Goodies to Go (tm)
December 15, 2003-- Newsletter #263

By Vince Barnes


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

Goodies to Go (tm)
December 15, 2003--Newsletter #263

This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.

Featured this week:

* Goodies Thoughts - The First Law
* 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 - The First Law

Last week I talked about the Three Golden Rules as related to the world of computers and their users. This week I get a little deeper and will disclose to you the First Law of Computing. Thanks, by the way, for all the positive responses to last week's piece -- it seems that a lot of you relate to the horrors I described! (In case you missed it, see http://www.htmlgoodies.com/letters/262.html)

As would be expected of a law, the First Law has a far more scientific sound to it than do the Golden Rules. The First Law says: The probability of occurrence of a given incident is inversely proportional to its possibility. During last weeks discussion I mentioned Murphy's Law; you'll see that there's some relationship between them. Murphy's law, however, "ain't got nothin'" on the First Law!

To translate the lofty sounding piece into ordinary English: basically what the law is telling us is that the more impossible it is for some specific event to occur, the more likely it is that it will, in fact, happen. Taken to its extreme, this means that if something is completely impossible, then its either already happening or its just about to. By way of example: "what happens if this system completely fizzles out and nothing is left of it?" you are asked; and you reply, "oh, that can't happen because of this triple redundancy and that two layer protection." The problem here is that your reply included "can't", which implies a near impossibility. By the First Law, the system will now completely fizzle out and nothing of it will be left behind.

After I wrote that piece last week I decided to go over my backup procedures and make sure they were all up to the mark. Having done so I walked away with a certain feeling of pride and comfort. That was all it took! Not one, but two separate systems immediately crashed with such serious problems that I was thrown into full blown disaster recovery. Many thanks to the very capable engineers at Microsoft who helped me -- with their help and my backups the recoveries were completely successful. It did, however, take a great deal of time, eliminate most of a few nights sleep and cause far more anxiety than I want to bear. It's when your fairly sure that you're OK that it'll happen. I can't over-stress how important it is to protect your systems and consequently protect all your hard work and all that history you've accumulated in them.

That being said, here are a few more things that you might want to take into consideration:

First, think about the hardware. Is the computer located on the floor where a water spillage would leave is sitting in a puddle, or where little Johnny would crash into it with his little cart? Would it be better off on a couple of bricks, back further under the table? Or, is it sitting on a table or desk with the wires dangling behind it so that little Johnny (or big Johnny, come to that) can snag them as they sail past on a mission, pulling the whole thing down onto the floor? Also, is any of the hardware getting old and tired and increasing its risk of failure? The cost of losing it unexpectedly can be a lot higher than the cost of a planned replacement.

Do you have proper surge and lightning protection? Remember that the "25,000 insurance" offered by the manufacturer isn't worth anything at all when it comes to your programs and data. Select surge equipment based of quality and reputation, not gimmickry. Remember also that a power surge, or lightning surge, can come up ANY wire into the computer. That would include power, phone, cable and network wires. Surge protection is available for all of these.

Do you have an adequate anti-virus protection? You need something like McAfee, Norton, Trend or Panda with virus definition no more than a week old (update it every week with its automatic update or manually.) I don't recommend something like "Joe's Neato Anti-Virus".

Lastly, do you have proper anti-intrusion (a.k.a. "firewall") software in place? While it may be arguable that it is impossible to completely block a hacker, you can certainly make it difficult enough to keep out all but the most skilled, and they may not feel like going to the effort needed just to get into your stuff. This category would include getting completely up to date with your patches by using Windows Update (or your Linux vendor's update service.) Windows users should visit http://www.microsoft.com/security/protect/ for some very helpful advice on the basic steps needed to help in this area. Windows XP has a built-in firewall which may be adequate for your needs if you turn it on and use it. If you choose not to use a McAfee or Norton firewall (or another well-known vendor's product) but select one available on the net, make sure that you research the product before you depend on it. You certainly don't want to use a "protection" product that is actually some hacker's back-door!

I wish you the best of luck with your systems. Remember that following all necessary precaution, proceed with caution rather than pride. It's the best way to avoid First Law violations!


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. My page has a background that is green down the left side, much like HTML Goodies has a curvy brown strip down the side. I'd like my links that are situated in the green area to show white, and the links that are situated in the white area to be green. This is much like your HTML Goodies page, and I've looked at your source but can't figure out how to do it.

A. You can do it using style sheet commands like so:
In between the head tags define your commands:
<STYLE TYPE="text/css">
A:LINK {COLOR: white;}
Code the links in the green background like you normally do:
<A HREF="somewhere.com">Link</A>
In the white area use the two class like so:
<A CLASS="TWO" HREF="somewhere.com">Link</A>

Q. Is there an equivalent of ASP for Apache servers?

A. There is a third-party package that works with Apache. Check out http://www.chilisoft.com.

Q. I have a side bar on the left and then the rest of the page is where all the content goes. The side bar just has a navigation menu. I have it where the page is one big table and the sidebar is one cell and the rest of the page is a cell. Well my problem is... if there is a lot of information in the right hand cell, then the stuff in the left hand cell gets right in the middle of the cell so everything will be even. But I want that stuff to stay at the top of the page, regardless of how much info is in the right hand cell. Is there a way to make it where it doesn't automatically center itself like that?

A. You need to add VALIGN="top" to the row or cell or both. This will make all the contents stay at the top of the cell.

Q. I divided my page into two frame columns. My one problem is when I try to return to my start up page, it reloads the navigation bar (the first frame) again. How can this be avoided?

A. Try putting a target in that link of target="_top" this will reload the whole page and avoid a frame within a frame

Q. I'm making a web page and my monitor is set to 1024x768, because I use that resolution when I am working making graphics. When I use Adobe Go Live to lay out a web page and then upload it, people running in different resolutions see the page in a way different from how I want them to. I don't want to have to change the resolution of the monitor, constantly switching from my preferred settings to 800x600 for html coding, so is there some way I can embed resolution settings or some kind of viewing settings so that people will view the page the way I see it and intend for it to be viewed, no matter what their resolution settings are? If not, is there a way for me to redo it so that the resolution settings won't make a difference? Someone told me to render the page inside a frame/table that's 800x600 I tried to make a table but couldn't get rid of all the cells and rows.

A. The majority of people surfing the net today are still viewing with a screen resolution of 800x600. (Although as history shows that it does change over time - a few years back the standard was 640x480). I would suggest you focus on targeting the majority of viewers. Although you don't have to necessarily change your resolution, just keep in mind that when creating your tables and images they should be no wider than 780 pixels wide (I usually make my tables no larger than 760 - but that is my personal preference). As far as resizing your site to 800x600 that should not be a problem.
You can use our own Bob Conley's JavaScript browser resize trick - I use it all the time!
In your browser's address bar type:
Press your enter key and the screen will resize to 640x480. Save it to your favorite places. Do the same with 800x600 and 1024x768 resolutions and save them to your favorite places. Now you can click on the link in your favorite place to resize your browser without having to change your settings. This way you can now view the site that you are creating in the different settings and get an idea of the site layout.






News Goodies

BEA Continues to Woo Developers
[December 15, 2003] Furthering its commitment to Java developers, BEA Systems Monday launched two programming aides and a Web site tracking standards-based initiatives.

Click here to read the article



Google Tweaks AdWords, Froogle
[December 15, 2003] Google has made changes to improve its advertiser experience and brought Froogle into the Google.com search mix.

Click here to read the article



E-mail Marketing Firms Push Deliverability Offerings
[December 15, 2003] So-called deliverability services are popping up in practically every e-mail service provider's toolbox, as vendors rush to prove they have what it takes to get marketers' mail all the way to the inbox.

Click here to read the article



Microsoft Retools Windows Division
[December 15, 2003] Microsoft is reorganizing its Windows operating system group to form a new group called Windows Core Operating System Division (COSD) within its platform group.

Click here to read the article



Internet Sales Tax Gains Ally
[December 15, 2003] U.S. Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, which has no state sales tax, has added his support to the growing movement in Congress to tax online sales.

Click here to read the article



Attack Against SCO's Web Site Continues
[December 15, 2003] A crippling distributed denial of service (define) that began last week against software company SCO Group continued in sporadic bursts through the weekend, according to a company spokesman.

Click here to read the article



DoS Flaw in SOAP DTD Parameter
[December 15, 2003] Technology heavyweights IBM and Microsoft have released fixes for a potentially serious vulnerability in various Web Services products that could be exploited to trigger denial-of-service attacks.

Click here to read the article


TI Unveils New Smartphone/PDA Chip
[December 15, 2003] Texas Instruments is heralding a new wireless processor for smartphones or PDAs.

Click here to read the article



Politicians Send Spammers Holiday Gift
[December 15, 2003] Politicians were in a giving mood this week as Congress on Monday passed the Can Spam Act of 2003.

Click here to read the article



Fujitsu Looks Ahead with Faster Drives
[December 15, 2003] Fujitsu Computer Products of America Monday announced its latest hard drive interface that runs at 3 gigabytes per second.

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/

For those who are missing Peer reviews: we are once again revising the Peer review program in the hopes of creating a workable solution. The current plan is to move the new Peer Review pages into place in the new year. 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:


Multiple Dropdown Lists Sample Code


One of our visitors sent us an alternate method of dealing
with linked dropdown lists that pull their data from a database. His solution uses ASP-generated, client-side javascript to avoid making a round trip to the server to fill the second list.

*** And ***

Leveraging MSMQ in ASP.NET Applications


Ever developed a Web application that requires extensive processing? Ever had long running Web pages that often time out in the browser? Greg Huber reveals a simple technique that uses Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ) and the System.Messaging framework to handle long running Web processes.



And Remember This . . .

On this day in...

1961 Holocaust Architecht Eichmann Sentenced to Death

Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi SS officer who organized Adolf Hitler's "final solution of the Jewish question," was condemned to death by an Israeli war crimes tribunal on this day in 1961. Born in Soligen, Germany in 1906, Eichmann convened the Wannsee Conference near Berlin for the purpose of planning a "final solution of the Jewish question," as Nazi leader Hermann Gvring described it. The Nazis decided to exterminate Europe's Jewish population. Eichmann organized the extermination with horrifying efficiency. By the end of World War II between three and four million Jews were killed in his extermination camps, and another two million elsewhere. In 1957, a German prosecutor secretly informed Israel that Eichmann was living in Argentina. Agents from Israel's intelligence service, the Mossad, went to Argentina where they found Eichmann living in the San Fernando section of Buenos Aires under the name of Ricardo Klement.

Today was also the day that: in 1582 the Spanish Netherlands, Denmark and Norway adopted the Gregorian Calendar; 1877 Thomas Edison patented the Phonograph; 1890 Hunkpapa-Sioux Chief Sitting Bull was killed by the US Army at Little Big Horn; 1891 Canadian James Naismith invanted basketball; 1939 World Premiere of "Gone With The Wind" in Atlanta, Georgia; 1944 Congress gave General Eisenhower his fifth star; 1952 Christine Jorgenson was the first person to undergo a sex change operation; 1964 Canada adopted the maple leaf flag; 1966 Walt Disney died at 65; 1967 the Beatles released "Christmas Time is Here Again"; 1973 the American Phsychiatric Association declared that homosexuality is not a mental illness; 1985 Sylvester Stallone and Brigitte Nielson were married; 1990 Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter were married; 1995 Playboy goes back on sale in Ireland after 36 year ban; 1997 Walt Disney's widow, Lillian Disney died at 98;

Born today were: in 1832 French engineer Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel; 1882 cosmetics manufacturer Helena Rubenstein; 1892 oil magnate J. Paul Getty; 1906 novelist Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn); 1933 comedian Tim Conway; 1939 vocalist Cindy Birdsong (Supremes); 1942 drummer Dave Clark (Dave Clark 5); 1949 actor Don Johnson; 1951 Scottish soccer player Joe Jordan; 1959 cricketer Rashid Khan; 1963 actress Helen Slater; 1968 actor Garrett Wang (Star Trek Voyager);



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