more about you in one afternoon than an old gumshoe could track down in a week. In just 10 minutes, for example, we found out Vice President Al Gore’s and House Speaker Newt at Gingrich’s home addresses and phone numbers, their lengths of residency, the value of their homes, and their estimated incomes, using the PeopleTracker database. PeopleTracker also provides another choice bit of information: The names, addresses, and phone numbers of Gore’s and Gingrich’s neighbors.

Fame and fortune, however, are not criteria for disclosure. Depending on the state you live in, other CDB Infotek services and databases, such as Nexis, might provide personal …