Goodies To Go! Newsletter #354

By Vince Barnes

Goodies to Go (tm)
September 13, 2005 -- Newsletter # 354
This newsletter is part of the network.


Featured this week:
*   Goodies Thoughts - Three Golden Rules, Revisited

*   Q & A Goodies
*   News Goodies
*   Feedback Goodies
*   Windows Tech Goodie of the Week 
*   And Remember This...
Three Golden Rules, Revisited
"Three Golden Rules" was the title of one of the most popular newsletter pieces from Goodies To Go.  Whille there are some of you who will remember the piece, there are also many new readers who will not have seen it beforee.  The piece is still very relevant, and since it has been a couple of years since it first went out, I thought it was time to revisit it, so here it is, once more.
Imagine if you will, all the thought that goes into a website; then the work involved in it's actual creation; the care with which its various elements are interconnected; and the pride with which it is placed onto a web server and published for the world to see.
Next, a little time goes by and the site evolves with a tweak here, add a page there, put a database link in this, and so on.  Pretty soon the site has grown a lot and represents its developer's blood, sweat and tears.
Then the server crashes and the call comes in from hosting company to say "sorry, you'll have to upload your pages again."  Pages?  PAGES?  WHAT PAGES?  The horror dawns on you that your only copy is that original set that you first created.  All that extra work was done after that upload and was added piece by piece to the live site.  Only the live site had it all.  And that database of contact information you've been collecting -- it was up there too!
Now to those golden rules.  They apply to everything to do with computers, but we're especially interested in how they apply to website creation and maintenance.  I'm sure you've guessed the first part by now.  That's right -- Backup!
Rule number one is backup your stuff!  When you make a copy, however, things can go wrong with the copy process.  It's a good idea to make a copy of your existing backup before you start to copy over it -- just in case!  Now you have a one generation old copy and a current copy.
Then there's Murphy's Law.  "If it can go wrong it will.  If it can't go wrong, it'll go wrong quicker."  (If that's not actually Murphy's Law, I'm sure he'd be pretty proud of it anyway!)  Here's the scene (it's based on the last one): as your hanging up the phone after the call from the hosting company a knowing smile stretches itself across your face; "I have those two copies in the other room - let me get one and send it up," you think to yourself.  As you do, and as if in direct response to your smirk, a bolt of lightning comes out of the blue, smashes its way through your roof, through the back room, through your computer and melts your CDs and floppies as it goes.
Oops!  (Thank goodness it missed the cat - this is, after all, a family style newsletter!)
Yes, that's right -- you should have made another copy and kept it at work or in your safe deposit box.  An off-site copy is another very reasonable backup.  Of course, its possible that the call comes from the hosting company, a bolt takes out your PC and a flash flood washes away the bank.  If this happens to you, you might want to examine your life a little - the universe seems to be exceptionally mad at you.
So, more correctly stated, rule one would be "backup your backups."  That would leave rule two as "backup your stuff" and rule three as "backup your stuff again and keep the backup off-site."  The short form of the three golden rules is:
Backup backup; backup; and backup again.
Say that to yourself a few times.  Now ask yourself "did I just say that, or have I actually done it?"
You're still here?
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. How do I design my webpages so they fill the screen on all monitor sizes?
A. If you want to make sure that your site will look well in all resolutions you should first decide what your lowest screen resolution should be. According to statistics, most people are veiwing the web at 800 X 600 or above and very few are actually viewing at 640 X 480. So you can safely design a page for the lowest resolution being 800 X 600. When you design for 800 X 600 make sure that all of your images are optimized for that resolution. Use percentages for your table instead of pixel widths. If you use a fixed pixel width you are setting your table to an absolute measurement. If the table is set to percentages it will expand as needed. I use a bit of JavaScript to check to see what my sites look like in various resolutions. Copy and paste this into your browser address:
Hit enter and then save to your favorites.  Do the same with the following:
Your browser will resize itself to the resolutions and you can get an idea of what the page is going to look like.
Q. Where is the tutorial on mouse over for "click here"?
A. You should be able to find one in the JavaScript Primers on the HTML Goodies site.  Here is a link to the Table of Contents:
[If you're looking for a particular piece of JavaScript code, check out -- Ed.]

Q. When you open a new window is it possible to close the original window?  When I run this code I just get an error message after the new window opens."page.html", "whatever", config="height=500,width=500") self.close;
I've tried replacing self.close with main.close and window.close but I always get errors.  main.close only works for closing new windows.
A. The reason you are getting the erros is that you have the wrong syntax for your window close.  The correct syntax should be:
to close the original window.  The other problem that you will have is that when you use JavaScript to close the original or main window an alert will popup asking you wether you want to close it or not.  This is a security feature that keeps someone from closing the window without the viewer's permission.  JavaScript is not allowed to close the main window.

Q. I cannot figure out how to get the submit button to work.  I need the information from the order form to go to my email address.  If this is not possible, please advise me on how to retrieve information from a form that is submitted. Anyway, the form is there and each text box is coded within the form frame.  I would also like to be able to add a confirmation page when they submit the order. (Code sample supplied)
A. The reason your form is not working is because the SUBMIT button has no place to send it to. The line that starts the FORM needs an ACTION attribute.
This line:
<FORM name=" " enctype="text/plain">
Should read something like this:
<FORM name=" " enctype="text/plain" action="page_to_send _the_info_to.shtml">
The page that the form sends the information to should contain all of the needed coding to send the information to an email. If you are using the script to send to an email application, I would suggest you find another script as some browsers do not support that.
[See also these articles for more information:
 - Ed.]


Q. I would like if anybody of you could help me. I am very new in creating web sites. I know little about java script. What I want to do is to create pop-up window like this:
<script language="javascript">
function nesto()
{ alert ("IZABERITE NO"); return}
Ok, so I did it. But it is an alert message. Can I change it so it would be some other kind of pop-up. Like with ? or something else. Hope you understand me!
A. I think it would help if you first went through Joe Burns JavaScript Primers here:
They are very good at explaining JavaScript to the beginner.
News Goodies
Ruling Lets ex-Microsoft Exec Work at Google
[September 13, 2005] But Microsoft claims victory too.
Read the article:

Gates: XML Is Heart of Next Platform
[September 13, 2005] At Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft lays bare more of the Windows Vista guts.
Read the article:

Redmond to Tackle Office 'Overload'
[September 13, 2005] At Microsoft's PDC: The next version of the Office suite will pluck much-used tools from deep within menus. 
Read the article:

Coins Into Cash
[September 13, 2005] The jars of coins gathering dust around the house can now be used at the super site.
Read the article:

IBM Beefs Up SOA Play
[September 13, 2005] UPDATED: Big Blue's SOA initiative seeks to connect the corporate network's individual business units.
Read the article:

Getting to Know WinFS
[September 13, 2005] As the PDC feeding frenzy begins, developers are trying to get a handle on WinFS' capabilities.
Read the article:

Lenovo's Olympic Coming Out Party
[September 13, 2005] The computer maker will provide 5,000 desktop PCs, hundreds of servers and other technology at the Winter Games.
Read the article:

AT&T to Test Managed RFID Service
[September 13, 2005] Ma Bell is getting into the supply chain business, building and managing RFID for use in global operations.
Read the article:

eBay to Acquire Skype For $2.6 Billion
[September 12, 2005] Online auction giant snaps up fast-growing VoIP provider to forge new lines of business around the globe.
Read the article:

New Linux Kernel Patched
[September 12, 2005] New point release addresses vulnerabilities.
Read the article:

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 helps 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
Thanks for all your feedback!

Windows Tech Goodie of the Week 

Creating Expiring Web Pages
This article examines how to create expiring web pages.  This feat is accomplished by creating tamper-proof querystring parameters and sending the time along in the querystring.  The receiving page is then able to determine whether or not the link used to arrive at the page has expired or not.

*** AND ***

Dynamic Form Fields ASP Sample Code
Sometimes when you're getting input from users you know exactly what to expect, but unfortunately that's not always the case. In cases where you don't, you need to be flexible when designing the forms to get this mystery data. This classic ASP script shows you how to generate a number of form fields dynamically based on user input and then read the values the user enters into those dynamically-generated fields.
And Remember This ...
1971 Massacre at Attica
On September 9, 1971, rioting prisoners took control of Attica State Prison near Buffalo, New York.  While State Police were able to retake control of most of the facility, almost 1,300 inmates held the "D Yard" exercise field, where they held 39 guards hostage.  After four days of fruitless negotiations, New York State Governor ordered the State Police to retake control of the yard by force. At about 9:45 in the morning of September 13, 1971, police helicopters fired tear gas into the yard while police and corrections officers stormed the yard with guns blazing.  They fired over 3,000 rounds blindly into the smoke filed yard.  When the guns fell silent, 29 inmates and 10 of the hostages were dead, 89 more were injured.  Most were shot during the initial raid, but some were shot after they surrendered.  Authorities first tried to blame the inmates for the hostages' deaths, but autopsies later showed that they all died from the bullets fired by police.  In the week following the riot, inmates faced brutal reprisals from guards, including beating with nightsticks and being forced to crawl naked over broken glass.  Injured inmates were denied adequate medical attention.  In January 2000, New York State settled with inmates who brought a class action lawsuit.  The settlement amount was $8million.

Today was also the day that in: 122 construction began on Hadrian's wall; 1788 New York City became the capitol of the USA; 1849 Tom McCoy was the first US prizefighter killed in a fight; 1882 Britain invaded Egypt; 1949 the Ladies Pro Golf Association was formed in New York City; 1965 the Beatles released "Yesterday"; 1970 IBM announced the System 370 computer; 1983 the US mint struck the "Olympic Eagle" -- the first US gold coin in more then 50 years; 1990 Iraqi troops stormed the French Ambassador's residence in Kuwait; 1991 a 55 ton concrete beam in Montreal's Olympic Stadium fell;
Born today were: in 1857 chocolatier and philanthropist Milton S. Hershey; 1860 US WWI commander Gen John J (Blackjack) Pershing; 1904 actress Gladys George; 1912 actress Rita Shaw; 1913 actor Roy Engle; 1920 actress Carole Mathews; 1924 actor Scott Brady; 1931 actress Barbara Bain; 1939 US presidential press secretary Larry Speakes (born with the name for the job!); 1944 English actress (Winifred) Jacqueline Bisset; 1948 actress Nell Carter; 1965 son of Richard Starsky (Beatle Ringo Star) Zak Starsky; 1971 daughter of Paul & Linda McCartney Stella Nina McCartney;

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