January 28, 2001-- Newsletter #165

By Joe Burns



Goodies to Go (tm)
January 28, 2001--Newsletter #165

This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.
http://www.internet.com
 
 
Announcement Goodies

Our Community Mentor program should be up and running beginning February 4, 2002. Please check next week's Goodies to Go for more details.

 

 

Editorial Goodies - SPAM Scam

I had intended to write on a different topic this week but I
received a rather disturbing email responding to the my SPAM
article from Issue #163.

Here's the email:

"On January 14, you did a great venting on spammers. There is
another scam out there that we just became a victim of...email
forgery. We have a small business website and they used the
address listed there. The "undeliverables" started coming in
droves. This surprised us since we don't email from the site
--it's a forward only address.

These people found open relay ports all over the world (I'm
have no clue what that actually means) but the bottom line is
that our domain is now on every blacklist known to man. These
folks were creative to the point of having movie load
immediately just by opening the email (now this is probably
standard but it was shock to me since I never open the junk
that gets through).

A couple of things that I found out--there's almost no help
available in the U.S. Luckily our paper trail led to Canada;
email forgery was on the congressional plate before 9-11 it
is now on the back burner (understandably); the forgers look
for a name in the email addresses, they are not interested
in "info@domain.com"; they are targeting websites that don't
appear to be big enough to have a legal staff; and if I ever
got my hands on them I would have no trouble inflicting cruel
and unusual punishment.

So for most average folks, all I gotta say is hide the email
addresses, check your undeliverables and there's something
worse than spam!"

I was so amazed that people would stoop this low. Effectively,
they have killed this person's domain. Since I had never heard
of this sort of thing happening to anyone, I thought it was
worth sharing with you.

I'm sure some of you are wondering what sort of problems something like this would cause a site owner. Well, the first issue that you could possibly face is losing your web host. If your site uses a hosting service it is likely they will suspend your domain or even shut you down altogether.

If you get past the problems with your hosting service you will
still have to deal with your domain name being on every server's
"black list" on the planet. If you don't know what a server's "black list" entails, it is simply this; many ISP and domain email servers maintain a list of spam domains that they use for
filtering known spammers. So, each time an email comes from a known spamming domain it is automatically dumped into a trash heap.

A "black list" can be both good and bad. The benefits are obvious, having spam filtered out before it even gets to you. The drawback can be that many domains that you might actually want to get email from are being filtered too. One such example is hotmail.com, a favorite of many spammers. I had a friend tell me the other day that it took him several weeks to realize that his ISP was filtering out all hotmail accounts. The realization hit him after he never seemed to get any emails he forwarded to himself from his own hotmail account.

Once you get "black listed" there are little remedies available
to you. It would be impossible to email every mail server on the
planet to let them know you were hit by a spam scam. Besides, even if you could email all of them the odds of anyone doing anything about it would be slim to none.

Being that as it may, what's the big deal? Well, if your domain
is a commercial site it can be a very big deal. Say one day someone scammed your domain and it got "black listed". Now, after you get things squared away with your web host, you get a half dozen emails requesting quotes for your services. You respond to those emails but your domain name is on the "black list". Your responses never get through. One of your main methods of business contact has now been effectively destroyed.

So, how could you prevent this kind of theft? Well, that's a tough one. There really isn't much you can do except maybe get another domain. You could use the second domain name to forward all of your incoming mail. You would use it for posting on your site and for advertising so that your real domain name never appears anywhere. You would only use your real domain name when replying to inquiries. While this is by no means a fool proof masking method, it could be effective.

A better solution might be to urge your country's lawmakers to pass laws that would hang spam scammers like this by their finger nails.

 


Quiz Goodies

Let's say you want to create a button on your site that pops up a message box with your street address on it.

Here's the button in HTML (assume the form tags):
   <INPUT TYPE="button" NAME="Adress_Button"

     VALUE="See My Address">


How would you make the message box appear using HTML? How about JavaScript?



Q & A Goodies

Q. Hello, I guess you have lots of these to answer so I'd be short. I see that on your pages the source is almost all same and I don't think when you edit one thing you go through all those pages. How can I do that too? I'd really appreciate for the support, or at least what program or language is being used.

 

A. In order to keep our site maintenance to a minimum, we use server side include files for the more static parts of the site. For example, the header, footer and left-hand navigation are on every page of the site. Since we don't want to have to change every page on the site when we update the copyright, for example, we make a single change to the footer.html page which is included on every page of the site.

Here is how we would include our footer file:
   <!--# include virtual="/footer.html" -->

This tells the server to go and find our file called footer.html and
insert its contents here. When the page is received by the requesting browser they will never know that this page contains an included file. The refernece above is replaced by the code in footer.html.

Cautions:
1. Be careful you use the correct path to your include file. For example, if your footer.html is in a folder called "navigation" your include file line would look like this:
   <!--# include virtual="/navigation/footer.html" -->


2. If you are using multiple include files be sure they all are
working together. Forgetting to put an end tag like </tr> in one of your include files can cause unimaginable frustrations. Build your pages carefully and check your progress often.


 

 

Q. Can you tell me how to block a person from using the view source on an HTML document. I have seen popup windows saying that you cannot copy & paste this so auction. People like to steal the source and I have new ones that I do not want taken. I have been looking online for hours and have yet to find an answer. Your site, is by far, the best one I have seen. Thanks for your time!

 

A. I get this question quite often. Let me first say that there is no fool proof way to lock down your code and/or images. If someone really wants to take a peek at your HTML, JavaScript or snitch your images, they will.

However, if you want to slow them down or at least annoy them a bit before they get to your code you can use some JavaScript to disable clicking on you page. Here's the tutorial on how to do it:
http://htmlgoodies.earthweb.com/beyond/noclick.html

 

Q. I read your tutorial called "Database Basics: Part I." What I don't  understand is how this relates to HTML. Do you know where I can find information on keeping a database in HTML?

 

A. Well, the short answer is that databases do not directly relate to HTML. However, they can be an intregal part of web development. In order to effectively use a database you will need to learn some additional web related technologies like ASP, JSP or PHP.

Using a database in cooperation with a web site allows you to make your site much more dynamic. For example, say you wanted to randomly a quote on the home page of your site. You could use a database to store as many quotes as you like and then use a server technology like ASP, JSP or PHP to randomly retrieve one of your quotes and display it.

That is a very basic example but you get the idea.

Database basics is intended to be series for the folks that are
comfortable with HTML and are ready to move on to something new.

 

 

Q. Looked long and hard but could not find how to add downloads on your site.

 

A. Now that is a short and sweet question.

Downloads are relatively easy. If you have a file that you would like to download like "test.doc", for example, all you need to do is create a hyperlink that points to your file:
   <a href="/downloads/test.doc">Download test.doc</a>

The user's browser will then prompt them for a place to save the
document, etc.

Be careful if you are using this method for downloading a file format that the browser might recognize like an image file or and Adobe Acrobat file. These files will directly display in the user's browser and they will have to figure out how to save the file using the browser's controls.

To avoid a known file format being displayed you could always compress the file using WinZip or StuffIt. This will give you a shorter download, eliminate the possibility of the file being automatically displayed and allow you to send multiple files at the same time. The only drawback to this method is that the user will be required to have WinZip or StuffIt Expander installed on their machine. The good news is the expansion software is free.

 


News Goodies

Are you or were you an @home subscriber? Would you like to know how the cable companies are handling the failing @home network fiasco?

Click here to read the article

 

The newest release of the Apache Server has just been released. Read about some of the bug fixes that it addressed.

Click here to read the article

 

Macromedia has released an update for their Director tool and
Shockwave. They have added greater XP compatibility and are working on a Mac OSX version of Shockwave among other things.

Click here to read the article


Quiz Answer

Either way you would use the OnClick event. This event allows you to make something happen when a user clicks on your button, like a message box pop up.

HTML:
<INPUT TYPE="button" NAME="Adress_Button"

    VALUE="See My Address"OnClick =

    "alert('111 West Nowhere Avenue, Lafayette, IN 00000');">

JavaScript:
   document.forms[0].Address_Button.onclick = fuction() {

   alert('111 West Nowhere Avenue, Lafayette, IN 00000'); }


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