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((((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) February 22, 2001


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New this week on WebReference.com and the Web:

1. TWO NEW CONTESTS: Submit & Win NetObjects Fusion 5!, Signup & Win! 2. FEATURED ARTICLE: Flash Your E-mail 3. NET NEWS: * Online recruiting changes the hiring game * Autopsy of a Dot Com * Internet via power lines

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. TWO GREAT CONTESTS: Submit & Win NetObjects Fusion 5!, Signup & Win

>Submit & Win NetObjects Fusion 5!

Submit your article today and you could win NetObjects Fusion 5! If your article makes the cut, and we publish it on the site or in this newsletter, you win! Ken Lapp wins NetObjects this week for his article on how to flash-enable your e-mail. See the submission page for details:


>Signup & Win!

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. FEATURED ARTICLE: Flash Your E-mail

Would you like to have a signature file on your emails that instantly tells recipients you are a good designer? Would you like to bring your client's newsletters to life with all the capabilities of Flash animation? Then this simple technology is for you.

In addition you can:

- Create email stationery for your clients that automatically writes in whatever size, color and typeface they want.

- Create different animations for each department in your client's company, or for each staff member if necessary, and change any number of them remotely whenever you like.

- Use JavaScript to include things like an automatic slide show in newsletters and emails.

- Use GIF animations instead of Flash if, for instance, you have an existing one you want to use.

The only thing required to use this technology is an email client that can send messages in HTML format, and allows you to use "Stationery." However, Outlook will be the email client used as an example in this article.

The first thing you need to do is make your own HTML file to be used as the Stationery, which will hold your Flash animation. I find it easier to make my HTML file and then insert the Flash code using the Object and Embed tags, as spelled out in Flash help. But you can certainly use the "HTML" selection in the Flash "Publish Settings" window for this purpose instead.

Make sure you are using the latest Flash templates when you create your Flash animations. You may have to download them from the Macromedia site. They enable your animations to automatically ask anyone who receives your email or newsletter and doesn't have the Flash Player, if they want to install it. All they have to do is click "Yes" and in five seconds or less they see your animation. It is a painless process they have to do only once.


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After you've built your new Stationery you need to save it in your "Stationery" folder. With a Microsoft operating system the path is C:/Program Files/Common Files/Microsoft Shared/Stationery.

Now you have a choice. You need to go into your email client and either select your new HTML file as your Stationery, or as your Signature. The main difference is that when you use it as your Signature you can set your email client to add it to Replies and Forwards. With Stationery this will not happen. But when you use it as your Stationery you can change the color of your entire page, which won't happen if you use it as your Signature.

To use your new HTML file as your Stationery in Outlook Express click - "Tools," "Options," and "Compose." Put a check mark in the box beside "Mail," and click the "Select" button. Select your new HTML file, click "OK," "OK."

To use your new HTML file as your Signature in Outlook Express click - "Tools," "Options," and “Signature." Click the "New" button. Click the radio button beside "File," and browse to select your new HTML file in your Stationery folder. When you get to the Stationery folder your HTML file will not be visible until you select "HTML files," or "All files" in the "Files of Type" field. Select your new file, click "Open," "OK." You must put a check mark in the box beside "Add Signatures to all outgoing messages," and you probably want to deselect "Don't add signatures to Replies and Forwards."

Perhaps the main reason this technology has not been used before is that when you are writing an email your Flash animation is not visible. It's there all right, but it's not visible. You can tell it's there because your mouse changes when it's over. You have to be careful not to delete it accidentally.

If your email client has a Preview mode you can see your Flash animation just as the receiver of your message will see it. If you don't have a Preview mode you can see it by saving the message in your Drafts folder, or by sending the email to yourself.

In order to ensure your Flash animation will not add to the loading time of your email or newsletter you have to save it to a server, and replace the name of your Flash movie with the path to the file on your server, in the Object and Embed code in your HTML Stationery file. The best place to save your animation is on your Web server. This way it is always accessible to anyone reading your email, and to you when you want to make changes. Images for JavaScript slide shows and gif animations are sourced the same way.

The rest is just creating your Flash animation so it streams smoothly at 56K, at a minimum, or even 28K if recipients of your message might be using slower modems. My personal opinion is that reading an email is not something people expect to take a long time to do, so they won't want to wait for your Flash to load before it plays, but there may be exceptions.

By looking at the code for the other Stationeries in your Stationery folder, you will easily be able to set the default size, color and typeface for your new Stationery, as well as margins. You can view and change the code for ny HTML file by opening it in a text editor like Notepad.

The technology has one drawback. If the recipient of your email is behind a large firewall, like at AOL, animations are filtered out and included as attachments. They won't see the animation unless they open the attachment. But, for most people, email just got a lot more fun.

# # #

About the author: Ken Lapp is President of Standard Graphics Ltd. and lives in Vancouver, CA. Ken can be reached at mailto:ken@standardgraphics.net .


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**********************************************************adv.**** ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. NET NEWS: Online recruiting changes the hiring game Autopsy of a Dot Com Internet via power lines

>Online recruiting changes the hiring game

How has online recruiting affected your job and your chances of finding a new one. Find out. http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1007-201-4891763-0.html 010222

>Autopsy of a Dot Com

See why a famous dot-com failed and learn how to avoid such mistakes. http://www.idg.net/crd_pets_388097_102.html 010219

>Internet via power lines

Telephone lines? DSL? Cable? Nope. We're talking power lines. Find out about the techology that's faster than DSL. http://cnnfn.cnn.com/2001/02/22/sbrunning/biz_powerline/ 010222

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

Andrew King Managing Editor, WebReference.com update@webreference.com

Alexander Rylance Assistant Editor, WebReference.com arylance@internet.com

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