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Goodies to Go! Newsletter #393


Goodies to Go ™

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
*   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:


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


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

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


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We have had a number of people indicate that their email client programs
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*** 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

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:

*** 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
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:
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:
      background-image :
      background-position : center
      background-repeat :


To position in the center of a table, try using this (be sure to replace __
with the height and width of the image):
height=”100%” width=”100%”>
<.tr><.td valign=”center”
<.table height=”__” width=”__”
Any text on the

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor
    The answer was provided by one of our Mentor
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
if(selopt!=””) // if variable is not empty (they selected the
<.form name=”DropDown”>
<.option value=””>Select One<./option>
<.option value=”Site’>”>Site
     <.option value=”

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