Now That’s How You Ask for Money

If you have a second, check out Wikipedia, which is trying to earn $6m through donations. They’re asking for it in the best way, which is to put a prominent request at the top of the page, remind people how useful Wikipedia is, and tell donors how much they count on their support. All in just a few words.

A strategy any nonprofit can follow to raise funds.

Gadget Monday: Big Zip-Topped Bag for Cables When Traveling

Travel was supposed to become a tiny bit less aggravating. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved use of carry-on bag designs that allow pass-through of laptops without removing them for X-ray inspection. Plenty of purveyors capitalized on the opportunity for selling new bags, including Belkin, Mobile Edge and Targus, among many others.

The reality of traveling through security checkpoint is different. You still frequently have to remove your laptop from your bag – along with everything else – to prove you’re not a bomb-toting terrorist. And the most troublesome set-back I’ve experienced is cables.

I travel with a huge rats nest of them: laptop cable, mouse with its cable, iPod cable, cell phone charger cable – those are just a few that I can think of right now. The actual pile that amasses before I leave is much larger.

This mass of unruly cables stuffed into my laptop bag is the real red flag, and the reason I’m asked to step aside and pull everything out of my case. Or, at least it was until I decided to wind all the cords up into one pile, stick them into a big zip-topped bag and carry those separately.

The result: security workers picked up my big zip-topped bag, turned it over and waved me through.

FWTB Word Watch: Tweetup

The world of technology is hard enough to keep up with – never mind all the new vocabulary that continually arises. That’s why we decided to launch an occasional new feature, the Friendly Web Tools Blog Word Watch. We’ll keep our ears open for new words and define them here so you can see what’s new on the scene – and more importantly – what it means.

Today: tweetup, n. A spontaneous meeting among connections who follow each other on the microblogging service Twitter. Friends usually meet, but more often strangers are participating in these ad hoc meetings too.

As in: “Impromptu Tweetup Tonight @ Apple Bar: 17 Waverly Place, NYC 6:30-8pm. Hope you can make it!” (source)

Wondering what Twitter is? Take a look at blog entries I’ve tagged with the word Twitter.

Think “Resume” with Your Web Copy

The sorry truth about your carefully crafted website copy is that people aren’t really reading it. People scan web pages very quickly, and they only pick up bits of information from a few key places, namely top left.

For you, it means you should think like a resume writer when you go to put words on your site:

  • Use bullet points. Like the ones here. Isn’t it easier to scan?
  • Use bold to set off paragraphs and sentences. Again, it snags your eye as you scan downward.
  • Use information-carrying words at the beginning of paragraphs

Overall, emphasize quality over quantity. As beautiful as the writing is, most people simply don’t read it.