DON'T BE A SHAPE-SHIFTERWritten by Sharon Dalton Williams
When I was a little girl, I used to love to play "name cloud." I bet you played this too. I remember lying on my back in yard and watching as clouds passed overhead. As wind blew clouds across sky, clouds would change shape. It was more fun to play with someone else, because two people could look at same cloud and see something different.
Look, a three-headed dragon just floated by. No, now it's a cow with a really big hump on back. Wait, it's now a celery stalk racing across sky. Oh, no. The cloud is gone. What fun it was.
OK, I will admit that I played this game earlier this week while watching out my office window. Clouds came, and clouds went. All while wind was blowing across my viewing screen, they shape-shifted. And then I noticed tree.
The same wind that was blowing on clouds and causing them to shape-shift was just merely bending branches of tree. The tree bent with wind, but it still remained a tree. The tree didn't shape-shift, nor did it fade away. It remained true, strong, and straight because it had a good root system holding it up.
The cloud is a cloud because it was created that way, and tree was created to be a tree. But you as a business owner can choose how you are going to do business. Are you going to be a shape-shifter like cloud, or are you going to remain rooted like tree?
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS...SMIL (That's right... SMIL)Written by Ronni Rhodes
Did I get your attention? I hope so because we need to talk about SMIL and how its use can turn your streaming media presentations into television-like experiences for your web visitors. SMIL (pronounced "smile") stands for Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language and was developed by W3C Synchronized Multimedia (SYMM) Working Group to allow synchronization of audio, video, text and graphics in web based presentations. It was expressly developed to enhance quality of streaming media and can support multiple types of data, compression algorithms, and bandwidth environments. It was designed so that anyone familiar with HTML and some XML commands could employ it to create television like presentations.
Philipp Hoschka, Chairman of W3C group and editor of SMIL specifications says: "...the Web lacks a simple way to express synchronization over time, for example, 'play audio file A in parallel with video file B' or 'show image C after audio file A has finished playing.' SMIL enables this type of information to be expressed quite easily, allowing television-like content to be created..."*
I hear you asking yourselves "what does this technospeak have to do with me?" If you create web based advertising and would like to offer your clients a compelling new way to deliver it, this has a lot to do with you. If you're a website owner longing for a means to showcase your products and services with economical elegance, this has a lot to do with you, too.
Why? Because Web is inherently interactive and visitors can follow links imbedded in a SMIL presentation directly to your website. There they can obtain additional information or, more importantly, be taken directly to an order form for product or service described in that presentation. "Users can switch from 'couch potato' mode into interactive mode with a simple mouse click," says Mr. Hoschka.
Let's talk about how you can put SMIL to work for you.
In entertainment industry? An entertainer wants his visitors to know where and when he'll be performing. Scroll schedule of his club dates next to window playing a video clip of his specialty. As he sets his performance schedule for future dates, clip can be quickly updated to reflect this. Include some text ads from clubs involved, give their "live" URL's, and let them help pay for production!
Selling real estate? Photos or slides taken with a digital camera can be coordinated with an audio commentary and text. Tell your potential clients about geographic area, schools, recreational opportunities and transportation situation. Place commercial messages from merchants in area, with live links to their websites, into presentation and generate additional revenue to defray some of costs.