Goodies to Go (tm)
November 10, 2003-- Newsletter #258

By Vince Barnes


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

Goodies to Go (tm)
November 10, 2003--Newsletter #258

This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.

Featured this week:

* Goodies Thoughts - Color My World
* 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 - Color My World

It's back to basics time again this week! I have been asked my opinion more than once recently concerning color on websites. It's a good question to ask me if you really want an answer because my opinions in this regard are quite strongly held! I am not a visual artist and am therefore not in the best position to advise on the subtler nuances of color mixes, but I do know what I like and more especially, I know what I do not like!

Just as a quick aside, I have found in the past that when I need some graphics to put on a website and I pull up one of my graphics programs and dig in to make them, the result, on a scale of one to a hundred, is about a five when compared to the result (about a ninety-five) that I get if I hand the task to an artist and ask them to create graphics for me. The wisdom of age has taught me not to have a dog and bark myself. When it comes to graphic art, a graphic artist is my best friend!

First, there's the background. The clue here is the word itself. A nice bright red is not the background of anything! Bright colors are right in your face. Whatever you put on top of them is going to have to compete for attention and will frequently lose. If you actually want it to be seen, put it on a "background", such as white or a very pale pastel. White is good. It is unobtrusive and allows everything you put on the page to be itself. Very pale pastels can create a mood without overpowering your content. Use them judiciously though, because they can interfere with some pictures or graphics. Tiled images, textured backgrounds and the like are generally considered out of fashion, which is a pretty good thing. Such things seldom enhance a web page and usually only serve to distract.

There's a use of color that I call "fill" coloring. This is where a page is arranged such that the content is provided in an area with a white background and areas surrounding the content space are colored. Businesses frequently use a color associated with their logo for this purpose. Check out the "Microsoft blue" on http://www.microsoft.com or the pastel yellow on http://www.linuxplanet.com for examples. This mechanism provides some color to brighten up the page without taking away from the content. Remember to use only relatively subdued colors.

Colored text can be a real problem. If you're going to set a color for text, make it an "almost black" color. Luminous green is an absurd color for text! Somebody actually sent me an email with that as their text color. I can't tell you who it was, or what they were saying. I didn't have time to read any of the words before the email was deleted -- my eyes ordered my finger to click delete without engaging my brain in the process.

Color belongs in pictures and graphics. If you don't have an artist around, there's always http://www.clipart.com  The trick once again, is not to overdo it. An image here or there can go a long way to enhance the message -- a picture is worth a thousand words, after all. Too many graphics and the message is lost again. Who wants to listen to ten thousand words about anything!

When it comes to color, a little is great; more is not always better. Everybody likes to look at things in the sunshine, but nobody wants to stare at the sun.


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 trying to set up a clock that will count down from 72 hours : minutes : seconds over and over again. Can you tell me how I might do that?

A. Joe Burns' book "Javascript Goodies" referred to a count down script on the web site. Its still on the server here:
It only counts minutes and seconds, but with a little tweaking it could be set to do what it appears you want it to do.

Q. How do I lose the blue line that appears round an image when I make it a link?

A. In the IMG SRC tag add this:

Q. Is there any way to place text on top of pictures?

A. Here is the link to see how that's done: http://www.htmlgoodies.com/tutors/textonimages.html

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 everytime 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")
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. Is there was a way to position a background image in the center of a page regardless of screen resolution?

A. This code will position the image in the center:
body {
background-image : url(image.jpg);
background-position : center center;
background-repeat : no-repeat;

To position in the center of a table, try using this (be sure to replace __ with the height and width of the image):
<table height="100%" width="100%">
<tr><td valign="center" align="center">
<table height="__" width="__" background="image.jpg">
Any text on the background




News Goodies

IBM Embraces Itanium 2 With xSeries 455 Server
[November 10, 2003] In a move designed to address the market for enterprises running transaction-intensive applications, IBM today announced, some say reluctantly, the eServer xSeries 455.

Click here to read the article



Motorola Makes Ultra-Wideband Play
[November 10, 2003] Company acquiring UWB pioneer XtremeSpectrum in hopes of embedding technology in consumer products by end of year.

Click here to read the article



Virtualization Comes to the Fore... Again
[November 10, 2003] UPDATE: VMware delivers new virtualization software for Intel servers that is tailored for on-demand environs; Microsoft releases its virtual PC technology to manufacturing.

Click here to read the article



Microsoft Floors the Pedal For Sales Force
[November 10, 2003] With its new Office Accelerator for Proposals, the Redmond, Wash., company hopes Microsoft Word-based solutions will score with customers and translate into winning sales pitches.

Click here to read the article



Open-Source Portlet Site Opens For Business
[November 10, 2003] A consortium of four companies -- Sun, BEA, Documentum and Plumtree -- is sponsoring a community at SourceForge to take advantage of the new Java and OASIS portlet standards.

Click here to read the article



Actuate Boosts Business Intelligence Software
[November 10, 2003] Actuate looks to help companies become more intuitive about their affairs adding centralized business intelligence awareness and a new service.

Click here to read the article



The Push For Aspect-Oriented Programming
[November 7, 2003] FEATURE: Eight years in the making, the left/right programming technology still has a ways to go before it's ready for prime time with top/down programmers.

Click here to read the article


Intel Purchases Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Developer
[November 7, 2003] The chip making giant acquires Oregon-based Mobilian, which was working on a convergence chipset dubbed 'TrueRadio'.

Click here to read the article



Penn State Gets 'Napsterized'
[November 7, 2003] New arrangement will allow students to stream, download tunes.

Click here to read the article



High Rollers Converging On cdXpo
[November 7, 2003] Jupitermedia preps for its Vegas bash with keynotes from IBM, HP, Cisco, PeopleSoft and SCO Group CEO Darl McBride.

Click here to read the article






Goodies Peer Reviews


Every week a site is selected 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/

I expect to get some feedback when I touch on a topic like last week's copyright discussion but I didn't think I'd get quite as much agreement as I did. Thanks for that! There were some concerns, however. Most were about free music. All I can say there is that an artist has the option to provide their stuff for free if they wish, but when they have made arrangements with production companies and others to make their living through its sale, it's not right for us to try to steal it away. As far as software piracy is concerned, there seems to have been some confusion as to what I was saying is copyrighted material. There is an abundance of software that is available with or without payment. In layman's terms, it is copyrighted if the author has claimed the copyright. It is public domain if they have made it so. A legal expert could give a more exact definition for you. A little piece of JavaScript that somebody writes may or may not be copyrighted and you may or may not open yourself up to liability if you copy it. When in doubt, consult your legal counsel, not me! Piracy, in this context, is the act of deliberately circumventing an author's licensing and/or remuneration mechanisms in order to use their copyrighted and/or patented material without their consent. I wouldn't want other people stealing my stuff, so I don't think I should steal theirs.

(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!" It's coming soon!!

Thanks again for all your feedback!



Windows Tech Goodie of the Week:

Color Chooser ASP.NET Sample


Sometimes it's useful to be able to see the choices when you need to make a color selection. Here's an ASP.NET version of our simple script that displays the 216-color web-safe palette and lets you pick one with the click of a button.


*** And ***

From the Trenches at PDC


.NET development expert Scott Bellware stares Longhorn right in the eyes and gains insight into the future of Windows-based applications. From the UI layer to the file system, Longhorn is a whole new, and potentially
friendlier, beast.




And Remember This . . .

On this day in...

1975 Edmund Fitzgerald Sank in Lake Superior

It's a lake, but it's big and can be treacherous. Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, took the SS Edmund Fitzgerald on this day in 1975. Built in 1958 the Emdund Fitzgerald was at the time the largest ship on the Great Lakes. It was 729 feet long and now lies in two pieces below 530 feet of water. Loaded down with more than 26,000 tons of iron ore, the ship was caught in a storm with 60mph winds. Trying to head North for Whitefish Bay, the ship was blinded when its radar system failed and the storm cut off the power to the Whitefish Bay radio beacon. Captain Ernest McSorley kept radio contact with the SS Anderson, reporting that his ship was taking on water in dangerous quantities. A little after 7pm on that day, the radio fell silent. All 29 crew members were lost. Superior is larger than all the other Great Lakes combined, stretching approximately 350 miles from west to east, and 160 miles north to south, and is 1,332 feet deep at its deepest point.

Today was also the day that: in 1674 the Dutch formally ceded New Netherlands (New York) to the English; 1770 Voltaire said "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."; 1775 US Congress establishes the Marine Corps; 1801 Dueling was outlawed in Kentucky; On finally locating the Scottish Missionary in Ujiji, Central Africa, New York Herald foreign correspondent Henry M. Stanley said, "Dr. Livingston, I presume."; 1918 Josef Pilsudski proclaimed Poland's Independence; 1928 Hirohito became Emperor of Japan; 1951 the first long distance phone call wothout operator assistance was made; 1960 US Senate passed the Civil Rights Bill; 1969 "Sesame Street premiered on PBS TV; 1989 Germans begin to make holes in the Berlin Wall;

Born today were: in 1483 Protestantism founder Martin Luther; 1683 King George II of England; 1759 German poet Fredrich von Schiller (Ode to Joy); 1880 sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein; 1895 aircraft designer John Knudsen Northrop; 1916 orchestra leader Billy May; 1925 Welsh actor Richard Burton; 1935 actor Roy Scheider; 1948 guitarist Greg Lake; 1956 comedian Sinbad;


Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!


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