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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Page Translation - Language

Have you tried adding translation to your web sites?I added it to my blog a few days ago (it's on the nav bar to the right) and am really impressed with the results. Since I know Dutch, I tried that first and it looks like it does a nice job of getting the translation close enough to read and understand. I have a few web customers that may be able to benefit from this as well.Please test it on my blog and let me know how it works in various languages.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

(Washington) WA Sales Tax Rate Lookup URL Interface - XML - ServerHTTPRequest

Since I have several customers with online stores in Washington State, I need to update their shopping cart checkout procedure to reflect a new rate collection rule that went into effect on July 1, 2008. The rule stipulates that Washington businesses must now collect and report sales taxes based on the delivery address of the buyer. This replaces the old method of calculating sales tax based on the location of the seller.There are over 400 taxing jurisdictions each with their own code and rate. There is no practical way of figuring out which district a customer is in because any given city or county may have several different rates depending on the exact location of the buyer. People, like me, that perform work at customer sites have had to use a lookup tool on the state web site to find out which code to use for each customer because we've always been required to report based on where the work is performed. This, of course won't work on-the-fly for a web store checkout. Our Department...

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hosting or Hosing - Superpages - Verizon - Idearc

Businesses needing a web site have lots of choices. Many are drawn to package deals involving yellow pages and their online counterparts. In my experience, most small companies would be better off keeping their phone book advertising and their web sites separate. For small companies, a local web design and development company is the best alternative.Recently, I started working with a client that chose to bundle his small business web site with his Superpages (aka Verizon, Idearc, iCare) contract. He has not been happy with the results and now wants to move his web site from Superpages to my server. He told me that he almost never gets a contact from anyone who found him through his web site. Also, the web site itself has lots of problems with broken links, images not scaled and a rather large 'Superpages' promo logo at the bottom of the each page that sort of hangs off to the right and moves with the browser size. In other words, he's not getting good value.We decided on a plan; move...

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Deluxe Checks - web stores - annoyances - deception

I started to place a check re-order this morning thru my US Bank Online account. They re-directed me to Deluxe Corp. via a private label portal. Since I've done this a few times before, I expected that the process would take about 5 minutes or less. The first screen showed my sample check with the correct starting number etc. The only problem was the default quantity; '1 Box'. Most of us know that a ream is 500 but don't know how many checks are in a box. Since I use checks individually and not by the box I thought that might be useful information. After about 15 minutes of searching their web site, going thru to the last step of the order and going back thru the US Bank site, I found no quantity other than 'box'. I decided to call the 'help' number to find out. When the lady asked me what I needed, I said I'd like to order a 'case' of checks. She said how many is that? I said, I don't know but it's more than a box. After about 5 minutes of toying with her, I noted that her first question...

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

query hackers - htaccess - Helicon - ISAPI - rewrite - Google

For several weeks now, I've been detecting hack attempts involving appending urls to my query strings. So instead of my actual query of 'Contact' or 'Item1' etc. I get someone’s link to a site that they have already compromised. Here are a few examples: http://honamfishing.co.kr/phpmysqladmin/libraries/oduzov/nel... http://sans-packing.ru/img/jipeqap/ehudute/ http://sahel55.com/articles/omaduro/kimumid/ http://www.psikolojikyardim.org/etkinlik/include/eto/nixaz/ http://www.pattibus.it/phplib-7.2b/pages/ilosi/dohigal/I found a few suggestions on how to block these but the best ones were all for Apache servers using .htaccess but I'm using MS Internet Information Server which doesn't have this feature. IIS uses ISAPI filters to work on incoming requests and one of them, URLSCAN, is customizable. So I tried blocking these types of queries with URLSCAN but that didn't work. Yesterday I found a solution that is working. I downloaded the free version of ISAPI_Rewrite from Helicon...

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Monday, March 03, 2008

submit form onload - auto submit - java - ASP - PayPal

Over the years I've tried various ways to get forms to 'autosubmit', or submit when the page is loaded. Some version of '<body onLoad=Javascript:Form.form1.submit()>' may work but I haven't had success with it.The solution I found today was two simple steps:1. <body onload='MyForm.MySubmitButtonName.focus()';>2. <input name=MySubmitButtonName type=text value=. onfocus=javascript:submit(MyForm);>I put step 1 anywhere near the top of the page and step 2 at the end of the form i.e.<body onload='MyForm.MySubmitButtonName.focus()';><form name='MyForm' action='http://www.somewhere.com' method='post'><input type=hidden name=Variable1 value=100><input type=hidden name=Variable2 value=200><input name=MySubmitButtonName type=text value= onfocus=javascript:submit(MyForm);></form>Notes: 'MyForm' can be any name but be sure to replace it in all instances. The 'submit' button isn't really a 'submit' button, any input type will do.I'm using this...

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Missing cursor with Firefox

I had a new web site that was working just fine except for a seach box in my left navigation panel. Using Firefox there was no cursor showing in the text input box. The box accepted input, it just wasn't showing a cursor. Using Internet Explorer it was working just fine.I found thru a web search relating to this problem, that it was being called a Firefox bug and there were several posts recommending changing the 'overflow:' property on the enclosing 'div' or add a 'div' around the input box with 'overflow: auto;'. I tried 4 or 5 of the recommendations with no success. For me the correct solution was the following:All 'divs' need to be used in the order of their 'z-index'. So, if you look at a view of your page source, the first 'div' you see must have the lowest 'z-index' and so on until the last 'div' with the highest 'z-index'. It matters not whether they are nested or stacked or if they overlap.Kind of an odd fix but I'm happy to have it working.  

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Friday, December 21, 2007

ASP - Serial Date - Cdate() - Function

The information and code available on the subject of converting dates to serial or Julian is very limited. After some research and tinkering, I made a Function for my use that simplifies conversions. The code is very flexible and easily modified for other purposes. I'm using it to save dates to a database and then convert them back as needed.-------------------------Function cvtDateSerial(D1,V1)  x1=Cdate(D1)  x2=x1-Cdate(1/1/1900)+2    if V1=1 then x2=Clng(x2)    'remove hours,min,sec  cvtDateSerial=x2End Function Function cvtSerialDate(D1,V1)  x1=Cdate(D1)  x2=Cdate(Clng(D1))    'remove hours,min,sec    if V1=0 then cvtSerialDate=x1    if V1=1 then cvtSerialDate=x2    if V1=2 then cvtSerialDate=FormatDateTime(x2,2)    if V1=3 then cvtSerialDate=month(x2) & / & day(x2)    if V1=4 then cvtSerialDate=month(x2) & / & day(x2) &...

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Monday, December 17, 2007

CSS - Firefox - IE - Compatibility

Browser compatiblity is a frustration many web designers and developers deal with on a daily basis. I've found that most of the problems can be solved by testing your pages with the W3C CSS Validator at http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/. Various browsers do attempt to implement standard style sheets and often it's a programming error that makes the pages mis-behave. There are a few things that I've found just won't work - even with perfect coding; transparent png's in IE 6, custom scrollbars in Firefox among them. Dealing with the few problems is much easier once the basic code is tested and working. Let me know what you think of the 'validator'. Did it help you?

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Friday, August 31, 2007

ASP - Image Manipulation - Chestysoft - csImageFile

Google Gadgets attracted my interest a few days ago and I started working on a gadget for myself and for a couple of clients. I needed to create a dynamic image by looking it up in a database and adding text to it on the fly. For this, I use a product that I bought a couple of years ago from Chestysoft. They call it csImageFile and it has many tools for manipulating images on the server before displaying them on a web page. You can scale, rotate, brighten, sharpen, draw on them, merge them, add text (any font on the server) and much more. Even though their documentation is quite good, I've asked for help a couple of times via e-mails with Simon Chester the owner. He's been very helpful and I've always gotten the desired results.

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Java - Overlib - Erik Bosrup

I've been using this java package for a couple of years now and it's a great solution for customized pop-up help boxes, images and links. Hover here to see it in action. You can change many parameters that control the size, color, position, fonts etc. I needed to make some changes to an existing web site and was reminded of how useful and well documented this utility is. Check out Erik Bosrup's website for more information.

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Google Ad Sense

I signed up for a Google AdSense account a few weeks ago and was testing it on several web sites (this is the program that pays you when users click links fed to your site by Google AdWords). Last week they sent me an e-mail saying my account had been closed due to illegal clicks. Since their tracking methods are a closely guarded secret, they wouldn't say what was wrong or how they made their determination. I used their appeal process and asked them to reconsider. They re-opened my account and I did notice that one of my end users had a couple of days with an extraordinarily high percentage of click-throughs. I think that he may have been using the displayed ads to check out the competition not realizing that this was costing the advertisers money and putting his participation in the program in jeopardy. I contacted my client and explained the rules so this won't happen again. So far the return on this program for my clients is averaging pennies a day but I'm going to keep it running...

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Web - Video - capture - ASP

I'm working on uploading a DVD to a client's web site. I want to use the same menus as the original DVD. Using Windows Media player and 'alt/print screen' worked ok but WMP was freezing every few seconds. I decided to try CyberLink PowerDVD - it played the DVD smoothly and has a nice screen capture tool. I chose capture at original size to clipboard and then pasted the clipboard in PhotoShop - uploaded the entire 'frame' to the web - used transparent gif layered over the image to make the links to submenus and from there to the actual video clips (code sample: demo_video_nav.asp.  I'm using embedded WMP (code sample: play_video.asp) to start the player after the user clicks the link.

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