Sunday, 19 August 2007

Mousetrap - 115

Sticking it to ’em
These Come From Trees Blog
This blog is the home of an interesting experiment in “environmentalism, viral marketing, and user interface design with the goal of reducing consumer waste paper!” You’ve come across guerrilla advertising before: stuff that sneaks up at you from unexpected places, never from conventional media outlets. This blog aims to remind people not to waste paper, and it recommends doing so right at the places where we most often use paper, using its stickers. Wait, use stickers to save paper; isn’t that counter-productive? Well, it says here that on the average, one sticker winds up saving a tree’s worth of paper every year. Go read up on how you can help. Just don’t put one of these near the editor’s chequebook, okay?

By design
That’s short for “Random Acts of Designess.” A clunky name in need of a random act of copywriting, you may say. But this column says cut the snark and listen. It is aimed at designers, has a simple plan. “Surf the web, find a good cause that needs some help with it’s identity, or promotional material (or anything else design related). Do some appropriate design work that you believe will benefit the cause and together with an explanation, just send it to them.” Works? Well, I found it via the previous site in this column; RADness’s creator sent in a made-over logo to the These Come From Trees blog owner. Your turn now. Send this to designer friends. And if they ask you where to find worthy causes, give them the address at the bottom of this column. I can point them to some very worthy ones. Seriously.

Your page
Are you an authority on some subject? Of course you are. But are you online? Now, not everyone has the patience (or the savvy, or whatever) to, say, run a blog, or build a website. Squidoo offers you an alternative. You can sign up and build a single page—they call it a “lens” here—about your passion. It’s quick, easy to configure and maintain, and it’s free. Check out their FAQ page for a heap of useful suggestions, or just wander around a bit and see how other people are using their lenses.

In the style to which you are accustomed
Earth Day Footprint Quiz
We’re starting to hear a lot now about the our carbon footprint, and related matters. This site had its quiz up way before the buzz got loud enough for everyone to hear. It’s pretty simple. Select your country from the map on the first page, and then answer 15 questions. When you’re done, you’ll find out how much of the earth’s resources in terms of land and water you are using; your “ecological footprint.” And you can compare it with other people around the world, and, more importantly, what the planet can sustain. The answers can be sobering. Yes, there are also suggestions on how you can reduce your footprint. Every little counts.

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to for past columns, and to comment, or mail The writer blogs at

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 19th August, 2007.

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