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37. Sending your greetings through cyberspace

By Mark Alberstat

The greeting card industry has, no doubt, taken a hit over the past few years with a veritable explosion of Internet sites offering a wide variety of electronic cards for all occasions.

The advantages of electronic cards over traditional ones are many. The electronic option can add more individuality with your own detailed greetings, music, a wide variety of colours, images and combinations.

There is also the green factor: no cardboard or paper waste with these nicely assembled collection of bits and bytes. With electronic cards, you don't have to settle for a particular card if you like the image but are not fond of the sentiment inside.

Card sites have changed over the years. Today cards are slicker and with embedded animation, Flash and sound, are bigger and more complicated than ever.

When you send a card, your friend or relative receives e-mail notification of it. In that e-mail there will be a link either directly to the card or to the site and a claim or ticket number that identifies you and your card to the remote system. Most sites also provide you with notification when the card is received.

One of the most popular greeting card sites is BlueMountain. For years this site was free to use. Unfortunately, many of BlueMountain's best and personalized services are now for hire only under a variety of membership types. There are some freebies here but not a lot.

MSN Greeting Cards is another popular site that has become commercial. Here you will find hundreds of potential cards, and a few freebies for Canada Day.

For a fully free site, with links to other card sites and, unfortunately, a lot of pop-up ads, try the appropriately named The site does have a lot of free cards but not nearly the quantity of some of its bigger, more professional competitors.

All of the sites allow you to view the cards. If you find an image or animation you must have, or send, but don't want to join the site or buy a membership, you can click on the image and save it to your hard drive. You can then attach this image to an e-mail, write your own kind words and send it out. It may lack the professional look of a card produced by the site, but it is a free option.

The Mousepad runs every two weeks. It's a service of Chebucto Community Net, a community-owned Internet provider. If you have a question about computing, email If we use your question in a column, we'll send you a free mousepad.


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Originally published 27 June 2004


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