December 10 , 2002 Volume 2 Issue 26
What year is it?
... and does it really matter?
Well, it does matter if birthdays and anniversaries are important to you. It can be important to measure and count things. And - of course - for governments to collect taxes.
Well, today we can "see" next year ... it's just a few days away. In our year of 2002, 2003 is just a few days away.
In very recent history ... 1999, in 2000 and again in 2001 the millennium malarkey was just that - malarkey. Lots of hype wonderful for marketers. Yet, it really meant next to nothing. The calendar rolled. Period.
What year is it, anyway? An early calendar began from the founding of the city of Rome. If this pre-Julian calendar had remained, it would be 2755 in 2002.
The Eastern Orthodox calendar today is significantly more accurate than what most of us use -- the Gregorian Calendar. Which over the long haul is more precise. Both are better than the Julian version.
So, what year is it? The Lunar Calendars, The "Goddess" Lunar Calendar, the Maya Calendar, Solar calendars from the Copts of Egypt and both China and Japan have all preceded us.
There are 2 Aztec calendars -- a sacred and a secular. The base goes back to 400 B.C.
India today still "plays" with as many as 30 different calendars for regional, religious and ethnic traditions of the Hindus, Buddhists, and Jainist.
The French Revolutionary Calendar (or Republican Calendar, not to be confused with any political cause) was issued late in the 1700s. It went away -- and came back again nearly a century later, under the Paris Commune of 1871.
Astronomers count days elapsed since noon, Monday, January 1, 4713 B.C. on the Julian calendar. They obviously started this practice long after Caesar had come and gone. As Julius Caesar began what is called the Julian calendar in 45 B.C. Making this year in that system 2047.
A few of these earlier calendars are very much alive today. For example, the Chinese are talking the year 3955, the Hebrew year is 5762, in the Islamic world 1423. Buddhist Era is 2545 -- all in the Christian 2002.
What do all these dates mean? Well, not much. Except for those us in marketing -- where each is an opportunity.
For Instance: Technically the 21st Century began in the year 2001. Why? Because the first century started as AD 1. Not at zero. The next century was AD 101, then 201. So, the 21st Century began -- technically -- in 2001.
From history we learn when 1899 became 1900 people celebrated the start of a new century. When 1900 became 1901 people celebrated the start of a new century. Marketers got it straight and had 2 parties this time 'round, too. In 2000 and again in 2001.
So, what year is it? For those who consider T.G.I.F. (Thank Goodness It's Friday) their measurement of time, itreally doesn't matter. For the rest of us - make of it what you will. And no matter ... do enjoy this year end and New Year time.
Ray Speaks in Arizona
To begin the New Year, on the first work day of 2003, Monday, January 6, I'll be on the platform.
If you're anywhere near-by, consider this an invitation to drop in. You will be most welcome.
The group is Shared Vision. With chapters in several southwest and California markets - including the Valley of the Sun, greater Phoenix. I'll be on stage that first week.
The place is The DoubleTree Guest Suites - Phoenix AZ - 320 North 44th Street. The doors open @ 11 ... lunch from 11:30 ... followed by 50 minutes of me in an interchange & dialogue conversation. The topic is my new, Special presentation ...ItISwhatsNext!
I look forward to seeing you January 6. And ... Happy New Year!
Show me the proof, chum!
Webmaster Bill Blinn has been guiding me for years.
Got my first web site up - and all the revises. Has put up business sites for several clients, family, friends. In addition to technology, Bill is talented in other arenas; a sound marketing guy (he finds my errors and corrects them frequently!), writes well, has a radio voice and his own techy radio program.
We disagree rarely. Very rarely. We do disagree about type face on web sites and in E-mail. Still, because I truly respect Bill, I asked if I could include his article here. He immediately agreed.
Yet, I do get the last word. As this IS my E-zine. (Fair enough, but I get to set my part in Tahoma! -WFB) So, just when you think you've got it ... take a peek at my paragraph close.
Oh ... and no matter ... EnJoy!
Bill begins this way:
"If the options are "lead, "follow", and "get out of the way", choose "follow". That may seem to be an odd sentiment for someone who calls himself a web site architect. You'd think I might want to lead.
"'Be not the first by whom the new are tried, nor yet the last to lay the old aside.'
"Alexander Pope wrote those words in the 1700s, but they should resonate in today's websites, too. To me, Pope's words suggest that it's foolhardy to be the first to adopt new technologies, but you don't want to wait too long, either.
"Research and the opinions of developers are beginning to support sans-serif faces for web sites. According to usability.gov (part of the National Cancer Institute) 'Changes in vision that occur with age can make it more difficult to read a computer screen. These include reductions in the amount of light that reaches the retina, loss of contrast sensitivity, and loss of the ability to detect fine details.'
"The institute's conclusion: Use a sans-serif typeface, such as Helvetica, that is not condensed. Avoid the use of serif, novelty, and display typefaces.
"South Africa Internet marketing firm InterComm says 'sans-serif faces work best in electronic media -- web sites and presentations. This is because the serif tends to be diagonal -- and diagonals on screen become jagged. The more square the typeface (like Tahoma), usually the better it looks on the screen. Simple typefaces with no curlicues usually look best.'
"According to the Center for Health Policy as Stanford University, 'sans-serifs tend to produce a modern feel, and are frequently incorporated in professional design today.'
"And research from the University of Wisconsin at Madison suggests 'sans-serif fonts have enhanced height and width to make each letter stand out more on the screen. In addition, they lack the additional detail of a serif font, which demands for attention when reading on the screen.'
"It's possible to find significant sentiment for serif faces on web sites, too, but none of the references I found in several hours of looking cited any current research. Most cited Colin Wheildon's Type and Layout (1995), which was limited to calculating readability on paper.
"People who know a lot more about research than I do question Wheildon's methods, even for paper-based publications. I remain convinced that Wheildon's conclusions are correct for books, magazines, brochures, and the like, even if the research methods are flawed. But the research and the conclusions don't apply to text thatis delivered on screen.
"I'm not the first to suggest using sans-serif faces on web sites. In fact, I used to strongly recommend using serif faces. I'm now ready to accede that the opposing view is the correct view.
"When the client allows it, I now use sans-serif faces on web sites. And that means I will not be the last to lay the old aside!"
We now return you to your regularly scheduled serif site.
Okay, you've heard from Bill. Ray says ... well and good. Touché! And all that other rah-rah stuff.
Yet, Ray says he will continue to want serif type, and recommend serif type. Why? Because, very simply, if your page is worth keeping, your reader will print it out. And read it again. Pass it to another. Reading on paper it is not debatable ... serif is best. Period. PERIOD! New Times Roman. Courier New, Bookman Old Style. Others.
As Yogi Berra said ... "when you come to the fork in the road, take it." Bill and I are each doing just that.
P.S. from the web-wonk: We may both be able to have our way eventually. Upcoming standards for "cascading styles sheets" will allow the designer to specify a "destination" so that the text you see on the screen will be sans serif and the text you see on paper is serif. Then Ray and I will have to find something else to disagree about!
You can bring "It IS What's Next!"
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.