Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Night’s Afterparty/Bar Video Game - SSX Tricky

Seeing as half of the country is under a mountain of snow, I figured that the SSX Tricky is a perfect fit for this week's Afterparty/Bar game. While all of the SSX games have their positive and negative points, I consider Tricky to be the classic of the series. Available on PS2, XBox, GameCube, and GameBoy Advance, SSX Tricky takes the original SSX title and bring to a new level. The addition of crazy, unbelievable tricks (Uber tricks before Tricky's sequels would disparagingly rename it Monster tricks), on a speedy course makes the game both entertaining and challenging. On top of that, classic music selections (the game's name comes from the Run D.M.C. song, "It's Tricky", which plays whenever the player lands an Uber trick) that change based on the circumstance of the course, makes this a perfect post-party, probably alcohol enhanced, game.

SSX Tricky took some of the fun of the first game and added not only the Uber tricks but the rivalry mode where you could push down opponents during the course. Before SSX 3 tried to turn it into Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and before the Wii version made doing tricks nearly impossible, this was the quintessential snowboarding game and my recommendation. If you don't have it, before getting ready to head out, make a quick pit stop at GameStop, it is probably dirt cheap.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Geeky Round-Up: 1/25-1/29/10

I decided to start a weekly post on all the geeky happenings that went on during this past week in case you were entombed somewhere and couldn't get to the Internet until today. And this was your first stop, since it should be your first stop after being entombed. Let's get started...

Apple iPad Bringing New Technology to the Maxi Max
I heard a rumor that Apple made the news this week, I am not sure. If they did, it has gotten like NO press. After some further research, they announced their anticipated iPad. While I personally am on the fence, I do see both its potential and its shortcomings. Twitter, Facebook, all social media outlets, all news media outlets, and the Web as a whole have gone iPad crazy. In less than five minutes I was able to find the insane fanboys who are willing to sign over their mortgage to Apple and buy out every iPad in sight and the complainers who are just listing every possible fault. Let's see, what is wrong with it: no T-Mobile; no widescreen; no Flash support; no USB; no camera; no multitasking. What's right with it: it's pretty cool.

Apple's 8 minute talk about iPad. And in case you are wondering, the guys that work at Apple think it is going to be the best...SHOCKING!

AT&T seems to think it is going to fly off the shelves since they have been telling everyone under the sun how they are planning to upgrade their network for its release.

To me, I think that it looks like an iPhone on steroids. It does have potential but I am not sure it is going to ever be able to take off as a productivity tool for real business use. It will be a cool way for teenagers to get on Facebook at lunchtime though.

Two classic Activision Games go DRM-Free on
Activision released two of their classic PC games, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magic Obscura and Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers as DRM-free downloads through Good Old Games - Both games are $5.99 each. Now, if they would release Pitfall, I would be all over it. Pitfall would be sweet in HD, with surround sound, and the ability to take video of me playing Pitfall through my Webcam. Activision and, make it happen.

Look Titanic, I’m really happy for you. Imma Let you finish. But Avatar is the highest-grossing movie of all time
Apparently, I am the only person on this earth who has not seen Avatar since it is now the highest-grossing movie of all time pulling in 1.86 billion dollars and counting. Since I haven't seen it I can really only comment on things I have read and from the previews. That being said, apparently there are fanboys who are contemplating suicide because life in the Avatar world is so much better than real life, and the big blue thing is supposed to look cool in 3-D. Not really sure that is worth 1.86 billion, but what do I know?

Virtual Console Game Released this Week: Ghoul Patrol
Eh. It was an ok game for the Super Nintendo. Not sure I would lay out the 800 points for it. Quick synopsis, it was a sequel to a superior SNES game "Zombies Ate My Neighbors". If you don't have ZAMN, spend your 800 points on that way before you go for Ghoul Patrol. If you want to get its less interesting, less fun, worst gameplay, but still ok game with good graphics and sound, sequel, then Ghoul Patrol it is.

Site News: I added stuff
I finally got around to putting the About page up. I also removed some of the follow me on Twitter logos and just created a page to house all that information. If you want to follow the clown on Twitter, RSS, Facebook, or e-mail, click here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Weekly Maintenance To Keep Your PC Running Like New

Computer users need to think of their computer like it was their car. Users have no trouble going every three months for an oil change and performing other routine maintenance. After long term use, a PC will start to show signs of fragmentation and corruption. An eventual format and reloading is inevitable if you don't take care of your machine. And, when it comes to PC maintenance, the sooner the better.

You need to start out by being realistic with yourself and set aside at least a half-hour each week just to run diagnostics, etc. on your machine to keep it running smoothly. If you have had the machine for some time and have not been keeping up with it, the first few times you follow these steps, set aside more time.

Let's start simple.

Before we do anything, you may want to save a system restore point so if anything goes wrong, you can put your computer back to where it was at before you ran any utilities.
-- Windows XP can learn how to save a restore point here.
-- Windows Vista & Windows 7 can learn how to save a restore point here.

- Remove any programs that you don't use. Every program that is loaded on the machine uses system resources in one way or another. And, some of the software you do use, may install other software during the installation. This would be a good time to train yourself to read the messages during an installation. Often times, it will ask you (with the box checked of course) if you would like to load some other software package. Just read the instructions and realize, it is ok to say no to certain software being loaded.

- Update Windows. Unfortunately, it isn't a secret that Windows Operating Systems are the most attacked by malicious software (while doing my best to bite my tongue on my opinion of the reasoning of this, we will just move on). For that reason, Microsoft is forced to constantly update Windows with new security patches, etc. You should have 'Update Windows' to automatically update when a new update is available. However, if you don't, you should take time at least once a week to make sure you are up-to-date. Generally, you do this simply by clicking 'Start' or the Microsoft logo and choose 'All Programs' and then 'Windows Update'.

- If you removed a great deal of software or have loads of Windows updates, reboot your machine.

Next, let's take a look at the registry. The registry is one area that will slow a machine down greatly. Not because there is anything wrong with the machine's hardware but with Windows itself. Removing old registry items will help to keep your machine running at its peak performance.

NOTE: We are about to make changes to the registry. It would be in your best interest to backup the registry before running utilities on it. You can learn how to back it up here.

- Download and install iObit Advanced System Care. You can download it for free here:here. Once installed, run it. Click 'Maintain Windows' and then 'Scan'.

Don't be surprised if you see a lot of things that need to be fixed. Especially if you have never run a scan like this before and you have had the machine for some time (registry's can get real fragmented). Click 'Repair' and fix the issues.

- Download and install CCCleaner (download here). This is a nice little tool to remove cached data. Also has a registry cleaner to pick up anything that Advanced System Care may have missed. Word of warning, it does want to install a Yahoo! toolbar during the install. NOTE: This will want to remove a lot of temporary files so, for example, if you only remember how to log into your e-mail because Hotmail remembers you, you may want to skip this part and just use the registry cleaner. That being said, that is a HORRIBLE security practice and you shouldn't do it to keep yourself safe.

- Run a virus scan. I use AVG Free (download here) but whatever anti-virus you use will be fine. Remember to update the definitions before you run the scan. Anti-virus software is useless if you don't keep it updated, kind of like your refrigerator is worthless if you never go shopping.

- Run Anti-Malware/Anti-Spyware/Anti-Adware scans. There are a TON of programs out that run these kinds of scans. I use these two. While they all claim to do essentially the same thing, I have found that these together give a nice blanket of protection.
Malwarebytes - Anti-Malware (download here): Malware is simply short for malicious software and Malwarebytes is one of the best and finding it and removing it.
Ad-Aware Free Anti-Malware (download here): The grandfather of anti-malware and anti-adware. It still holds up as a good software tool. The only downside is it is now enormous, almost 90 megs, ugh.

- Defrag your hard drive. Windows comes with a disk defragmenter. Basically when you add or remove files, it leaves little fragments on your drive. Run defragmenter will boost your drive's performance. The one that comes free with Windows is located at 'Start'/Microsoft logo, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools. What I use is a program called 'Smart Defrag' which runs a defrag whenever the computer is idle so, you would be able to skip this step since your computer is constantly defragging throughout the day. Smart Defrag can be found (here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Making a Web site's Navigation Bar - Concepts to Keep in Mind

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I just got out of a meeting and the big discussion was the new navigation bar for a new site. I gave my usual spiel about usability, proper design elements, audience, blah, blah, blah. However that didn't win over anyone in the room. As I discussed in my 'The First Rule of Web Design – Build a Thick Skin' proper design doesn't have quite the bells and whistles that new clients are always looking for and as designers we have to try to save them from themselves.

They wanted multi-functioning navigation that when drawn out ended up being not only confusing but a giant cluster of irrelevant and repetitive elements. I had to once again direct them that they need to really put thought into how the navigation is going to work. Here were some key elements that I conveyed:

- Usability. You don't want to make users relearn how to use the Internet just to use your Web site. JavaScript, XHMTL, CSS, Spry, Flash, RIA, and a host of other products all give the ability to make rich navigation bars that can be useful for some Web sites but definitely not all. Users are used to the way the Web works. If your site goes against their thinking, they are going to leave before they even have had a chance to observe any of your content.

- Audience. For perfect example, this Web site's audience is going to be more tech savvy than say a site dealing selling doilies (not saying tech people can't be into doilies). It is just the nature of the product. This being a tech blog is going to pull in techy people. If you are dealing with a situation where you feel that your audience is going to be on the higher cusp of technical knowhow, you can get away with making a more complex and complicated navigation bar.

- Simple is key. As Henry David Thoreau said, "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify." This holds true in Web design. Just because you have the ability to make a complicated and complex means of navigation doesn't make it proper. Make your navigation simple and hierarchical. Start simple and expand.

- The three-click rule. Starting simple and expanding is important but the three-click rule should also be in place. This is a shaky and unofficial, yet competent, idea that a user should be able to get to any place in a Web site within three clicks. If it is more complicated than that, you will lose the user.

- Planning. Since your goal is to keep it simple and have the end result (Web page) be found within three-clicks, you must plan out how you want the user to be able to get to the end result. Here is where coming up with the core design concept and then sitting down with the client will come into play.

Also see: The First Rule of Web Design – Build a Thick Skin

Monday, January 25, 2010

Clown Commercial Goes Viral and Still Hilarious

I saw this yesterday during the football game and learned on that it has gone viral and need to add it here because, a.) it's a clown and this site is; b.) it's pretty damn funny; c.) there are quite a few readers of GeekyClown that I know are really, really afraid of clowns. 

5 Reasons you should switch from Internet Explorer to Google Chrome

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I should start out with the disclaimer that I do feel that Internet Explorer (IE) 7 and 8 were huge improvements over IE6. That being said, it still is nowhere near as good a browser as Google Chrome. Don't believe me, read on...

5.) Stability. I have had to uninstall my IE8 now three times because every other time, one of its new 'Add-Ons' have made it completely useless causing every other page to give an 'Unable to connect' message. Microsoft just explains that you should spend a good two hours turning off each of your add-ons and see if you can find the problematic add-on. The problem, even with all add-ons disabled, it still had problems connecting. Chrome isn't 100% perfect but definitely not nearly as likely to give a browser crash. I do pretty intensive browsing and haven't had nearly the same amount of crashes. On a happier side, when Chrome does crash, it uses the phrase, 'awwww snap' which speaks volumes in my book.

4.) Built in spell check. A feature now that I cannot live without. This is something so simple that should have been built into IE since IE6 but they either didn't think of it or didn't see a need. With the huge amounts of social networking and active communication on the Internet now, this is a feature that was long overdue.

3.) No need for the Google toolbar. Whenever I install IE, the first thing that I need to install with it is the Google toolbar to help keep out pop-ups and have the ability to search Google easily. If you use Chrome, you don't have to worry about it - the toolbar is built in.

2.) Simple and adjustable. Chrome makes adding bookmarks a breeze and they can be adjusted on the Bookmarks bar easily just by using drag-and-drop. You can move your tabs and swap them or bring them out of the browser into a new browser session. Importing your favorites and bookmarks is simple. Opening a new tab brings a list of your most surfed sites for your choosing. On top of that, it has adjustable themes so you can change the look of the browser.

1.) Speed. I didn't believe that a browser could be that much faster than IE but after using Chrome for around a year, I had been proven wrong. Since I have to test any Web sites I create on IE, I find myself sitting watching it work to load pages and think, 'this would have been loaded fifteen seconds ago in Chrome.' It is that much faster.

If you still don't believe me, try it yourself - if you hate it, just remove it using Add/Remove programs. Unlike other browsers I can name, it doesn't build itself into the OS making an uninstall an all day project.

Download Google Chrome.

Also see: 5 Free Windows Programs I Can’t Live Without

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Night's Afterparty/Bar Video Game - GoldenEye

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Back in college I took a job as an associate editor at the college newspaper even after I swore off working at a paper ever again. Why would I do such a thing? Just to buy an N64 and GoldenEye. I worked there two months as the Associate Features Editor, made the money for my N64 (and some party money, it was college), and then quit.

The N64 is the only Nintendo console whose best game doesn't have the word Mario or Zelda in it. It just has one name, Bond. Ok, two names, James Bond. GoldenEye was not only a challenging first-person shooter that used all of the power of the N64, but it was the best four-person game for that console.

It has lived in infamy as THE N64 game. If you had a N64, you had to have GoldenEye. It even had its own Internet meme.

GoldenEye was our classic post party/bar game (circa late-90s). I picked that as my choice tonight after I stumbled on my 64 yesterday and had to break it out for a quick game. Not only does it hold up for its playability, but also a certain nostalgic flare.

Swearing, laughing at your friend's expense, friends laughing at your expense, crying, begging, more laughing, someone screaming, 'just let me get a gun', are all things that will happen playing four-player GoldenEye. However, even if you don't have four friends to play with, break it out just for the first-player shooter.

The biggest problem is that Nintendo and Microsoft were unable to come up with the dollars to get it from Rare and release it. So, no Virtual Console and no XBox Live Arcade. If you want to play it, you have to break out the 64 and use the original. I suppose you could play an emulated version but I have yet to find a controller that does well with the intricacies of the original Bond game. If you never played it and consider yourself a true gamer, you need to get an eBay and get yourself a copy. Enjoy your evening out and enjoy shooting your friends after!

Also see:Saturday Night’s Afterparty/Bar Video Game – NCAA Football

Friday, January 22, 2010

Manage Your Checkbook Using Excel

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My New Year's resolution this year was to do a better job of managing my checkbook instead of going off of the bank's Web site. The way that I figured I would do this is create

a simple Excel spreadsheet that would do the work for me. Here is what I did:

- Open Excel (duh)

- Set up my columns

1DateDescriptionCredit (+)Debit (-)BalanceCleared the BankNote

- I started with the balance since that was the only cell that required a formula. I just used a simple SUM function. Type this in the function area for E2. =SUM(E1,C2-D2)

- Then drag the formula throughout the column. You can do this by placing your pointer at the lower-right-hand corner of the cell and then left-click and drag downward through

the column (you can tell you are at the right spot because the pointer will change).

- Then just fill in the other data for each transaction.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tell Google to Stop Searching your Facebook Page

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Following up yesterday's post, another new feature that came with Facebook's elaborate, "new privacy settings" (that, in actuality, takes away more privacy than it insures) is allowing Google the ability to spider your Facebook profile and have it appear if someone searches for you via Google's search engine.

I highly recommend turning this function off. It is up to the individual but having your personal information out on Google does have some risks. Also, for the most part, if someone would like to find you on Facebook, they will be able to in other ways than using Google. You can turn this off by doing the following:

- Hover over 'Settings' and click 'Privacy Settings'

- Uncheck 'Allow' by 'Public Search Results'

Also, I would recommend changing 'Facebook Search Results' to 'Only Friends'. You do not want your employer, instructor, etc. doing a search for you through Facebook and coming up with some of your personal information. Turn it off. Once again if someone wants to find you on Facebook, they will be able to do it through mutual friends, etc. not through general searching. If you think about it, how many friends have you made by plugging their name into the search bar and getting the result? Not too many for me either, if any.

Also See: Update your Facebook Privacy Already

Edit your Facebook page to Show Information you Want to Show

6 Ways to Enhance your Facebook Experience

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Update your Facebook Privacy Already

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I suppose it is up to the each individual but I have to say, I have gone to more than just a couple of Facebook profiles that were not friends and I could see way more than they would like me to see.

When you click on a profile that belongs to someone who you have not friended, it will pop-up the 'Info' tab with some of the basics on the individual.  However, if not properly secured, if you click on the 'Wall' tab, you can view all of the posts from friends, activity, etc.

I read an article today about employers and college recruiters looking at Facebook profiles during the hiring process, another reason to update that information and keep out those who shouldn't have access to your business.  If a employer requires you to friend them, you at least have time to clean up your site and send a quick, 'please don't do anything inappropriate' note to your inappropriate friends.  Those pictures of you doing a keg stand while wearing nothing but your underwear may not look good to a potential employer.

Updating your Wall privacy is easy - just like updating all of your privacy.  Start by hovering over 'Settings' and click on 'Privacy Settings'.

Click 'Profile Information'.

I recommend switching all of them to 'Only Friends'.  If you want even added security, you can choose 'Customize' and pick the people you would like to see your information.

When you are done, click 'Preview My Profile...' to take a look at what you non-friends see.

As a final note, take a moment to go through all of your photos and make sure that they are 'Only Friends' as well.  Facebook liked to put them at open to the public when it did it privacy "upgrade" that in the end, may all of us more susceptible to our private information going more public.

Other Social Networking Posts: Edit your Facebook page to Show Information you Want to Show

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How to Properly Pronounce Ryu

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At lunch I was playing Ninja Gaiden on the XBox. While a good game, it doesn't compare to the orignal NES trilogy. What can I say, I am a sucker for 2-D nostalgia. All of the games are unbelievably tough and still keep me entertained. But this isn't a game review. This is about the main character, Ryu Hayabusa. The pronunciation of his first name has been something that has baffled me for years. Through 1991, my cousin and I always would pronounce him as Rye-You. I said my pronunciation around the EGM geeks who quickly corrected me (and patronized me) and swore that the name was Roo, "do you really think the Japanese actually say Rye-You?"

So we have two pronunciations:

- Rye-You
- Roo

I start doing a little research and found a YouTube video where someone gives examples of the Street Fighter series for the pronunciation of Ree-You (they are actually arguing between Rye-You and Ree-You and it has some NSFW language).

Now we have three pronunciations:

- Rye-You (Me)
- Roo (EGM)
- Ree-You (YouTube guy)

Went to WikiAnswers and they are with the EGM guys and it is Roo.

Yet, it still doesn't seem that any of these are correct.

I started here and the pronunciation of R

He describes it as 70% R sound, 20% L sound, and 10% D sound.

Then I went here and found the pronunciation for yu.

The site has the pronunciation of yu as yoo and the pronunciation of ryu as r/lyoo.

In the end, it seemed that the pronunciation should be Dyoo or Lyoo more than a straight Roo so that is what I am going with. In the end the proper pronunciation should be Dyoo or Lyoo.

After all of that research, I came across this video that more or less agrees with me and is fun to watch it pronounced by actual Japanese speakers.

More gaming posts: The Baddest of the Bad – Pitfall Harry
What the NFL can Learn from Madden ‘92
My Top 10 Hardest Old School Nintendo Games
10 Things you say if you Suck at Video Games

Monday, January 18, 2010


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I just got an e-mail from a student last semester who was confused with the difference between when to use ID and when to use CLASS in CSS. I gave the standard explanation that ID is used in a single event while CLASS is used when there will be multiple occurrences.


ID starts with a #

font-family: arial;
font-size: 9pt;

Notice it uses the attribute ID in the tag.

<p id="singleOccurrence">This element will be used only once

CLASS starts with a .

font-family: arial;
font-size: 12pt;

Notice it uses the attribute CLASS in the tag.

<p class="multipleOccurrences">This element will be used more than once

The next question he asked was, "why can't I just use everything as classes, whether it be a single occurrence or used multiple time?" My response, "you can but it isn't proper." In short, you can use classes if you would like to but it may get complicated and you may end up changing things in multiple places if you are not careful.

As an example, if you have one CSS file for your entire site, you may get easily confused about which classes you used more than once. When you see IDs, you know that they are only used once, so you do not need to worry about it changing in multiple spots. I suppose if you insist on using CLASS for everything, make sure to be very descriptive with the names of the classes. The easiest solution, and the proper way to code CSS, is to use IDs for single occurrence elements and CLASS for multiple occurrences. Also, remember to be descriptive so that you can easily figure out where the element applies.

Also see: How do you Code your CSS? Here

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Phishtistics Puts the Geeky into Listening to Phish

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For years David "ZZYZX" Steinberg has been putting the Geeky into listening to Phish by taking all of the songs that they have played and compiling them on his Web site - ZZYZX has taken every track and has put together several different tools for the Phishhead checking on the newest downloaded show.

The first tool that is prevalent on the site, 'the complete totals'. Just for starters, this shows what venues were played the most, what songs played the most, first set and second set openers, encores, and countless other totals.

He also breaks down each year in chart form, a list of every time a song was played, tools to generate your own personal stats, and that is just to start.

Now anyone not into Phish may say, "what is the point" and even Mike Gordon, bass player for Phish, said, "it's kind of silly when [fans are] are making pie graphs about set list openers but then, I always liked a good graph" but as a long-time Phish fan I can say that this information does have its purposes.

Since pretty much every Phish show is independent of each other. The setlist is always different plus the jams and how the band plays the songs differ from other shows both on that current tour and previous tours. This gives an opportunity of comparison for different versions of a particular song during that tour versus different versions spanning several tours. The jams in the songs vary and the statistics can be used to find longer or different versions of the jam. Since eTree ( has a huge library of downloadable shows via BitTorrent, you can use the stats to find other shows to listen to the different versions.

Also, if you are an avid Phantasy Phish player, ( ) this information will be useful to make your picks for an upcoming tour.

I realize most of my Phishhead readers probably already know about this site but there may be some newbies who still haven't gotten to experience ZZYZX's work. And, if you haven't listened to any Phish at this point, may I suggest taking a listen to a personal favorite (and my first Phish show), 8/1/98 at Alpine Valley - Enjoy!

Also see: Giving Gadiel’s Phish Page its Overdue Props here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Reminiscing When I Scored the Winning Touchdown

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Ok, that didn't happen. In my peak athletic years, my weight topped about 160 and that was coupled with the fact that I have never been particularly fast and I would sprain my ankle mowing the lawn. However, I did enjoy my last minute scoring opportunity in 1990, at the Nintendo World Championship.

For those who may not remember, the Nintendo World Championship was held in 1990 over thirty cities throughout the US. It was in congruence with the release of Super Mario Bros. 3 and was brought into the limelight by the unbelievably bad movie, The Wizard (personally, I don't know if Fred Savage's career had a chance after this gem). At the time I was working at Electronic Gaming Monthly answering video game questions over the phone (in case you are wondering, not too many dates for me back in those days) so I leaped at the opportunity to go and school the competition.

I remember having to ditch school and go into the scary city from my safe, melancholy home in the suburbs. Our arrival was greeted with loads of thick glasses, 80's metal T-shirts, and mullets - lots and lots of mullets. The population was 99% male, go figure. I do believe there was one woman there but she was selling concessions. We wandered around the hall waiting for our number to be called to take our crack at possibly becoming the Nintendo World Champion.

Any hopes of this event emulating that of the Fred Savage movie was lost quickly. It wasn't quite the same crowd as the movie, i.e. normal high schoolers. It was just a large expo hall filled with stations to play NES games. Having gone to quite a few trade shows over the past decade, I have to say, pretty half-assed in comparison.

The anticipation was strong (the actual anticipation, not to be confused with the NES game Anticipation which was available to play as part of Nintendo's money fest). I felt like a batter, on-deck hoping to bring in the runner on third. It was a geek's equivalent to 3rd and goal, down by six, with :20 left on the clock in the fourth quarter. Tense.

The competition consisted of three games, all coincidentally released by Nintendo. I suppose it was there competition and they were going to be damned if any third-party developer was going to piggy back their tournament. The three games were the original Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, and Tetris. SMB and Tetris made sense, they were icons of the NES, but he developers of Square must have had some pretty incriminating photos of Shigeru Miyamoto because that game sucked then and still sucks today. If they were going to make us play Rad Racer, they should have at least allowed us to have the ability to play it as the developer's intended, in 3-D, because those glasses would have made the masses of geeks look even cooler.

Alas my number was called. I stepped up to the plate, so to speak, among roughly fifty other people. I faced my 12-inch TV and grabbed my controller. We were lined up in a row with our backs to the crowd. If someone had taken a picture it would have been a sea of mullet's and Warrant T-shirts. The clocked ticked down for us to start. The games were timed with a total amount of time allotted at 6 minutes 21 seconds - a rather strange amount of time to give, but I digress.

They then had a rather complex formula to produce your final score:

The Super Mario Bros. score was your Super Mario Bros. score. You had to get 50 coins as quickly as possible to move on. What really sucked was there aren't 50 coins in level 1-1 so you have to go to 1-2. But, after you finish level 1-1, you have to watch Mario gingerly walk to the pipe to enter 1-2 and have no control of his speed. He was mocking us, run you little bastard, I'm on the clock here.

They had a specially designed course for Rad Racer that was needed to be completed. You take your Rad Racer score and multiply it by 10.

Then you play out the rest of the time on Tetris. You take your Tetris score and multiply it by 25. Of course, the key was to get to play Tetris since the other two games took a rather long time.

The clocked ticked down and I was off. I remember working my way through Mario trying to get through as quickly as possible. But I was going too quickly and a damn Goomba hit me and I had to start over. I finished 1-1 and watched Mario walk to the pipe. I loathed Mario at that moment. I finished up.

Then, Rad Racer started. I was doing ok seeing as I hated that game, sucked at that game, and was embarrassed to be playing that game. I crashed. Too much time ticking by. Started going again and crashed again. A prevalent, "damn it" was heard echoing through the hall and I agreed. Crashed again. I was about ready to give up. Put down the controller and walk away in shame but didn't, I persevered.

I was almost out of time when I finished Rad Racer. Tetris began and I started working as feverishly as I could. I kept an eye on m score and I was nowhere near the 175,000 required to move on. I continued on, got a Tetris and my score shot up. I was getting closer. I had the position for two more Tetris'. The clock was down to 20 seconds and there it was, Tetris 1. Down to ten seconds and got my final piece and pushed it down to get my final Tetris as time expired. I had done it, I was above 175,000. I could move on. In my head there was victory music. The geeks should have put me on their shoulders (but that would have upset their mullets) and carried me out of the auditorium.

I walked over and got my sticker to return the next day for the next round of the tournament. I wore my sticker like a badge of honor. It was my finest gaming moment (of 1990 anyway). I did return the next day and while I do not wish to say how I did, let's just say, I was never crowned the Nintendo World Champion. But, my legacy will live on for my brilliant come-from-behind victory that would have made ESPN, if ESPN covered video games and had a crew there watching all 1000+ people competing, and will be talked about in the land of geekdom forever.

And, while I do not condone illegal ROMs, if you wanted to find a copy to play on your emulator

Friday, January 15, 2010

Can You Pass My Intro To Internet Final Exam?

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Since I received such positive feedback from the JavaScript final exam I posted a few days ago (, here is another purged final exam from 2001. This was for my CS 105 - Introduction to the Internet. This test was really fun to read over again as so many things have changed since 2001. However, feel free to give it a crack. If some of the technologies, etc. are outdated, remember - - - it is from 2001!

To view the answers, click here (NOTE: I included the short answer questions but do not have the answers in the key, it was easier to grade just by reading it instead of comparing it with the key.)

Multiple Choice – Circle the letter of the best choice below:

1.) The following would be the best site to get material without worrying about copyright infringement?
a.) .com
b.) .net
c.) .edu
d.) .gov

2.) Which of the following would be a plug-in?
a.) Internet Explorer
b.) Flash
c.) PowerPoint
d.) Napster

3.) The following tag is used to tell a search engine information for its database.
a.) <HTML>
b.) <HEAD>
c.) <META>
d.) <BODY>

4.) FTP client and ___________ are the two most common types of FTP.
a.) Command-Line Interface
b.) Named FTP
c.) HTTP
d.) None of the above

_________ is the top-level or root directory.
b.) cis
c.) 105
d.) myStuff.html

6.) ________ is a java applet that can be placed on any Web site and read by any java enabled browser but the discussion that occurs disappears once you leave that site.
a.) IRC
b.) Web-based chat room
c.) IM
d.) None of the above

7.) Which of the following tags does not require you to end the tag?
a.) <HTML>
b.) <HEAD>
c.) <IMG SRC>
d.) <p>

8.) FTP is an abbreviation for
a.) File Test Program
b.) File Transfer Protocol
c.) Format Transfer Protocol
d.) None of the above

9.) HTTP stands for
a.) Hypertext test program
b.) Hypertext Transfer program
c.) Hypertext Transfer Protocol
d.) None of the above

10.) ____________ houses messages that remain on the page after you leave. This is good for leaving questions for others and then coming back later to get an answer.
a.) Web-based chat rooms
b.) IRC
c.) IM
d.) None of the above

11.) _______ are controls that install within your Internet Explorer browser and should be avoided because they can have viruses or inactivate controls of the browser by overwriting Microsoft’s original controls.
a.) Zipped files
b.) .txt files
c.) ActiveX
d.) All of the above

12.) _________ are compressed files that store up to 256 different colors.
a.) GIFs
b.) JPEGs
c.) PNGs
d.) None of the above

13.) A(n) ________ is the last three characters following a period in the filename
a.) extension
b.) domain
c.) pathname
d.) directory

14.) would most likely be opened with which software package?
a.) Internet Explorer
b.) Outlook Express
c.) WinZip
d.) WinZippster

15.) Software that is available to anyone at no cost and without any restrictions attached to its user is called
a.) limited edition
b.) freeware
c.) shareware
d.) All of the above

16.) would be described as a _______path.
a.) Virtual
b.) Physical
c.) Direct
d.) All of the above

17.) ________ is a compressed music file that has been brought into the public spotlight when Napster was released.
a.) MP3
b.) MIDI
c.) Streaming Media
d.) WAV

18.) MPEG and AVI are examples of ______ files.
a.) Video
b.) Audio
c.) Text
d.) HTML

19.) Digest messages mean:
a.) You receive an e-mail each time someone posts
b.) You receive important messages only from a usenet group
c.) You receive a predetermined number of messages from a mailing list usually daily
d.) You receive a message from a mailing list with messages marked ADV in the subject line

20.) <META> Tags go within what tag(s)?
a.) Head
b.) Body
c.) HTML
d.) Both A & C

True/False – Circle the letter of the correct answer below:

21.) Port 221 is the default port number of an FTP client.
a.) T b.) F

22.) Any program downloaded from the Internet can possibly have a virus.
a.) T b.) F

23.) An <a href> tag tells the Web browser that a link is coming.
a.) T b.) F

24.) All HTML tags need to be turned on and turned off.
a.) T b.) F

25.) ../../myStuff/index.html is known as a physical path.
a.) T b.) F

26.) Where you place a file via FTP plays an important role to the eventual URL.
a.) T b.) F

27.) A Web page viewed with Internet Explorer will always look the same as a page viewed with Netscape Navigator.
a.) T b.) F

28.) Binary and ASCII are the two choices on an FTP client.
a.) T b.) F

29.) SSL will always be present with any transaction involving money on the Internet.
a.) T b.) F

30.) A Web site’s level of encryption isn’t as important as the presence of encryption.
a.) T b.) F

Matching – (10 questions) – Fill in the proper letter on the left-hand margin.

a.) FTP client
b.) Copyright
c.) Full-Privilege FTP
d.) Web based chat
e.) Message board
f.) IM
g.) Plug-in
h.) Web browser
i.) Groups.Yahoo
j.) Mailing list

31.) ________ is given to nearly every Web site on the Internet regardless of whether it is spelled out for the users.

32.) ________ An applet that allows interaction between people in “real” time.

33.) ________ examples are QuickTime, Flash, and Shockwave.

34.) ________ Allows you to read Web sites and download files from a web server.

35.) ________ is an online group which meets via a Web browser.

36.) ________ is when you are given a username and password allowing you to view sections of a server determined by the system administrator.

37.) ________ is a downloaded software client that allows the user to talk only with people on that network.

38.) ________ sends out multiple copies to itself to opt-in subscribers.

39.) ________ is an area on a Web site where you can pose a question for someone else that will not be deleted once you leave that site.

40.) ________ is a program that is used exclusively for uploading and downloading files to a server.

Short Answer – Use the back if necessary:

41.) Explain in detail what is considered bad Web design?

42.) Write the HTML to a Web page that will place the name of this course in bold letters at the top of the page, and your name underneath in plain text (include everything from on).

43.) Explain the difference between IM, IRC, Web-based chat, and Message Boards

44.) Name five uses for the Internet and how you would go about finding these.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Long Term Repercussions of Google Leaving China

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As most have already heard, after attacks on its services, Google has halted its censorship of information from its search engine in China and has gone as far as stating that, if need be, will close out the Web site. The long term implications of this are going to set a precedent for the future of the control the Chinese government will have over its people and their ability to retrieve information. Also, there will be long term financial implications for Google.

China is the largest population to use Google's services. According to the Wall Street Journal, China has an estimated 360 million Internet users and about 700 million cell phone users. Google's 2010 revenue from China alone would reach roughly $310 million or 2% of Google's total revenue. That is a huge chunk of its overall usage and a large part of their revenue that some say, Google cannot afford to lose. Couple that with the impact of closing out that population to Google as it is introducing its own OS and cell phone.

Now, that being said, I firmly believe that Google is doing the right thing and wish that more companies would actually put morality before finance. The Internet is intended to be a place where censorship is at a minimum. By its very design alone, it was built with anonymity in mind. Of course, that won't work with all countries and with all governments. However, as Google is showing, companies do not need to support those countries and governments.

Is this the beginning of a new era? Doubtful. To be 100% honest, if hackers had not infiltrated Google's services, they most likely would not be pulling out of China. That being said, the fact that they are showing the world that they are no longer willing to support the oppression and censorship going on in China speaks volumes about the company.

Without a doubt, Google is the biggest name in Internet searching. It has grown to become synonymous with searching. You no longer look it up online, you Google it. The big question is will Google doing the right thing hurt the company in the long-run. Any good business professional will say, if there is money to be made, a company would be a fool to ignore that on sheer principle. However that is what Google is doing and it will be interesting to see the long term repercussions of that.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

NBC: The High School Bully Giving the Geek a Wedgie

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It would be no secret, seeing as the name of this site is GeekyClown, that I completely endorse Conan through this ridiculous spouting of geek hate that is going on at NBC.  Conan gave the geeks hope that we could join the non-geek culture and we are now being told we are not ready for the prime, late night timeslot.  Conan has a long history of geekdom that should be applauded and rewarded.  Instead the network, whose only geeky programs consist of Heroes and Chuck (both teetering on cancellation), has decided that America isn't ready for full-fledged geeky programming at such a heralded timeslot. 

I guess I should take a moment to say that I don't necessarily hate Jay Leno or the Jay Leno show.  That would require me to have watched more than two episodes of it.  The nine o'clock (I'm CST) move was possibly one of the biggest gaffes in television history and the reason no one watches it is because: a.) there are other things to watch; b.) Leno is not funny and never really has been; c.) anyone under the age of 70 knows both a & b.  Besides my detest for his humor, he is the antithesis of Conan's geekdom. 

Let's reflect on Conan and embrace his geeky history.  Conan wrote for 'The Simpsons' whose geekiest episode 'Homer Goes to College' shows the story of Homer going back to school but needing to be helped by his computer nerdy tutors Benjamin, Doug, and Gary.  He appeared in Robot Chicken: Star Wars and Robot Chicken: Star Wars II. 

He appeared in the 'South Park' movie and several episodes.  Also, he was in Bud Light commercial 'Vroom, Vroom, Party Starter' (ok, the last one wasn't really geeky at all but hysterical).

We must endorse the geek and force a non-geeky network to realize that there is more to television that Law & Order and Jay Leno.  Wherever Conan goes, I truly hope all of the geeks will follow (let's hope he doesn't grab a timeslot that interferes with Robot Chicken, that could be a disaster) and show a traditional network that geeks do have a voice and will not pushed around - at least metaphorically, in high school...well, we all know the stories.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Redirect Users using Meta Tags or JavaScript

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Over the last couple of years I have found that a good portion of Web design work comes from redoing existing sites. Unfortunately, often times the original site is problematic from head-to-toe, usually because it was created by someone who wasn't an actual Web designer but a friend/relative, etc. that did it on the cheap.

One of the things that is a sure sign of that is inconsistent or inproper file structure on the site. That always leads me to a personal dilemna, do I leave an inproper file structure in tact or do I put in a more fitting file structure for the future. Usually, I go with the latter and correct inconsistent file names, etc. and deal with the consequences of links breaking etc.

Redirects are one of the main tools that I can use to take a user and bring them to the proper page from an existing hyperlink or a bookmark/favorite. For example, if a site has been around for a few years and their page is: and I decide to create a page I can redirect the user to the correct page without having to delete the old one and creating a 404 error.

I will just show ways to do this through the browser (ColdFusion and PHP both have easy methods of doing this as well).

Way 1: Use a Meta Refresh. A meta tag is a common HTML tag for SEO but also can be used to refresh the page after a certain amount of time to a new page. The tag looks like this (and for this example placed in the everything_you_will_ever_need_to_know_about_my%20site-can_be_found_here.htm file):

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;url=about.htm">

What the tag is saying is to refresh the page after 0 seconds to the URL about.htm. If you want a screen that alerts the user that they are being redirected/refreshed, you can change the 0 to something else, 5, 10, etc. If that is the case, you can put in a "This page has been moved, please update your bookmarks/favorites" splash screen so that you may be able to delete the old page after enough time when you no longer see it popping up in your traffic logs.

Way 2: User JavaScript. You can use a self.location.href command and simply redirect that way. There are two downsides to using JavaScript, 1.) if the user has JavaScript turned off the browser will ignore the command; 2.) if you would like to time the command from running, (like you can do easily in the meta tag) you will need to build in more JavaScript to do that. However, since I am coding JavaScript constantly, I always find the JavaScript easier to remember for me.

Here is an example of the JavaScript in action (again placed in the everything_you_will_ever_need_to_know_about_my%20site-can_be_found_here.htm file):

<script language="javascript">

While it is self explanatory, what the command is doing is saying self.location (the current window) href (a standard used through your anchor tags <a href>) new page.

That is all you will need to do and your users then can move from an outdated (and ridiculously named) page to the new and improved page.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tackling the Billy Madison Conundrum: Donkey Kong vs. Mortal Kombat

Kid: Mortal Kombat, on Sega Genesis, is the best video game ever.
Billy Madison: I disagree, it's a very good game, but I think Donkey Kong is the best game ever.
Kid: Donkey Kong sucks.
Billy Madison: You know something? YOU SUCK!

I read this quote on a blog today and had a quick chuckle and then thought about the implications of this conversation.  While I am not taking a stance on what I consider the best video game of all time, I would like to concentrate on these two games to see which of these two would be the clear cut winner.

Let's take a look at Mortal Kombat on Sega Genesis.  In 1993, Acclaim ported Mortal Kombat from the arcade (which was one of the biggest arcade classics of all time).  The arcade version was everywhere, I remember having it at the little ice cream stand not far from my house and the line to play it would be out the door.  It was a huge game for the time.  Mortal Kombat (for the unbelievably few people who would be reading this blog and never heard of it) is a fighting game using digitized graphics (one of the first to embrace it) that was filled with blood and gore.  The controversy of the game was what gave it its notoriety.  It was this notoriety that made it so popular on the Genesis.

The Genesis version took out the blood and gore to appease parent groups.  However, with cheat codes, they could be put back into the game to get the full-fledge, ripping your spinal cord straight out of your body, experience.  The game was innovative in several ways.  The most talked about innovation was the addition of the blood and gore into the game.  That paved the way for generations of "adult" oriented games and played a powerful role in the creation of the ESRB.  Thanks to Mortal Kombat, I now have to hear every video game commercial start out with, "Rated T for Teen."

Also, it did help to innovate the way fighting games were played.  The methodology of being able to attack a helpless opponent that has been hit and in the air was brilliant and was brought into further fighting games.  Also, the fatality was another quality that had me (as a high school student) drooling.  There is just something so enlightening about being able to take someone's head clean off while there body melts into a pool of blood.

I did find that the music of the Genesis version not as good as the arcade and that the absence of the digitized voices also took away from the game.  There are a few voices but not nearly comparable to the arcade.  I realize that it may not be fair to compare the Genesis version to the arcade considering, at the time, most arcade games were far superior to the ported home counsel.  Yet, I didn't write the script so I have to go with the original conversation.

The game was a big seller for the Genesis (not as big as its two sequels named appropriately Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat III).  It also helped to shape the Genesis as the machine for the true adult gamer and left its competition, the Super Nintendo, for the kiddies.  The Super Nintendo version of Mortal Kombat didn't have blood at all - no cheat code, no nothing.

Overall, Mortal Kombat was innovative and helped to shape the way that video games were made from that point further.

Now, Donkey Kong was an arcade classic.  I am finding it hard not to be opinionated here but it is hard to make a comparison of a game whose innovation lies in shocking spectacle to a game that founded possibly the most popular video game character of all time - Mario.  At the time, he wasn't Mario yet, he was Jumpman.  And, Jumpman was a carpenter not a plumber.  But he looked just like Mario and would be named Mario in ported versions.

Donkey Kong is the godfather of video games.  Released in 1981, Donkey Kong helped to expose a little known company into an American arcade audience - Nintendo.  Donkey Kong is (for the even fewer people that wouldn't know) a game where a very upset ape takes the Jumpman's woman (named rather uncreatively Lady but later to be known as Pauline) and holds her hostage.  Jumpman has to try to get her back by running up to the ape and freeing her via platforms.  In order to do this, he must hop over whatever the ape flings at him, and make it all the way to the top to free his lady friend, Lady.

There are so many firsts for this game.  This is one of the first platform games - going from one platform to another to reach an end goal.  This is the first game to use a "damsel in distress" purpose for the hero.  This is the first game to use real definitive facial graphics.  On top of it, the difficulty level made it one of the most sought after games the moment you walked into an arcade.  Even today, there are Donkey Kong tournaments since the game's difficulty and gameplay raised the replay value bar possibly higher than any other game.

In the end, Donkey Kong is a pretty clear cut winner.  Without Donkey Kong, there wouldn't have been the NES.  Without the NES, the video game market may never have been saved from the Atari 2600/ET debacle.  It created a hero whose name alone is now synonymous with gaming.  It not only created a character, but helped to create a genre of gaming that would last up to this day.  Mortal Kombat was a good game but has become dated.  The replay value doesn't stack up to Donkey Kong and its shock-and-awe tactics seem almost tame to today's games.  So, I have to go with Billy on this one, "while Mortal Kombat is a very good game" (I would even venture to take the very out of his statement) it doesn't match up to Donkey Kong.  And, if you don't agree, "then you know something?  YOU SUCK!"

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Microsoft Misses the Bus Again

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Microsoftland has not been a pleasant place to live recently. While Google and Apple are making enormous strides in the IT, Internet, and cell phone/mp3 player genres, Microsoft has more or less gotten sued over its Word 2007 XML theft, and have been pushing Microsoft 7.

They announced that they also will be creating a virtual arcade (ahem, virtual console) of old arcade and console games for the XBox 360 and PC (and while I haven't read anything about it, I would imagine it would work with the Zune HD as well). To a certain extent, it's great that retrogames will have another home on the XBox and PC. On another level, it is a lame, and way too late, attempt to milk more money from its already strapped consumers.

Nintendo Wii brought the Virtual Console out and brought with it great games that hold a nostalgic value for consumers. The Microsoft games are not going to have that same value for no other reason than most the good games are already owned by Nintendo. If Microsoft wanted a part of this, they should have jumped into it when the window was open. If you look at the list of games that Microsoft is bringing out, they are all older games that Nintendo doesn't have the ability to get (old arcade, Atari 2600, Intellivision). The good games (NES, Genesis, TG-16, late 80's/early 90's arcade) are already emulated on VC.

The problem with pre-NES games is that the current market isn't going to remember them or probably have never played them. What would be the point of getting an older game that you have never played before with inferior graphics, sound, game play then the current system's offerings? For example, Jungler, Road Fighter, Super Cobra, Battlantlis - does Microsoft really think that their average user has played these in the arcade. Hell, I will go one step further and ask, how many people who own and play XBox 360 have even spent much time in an arcade? They have more or less been extinct since the early 90's (Chucky-E-Cheese-esque establishments and Dave 'n Buster's aside).

As a collector of retrogames, I can appreciate playing some of the 2600 and old arcade games but I do have other issues, a.) I have most of them in the original format (2600/Colleco); b.) since they are archaic in nature, they are very easy to emulate (not that I condone such a thing); c.) there are hundreds of flash duplicates available all over the Internet. Who is going to pay money for something (especially PC owners) that they can get for free? It just doesn't make sense. You can grab an app in Facebook that lets you play old video games in Flash format, and that is free, and can be played anywhere.

I took a look at the list and besides Combat! (2600) and Centipede (arcade), I didn't notice anything that would even be remotely worth purchasing. And, having a working 2600 with Combat!, I will tell you that the game doesn't have quite the same replay value that it held in the 80's. I would say about 10 minutes is about all it is worth.

In the end, nice try Microsoft, but you are too late. Nintendo beat you to the retrogaming punch and, as usual, you are left to "borrow" ideas to catch up. Maybe with your next system.


JavaScript Gurus Test Your Knowledge

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I finally got around to purging my old files and found an old test I gave to my JavaScript class about five years ago and discovered, "Wow! This test SUCKED!!!"  For my JavaScript loving readers, feel free to take a crack at it for fun.  For my students taking JavaScript with me this year, have no fear, this test has been completely purged questions will be repeated.

1. What methods allow you to change the case of a string?

2. What are the differences among slice, substring, and substr?

3. The String method, toUppercase(), returns a string converted to uppercase characters.
(True)              (False)
4. The difference between indexOf and lastIndexOf is that
a. indexOf counts index numbers from the beginning of the string (index 0 represents the first character in the string) and lastIndexOf counts index numbers from the end of the string (index 0 represents the last character in the string).
b. indexOf searches forward through a string and lastIndexOf searches backward through a string.
c. indexOf returns -1 if the search string is not found and lastIndexOf returns false if the search string is not found.
d. indexOf returns the index of the first character of the first occurrence of the search string and lastIndexOf returns the index of the last character of the first occurrence of the search string.
e. indexOf returns the index of the first character of the first occurrence of the search string and lastIndexOf returns the index of the first character of the last occurrence of the search string.
5. The String method, _______________, allows you to retrieve a character from a string using its index number.

6. How does JavaScript measure dates?

7-8. Describe the four ways of creating a Date object and give an example of each.

9. What range of values does the getDay method return?

10. What range of values does the getDate method return?

11. Why is it essential to name each frame in a frameset?

12-13. List and describe five window synonyms supported in JavaScript.

14. List three window methods that emulate the action of a visitor clicking a button on the browser toolbar.
15. If you create a pop-up window using the following code
var play ="myDoc.html", "PlayWin")
the code:
PlayWin.close() will close the window.
(True)              (False)
16. When you list the features you want on a window in the features argument of the method, you should separate them with a _____________.

17. What advantage does a server-side script such as FormMail have over a simple mailto URL when it comes to processing form data?

18. Describe the differences between the get and post methods.  Which is preferred?  Why?

19. Explain how the special keyword, this, works.

20. Explain how the special keyword, return, works.

21. What is a hidden form element?  What good is it if visitors can't see it?
22. Which of the following is not part of the URL-encoding process?
a. Each element name and value is separated by an equals sign (=).
b. An ampersand (&) is placed between name/value pairs.
c. Spaces in the input are indicated with a plus sign (+).
d. Ampersands (&), quotes ("), and percent signs (%) are preceded by a backslash (\).
e. None of the above.  All are part of the URL-encoding process.
23-25. Match the following form terms with the appropriate description.
a. hidden
d. selected
b. checkbox
e. checked
c. radio
1. Only one elements of this type can be chosen at any one time.
2. One or more elements of this type can be chosen at one time.
3. Makes a radio button or checkbox selected by default.
4. Can be used to store information, but the element is not visible to the visitor.
5. Makes a drop-down menu item selected by default.
26-30. Match the following benefits and disadvantages with the type of form validation it best fits.
a. batch form validation
c. real-time validation
b. client-side form validation
d. server-side form validation

1. Easy to bypass correcting a problem.
2. The browser does not need to support client-side scripting or have JavaScript turned on in order for it to run.
3. Performed immediately upon completion of a field entry.
4. Not performed until the form is submitted.
5. Fast and responsive.
6. Increases the load on the server leaving it less free to handle other requests quickly.
7. The entire form is checked once, in one fell swoop.
8. Visitor is alerted as soon as an error is made.
9. Will not be run if the browser does not support JavaScript or JavaScript is not turned on.
10. Slow and unresponsive.
31. What is a cookie?

32. List and describe three well-meaning uses for cookies.

33. Chips Ahoy! make the best cookies.
(True)              (False)

34. List and describe two not-so-well-meaning uses for cookies.

35-37. List and describe the six cookie ingredients.

38. What is DHTML?

39. To access the width of the current window in most DOM2 compliant browsers, the proper dot notation is: ______________________________.

40. What is a constructor function?

41. The ________________ function is a built-in general constructor function that allows you to create a custom object.
42-44. Match each of the following cookie ingredients with its appropriate description.
a. domain
d. path
b. expires
e. secure
c. name
f. value

1. This ingredient defines the lifespan of a cookie.
2. This ingredient labels the information you want to store.
3. This ingredient specifies the Web site that is allowed to access the cookie.
4. This ingredient indicates whether a secure HTTP connection is required to access the cookie.
5. This ingredient specifies the URL directories allowed to access the cookie.
6. This ingredient is the information you want to save during or between sessions.


Get the answers here:Answer Key

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Baddest of the Bad - Pitfall Harry

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When thinking about the baddest of the bad, some names come to mind, Jack Bauer, Chuck Norris, Rocky, Steve Irwin, Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer not Dennis Quaid) and Pitfall Harry.

I can make a solid argument that Pitfall Harry is hands-down number one when it comes to the baddest individuals of all time.  If you consider several reasons for such a comparison, you simply start at the beginning - what makes Pitfall Harry tick. 

Most games require the hero to be going through the trials and tribulations of the game for a reason, whether it be saving the world, saving the kingdom, saving the princess - there is generally a greater good being performed by the brave main character.  Not Pitfall Harry.  He has only one reason to go through the torturous hell of the jungle and that is money.  He has his eye on the prize, rake up the cash.  Whether it be through diamond rings, silver, money bags, or gold (Glenn Beck would be so proud), that is where Pitfall Harry's heart lies.

Now let's look at the actual challenges that Pitfall Harry must embrace.  Throughout the jungle he has to take on rattlesnakes and scorpions.  Now a lesser badass would simply use some sort of weapon to remove these creatures, such as arrow, gun, or machete.  Not Pitfall Harry.  No, he looks at a rattlesnake and scorpion and taunts them, plays with them, jumps over them as if to say, "I dare you to bite me."

Jumping over water holes - no problem.  Catching a swinging vine - no problem.  Jumping onto the closed mouth of an alligator - no problem.  To reiterate, JUMPING ONTO THE CLOSED MOUTH OF AN ALLIGATOR!  If that doesn't constitute badass, what does.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Include Files into your HTML

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Including a Web page inside another Web page makes creating sites simple.  For example, if you have a Web page with content and want to include your site's navigation you can use an include instead of copying and pasting the code into the page.  The reason to do this is simple, if you make changes to the included file, you only need to do it once instead of changing every single page on your site.

PHP, ASP, and ColdFusion all have tags that act as include tags.  However, HTML does not have an include tag built into the DTD.  There is a simple way around this, code everything through JavaScript and include the JavaScript file.

Note: The only downside is that if the user has JavaScript turned off, this will not work.

In the .js file (the included file):

You can put anything in this file, if it is basic HTML, simply use document.write("<MY HTML TAGS>")

Save it as .js.

In your file, just call the JavaScript file into the page <script language="JavaScript" src="my file to include.js"></script>

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What the NFL can Learn from Madden '92

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I am sitting watching the Bears play the Lions (a battle of two pretty bad teams) and thought about how football can be improved.  Then, I remembered Madden '92 and it just came to me!

Tips Creating Passwords that Keep Hackers Out

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Every semester I have a student tell me about some horror story of being hacked and their personal information released to the world.  Most of the hackers who try to access your information are inexperienced and use basic tools to get at your accounts (commonly known as 'script kiddies').  Here are some basic tips to securing your passwords and keeping wannabe hackers and 'script kiddies' away from your information.

- Don't use anything personal about you, i.e. your middle name, dog's name, wife's name, etc.

- Avoid real words.  A lot of the common scripts used to crack passwords goes through a common dictionary and attempts all of the words until it finds a match.

- Make it 6 letters and above.  Short passwords are much easier to crack.  The longer the better.

- Mix upper and lower-case.  This will act as a big stepping stone for a wannabe hacker to get around and a simple precaution you can use to stop the 'script kiddies'.

- Use different character types.  Not only should you throw in upper and lower-case characters, you should throw in different character types.  Make sure you have at least one number.  For added security, throw in some special characters such as ~ or $.

- Don't give out your password to anyone.  There is no reason that your friends, etc. have access to your accounts.  As sad as it is to think, some day these people may not be your friends but may have access to your e-mail account because you were naive enough to give them your login information.

- Should be changed monthly.  I know that this is the one that most will not live up to.  However, this will help to keep your information safe.  The more often you update, the less likely you will be hacked.

- Don't use the same password for all your Web sites.  If a hacker cracks one site, you don't want him/her to crack all your Web sites.  Even small changes (the number at the end) will make a difference.

- Make sure you clear your cookies regularly.  A few years ago I mentioned this at a staff meeting and was asked, "how am I going to remember my passwords since all my sites log me in automatically?"  If you ask this question then you are not following good security practices.  Clearing cookies is needed to keep spyware off your computer and also to clear out that information.  If passwords are being housed in cookies, I would hope they are encrypted but I have met many a horrific developer who can care less about security and wouldn't think twice about encrypting passwords.  At least once a week, clear your cookies.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Saturday Night's Afterparty/Bar Video Game - NCAA Football

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Upon returning from your Saturday night party/bar this evening, may I recommend a quick game of NCAA Football (any year) in recognition of the host of bowl games this weekend.  While memories of my youth has bowl games all being played on New Year's Day, the powers that be have broken it up over the course of several days, you can relive the experience with one quick game.

I have to admit that I will be playing a bit old version - 2006 for XBox but the experience is still the same.  Beginning in '94 as Bill Walsh Football for the Genesis and SNES, NCAA Football has evolved as great company for Madden's pro football game.  Play as one of the teams you watched today (try to avoid NIU and their sad second-half display) or create your own team.  School your friends and enjoy one of the last weekend that NCAA Football is appropriate to play.  Also, you can enjoy college rules allowing each team a chance to score in OT and only needing one foot in bounds to be a completion.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 1, 2010

JavaScript to Build your Shopping List for you

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I was writing out my grocery list and it was getting to become monotonous, I seemed to always buy the same things each time and it feels like I am writing the same ingredients.  On top of that, it wasn't very geeky.  So I threw together a quick JavaScript that will list my items (in this example, I do beer brats) and will build my grocery list by checking what I want to eat for the week.

This is just an example of one meal but it is lightweight enough to add an infinite amount of options so you can choose your meals for the week just by checking them off of a list and hit submit, and the script will create the shopping list for you.   See it in action, here -

Note: I wrote this quick and haven't really tested it cross-platform etc., so use at your own risk.

First thing I did was create a frameset:

<frameset cols="50%,*">
 <frame name="left" src="left.html">
 <frame name="right" src="right.html">

In left.html created a JavaScript at the top that will assign my variables (my food groups) and give them no value at this point (since no meals have been clicked):

 var can = "";
 var meat = "";
 var bread = "";
 var produce = "";
 var spice = "";
 var drinks = "";
 var frozen = "";

Then I created a function to show the list items in the write frame when clicked.

 function showList(){
 parent.right.document.write("<b>Bread goods:</b><br>" + bread + "<br>");
 parent.right.document.write("<b>Can goods:</b><br>" + can + "<br>");
 parent.right.document.write("<b>Drinks:</b><br>" + drinks + "<br>");
 parent.right.document.write("<b>Frozen:</b><br>" + frozen + "<br>");
 parent.right.document.write("<b>Meat goods:</b><br>" + meat + "<br>");
 parent.right.document.write("<b>Produce:</b><br>" + produce + "<br>");
 parent.right.document.write("<b>Spices:</b><br>" + spice + "<br>");

What this is doing is calling the frame (parent.right), then writing to the frame (document.write) the name of the group + the item that will go under the group heading (which is in the body of the document).

Then I create a form on the page that will have some check boxes that, when checked, will write the ingredients in the right column.  Like so:

 <h4>Choose items for the week:</h4>
   <form name="form1" action="javascript:showList()">

<input type="checkbox" name="ingredients" onClick="meat = meat + '1 Package Bratwurst (Beer brats)<br>'; bread = bread + '8 Hot Dog Buns (Beer brats)<br>';">Beer brats (add 
<input type="checkbox" name="ingredients" onClick="drinks = drinks + 'Beer<br>';">Beer)<br>

What this is - a checkbox named ingredients.  When it is clicked it adds to the meat category 1 package of beer brats, one 8 hot dog buns to the bread category and then also threw in a beer in the drink category because beer brats aren't beer brats without beer.

You can add or subtract as many items as you would like and as many categories as you would like.  Finish off with a submit button.

  <input type="submit" value="Submit">

And, I created a little function that will clear the list.  Here is the completed code:

 <script language="JavaScript">
 var can = "";
 var meat = "";
 var bread = "";
 var produce = "";
 var spice = "";
 var drinks = "";
 var frozen = "";
 function showList(){
 parent.right.document.write("<b>Bread goods:</b><br>" + bread + "<br>");
 parent.right.document.write("<b>Can goods:</b><br>" + can + "<br>");
 parent.right.document.write("<b>Drinks:</b><br>" + drinks + "<br>");
 parent.right.document.write("<b>Frozen:</b><br>" + frozen + "<br>");
 parent.right.document.write("<b>Meat goods:</b><br>" + meat + "<br>");
 parent.right.document.write("<b>Produce:</b><br>" + produce + "<br>");
 parent.right.document.write("<b>Spices:</b><br>" + spice + "<br>");

 function clearList(){
<h4>Choose items for the week:</h4>
 <form name="form1" action="javascript:showList()">
 <input type="checkbox" name="ingredients" onClick="meat = meat + '1 Package Bratwurst (Beer brats)<br>'; bread = bread + '8 Hot Dog Buns (Beer brats)<br>';">Beer brats (add  <input type="checkbox" name="ingredients" onClick="drinks = drinks + 'Beer<br>';">Beer)<br>
 <br><input type="submit" value="Submit">
 <a href="#" onClick="javascript:clearList()">Start Over</a>

Now, don't forget to create a page named right.html that is blank and can be written to.

Enjoy and no more writing grocery lists.

How do you Code your CSS?

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I was just writing some CSS code and thought about how I was typing it out and what works for me. I generally separate all of my different attributes on different lines, like so:

font-family: arial;
text-decoration: none;

This way I find it easy to go back and pick out attributes. But that got me thinking, how does other developers line up their code. I started going to other Web sites and looking at the source (at the same time it helped since my brain is fried from looking at the screen so long).

I see a lot of one line code:

.myCSS { font-family: arial; text-decoration: none; }

I see some that has all of the CSS together with no line breaks whatsoever.

I thought, how does DreamWeaver line up its CSS? It lines it up more like I do but places the { } differently:

.myCSS {
font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
text-decoration: none;

How about Word '07? It is sort of like I do and sort of like DreamWeaver but again moves the { } and also spaces it out differently:

{font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
text-decoration: none;}

I guess in the end, there is no real right way or wrong way to line up your CSS. Since I do all of my coding by hand, I like doing it per separate lines in order to find the attributes quickly when making changes - and as any designer/developer knows when dealing with clients, there are ALWAYS changes. However, there are quite a few sites I found that keep all of the CSS tightly knit in one line. Beauty is in the eye of the coder, I suppose.