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|      Everything You Need to Create and Maintain Great Websites       |
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|  December 19, 1999                                         Issue #6  |
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                             GREETINGS!

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

                 **----------------------------**
                         HOLIDAY GREETINGS

Christine and I hope that this finds everyone enjoying a safe, healthy,
and happy holiday season.  From our families to yours, please accept
our wishes for a great and hopefully uneventful New Years!


                 **----------------------------**
                       SCRIPT SECURITY ALERT

I tightened up the handling of the filebase variable. There is a 
potential (as in I couldn't do it) security problem that has been
fixed. You can get a new copy of the script at:

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

A great way to prevent most script security problems is by checking
the HTTP_REFERER environment variable. BNB scripts use an array
called @okaydomains that you can list valid calling domains. This
is a great way to prevent people from altering your forms and the
then hitting the SUBMIT button.


                 **----------------------------**
                     CREATING TEXT OVER IMAGES

Some folks have been asking how to go about modifying the card script,
or scripts in general to allow text to be laid on top of graphics. The
truth is that it is rather difficult and involves special libraries
and lots of programming. (see Programming Web Graphics with Perl and
GNU Software by Shawn P. Wallace, O'Reilly for great info!) There are
also some licensing issues regarding GIF files and Unisys- see
http://burnallgifs.org/ for more information.

There is a simple cheat for pulling a close enough trick off. The 
idea is to create a table, where the BACKGROUND image for a TD cell
is your graphic. You can then do whatever you want on top of that.
Be sure to make the WIDTH and HEIGHT of the TD cell the same as the
actual dimensions of the graphic. If you don't you can get some
strange tiling effects depending on which browser looks at it.

Here is a simple example:

   <TABLE>
    <TR>
     <TD WIDTH=200 HEIGHT=200 BACKGROUND="image.gif">
      <CENTER>here is some text!</CENTER>
     </TD>
    </TR>
   </TABLE>


                 **----------------------------**
                      Y2K or ITS ALMOST OVER!

I don't know about you, but I have about had it with Y2K. For some
reason, relatives and friends seem to think that I know what is going
to happen- or not happen. Arghhhh....

Anyway, I live on Long Island (the fish looking thing east of New
York City) which is prone to these nasty things called Nor'Easters.
No, its not some sort of logical operation on a holiday. It is sort
of like a frozen hurricane. In otherwords, it causes things like
blackouts and generally being trapped at home.

Look at it this way, it can't hurt to always have a week or so's
food and some kerosene lamps around. 

If your systems are not yet Y2K compliant, the odds are they are
not going to become suddenly so. A couple of days before New Year's
Eve, I recommend that you completely download the contents of your
site(s) to your PC, then copy them to removable media such as Jaz
or Zip disks.

The reason I recommend not waiting until the last moment, is that
lots of other people will have the same brilliant idea, and that 
alone could drag the Internet to its knees. It won't need any help
from Y2K bugs.

About all I have run into in terms of a Y2K bug at BNB was in the
BBS Script. It is fixed, we do not distribute it, so I'm comfy with
things.

If by chance we get blasted back into the Stone Age, I always thought
that Fred Flinstone was happier and more balanced than George Jetson
ever was. Yabadabadoo...


                 **----------------------------**
                       STRANGER THAN Y2K

There are two things that have caught my interest lately that make
me sort of wonder about the world. Linux related stock prices and
business model patents.

As far as Linux stock prices go, well, all I can say is that the 
world has a pretty darn good supply of 'next biggest idiots'. That's
an old term for people that get left holding the bag at the end
of something like a Pyramid Scheme. Somebody is making it big- and
therefore somebody must be losing big. Remember 'irrational 
exhuberance'? I wonder what on Earth Alan Greenspan would call
this. 

So what a lot of us have been using for years, Wall Street just 
discovered. I don't think they fully understand it, but they know
about it.  BNB works extensively with Linux based solutions, so....

We can only hope that the people doing the real development work are
not turned off by all of this. It is quite possible that if Linux
beats Microsoft in the server market, that there could be thousands
of people willing to help them once they become the underdog!

Did you hear about Amazon getting an injunction against Barns and
Nobles for infringing on their patent regarding "One Click Purchase"?
It's sort of like saying you invented express checkout. You know,
like auto rental outfits and hotels have been doing for years...
Don't get me wrong, businesses and individuals must be able to
protect their intellectual property, but some things need to be
generalized.

Oh well, if making money selling books, etc. is not profitable,
maybe litigation can pan out for them.


                 **----------------------------**
                           NEW MATERIAL

Based on some of the questions I have been getting on secure servers
(SSL not security per se), you will find some new and basic Q&A's
on Secure Servers at http://bignosebird.com/ssl.shtml

I have also been putting together what I refer to as Bruce's Notebook.
Even though BNB is sort of like one big happy notebook, this section
will deal with nonsense like using perl with MYSQL, installing ProFtpd,
using MYSQL HTTP authentication with Apache, etc... Even my most 
favorite watering holes. It is still very rough, but for a sneak peek,
http://bignosebird.com/notebook.shtml


                 **----------------------------**
                         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="http://bignosebird.com">Bignosebird.com: The 100% Free
Webmaster's Resource Site!</A>


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

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

    http://reallybig.com/               Over 3000 Web Master Resources
    http://dynamicdrive.com/            JavaScript & DHTML Resource
    http://fontpool.com/                Over 1000 Searcheable Fonts
    http://graphxkingdom.com/           Thousands of Clip-Art Images
    http://bignosebird.com/             Yours truly!

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


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