Buying and selling on eBay

By Jon: First published in Online Currents 2003 – 18(10) 18-19, 24

Metcalfe’s Law of networks applies also to online auctions: their usefulness increases proportionally to the square of the number of their users. Having seen off its rival Yahoo Auctions, eBay is now the only global auction system with an Australian presence. Yahoo Auctions still lingers on in the USA but its numbers look very small beside eBay’s and its demise surely cannot be far away. For the moment at least, eBay is the online auction site of choice. read more

Commissioning an index

We have been involved in book indexing for over twenty years. We are primarily back-of-book indexers, but have also worked on journal, database, website and online help indexing, as well as metadata and thesaurus construction for intranets and websites. Glenda has a background in research, librarianship and TAFE teaching, while Jon is involved in PC training, programming and the production of computer-based training materials.

How much do we charge?

Before beginning an index we will need to arrange an agreed-upon quote, based on as much information as you can give us about the type and size of the book, and the depth of indexing you require. Until we have seen page proofs we can only give an estimate of the cost of an indexing job. read more

Computer-based training providers

By Jon: First published in Online Currents – 20 (10) December 2005

Computer-Based Training – About Computers

The idea of using a computer to teach people about computers is an appealing one.  No need to hire expensive trainers or buy course manuals when the student can learn what they need from the computer itself!  Any competent programmer can quickly set up a ‘simulated’ environment which ‘looks like’ Word or Excel, but with enough control to prevent the student from doing anything except what they are supposed to do.  I’ve done it myself now and again.  Add a few extra buttons and direct the user with a few instructions, either spoken or presented on the screen: “To open a document in Word, click here…”.  Through using the simulation the student then learns what to do in the real program.  Simple, eh? read more

Computer graphics

By Jon: First published in Online Currents – 20 (5-7) 2005

In this three-part series I will examine computer graphics.  Part 1 describes the basic principles behind graphics in general; Part 2 will examine bitmapped graphics, with particular reference to Adobe Photoshop and related applications; and Part 3 will do the same for vector-based images, animations, and 3D design applications, focusing on Adobe Illustrator and Cool 3D.

Part 1: Graphics types

Text-Based Graphics
No discussion of graphics would be complete without a tribute to the early days, when both screens and printers could only display text, and large black-and-white pictures of cartoon characters or models in bikinis – depending on one’s preference – were printed out using text characters of different densities to represent areas of different brightness. It is interesting to see that this approach has been revived, much later, for constructing large pictures made up of smaller pictures of varying average brightness and colour (see http://www.mazaika.com/ugallery.html for some examples). read more

Computer training in Australia

By Jon: First published in Online Currents – 20 (9) November 2005

I began teaching people about computers in 1989, with no training and no previous experience other than that of helping family and colleagues. I have been involved in it ever since, mainly as a face-to-face classroom teacher. After trying most of the alternatives, now and in the past, I still believe that face-to-face training by a competent professional is the best kind of computer training there is.

For a while in the 1990s everyone else agreed with me. I had six or seven training clients at any one time. The training industry went from strength to strength and almost any computer-related course could draw its share of students. By 1999 it seemed that face-to-face computer training was here to stay. read more