February 8, 1999 -- Newsletter #14

By Joe Burns

G O O D I E S T O G O ! (tm)
February 8, 1999 -- Newsletter #14
Please visit http://www.htmlgoodies.com.

Greetings, Weekend Silicon Warrior...

First off... did you hear:

...about the 10-year-old buy who wrote a letter to his friend impersonating an AOL official? AOL banned him AND HIS FAMILY for life. Wow. Tough crowd. The company later backed down after they had a talk with the boy's father.

...that the Victoria's Secret Web site now holds the record for the Web site most visited in one day, thanks to their ad during the Super Bowl? I believe it was a combination of good advertising and fact that the second half of the game was really dull.

...Yahoo! bought Geocities? The figure I heard was close to $5 billion. That's a lot of little pop-up windows.

And did you see...

...the commercial during the Super Bowl for monster.com? It was the one with the little children talking about corporate life. The best by far was the little boy who said "I want to claw my way up to middle management." Second place goes to the last kid who said he wanted to be forced into early retirement.

And have you tried...

...putting the words "about:mozilla" (without the quotes) in the location line of your Netscape Navigator 4.05 or better? It's unbelievable (thanks to Stephen Hanafin).

We now return you to your regularly scheduled newsletter already in progress:


I thought for this newsletter I'd give you a glimpse into the world of HTML Goodies. What gets done when, and how does it get to the Web? It's my life in a nutshell. Hopefully you'll enjoy this. The topic has been suggested by readers more than once.

When you're finished reading, weep for my wife, not for me.

1. I'm up at 6:00 AM every day. I run three miles on a treadmill, shower, and go to work at my university.

2. I usually try to go into the Discussion Groups during my lunch break.

3. I'm home by 4:30 or 5:00. Dinner is within the half-hour and then I go to work on HTML Goodies.

4. The majority of the site is written on a Gateway laptop computer. I have a great setup. I bought this laptop table that allows me to sit on my couch and type away. My wife usually reads during the evening. We tape all our television shows to watch them later that week, usually Saturday. I guess the only downfall is when I want to actually attach to the Internet. The telephone plug is way on the other side of the room so I went out and bought a 35-foot telephone cord. It stretches across and provides a toy for the cats. They've knocked me off-line more times than I would have liked.

5. I also have a Micron 450 PC up in my office. It has its own dedicated phone line, computer furniture, and a leather chair. I can't remember the last time I sat there since getting this laptop table.

6. HTML Goodies and JavaGoodies are the two sites I keep up (owned by EarthWeb, Inc.). My wife and I refer to the whole not-talking-at-night thing as simply "Goodies."

7. The evening always begins by going through my e-mail and spending 30 to 45 minutes in the Discussion Groups. Sometimes I answer a lot, other times I just go in a read a few, but I'm there almost every day.

8. After that I start writing. I have several deadlines throughout the week. Monday is reserved for the Expert Questions. Tuesday I have to have my weekly Script Tip finished. Wednesday is the newsletter. It used to be Thursday, but my contact at EarthWeb, Lindy, wanted it on Wednesdays, so it got changed. Thursday and Fridays are reserved for new Tutorials and JavaScript tutorials for JavaGoodies.

9. JavaGoodies takes a good deal of time. I receive 7 to 10 new Scripts from readers every week. At this rate I'll never run out of new Scripts! The Scripts are all kept in a file in my Eudora mail program. On Thursday or Friday, I go in and read through the e-mail. Each of the Scripts is pasted into an HTML document and tested on Netscape Navigator 4.0 first. If it works, then it's tested on Explorer 4.0. If the Script is different than what's already on the site, then I save it as text, add the coding to Grab the Script, and shoot the author an e-mail telling him or her when it'll be posted. If the script throws a lot of errors or doesn't work, I send a letter telling the author that. Getting five "post-able" JavaScripts requires going through about 12 e-mails. I'm ahead of the game at this point by about a month.

10. New Tutorials are a different story. For this I go to my magic notebook of topics. I swear, if you got this notebook away from me I'd crumble. That notebook has piles of really bad Tutorial ideas alongside some really good ones. I try my darndest to keep a nice, even balance between new user and advanced Tutorials. The writing of the Tutorials is actually the easy part (I can kill a Tutorial in a day or two). The research leading up to the writing takes the most time. I have to make sure this stuff works and, more importantly, that I really know how to do it. I'm going to be asked questions about it later.

11. New Script Tip posts go up on Wednesday. Everything else goes up on Sunday.

12. Posting new material to HTML and JavaGoodies is a real process. First, I upload the files to a receiving server. Then I go in and "live" each file one by one. In that process those new pages are transferred to a staging server. I then go to the staging server and check the work. I look for typos, but one or two always slip by. When I'm sure it's all good to go, I mail the newly staged files to Lindy and she lives them to the server where you see them. Wow, huh?

13. Saturday is my day off, but I usually answer e-mail.

14. Lately the whole process has been turned upside-down because I'm editing my second book. Maybe your Script will be included...? (http://www.javagoodies.com/submitjs.html)

15. I'm done by 9:00 PM. My wife and I do something together for an hour and a half. Lately we've been into Scrabble. Did you know "AA" is an acceptable two-letter word? AA? Huh?

That's my week and that's how Goodies is put together. It's a nice little process and seems to be rolling along just fine at the moment. But that could all change if the laptop dies.


And that's that--

I'm going to try to get started on the next newsletter, since this is newsletter night. Eh, maybe I'll just go play Scrabble. We have the deluxe edition. The game board spins. If you spin it fast enough all the pieces fly off spelling out AAAAAAAAAUUUGH! as they fly across the room....

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

And Remember: The first motion picture copyrighted in the United States (1894) was a short film of a man sneezing.

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