Archive for March, 2007

Microsoft Expression Web Release; The Impact

Microsoft has released its successor to FrontPage. Microsoft Expression Web is its new design software package to compete with the Adobe Creative suite.

In its day Microsoft FrontPage set the standard for an easy to use Web site, application and page design software. Dreamweaver and other packages may have been preferred by us geeks. FrontPage held (and still does) the preference for the masses. Its initial release certainly brought Web sites within the reach of anyone who could use Microsoft Word. I know folks who have sworn by FrontPage for years – and they have never seen a single line of HTML code. (And I am glad they never looked; the code was never very clean).

Microsoft Expression Web is a major upgrade as the replacement for FrontPage and reveals many more technical aspects than FrontPage did. This may in fact discourage widespread adoption by previous FrontPage users. No matter. With this package, Microsoft is certainly going full bore to compete with the Adobe Creative Suite and move away from its lighter weight FrontPage predecessor. Reviewers do not see this as a Macromedia or Photoshop killer. However, the package is clearly targeted to the Web newbies and literati and will eat into the market for those not tied to Adobe. .

Adobe based designers will likely never switch to this suite. However, it will attract those who prefer Microsoft’s’ end-to-end integration across the Office/Server line. The biggest fault of this tool/product line appears to be that it comes from Microsoft. I expect that the vocal anti-Microsoft crowd will not be able to overcome the ease of acquisition and acceptance for product integration the majority of computer users have with Microsoft products.

My first impressions with this product are positive. It places a set of Web 2.0 features into the hands of the masses without the need to learn code. Once the plug-ins become more available the functionality will come to rival that available via its Adobe competition. I do not think I will switch from Dreamweaver. But, I would consider recommending the package to those without a brand preference.

Check out the products here: http://www.microsoft.com/Expression/

A thorough review will be posted soon.

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e-Newsletters vs. Blogs

Debbie Weil brings up some great points on why companies should consider transferring a newsletter into a blog format. She brings up several points including:

  • HTML email newsletter layout takes more time than posting to a blog.
  • Email is passive. The blog encourages comments and responses
  • Blogs support email and RSS feeds – the option is left to the reader.

In addition I have found:

  • Email newsletters are increasingly be deleted without being read. Readers of RSS feeds are can opt-in to read items at their leisure without filling up their email accounts.
  • Email newsletters are prone to be getting caught in spam filters. RSS feeds from a blog do not get caught in these filters.
  • Blogs offer a built in archive, categories and other functions that can require customizations in newsletter software.
  • There are many resources to help you promote a blog. Newsletters are much more reliant on word-of-mouth.
  • Blogs eliminate the hassles of email distribution and any associated costs.
  • Blogs provide a home for you to attract additional readers to an always available archive.
  • Blogs encourage more frequent short postings than the less frequent e-newsletter.

WordBiz Report Article

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Fundraising via Mobile Phones – Skip the Whole Donor Model

Over at work, we are routinely asked to provide a stategy where a non-profit can recive donations via SMS.  This is cerainly easily and rapidly impemented via the existing technology.  The roadblock is that the carriers end up pulling away 30% – 45% of the donation.  This instanly makes this channel a non-vaiable option for every group we have reviewed thiis outlet.

Amnesty International appears to have taken another appraoch.  They are partnering with  a Working Assests to provide co-branded service — Amnesty Wireless.  Amnesty International then recives 10% of charges without addtional overhead.  This is certainly a more creative model.  It will be interesting to see how many people actually sign up for the service powered by the Nationwide Sprint PCS Network. 

In any case, this is probably the start of a trend in this saturated commodity market for cell phone services to enable affinity programs similar to those we find with credit cards.

Gizmodo Article

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You know customized search engines are main stream when…

Gizmodo is clearly again on the top of things with this important news.  K Fed has his own search engine!  For some reason I think this is going a bit in the direction of over targeting your search engine. Then again this is a neat example of a way for PRODEGE to promote its services and a much better way for K Fed to provide his fan(s) a better site than the average celebrity.

Gizmodo Article 

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