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Published 07-Jun-2001
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All this week's Wiz!

  Webby Awards  

Yes, it's not only TV shows that you can vote for. While voting for this year's Webby Awards closed some time ago, the winners and nominated sites are worth visiting.

When looking for some good, popular sites, also go to the Awards Sites and the Web Award sites. Of course, if you're thinking of how to design your own site, Webby Award sites will provide plenty of ideas and inspiration.

  Windows Drivers  

Drivers for Windows are special pieces of software that manufacturers write so Windows can control various devices connected to your computer. For example, your printer, mouse, screen and modem all have their own driver software that for the most part we don't have to worry about.

There are times, though, when manufacturers improve their drivers for a particular device to add features or fix bugs. It's a good idea to visit the manufacturer's web site to see if there are better versions of drivers for any device you've got connected. New video cards can sometimes cause system problems due to poor drivers and often printer and scanner manufacturers make improvements and give extra features. For a list of updated drivers and help with installation, WinDrivers is a good site for information.

  Caring for Windows  

This week we've already mentioned one way of taking care of Windows, namely ensuring your devices are using the latest, bug-free drivers. Another simple way is to ensure you always install software that has an uninstall feature available through Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel. This means you can remove software you no longer need in the proper manner so that Windows remains healthy.

For those of you with Windows 98/Me, you've got some system utilities that will check your system and make any repairs to important Windows files. These special utilities are there for the occasions when Windows starts misbehaving - it's better to attempt to find what's gone wrong rather than just re-installing Windows. This latter option doesn't solve anything, and often entails more pain than it's worth, especially when you've got lots of data on your hard drive.

  Planning Your Web Site  

Before you start putting together your site in your favourite HTML editor, take time to consider how users will navigate through your pages. How you set out your menus depends a great deal on the type of content you'll be presenting, so spend some of your online time visiting sites that present different types of content. Then it's out with paper and pen to map out how visitors will find their way around your pages.

You'll need quite a different type of navigation style for a site that's going to consist of technical type articles compared to, for example, a site that's going to present daily news items. As an example of how to manage technical content, visit MSDN Online Web Workshop which consists of different areas each with its own table of contents (actually, you'll come across an article of how it's done).

Bearing in mind that's it's generally best to devote one main idea to one page, you'll start seeing what items you'll need on your menu. You'll see some sites with their menus horizontally placed on each page, others with their menus positioned vertically. If you're not sure how many different sections you might have, use a vertical navigation layout because it's easier to expand as you add more to your site in the future.

There is a certain amount of trial and error when you start out, but if you've made a plan on paper and used ideas from other's sites, you'll have a reasonably clear goal of what content your site will contain and how your visitors can get around.

  Email Confirmation  

There are occasions when you need confirmation your email has been received. The ITraceYou site promotes itself as being the only free service on the 'Net so you can you sure your mail gets to its recipient.

While talking about email, you may have seen a recent survey showing that when asked four questions in a post, most people only answer one, or two at the most, and leave the other questions unanswered. It's probably better, then, to limit your posts to one question per post.

If you frequently get many questions in email along the same lines because of your work (How do I do such and such? How does this work?), save yourself a lot of time in answering these by writing up solutions on a web site. Then, when asked, your reply simply consists of pointing the inquirer to the relevant web page. Saves an amazing amount of time!


The Internet never stands still so you can expect to come across sites and pages that were there yesterday but are gone today. If it's a particular story or article that you're returning to but it can't be found this time, try going to the site's home page to check if they've changed the site's layout. There may be an archive section but not all sites have this feature. Otherwise you may be just unlucky and have to search elsewhere for the information.

A story that webWiz hopes is still online by the time you read this describes how a student project delivers the morning's weather forecast using your piece of toast as a display device.

If you'd like more pieces of trivia, visit the Useless Facts of the Day. To keep warm in this wintery weather, get some hints from I Skip which encourages all the world's skippers to unite.

Believe it! Toast as a display device! Click for full story.

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