Goodies to Go! Newsletter #393

By Vince Barnes


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

                      Goodies to Go (tm)
               June 13, 2006 -- Newsletter # 393
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Featured this week: a

*   Goodies Thoughts - A World of Concern
*   Q & A Goodies
*   Discussion Goodies
*   News Goodies
*   Feedback Goodies
*   Windows Tech Goodie of the Week 
*   And Remember This...

A World of Concern

Last week I talked a little about the thinking that has to go into matters concerning the World Wide Web, considering the fact that it is World Wide and not just a local issue.  I chose Sales Tax and the discussions relating to it and Web based stores.  (In case you missed it, you'll find it in the archive here: http://www.htmlgoodies.com/introduction/newsletter_archive/goodiestogo/article.php/3611856 )
There is another, and in my humble opinion, much more pressing concern.  The problem involves what is called "Public Information" or "Public Record".
Fundamental to the principle of Democracy is the notion that a citizen should be able to monitor the processes of their government.  If government is allowed to conduct all its business behind closed doors, corruption and self-empowerment follow rapidly.  That notion gives rise to such concepts as "Freedom of Information", "Freedom of the Press", "Government in the Open" (aka "Government in the Sunshine"); "Public Records" and so on.  Let's think about this last one for a moment.
The idea of Public Records is that there should be no secrets in the local Courthouse or Government.  Everything that transpires there becomes a matter of Public Record; i.e., anybody can go in and read the records of any government meeting or transaction or any trial of any sort, etc..
Of course, there are things that have to be kept quiet for some period of time.  For example, matters of Public Safety, such as ongoing police investigations or National Security and the like, should not be immediately exposed to the eye of the Public.  But when the investigation is over, the file and all its details should be available to the public so that they can see for themselves that there was no hanky-panky involved in the case.  In general, however, I follow the common line of thinking in a Democracy, that government records should be a matter of Public Record.
The thing that gives me pause is the definition of the word "Public".  I have no problem with another citizen walking into my local courthouse or government office and reading any file they wish, including those that concern me. Provided, however, that that citizen is a fellow citizen; that is, a citizen of my country, one of my peers.  What that is not, is a citizen of some other country, especially one which may not be particularly friendly with mine.
Many government agencies in many countries (and I have checked into quite a few) are now providing a convenient service to their citizens by putting public records on the Web and providing nice, efficient search facilities.  This is great, except that there is no control over who is reading it, or wherever in the World they may be.  I do not at all like the idea that all my property records (some of which bear my signature, by the way), all my tax records and in fact all my dealings with my government are available to any criminal, citizen of an enemy nation or member of a terrorist group anywhere in the world, at any time, and especially with a nice, efficient search facility.
It is one thing to be able to walk into a courtroom any look through a file -- it would be great if this was simplified by the use of an Intranet with publicly accessible search, view and print workstations.  It is another thing altogether to expose these records to every group or individual anywhere in the world.  To me, "Public" should include my fellow citizens and not my country's enemies.  A fair limit would be: if you are entitled to walk on the ground outside my local Courthouse or Government building and step through the doors without issue, then you can look at my, and my governments information.

Should you happen to agree, please talk to your Government officials and teach them what "World Wide" means in the name "World Wide Web"!

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

X                        X
X   Please take note:    X
X                        X
We have had a number of people indicate that their email client programs are interpreting code examples in this newsletter as actual HTML code instead of text.  To overcome this problem and to enable everyone to read the newsletter, there is a period after the "<" in each tag.  If you cut and paste to try out code examples, please remember to remove the periods.  Wherever we intend you to use "<." in your code, the example will show "<..".  In this way, you will be safely able to use a global edit to change "<." to "<".  Thanks to all of you for your patience with this; if this technique creates an undue problem for you however, please let us know via our feedback address (see Feedback, below).

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community.
*** The answer was provided by a Mentor volunteer
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:

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community.
*** The answer was provided by a Mentor volunteer
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

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community.
*** The answer was provided by a Mentor volunteer
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).

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community.
*** The answer was provided by a Mentor volunteer
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

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community.
    The answer was provided by one of our Mentor Volunteers
Q. I'm stuck on having a page containing a drop-down with options, but I wanna click on my option and go to that place.

A. Here is an example that you can use,
  <.title>Drop Down<./title>
  <.script language="JavaScript">
    function LinkUp(selopt)
      if(selopt!="") // if variable is not empty (they selected the first
  <.form name="DropDown">
    <.select name="DDlinks"
     <.option value="">Select One<./option>
     <.option value="http://www.siteone.com">Site One<./option>
     <.option value="http://www.sitetwo.com">Site Two<./option>
     <.option value="http://www.sitethree.com">Site Three<./option>

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community.
    The answer was provided by one of our Mentor Volunteers
Q. When I have a user enter a number to be used for math it is treated as a string.  Then when I do math with it the number is added to the end which makes the answer incorrect.  Can you please give me a method for the user to be able to enter a number and have it treated like a value instead of a string?  Or if not, is there a way to convert strings into values?

A. JavaScript interprets a default value given to a text area as a string.  The workaround is to use the eval() function when processing that value as a number.  If your user inputs a number to a text area in a form, and that number is to be added, subtracted, mutiplied, ... etc, process the number within the eval() function. From your previous example, suppose the user inputs to the variables a and b via text boxes in a form, you can then add a to b to return c with this:
c = eval(a+b)
This way, the values in both a and b will be treated as numbers instead of strings.

Discussion Goodies
Have you seen the discussion forums on the HTML Goodies website?  It's a great place to get help from others who, just like you, are developing web pages.  Many different topics appear in the forum, and a new one will appear if you create it!  Here's a sample of recent topics:
How to access a variable on an other iframe ?:
Ajax - passing an argument to the callback function:

News Goodies
CA Makes Records Management Play
[June 13, 2006] CA's acquisition of MDY creates a new information management player. 
Read the article:

Oracle Builds Out Its Linux Stack
[June 13, 2006] Oracle rolls out what it thinks are the best setups for running its apps on Linux.
Read the article:

Compromise in Works For Net Neutrality?
[June 13, 2006] Focus moves to Senate as Commerce chairman hints at possible compromise.
Read the article:

Java Middleware and SOA: Wrong Together?
[June 13, 2006] New startup claims it's got a better SOA mousetrap with an open source middleware stack.
Read the article:

More KML And Bits of Google Earth
[June 13, 2006] The latest update further integrates user-generated content, the kind Google likes to advertise around. 
Read the article:

Mobile Tweaks For Exchange
[June 13, 2006] UPDATED: Exchange Server will hit its second beta in July with greater support for mobile users.
Read the article:

Worm Has a Yen For Yahoo Mail
[June 13, 2006] Worm wrigglers have apparently targeted Yahoo's popular Webmail with a new virus. But so far, it's a bust.
Read the article:

Windows 98/ME Too Creaky to Patch
[June 12, 2006] Dropping older operating system versions from the patching cycle could save Redmond millions.
Read the article:

Microsoft Adapts With Interoperability
[June 12, 2006] The Redmond software vendor will extend Office interoperability in the hopes that enterprises will be tempted to follow. 
Read the article:

Microsoft Makes Security The 'ForeFront'
[June 11, 2006] At Tech Ed, officials unveil the company's new security brand and a plan to prepare for the Web services wave.
Read the article:

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 helps 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 for all your feedback!

Windows Tech Goodie of the Week 

XSL Transformations in .NET 2.0

Having realized the need for efficient built-in support for XSLT processing, Microsoft has included in the .NET Framework 2.0 a set of classes that are highly optimized, robust, and scalable. This article will explore the rich XSLT support provided by the .NET Framework 2.0 by providing examples on how to use the XSLT related classes to create rich ASP.NET Web applications.

*** AND ***

Examining ASP.NET 2.0's Membership, Roles, and Profile - Part 5
This article, by Scott Mitchell, examines the membership features in ASP.NET 2.0 and looks at how to provide a customized login experience.

*** AND ***

An Overview of the New Caching Features in ASP.NET 2.0
With ASP.NET 2.0, caching can still be implemented as simply as it was in ASP.NET 1.x, but for those of you who want to do more, Microsoft has added a number of features which help make caching even more flexible and robust. This article gives a quick overview of the new caching features in ASP.NET 2.0 and shows you how to use them.

And Remember This ...
On this day in...
323BC Alexander the Great died of a fever at Babylon; 1886 fire destroyed nearly a thousand buildings in Vancouver BC; 1888 The US Congress created the Department of Labor; 1930 22 people were killed by hailstones in Siatista Greece; 1966 the US Supreme Court handed down its Miranda decision, stating that suspects must be read their rights; 1967 Thurgood Marshall was nominated as te first black US Supreme Court Judge; 1980 the UN security council called for S. Africa to release Nelson Mandela; 1983 Pioneer 10 became the first man made object to leave the solar system; 1981 a teenager fired 6 blanks at Queen Elizabeth II; 1990 Washington DC Mayor Marion Barry announced he would not seek a fourth term;

Born today were: in 1865 Irish poet William Butler Yeats; 1892 S. African actor Basil Rathbone; 1935 Bulgaran wrap artist Christo; 1941 actor Tom Hallick; 1941 actor Robert Forester; 1951 actor Richard Thomas; 1962 actress Ally Sheedy; 1986 actress twins Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen

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