July 22, 2002-- Newsletter #190

By Joe Burns



Goodies to Go (tm)
July 22, 2002--Newsletter #190

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


 
Goodies Thoughts - Photography and the Web

These days almost everyone that owns a computer has either a scanner or a digital camera or both. Now, taking and sharing photographs via the web or email has never been easier.

 

Those of you that own a digital camera know how wonderful it is to be able to take bunches of photographs and never have to worry about the cost of processing or waiting for your photographs to come back. If you don't own a digital camera yet and are thinking about getting one, here are some quick tips for digital camera shoppers:

 

Megapixels - The more the merrier. Simply put, the more Megapixels per image the camera has, the better your resolution (and the bigger the memory card needed). It makes a big difference when you want to print off those larger sizes like an 8x10. Get as much as you can afford.

 

Memory - There are several different types of memory media out there. Make sure that the media for the camera you choose is readily available. Some cameras even accept multiple types of media. Also, remember to get at least a couple of memory cards when you buy your camera. You may think it will be easy to just upload your photographs each time you use your camera. In reality, though, that won't be as easy as you might think.

 

Batteries - Examine carefully the kind of batteries required for the camera. If the camera requires one or more of those expensive lithium batteries, you can quickly go broke keeping you camera operational at $10 to $20 per battery especially if you use the flash and the built-in view screen frequently. You will find a camera that accepts rechargeable batteries a big plus.

 

Uploading - When you are looking for your new camera be sure to get a demonstration on how the camera uploads to your computer. Some cameras are as simple as plugging in a USB cable and taking the images directly off of the camera just like you would an external hard drive. Others may require you to use special software or even special hardware to move your images to your computer.

 

Those are the most important elements. The rest is pretty much personal preference. Things like zoom, auto-focus, date/time stamping and red-eye reduction all depend on your needs. (By the way, red-eye reduction is usually just a gimmick. Red-eye is caused by your flash reflecting off the retina of the person that you are photographing. To eliminate the red-eye effect, the camera's flash would have to be significantly above or to the side of the lens.)

 

Whether you take digital images directly off of your camera or scan them in, there are some things to consider before just dropping them onto your website:

Size - The size that comes directly from your camera is usually not going to be the size that is ideal for the web. For example, my digital camera captures an image that is 2240 pixels by 1680 pixels at 72 dpi (i.e. dots per inch) which is way too large for practical web use. Translated into inches, that would be about 31 inches by 23 inches. Once you have your digital image be sure to reduce the image to a size that is ideal for your purposes. When I put pictures up for my family on my personal website, I usually make the image size something around 4 inches (288 pixels) by 6 inches (432 pixels) at 72 dpi.

 

Resolution - The standard resolution for the web is 72 dpi, however, that is not the ideal resolution for printing. Most digital cameras will output your images somewhere between 72 and 150 dpi. In talking about size above, we kept everything in standard video resolution at 72 dpi. If you want to make a much sharper image available for printing you will want to bump up the resolution on your image to at least 300 dpi. This will make for a much better printable image. Keep in mind, it will also make for a much larger file to download (at least 4 times larger).

 

Thumbnail - In order to make the viewing process much easier for your web visitors, you will probably want to always make a smaller thumbnail version of all of your images. This will allow the visitor to quickly and easily "thumb" through several images on a page to find the one or ones that they would like to see larger. Generally, thumbnail images are between 100 and 150 pixels wide but there is no set rule for this. Do whatever works best you.

 

File Format - The file format that you choose to save your digital images in greatly determines the file's size. Most digital cameras will output their images in either TIFF or JPEG format. While TIFF files have a great quality of resolution, they are definitely not the most efficient format for web viewing. Digital photographic images on the web are almost always in JPEG format. JPEG's are the best for photographs because of their ability to accurately display the millions of colors that can be present in a photograph while at the same time compressing the image data to keep the file size as small as possible. Other file formats like GIF's and BMP's are best suited for graphics and artwork that don't require high color standards.

 

Obviously, in order to make all of the changes talked about above you will have to own some sort of image manipulation software. If you are using Windows, the pre-loaded Paint software package will take care of most of you basic needs like resizing and saving to different file formats. If you need something that allows you to make more than just basic modifications then you might consider a consumer-oriented package like Adobe's PhotoShop Elements or Microsoft's Picture It!. If you need still more power then the mother of all photographic software should be your choice, Adobe's PhotoShop.

 

In the next issue we'll take a look at some different ways that you can display and arrange your images.

 

Thanks for reading!

 


Quiz Goodies

On a web form, what's the biggest difference between check boxes and radio buttons?

 

Read answer below.



Q & A Goodies

Questions are taken from submissions to our Community Mentors. You can ask a Mentor a question by going to http://www.htmlgoodies.com/mentors/.

 

 

Q. I looked all throughout the site, and I couldn't seem to find an answer to this question.


I have a page with frames, and I wanted to know if there is a way to make a link, open one .htm file in one frame, and a different .htm file in another frame.

 

A. Try this code:


  <a href="" onClick="parent.frames[0].location='blah.htm';

     parent.frames[1].location='blah2.htm';">

0 and 1 are the names of the frames.
 

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Eric Ferguson, one of our HTML Mentors.

 

Q. I have the book HTML Goodies but I am trying to find out a situation I have come across but not mentioned in your book or anywhere else I can find.


I wish to know how to incorporate WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER or REAL PLAYER within my own design.


I have seen it on many sites but have no idea as to how to go about it.

 

A. Take a look at this tutorial: http://www.htmlgoodies.com/tutors/videoembed.html

 

You might also try checking the web site for the player that you intend to use which in your case is Microsoft. Each player embeds in HTML quite differently, so it's important to always check the media player's documentation.

 

Q. I'm a novice web designer, and am making a website for a relative's business. He wants a simple form submission page where he will receive the name, email and phone number from interested applicants. I've gleaned from the HTMLgoodies form tutorials (http://www.htmlgoodies.com/tutors/forms.html) everything on how to make a good form, and put my own email address in to test it. However, I get a series of alerts I don't understand.

Is it possible that certain automatic email configurations on my computer are keeping me from seeing this work properly, and that it would work fine on someone else's computer? If so, do you know how I can re-configure this?

 

A. The alert you are getting is normal when you use the mailto:email@me.com to email the contents of a form. It is the browser's security settings that perform this. The only way to get around this is to use a server side application to email your form.

 Another thing you need to correct is to add enctype="text/plain" to your form tag like this:

<form method="post" action="mailto:username@yahoo.com" enctype="text/plain">

If you don't do that then when you receive the email the message will be garbled.

 

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Jim Young, one of our JavaScript Mentors.



News Goodies

Window's Media Player 9 hasn't been released yet but Microsoft is sure talking it up. Is it going to be as good as they say? (This is for the guy that asked the question above about embedding Windows Media Player.)

Click here to read the article

 

Want another perspective on using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in your web designs?

Click here to read the article

 

The House passes a bill making cyber-crime a bit tougher to get away with.

Click here to read the article

 
 
Quiz Answer

No, it's not that one is round and the other one is square. The key difference between check boxes and radio buttons is that radio buttons can be grouped while check boxes cannot.

 

What does it mean to group?

 

Let's say that you have some wooden chairs for sale. You have a web form that you are using to accept orders. Your chairs come in 3 different stained finishes - oak, cherry and walnut. You want anyone ordering to be able to choose only one finish style. That's where radio buttons come in.

 

If you group a set of 3 radio buttons together with the finishes listed next to them, the person ordering your chairs will only be allowed to choose one option. Here's the HTML for the scenario above:
 

  <P><INPUT TYPE="radio" VALUE="Oak"

          CHECKED NAME="Finish"> Oak</P>
  <P><INPUT TYPE="radio" NAME="Finish"

          VALUE="Cherry"> Cherry</P>
  <P><INPUT TYPE="radio" NAME="Finish"

          VALUE="Walnut"> Walnut</P>

 

The TYPE="radio" attribute defines the form element as a radio button. The VALUE attribute gives each button its own unique value so that you can determine what the user's selection was later. The NAME defines the grouping which, in our case, is "Finish". By requiring a group name, HTML gives you the ability to make as many different radio button groupings on the same page as you like. Lastly, the CHECKED in the first line defines that particular radio button as the default.

 

 

And Remember This . . .

Today marks the date in 1587 when British settlers arrived at the New World. They landed on Roanoke Island just off the coast of Virginia. When they landed, they expected to find an already established settlement by a group that preceded them but there was no one. Several years later a third group of settlers arrived on the island only to find an empty settlement. To this day no one has ever figured out what ever happened to Roanoke's lost colony and probably never will.

 

Coincidentally, this day also marks the date that a boat full of settlers on the Mayflower set out from Holland for the New World in 1620. Fortunately for them they landed in Massachusetts instead of Roanoke Island, Virginia.


Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!

 

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