Goodies to Go (tm)
September 20, 2004-- Newsletter #303

By Vince Barnes


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

Goodies to Go (tm)
September 20, 2004--Newsletter #303

This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.

Featured this week:

* Goodies Thoughts - To SP2 or Not To SP2
* 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 - To SP2 or Not To SP2

It's most unlikely that anybody using a computer these days isn't aware of the release of Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). It's been all over the news, the portal sites; it may even have already been downloaded to your computer if you have Windows Update configured for automatic downloads. So the question is, should you install it?

There's been a lot of talk about compatibility issues with SP2, and plenty of people I know have decided to hold off installing it for now, to "let them shake the bugs out." Thinking that you might like to know a little more about it before you make up your mind, I decided to experiment with it and share my results with you.

Firstly, let's consider what's in it, and why we might want it. SP2 is mainly about security. There are the usual bug fixes, etc. in there, of course, as would be expected of a service pack, but the big deal in the improvement to Windows itself, Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. There is also the new Windows Media Player 10, a spiffed up new version which is pretty cool, and if you're into music and video on the PC, has some very nice features for you! (I'll no go into that right now though, I think of it more as a plaything than a work thing or tool, and besides, you can get it with or without SP2, so you can try it out for yourself!)

In Windows itself, the most significant change is to the firewall. The firewall now comes up earlier in the boot cycle and closes later so that it offers wall-to-wall protection against intruders and intruder-ware. It also comes with improved configurability and is turned on by default - a very good idea.

There's the new Security Center, which gives you a bird's-eye view of the status of security settings in your computer, and provides links to the Firewall, Internet Options and Automatic Updates control dialogs.

Automatic Updates, which are a very good idea, are also more intuitive to configure, and will default to automatically downloading and installing updates in the wee hours of the morning - also a great idea, if you have a broadband link to the net.

Improvements to the Internet Explorer include a pop-up blocker (hoorah!) and active-x control blocker (that's how a lot of spyware comes in) that display a new Information Bar when something is blocked, and allows you to decide what you want to do. There's also a new Add-on Manager to help you easily see which add-ons you have and eliminate any potentially troublesome ones.

Outlook Express has some features to help you out also. It now blocks pictures and external content from being displayed in a message until you expressly permit them. This helps not only in preventing nasty stuff from showing up on your screen when your sitting in a coffee shop or when the local Ladies' Club is meeting in your living room, but also prevents your email address from being automatically validated as the external content is accessed (that's one way your address gets to be so famous!) It also intercepts potentially harmful attachments, warning you about them and asking you how you want to proceed with them.

Ok -- so that's a summary of the improvement highlights; what about the downside?

Apart from games, most of the compatibility issues reported have been very minor -- not the sort of thing that prevents a program form running. For example, Symantec incorporates an "anti-meddling" technology in the anti-virus products that prevents external software from messing with it. It also prevents the Windows Security Center from seeing whether or not your anti-virus is up to date. Consequently, the correct status doesn't show up. No biggy! Most applications (including Symantec's) have updates available if you want them.

Games, however, are where most of the complaints originate. This is particularly true of multi-player games that are messed about by the default settings of the Windows Firewall. For these, you would need to go to the manufacturer's site and get their recommendations. Note that this would also hold true for any firewall -- and you do want to have a firewall in place! Similar problems have been reported by users of some VPN clients, which some of you probably use to connect to the office systems. If any of this type of software is important to you, I suggest you check out the manufacturer's site before you install, and decide for yourself based on what you find.

As to bugs -- all I can say is to repeat my friend's favorite "Bug quote": "There's no such thing as a significant piece of software that doesn't have some bugs in it." How true! Even as software matures, there comes a time when the fix for this bug creates a conflict with the fix for that bug and a new bug is born!

I've been using SP2 now on three of my machines for several days and I've experienced no problems at all. The reality of the Internet world these days is that it is a hostile place, but just like a well built house helps protect you from the ravages of bad weather, well built software helps protect you from the net's nastinesses.


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 have recently made an e-mail form with the help of the tutorial on the site, and my form is made up entirely of text boxes. However, I find that the
text boxes are ugly.. I would like the borders of them to be a different colour, so they do not have that "greay shadow" look. I know it is possible to change the colour of them, as I have seen it done on another website, but how can I do it on mine?

A. The easiest way to do it is to set up a style for the "input" in you style sheet, since you are only using text boxes. The following will also apply to any radio buttons or checkboxes that may be in the form. If you add them later, you may want to set up a class. But for now, add this to your style
input { border: 1px solid black; }
You can use change the pixel size, or switch from solid to dashed. For colors, you can use the text names that are available, or the hexadecimal (#000000).

Q. How do I make a link from a popup window close the popup window and link back to a page of the main web site?

A. To refer back to the window that opened the popup you would use the term "opener". I would suggest that you create a function in your popup to load the page into the main window and then close the popup. The function could look like this:
function LoadPage(linkid)
You can then call this function and pass the page you want to load into the "opener" window as a value like this:
<.a HREF="#" onClick="LoadPage('mypage.html')">Click Me<./a>
<.a HREF="javascript:LoadPage('mypage.html')">Click Me<./a>
The second example might be better because IE5.0 has a problem when you use the "#" sign to void the link. You can also reference function in the "opener" window from the popup by prefacing the function name with the term "opener" like this:
As you can see you can reference just about anything in the main window as long as you preface it with "opener".

Q. Is there a way to have something other than a button do this job?
<.INPUT TYPE="button" Value="Change Three Frames at Once"
I would like to have a blue underlined word do the same thing the button does, to save vertical space in a clickable list arrangement.

A. You can use a text link like so:
<.A HREF="#" onClick="parent.frames[1].location='zippy5.html';
parent.frames[3].location='zippy7.html';">Click Here<./A>

Q. Recently we have discovered that someone has taken pictures from several of our web sites and is using them on his site to advertise. I know there
are JAVA scripts to disable right clicks and make this sort of piracy more difficult with Explorer. Is there ANY way to stop this if the person uses Netscape?

A. Keep in mind that the images on your site cannot be 100% protected from people taking them. There is a way around the "no right click" script. But it might slow them down if they don't want to go through the extra effort. I have tested this script in Netscape Navigator 4.7 and it works. I think it should work in most of the browsers but I am not sure as to which ones.
Place the following code between the <.HEAD><./HEAD> tags of your HTML code.
<.script language="JavaScript">
No rightclick script v.2.5
(c) 1998 barts1000
Don't delete this header!
var message="Sorry, that function is disabled.\n
This Page Copyrighted and\n
Images and Text protected!\n
// Don't edit below!
function click(e) {
if (document.all) {
if (event.button == 2) {
return false;
if (document.layers) {
if (e.which == 3) {
return false;
if (document.layers) {
// -->

Q. I am trying to figure out the way to provide the option popup window that gives the user the option to save or open a file they get off of a website, whether it be a PDF file or an image.

A. That is not something that the website controls. It is done automatically by the operating system when the user clicks on the file. If the user clicks on a link that is a PDF file for instance they may get the pop up box that asks if they want to save or open the file. If the user has Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on their computer it may just open it up using the Acrobat Reader control embedded in IE.

Q. I am new to HTML and I though that I would try a css to make things a little easier for me. I have been able to get most of it but I can't get anything to work for the BODY tag. I have tried cutting from the tutorial for color. And have tried cutting background image from the tutorial and from someone else's page then change name for my image. I can get font to work but can't seem to get it to work on the body tag. The image name is right I have cut it and put onto a page to double check.
Here is the code for my CSS page.
<.STYLE TYPE="text/css"><.!--
BODY {background-image: url(bicyclechain.jpg);}
TH {font-size: 9pt; color: #FFFFFF}
TD {font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 9pt; color: #FFFFFF}

A. It appears to be the right code, but are your images in the same folder/directory as the CSS files? I would try two things: first, use lowercase letters for your HTML code in the HTML file and in the CSS file; second, use the full URL for the image, like http://www.mysite.com/images/picture.gif. Some browsers have trouble showing images from different folders, but can show them if you're using the full path (Netscape Navigator 4 is like this).

Q. I am wondering if there is a way to resize div layers according to browser size inside of a CSS? My page is set for a 1024x700 but would like it to resixe according to the viewers browser size. I know about the JavaScript version but will that work with a position absolute attribute?

A. You could use relative sizes instead of absolute if you want the site to be flexible against the user's browser size. Relative sizes are usually defined in percentages and absolute sizes in pixels. Unless you are looking for a way to resize the user's browser itself? That can't be done with CSS, but you could use JavaScript or DHTML.

Q. I'm looking for a password entry script that returns an asterisk in a textarea as a user enters each letter of their password.

A. I have not seen one where you enter a password into a textarea, but you can use the input type of password for that effect. Like this:
<.input type="password" size="10" name="passw">
Also here is a link to some JavaScript password scripts: http://www.javascriptkit.com/script/cutindex6.shtml
You should know that JavaScript is not very secure when it comes to password protecting documents.






News Goodies

Microsoft Reveals Office Code to Governments
[September 20, 2004] The move is part of its Government Security Program, but some in the open source community aren't buying it.

Click here to read the article




AOL Opens AIM to Bot Makers
[September 20, 2004] In search of instant messaging revenues, AOL looks to enterprise IM bots..

Click here to read the article


AMD Keeps Its Mobile 'Thin And Light'
[September 20, 2004] The company releases its first new mobile processor manufactured with the 90-nanometer production process.

Click here to read the article




Cisco Extends SAN Coverage
[September 20, 2004] The networker announces new hardware and software to help extend its storage area network reach across data centers.

Click here to read the article




Microsoft Dives into Data Protection
[September 20, 2004] UPDATED: The software giant tries the data protection space on for size with a new server that safeguards data on disks..

Click here to read the article



Sun Headed For Roots With Wall Street Show
[September 17, 2004] The systems vendor will go back to New York to convince financial services firms it still has the computing goods to run a tight, cost-effective ship.

Click here to read the article




Feds Seize $87M in Counterfeit Software Sting
[September 17, 2004] UPDATED: Biggest-ever haul includes phonied Microsoft, Adobe and Symantec products.

Click here to read the article



USTR Wants More Input on China Piracy
[September 17, 2004] Agency says protection of U.S. intellectual property rights is Bush administration's top priority.

Click here to read the article




French Telco Alcatel to Expand U.S. Presence
[September 17, 2004] Equipment maker spends $277 million on 3G plays.

Click here to read the article



ATI Shares Resources with HyperMemory
[September 17, 2004] The chipmaker taps into new PCI Express technology to store and access graphics data in a PC's system memory.

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:

Transaction Processing in ADO.NET 2.0


One feature that stands out when comparing different versions of ADO.NET is transaction processing. Bill Ryan shows just how easy transaction processing has become with the TransactionScope object in ADO.NET 2.0.




And Remember This . . .

On this day in...

1946 The First Cannes Film Festival

If you ask me, it's one of the main reasons for visiting the French Riviera - that, and pretty much everything else about the Riviera! Delayed by World War II (it was originally to debut on September 1 1939, but Hitler invaded Poland that day) the Festival de Cannes began on this day in 1946 as a promotion to bring tourists back to the South of France and the Riviera. By the 1950's the Festival International du Film de Cannes had become the most prestigious film festival in the world. Attended by more than 30,000 people each year, it is still regarded as such by most people in the industry.

Today was also the day that in: 1664 Maryland enacted the first anti-amalgamation law to prevent widespread intermarriage of English women & black men; 1797 The US frigate Constitution (Old Ironsides) was launched in Boston; 1830 first National Black convention met in Philadelphia; 1881 Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as President of the US; 1884 the Equal Rights Party nominated female candidates for President and Vice-President of the US; 1954 the first computer program written in FORTRAN was run; 1958 Martin Luther King Jr was stabbed in the chest by a deranged black woman in New York City; 1960 the United Nations General Assembly admitted 13 African nations, along with Cyprus, bringing the total of member countries to 96; 1962 James Meredith was prevented from entering Mississippi University as its first black student; 1972 police found cannabis growing on Paul and Linda McCartney's farm; 1973 Billy Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match; 1975 David Bowie's "Fame" hit #1 (stayed for two weeks); 1977 Voyager 2 was launched, the mission completed fly-by passes of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune; 1985 Orlando's Walt Disney World welcomed its 200 millionth guest; 1990 East and West Germany ratified their reunification;

Born today were: in 357 BC Emperor , King Alexander III the Great of Macedonia; 1885 jazz pianist and composer Ferdinand (Jelly Roll) Morton; 1927 actress Rachel Roberts Wales; 1928 pop psychiatrist Dr. Joyce Brothers; 1950 actress Debi Morgan Dunn; 1951 actress JoAnna Cameron; 1957 comedienne/actress Fran Drescher; 1959 musician Alannah Currie; 1967 singers Gunnar and Matthew Nelson;



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