DHTML slide-in menu

March 28, 2004 on 10:57 pm | In JavaScript | No Comments

I came across this nifty little DHTML Slide In Menu on another site and decided I liked it enough to track it down. It looked a lot better to me on the site where I found it. What I don’t like is how it acts/reacts when you scroll down as it bounces.

PHP Source Code Utility – Line Numberer and Syntax Highlighter

March 27, 2004 on 10:39 am | In PHP | No Comments

0PHP.com PHP Source Code Utility – Line Numberer and Syntax Highlighter is a demo of a great little on-line utility. You can also download a local copy.

Syndic8 – Reviewer Guide

March 25, 2004 on 2:16 am | In RSS | No Comments

Syndic8.com collects data on RSS and Atom news feeds and allows the syndicated content to be categorized and viewed in many formats. Sources of feeds are suggested for categorization, and approval requires that human reviewers pass on the quality of the source, namely regular postings and site availability. Many people have signed up as reviewers, but they often don’t understand the steps necessary to review and approve a feed. This article is an effort to clarify what is asked of them.

The general guidelines for reviewers currently leaves many in doubt as to what exactly should be done, or how to do it anyway. In an effort to answer this delimma, a thread has begun on the Syndic8 Email List. Bill Kearney has provided significant insite, and it is much clearer now than it was before, however that thread has fractured (meaning at least one message thread has spun off with a new subject and thus will not be associated with the original thread).

I thought it might be worthwhile to try to collect the information in that series of messages and consolidate it here. Over time I am sure that the reviewers guideline page will improve, but in the meantime this may act as a gathering point. If you have additional information to make a point clearer, feel free to drop a comment and I will try to pull that information into this main work.

When registering at Syndic8, you may choose to be a reviewer. If you elect to be one, then each time you log into Syndicate, you are presented with a list of random feeds awaiting review. So what does one do? Review of course but for what? Well the main concepts are three as I understand them:

  1. assure that the technical aspects of the site are functional and not broken
  2. determine if real content is regularly being posted (polling)
  3. assure that the site is up and functional for people trying to visit it (statistics)

Quick Visit to the Site – note language
The first thing a review should do is visit the site to be reviewed. Is it up and running, are there regular entries (I usually click on at least one archive month if available) and are they ‘real’ entries and not ‘hello world’ sample type entries. At that time one should also note the language of the site. If this all checks out, then back to Syndic8.

Check-Off on the Language
The language you observed on the site should match the language tag shown in the syndic8 page for the proposed feed. If it isn’t specified or doesn’t match you should leave a note (ther is a note tab at the bottom of the syndicate page) and contact the page author to advise them of the mismatch. By common convention Syndic8 has elected to look the other way for English sites that have no en specification if the feed is RSS 0.92. That is the only time you should pass on a site without a mathing Language tag.

Note: if you want to look at and approve sites for a particular language use this format:
http://www.syndic8.com/feedlist.php?ShowStatus=AwaitingApproval?ShowLanguage=fr for example if you want French feeds. Simply substitute the proper two character abbreviation for the language you wish to review. There are many, many non-English feeds, so by all means if you have that talent, dig in!

Look at the Polling
The polling tab at Syndicate (down at the bottom of a feed awaiting approval) will show the posting history for the site from the date it was submitted for consideration to present. You should see some consistent results to entitle the site to be included. Generally there should be at least a week or two of consistent posting, and also factor in what you found when you visited the site a few minutes ago. Many, many blogs and other sites with syndicated contents are simply momentary lapses by the author(s). I think the intent here is to get sites with vibrant content included and not include the flash in the pan type of site.

Look at the Statistics
This will tell you if the site has generally be available. So long as it has generally be up, check this one off of the list. The statistics also give you a daily numerical count of new headlines for the polled period.

Approve the Feed
If all of this checks off, then approve the feed. There is a green button that appears at the bottom of the syndic8 screen for the site being reviewed. If the feed is not being approved, then leave notes as to why not, contact the site author to point out the problem if you wish, and move on to the next one.

Opaque or Transparent Backgrounds via CSS

March 22, 2004 on 10:23 am | In CSS | No Comments

Some of the cooler looking sites sometimes use transparent layers/div’s to achieve the look. One method to get a transparent background is to use a png image with partial tranparency (see a discussion of that here). Unfortunately, Internet Explorer doesn’t much like png’s unless you go a bit to make them work.

You can also make Semi-Transparent Backgrounds with CSS and they are supported on FireBird/FireFox/Mozilla/Netscape, Internet Explorer, and Konquerer/Safari. I don’t currently run Opera, but I understand they are not currently permitting it.

Mark-up Plain Text to Valid XHTML

March 22, 2004 on 10:03 am | In HTML, Utilities and Programs | No Comments

How many times did someone send you a word document complete with numbered paragraphs and ask you to convert to (x)html? It happens to me all the time. Next time I am going to try this on-line as it worked very well on a demo. Daring Fireball: Markdown Web Dingus.

You can also get a markdown perl script here if you want to run it locally or on your site. It appears to be an open source project … but then there is a $50 license fee for commercial work. I don’t quite understand how the two go together. If you do, please leave a comment.

Browser Header Checker

March 21, 2004 on 2:06 am | In Utilities and Programs | No Comments

Browser Header Checker is a nice little site to check your browser header string, remote address and other browser variables. Very handy.

Color Shorthand RGB in CSS

March 20, 2004 on 3:31 pm | In CSS | No Comments

I have been working on understanding CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) better as they appear to be where it is at for good web design. I really enjoy looking around the Zen Garden Project and the Word Press CSS Contest. These are awesome examples of style separated from content.

One of the things that tended to confuse me was the use of three character colors in Cascading Style Sheets. What did #fff mean? Well it took a bit of digging, but I think I have it now. The math majors tell me that if you use a six character red, green, blue (or RGB as commonly referred to) color scheme, you need six characters to form 16,000,000 colors. Conversely if you limit yourself to a 256 color web-safe palette, you need only use three characters. So the CSS wizards decided you could avoid needless repetition by simply using the shortcut method.

In case there is any confusion, you simply give the first letter of each color pair (example f in a three character RGB color would become ff) is simply repeated. So it is #RRGGBB. Hex numbers are represented by the characters 0-9 and letters A-F, for a total of 16 characters. So long as you are satisfied with staying within the color cube, using the three character color codes in CSS will make for smaller file sizes and less typing.

Yahoo Discloses web Beacons used to track net Wanderings

March 19, 2004 on 8:59 am | In General | No Comments

Yahoo announces that it uses “web beacons” to track people around the web. Because you are registered with them, they can tell where you go when you visit sites containing their beacons. See their disclosure for more information.

They also indicate that they use web beacons in html formated email to tell if you have opened your email. Spammers use this technique too, so if you have not already made the switch to plain text email, now is the time. I use Thunderbird in text mode and only switch to html for a particular message to avoid such intrusions.

should we have upgrades.

March 18, 2004 on 7:41 pm | In General | No Comments

Now days, many of us have joined the mobile brigade and now work from laptops, recently it came to my attention that many laptop owners
were feeling left out in that they can’t upgrade the video card of their laptops like our desktop brothers and sisters have been doing for years.

There is no longer a technical reason why this should not be possible, the only reason is marketing, why sell you an upgrade, when they can
force you to buy a new laptop by not selling you an upgrade.
To that end, I have setup a petition to Dell (in this case) that they consider offering us the ability to upgrade the video cards of our laptops.
Since Dells laptops already have modular video cards, there is no reason for them not to do this for their customers.

So if you own a laptop, owned a laptop or may one day own a laptop, its in your best interest to support this.
The petition can be found here:
Support laptop upgrades petiton

Many thanks,

Independent Testers.org – Home Page

March 18, 2004 on 9:22 am | In Web Design | No Comments

Independent Testers.org – Home Page is a site that will have various volunteers look through a site on different browsers and provide a report back. Interesting concept as long as the volunteers don’t mind the grind :-)

Color Eye Dropper Nice for Grabbing Quick Color

March 18, 2004 on 4:07 am | In Utilities and Programs | No Comments

I often am looking at something on my computer and think, now that is a nice color … what is it. In the past I most often look either at the coding (if it is CSS for example) or save the image locally and then look using my photo/image editing software. So today I said ENOUGH! I went looking for a free dropper and found one that I like: Color Picker Eye Dropper. It has many options like which color format to show/use, copy and paste to the clipboard or a color dialog, etc. Very nice.

The Big debate, who owns Unix and what does it mean.

March 16, 2004 on 9:37 pm | In General, News | No Comments

I’ve been reading allot recently on the SCO/IBM legal debate about whether IBM is responsible for putting SCO proprietary code into Linux. (I should add that it hasn’t been proven yet that any proprietary code has been included in Linux because any time SCO reveal something they claim as illegal code, its found to have been released as open source by SCO themselves or one of the previous Unix owners.)

Apart from my personal belief that SCO will have to pry my wallet from my cold dead fingers before they get a Linux license from me, I figured I’d point out some interesting details that most people seem to miss.

Continue reading The Big debate, who owns Unix and what does it mean….

Progress on Advanced Downloader and Paypal IPN Scripts

March 14, 2004 on 4:07 pm | In News | No Comments

We’ve started working on the advanced downloader script now.. As well as all the features of the free versions , it will support multiple download locations and will also work as a link tracker as well. (thats the plan anyway).
I’d also like to see it able to work with the IPN script to provide a method whereby a download URL will only work once, as determined by a list of serial numbers, The idea being that for people selling ebooks, scripts, mp3′s or any other files, they can have the IPN script send an email to the client with a serial number in it. and once the client has downloaded the file, the link will not work again.. So it’ll be a sorta ecommerce feature for the downloader. We already have a few extras to go with the advx downloader, like a “Top 5 downloads” plugin so you can show people how popular your downloads are.

Once the downloader is finished, I’m going back to working on free scripts for a while, like Formreader, which is a new kind of form processing script. (already working but it needs some updating to bring it inline with the other HTMLfixIT scripts). and the “Tell a friend” PHP script. (about time we released a script that wasn’t Perl based :-)

Franki
HTMLfixIT.com

New Tute!: The IE5 Box Model Hack and other solutions for fixing IE5/CSS layout problems

March 14, 2004 on 6:20 am | In CSS, News | No Comments

I have posted a new “tutorial” although it is really just an accumulations of findings I had in trying to solve the broken box model in Internet Explorer 5. This results in problems for css layout sites when viewed in IE5 unless some adjustment is made. In this article, The Box Model Hack and other solutions to fixing the IE5 problem with CSS layout: HTML FIX IT . COM, I attempt to cover the very basic of five ways I found to get around the problem. I hope it is helpful to you.

Technorati: Our Blog Has Been Submitted

March 14, 2004 on 6:02 am | In Random Feature Sites | No Comments

We listed our blog over at Technorati. Interesting site: Technorati: What Is technorati?

New Look for Hazel’s My Dog Enthusiasts Page

March 13, 2004 on 12:40 am | In Random Feature Sites | No Comments

One of our regular visitors has redone her personal pages. Hazel has had her My Dog Enthusiasts Page up for some time, but recently gave it a new look. We like it and think it shows great growth in her skills in many areas including image making, css and page layout. Well done Hazel.

Array of Hash and Hash of Hash: perl primers hit the street

March 12, 2004 on 3:01 am | In News | No Comments

Well Franki and I (“I” because I throw in sarcastic comments during development in order to claim a contribution) have added a couple of more primers to the successful series on the htmlfixit.com site:

# Perl Primer 013 Advanced data constructs An array of hashes
Here we take a brief look at creating and using an array of hashes.

and

# Perl Primer 014 Advanced data constructs A hash of hashes
Here we take a brief look at creating and using an hash of hashes or Multidimensional array.

Top Downloads Summary Added to Front Page

March 12, 2004 on 2:34 am | In News | No Comments

We offer many free scripts for download on our site. Our downloader script that we offer to you is also used on our site and it logs how many of each file offered are downloaded. We thought people might find it useful to see which ones are most popular at any given time.

Top Ten Downloads

Google: Risk/Benefit Analysis

March 12, 2004 on 1:59 am | In Web Design | No Comments

An excellent article on how to use Google’s Search Engine for good and evil: The perils of Googling.

It both points out how you should carefully think through what you do in your day to expose data/information, and suggests many helpful ways to use Google to find exactly what you are looking for. Certainly worth a read!

Simple CSS Mouseover Text Buttons

March 11, 2004 on 4:13 am | In CSS | No Comments

No JavaScript, no images, no tables! Simple clean Cascading Style Sheet solution to rollover text buttons. The idea and much of the coding for this one came from the notetab.com yahoo html group. It has been tested in current Internet Explorer/FireFox/Mozilla browsers with success.


Demonstration page showing simple text buttons with highlight on rollover.

The demo page validates as xhtml 1.0 strict and css valid.

Use of Iframes in Web Design

March 9, 2004 on 2:53 am | In Web Design | No Comments

I frames are starting to make some interesting site designs possible. The other day we came accross this one which uses a combination of iframes and javascript: Cantalope Music.

Click on a link in the left iframe and it will load content in the right iframe and show a different image to the left.

When we get a few minutes we should really whip up a simpler demo of the concept of using iframes. We have many handy tricks we use them for as well (for example includes without shtml or php). They are now accepted in all major browsers contrary to common belief.

One problem with this site is that it is very slow to load because the images and iframe content is apparently preloading.

The source for this page is a tad difficult to decipher because of it’s complexity, but the idea is pretty good.

Color Blender – Nice On-Line Utility to Pick Color Gradients

March 8, 2004 on 5:53 pm | In Utilities and Programs | No Comments

One of the hardest things for those of us with limited color skills (or is it artistic skills?) is to get a nice set of colors for a site. We have many places we look when we want to find coordinating colors for example. However, one that I really like is this one that allows you to see a gradient of colors between two selected colors.

Color Blender

We also have a color tool on our site that we like to use. It isn’t our original work, however, we recently were able to make it partially functional in Firefox/Mozilla browsers, whereas it was not as originally written. The sliders aren’t draggable in Firefox/Mozilla. However you can click on the colored squares.

Web Save Color Slider at HTMLfixIT.com

Special Google Searches

March 8, 2004 on 1:47 pm | In Finding Content | No Comments

Ever want to search for something special in Google? They have some special search capabilities, like just Linux, or U.S. Government for example. See this page for the choices:
Special Google Searches

Web Design Is A Moving Target

March 7, 2004 on 5:50 pm | In Web Design | No Comments

If we know one thing for sure it is this: Web Design is not static. Things that were amazing five years ago, or three minutes ago, may not be so amazing any more. The web is the classic open forum where each participant can seek his/her/their own level of sophistication. Often things are collaborative, much like our site HTMLfixIT. Because of this, we hope to keep some current information on our blog to help you find things that may be of interest to you.

What happened on any date in history?

March 7, 2004 on 2:27 am | In Finding Content | No Comments

This site will tell you what happened on a particular date in history, which may add interesting content to a web site. How much was a gallon of milk, gas, etc. Who was born, what were the headlines?

Enter Date (MM/DD/YYYY)  
(Be sure to enter slashes in the date. For example:
07/20/1969)
     


This can be found here:
http://www.dmarie.com/timecap/step1.asp

Make PDF files from your files

March 7, 2004 on 2:19 am | In Utilities and Programs | 1 Comment

I sometimes have documents submitted to me with a request to make them into pdf (portable document format) files so that they will display in Adobes free Acrobat Reader program. I have never had enough demand for this to justify buying the full blown Acrobat program. In the past I often use Corel WordPerfect (because it will save as a pdf), or used a screenshot and saved using a presentation program I sometimes use. None of these solutions did the job in all circumstances …

I recently happened onto this site: http://docupub.com/ and it seemed to do a very good job of converting my document on-line. I simply waited for it to convert, and then right clicked on the resulting link and choose save link to disk. Problem solved.

It supports all of these file formats:

Supported file formats:

Generic Formats
Adobe PDF
Adobe PostScript
Encapsulated PostScript (EPS)

Microsoft Publisher documents

Word Processing Formats
ASCII Text
ANSI Text
Microsoft RTF
Microsoft Word for PC v2
Microsoft Word for PC v3
Microsoft Word for PC v4
Microsoft Word for PC v5.5
Microsoft Word for Macintosh v4
Microsoft Word for Macintosh v5
Microsoft Word for Macintosh v6
Microsoft Word for Macintosh v98
Microsoft Word for Windows v2.x
Microsoft Word for Windows v6.0
Microsoft Word for Windows 95
Microsoft Word for Windows 97
Microsoft Word for Windows 2000
Microsoft Works v1.0
Microsoft Works v2.0
Microsoft Works v3.0
Microsoft Works v4.0
Microsoft Windows Write v1.0
Microsoft Windows Write v2.0
Microsoft Windows Write v3.0
WordPerfect v5.x
WordPerfect v6
WordPerfect v7
WordPerfect v8
WordPerfect v9/2000
WordPerfect for Macintosh v2
WordPerfect for Macintosh v3

Spreadsheet Formats
Corel QuattroPro v7
Corel QuattroPro v8
Lotus 1-2-3 v2
Lotus 1-2-3 v3
Lotus 1-2-3 v4
Lotus 1-2-3 v5
Lotus 1-2-3 96
Lotus 1-2-3 97
Lotus 1-2-3 R9
Microsoft Excel v3
Microsoft Excel v4
Microsoft Excel v5
Microsoft Excel v6
Microsoft Excel 97
Microsoft Excel 2000/XP
Microsoft Excel for Mac 98
Microsoft Works Spreadsheet v1.0
Microsoft Works Spreadsheet v2.0
Microsoft Works Spreadsheet v3.0
Microsoft Works Spreadsheet v4.0
Presentation Formats
Lotus Freelance 1.0-2.1
Microsoft PowerPoint 4.0
Microsoft PowerPoint 95
Microsoft PowerPoint 97
Microsoft PowerPoint 2000/XP
Microsoft PowerPoint for Macintosh 98

Graphic Formats
AVS - AVS X image file
BMP - MS Windows Bitmap image file
BMP - OS/2 Bitmap
DCX - ZSoft IBM PC multi-page Paintbrush file
DIB - MS Windows Device Independent Bitmap
DPX - Digital Moving Picture Exchange
FAX - Group 3 FAX encoding
FITS - Flexible Image Transport System
FPX - FlashPix Format
GIF - CompuServe graphics interchange format
GIF87 - CompuServe graphics interchange format ver 87
ICO - MS Windows Icons
ICO - OS/2 Icons
IPTC - Newswire profile
JBIG - Joint Bi-level Image experts Group file interchange format
JP2 - JPEG-2000 JP2 File Format Syntax
JPEG - Joint Photographic Experts Group JFIF format
JPG - Joint Photographic Experts Group JFIF format
MIFF - Magick image file format
MNG - Multiple-image Network Graphics
MPC - Magick Persistent Cache image file format
MTV - MTV Raytracing image format
OTB - On-the-air Bitmap
PBM - Portable Bitmap
PCD - Kodak PhotoCD - Base/16, Base/4 and Base only
PCDS - Kodak PhotoCD - Base/16, Base/4 and Base only
PCT - MacIntosh PICT
PCX - PC PaintBrush
PGM - Portable GrayMap
PICT - Apple Macintosh QuickDraw/PICT file
PNG - Portable Network Graphics
PNM - Portable Any Bitmap
PPM - Portable PixelMap
PSD - Adobe Photoshop
P7 - Xv's visual schnauzer format
RAS - Raster Sun Microsystems
RGBA - Raw red, green, blue, and matte samples
SGI - Irix RGB image file
SUN - Raster SunMicrosystems
TGA - TrueVision Targa
TIFF - Tagged Interchange File Format
VICAR - V.I.C.A.R. Image file format
VID - Visual Image Directory
VIFF - Khoros Visualization image file
WMF - Windows Meta File
XBM - X Windows system bitmap, black and white only
XPM - X Windows system pixmap file (color)
XWD - X Windows system window dump file (color)

Let me know how it goes if you give it a try.

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