Making Communications Buzz

Friday, July 28, 2006

BlogHer Conference 2006 - Women Bloggers Unite

If you happen to be in San Jose, California, tomorrow, check out the BlogHer Conference 2006, a conference for women bloggers.

Of course, there's plenty going on online to compliment the non-virtual event.

Wondering whether it's for real? Just have a look at the list of sponsors.

This blogging thing just might catch on. You go 2.0 gals!

Another Free Service: Online Office Collaboration Suite

ThinkFree Online is a suite of Microsoft Office-style software available online (another manifestation of burgeoning "Web 2.0" services) akin to services available from 37signals (Making Communications Buzz post a few weeks ago:

Collaboration Online: It's Web 2-thiness)

This service is free.

(Remember to backup your files. It's always a good idea to keep multiple backups. Don't assume someone else is taking care of this for you.)

New Collaboration Features Give ThinkFree Online Users Expanded Options for Document and Content Sharing

Hosting Microsoft Office Suite with ThinkFree Server Edition

Free 411 Service for Your Cell Phone (or Any Phone)

Speaking of Free Stuff, did you know there is a free telephone directory information (411) service you can call from any phone, including your cell phone?

It's called 1-800-FREE-411. That's the number you dial: 1-800-FREE-411 (1-800-373-3411).

You can get the lowdown on their Web site:

You have to listen to a short advertisement before you get the listing you want. I have been using the service for about a year, and it has never failed.

The Web site says 1-800-FREE-411 will never give out your phone number, which, in my experience, is true.

Given that Verizon Wireless charges about $1.50 per 411 call, I am more than willing to listen to a short ad. (Verizon Wireless 411 : 800FREE411 :: Microsoft : Google)

Maybe Making Communications Buzz — The McBuzzBlog — should be renamed Where to Find Lots of Free Stuff.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Looking for Fonts? The Price is Right (Free)

You can never have too many fonts. Being a good designer usually means knowing which ones to use — and how to avoid using more than just a few in one design.
Free Font Resources courtesy of

Good font Web sites:
FontHaus (a much better font search engine than FontHaus)

Here's a very cool font identification tool that finds the name of a font based on its characteristics:

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

PDF Software: Alternatives to Adobe Acrobat

Check out this product (PDF Converter 3). It creates PDFs just like Acrobat but costs only $99.

I'm wondering if there is a catch...

Here's an endorsement of sorts:

Here is a general article that calls Adobe Acrobat a "Cadillac" and PDF Converter 3 a "Ford". Given the repair records of both makes, I'm not sure this is the most helpful analogy:
An Embarrassment of Riches: How To Choose a PDF Creation Tool,1895,1948642,00.asp

Here are two more resources for PDF creation. Both sound promising and very inexpensive. (One is free.) I have not tried either one. [a free download]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Links for 2006-07-18

Here's a great free service that will create a PDF from an RSS feed: RSS 2 You can probably think of all kinds of uses, the simplest of which is to take the feed link from any blog you like, plug it into RSS 2 PDF, and voila, blog in a box.

Here is Business Week talking about "Lessons in Corporate Blogging: What your company can learn about keeping an online journal from the likes of Dell, Microsoft, and Apple".

And here are the Web 2.0 Awards. Some very good stuff.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

How to Empty Your Cache in Internet Explorer and Firefox Web Browsers

Sometimes correcting a problem with a Web site or Web page is just a matter of emptying the "cache" of the Web browser you are using. The cache is a collection of temporary files saved on your computer by the browser.

Your browser saves these files so that it doesn't have to download them every time you visit the same page. "Caching" of files like graphics and code makes Web pages load faster, which is always a good thing.

But sometimes you may go to a Web page expecting to see an update or some other feature that fails to appear. When this happens, the first thing you should do is empty your browser's cache.

Firefox users can easily install a button that allows them to empty their cache with one click: Firefox Clear Cache Button

It takes about 60 seconds to install the button. Make sure you have Firefox version 1.5 first.

If you don't have Firefox, check it out. It's a nice alternative to Internet Explorer. It installs quickly and is less vulnerable to hackers than Internet Explorer.

For Internet Explorer users, here's how to empty the cache:

Emptying Your Cache in Internet Explorer
1. With Internet Explorer open, go to the Tools menu at the top of the window.
2. Choose "Internet Options... "
3. Select the "General" tab.
4. Under "Temporary Internet files" click the "Delete Files..." button. (Do not click the "Delete Cookies..." button.) In Internet Explorer 7,
under the "General" tab, instead of "Temporary Internet files", find "Browsing history" and click the "Delete..." button. Then click on "Delete Files..." under the "Temporary Internet files" heading, then skip to step 6 below.
5. In the Delete Files dialog box, uncheck the "Delete all offline content" check box.
6. Click "OK" [in IE7 click "Yes" and then "Close"]. This may take a few minutes if you have not done it before. (You will see the hourglass instead of the mouse arrow. Wait patiently until the hourglass turns into an arrow again.)
7. Click "OK" to close the Internet Options dialog box.

The Delete Files button empties the cache in
Internet Explorer

And here's how to empty the cache in Firefox if you don't want to install the button:

Emptying Your Cache in Firefox 2.0
1. With Firefox open, go to the Tools menu at the top of the window.
2. Choose "Clear Private Data... "
3. The "Clear Private Data" dialog box opens
4. Check the "Cache" box.
5. Be sure to uncheck all other boxes.
6. Click on the "Clear Private Data Now" button.

The Clear Private Date button (under Tools > Clear Private Data...)
empties the cache in Firefox 2.0. Be sure to uncheck all other
boxes besides Cache before clicking the button.

Emptying Your Cache in Firefox 1.5
1. With Firefox open, go to the Tools menu at the top of the window.
2. Choose "Options... "
3. Select the "Privacy" panel.
4. Select the "Cache" tab.
5. Click on the "Clear Cache Now" button.
6. Click OK.

In Firefox 1.0, the Options dialog box looks a little different (see below), but the steps are essentially the same.

Firefox Tools menu > Options...
Select the Privacy panel.
In the Cache section, click the Clear button.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Local Search: Google is the New Phone Book, Yellow Pages

Google is the New Phone Book and Yellow Pages. More than half of all Internet users use Google to find local businesses. And, according to Search Engine Watch, twelve Google patent applications were published last week, including seven that focus on geographical information and local search." So it's clear that Google knows what people are looking for.

Take a minute to type the name of your business — or your employer's — into Google. Is the company's Web site at the top of the results? It should be. If the company has a common name, add the location after the company name and search again. Still not there? If not, don't be surprised. This is true for many business Web sites.

Remember, more and more people will be using Google — and Yahoo! and MSN — to find local businesses, so if your site doesn't show up at or near the top of the list, send me an e-mail and I'll fix it for you. (e-mail link at right under Contact Mark McLaren)