March 25, 2002-- Newsletter #173
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Goodies to Go (tm)
March 25, 2002--Newsletter #173
This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.
I would like to apologize for last week's typos. Somehow I managed to consistently mistype stuff throughout the entire newsletter and I never caught it. Also, the links to the news articles got lost in the translation somewhere. If you are interested in reading the articles but didn't know where to look, all of our newsletters are archived on the site. You can check out any of the old newsletters at http://www.HTMLGoodies.com/letters/.
Goodies Thoughts - Entertainment vs. Technology
Have you heard that lawmakers are threatening a bill that would require the entertainment industry and the technology industry to come to an agreement on copy protection? The bill would give the industries 12 to 18 months to come to an agreement. If they can't come to an agreement by the deadline then the government would take over and moderate the process.
Isn't the entertainment industry already trying to make the CDs and DVDs they produce copy proof? What does the technology industry have to do with it?
The music industry is and has been producing copy-protected products for some time now. However, every time a new form of protection is released there are hundreds of hackers out there just dying for the chance to break in. In other words, the efforts so far have been largely ineffective.
BMG announced a few months ago that they are stepping up the war on piracy by protecting some of their products with MediaCloQ, a new encryption technology that is supposed to prevent you from making illegal copies and MP3s. Of course, this new technology has a tendency to make the CD not playable on your Macintosh, DVD player, PlayStation 2, XBOX, iPod or other MP3 player. So, for the first time in history, BMG will be issuing refunds to customers that can't play their new CD. Nothing's perfect but some things are farther away than others.
What the entertainment industry wants to do is have an encryption solution that works with all new CD players, DVD players, computers, etc. The protection will restrict and/or prohibit any copies of the music or video from being duplicated. The technology industry, especially the computer industry, strongly opposes putting those sorts of limitations on technology. They want consumers to be free to copy whatever they like to their new CD-RW or MP3 player.
Ever since Napster first started, the entertainment industry has been very concerned about trying to protect their work. Based on steadily declining sales it would seem they may be losing the battle.
It's easy to see both sides of the argument.
The entertainment industry is afraid of loosing big money from people making copies of their movies and music and passing the copies along to their friends and family.
Some would say who cares if the entertainment companies don't sell as much as they used to, they already make too much money. But what if the industry just starts raising the prices to compensate? What a bidding war that could turn out to be. Soon people will be pooling their money so they can buy that $500 DVD, make copies and distribute the copies amongst the people that contributed to the pool. Alright, that's not likely to happen but it is a possibility.
Until the digital age developed, combating piracy was never as big of a deal. It actually took effort, time and money to copy cassettes and VHS tapes. Now it doesn't cost a thing to go and download an audio file or video file and save it on your hard drive. Not to mention, the distribution rate has increased exponentially. Instead of having to mail all of your friends a VHS copy of Tron you could now put your digital copy on a special page of your website and poof, 1000 of your closest friends and family now own a copy too. This has Disney and other entertainment big shots really worried.
So, what can they do to prevent illegal copies without infringing on the individual consumer's right to listen to music on their MP3 player or make a customized CD of their favorite tunes?
That's the kicker. Most solutions being developed now are far more restrictive than most consumers would like them to be. Instead of being restricted to making only a few copies for yourself you can just forget about it altogether.
So, what's the solution?
Only time will tell but the entertainment industry and the technology industry will undoubtedly be butting heads on this issue until the last day of whatever deadline is imposed. Perhaps one day you will be required to only make direct copies from your PC to your MP3 player via USB thereby crushing all options for distributing copies online. This would require you to physically go to the source (PC, CD player, DVD player, etc.) to make the copy. Who knows.
Any way you slice it, it's all about money. The entertainment folks want to ensure their steady stream of income and the technology producers want to keep selling new devices and the software that supports them. Irregardless of which side of the fence you're on, it all boils down to the bottom dollar and not the consumer's rights or preferences. Of course, in a perfect world there would be no illegal copies being made, Napster would have never come to be and we all would live happily ever after.
Thanks for reading!
Can you create a hyperlink that prints out the current page being displayed in the browser?
Read answer below.
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 been reading a lot about webpage design and have had a lot of success making my own animated gifs. One feature I've had a tough time finding information on is how to make gifs that animate on mouse over. I know how to make text change color, but it seems like nobody wants me to know how to animate my gif links when a mouse pointer hovers over it. Is it a conspiracy?
A. Animating your buttons works exactly the same way it does for static button mouse-overs. You just need to exchange the static gif for your animated one. Be sure to create an animation effect that makes sense with the button, though. For example, making the text pulse or change colors can be a simple starting point. Most animated buttons will usually loop as well so that the effect repeats as long as the user holds their mouse over the button. It may take some trial and error to get the effect just right.
To find out how implement your effect check out the following HTMLGoodies tutorials:
Q. I was wondering how you would code an ordered list within a table. I have tried but keep ending up with an unordered list within a table.
A. You need to enclose the list in <ol></ol> tags rather than <ul></ul> tags.
This outputs to the screen:
1. First item
2. Second item
3. Third item
If you want letters instead of numbers you need to change the <ol> tag to include a type that you want. Here are the type values:
1 (decimal numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ...)
a (lowercase alphabetic: a, b, c, d, e, ...)
A (uppercase alphabetic: A, B, C, D, E, ...)
i (lowercase Roman numerals: i, ii, iii, iv, v, ...)
I (uppercase Roman numerals: I, II, III, IV, V, ...)
This would output:
a. First item
b. Second item
c. Third item
*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Alex Newport, one of our HTML Mentors.
Q. Do I need to ask permission to use someone's website link on my website?
A. I recall a copyright case where one site objected to a link from another. Their reasoning was they wanted visitors to come in by home page instead of elsewhere. Apparently they thought the link was done in such a way that the site with the link benefited more than the site being linked to. Whatever their reasoning, they won, and a site can object. Most sites won't care if you're honest, like directing users to their site instead of pretending some content is on yours. Almost anyone will be glad of the link since it's an important way to drive traffic. You might be able to get the other site to link back to you. If I link to a site which doesn't link back, I might delete the link if I think I'm just losing traffic.
*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Eric Ferguson, one of our HTML Mentors.
In an effort to improve their market
share, Macromedia is releasing server-side development enhancements in an
attempt to lure more developers to the Macromedia zone.
Here's a new worm that no one will be
fooled by. Instead of enticing email recipients with images of rock and sports
stars this worm tries to get started by offering you a great joke about Bill
Clinton. A bit late?
So, who do you think is more tech
savvy, Republicans or Democrats? Believe it or not, there are studies being done
to find out.
A "Print me" link can be a useful feature on your website. It can make it easier for the user to make a hard copy of your web page and it serves as a reminder that the page may be something that should be printed. This link can be extremely handy for receipt and confirmation pages.
How's that for easy. A word of caution, though. This will only work with the newer versions of Netscape and Explorer (4.0 and later) but since the vast majority of users are using newer browsers it shouldn't be much of a concern.
And Remember This . . .
Did you know that on this day in 1982 Canada officially became an independent nation? Canada had been unofficially governing herself since 1867 but on March 25, 1982 Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain signed the Canada Act which ratified the Canadian Constitution and made the country officially independent.
It took 115 years to achieve but Canada reached her independence without any bloodshed.
Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!