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Wild Safari

safari.gif While most of the Mac-heads are recovering from their weeks-long iphone-gasms, there’s some other Apple-related news at mediabistro.com that isn’t quite as sexy as the latest Steve Job’s special, but still just as vital to western civilization the mediabistro.com community (the ones who are on Macs at least). It’s all got to do with that cute little web browser called Safari.
Recently we rolled out a new registration form on the site. It features some nifty programming technology called AJAX (the non-bathroom cleaning kind). Ironically it’s a non-Ajax portion of the registration form that’s causing a few Mac users some issues, specifically when using the Safari browser.

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Cryptic Error Messages Exist in this Dojo

mb_programmers.jpg If you think of mediabistro.com as a bad-ass, 80′s dojo (and who doesn’t?), you know full-well that fear does not exist (in this dojo). That means we’re not afraid to admit when some technical stuff on our site induces acts of head-scratching, or dare we say, hair-pulling. While our programmers (seen above) work hard to sweep the legs from under our bugs and other little site quirks, I thought I’d share one in particular that seems to annoy our senseis members.
A big annoyance members let us know about is the cryptic error messages they get when entering data in their personal home pages or freelance marketplace profiles. Logic and website law should dictate that the error should specify exactly what you entered wrong. But the legends that built mediabistro.com millions of years ago felt that it would benefit our member’s mental skills if they just got a message that read “errors occurred,” and leave it up to their Kojak-ian instincts to figure it out. That type of error would annoy even the most mild-mannered folk. And let’s face it— you’re on mediabistro.com for the killer editorial content— not to decipher messages that should be reserved for episodes of Lost. Still, there’s an insider tip I’ll share when you get that vague boo-boo error. Nine times out of ten, the problem usually lies with how you enter your dates on your Personal Home Page or Freelance Marketplace profile. When you assign dates to your work samples, make sure that you use the proper date formatting, as shown by the example next to the date field (mm/dd/yyyy). Another tip: you don’t even need to use dates for your clips. Or you can use dates for some and not others. Just make sure that when you do use them, they are formatted properly.
And of course, Cobra Kai never die!

Best Of The Boards: National Rate For Web Copy?

technic_3_by_candy.jpgEven the savviest media industry vet has a question every now and then. Here at mb HQ, we have most of the answers, but not all of them. Luckily, for those queries that fall through the cracks, there’s always the mb Bulletin Boards. Today we head over and catch up on the hot topics.
MCM asks: I want to begin offering web copy services to companies throughout the United States. Just basic copy what companies need on their site, like an introduction, about us, services, clients, portfolio, etc.
MDiskin offers some help: Usually I offer a per-job rate, but list how many hours I expect the job to take, how many revisions are allowed, etc. Crucial: I add a statement saying that if the job exceeds these hours, then additional hours will be billed at X rate. This ensures that I won’t be caught up in endless revisions without being paid for them.

  • National Rate For Web Copy?
  • Hey Man, I’m Supposed to be on the @*#&!! List!

    bouncer.jpg
    It’s no secret that our newsletters are quite popular with the bistro braintrust— there’s nothing like that IGF (instant gratification fix) when you open up your inbox every morning and see of the Daily Media News Newsfeed, or Revolving Door, or one of our fabulous blogs. They’re such a big part of your day, not getting them is like being deprived of air, water, or another one of life’s necessities.
    At least a couple times a day I will get a freak out email from someone who hasn’t gotten the newsletter they subscribe to. This can happen for a couple reasons. For one, maybe you’re not wearing your glasses, and the newsletter is right in front of you. Another reason may be that it found its way into your junk mail folder. Even if it hadn’t gone in there previously, always check the junk folder. Especially if you’re receiving your newsletter at work where all of your mail is likely checked at a higher level (server, not Jesus) before it makes it way to your inbox. The easiest way to make sure our emails don’t go to your spam folder is to add mailer AT mediabistro.com to your safe senders list. Where is that you’re asking? Every mail client has a different method for adding addresses to your whitelist. Luckily, we have instructions for some popular mail clients on our FAQ page.
    When you’ve exhausted all these possibilities, and maybe a few others, there’s another trick you can perform that almost always does the job. If you log into your account, go to Login and Email Lists. From there, go to the email lists that you subscribe to. For each one that’s checked off, uncheck it, and then click the submit button. This will temporarily remove you from getting those newsletters. But settle down, chief— just simply re-subscribe by checking the ones you want and click submit again.
    And just like that, you’re popular back on the list again.

    The New MB Suggestion Box: For All Your Inputting Needs

    the_box.jpg The box has a long and distinguished history. Whether it’s the infamous mystery box that always bludgeons our better judgment, or the memorable childhood trips to the old box factory, or the more recent uses, we just can’t seem to stop coming up with functions for this miraculous receptacle.
    The most notorious of boxes is of course the suggestion variety. And that brings us to the introduction of the new mediabistro.com suggestion box on our bulletin board. Now you may be asking yourself…
    A suggestion box? Seriously?
    Yes, really! We realize that when it comes to suggestion boxes, there’s a fine line between useful tool and empty gesture. But this is how we see it— the forums are brimming with all sorts of great discussions regarding all the content on our site— what we’re doing right, doing wrong, or not doing at all. We want to centralize those discussions so that both MB members and employees can converse with each other about mediabistro.com and help guide its future. Our hope is that it will become one of the preferred methods in which ideas are exchanged and decisions are made. As the suggestion box grows, it will take on another role— as a knowledge base and a record of our progress.
    So folks, it’s up to you— start inputting those ideas, and we’ll be watching.
    Click here to enter the box.

    In the Freelance Marketplace World, Coffee is for Closers

    baldwin_glengarry_glen_ross.jpg Every month, we send an email out to everyone who has contacted a freelancer listed in the Freelance Marketplace with a job inquiry. Usually the responses we get are short, sweet, and very positive. Recently we got a response back from an employer who was a little frustrated, and included two responses from freelancers to emphasize that frustration. Let’s just say the responses were not what employers like to see or are used to seeing. Maybe those freelancers were just having a bad day, but the employer (who shall remain anonymous) was kind enough to ask if we could give some tips to writers on how to respond to a Freelance Marketplace inquiry. While it’s very likely that those not-so-stellar responses to employers were more the exception than the rule, we thought we’d use them as inspiration for some helpful hints to keep in mind when responding to freelance inquiries.

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    Become ‘ForumCop,’ Adopt Awesome Catch Phrase

    robocop.jpg As the mediabistro.com forums grow in popularity and in size, we’re looking for a few good narcs moderators to move like a greased-up Scot through our bulletin boards a few times a week and make sure everything is copasetic. So, all you former hall monitors and whistle blower aficionados, it’s your time to shine.
    As a reward, we’ll give you a free AvantGuild membership for as long as you kick ass doing the following:
    * Comb the mediabistro.com forums and make sure users are adhering to our Terms of Service (i.e. no spam or inappropriate content).
    * Report spam or inappropriate content to appropriate mediabistro.com contacts.
    * Moderate future mediabistro.com-created threads and answer questions posted by users on various topics.
    * Shout “oh no you didn’t” each time you see an inappropriate content in the forum.
    Requirements:
    * You need to be already active in the forums- we want someone who posts frequently and knows how a bulletin board should look and behave.
    * Report spam and inappropriate content at least three times per week. You’ll report to us by sending us an email with links to the content that needs to be reviewed.
    To be considered, click here to send a brief note of interest. Please include your forums handle and any links to forum content you have posted recently.
    (Photo Credit: Copyright 1987 Orion Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved. ROBOCOP is a trademark of Orion Pictures Corporation.)

    From the Home Office in Wahoo, Nebraska…

    letterman.jpg If your AvantGuild membership is running out soon, some of you might be deciding whether or not to re-up. Although this should seem as a no-brainer, some may be still thinking about what an AvantGuild membership can do for them. You know the obvious reasons– AvantGuild is the perfect storm of professional and personal benefits that helps your career skyrocket to ridiculous levels. But most people don’t want to hear that kind of “salesy,” buzz word-laden pitch– they want to know how their AvantGuild benefits cut mustard in the real world. And what better way to do that than Letternman style…
    From the home office in Wahoo, Nebraska, the top ten reasons to renew your AvantGuild membership:
    10. Barnes&Noble.com Discount- Books aren’t just for keeping kitchen tables even and practicing high-heel balancing anymore.
    9. Theater Discounts and Ticket Giveaways- There’s no greater expression than through the majesty of song(and dance).
    8. Psychotherapy Discounts- It did wonders for Tony Soprano. And mother-in-laws generally suck.
    7. Dental Plans- The last thing you need is a visit from the Colgate Cavity Patrol, or worse.
    6. Free subscriptions to Wired & New York Magazines- Your bathroom copy of Guns & Ammo is getting pretty old.
    5. Exclusive AvantGuild Parties- Learn about the latest trends in boa technology from CEO Laurel Touby.
    4. More How to Pitch Articles: We’ve now got 100 monkeys working at 100 typewriters belting these things out. And everyone loves monkeys so…
    3. Mastheads- With 300+ mastheads and thousands of names, it’s perfect fodder for that Anagram-themed kegger you’ve been planning.
    2. New Health Insurance Plans- Lindsay Lohan and your car. Need I say more?
    1. We all need jobs! And we love you! But seriously, we need jobs.

    Dumbass Types What?

    dumbass_award.jpg When dealing with apples, invariably there are one or two bad ones in the bunch. When this happens, bad apples are dealt with. This philosophy applies to the mediabistro.com forums. For every great forum post by one of our many astute members of the MB community, there’s always a post from someone who’s campaigning for the dumbass of the year award. These posts are often from spammers trying to unload their cheap, outdated, stolen cell phones or plasma televisions; they probably don’t even know what mediabistro.com is, and that’s fine because they’re just stupid spammers. So until spamming becomes a capital offense (or at least one punishable by this), it’s the nature of the internet and we all have to deal. MB deals by deleting spam posts as soon as we see them.
    The worst offenders though are the ones who know full well who we are, but feel that they need post things that would make Howard Stern cry for his mommy. As you know, we have Terms of Service that ya’ll need to be abide by when posting in the forums. I won’t recite them for you, but I can sum them up in three simple words: use your brains. If you need help behaving, just remove yourself from the online environment for a moment, and pretend you’re discussing media issues at a dinner party attended by you, his holiness The Pope, your dear, sweet mother, who endured eighteen hours of excruciating labor to deliver you in to the world, and a ten year-old girl who just asked you where babies come from. With those parameters in place, you should be able to contribute some meaningful content in the forums without resorting to anything that violates our rules and the rules of good taste (which are synonymous).
    If these folks are still unable to play nice, we may have to revoke their MB privileges, and consider further discipline. And if any of you law-abiding folks see any posts that you think should be removed, send me an email and we’ll take a look.

    AG Benefit: Read Boy Wizard & Pissed-off Democrat for Less!

    books2.gif If you know anything about staying classy, you know that having many leather bound books (in addition to an apartment that smells of rich mahogany) is a great way to keep your class quotient at appropriate levels. Luckily, AvantGuild members get a little extra help keeping their bookshelves stacked. That’s because they get an additional five percent off all book purchases at Barnes&Noble.com. And with summer here, it’s the perfect time to fill your mind on the beach in between filling your gullet with beer. If you’re a stickler for magic and wonder, maybe some Deathly Hallows might interest you. If you’re one of those “crazies” who think we’re going to hell in a hand basket, perhaps Al Gore’s The Assault on Reason is what you need.
    Whatever pages you’re flipping, you can do it for a little less with your AvantGuild membership. Click here to learn more and start your book learnin’.

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