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May 2000, Week 5 -- WYSIWYG Web

 

 Paper Converter- turn paper into web pages

   WYSIWYG (pronounced wizzy-wig) is computer slang for "What You See Is What You Get." That's in the ideal world. In the real world it's more like what a guy I know describes as "wizzy-molly-wig" -- "what you see is more or less what you get."

   Moving closer to the goal ... the simplest way to get a product brochure, spec sheet, or any other document into a web site is through "Paper Converter" from Scansoft, or "OmniPage Web," from Caere Corp. (As of last March they're the same company.)

 

   Paper Converter is designed to work exclusively with Microsoft FrontPage 2000. Of course FrontPage has about 70 percent of the market for web site programs. Installing the Converter creates a menu button in FrontPage to automatically bring in a scan and convert it to a web document. OmniPage Web, on the other hand, will work with any web site program for Windows. It's more expensive too.

 

   Images and formatting are preserved in the conversion from either program. In short, the page looks the same as it did before, except now it's a web page.

 

 OmniPage Web

   The advantages seem self evident. Every company, government agency, educational institution, etc., regularly prints product sheets, instructions, charts and tables, etc. They can mail these to everyone who might be interested or just post them once to their web site. It also means you can do a layout page -- what used to be called a "paste-up" in the publishing business, and scan that directly into the web without ever having it printed.

   Once the document is in FrontPage or another web site creation program it can be edited just as if it were in a word processor. This is an important point, since normally a scanned document is just a picture of a page; the words are pictures as well, and cannot be edited. Hand editing of every page is still a must no matter how good the program; accuracy is not 100 percent and corrections always have to be made.

 

  PaperConverter has a list price $49. But if you buy "Textbridge Millennium Pro" for $79, or "PagisPro Scanning Suite" for $100, PaperConverter is included. OmniPage Web is $499, but a scaled down version of the program is included in the "OmniPage Pro 10 Scan Suite Plus," which sells for $100. Upgrades are less.

 

   Phone info: 978-977-2000; fax: 978-977-2412; web: www.scansoft.com  and www.caere.com.

 

Look good, sound good

 Holdware: Create & Play On-Hold Messages

 

  A clever combination of hardware and software from HoldWare, lets you put phone callers on music hold and space your instructions so they can punch keys. It's sort of "do your own voice mail from hell" but with that big company sound. Music is played back through a tape recorder, but you can also download MP3 files from the Internet or any other files from the computer and use those for the background sounds.

   This has been done before by people who like to rig up pieces of equipment by hand, but this is a lot simpler. It's $150, available only through the web at www.yahoo.com  or www.holdware.com.

 

Internuts

 

-- www.investmove.com  An exhaustive site for stock market information. The site's strength is in its links. Enter any stock name or symbol and a list of links pops up leading to charts, fundamental information, news, analysts recommendations, etc. Almost overwhelming.

-- www.researchpaper.com Can't think of what to write about -- search for subject suggestions here. Do the research here. Consult the writing assistant to make it look and read better. Does anybody do their own work anymore?

-- www.wholehealthmd.com Information about alternative medicine: herbs, diet, exercise, etc.

 

-- www.zdnet.com Use the search field to locate "eToon Cartoons." You can download 104 cartoon animal images which can be used for your own documents and web sites.

 

-- www.metamonster.com Another new metasearch portal. This one can handle requests in two dozen languages. Metasearch engines link to many search portals and web sites.

-- www.yumyum.com Free site for recipes and other information about food. They have 1,024 recipes for soup, but not a one for my favorite Senegal Apple Soup.

 

Seeing stars

 

 

 

   Here's a collection of sites for viewing images from the Hubble telescope and planetary fly-by probes sent out by NASA. These could have gone in the Internuts section, but they deserve their own space, so to speak.

http://science.msfc.nasa.gov News and photos about the universe at large. There's a good "ask a scientist" section, where real scientists will try to figure out what you mean, despite what you said.

www.r-clarke.org.uk/hubblelinks1.htm  Links to beautiful pictures, with explanations.

http://oposite.stsci.edu A gallery of space photos, movies and animations.

http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/imgcat/html/mission_page/PL_Hubble_Space_Telescope_page1.html  This is the longest web address we've ever put down. If you can get all the way through it without making a typing mistake you will be rewarded with stellar images.

 

http://heritage.stsci.edu History and technical information about the Hubble telescope.

 

NOTE: Readers can search more than three years of columns at the "On Computers" web site: www.oncomp.com. You can e-mail Bob Schwabach at bobschwab@oncomp.com or bobschwab@aol.com.