/introduction/newsletter_archive/goodiestogo/article.php/3482946/Goodies-to-Go-Newsletter-315.htm Goodies to Go! Newsletter #315

Goodies to Go! Newsletter #315

By Vince Barnes

This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.

Featured this week:

* Goodies Thoughts - The Ruler of the Web
* Q & A Goodies
* News Goodies
* 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 Ruler of the Web

I have talked before 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 that 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 the Golden Rules piece 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

Don't Fear 'OracleSoft' Say Analysts
[December 13, 2004] UPDATE: Enterprises begin weighing the pros and cons of Oracle's J2EE database.

Click here to read the article


More Open Source for Sun in 2005
[December 13, 2004] Solaris will be first, followed by other enterprise applications, company execs said.

Click here to read the article




JBoss Has Visions of JEMS
[December 10, 2004] The professional open source company wants to be seen as more than just an app server company.

Click here to read the article




Networking, Security Integration Reaches 'TippingPoint'
[December 13, 2004] Network equipment maker 3Com pays $430M for intrusion prevention specialist TippingPoint in the latest cross-sector deal.

Click here to read the article



Postini Extends E-Mail Boundaries
[December 13, 2004] Transport Layer Security service implementation claims to be world's largest

Click here to read the article




Centurion Swaps Education for Enterprise
[December 10, 2004] The company tries a different market with its latest management and protection goods.

Click here to read the article



AOL to Restore Dropped Screen Names
[December 13, 2004] The company expects to reinstate 10,000 IM users by end of the day.

Click here to read the article




If You're Thinking of Online Shopping in NY, Nigeria...
[December 10, 2004] New York City and Nigeria top online retailers' lists of problem spots.

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/

Thanks again for all your feedback!




Windows Tech Goodie of the Week:

A Look at WebCharts, a Free .NET Charting Control

Recently I discovered a free .NET charting tool from Microsoft employee Carlos Aguilar Mares called WebChart. This article provides a quick overview of WebChart, demonstrating how to use it in an ASP.NET Web application.



*** AND ***

Server-Side Printing to a Networked Printer from ASP

A while back I wrote "Server-Side Printing from ASP" which explained how to print plain text to a printer directly connected to your web server. Since then, I've received quite a few email from people looking to accomplish the same task on a networked printer.




*** AND ***

Designing Role-Based Security Models for .NET

In this article, Michele Leroux Bustamante discusses authentication, authorization and role-based security in .NET. Along the way, he provides some best practices for implementing role-based security in some typical .NET application scenarios including rich clients, Web applications, and Web services.









And Remember This . . .

On this day in...

1989 Leona Helmsley Sentenced to Jail

Known as the "Queen of Mean" for the terrible way she treated employees and vendors and the way she looked down on anybody less wealthy than herself, Leona Helmsley was sentences to four years in prison, 750 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $7.1 million for tax fraud. She became particularly disliked by the public after quipping "only the little people pay taxes." Among her tax offences, she had written off personal furniture as a business expense, and had the empty boxes from hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of purchases shipped from New York to Connecticut to avoid the sales taxes. In his public reprimand, Federal Judge John Walker said ""Your conduct was the product of naked greed [and] the arrogant belief that you were above the law."

Today was also the day that in: 1577 Sir Francis Drake set sail from England on a three year trip around the world; 1642 Dutch navigator Abel Tasman discovered New Zealand; 1774 400 attack Fort William and Mary in New Hampshire, starting the American Revolution; 1843 Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" was first published; 1903 Italo Marcioni of New Jersey received a patent for the ice cream cone; 1903 the Wright Brothers achieve the first successful flight, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina; 1920 the League of nations established the International Court of Justice in The Hague; 1938 Los Angeles froze with a temperature of 28F; 1951 Future British PM Margaret Roberts Thatcher married Denis Thatcher; 1969 Arlo Guthrie released "Alice's Restaurant"; 1975 with Richard Prior hosting, Saturday Night Live used a time delay for the first time; 1978 the first US coin to honor a woman, the "Susan B Anthony" dollar was released; 1983 Martha Layne Collins was inaugurated as Kentucky's first female Governor; 1993 was the deadline for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza -- they didn't; 1995 US Federal Court voted that cable companies in the US must carry local stations;

Born today were: in 1818 first lady Mary Todd Lincoln; 1819 composer Edwin George Monk; 1835 composer (Little Town of Bethlehem) Bishop Phillip Brooks; 1900 actor Norman Foster; 1903 guitarist Carlos Montoya; 1906 soldier/explorer/conservationist Laurens jan van der Post; 1910 actress Lillian Roth; 1914 actor Samuel "Larry" K Parks; 1920 actor Dick van Dyke; 1929 actor Christopher Plummer; 1930 actress Genevieve Page; 1948 musician Ted Nugent; 1948 actress Kathy Garver; 1950 actress Wendie Malick; 1951 English actor Robert Lindsay; 1967 comedian Jamie Foxx; 1973 actress Christie Clark;



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