Goodies to Go (tm)
October 27, 2003-- Newsletter #256

By Vince Barnes

Goodies to Go (tm)
October 27, 2003--Newsletter #256

This newsletter is part of the network.

Featured this week:

* Goodies Thoughts - A Question of Degree
* Q & A Goodies
* News Goodies
* Goodies Peer Reviews
* Feedback Goodies  
* Windows Tech 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.



Goodies Thoughts - A Question of Degree

If you buy a house and move into it, it's fairly clear that you can't claim that you built your own house. If, on the other hand, you buy some land, have it cleared, have a foundation put in and then have a house put on the foundation can you justify making that claim? If not, is it because somebody else did the work? Suppose you bought prefabricated sections which you put together yourself. How about then? Does it take doing still more of the work, and if so, how much more? If you bought bricks, sand, cement and so on and assembled that, would that be sufficient? Or would you have do dig your own clay, bake your own bricks, mine your own ore and make your tools and so on? At what point along the continuum can you say that it's your work, even though somebody else constructed or manufactured the elements that you are using?

When I first started programming all my code was written in the Assembler language. The Assembler provided one to one translations for machine code - the actual "ones and zeros" instructions that the Central Processing Unit (CPU) could execute. There were no microprocessors then; our computer had ferrite ring core memory. The MOSFET (Metal Oxide Field Effect Transistor) chip didn't come along until the days of the IBM 370. We didn't actually write machine code, but we needed to be able to read it, or at least hexadecimal representations of the memory containing it, if we were to be able to track down any errors that occurred in our programs. "It's not like the old days," the old timers around us would moan. "We used to have to program computers with jumper wires and plugboards in our time," they would explain. "You really had to understand the computer back then."


High level languages improved and provided more powerful programs more efficiently, so we started to use those languages more and more for mainline applications. Then along came third and fourth "Generation Language Generators" - programs that wrote programs based on sets of very high level instructions. Today many languages are so high level that you almost don't need to know that the functionality you are providing is going to run on a computer! At least, and much of the time, you don't need to know what kind of computer it will be running on. Translators, Interpreters, JIT (Just In Time) Compilers and the like will take care of that sort of question for you at lightning speed (relatively speaking) at the last moment before it runs.

The Web is a perfect example of this. Many of the technologies we use in modern web pages have been designed specifically to remove the need to know such things from the web developer. This is a good thing. It means that we can develop a single page to serve our purpose, and that people sitting at all sorts of computers will be able to use it. As time goes by we'll see more and more improvements in this direction.

There are those within our ranks who believe that it is impure to use a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor to design a web page. They feel that a real web designer writes HTML code from scratch. That's fine; but progress is progress. Exactly how pure do we think this form of writing is? It is, after all, very high level when it comes to the world of programming. To a programming purist, WYSIWYG web editors and HTML in notepad may both be so high level that there's effectively no difference between them! We use Word to write a letter and don't even give a second thought to the notion of hand writing the WPML into a text file (which, by the way, I have done.)

I value my experience with low level programming and I believe there is great value in knowing the ins and outs of HTML. I don't, however, look down in any way upon one who chooses to generate their website with a WYSIWYG web editor. The web has become an immensely useful, enlightening and entertaining place. It became so because of the wide variety of content being placed there by web developers and each and every bit of it that gets out there adds to those great characteristics. That it gets there is far more important than how.

Ask me now if I'll do some assembler level coding for you and I'll hold up a string of garlic, a talisman, a hand-grenade and anything else I think might fend you off long enough for me to make my escape. Give me my Visual Studio .Net any day!

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 design a personal portfolio site and need to have people click on my thumbnails to see larger images in a new window... easy. However I found a site that makes it hard for people to save/steal copyright materials- it makes the new window close when it is clicked on... I can't figure out how to do this.

A. You could use the onClick event in the body tag. Of course they can still steal your images because the images have to be downloaded to your PC for your browser to display them. The body tag would look like this:
<body onClick="window.close()">
This will only work if the window was opened using the JavaScript command.

Q. This is a question based around HTML and Java. Firstly, how do you specify a constant width for a drop down menu, and secondly, how to you change its colours?

A. This is more of a HTML/CSS question, but you could use a style tag in the select tag to specify that. Here is an example:
<select name="sel" style="width:80;color:red;background-color:yellow">
<option value="yes">Yes</option
<option value="no">No</option
This example would limit the select (dropdown) to 80 pixels, the text will be red and the background color of the select will be yellow.

Q. I'm trying to create a sort of mouseover-driven context-sensitive help system for my website. The basic idea is that you mouse over a set of services (system checkup, basic service, advanced service, etc) and a window pops up telling you what it is you're going to be paying for. I can get windows to pop up quite's getting them to go away again that's having me in fits. Is there any way to do something like:
onMouseOut="window.diediedie('popup');return true"
and have it actually work?

A. You might want to take a look at this script. It is very flexible and looks great.

Q. I am in the process of designing a site mainly for seniors, some of whom have difficulty seeing small fonts. Can you please tell me how I can code a page to include the option to change the size of font?

A. What you need is called a Style Sheet Switcher. The links allow the user to change the font size of the text by choosing a different style sheet. There are several style sheets used and some JavaScript can be used to help some browsers that do not recognize CSS. For a detailed explanation of how to use this, take a look at this site:
You could also do a search for Style Sheet Switcher and maybe come up with more versions of the same switcher.

Q. How do I make a scrollbar on a page that goes up or down automatically by just putting your mouse over it?

A. Check the scripts a this site:
There are some there that are similar.





News Goodies

Gates Opens Windows' Next Wave
[October 27, 2003] Gates sees connected systems and interoperability driving Web services out into the real world.

Click here to read the article



Diller's InterActive Buys France's
[October 27, 2003] InterActiveCorp still expanding online travel footprint.

Click here to read the article



Symantec to Snap Up ON Technology
[October 27, 2003] UPDATE: Seeking to beef up its software management and security business, Symantec goes after ON Technology, offering $100 million in cash for the Massachusetts vendor.

Click here to read the article



VERITAS Expands Linux Involvement
[October 27, 2003] Support for the enterprise storage software company's entry onto SuSE Linux comes from an unlikely source -- IBM, whose StorageTank technology is seen by some as a direct competitor to companies like VERITAS.

Click here to read the article



CommScope Buys Last-Mile Specialist
[October 27, 2003] The broadband cable maker buys an Avaya unit to round out its product line and push its annual revenue past $1 billion.

Click here to read the article



Motorola Makes Its Case for MRAM
[October 27, 2003] The company pushes its 4Mb magnetic memory chip, which the industry is eyeing to replace multiple memory devices.

Click here to read the article



XM Radio Hits 1M Subscribers
[October 27, 2003] Satellite radio operator says it's on target for 1.2M paying customers by end of year.

Click here to read the article


Rich Media Growth Trend Continues
[October 27, 2003] DoubleClick's third-quarter ad serving report shows that the rich media ads continue to outperform standard ads, while click-through rates, though nothing to rave about, remain stable.

Click here to read the article



IBM Boosts Thinkpad Mobile Workstations
[October 27, 2003] Big Blue adds processing and graphics technology to high-end notebooks.

Click here to read the article



IBM, Fidelity Ready For Banking Spending Spree
[October 27, 2003] With the financial industry poised for an infrastructure overhaul, IBM and Fidelity come out with a solution to pick up some of money expected to be spent.

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

I received lots of responses to last week' piece about Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice recognition software (see ) It seems like a lot of you will be working with it now! That's great -- I highly recommend it. It's fun to use and it certainly allows more flow in your creativity if, like me, you have (greatly!) limited typing skills. Thanks also to those of you who pointed out the typos. For those who still wish to find them, they were:
"is" instead of "as" (two places)
"get to know me" (the word "know" was missing)
and for all who pointed out that "nun" should be "none"; folks, that's just my humor - that was deliberate!

(This message is repeated from last week -- just in case you missed it!) 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:

Some Very Early Information About ASP.NET 2.0

I realize that most of you are too busy to try and keep up
with all the news and rumors that circulate in the ASP and
NET communities... that's why you come to us! The latest rumblings from the underground are about the next version of ASP.NET... ASP.NET 2.0.



And Remember This . . .

On this day in...

1659 Quakers Executed for Religious Beliefs

In 1656 William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson left England to avoid religious persecution. On this day in 1659, however, they died for their beliefs when they were executed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony for violating a law passed the previous year which banned the Quakers from the colony. The Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers as they are commonly known, a Christian religious group, opposed a central church authority, advocated sexual equality and opposed slavery. The Quakers settled in Rhode Island and other colonies and later returned to Massachusetts when the anti-Quaker laws were repealed. In the 19th century, Quaker Lucretia Mott gained fame for her work creating the "Underground Railroad", a chain of participants who helped slaves escape to the northern states and to Canada. Mott was also renowned for her work in the women's' rights movement.

Today was also the day that: in 1787 the Federalist letters started appearing in New York newspapers; 1810 US annexed West Florida from SPain; 1858 RH Macy & Co. opened their first store (6th Ave & 34th Street in New York City); 1880 Teddy Roosevelt married Alice Lee (on his 22nd birthday); 1904 Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT), the first NYC subway, opened; 1925 Fred Waller patented the water ski; 1947 Groucho Marx' "You Bet Your Life" premiered on ABC radio; 1954 "Disneyland" - Walt Disney's first TV show, premiered on ABC TV; 1971 the Republic of the Congo became the Republic of Zaire; 1982 China announced its population head reached 1 billion;

Born today were: in 1728 explorer James Cook; 1782 composer/violinist Niccolo Paganini; 1811 home sewing machine inventor Isaac Singer; 1858 26th US President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt; 1872 etiquette authority Emily Post; 1914 the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas; 1923 pop-art painter Roy Lichtenstein; 1926 White House Chief of Staff and Watergate figure HR Haldeman; 1939 and now for something completely different: comedian John Cleese; 1947 reporter/ hostage Terry Anderson; 1953 English actor Peter Bradford; 1958 rocker Simon Le Bon; 1963 actress Deborah Moore; 1963 model Marla Maples;


Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!


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