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((((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) May 29, 2001

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New this week on WebReference.com and the Web:

1. GRAPHICS: Menus with Beauty and Brains 5: Fireworks Rollovers 2. JAVASCRIPT: Embedding Sound with Flash, Part IV: Native JavaScript 3. BOOK REVIEW: InfoSense: Turning Information into Knowledge 4. OTHER VOICES: * Actionscript: The Definitive Guide * Blogging as a Form of Journalism * Designing Web Usability: The User Controls Navigation 5. NET NEWS: * The Buzz on Swarmcast * Outsourcing: The Reluctant Bridegroom * Hormel Gracefully Concedes On SPAM vs. Spam

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. PRODUCTION GRAPHICS: Menus with Beauty and Brains 5: Fireworks Rollovers

Using automated tools to create your rollovers might save you some time, but what about your users? Learn what you should and should not do when creating rollovers using Fireworks. By Wendy Peck.

http://www.webreference.com/graphics/column48/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. DOC JAVASCRIPT: Embedding Sound with Flash, Part IV: Native JavaScript

Having examined the FlashSound JavaScript API, the Doc now turns his attention to native JavaScript support for Flash. Learn how to use JavaScript to safely create and manipulate Flash audio on your pages. By Yehuda Shiran.

http://www.webreference.com/js/column84/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. BOOK REVIEW: InfoSense: Turning Information into Knowledge

Information is everywhere. To paraphrase Yoda, "it surrounds us, it binds us." It has become the only "tangible" product many of us work with. As information becomes the most valuable asset a company has, how do we manage it all?

In InfoSense, noted mathematician and popular science writer Keith Devlin shows us how to make sense of the constant flow of information that bombards us daily. What is crucial, Devlin says, is to understand the difference between data, information and knowledge.

Devlin's mathematical inclinations show with his equations that illustrate his points. Equations like "Information = Data + Meaning" and "Knowledge = Internalized information + ability to utilize the information." Essentially, information only turns into knowledge when we attach meaning to it. When we understand it. Distinguishing between the various types of info in the flow is all-important. Here are some key points addressed in the book:

* Why people, not computers, are the most effective way to transfer knowledge * How social and cultural factors influence work * The hidden rules of everyday communication * How to conduct a meeting to achieve what you want * How to avoid miscommunication

Devlin's low-tech way to higher productivity is straightforward, learn how to communicate better. He shows how to converse more efficiently, how to run more effective meetings, and how to avoid miscommunication (with some shocking airline accident examples) with clear unambiguous language.

Devlin uses Situation theory to illustrate how to increase productivity within a group. He says that the ideal group size is two or three. As you add more group members the likelihood of confusion increases.

It seems that the more participants in a meeting, the higher the likelihood that the group will spend most of the time discussing information already known. This is because people have a tendency to discuss what they already know, and not bring up new subjects in conversation. They lack adequate "common knowledge" and need to be consciously guided to be effective.

An example: here's how to avoid going over familiar ground in a meeting:

1. Get participants to submit in advance the points they wish to make. 2. Adapt a round-robin format where each person in turn is asked to contribute something new. 3. List each new item introduced on a flipchart or a whiteboard. 4. Constantly remind the participants that the aim is to examine new information or ideas. 5. Cast the task at hand in an open-ended fashion as one of examining all the options, rather than making a judgement or arriving at a decision. 6. Ensure that everyone in the group has a clearly defined and clearly understood area of expertise. 7. Build up the team over time, so everyone becomes familiar with one another's areas of expertise and with their strengths and weaknesses.

Columbo was really creating context when, at the last minute, he turned around at the door and said "Oh, and one more thing I don't understand...." Experts are those who know the rules so well, they routinely break them. To become an expert at the art of communication, this is a good place to start.

InfoSense: Turning Information into Knowledge By Keith Devlin W H Freeman & Co. $14.95 ISBN: 0716741644

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 4. OTHER VOICES: Actionscript: The Definitive Guide, Blogging as a Form of Journalism, Designing Web Usability: The User Controls Navigation

>Actionscript: The Definitive Guide

Slashdot's Brian Donovan reviews O'Reilly & Associates' "ActionScript: The Definitive Guide," and says this is a "must have" book for anyone working on Web animation with Flash. http://slashdot.org/books/01/05/14/1233255.shtml Slashdot.org, May 27, 2001

>Blogging as a Form of Journalism

Weblogging will drive a powerful new form of amateur journalism as millions of Net users take on the role of columnist, reporter, analyst and publisher while fashioning their own personal broadcasting networks. http://ojr.usc.edu/content/story.cfm?request=585 Online Journalism Review, May 24, 2001

>Designing Web Usability: The User Controls Navigation

Jakob Nielsen, shares his wisdom and experience on the topics of content, page design, and how to connect with any Web user, in any situation. From New Riders. http://wdvl.internet.com/Authoring/Design/Usability/use4_1.html WDVL.com, May 25, 2001

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 5. NET NEWS: The Buzz on Swarmcast, Outsourcing: The Reluctant Bridegroom, Hormel Gracefully Concedes On SPAM vs. Spam

>The Buzz on Swarmcast

The public beta release of Swarmcast marks a radical change in the economics of distributing large media files over the Net. The OpenCola project promises to dramatically speed file downloads - early testers found effective download rates as high as 500 K/second. http://www.openp2p.com/pub/a/p2p/2001/05/24/opencola.html OpenP2P.com, May 24, 2001

>Outsourcing: The Reluctant Bridegroom

CIOs are wary of a shotgun wedding, but IT outsourcing has reached a new maturity and may be ready for a second chance. http://cin.earthweb.com/public/article/0,3555,10493_773741,00.html CIO Information Network, May 28, 2001

>Hormel Gracefully Concedes On SPAM vs. Spam

The Minnesota company Hormel has quietly abandoned its trademark protection campaign. In a policy statement on SPAM and the Internet posted on its website, Hormel now says that it "does not object" to use of the slang term "spam" to describe unsolicited commercial e-mail. http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,44111,00.html http://slashdot.org/articles/01/05/29/0117200.shtml Wired/Slashdot.org, May 29, 2001

That's it for this week, see you next time.

Scott Clark Managing Editor, WebReference.com sclark@internet.com

Dan Ragle Assistant Editor, WebReference.com dragle@internet.com

Andrew King Newsletter Editor, WebReference.com aking@internet.com

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