Goodies To Go! Newsletter #370

By Vince Barnes

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Goodies to Go (tm)
January 3, 2006 -- Newsletter # 370
 
This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.
http://www.internet.com
 

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Featured this week:
 
*   Goodies Thoughts - A Tree-less Challenge
*   Q & A Goodies
*   News Goodies
*   Feedback Goodies
*   Windows Tech Goodie of the Week 
*   And Remember This...
 
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A Tree-less Challenge
 
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!  It has to be said though, that many of the "direct debit" method companies will now send out an email invoice fifteen to twenty days before they debit one's account, providing an opportunity to check the bill and call them with any issues prior to them extracting all your cash.  I do think this is better!
 
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 my 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, in our new "Webmaster Projects" section. 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 -- please put "A Tree-Less Challenge" in the subject line. 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.  All participants will receive proper credit for their work.  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
 
 
 
 
 
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Q & A Goodies
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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. My website is done in tables, and I have one Cell on the top, three Cells in the middle and one cell on the bottom. I want to make it so the in the middle 3 cells, all the text is forced to the top. I tried  td align=top  but that didn't work.
 
A. Change the align to valign and code it like so: td valign="top"
 
 
 
 
 
Q. How do I detect a flash plug-in and redirect the browser to a new URL?
 
 
 
 
 

    
Q. I am constantly creating files (pdf or word) files that I need to show to many co-workers. Instead of having to email everyone every time I finish a file, I would like to upload the file to my server and have them view the list of files online and download the ones they want. These files need to be password protected as different people in different departments should only see files pertaining to them. Here was my idea, create a bunch of password protected folders on a server - one for each department, and I will upload the file to any folder that should be allowed to view these files.  Two questions: 1) I put the files in a folder, but when I try to view the folder in a browser it tells me I don't have permission to access this folder (I assume because I never created an index file). How can I set it up that I should be able to view a list of files that are in the folder?  2) how can I create a page that will allow me to upload files to folders using a browser?
 

A. I believe you are correct in that you do not have an INDEX file for the server to show when you try to access the folder. You could create an INDEX file with the links to the documents for downloading. I am assuming that you have already password protected the folder? An even easier way would be to use a password log in feature for your pages. The application would allow users to sign up themselves and you would control which group the user should be in and only the documents or files you allow each group or person to view. There is a nice web application called ASPLogin. It has to run on a server that supports ASP. For example, to make a document available to all users in a group called 'management', members of a group called 'administrators' and a user called 'fred' (who may or may not be in either of the groups), you would add the following code to the top of the document:
<%@ LANGUAGE=VBScript %>
<%
Set asplObj=Server.CreateObject("ASPL.Login")
asplObj.Group("management")
asplObj.Group("administrators")
asplObj.User("Fred")
asplObj.Protect
Set asplObj=Nothing
%>
Any other group or person trying to see that document will not be allowed to see it. It is a pretty slick application You can take a look here: http://www.asplogin.com
To create a page to allow you to upload documents would call for some scripting. This all depends on what type of server you site is hosted on. If it is a Windows server then it will support Active Server Pages (ASP).
 
 
 
 

    
Q. I saw on a website once where there were dainty little buttons that did the equivalent of a browser's back, refresh, and forward buttons. I found the javascript code for that on Html Goodies, but is there no way to apply this event to a hotspot on an image? With the script on the website, I'm under the impression it is written to create a standard form button with the back (etc.) abilities. I have an image on which I want to select a hotspot which will act as a back (etc.) button. Help?
 
A. What you are looking for is called an image map. Here is a link to a tutorial on the HTMLGoodies web site: http://htmlgoodies.earthweb.com/tutors/im.html
It is best to have a tool to assist you in defining the hotspots of an image so check your Dreamweaver documentation for references to image maps. If you find this to be lacking, there is an excellent piece of shareware called MapEdit available from boutell.com at: http://www.boutell.com/mapedit
At $10 it's a bargain.
 
 
 
 
Q. Is there something you could use so that when the mouse moves over a link it would look like a regular text, meaning that the mouse-pointer would turn into an I shape instead of a hand?
 
A. This tutorial will explain it: http://www.htmlgoodies.com/beyond/css_cursors.html
Something to be aware of is the effect can vary between browsers. Test it at least in the recent IE and Netscape to make sure nothing is screwed up.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Discussion Goodies
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Have you seen the discussion forums on the HTML Goodies website?  It's a great place to get help from others who, just like you, are developing web pages.  Many different topics appear in the forum, and a new one will appear if you create it!  Here's a sample of recent topics:
 
 
 
Three Tries - Password protect not working:
http://www.webdeveloper.com/forum/showthread.php?threadid=89975
 
 
Automated keyword display for better SE ranking:
http://www.webdeveloper.com/forum/showthread.php?threadid=89839
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
News Goodies
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New Year, New Linux Kernel
[January 3, 2006] IPv6 gets a boost in first new kernel of the year.
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3574676
 

Security Tips From 'Anatomy of a Hack'
[January 3, 2006] Security company details risks mobile workers face from wireless intrusions.
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/security/article.php/3574521
 

Thomson to Buy Financial Integration Firm
[January 3, 2006] Thomson aims to improve its core integration software for financial services firms.
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3574606
 

Microsoft Readies WMF Patch
[January 3, 2006] Zero-day Windows Metafile exploit to be patched in the first update of the year.    
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/security/article.php/3574691
 

RIM Gets More Time in Patent Dispute
[January 3, 2006] Patent Office preliminarily rejects two patent claims used by NTP to build infringement case against Blackberry maker.
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3574686
 

High-Tech's 2006 Crystal Ball
[December 30, 2005] internetnews.com makes some predictions for 2006 in the IT world.
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/ent-news/article.php/3574441
 

Intel Set to 'Leap Ahead' in 2006
[December 30, 2005] The PC maker is planning a strong push to make PCs the staple of digital entertainment.
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3574306
 

Windows 0-Day Exploit Helped by Open Source?
[December 30, 2005] It may be making the vulnerability easier for attackers. 
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/security/article.php/3574291
 

Sun's Mustang Rides Into The New Year
[December 30, 2005] The company will release its next edition of Java in early 2006.
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3574481
 

New Display Standard Takes Shape
[December 30, 2005] Will UDI spell the end of VGA for video display?
Read the article:
http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3574431
 
 
 

 
 
 
Feedback Goodies
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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 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 http://www.htmlgoodies.com/mentors/
 
 
 
 
 
Thanks for all your feedback!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Windows Tech Goodie of the Week 
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Examining ASP.NET 2.0's Site Navigation - Part 3
 
This article is one in a series of articles on ASP.NET 2.0's site navigation functionality.  This part examines how to use base the site map's contents on the currently logged in user and the authorization rules defined for the pages in the site map.
 
 

*** AND ***
 

ASP 101's Year in Review - A Look Back At 2005
 
By John Peterson: "As 2005 draws to a close, I once again find myself wondering where the year went. Here's a list of some of ASP 101's highlights from 2005."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And Remember This ...
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1924 Tutankhamun's Sarcophagus was Uncovered
 
British archaeologist Howard Carter had searched intently for the tomb of the boy king, Pharoah Tutankhamun, the 12th king of the 18th Dynasty who was nine years old at his accession, and who died while still in his teens.  He finally found the steps to the burial chamber near the tomb of King Rameses VI in the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, Egypt.  On November 26, 1922 he and fellow archeologist Lord Carnarvon entered the tomb.  The tomb had, miraculously, survived intact for more than 3,000 years.  The excavation of the four room tomb took more than four years, and uncovered thousands of objects.  It was on this day in 1924 that a stone sarcophagus was uncovered, which contained three coffins, nested one inside the other, the innermost of which was made of solid gold, and contained the mummified body of Tutankhamun.
 

Today was also the day that in: 1431 Joan of Arc was handed over to the Bishop; 1521 Martin Luther was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church; 1777 Washington defeated the British at the Battle of Princeton, New Jersey; 1795 Ceramic craftsman Josiah Wedgwood died at age 64; 1833 Britain took control of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic; 1870 construction of the Brooklyn Bridge was started (completed May 24, 1883); 1938 the March of Dimes was established to fight Polio; 1958 Sir Edmund Hillary reached the South Pole, overland; 1959 Alaska was admitted as the 49th State; 1961 the US broke diplomatic relations with Cuba; 1962 Pope John XXIII excommunicated Fidel Castro; 1969 John Lennon's album "Two Virgins" was declared pornographic in New Jersey; 1977 Apple Computer was incorporated; 1988 Margaret Thatcher became British Prime Minister; 1990 General Manuel Noriega of Panama surrendered to US authorities; 1993 Junk bond king Michael Milkin was released from jail after 22 months;
 

Born today were: in 1624 the first Black child born in America William Tucker; 1892 writer John Ronald Reuel Tolkien; 1897 Polish American actress Pola Negri (Barbara A Chalupec) (Madame Bovary); 1905 Welsh actor Ray Milland; 1909 Danish pianist/comedian Victor Borge; 1918 singer Maxene Andrews (one of the sisters); 1921 actor John Russell, 1926 English record producer Sir George Martin (The Beatles); 1930 actor Eddie Egan; 1945 actress Victoria Principal; 1945 musician Stephen Stills; 1946 English musician John Paul Jones;  1956 actor Mel Gibson; 1960 Chinese actress Joan Chen (Chen Chung); 1967 English actress Helena Bonham Carter; 1968 actress Shannon Sturges; 1975 actress Danica McKellar; 1975 actor Jason Marsden
 


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