Goodies to Go (tm)
February 16, 2004-- Newsletter #272
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Goodies to Go (tm)
February 16, 2004--Newsletter #272
This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.
Featured this week:
* Goodies Thoughts - I.M.H.O.
* Q & A Goodies
* News Goodies
* Goodies Peer Reviews
* And Remember This...
The new Beyond HTML Goodies book is now available!
Goodies Thoughts - I.M.H.O.
In my humble opinion, many, perhaps most, of us are being
exposed to a nasty risk from which we are almost completely incapable of
protecting ourselves. The risk comes from the World Wide Web and I am talking
about it in this newsletter because I know that you, as web designers, have an
understanding of the Web and an interest in its capabilities.
In times past, a town would have a "crier". This is a person who would walk out into the square in the center of town and shout out, or cry out, announcements for the townspeople to hear. These announcements could be of a civic nature, involving some decision or decree from the town's leaders, or they might simply be news items.
In modern times, the crier has been replaced by newspapers, radio and television and most recently, by the web. The web, however, differs from the other media in a couple of very important ways.
The first is scope. Until quite recently, newspapers, television and radio were largely local in scope, covering a few counties, or in the case of the networks, a nation. The BBC's world service is an exception, in that it is available almost everywhere and with the advent of satellite networks, stations like CNN are becoming more global. The web is global -- one of the reasons it is called the "World Wide" web. Newspapers, radio and TV increase their scope by using the internet -- I can print out a copy of the Norwegian daily "Dagbladet" in a small coastal town here in the US, for example. Our town crier now has a very loud voice!
The second is endurance. With a few exceptions, television and radio broadcasts are gone at the conclusion of the broadcast. For most people, it isn't possible to see or listen to the broadcast again at any time they choose (without the Internet!) To a lesser degree, this also holds true for newspapers. There are, of course, archives and recordings, but for the most part (again, without the Internet) there is not a convenient way for somebody to look up and read an article from last year's Oshkosh Daily. The opposite is true for the web.
Even after a page is removed from a server, in can most often still be found in a cache or an archive somewhere on the net. Pages that are published are spidered and replicated all over the place. They are indexed for convenient searching and can easily be retrieved anywhere in the world. Our town crier's loud voice now has an infinite echo!
In the United States we have a "Public Records" law that basically says that if things are a matter of public record then anybody can take a look at them. County records, for example, can be looked at by anybody who walks into the administrative building and asks for them. This is not a bad idea -- it helps to keep our officials and citizens honest and public records should be public.
There is a difference, however, between making records available in the local administrative building and making them available at all times for all people, anywhere in the world (including unfriendly nations) to peruse at any time.
In recent searches, I was able to find image copies (sometimes TIFs, sometimes PDFs) of documents bearing people's signatures. I found tax records, land ownership records, mortgage papers, law suits, traffic violations and all sorts of business documents. I chose six different nations, and all but one yielded results. Many of the documents I found predated the Internet.
The idea that somebody with malicious intent in a remote corner of the world can easily gather together all the information needed to assume the identity of one of our citizens is a bit scary. The web makes things easy and convenient for our own citizens, but unfortunately it also makes it too easy for others.
As a citizen of the web, in addition to my national citizenship, I am concerned. To me there is a difference between making a document available for viewing in the Town Hall and broadcasting its image to the world for all time. How about you?
Thanks for Reading!
- Vince Barnes
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. 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:
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
Q. I would like to place a membership/password for entry into my site. How doI that in html?
A. It can't be done just with HTML. You need to do some server side scripting and perhaps hook up to a database. The HTMLGoodies tutorials on ASP, CGI, and databases will get you started.
Q. Is it possible to have a date field automatically filled with today's date?
Q. Is there any way that a web page can be updated by using a simple form button? For example: a school wants to post that their school is closed by going to a page and clicking the "school is closed" button, which updates the home page.
A. You could have the part of the page where the closing notice would appear be pulling code from a server side include, and let someone have access to just that file where they can change the text. If you use the form, the form could write to a database and the display page pulls data from the database. Perhaps a server side script could write a file, which could then be picked up as a server side include. If you decide to go with a form, you'll have to use some server side script and perhaps how to hook up to a database. You would need to find out from your host what languages they support. Having users directly update the include file is the simplest to set up. This tutorial explains it:
Q. How do I move stuff where I want it on my website? I put the html in the scripts area but when I go to my site everything is in the top left corner.
A. By default, text and images will be placed at the top and to the left. There are tags for positioning, and stylesheets give more control. Sometimes tables are used for precise layout. I suspect tables would be the most useful thing for you right now, so have a look at the tables tutorials.
Q. How do I make animated GIFs?.
A. Basically, you make each frame as a separate image, and your graphics application combines them into one file. Imageready can do this. Shareware sites may have Microsoft GIF Animator, which I've used and works adequately. There will be other applications for animating GIFs. Probably shareware sites like Nonags and Tucows are your best bet. If you're willing to learn Flash or Livemotion, they make animations which are smoother and smaller.
Who's The Fastest Growing Linux Distro?
[February 16, 2004] For major distributors of the open source operating system, the answer depends on what you need and their timetables for the latest 2.6 kernel releases.
Self-healing Computing the Rage at Big Blue
[February 16, 2004] IBM issues a formal autonomic computing toolkit for users with a hankering to develop Java tools based on the Eclipse platform.
Q&A: Tom Glover, IBM and WS-I Web Services Exec
[February 13, 2004] The Big Blue manager, who also chairs the Web Services Interoperability group, discusses the state of the Web services market.
Microsoft's Loss Not Linux's Gain
[February 16, 2004] Errant code and a swarm of security troubles could mean a rough quarter for Microsoft, but it's probably not the tipping point for Linux, say analysts.
Experts: Don't Panic over Windows Leak
[February 13, 2004] Windows code leaks heighten security concerns in the IT industry but security experts say threats of zero day exploits are a widespread misconception.
Airline Screening Program Gets Failing Marks
[February 13, 2004] A new Government Accounting Office report concludes that CAPPS II fails to meet funding criteria mandated by lawmakers.
AOL Acquires BlackVoices.com
[February 13, 2004] The giant ISP continues to strengthen offerings for niche markets.
Intel Joins Fiber Optics, Silicon
[February 13, 2004] The chipmaker looks to push high-bandwidth connections beyond the 10GHz barrier; companies that make copper interconnect or optoelectronics take note.
Social Networks In Search of Business Models
[February 13, 2004] Social networking tool companies are sizzling as start-up venture investments, but can they make money?
Microsoft Locks Up XML Patent
[February 12, 2004] The software giant lands another XML patent, which will bolster its product development scheme.
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
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!
Creating an ADO.NET Universal Data Wrapper
Learn how to write a single ADO.NET class that can support any ADO.NET provider at runtime.
*** And ***
ASP Authentication Using XOR Encryption
Learn about ASP authentication using XOR encryption with a one-time Pad
Access Code generated by SQL Server 2000 using the user's host IP address
for ID without using sessions or cookies.
And Remember This . . .
On this day in...
1959 Castro Sworn In As Cuban PM
Having led a guerilla campaign against the dictator Fulgencio Batista which forced Batista into exile, Fidel Castro was sworn in as Prime Minister of Cuba on February 16, 1959. Castro was the son of a Spanish immigrant who made a fortune building railroads to transport sugar. He became involved in politics while a student. In 1951 he ran for a government seat as a member of the reformist Ortodoxo Party. General Batista seized control before the elections could be held, however. In December 1958 Che Guevara and the "26th of July" forces attacked Santa Clara. Batista's forces crumbled and Castro, with 1,000 men, took control of the 30,000 strong Cuban army. Castro's Cuba was the first communist state in the western hemisphere. Castro has outlasted nine US presidents and the collapse of the Soviet Union. While poor and politically repressed, Cubans are provided excellent educational, medical and social services under Castro.
Today was also the day that in: 600 Pope Gregory the Great decreed that "God Bless You" was the correct response to a sneeze; 1659 first known use of a bank check (400 pounds, displayed at Westminster Abbey); 1838 Kentucky passed a law permitting women to attend schools under certain conditions; 1846 1st Sikh war ended at the Battle of Sobraon; 1900 the first Chinese newspaper in the US published its first issue (Chung Sai Yat Po - San Francisco); 1932 James Markham received a patent for a peach tree - the first patented tree; 1939 DuPont received a patent for Nylon - invented by employee Wallace H Carothers; 1945 Venezuela declared war on Nazi Germany; 1950 CBS aired the premier of "What's My Line?" game show; 1956 Britain abolished the death penalty; 1961 China switched on its first nuclear reactor; 1963 Beatles hit number one in the UK with "Please, Please Me"; 1964 the Beatles made their second appearance on the Ed Sullivan show; 1968 Beatles George Harrison and John Lennon flew to India to study transcendental meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; 1978 Ward and Randy's CBBS in Chicago was turned on - the first computer Bulletin Board system; 1979 George Harrison released "Blow Away"; 1997 at 25, Jeff Gordon became the youngest winner of the Daytona 500 in its history; (2/16 & 2/17) 2004 Goodies To Go newsletter published one day late because 2/16 is "President's Day" holiday in US;
Born today were: in 1852 founder of Jehovah's Witnesses Charles Taze Russell; 1866 Austrian composer Johann Strauss; 1884 father of documentary film Robert Flaherty (Nanook of the North); 1912 salsa music creator Machito "Frank Grillo"; 1926 English film director John Schlesinger; 1935 English actor Brian Bedford; 1935 singer Sonny Bono; 1937 novelist Paul Bailey; 1946 English actor Ian Lavender (Dad's Army); 1956 singer James Ingram; 1958 rap singer/actor Ice-T; 1959 tennis player John P McEnroe;
Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!
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