May 3, 2005
pc world
Experts Exchange Community News
You are receiving this because you are an Experts-Exchange.com member who has opted-in to receive newsletters.
What's New at Experts Exchange
Multiple Related Select Lists

fritz_the_blank is the Page Editor for Active Server Pages. He holds the first Genius certificate awarded in the ASP topic area, owns a consulting firm in Florida, and is on the adjunct faculty of the University of Miami. Like many of EE's top Experts, he came in as a complete novice and wound up leading the parade.

One question that frequently appears in ASP Resource Channel has to do with linking multiple select lists on a web form. For example, when a user selects a particular state, the select list comprising cities would only display the relevant values for that particular state.

One approach entails using client-side JavaScript arrays (I have an article on that, too) but this approach may not work well when there are many records or when the data is dynamic. In these cases, using server-side code to control the data flow most likely is the best approach.

This article describes how to use server-side coding to populate the select lists from the database and to form a relationship among the select lists so that only the relevant data is displayed.

The full article contains all of the code you'll need, and uses the sample Access database (northwind.mdb) that Microsoft offers as part of the Office suite.

Contact fritz_the_blank: fritz_the_blank@experts-exchange.com
Notes' days may be numbered

CRAK is the Page Editor for the Lotus Notes, Domino and SmartSuite topic areas who quit his day job to do what he likes doing: programming. He now owns a small consulting company in The Hague, Netherlands.

I was pretty shocked when I read articles in a variety of sources about Microsoft aquiring Groove Networks.

Groove's founder, Ray Ozzie, is also the "inventor" of Notes. Earlier Ray -- I understand pretty much against his wishes -- got onto IBM's payroll when Notes was acquired by IBM in 1995. After taking the first hike out he founded Groove Networks and is now getting onto Microsoft's payroll.

If I think the worst of this: Microsoft has found a backdoor to Notes' replication technology; in many people's opinion the one thing that gives Notes the right to exist.

Contact CRAK: CRAK@experts-exchange.com
No more TCP raw sends?

lrmoore reached a unique milestone at EE a couple few weeks ago when he became the first member to earn two Genius certificates. In addition to being a Microsoft MVP, he is the Page Editor for Broadband and Networking.

Having wierd network issues lately that you just can't quite figure out? When Windows XP SP2 came out, it was announced that sends on TCP raw sockets were now prevented. This was pretty bad news for those of us who have legitimate reasons to scan the networks we administer to look for vulnerabilities in user PCs, i.e. NMAP, SuperScan, and so on.

It took only a short while for it to be discovered that, in XP SP2, stopping the firewall with "net stop sharedaccess" re-enabled TCP raw sends, and all was well again (if one could live without a firewall for a few minutes). But now, after MS05-019, TCP raw sends no longer work. It appears that Microsoft has silently patched XP again to suppress TCP raw sends even when the firewall is stopped.

Microsoft's official answer is sort of like "think of the greater good", "better to have a secure PC", "so what if it breaks a few tools that hackers can use just as easily as network admins", "wait for Longhorn" and on and on.

Windows 2003 SP1 causes some of the same issues. Read Microsoft's KB article here: Network connectivity between clients and servers may not work after the installation of security update MS05-019 or Windows Server 2003 Service Pack.

Contact lrmoore: lrmoore@experts-exchange.com
Extracting information from PDFs

turn123 is the first of our jack-of-all-trades Page Editors; his topic areas range from Applications to ERP and CRM.

One trick I've found in extracting information from a fixed format PDF (such as an invoice, bill, or large file) is to use a program called PdfEdit995 to extract the PDF to a fixed format HTML file. From there, it is a cinch to parse the data out of quickly and reliably with your choice of programming languages.

Using the program is almost ridiculously simple; open PDFEdit, select the format you wish to save the PDF to, and then click the Save button. PdfEdit995 is free with a popup add on each use or you can pay $9.95 to get rid of the popup ($19.95 if you want to print to PDF also). It can be found at www.pdf995.com/.

Contact turn123: turn123@experts-exchange.com
Windows 2003 Server: watch out for SP1

alimu is the Page Editor for the Microsoft networking topic areas. She says her experience is "a jumble of stuff over the last 10 years".

There have been a flood of problems in the Windows 2003 Topic Area over the last couple of weeks that seem to be related to the installation of Service Pack 1. It's been a trial by fire lesson for many members that thoroughly testing major software updates in their own environment prior to installation on production systems is something you can't afford not to do. Good work by the Experts for helping them out.

For those of you who haven't taken the leap yet, make sure you check the application compatibility guide at KB896367 and associated KnowledgeBase articles, read up about it at places like WindowsITPro and do lots of testing. If you're running SBS 2003, wait for the SBS 2003 specific Service Pack, yet to be released.

I'd like to thank the members in the IIS topic area that jumped in and assisted in questions when I asked for help. I really appreciate it and the askers got better answers thanks to your contributions.

Contact alimu: alimu@experts-exchange.com
More News and Notes
Tip for New Members: Answering your first question

A lot of our tips have focussed on getting answers to your questions, but there is a whole other side to Experts Exchange that really keeps the site going -- and that's the people who answer questions. But those lofty point totals can be a little intimidating.

It really isn't all that bad. To start with, pick a topic area where you know you actually know something -- it can be the New Internet Users or Desktops or any TA where you might be able to help someone. Read the list of open questions, and select one. Read through the question and the responses thoroughly, and if you have something to contribute, then type in your suggestion and click the submit button -- it's that simple.

There are a couple of Do's and Don'ts. Don't criticize someone else for the suggestion he or she makes -- it's okay to criticize the suggestion, but don't make it personal. Avoid repeating something someone else has said; if your comment isn't going to add anything, then move on to the next question. And finally, smile; people always appreciate a friendly suggestion more than they do one that makes them feel like they should box up their computer and get out the chalkboard.

From MHenry, Macromedia Page Editor
Adobe Vs. Macromedia - Top 10: Surely everyone has heard that Adobe will be buying Macromedia. The real question is, what is this brute going to look like when all the dust settles. Adobe, sit up straight and pay attention, here's my wish list.
  1. Please don't get rid of FreeHand. I love this program. Everything about it is sexy: Multiple pages, no switching between direct select and the arrow tool -- trust me, this program is the Swiss Army Knife of vector illustration. The only justificatin for using Illustrator over FreeHand is that most printers don't know what the heck to do with a FreeHand file.
  2. If you are going to dump Fireworks, at least incorporate some of the tools into Photoshop. Wouldn't it be great to have the gradient control of Fireworks in Photoshop? Or the vector tools?
  3. Let Macromedia use the tabbed panels. Remember when Adobe sued Macromedia to prevent them from using their interface? Hopefully, we can get rid of the God-awful interface that MX+ users are faced with.
  4. Get rid of all the garbage that Macromedia spewed out this last year or so: FlashPaper? Contribute? Captivate? Flex? Who cares? Apparently, Macromedia thinks all us freelancers are a bottomless pit of money. Incorporate these tools into Flash and Dreamweaver the way you should have in the first place or get rid of them.
  5. Quit pricing upgrades differently. I don't care if I have version 1.0, quit charging me like I never bought anything from you. Let me upgrade if you are offering an upgrade! Hey Adobe, want to make some quick money? Let users of Director 8.0 and prior upgrade. Now that Director supports DVD, there's a legitimate reason for some of us to buy the newest version.
  6. Upgrade Fontographer and quit charging so much for Adobe fonts. You'll be making plenty of money now, so cut us a break!
  7. It's Dreamweaver, ok? Not GoLive. Don't even think about it. We all switched to Dreamweaver because it didn't muck with our code. Of course, in MX2004 we now get stuff like ">!--DWLayoutEmptyCell--> " in blank cells. Hmmm, wonder if Pagemill is still around?
  8. Not every program is worth $400 or more. Sure, Acrobat Professional is a nice program but it doesn't do anything! You can't even create a PDF from scratch using it. It's a plugin, nothing more. Price it accordingly.
  9. Please don't get rid of FreeHand.(see #1)
  10. More complete manuals with purchase. I hate buying "studio" versions. You get this scrawny little book that doesn't cover half the features. If you want to encourage me to buy the studio, then give me all the manuals. At least in PDF format.
Ok, so it was more of a rant than a wish list. The truth is, I'm hopeful that this merger will bring good things to the community. I really do hope that Adobe will incorporate some of the more useful Macromedia tools. I wish that Adobe will be able to build quality apps with a smaller footprint. I hope that Macromedia's innovation and Adobe's quality will combine to build apps that are superior to what we have today.

And I wish I would have bought Macromedia stock a couple of weeks before the news broke!

Contact MHenry: MHenry@experts-exchange.com

COBOLdinosaur on being a Page Editor

I am hoping this article will help members uderstand a little about the Page Editor's role and motivation. It is just one view of PEs, and other Editors might write the article differently. The reason is that we are relatively independent and centered on out own topics rather than site wide issues.

Why do we have Page Editors and why would an Expert want to be one? The first WHY is easy. Most issues start in TAs. Most are locally resovable if the folks doing the resolution understand the topic and have the tools to do local QA, moderation, and thread managment. The second WHY is more complex, and you will get different answers from different PEs, just as you get different answers to the same question put to Experts. For me, there are three reasons. First, it is an extension of what I already do as an Expert: help members get good solutions. Second, it gives me the tools and authority to have a direct hand in improving the quality going into the PAQ. Finally, it puts me in a position where I can help in the education of new Experts, who may have the technical skills, but need help learning the communication and presentation skills to that will make them successful.

It seems sometimes that members confuse the role of PEs and Moderators. There are some similarities. We have very similar tools that allow us to manage threads; we have the ability to post admin comments; we can post member comments; we have access to some private areas of the site. However, the roles are very different. The Moderators have responsibilty for site-wide enforcement of the MA. Editors can operate site wide but are assigned to one or more local topics where they frequently are also a ranked expert. If they see an MA violation, they may respond with a warning if it is minor but more frequently they simply pass it on to the Moderators after taking some remedial action, such a posting a warning. The PEs are not policemen, and we don't want to be. We operate using our normal expert ID because we are first of all active Experts; we just happen to have some tools that let us do a little more -- AS EXPERTS.

Our reason for being is to improve the EE experience for both users and Experts. That means focusing on PAQ quality and education. The ultimate goal is a PAQ in which every solution is perfect and usable by Googlers looking for the quick answer. To get that, threads have to be managed. Users have to be guided, and Experts (especially newbies) need to be educated.

So how can you help? As a user you can be patient and let Experts give you the best possible solution. Don't just jump on the first partial solution; insist on quality, complete solutions when it is appropriate. On the other hand do not have unreasonable expectations. Sometimes the answer is "no" or "you can't do that". When an Editor indicates you have an anwer, close out the question and move on. If you are not sure about a solution, ask the PE.

As an Expert, expect to see poor quality comments deleted. The PEs are going to be pursuing quality much more agressively, and trash is just going to be taken out. Take the time to produce good solid comments that address the question. If someone jumps in ahead with a fast response that isn't worth its electrons, you will be protected because trash comments will be deleted. In the Javascript topic the top-experts are working with me to improve quality through a set of guidelines we have developed. They are posted at http://cd-eepages.fateback.com/cdeejsgl.html.

We are hoping that these quality-oriented guidelines will become a model for site-wide guidelines as once again the Web related topics take the lead in making EE a better site.

If you want to help improve your TA talk to your PEs; get to know the other Experts in your TAs and most important, learn to work as a team, so we get the best possible PAQs.

Contact COBOLdinosaur: coboldinosaur@experts-exchange.com

To unsubscribe from this Newsletter, click here (you must be logged in) or send an email.
Nata's Corner: Lots from the mailbag... er... inbox

woman in specticalsThanks to all of you who wrote in after the last issue telling me about your experiences contacting the White House. I especially liked the one from the gentleman in British Columbia who said that ever since he sent a message, "an outfit called Cyveillance (www.cyveillance.com?), located just outside DC in Virginia, sends its robots through my website every month." Apparently, there are some people who aren't so happy that they get visits like that. Of course, stopping them isn't that difficult.

I also got an email pointing out that Microsoft does have a service to update you about new patches and such, which is true, but that wasn't the point of my item. My point was that Microsoft doesn't send anyone an email about the updates -- it uses services built into its operating system and products.

Special note to Jerry: I'm not a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association and I don't own nata.com either. This is the only site I visit regularly.

On to what's new: Spamhaus, the anti-spam group, actually had some nice things to say about Microsoft, and it blames ISPs who pay lip service to spam gangs who use botnets to send spam. According to Spamhaus, most of the spam comes from hijacked computers -- as many as 100,000 each week -- in the United States.

It's time to bookmark Google, too. f-secure.com reported last week that a minor typo -- hitting the K key just before hitting the L key when you're trying to get to Google -- will send you to a site that downloads dozens of trojans on to your computer. I know I shouldn't say this, because some of you won't listen -- but do NOT go to the website that f-secure tells you not to go to.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer filed suit against ISP Intermix last week, saying that Intermix was secretly installing sypware on its customers computers, and c|net has removed 600 programs from its download.com that do the same thing. It's about time.

Finally, Sophos reported last week about a man who was arrested for sending a worm to a teenaged girl's computer and then spying on her through her own webcame. Sunday, Toshiba's UK lab announced a breakthrough in voice and video files streamed over the net that could make them untappable and ultra-secure. The technology is not yet commercially available.

The Premium Services include a number of features not available to "limited" members. Among them:
> Unlimited question points
> VIP Search
> Bookmarks
> Quick Links
> Collapsible menu
> No ads
You can purchase Premium Services on a month-to-month, semi-annual or annual basis, and take full advantage of all that Experts Exchange has to offer!
Inside the numbers
ameba, one of EE's prominent Experts, provides us with a list of newly earned Certificates. His list of all of the Certified Experts is located at his site. The list below covers the period from April 17 through May 1.
Expert Certified in Topic Area
dannywareham Jokra_the_Barbarian Billystyx Bat17 puppydogbuddy cwood-wm-com PaulHews shijusn fanpages gecko_au2003 cb1393 jrram ajaikumarr rafrancisco JesterToo auke_t harleyjd rllibby mikelittlewood vadim_ti pseudocyber rindi ruddg Chris-Dent Sage Guru Guru Guru Master Master Sage Master Master Master Master Master Master Guru Master Master Master Sage Master Master Wizard Master Master Master MS Access MS Access MS Access MS Access MS Access MS Access Visual Basic Visual Basic Visual Basic Visual Basic ASP ASP ASP Microsoft SQL Microsoft SQL Microsoft SQL Windows 2000 Delphi Delphi Delphi Networking Networking Networking Networking
Expert Certified in Topic Area
puranik_p Rejojohny Watzman samccarthy vinhnl novitiate ColinRoyds tusharashah ayha1999 brettdj ShaneDevenshire rdivilbiss bloodredsun AlexFM InteractiveMind SCDMETA heintalus wayside Fatal_Exception corneliup meintsi Squinky alextr2003fr inq123 Master Master Master Master Master Master Guru Wizard Master Genius Guru Guru Master Guru Master Master Master Master Guru Master Guru Sage Master Master .NET .NET Hardware Hardware C# C++ Exchange_Server ASP.NET ASP.NET Excel Excel Web Development Web Development Programming Programming Programming VB.NET MFC Win Server 2003 Win Server 2003 Outlook PHP PHP PHP
Expert Certified in Topic Area
virmaior SplinterCell5894 virmaior JesterToo leew zzzzzooc BriCrowe grg99 sjef_bosman turn123 Batalf Roonaan Roonaan bloodredsun TonyJollans PeteLong Tintin kneH ahoffmann Bembi hhammash LeeTutor lesouef Master Master Master Master Guru Master Master Guru Wizard Guru Guru Master Master Guru Master Master Master Master Guru Master Wizard Master Guru PHP Microsoft Network Mysql Mysql Storage VB Controls Crystal Reports C Lotus Notes/Domino Applications HTML HTML PHP and Databases JSP Word Security Solaris Miscellaneous Unix Prog. Firewalls FrontPage Windows 95 FileMaker
1387 experts have 2205 certifications: Genius:37 Sage:105 Wizard:138 Guru:386 Master:1539
Copyright  2005. All rights reserved.