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|              *** THE BIGNOSEBIRD.COM NEWSLETTER ***                  |
|        Placed at your virtual door in beautiful plain text           |
|         Be sure to stop by http://bignosebird.com/ today!            |
|      Everything You Need to Create and Maintain Great Websites       |
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|  August 10, 1999                                           Issue #4  |
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                             GREETINGS!

Here is the fourth issue of the BigNoseBird.Com low volume newsletter.
Our thanks for allowing us to add just one more deperately needed 
item to your inbox. 

I hope everyone has been enjoying their summer (or winter for those
downunder) so far. Sorry for the gap between letters, but I did after
all promise it would be "low volume". Besides, I have been busy working
on a bunch of large projects.

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                        SIZE THOSE IMAGES

Here is a reminder on a simple, but often overlooked part of the IMG
tag: Use the HEIGHT and WIDTH attributes! If you are looking at a
page of yours that is cached (stored) in your computer's memory, the
problem created by not using them may not be so obvious.

Here's the problem. Until your browser can finish downloading and 
decoding an image, it has no idea how much space on the page to 
reserve for it and displays only a small icon until the images is
ready to be displayed.

The result is that your pages end up acting like you filled them
with popcorn and things start jumping into place!

To make matters even worse, people using Netscape will not be able
to see ANY contents of a TABLE containing an image until all the
images are downloaded and sized.

Considering that a lot of us have our ENTIRE pages contained within
a TABLE, it can create the illusion that the page takes forever to
download. So, to give your readers the best possible viewing 
experience, be sure to do your IMG tags as follows:

   <IMG SRC="image.jpg" BORDER="0" WIDTH="200" HEIGHT="100">

This example would be used to display a graphic that is 200 pixels
wide by 100 pixels high.


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                      SPEAKING OF NETSCAPISMS

It is important when using images as links that you put the  
tag on the same line as the image, with no space between it and
the end of the image tag.

    WRONG <A HREF="page.html"><IMG SOURCE="image.jpg" 
            HEIGHT="60" WIDTH="468" BORDER="0">
          </A>

    CORRECT: <A HREF="page.html"><IMG SOURCE="image.jpg"
              HEIGHT="60" WIDTH="468" BORDER="0"></A>

If you do it the "Wrong" way, then Netscape will display an annoying
little underscore "_" after the image. 

Another VERY important item regarding Netscape has to do with TABLES.
It is critical that you balance all of your TABLE, TR, and TD tags. If
you miss a tag- you can pretty much count on the entire page not being
display at all.

Of course on a complex page this can be like searching for a needle in
a haystack- or worse. I recommend (and use) Dr. HTML. You put in your
page's URL and it will provide a great diagnosis for you... You can
find Dr. HMTL at http://www2.imagiware.com/RxHTML/index_noframes.html

The reason I am bringing up Netscapisms at this time is that I have 
noticed that amongst BNB readers, MSIE is pulling out ahead of Netscape 
at about two to one. That is up from one to one only several months
ago. 

The odds are that at your site you still have plenty of Netscape users.
Be sure that no matter what browser you use- make sure you use both to
view your work. It costs nothing since both browsers are FREE! 

Do what you can to accomodate anyone that found their way to your site.
I was told by some people a while back that BNB looked weird on the Mac.
Mac users make up about 6% of our traffic. I bought an I-Mac...


                 **----------------------------**
                      AND NOW FOR AN MSIE'ISM

Here is a little trick for create background images that remain fixed
while your page's text scrolls over them. Personally I get a bit 
dizzy from it, but it is a nice effect.

All you have to do is add the BGPROPERTIES="fixed" attribute to your
BODY tag. Netscape will ignore this directive and display the page
normally.

   


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                      WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT

Downtime. Nothing makes a webmaster crazier faster than knowing that
their site is down. I have a page containing some of the more common
problems that occur and how to deal with them.

                 http://bignosebird.com/diags.shtml

If you don't want to deal with the command line for doing things
like ping and traceroute, you can test the connectivity between BNB
(on Long Island, NY) with your server at:

             http://bignosebird.com/carchive/birdseye.shtml

For the PC, a great freeware program is available. Netlab performs
just about every test there is and is available at:

                  http://members.tripod.com/~adanil/

By testing from both your PC and from a script running at BNB is you
can get a better idea if you are completely down, or just gone from
where you are!

                 **----------------------------**
                        FEAR NOT THE $ PROMPT

One of the more popular questions I get is "What is a telnet and how
do I use it?" Telnet is an Internet Protocol that allows your computer
to act like a terminal to connect to a server that supports the service.
Once you log in, it is very much like you are the console. In otherwords,
you can run commands from the dreaded command line!

Typically telnet is found mainly on Unix servers, but telnet access is
a service that can also be added to NT boxes. 

Of course, many people fear the Unix prompt. Let's face it, Unix has a
gazillion weird and cryptic commands. True, but if you go out to the DOS
prompt in Windows you have a smaller number of cryptic commands. If you
get a chance, stop by

     http://bignosebird.com/unix.shtml

This is a twenty minute course in the basics of working with a Unix system.
There is also a tutorial linked to the page on using the infamous and
powerful "vi" editor.  It covers the material usually covered in seminars 
costing hundreds of dollars- and don't worry- it won't turn you into a geek.
I think you will be surprised how familiar it might seem to you.


                 **----------------------------**
                         SHAMELESS BEGGING

Okay, no pride here! If you see someplace that you feel that 
BigNoseBird.Com should be listed, you have my permission to 
handle the submission. BNB's popularity is due almost completely
to word of mouth recommendations, and any assistance you could
provide if you feel BNB worthy would be greatly appreciated.


                 **----------------------------**
                          REALLYBIG NETWORK

Looking for cool stuff and information for your sites? The 
REALLYBIG network consists of:

    http://reallybig.com/default.shtml  Over 3000 Web Master Resources
    http://dynamicdrive.com/            JavaScript & DHTML Resource
    http://fontpool.com/                Over 1000 Searchable Fonts
    http://bignosebird.com/             Yours truly!

We are a linked group of lunatics that really enjoy what we do!


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