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Everything posted by surefire

  1. I say 'long time member' but I know there are lots of TCH members that have been around here longer. I guess I made the switch about a year and a half ago to TCH. I've just had my best year ever and working for myself has been a huge joy for me and my family. So I'm taking a minute to say 'Thank you' to TCH for your excellent services and support. Your dependable service has given me a platform to launch many businesses, many websites for clients, and profit handsomely. I can't tell you how helpful it's been to have TCH as my silent partner. Your support and uptime have given me the freedom to focus on building my business and fine tuning my programming skills to a razor sharp edge. Before you, I would frequently spend time tracking down issues, trying to figure out why I couldn't do so many of the things that necessary to install free programs found on the web. Anyone who came to TCH first and hasn't experience the dark side of web hosting through enrollment in the school of hard knocks... you don't know what a difference it is... you're spoiled. I have a goal for next year of spending over $1000 per month with you. If I can reach that goal, then my business grew the way I expect. To all the folks that offer free help and advise to other TCH members, thank you for your efforts. Bill, I hope this year has been good for you too. Thank you for putting TCH together and making it all possible. Happy holidays to all of you and I wish you a super prosperous 2005.
  2. Lisa, I'd love to know what I could do to make the script I authored (Ultimate Form Mail) easier to use. Any suggestions would be well received. I think that a big part of the issue is that at the request of clients, I've loaded the code with lots of bells and whistles, and the number of options in the config file can be intimidating.
  3. I have never seen a forum or family atmosphere like we have here at TCH... you can get almost any question you want answered here. In addition, you are always welcome to ask me, the author of the script, directly in the forum listed above. So far, I have never left a question unanswered.
  4. I saw your other post and replied to it. If you post your question in my forum, it's easier for me to get to it. I would love to be able to answer questions here, too... but I check my own support forum much more frequently than I check TCH.
  5. You're using an old version of the code. Some users have told me that clearing the cache for IE can be done by holding ctrl and hitting refresh... but I don't use IE.
  6. Just had to chime in and say that unless the code (Jack's formmail) has changed substantially since the last time I looked at it, then I'd stay away from it. Quite simply, it's a clone of the super popular 'Matt's formmail.pl' which has also been banned due to exploits by spammers. A good rule of thumb is that if the recipient of the email form is set up in the html code of the form and passed to the script as posted data (as it is with both these scripts mentioned) then it's insecure and can easily be used to send out spam that appears to be from your site. Some at TCH know that I have authored a mail form script, and my name is Jack, but I am NOT the author of the one referenced by kaseytraeger. Just a coincidence.
  7. Personally, I think the best way to learn is to get a great reference book, then pick a project you want to accomplish, and either weed through someone else's code line by line and try to understand how they did it... or work your way through the project line by line. But having that book is a HUGE advantage. I recommend PHP 4 Bible. Despite the fact that PHP 5 is just around the corner, the basics of the language won't change. It appears that most of the changes in version 5 are to make the language even more object oriented.
  8. One of the mods would answer this better, but with a large list, like yours, I would start thinking of outsourcing it to a third party that does nothing but manage newsletters and email lists. I am almost certain that your script would timeout after 30 seconds. But again, a mod can answer that one. If you are intent on hosting the mailing list on the server, then you are going to need to set up a script that sends out a batch and stops and then trigger the script via a cron job. You will also need some code that tells your mailer where on your list you left off.
  9. I don't use frontpage but one of my clients does, and they want to use FP to open up pages that are html intermingled with my php code. Every time she does, it screws up the carriage returns for php and destroys the code. So my questions is, How does one set up FP to open up php files so that html can be modified and the file saved and uploaded to a server without screwing up the lines of php code. Thanks.
  10. Thanks for trying, both of you. I appreciate it.
  11. I'm looking for help from anyone who has used Mozilla Thunderbird. It looks like a great replacement for Outlook but I have two issues I've tried to resolve on my own without success 1- Order of history in email threads When two people email back and forth, Outlook puts the most recent email at the top, this way you don't have to scroll down to the bottom. Thunderbird appears to do it the opposite way. Is there a way to switch this so that Thunderbird will put the most recent email at the top of the thread? 2- Calendar I went to download and install the calendar but for some reason it ended up as part of my Mozilla Firefox toolbar. My intention was to put it with Thunderbird. I've removed and reinstalled a few times to no avail... proving that insanity truly is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I'm hoping someone at TCH has experience with this. If you do, your help is appreciated.
  12. I used their form mail script a long time ago... it might have changed, but I recall that the goal of the script was to basically be an exact copy of the popular, but insecure, Matt's FormMail cgi perl script. At the time, the recipient email address (your email) was passed to the script by a hidden tag in the form. This is the main reason why Matt's FormMail can be used for spam exploits. Regardless of whose code you use, the recipient must be hardcoded into the script or it is vulnerable to hijacking. You don't want to be accused of spam and the rest of the folks on your server don't want that either. Be careful.
  13. The server must have been down... try again. It's my site. I'll be glad to help you in any way.
  14. Have you tried DadaMail? It's perl based but a very nice program. By the way, I took some time to look at the links at the bottom of your signature... excellent work.
  15. I give my clients one fee for all of the work. It's my job as a professional to understand what it is they want and to have an agreement (verbally and in writing) what the work will not cover. Once I know what the client wants, I have a very good idea of the amount of work/time involved... and I price accordingly. I tweak that price based on who the client is, my relationship with them, and the PITA factor... extra costs for clients that might become a real Pain In The #$%. But the end result is one flat fee for the work. Half up front, half on completion.
  16. I've noticed a major fluctuation in the rankings so whether it's a traditional dance, or some sort of pseudo dance... things appear to be jumping around. I'm happy that Yahoo finally scrapped Google in favor of their Inktomi investment. I rank better in Google right now, but I like that fact that there's a real competitor to drive more traffic to our sites.
  17. Not possible without forcing users to download a custom browser designed to make it difficult to steal your images. As soon as you load a page on the web, the image is downloaded to your computer. Someone with a little knowledge can easily find the image on your computer. There are a whole host of things you can do to frustrate and fool newbies.
  18. You're welcome, Deecos. Glad you like it.
  19. Ansuz, I think one of the moderators answered your question in another thread I saw that you had posted.
  20. Can you provide a link to your site?
  21. Thank you for this info. I just tested Ultimate Form Mail Script (one that many TCH members use) and it appears to be safe from this exploit.
  22. (Assume verything below is preceeded by 'In my opinion' since this is more opinion that expert advice) Description should be one sentence with your keyphrases. "Experience Key West fishing at it's very best." You mispelled Keys... which could play a BIG role in ranking! H1 tags shouldn't come second... Your H1 tag can and should be higher than the h3 tags you have. I would recommend either replacing tables with css-p (which is a major overhaul and not necessary) or using a simple style="float: right" attribute to put your main title first, but still have it positioned as is... or use a table trick that may not validate, but it puts your content in a better order ><table width="500" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tr> <td colspan="2"> </td> </tr> <tr> <td></td> <td rowspan="2">H1 stuff</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Left Stuff</td> </tr> </table> I got that trick from "Speed Up Your Site"... I don't use it myself but you might find it useful. No h2? You have lots of h3 tags, but no h2? I don't know if that's a big deal or not... but strange. Too many links? I think you have too many links on your page. You want links coming in and only a few going out. Link text Why not Finally... Have you tried AdWords... Overture? I would expect that your client could afford to pay for clicks.
  23. Jim, you're right. Although I take a little pride in not being politically correct... I certainly mean no offense.
  24. Mike, Any thoughts on why it would be a resource hog? Would this be true relative to a large Nuke based site or other similar CMS systems? Or are you comparing it to a large static site? Thx.
  25. Mambo is an open source content management system (CMS) that makes it quick and easy for content to be posted online. It runs off of a mysql database and uses php as the 'glue' between the html output and the database. This is pretty typical (Nuke, PostNuke, phpWebsite, etc. etc.). There are lots of good cms models out there and rabid fans that are committed to them. It's the size and strength of the fan base and community that drives the open source projects forward. In other words, skilled programmers contribute their efforts and code to the project so that either the core program is improved or additional add-ons (bells and whistles like forums, chatrooms, ecommerce shopping carts, and galleries). Before I give my opinion of Mambo, I'd like to quickly answer "Why am I giving an opinion and why should anyone listen?" Too many give opinions without answering these two questions. 1- I've coded a 15,000 page website that's database driven, handcoded in php, uses my own templating engine (albeit a basic one), that is a job board with some cool bells and whistles. 2- I've created a nice little bit of php code designed to be a safe alternative to Matt's perl FormMail. The code has been dowloaded several thosand times over the past few months. I'm not the alpha and omega of programming... I could name a few folks at TCH who know much more than I do... but I have taken a close look at the code behind Mambo to see what it does... and doesn't do. The reason I'm taking time to review Mambo (and risk getting flamed) is so that beginners who are just learning about cms systems can make a more informed decision. I said MORE informed because you never have all the facts and I don't pretend to present all of the information you need. I tried out Mambo with the hopes that it would enable me to do the following: Crank out production quality sites more quickly Give my clients a user interface for adding content Integrate the templates with other scripts and programs that aren't specifically designed for Mambo (invsion board, Gallery, etc.) Integrate my own templates into the system Create sites that weren't restricted to a portal-esque look Create sites that weren't handicapped when it comes to search engine positioning Create sites that are easy to navigate All in all, Mambo is an excellent CMS. It's very intuitive. Setup is simple. It practically works 'out of the box'. Strengths: User Interface Probably the strongest aspect of the Mambo system is the user interface. It's very easy to use and gives helpful hints when you try to submit a form without all the required information. Integrates my own template designs easily It's pretty darn easy to take an html page and put the Mambo engine behind it for content publishing. This can't be done via the user interface (and I've seen another system where it can be done this way)... so the beginner would have some difficulty figuring out how to do it, but on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd say the difficulty level is a 3 or 4. Flexibility of site design is fantastic This is a little repetitive since I just mentioned that I can integrate my own templates into the system... but it's imporant to note that the vast majority of Mambo sites look different. Sure, if you use the system out of the box and change very little, it's going to look like a basic Mambo site. But when you go to the forum and see the sites run off of Mambo... sites created by the members, you see every type of design under the sun. You don't have to use the Mambo navigation scheme (I suggest you don't) and so you're only limited by your imagination. By contrast (and I'm probably going to anger a few) most Nuke or PostNuke sites are clearly portal Nuke sites... not that that's bad. I'm speaking generalities so if you have a Nuke site that doesn't look like a Nuke site... don't take this as an attack. I'm talking about the majority of Nuke sites except yours. Mambo is easy, it's fast to set up, and very flexible. But it's far from perfect and I've decided to ditch Mambo for a number of reasons. I have NO desire to convince anyone to leave Mambo... but I think it's fair to point out some limitations... many of which are limitations shared by the majority of CMS systems... not just Mambo. Weaknesses Non-Mambo Content I have code that I have written, content I don't want to retype, and third party scripts that I don't want to scrap. To integrate these into Mambo isn't impossible, but it's extremely difficult. The really dissapointing thing is that the Mambo templating system (they don't call it a templating system) SHOULD be able to handle non Mambo content. All that they would have to do is replace some of the relative links in the include functions >include index2.php; to absolute links >include $mosConfig_absolute_path. "/index2.php"; How hard is that??? Why don't they do that? Dunno. But because they don't, I was faced with a choice of Scrap my content Only use Mambo coded scripts Retyped my content Hack the Mambo code Create two copies of the template and update both copies every time a change is made For example, the form mail code I've created enables me to do more than the 'Contact Us' section of the Mambo system... but I can't use it with Mambo and have it appear to be a seemless portion of my site unless I hack up the Mambo code. I've successfully hacked the Mambo code to make it do what I want... but every time a new version is released I have to re-hack the code or ignore the update. A few of the Mambo community contributors have come up with roundabout ways through the use of iframes and other workarounds to incorporate third party code and content... but these are weak patches that frequently break or display content in a strange manner. Admittedly, this is a weakness shared by almost every CMS out there (at least most of the ones that I have seen). But like I already mentioned... the Mambo code is so close to creating a template that CAN be used with third party content that it's a shame that they don't go the final step. Maybe they will eventually. Search Engine Positioning Mambo has a nice option for search engine friendly urls but to be honest, some of the urls created look strange... if not to Google and the like then to me and any visitor. It's not bad... but again, with a little extra effort, it could look like a 'real' url that most static sites create. But the real point isn't the look, but the result. I have to be careful here and emphasize MY experience so that I don't make generalizations. My experience is that the client sites that I converted to Mambo had a drop in rankings. There could be a lot of reasons for this... but my clients are more in love with revenue than they are with the Mambo user interface. So if it comes to deciding between the two, Mambo's gone. Mambo sites require extra clicks There have been entire books devoted to helping folks like you and me to create sites that make it easy for visitors to find things fast. The fewer clicks the better. If you are savvy enough to create your own navigation scheme in your Mambo system, then you have complete freedom... or more freedom... but in general, you can't just create and publish Mambo content (links, faq, news, articles, etc.) and expect that your visitors can get to them without extra clicks. Example, if you put up a section of links in the Mambo user interface... then on the Mambo generated menu on your website, you'll see 'Links'. Click that brings you to a page with several categories of links... you choose one and finally come to the page with links on it. Two clicks to get where you are going instead of one... not the best idea. If you want a quick idea of what I'm talking about, look no further than the mambo site itself... mamboserver.com. Follow the 'Links' hyperlink and you'll see what I mean. Although the organization is nice if you have fifty outbound links, how many sites need that many? How many sites have so many articles that it warrants grouping them into categories and requiring users to click one extra time?? Again, I'll say that if you don't use the Mambo generated menu then this point is irrelevant, but to avoid using the Mambo generated menu requires an intermediate level knowledge of php and html. It's not an out of the box solution and therefore slows down production time. Mambo also forces the concept of Categories onto the user in the administration section. It requires you to create categories for articles and links even if you just want to add one or two individual items. I know the CMS could be made so that the category model isn't forced on us. Random Gripes CSS-P Layout I'm finally making the switch over to css design whenever possible. Mambo mixes up structural code in many of the php pages making it all but impossible to use a css design. You'd have to do a major hack of the entire core of the Mambo code to make it work. I won't go into the pros and cons of CSS layout... I've decided to make the switch and Mambo presents an obstacle to that objective. If you like tables, you'll love Mambo. Again, smarter programming would make it very easy for Mambo to use whatever layout a user wanted... even if it required an understanding of templating systems. Documentation The documentation is basically a forum of dedicated Mambo users. I'm guilty of not creating the best documentation for my scripts, but they're also not as complex as Mambo. Member Authorization Mambo programmers have promised that in the near future, you'll be able to restrict certain portions of your Mambo site to various member groups, much in the same way that you can use the Invision Board control panel. You'll be able to assign priveleges to different groups. Currently, it's not available. Hostile forum responses I've made some of these suggestions to the Mambo forum only to get responses that range from defensive knee-jerk protection of their favorite CMS, to the standard blow off ("Why would you want that?") Certainly there are some kind and corteous Mambo forum members, but it's the proverbial bad apples that give me the impression that suggestions are rarely given more than a passing glance. It's too bad that cooler heads are sometimes drowned out by reactionaries. It's unfortunate that some suggestions aren't looked at more closesly. BTW... it's not just my suggestions that seem to be blown off. After reading through some of the posts, you definitely get a different feeling than you do at TCH. You're a little less inclined to put in your two cents. Overall.... Mambo is an excellent CMS and makes it very easy for even relative novices to bring high quality content to the web and to create good looking websites. You aren't forced to use a portal approach unless you want one. If you already use Mambo and love it, then you should continue to do so. It's a great system. If you are a beginner to novice and want to create websites quickly and easily then Mambo can save you time. Mambo is a tool for web publishing and quick and easy sites. It's a powerful tool but can't be expected to do everything. The more customization you need, the more that Mambo (and most CMS systems) will frustrate you. It's easy for me to sit back and pick at the flaws of a CMS when I don't have a better alternative to offer. But in a way, I do have a CMS that works for me. My personal decision is to go back to creating my own scripts, templating engine, and content so that I can create production quality sites faster. It leaves me with one template system for all of my content that I can change quickly. It's a snap to incorporate third party code.
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