Goodies to Go (tm)
August 11, 2003-- Newsletter #245

By Vince Barnes


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

Goodies to Go (tm)
August 11, 2003--Newsletter #245

This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.

Featured this week:

* Goodies Thoughts - A Host of Options
* Q & A Goodies
* News Goodies
* Goodies Peer Reviews
* Feedback Goodies  
* And Remember This...



Goodies Announcement

Just in case you missed it before, 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 Host of Options

I have spoken about this subject before, so for those of you who have been with me for a while, I apologize if I sound a little repetitive. The reason for addressing the subject again is the large number of inquiries that I keep getting asking for help with selecting a website hosting company. There truly are thousands of choices out there and some are bound to be a whole lot better than others. Selecting the best you can find can be a difficult task, especially if you're not really sure what to look for.

The first thing to do is to write down a list of features that you will need. Once you have the list, you can use it to locate only those service providers that can offer all the features you need. I'll show you how that is done later. To help you along, here is a list of key features with a brief explanation of each for you to use as a checklist.

Windows Server vs UNIX Server

Here's a hot button! The Windows aficionados will tell you NT is the only way to go while the UNIX aficionados will say the exact opposite. ASP calls for Windows; "shell" CGI scripts and Telnet Access call for UNIX; FrontPage extensions seem to work better on Windows most of the time; PERL CGI works great on either, but is almost always available on a UNIX system and must be added to a Windows system - bear in mind though, that there may be differences with regard to available email services.

Adult Content Allowed.

This speaks for itself. If it's what you need you should check to see if it's ok. Most service providers are reluctant for obvious (and some not so obvious) reasons.


This would be a concern if your content or databases are updated by site visitors. If you are the site update person, then you can make your own backup when you make changes.

CGI Forms

There are various software solutions that can provide special form handling capabilities. If you have designed your site to use one of these then you already know what requirement you have of your service provider. If you haven't done so, then you probably don't need this! If the service provider you look at offers it, however, take a look at it because it might be something pretty useful.

CGI Access

This usually refers to UNIX Shell scripts, but also includes PERL. If you have any doubts here, check out our PERL & CGI Primer.

Credit Card Processing

If you are going to doing some e-commerce and need credit card processing, chances are that you will get your software interfaces from your processing company. There may be some hosting service providers, however, who are set up with a processing company to help you painlessly establish your on-line merchant processing capability. If this is something you think you would need, add it to your list.

Database Support

This may be very important. If you need a database backend, support is essential. You will need support for the specific database system you intend to use, for example, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Access, Oracle, etc. There are frequently special requirements of the host system that only the system administrator can set up.

Email Support

If you intend to use CGI scripts or other mechanisms to send email from within your web pages you will need your host service to provide support for the method you intend to use. Note that the email capabilities you see in FrontPage can be configured to use pretty much any SMPT (mail) server and that "off the shelf" PERL and CGI scripts frequently assume that sendmail (a UNIX based mail server) is available on the system where the script is running. You need to check these details carefully.

FrontPage Extensions

This is obviously essential if you intend to use the facilities of FrontPage or any other program designed to use the FrontPage extensions. Note that the fact that you use FrontPage to create pages does not necessarily mean that the host must have the server extensions in place. That depends on the features that you have used or intend to use. For more about FrontPage, click here.

There are other things that you will want to keep your eyes on. For example, the type of internet connection the host is using is important. Ideally it should be big (a single T1 is not considered "big" anymore!) and redundant (meaning that there is more than one path from the host to the internet). If you don't have Domain Name Service (DNS) from anywhere else you will need your host to provide that also.

By now you should have your checklist in hand. Now go to The List of Web Hosts ( http://webhosts.thelist.com ). The List includes all the best service providers in its database and lets you search according to your needs. Your best bets will be found under either Personal Hosts or Business Hosts. When you look under these headings you will see check boxes that you can use along with your check list to search The List's database. You may still come up with quite a few providers to choose from, but your list will have been culled from the thousands of service providers out there, thereby saving you from a great deal of aggravation.


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

Q. I am sometimes having a problem with software programs that download themselves without invitation. this seems to occur most frequently if I am looking for a piece of music that I can incorporate into my web page. e.g. for photo albums. The most difficult was a programme called gator or something similar. It made such a fuss with my firewall software that I ended up having to re format my hard disk. No uninstall prgram came with this invasive software. The program was like a large virus. It was everywhere. Needless to say, I try to be very careful about what I search for, but I wonder if there is some software that I can obtain to prevent trash like this from invading my computer. Just so you know, I have received help from the mentor community in the past and have always found it to be all the right stuff.

A. I am not sure if this is what you meed but it may help:
This is a free application that will allow you to monitor and stop applications from loading onto your computer. It will also search for any on your machine and delete them.
[See also the lead piece in this newsletter in the archive: http://www.htmlgoodies.com/letters/232.html - Ed.]

Q. I need a well designed homepage that will attract people. Can you give me some good ideas?

A. Make a flow chart of the information you want to give your visitors and list topics in order of inportance such as what you offer, contact, ect. You want a homepage that gives the most important information in a heading to catch the readers eye and then directs them to details. This details can be located on another page that the home page links to. Design the home page so the user does not have to scroll to see the main content. The page should load fast so keep the large graphic images down. There are ways you can break up the squareness of a page so everything is just not in square blocks. You can creat a banner or a side bar with a graphics program such as Adobe Image Ready or Paintshop Pro. Optimize it for the web. the whole site should have easy navigation and a familiar theme such as the same navagation on all pages, company logo etc.. Put your navigation links where they can be easily seen, on the side or top of the page. Your page should have a discriptive title that reflects words used in the heading and first paragraph on the page.
[See also http://www.htmlgoodies.com/nontechintro - Ed.]

Q. Is there a way of centering a picture or text in the middle of the page, compared to <center> which puts it only on top?

A. Below is the code needed to center text on the page. If you are using a nested table or have other cells in a table and you want it in the middle you can add this to the cell tag:
"vAlign=middle". That sets the verticle alignment to the middle of that cell.
<div align="center">
<table border="1" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" height="100%">
<td width="100%" align="center">
<center>This is centered on the page.</td>
[There's more about alignment here: http://www.htmlgoodies.com/tutors/align.html - Ed.]

URL - www.resortbay.com -- Designed on Frontpage. I've never done a web site before and am truly a beginner in all aspects. I don't know anything about HTML and assumed Frontpage would take care of it all. My problem is the site works fine with IE but is a disaster with Netscape. When you click on a link, it takes you to a broken up page. The starting page is a little messed up but the images show up. Also, a frames page I created doesn't show up at all on Netscape. HELP!

A. FrontPage, although a fairly nice HTML editor if used properly, is not a cure all for websites. It is getting better with every release. But that is not actually your problem. I viewed the source code and it looks like the page was originally done using MS Word and then copied and pasted over to FrontPage. Open the page with FrontPage and take a look at the HTML code. You should see a lot of grey text. There is a lot of Vector MarkUp Language (VML). This is used by Word to position images and text on the page. While it make the transition to FrontPage and can be viewed using IE, it will cause problems with most other browsers. At this point, my suggestion is to start over using just FrontPage. All of that code is not needed and just bloats the page. Next thing to do is to read through HTMLGoodies.com and learn about the browser differences and compatibility. Learn about and start using style sheets. You will thank me later!
{See also http://www.htmlgoodies.com/articles/frontpagep1.html - Ed.]






News Goodies

eBay Invokes Trademark on Google Keywords
[August 11, 2003] The Internet auction giant flexes its legal muscle to get Google to stop selling keywords bearing its trademarks.

Click here to read the article


Universities, ISPs Fight RIAA's Subpoenas
[August 11, 2003] While two Boston academic institutions manage to fight off recording industry subpoenas demanding information about their students, ISPs large and small are concerned about onerous legal requirements from RIAA subpoenas..

Click here to read the article



SCO Group Claims IP License Purchase
[August 11, 2003] The company claims it has a big Fortune 500 fish as its first customer and more than 300 inquiries about its controversial Intellectual Property License for Linux.

Click here to read the article



Microsoft Reveals Greenwich Pricing
[August 11, 2003] As Microsoft's Live Communications Server (formerly Greenwich) nears its release to manufacturing, the company details server and client access license pricing.

Click here to read the article



IBM Takes Over LEGO's Infrastructure Biz from HP
[August 11, 2003] Big Blue inks a multi-year deal to consolidate LEGO'S worldwide computer network down from 230 HP computer servers into 34 IBM on-demand systems.

Click here to read the article



HyperTransport Gains More Marquee Members
[August 11, 2003] IBM, EMC, LTX, Media Fusion, National Semi, Network App and TI join the technology consortium to help standardize chip-to-chip communications.

Click here to read the article



Real, Sprint Push Mobile On-Demand Audio
[August 11, 2003] The $4.95 a month offering will shuttle on-demand audio clips to Sprint's PCS Vision cellphone subcribers.

Click here to read the article



eBay Accounts for Lawsuit Loss
[August 11, 2003] The auction giant shaves $30M from Q2 results after a patent verdict against it was upheld last week but says it will appeal.

Click here to read the article



Sun Beefs Up its Support for x86
[August 11, 2003] Seeing the power of persuasion that fueled its Linux strategy, the company assembles an advisory board to help it with its non-SPARC chip policy.

Click here to read the article


New Ask Jeeves Campaign Sidelines Butler
[August 11, 2003] The multi-media campaign emphasizes its buffed-up search technology rather than its natty butler.

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 http://www.htmlgoodies.com/peerreviews




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

Many thanks to all who are sending in their calendar implementations. (See last week's newsletter -- it can be found at http://www.htmlgoodies.com/letters/243.html -- just in case you missed it.) I am still taking submissions, so if you haven't sent in yours yet, there's still time! I will be publishing a few in the near future.

Thanks again for all your feedback!


Windows Tech Goodie of the Week:

Porting Unmanaged Legacy C++ Applications That Interact with DB2 Mainframes into .NET/C#


Recently there has been a sudden increase in new development projects for migrating existing C/C++ applications written on the UNIX/Windows platform to .NET. This article demonstrates how to manipulate and expose raw data received from mainframes into well-defined managed C++ interfaces using the facilities and features provided by the .NET Framework and managed C++.




And Remember This . . .

On this day in...

Internet Explorer Released
This is the day that Microsoft entered the Browser arena and started the "Browser Wars". Internet Explorer was offered and provided free access to (then) subscription sites such as Hollywood Online, ESPNet and SportZone as enticements to lure the net surfers in. A little later, Netscape fought back with their Version 3 which promised access to sites that also were to be subscription sites, such as the New York Times. The wars were on. Today, Netscape belongs to AOL who sold Netscape Online ISP services in areas where America Online might not have gone over too well. Netscape Online closed in June of 2002. Today Internet Explorer accounts for about 75-80 percent of all web browser use.

Today was also the day that: in 1866 the world's first Roller Rink opened in Newport RI; 1962 the Beach Boys released "Surfin' Safari"; 1965 six day riot started in Watts section of Los Angeles; 1968 "Apple Records" started; 1989 Voyager 2 discovers two partial rings around Neptune

Born today were: in 1921, author Alex Haley; 1933, televangelist Jerry Falwell; 1946, writer Marilyn Vos Savant (world's highest IQ, according to Guinness); 1950, Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak; 1953 wrestler Hulk Hogan; 1955 singer Joe Jackson;




Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!


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