Goodies to Go (tm)
October 13, 2003-- Newsletter #254

By Vince Barnes



Goodies to Go (tm)
October 13, 2003--Newsletter #254

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


Featured this week:

* Goodies Thoughts - A Paperless World
* Q & A Goodies
* News Goodies
* Goodies Peer Reviews
* Feedback Goodies  
* And Remember This...

 


 

Goodies Announcement

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.

 

http://books.internet.com/books/0789727803

 

 

Goodies Thoughts - A Paperless World


Picking up the mail every day just isn't what it used to be. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing; there may be good and bad aspects to it; but it's just not as much fun as it once was. For instance, seldom do we see letters from relatives and friends. We might see the occasional card to mark some special event, but a plain old letter has become rare indeed. The telephone slowed the flow, but email and IMs have brought it to a screeching halt (almost!) The mailbox still gets filled, however, because there's junk mail and bills to take up the slack. It's interesting to note, while the subject passes by, that junk email has not replaced junk mail in the same way that email replaces letters; it has merely added to the deluge.

Then there are those bills. When all you have to look forward to is unwanted advertising and (unwanted <g>) bills, it's not surprising that the joy has gone from the prospect of picking up the mail. But our friendly Internet is here to help us out again!

"Paperless" is the buzz-word of the day. In the situation I'm taking a look at today, it refers to the idea of getting rid of paper billing, especially around the house. The first to offer me the option to go paperless was my cellular phone company. I should say that they were they first ones who really caught my attention - there may have been other offers earlier. Here's how it works:

First they have me go on-line and sign up for paperless billing. In the process I create a userid and password. When they prepare my bill, they put an image of it in PDF format into a database and link it to my userid. They then send me an email to tell me the bill is ready. When I log on to their paperless billing site, I am presented with a list of recent bills with the new one on the top, and the details of the current amount owed showing next to the list. I can take a look at the invoice and if everything is ok I click the "pay now" button and pay through their secure site. Nice, clean, simple!

I greatly prefer this method over the old direct debit solution whereby the vendor simply takes the money out of my account when it's due. The trouble I see with direct debit is that if, for example, the meter reader keys in 597994 instead of 579994 I wind up with a bill for $6,500.00 for one month's water. Now, not only do I go without food for a while, but I'm paying interest on my overdraft protection! I'd much rather see the bill and argue about it before any money leaves my account than after it has already left!

I like the paperless solution I outlined above a lot and I now have all my phone, utility, cable, water and other routine household bills on the same type of program. I was chatting with me neighbor, who is also paper bill-less, and he was telling me that his lawn maintenance guy (I like to do my own lawn work) does his billing the same way.

Now there's a challenge for my GTG readers, I said to myself! It seems to me that a simple web/email billing solution would not be too hard to develop. A solution based on HTML, PHP and MySQL would be economical (as far as server requirements are concerned) and relatively simple to do. I'm not concerned with payables tracking or the like, just the solution I outlined above.

I would like to develop the solution with the help of a small group of GTG readers and publish the whole thing on the HTML Goodies site. If you have some of the skills I have mentioned and you are game for being involved drop me an email to the feedback address. I would like a team of about five people to participate. Everything must be developed from scratch and will be made available to our readers of the site, so we can not use any copyrighted code or materials. The keywords for this little project are "simple" and "basic"! So do you want to show off your mettle to your peers?

Right now I have to run outside and clear today's junk out of my mailbox. Then again, maybe there's a letter from one of my friends.... maybe....

 

Thanks for Reading!
 

- Vince Barnes

 

Top

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 have created on a development site thru "Dreamweaver/UltraDev", information which our project team are copying to another application. The challenge we face is to have the information on the development presented as a hard copy, with page breaks and hopefully in the same format (colors and all). So far all we have done is to copy and paste the information into a word document, but we are losing most of the original format.

A. Using CSS you can set the where the page breaks are when printing your web page. If you are doing this within a company in which everyone is using the same browser you may get away with it with few problems. Not all web browsers recognize this particular attribute. I believe IE 5 and above and Netscape 6 and above will recognize it. The CSS attributes "page-break-before" and "page-break-after". Both instruct the printer to begin printing a new page, with the difference being before or following the element the attribute is applied to. For instance if you apply the attribute within the H1 tag like this:
<.style> h1{ page-break-before: always; } <./style>
The printer will start a new page before every H1 tag.




Q. Hello, I have a link question. On my site I have the link color scheme to be black, which works well on the left bordered side of my page, but not on the right side which has a black background. Is there anyway to change the color just one or two links without changing the color of all the links?

A. Using CSS and assigning a class to each link you can use different colors and other attributes to whichever links you want. For instance if you want one of your links to be black and another to be white you would set up a style sheet like this:
<.style type="text/css">
a.one:link {color: #000000}
a.two:link {color: #FF0000}
<./style>
Place the style between the <.HEAD> tags. Now apply the class to the actual links in your HTML like this:
<.a class="one" href="default.html">This link will be black.<./a>
<.a class="two" href="default.html">This link will be red.<./a>





Q. My brother was on AIM when he clicked on a link in someone else's profile, when he did this it brought him to another page where he clicked the first link on it. After he did so his homepage was changed to this site, which is a porn site. it would change back after he tried deleting all memory and stuff. Also his AIM profile had the link added to it. He can erase it but whenever he signs on it comes back.

A. Unfortunately this is not a JavaScript or web development issue. This problem falls into the realm of spyware or hijackware. There is a lot of information available on these topics as well as a variety of ways to fix an infected system. I recommend doing a search with your favorite search engine (Google, Lycos, Ask Jeeves, ...) using the keywords "spyware" and "hijackware". I'm sure you'll find the solution to the problem.
[You might also check out the lead piece in this issue:
http://www.htmlgoodies.com/letters/232.html -Ed.]




Q. Where can I find a free JavaScript script that works like a payment calculator?

A. Here are some sites that may have just the script you are looking for:
http://javascript.internet.com
http://www.javascriptkit.com
http://www.dynamicdrive.com

 

 

 

 

Top

News Goodies


Wi-Fi Features for Windows XP, Server 2003
[October 13, 2003] New provisioning features seen as an added incentive for customers to upgrade to newest versions of operating systems.

Click here to read the article


 

 

Microsoft, Vodafone Strike Pact for Mobile Web Standards
[October 13, 2003] Companies will work together on standards for mobile web applications.

Click here to read the article

 


 

Security Threats Outpace Net Usage Growth
[October 13, 2003] More than 6 percent of e-commerce transactions in the U.S. were potential fraud attempts.

Click here to read the article

 

 

Study: Consumers Get Spam Savvy
[October 13, 2003] DoubleClick finds consumers have become adept at sorting wanted e-mail from unwanted spam.

Click here to read the article

 

 

Sun Reveals UltraSPARC IV
[October 13, 2003] The company advances its Throughput Computing strategy with new details about its fourth-generation processor compliments of a 15-year relationship with TI.

Click here to read the article

 

 

BEA Tackles Application Security
[October 13, 2003] As corporate intranets expand, BEA rolls new enterprise security tools to help companies improve control over who gets past internal networks' gatekeepers.

Click here to read the article

 

 


IBM's Storage Tank Looks to Shell Rivals
[October 13, 2003] Big Blue's long-awaited SAN file system aims to allow users to take a much more hands-off approach to storing, sharing and managing data.

Click here to read the article



 

First Homeland Security Tech Incubator Opens
[October 13, 2003] Maryland debuts early stage companies developing solutions for biodefense, communications and information technology.

Click here to read the article

 

 


Plumtree Aims for Best of Both Worlds
[October 13, 2003] Web applications are generally created in either a Java or .NET environment. A software update by Plumtree wants to give you both.

Click here to read the article

 

 

No More Weekly Microsoft Patches
[October 9, 2003] The software giant announces a dramatic shift in its approach to issuing fixes for security vulnerabilities.

Click here to read the article

 

 

 

 


Top

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 http://www.htmlgoodies.com/peerreviews
 

 

 


Top

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:

mailto:nlfeedback@htmlgoodies.com


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 http://www.htmlgoodies.com/mentors/



Would you like to get yourself and your web developer skills publicized on a multi-million-hits-per-month website? Check out today's lead piece for an opportunity to participate in a little public development project that'll do just that. Send in your ideas and let us know you want to participate by emailing our feedback address (above).

For those who are missing Peer reviews: we are once again revising the Peer review program in the hopes of creating a workable solution. All those who have been selected for reviews in the past will be featured in the new pages. The new method will make it much easier for your peers to provide feedback and much easier for us to handle the publication side of things. "Watch this space!"



Thanks again for all your feedback!

 


Windows Tech Goodie of the Week:


Linked Database Dropdown Lists ASP.NET Sample

http://www.asp101.com/samples/db_pulldown_linked_aspx.asp

This sample takes the input from one select box and uses it to query a
database to fill in a second.


** and **

Can I Get That As a Spreadsheet?

http://www.15seconds.com/issue/031007.htm

Learn how to create an object that accepts a dataset with multiple tables
and turns them into an Excel workbook with multiple sheets.
 


 

 

Top
And Remember This . . .


On this day in...

1792 Cornerstone of The White House is Laid

To be built in the new capital city of Washington, a new presidential residence had its cornerstone laid on this day in 1792. Geographically located at the center of the new republic, the City of Washington was to be the new capital, replacing Philadelphia. The states of Virginia and Maryland had given land to create the new District of Columbia and work started on the City of Washington on 1791. The presidential residence was built using Virginia freestone which has a whitish color the distinguished it from the red brick buildings around it and gave rise to its name.


Today was also the day that: in 1775 The Continental Congress formed the Continental Navy; 1843 B'nai B'rith ("Sons of The Covenant") was formed in New York; 1943 Italy declared war on its former ally, Germany; 1963 "Beatlemania" starts after the Beatles play at the Paladium Theatre in London; 1978 James Earl Ray (the murderer of Martin Luther King) married Anna Sandhu; 1988 The Bishop of Turin announced that the Shroud of Turin did not pass scientific testing for authenticity (it dated back only to 1280, not to the time of Jesus' crucifixion.);

Born today were: in 1853 vaudeville actress Lillie Langtry; 1889 actor Douglass Dumbrille (Mr. Deeds Goes To Town); 1909 political cartoonist Herbert L Block (Herblock); 1920 comedian Nipsey Russell; 1921 actor Yves Montand; 1925 former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; 1948 soprano Leona Mitchell; 1959 singer Marie Osmond; 1962 actress Kelly Preston

Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!

 

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