Goodies to Go (tm)
September 1, 2003-- Newsletter #248

By Vince Barnes

Goodies to Go (tm)
September 1, 2003--Newsletter #248

This newsletter is part of the network.

Featured this week:

* Goodies Thoughts - Last of the Summer Whine
* Q & A Goodies
* News Goodies
* Goodies Peer Reviews
* Feedback Goodies  
* And Remember This...



Goodies Announcement

Just in case you missed it before, the new Beyond HTML Goodies book is now available!


Go beyond the basics and learn how the pros add and use dynamic HTML features and advanced JavaScript techniques. Beyond HTML Goodies demonstrates dozens of new and different features readers can add to their existing Web pages using HTML and JavaScript. The book starts with simple text and image tips, such as adding a clock to a Web page or causing text to appear when the mouse moves over an image. It gradually builds to more complex tricks, including manipulating forms or working with cookies behind the scenes. Throughout the book, readers enjoy Joe's snappy style and "to the point" discussion of each "goody" in the book.



Goodies Thoughts - Last of the Summer Whine

Here in the US today is Labor Day. While summer is technically not yet over, it is taken by many (most) here to mark the end of the season, and a lot of the summer tourist locales start to close down. How much you like that depends entirely on your point of view.

The holiday itself is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor said "All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."

You will not hear me, however, whining about summer's passing. For me, it hardly does! I live and work in central Florida where it's summer almost all year! We do, of course get the seasons -- in the fall, the temperature plummets into the eighties (around 30 Celsius/centigrade) and the winter, which is the coldest week of the year, sometimes forces us to wear long sleeved shirts!

There is something that I can be heard whining about, however. It's the dreaded spam! I have seen people complaining on the local TV news about getting upwards of 500 spam emails into their mailboxes on a daily basis. 500!! They should see what it's like if you have a published address! I get two to three thousand spam emails daily in addition to legitimate incoming mail.

To get a handle on my email, and to provide me with comprehensive access to it from anywhere in the world I use a combination of Microsoft's Exchange Server and Outlook. In a way this is a sledgehammer used to crack a nut, but it does have some wonderful features. I can write some pretty involved rules for handling incoming mail. Many email clients include the capability to write rules in this way, and can be of great value in sorting out mail.

First, I look for subjects that are immediately recognizable as spam, and auto-delete them. Next, I have a set of rules that look for things I am expecting, such as mail that correctly uses one of my addresses in the recipient field, and move this mail into one of a series of folders according to the address. When my rules have finished picking out what they can, the remainder is dropped into my default inbox. This remainder is everything that could not be readily identified. It is 99% spam. I can cast my eyes down the list pretty quickly ad pick out anything that looks like it might be legitimate, and manually move it to a "work" folder. The rest I delete en masse. The last thing you ever want to do is to respond to spam. That includes "unsubscribing" which only seems to serve to add your address to a whole bunch of other lists. If you suffer from spam, this technique may help you out.

Alternatively, our friends up at Panicware ( ) have a product called Spamwasher that has it's own rules built right in and maintained by Panicware in a manner somewhat akin to the virus definition lists in your favorite anti-virus software. I took a days worth of email and ran it into Spamwasher. Remarkably only about fifty pieces of spam got through it!

There are legislative efforts afoot to try to stem the tide, but such efforts will require international cooperation in order to be truly effective. That might happen - we'll have to wait and see. Spam exists only because it works. If everybody stopped responding to spam, stopped buying the advertised products and ignored or boycotted the vendors who use spam, it would no longer be worth sending it. Somehow I don't think that will ever happen!

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy your autumn and winter seasons, or, for those of you living in the southern half of our planet, I hope you have a great spring and summer!


Thanks for Reading!

- Vince Barnes



Q & A Goodies

Questions are taken from submissions to our Community Mentors. You can ask a Mentor a question by going to

Q. I'm trying to implement Joe Burns' shopping cart onto my webpage and it's working great so far. However, instead of having an 'Add This Item To My Total', and then a 'You Have Ordered This Many Of This Item:', I'd like to have a dropdown menu listing various numerical choices and then an 'Add This Amount To My Total' button. I'm trying to figure it out, but I'm not getting very far. How do I go about doing this?

A. It sounds like you want to fill in the number with an option list, and find another way to store the value. I'm not familiar with that cart, but it sounds like a serious reworking of it. It might be a lot easier to find a shopping cart that works the way you want rather than trying to rework this one, though you would learn a bunch of JavaScript in the process. Replacing the text box containing the total with an option list is easy. The user sets it instead of the function setting it. However,
the function that fills that box in Joe's script also stores the variable, and you need to find another way to do that. That's the part that's a serious rewrite.
[As an option, check out -- a search on "shopping cart" reveals some interesting options. Also check out Bob Conley's suggestion, below. - Ed.]

Q. I am coming up very high in the search engine results for several files on my site. If I change web host providers (my address will change of course) will I ruin my search engine rankings? How might a change affect my rankings --- if at all?

A. I do not believe that the hosting change will affect your ranking with the search engines. The spiders will be looking for your site no matter where it is hosted. If it placed you high in the rankings once then it will more than likely do it again when your site is re-indexed. For instance Google starts it's indexing every 30 to 45 days. So if you do change your host it will just re-index the site from where it is. Although Google does sometimes drop sites for no apparent reason and then picks them up again the next time. I have had that happen once or twice. I actually submit to the search engines every 30 or 40 days anyway to be sure that they know the sites are there.

Q. I am trying to make a simple search form with one text field and one button next to it on the top, and the search result table underneath. The problem is that some users don't necessarily click on the "Search" button (to trigger the search action page), but rather hit the enter key after they type something in the text box. This causes the form page to reload and they get no result from the search. I am sure there is a simple solution to this; I've tried everything I could think of, but with no success. Any help would be much appreciated.

A. That happens when you only have one text box on a form. You could try adding some hidden elements or disable the enter key for the text box. For example:
function disable_enter(e)
{ if(document.all) // detect IE only
{var keycodec = event.keyCode}
{var keycodec = e.which}
if(keycodec=='13') // check for ascii code of enter key
{return false;} }
<input type="text size="10" name="txta" onKeyPress="return disable_enter (event)">


Q. I am starting to design web-pages and wanted to know what would I need to start a small e-commerce site. I want it to be database driven.

A. First you need to know if your server supports database driven sites and if so, what type. If your host uses a UNIX server then it should support PHP and PERL. If your server is a Windows server then it supports ASP. Once you figure which one, you can then look for a shopping cart that will work on your particular server. Your host may even offer a cart for you to use. Ask them first. The next is to start testing cart available on the internet. Do a search on Google and then test drive them. Make a list of what you might want in a cart and see which ones offer what you need.
If you do not want host your own shopping cart, you can look into something like Paypal ( HTMLGoodies has a tutorail about Paypal here:
They do all of the shopping cart work for you. You add some code to your site to use thier cart. They do get a percentage of the sale but I am not sure how much.






News Goodies

Is RSS the Answer to the Spam Crisis?
September 1, 2003] As legitimate online publishers struggle to get e-mail newsletters into clogged inboxes, RSS is fast emerging as the answer to the spam nightmare.

Click here to read the article


IBM to Update Information Integration Tool
[September 1, 2003] Big Blue embarks on a big project to add rich media, speed, flexibility and to its DB2 Information Integrator product; for now, call it 'Project Masala.'

Click here to read the article



'Blaster' Teen Suspect Arrested
[August 29, 2003] UPDATE: The FBI has arrested Minnesota teenager Jeffrey Lee Parson on suspicion he created a destructive variant of the 'Blaster' worm.

Click here to read the article



IE Patent Loss Aftershocks Reverberate
[August 29, 2003] Microsoft plans to make changes to its flagship Internet Explorer browser while the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has started mulling alternative options.

Click here to read the article



Intel Acquisition In Line With Clusters
[August 29, 2003] The No. 1 chipmaker takes over pieces of German-based Pallas, whose software is used in four of the top five supercomputers in the Top 500 supercomputer list.

Click here to read the article Cleans Up its Karma
[August 29, 2003] An altruistic marketing tactic backfires as the online software vendor apologizes to Dalai Lama supporters for posters advertising a San Francisco appearance.

Click here to read the article



IBM Retakes Server Crown
[August 29, 2003] UPDATE: The latest stats from IDC rank Big Blue as the No.1 overall server vendor worldwide, as x86 systems outpaced UNIX ones for the first time.

Click here to read the article



Microsoft Readies Small Business Server Bundles
[August 29, 2003] Seeking to encourage small businesses to enter into the world of server-based computing, Microsoft plans to release an inexpensive bundle of its server system early in October. While small businesses will enjoy the ease-of-use and low introductory pricing, the cost of additional licenses could temper the product debut.

Click here to read the article


PeopleSoft Seals J.D. Edwards Deal
[August 29, 2003] It's officially signed, sealed and delivered; J.D. Edwards and PeopleSoft are one.

Click here to read the article



Where's IT's Next Hotspot? Ask DFJ
[August 29, 2003] The VC is raising a $100M fund to back startups in a country that has seen investment activity wane recently.

Click here to read the article








Goodies Peer Reviews


Every week a site selected each week for review. Each week, reviews of the previous week's selected site are chosen for publication on the HTML Goodies website.


The current week's selected site is published in Goodies To Go and in the Peer Reviews section of the website.  Current contact email addresses for submitting your site and for submitting reviews are published in Goodies To Go.

If you would like to have your site reviewed, sign up for the Goodies To Go newsletter in the Navigation Bar on the left side of this page. 

For full details about this program, see




Feedback Goodies

Did you ever wish your newsletter was an easy two way communications medium? Ploof! It now is!
If you would like to comment on the newsletter or expand/improve on something you have seen in here, you can now send your input to:

We already receive a lot of email every day. This address will help us sort out those relating specifically to this newsletter from all the rest. When you send email to this address it may wind up being included in this section of the newsletter, to be shared with your fellow readers. Please don't send your questions to this address. They should be sent to our mentors: see

Many thanks to Okie Thurman for pointing out the omission of consideration for 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 31st in the day of the week routine in last week's Q&A Goodies (see They do, of course, also need extra code. There is, by the way, a much better way to handle the whole question by using arrays -- check out

Thanks also to Roger Palfree who reminds us of another reason images sometimes don't appear when uploaded to the web server, even though they work just fine on your own PC (see the background image question in newsletter #246 Q&A Goodies If your server is a Unix/Linux system it will be case sensitive and may handle .Jpg .JPG and .jpg (or .Gif .GIF and /gif ) differently. Window's is not case sensitive for file names.

Thanks again for all your feedback!


Windows Tech Goodie of the Week:

Windows Tech Goodie of the Week:

Deploying ASP.NET Applications - Part 2

The second and final article in this series shows how to add advanced
functionality such as customizing the installation dialog boxes and their
sequence, installing registry entries, and creating custom folders to
Windows installer files. The article also discusses when to use which
deployment option and highlights the advantages of each one.

** and **

Bar Chart Sample Code That Handles Negative Values

We've had a bar chart sample on the site for a while now,
but when I wrote it I neglected to add support for negative numbers. For those who are curious, I originally wrote the code to graph our web site page views for our sales guys and so negative numbers weren't a concern. Well one of our visitors who was feeling generous has donated the code that he wrote to show bar charts that include negative values.



And Remember This . . .

On this day in...

1939 Germany Invades Poland

One and a half million German troops crossed the border from German controlled territory into Poland on September 1, 1939. At the same time the Luftwaffe bombed Polish airfields and the German navy attacked Polish ships in the Baltic sea. Hitler tried to pass off the invasion as a defensive move, even to the point of staging an "invasion" of Germany by Polish troops, who were in fact SS troops in Polish uniforms. They damaged a few insignificant German facilities and left behind some "dead", who were concentration camp prisoners in Polish uniforms. The British and French were not fooled and gave Germany one day to withdraw or face war. On September 3rd at 11:15 pm, following the 11:00 pm expiration of the deadline, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced on the radio that Britain was at war with Germany. Similar announcements from Australia, New Zealand, India, and the next day from France, heralded the start of World War II.

Today was also the day that: in 891 the Northmen were defeated near Louvaine, France; 1267 Ramban (Nachmanides) arrived in Jerusalem to establish a Jewish community; 1666 the Great Fire of London (which destroyed 80% of the City) started in Pudding Street; 1849 the California Constitutional Convention started in Monterey; 1874 Sidney General Post Office started operations in Australia; 1878 the first female telephone operator, Emma Nutt, started work in Boston; 1922 a New York City law required all "Pool" halls change their name to "Billiards"; 1923 Tokyo and Yokahama earthquake kills 106,000; 1945 World War II ends with the surrender of Japan (9/1 in the US -- it was already September 2 in Japan); 1962 Earth's population officially hits 3 billion (3,000 million) according to the United Nations; 1977 the TRS-80 Model I computer goes on sale; 1982 US law requires a maximum reading of 85mph on a car's speedometer;

Born today were: in 1854 German composer Engelbert Humperdinck; 1875 novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan); 1923 boxer (Heavyweight Champ) Rocky Marciano; 1933 country singer Conway Twitty; 1939 comedienne/actress Lily Tomplin; 1946 singer Barry Gibb; 1957 singer Gloria Estefan


Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!


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