Web sites offers ways to improve the look of your business, personal documents


March 11, 2001



With the advent of word processors and high-quality laster and ink-jet printers, it's possible to create some very impressive home-printed documents these days.

From greeting cards to resumes and from self-published books to term papers, computers allow a person with a printer to become their own publisher, artist, and author.

Most operating systems come with a standard number of different typefaces called fonts. The newspaper you read uses a certain typeface for the copy, and another type for headlines, photo captions and so on. The advertisements often use a wide variety of fonts, all designed with the purpose of communicating an idea, product or service to the reader.

Fonts on your home computer can also be used as effectively -- provided you have the fonts available.

While you frequently see fonts for sale on CD-ROM, there's seldom reason to pay for them (unless you require an exact font or typeface). Windows True Type fonts are widely available for free at Web sites all over the Internet.

Here are a couple of sites I've found useful for tracking down new fonts:

• If you're interested in a font that you've seen on TV or in the movies, you might find it at Famous Fonts Web site.

This site has fonts broken down by categories -- TV shows, movies, food and drink, publications and more.

Some fonts used by your favorite TV show or publication are standard fonts you can find for free, while others are designed especially for a logo or certain use. You won't find the font for the "Brady Bunch" or "Gilligan's Island" as a standard word processor font, but you might find there at the Famous Fonts Web site.

Visit the site at www.eliteentertainment.net/famousfonts.

• Another great place to find an obscure or unusual font is the 1001 Free Fonts Web site.

I can't attest that there are actually 1,001 fonts listed, but the listing is very extensive. If you are looking for a font for a Web site or a printed document that conveys a certain message or meaning, chances are excellent that you'll find it here.

As the name implies, there's no charge for access to the site or any of the fonts. Visit the site at www.1001freefonts.com

• If you plan on installing fonts on your Windows 95/98/2000/Me or NT operating system, I highly recommend a shareware font utility called Font Wrangler.

As the name implies, Font Wrangler is an extremely easy-to-use program that makes installing, moving or removing fonts a breeze. I've used the program for years, and wouldn't think of managing my computer's fonts without it.

It's a shareware program from a company called Alchemy Mindworks. Users can elect to register the program for $25, or purchase a book written by the program's author if they wish.

One of the handiest things the program will do is to print out a sheet of samples of all the fonts installed on your computer. While this may not mean much to you if you only have a dozen fonts installed, to us font-a-holics who may have 300 or more fonts, the sample sheets are a necessity.

The sample sheets print out in three columns, with a short sample of the font and its name.

Word processing program often just list the name of the font. With 300 fonts to use, I can't remember the appearance of most of my fonts. That's where the sample sheets come in handy.

When I begin to design a Web site or printed document, the sample sheets make a great list to select my fonts I need before I actually begin work.

There's no cost to try Font Wrangler. Visit the Web site at www.mindworkshop.com/alchemy.

CAR BUFFS. A new Web site that holds promise for those interested in hot rod cars is called simply enough www.hotrodders.com.

The site features news of interest to the hot rodding community, including racing news (NASCAR, Formula One, NHRA, etc), weather forecasts (for those weekend cruises), and plenty of other points of interest.

Viewers can submit photos of their own rod for display, sign up for a free e-mail newsletter or use the site's free hot rod classifieds.

The site has an archive of all of its previously published articles, and its a nice body of work to complement the site.

If you long for sunny summer days and the "ah-chi-chug, ah-chi-chug" of a hot rod loping at idle, you'll enjoy this Web site.

Visit www.hotrodders.com for details.

YAHOO BOO-HOO. If there was a Teflon-coated Internet company -- a company most likely to be immune to the dot-com downturn that sent so many e-businesses fleeing for mergers or dropping into bankruptcy -- it would have to be the ever-popular Yahoo!

That thinking was blown out of the water recently when Yahoo's stock value began its downwards spiral.

Helping the company's stock value dive was news that its earnings would fall short of earlier estimates, and that the company wouldn, at best, break even this year.

Yahoo's stock has lost more than 90 percent of it value in the past year, dropping an additional 16 percent in one day's recent trading.

Yahoo's CEO, Tim Koogle, announced last week he was resigning. With no replacement immediately named, analysts suggest the company's upper management may be in chaos, trying to stop its free-fall.

Yahoo, once the top Web portal and a money-maker, has fallen on hard times with the slowing economy and the drop in value of online advertising.

While Yahoo is still popular with its users -- more than 150 million are registered with the company -- none of those users pay a cent for the content or services. Yahoo's revenues are generated primarily by advertising -- which is fine when sales are strong.

America Online also sells advertising, but its main revenue sources are fees from subscribers who use the service.

Yahoo isn't the only media portal having troubles, or in danger of folding.

The Web search engine-turned-portal Lycos has been having its own problems with ad revenue. NBCi's stock price has fallen to just over $2 from a Jan. 2000 high of $100. And the Ask Jeeves search engine's stock has dropped from its Nov. 1999 value of $180 to just under $2 per share.

In fact, Henry Blodget, a Merrill Lynch analyst, predicted recently that 95 percent of existing Web stocks will disappear.

The survivoring companies, the experts are saying, will be those Internet companies who partner or expand into offline services that can generate revenues from additional sources.

WEB HEADS. The U.S. leads the world in the number of its citizens going online, according to a report from Nielsen/NetRatings.

More than 98 million people surfed the Web from home during December, the report found. Japan was a distant second with 15 million, and Germany was third with 13 million.

U.S. residents didn't top the list for the amount of time spent while online, though. That honor with the Hong Kong, where users averaged staying online for nearly 10 hours per month.

Canadians took second place with nine hours, 24 minutes monthly, while the U.S. held down third with eight hours and 41 minutes per month.

And while more men than women use the Web in France, Italy and Germany, female users made up must over 51 percent of U.S. users.

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.


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