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|              *** THE BIGNOSEBIRD.COM NEWSLETTER ***                  |
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|      Everything You Need to Create and Maintain Great Websites       |
|  October 10, 1999                                          Issue #5  |


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

                         BRUCE ON THE MEND...

If many of you have been wondering why not much has been doing here 
over the past month or so, or why I have not been returning many 
e-mails, let me fill you in... To those that know what's been doing, 
thanks so much for your well wishes and get well cards.

A few weeks ago I was having some shoulder pain and indigestion. I'd 
been under a lot of stress working on some large projects, had been 
sitting through some long meetings and at first figured I was stressed 
out. Well, it turned out that two of my coronary arteries were rather 
restricted and I needed a double bypass.

Now, before you start thinking, "Hmmm, this guy is 73 years old or 
something!", stop- I'm 40. Well, due to my "young" age, they used 
arterial grafts to patch me up.  This involved removing an artery from 
my left arm.  Needless to say, having an incision on the inside of your 
arm running from elbow to wrist does not exactly make typing easy!

I'm back now and doing great. I'm also taking things a bit easier, 
eating well, walking, etc... To all you webmasters and sysadmins out 
there- all I can say is take care of your most important server, YOU!

                       SCRIPT SECURITY UPDATE

I was made aware that under certain circumstances, that the BNBFORM
script could be tricked into e-mailing arbitrary files from the 
server back to a not-so-nice user. The main risk is if you did not
set the @okaydomains list to restrict access to the script, thus
not preventing someone from modifying and then executing your form.
The modified script was posted on October 2, 1999.

The script has been patched up and is available for downloading at 


When reading books, magazines and other printed material, you will
usually see the first line of a paragraph indented. This is something
missing for the most part on web pages. No matter how many spaces
you put at the start of a line, the browser will simply ignore them.
Here's the trick:

         This is the first line of my new paragraph,
   and the browser will indent correctly!

The idea is to use the non-breaking space character to trick the
browser into displaying spaces where we want them to appear. The
example above will indent so that the first word of the sentence
starts five characters over.

                    IMAGE MAPS WITH NO MYSTERY

Image maps remain an excellent method for providing navigation
on your site. You can find an easy to read tutorial at

                   BNB BBS: GIVE HELP GET HELP!

If you are having a problem, or want to help others solve a
problem, stop by
I try to keep my nose out of it for the most part, and you
readers seem to be doing a great job. Look in the BBS for
ideas on page design, scripts and more. Learn a trick, or
teach a trick!

                    HOW MUCH CAN IT HANDLE???

Among the most common questions I get regarding the BNB scripts 
deal with the question of capacity. There is no simple answer to
this question, but by looking at the typical bottleneck on the
server, I can give you some rough ideas.

The most common problem I have seen- and experienced myself has
to do with generating e-mail.  The NoMoDoMo Subscription E-mailer
can handle thousands of e-mail addresses. In fact as of this writing
I have over 5,000 in my subscriber file.  The problems that have
been encountered with the script include:

   1.) The mail system getting bogged down, resulting in no output
       being returned for a while. If this period of time is 
       longer than five minutes (usually), the browser will time
   2.) Hosting companies that limit the number of e-mails a site
       can send out per hour.
   3.) Script run times limited by hosting companies. Many hosts
       do not want any one site to drag down their servers and 
       limit how long a script can run for.

I recommend that if you have a list of over 1000 subscribers, that
you download the list and use a Windows or Mac based mail merge
program. If your host limits the number of e-mails you send per
hour, then you must do this.

For big list keepers, you can also run the script from the command 
line. Here is what you need to do to run things from the unix or 
windows (DOS) prompt.

   1.) make a copy of the administration script to something like

   2.) find the section of code that looks like this:


       then, under those lines place the following:

           $fields{'lfilename'} = "issue5.ltr";
           $fields{'filename'} = "subscribe.mbz";
           $fields{'subject'}="BigNoseBird.Com Newsletter Issue #5";

       Remember to place that \ (backslash before the @ sign) and
       of course, place the correct information for each item above.

   3.) Now that we have tricked the script into having things run
       from the command line, unix users type: 

                      chmod 700

   4.) To actually get things running:

       Windows users, just type:

       Unix users, you will probably have to type: ./
       To protect your script from being cancelled due to a lost
       connection, you can type:

             nohup ./ &

       You will be able to find any error messages, or hopefully
       the namelist going by in a file called "nohup.out".

To date, I have not either experienced or heard of any capacity
problems with BNBFORM, BNB Virtual Cards, BIRDCAST, or the BNBBOOK
scripts. Since all of these use e-mail, hosts that limit e-mail
on a time period basis would be inflicting the limitation- not
the script. In the case of the Virtual Card script, your disk
space quota might become an issue.

                           Y2K UPDATE

Well gang, less than 90 days until the big rolling of the time
odometer. I have rechecked the scripts and still haven't found
any Y2K problems with them. For more information and our full
disclaimer of responsibility, visit

                        FTP SERVER UPDATE

Back in August there was a security update on wu-ftp which is the
standard ftp server that comes with most, if not all Linux distributions.
When I returned to work, I noticed that I could not access any of
my servers via FTP. I got an e-mail one day from a reader having a
similar problem.  I did some quick reading at the resource center
at found a patch applied it guess
what? No luck. I gave my friend John over at Vastnet.Net a call and
he introduced me to ProFTPD. This server is very stable and doesn't
have the same problems as wu-ftp. Installation was a snap.  If you 
are having similar problems, check out 
for more information.

                         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.

<A HREF=""> The 100% Free
Webmaster's Resource Site!</A>

                          REALLYBIG NETWORK

Looking for cool stuff and information for your sites? The 
REALLYBIG network consists of:               Over 3000 Web Master Resources            JavaScript & DHTML Resource                Over 1000 Searchable Fonts           Thousands of Clip-Art Images             Yours truly!

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

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