Fire the developer

There are lots of reasons you might want to fire the developer of your Web site, but certainly the most practical is the continuing cost of making changes. We found a fix.

It’s called Edit.com, and that’s the address too. Edit.com sets up your Web site so you can make changes just by going to it with the Internet Explorer browser that comes with Windows. You make changes just by typing over any text. You can also add and remove pictures, add a shopping cart, enter links to other sites and in general unleash the designer you always knew was in you.

You can upload Adobe PDF files that will open automatically when the user clicks on them. This feature alone opens lots of possibilities. You can create lists of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and have each item expand with an explanation when clicked. If you want to add new pages, there are templates for that.

The initial work also cleans up any problems with your site. You’re given a 20-minute walk-through to show you what you need to know.

Some Web site changes can be complicated, and when it comes to those, Edit.com offers custom work for US$75 an hour. Presumably, you wouldn’t do that often. The parts of the site you can change yourself are marked with dashed lines.

Joy maintains a Web site for her local woman’s club (www.wcofe.org) with another Web page editor, Macromedia’s Contribute. A problem with using Contribute, however, is that not all of the Web site appears in the editing screen. And Contribute is powerful enough to let the user make changes that can really mess up a site.

Find more info and a free demo at edit.com.

The big backup

A few weeks ago we wrote about Symantec’s Ghost 10 for backing up your hard drive. Now we’re going to look at a new program: True Image 9 from Acronis.

There are some very nice things about this program, not the least of which is that you can continue working while you do backups and while you restore previous backups. There is also a free trial version of True Image 9 at the Acronis Web site: www.acronis.com. Ghost has no free trial.

One of the complaints we heard from users working with Ghost is that tech support was US$30 an incident, from the very first call. Actually, if you ignored the warning about the US$30 price tag and clicked on the support button anyway, you got another button that let you have free tech support through live chat or e-mail. Tricky, huh?

Acronis tech support works in a similar way, but it doesn’t hide the free path from view. Interestingly, you can get e-mail tech support even if you’re just using the free trial version.

You can back up your whole computer with this trial version. For 14 days you have a full working version of the program. You can create bootable media containing your backup (CDs, DVDs or tape) or you can back up the computer to itself, to a partition on its own hard drive. Obviously, the hard drive has to have enough free space to duplicate its contents, but these days a lot of hard drives are huge and have lots of free space.

You don’t have to back up the whole computer. One of the new features of True Image 9 is the ability to back up individual files or select all files of a particular type. The program is US$50 from the Acronis Web site.

Keep it zipped

Programs to compress files (“zip” them) have been around since just about a week after the first desktop computer was sold. At least it seems that long. They were all pretty good, but at last we found a better one.

SnapZip is US$30 from www.winferno.com, and the big difference between this and other zipping programs is that it compresses photos as well as text. We zipped a 303 MBs folder of photos into a 1 megabyte folder in two minutes by allowing the program to reduce the resolution of the photos to something acceptable for e-mails or Web sites. After the zipping, we could either send the zipped file or any of the individual photos in their e-mail-friendly size.

You can zip a whole Web site if you want, though the percentages aren’t as dramatic; our Web site is 213 megabytes, and we zipped it down to 136.

Illustrator CS2 Killer Tips” by Dave Cross and Matt Kloskowski; from New Riders (www.newriders.com).

This is a collection of tips and tricks for using Adobe Illustrator. One of the best things about it is that unlike many books of this type that spend a lot of time and wasted words pawing the ground before they get to the point, this one is all tips and tricks. One of many that we enjoyed was how to add your own name to the programming credits that come up when you click on help files. Those changes are not permanent to the program, but just to amaze and amuse your friends.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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