From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      TOURBUS -- 9 MAR 03 -- BEYOND 2003 / WSO

TODAY'S TOURBUS TOPIC: BEYOND 2003 / WEB SITE OPTIMIZATION

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, where there is just one moon and one golden sun, and a smile means friendship to ev'ryone. [Though the mountains divide and the oceans are wide, it's a small world after all!] :P

TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors. Please take a moment to visit today's sponsors and thank them for keeping our little bus of Internet happiness on the road week after week.

On with the show ...

Today's post is going to be a little more serious than usual. No "poke the bunny" or "zombo.com." Instead, we're going to look at the future of Microsoft and at a new book that may forever change the way you create Web pages.

Microsoft: 2003 and Beyond

I'd bet anything you've never heard of Andrew Grygus or his company Automation Access. That's about to change.

Back on February 23rd, Grugus posted an editorial titled "2003 and Beyond -- Technology trends that will affect your business and how you do business." You can find Grygus' editorial on the Automation Access site at

http://www.aaxnet.com/editor/edit029.html .

Predicting the future is almost always a fool's errand [flying car, anyone?] But, using research and news articles from hundreds of different sources, Grygus wrote an 50+ page editorial that offers an in-depth, ten year look at information technology in general and Microsoft in specific. As Gryus notes,

This article is a guide to trends that are already in full motion and well known by technology specialists, but are far from obvious to most business managers.

I take exception with Grygus calling "2003 and Beyond" an article. It isn't an article, it's an editorial. Granted, it's an exceptionally well researched editorial [the bibliography is *ELEVEN* pages long], but it's an editorial nonetheless.

Grygus adds that

Much of this article deals specifically with Microsoft and Microsoft's future. This is inescapable, because Microsoft is a huge part of the information industry - and aspires to being all of it.

And therin lies the problem. The last seven words of that quote show that Grygus isnít particularly a lover of Microsoft, and he allows his anti-Microsoft, pro-Open Source/UNIX viewpoint to seep into his "article" from time to time. In more than one place in his editorial, Grygus is long on accusation and short on substantiation.

All that aside, Grygus' "2003 and Beyond" is one of the most important things I have read in a LONG time. It's no "Crime and Puzzlement," mind you, but "2003 and Beyond" does give a frightening and eye- opening look at Microsoft's public plans over the next decade.

Here is a small example of why I think Grygus' 50+ page editorial is a must-read:

The successor to Windows XP (due in 2004, and rapidly slipping to 2005) is currently code named Longhorn, and it will not be compatible with your existing software, hardware or methods. Microsoft has already stated that backward compatibility will not be a design feature.

Here's another one:

Office 2003 and Windows Sever 2003 will include a Rights Management Services feature for document security. ... If Microsoft can convince businesses to use this feature, Office 2003 documents will be completely unreadable by OpenOffice / StarOffice, WordPerfect Office, Lotus, and by all older versions of Microsoft Office, forcing a total upgrade of Windows, Office and the computers it runs on.

If your reaction to either of these quotes is "whoa!" -- or if you are in ANY way, shape, or form involved with computers and information technology -- you NEED to take an hour out of your day and read Andrew Grygus "2003 and Beyond" at

http://www.aaxnet.com/editor/edit029.html .

Regardless of whether you agree with Grygus' anti-Microsoft rhetoric and conclusions, I promise that "2003 and Beyond" is an eye-opening editorial.

Speed up Your Site: Web Site Optimization

As long as we're talking about good reads, I have a book I want to recommend to everyone who creates his or her own Web pages. But, as with anything I write, I first have to preface my recommendation with a long-winded introduction. :P

I have good news and bad news. The good news is ANYONE can create a Web page. Time was the only way to create a Web page was to learn 30 or so HTML tags and then code the page by hand in Notepad or SimpleText. Then WYSIWYG Web editors like Adobe Pagemill, Macromedia Dreamweaver, and [*shudder*] Microsoft FrontPage were released, meaning that you no longer needed to know HTML. And don't forget that built into most Microsoft Office products is a File > Save as Web Page feature that will automatically take your Word document or PowerPoint presentation and vomit it out as a disturbingly bloated Web page.

[I use the word "vomit" deliberately. I just took that last paragraph and saved it as a Web page in Microsoft Word. The resulting HTML file was ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY FIVE LINES LONG! For ONE paragraph, 109 words! Wow.]

So, the good news is that anyone can create a Web page. The bad news is that [besides the fact that *ANYONE* can create a Web page] creating a *GOOD* Web page is actually quite difficult. And what makes a good web page *GOOD* isn't just the design [and there are a billion Web page design books out there -- even *I'VE* written one] or the usability [a field pretty much dominated by Jakob Nielsen and his articles and books at http://www.useit.com/]. Design and usability are essential elements of Web design, but there is one extra element that separates the amateurs from the professionals: Web site optimization. And we're not just talking about how big your Web pages are, but how fast they load.

Until recently, making Web pages load faster was equal parts magic and luck. Woe betide the person who tried to find *ALL* the tips and tricks to make a Web page load in under 8 seconds.

All that changes today.

Andy King, the guru behind WebReference.com and JavaScript.com, sent me a review copy of his new book "Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization" a few weeks ago, and it absolutely knocked my socks off.

If you aren't familiar with Web site optimization (WSO), it's a series of techniques that minimize Web page file sizes and maximize page display speeds. In other words, WSO is simple stuff you can do to the Web pages you create to make those pages load faster. After all, people HATE waiting for slow Web pages.

What King has done in "Speed Up Your Site" is not only assemble pretty much every WSO technique known to man, he's also collected the research and conducted the interviews explaining WHY these techniques actually work.

You can see the book's table of contents online at

http://websiteoptimization.com/speed/toc/ .

While the entire book is exceptional, the four chapters in "Part II - Optimizing Markup: HTML and XHTML" are absolutely worth their weight in gold. It is in these four chapters that King shows you, step-by- step, how to clean up HTML bloat; minimize HTTP requests; tighten up comma-delimited attributes; speed up table rendering; and much, much more. And the results will ASTOUND you.

For example, using the techniques in just these four chapters alone, I was able to make my NetSquirrel.com homepage 26.5% smaller and load 42.9% faster. Words can't describe how cool that is.

The four chapters in Part II of King's book are accessible to ANYONE who knows simple HTML. That's not quite true for the next five chapters. In "Part III - DHTML Optimization: CSS and JavaScript," King shows you how to optimize your CSS and speed up your JS download and execution speeds. Of course, if [like me] you don't know CSS or JS from a hole in the ground, these five chapters aren't going to be much help to you. CSS and JS aren't topics for the weak of heart, and optimization only makes those topics that much more complex. But, if you *DO* know CSS and JS, King offers step-by-step instructions and real-world examples that show you what you need to do to maximize your page display speeds.

Let me also put in a plug for Chapter 15 - Keyword Optimization. This chapter shows you how to fine tune your page's meta keywords so that you can attract both search engines and, more importantly, visitors. Every Web design book tells you that you need to use meta keywords. King actually shows you how to find the meta keywords that yield the highest results. Instead of paying someone else lots of money to attract visitors to your site, follow the 10 steps that King outlines in this chapter. You'll save yourself both time and, more importantly, LOTS of money.

As I said earlier, Andy King's "Speed Up Your Site" absolutely knocked my socks off. There are a squillion Web design books out there, but this one belongs on the bookshelf of every serious Web designer.

To find out more about "Speed Up Your Site," including where you can buy your own copy, check out

http://websiteoptimization.com/ .

Get your FREE TRIAL issue of Smart Computing!

How can I speed up my PC? Which operating system is right for me? How do I eliminate the threat of computer viruses? How can I get rid of spyware, and prevent my computer from being hacked? Discover the easy to follow, Plain English answers to all of your computing questions that ONLY Smart Computing can deliver; get your FREE TRIAL issue NOW! Internet TourBus readers, get the best computing value on the Internet, Try Smart Computing Today!

http://tourbus.com/smart.htm

That's it for today. Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again soon.


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
TOURBUS
HOME PAGE
LINUX
TUTORIAL
TOURBUS
ARCHIVES
BEYOND 2003-WSO, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
TOURBUS Site Search