Zoonini Web Services - ZooNews - Issue 36 - Summer 2008

Welcome to the Summer 2008 issue of ZooNews, from professional Web site design company Zoonini Web Services.

-- Tip for Tat --

Once again, a Zoonini client's horror story has prompted me to share another caveat with you, my dear ZooNews readers.

A client was having troubles recently with all aspects of her PC: Outlook was screwed up, and all kinds of other bad things were happening. Her computer technician suspected that a nasty virus had invaded her system, and recommended a complete reinstallation of all her software. Before he wiped her hard drive clean, the tech asked whether she had backed up all her data. Knowing that she regularly backs up all her documents, she answered confidently in the affirmative. But when she got her virus-free computer back, she opened up her email program and discovered that all her old messages and email contacts were nowhere to be found.

Wait a minute, you ask, didn't I say she'd backed up all her data? Well, Word documents and Excel files, yes. Unfortunately she'd forgotten about her email data, and it was now gone forever.

The moral of this story is: play it safe and back up your data regularly. And that means all your data, including items you may not think about often, like all the bits and pieces used by your desktop email program (if you use one) including mail filters, signatures, inbox messages, sent mail, sub-folders, address books... etc.

-- GeekSpeak --

The term micro-blogging has cropped up more and more over the last year and refers to short-form blogging applications like the increasingly popular Twitter, as well as newer-kids-on-the-block like Plurk (invented by the creators of my beloved Todoist), and the Montreal-developed Identi.ca.

Micro-bloggers can opt to "follow" other micro-bloggers, to better keep up with their mini-posts of approximately 140 characters or less, and are able to ask each other brief questions.

I knew that micro-blogging had hit the big time when I heard a couple of months ago that the Phoenix Mars Lander (28,624 "followers" and counting) has its own Twitter account, full of folksy "tweets" written in the voice of the interplanetary robot itself. To wit:

"Everything's going great! Using Atomic Force Microscope for first time and getting ready to drill into the ice hopefully next week" – 09:41 PM July 11, 2008

"Are you ready to celebrate? Well, get ready: We have ICE!!!!! Yes, ICE, *WATER ICE* on Mars! w00t!!! Best day ever!!" – 05:14 PM June 19, 2008

"Got today off from new activities so the team could check my flash memory. But now I have a long list of to-do's for Thurs." – 03:37 PM June 18, 2008

Zoonini partner Charlotte Riley swears by Twitter as a business-blogging tool, and has already landed work due to her "tweets"; some of her "followers" enjoyed her Twitter writing style so much they were inspired to check out her portfolio.

"I love Twitter; you can ask your Twitter pals for quick feedback or advice, get industry news, share resources and connect with people in a way that's very human – a combination of professional and personal. It takes time to build authentic connections, but it can be an invaluable tool," says Riley, who suggests these articles for those who want to know more:

Got a technology term you'd like demystified in ZooNews? Send it to questions@zoonini.com.

-- Liftoff --

All-Pest Control Ontario's All-Pest Control Services wanted to convey the environmentally friendly approach of its pest-management services through a new Web site design and freshly optimized copy. Our remake features blue and green tones blended with soft silhouettes of images – from insects, to flowers and trees, to icons representing the sectors served – that subtly underline All-Pest's specialties and "green" philosophy. Clearly defined sections target residential, commercial, and industrial audiences. The site employs optimized text by A.C. Riley Communications to improve search-engine rankings and allow potential customers to find All-Pest more easily in online searches.

-- ZooBytes --

In the category of odd Web design trends, I've noticed an interesting retro design phenomenon among Montreal restaurant Web sites incorporating 1970s-style fake wood grain textures. For example, see L'atelier (watch the sound) and Fuschia Epicerie Fleur. Though usually I detest fake woodgrain as a real-world décor element, I find something oddly appealing about these Web incarnations. Still, since I suspect this is likely a passing fad, I would probably hesitate to "date" any of my own site designs with it. What do you think?

À la prochaine,

aka Kathryn Presner

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