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#714: Anchors in iWeb, Keyboard Shortcuts Follow-Up, Spam Tips

 
     
 

Happy Tuesday,

It’s amazing how much greener it is around here after only a week away. Don, Ed, Kali, and I went down to the Washington, DC area for the annual meeting of the Apple Specialist Marketing Coop (ASMC).

With temperatures in the upper seventies and bright sunshine all week, it was a welcome departure from the inconsistent and muddy environs we call home; in fact, we were welcomed home with near-freezing temperatures and wet snow falling for much of the weekend.

Owen, the dog pictured at left, always stays with my friend Jon over in the Champlain Valley when I travel. Each time I leave him he manages to sneak out—he can open doors!—and chase me down the long driveway. Each time I come to pick him up, though, he is hesitant to jump into the car.

Jon’s two Labs and Owen grew up together in Moretown, where I live now; they remain best of friends. Jon’s pack grew before Owen’s arrival with an Australian Cattle Dog pup named Moxie. She’s about a third of Waylon’s size (Waylon is Tony’s heeler) and is just as crazy.

As always, thanks for reading, and keep in touch.

Matt
matt@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  Anchors in iWeb  
   
 

I am a huge fan of iWeb. Despite being versed in HTML, I find that iWeb is an easy, aesthetically pleasing way to create and maintain an active site without being a techno-whiz. However, despite improved features and functionality with each new release, iWeb still has its imperfections and I ran into one of them last week.

I was creating a new page for my website—a FAQ on Pregnancy Massage—and I wanted to use anchors. Anchors allow links to be made from one area of a page to another. For example, with many online FAQs, the standard format is to have a list of questions at the top of the page and each question is a link to the full answer located further down the page. This is a relatively simple function that is built into most remedial website deign applications. I was sure iWeb must support it as well!

After searching through the help menu and getting no results, I turned to the Apple Discussions board. It was there that I learned that not only does iWeb not support anchors, but people have been complaining about this lost feature since the first edition of iWeb.

I ran across several workarounds but most seemed very cumbersome. Most suggestions involved exporting the site to a local folder and then editing the raw HTML or using a third party program that edited the HTML for the user. While that’s a valid workaround, it defeated my use of the program which is to make quick edits and be able to publish them directly from iWeb on the fly.

I finally found a solution that was not only simple, but it could be done right from within iWeb. This is how I did it:

  1. First write up your FAQ page so the layout is the way you want it. Then, publish it as-is (without links).
  2. Go to your new page and record the URL. For this example let’s say your URL is ‘http://web.mac.com/smalldog/FAQ.html’
  3. Go back into iWeb, select your first FAQ question, enable it as a hyperlink and use the URL ‘http://web.mac.com/smalldog/FAQ.html#widget1’.
  4. Enable your next FAQ question as a hyperlink using the URL ‘http://web.mac.com/smalldog/FAQ.html#widget2’. Continue in this manner to create hyperlinks for each FAQ.
  5. Now, create an HTML widget for each FAQ answer (Insert -> Widget -> HTML Snippet) and drag it so that it’s next to the answer. The trick here is that you need to be sure to create the widgets in order. For example, make sure the first widget you create on the page goes with your first FAQ question. iWeb is smart in the sense that it knows the order that the widgets were created, so if you start creating widgets and don’t keep track of which number the are, you can end up with links that take you to the wrong answers. You need to put something benign in the HTML Widget, I used <a name=“anchor”></a> This will make the widget invisible on the page without making it clickable. Once your widgets are in place go ahead and publish!

You should be left with a nice, neat page where each FAQ question links to the appropriate FAQ answer. We know that what is really going on is that each FAQ question links to a hidden corresponding widget, but the people surfing your site never need to know that!

I really love this solution because it’s easy enough for any average user and the page can continue to be edited in the future without the need to use a messy third-party work around. I hope you find fun ways to use this on your website!

 
   
     
  Follow-up: Safari Keyboard Shortcuts  
   
 

Thanks to the many readers who pointed out my failing to include a very important few keyboard shortcuts for Safari users who enjoy tabbed browsing.

To switch between open tabs, press Option-right arrow; to move backwards between open tabs, press Shift-Option-right arrow.

Apple has an extensive compendium of shortcuts on its support site. If ever there were a time to print something out and keep within reach, this is it!

 
   
     
  Tip of the Week: Mail's Spam Filter  
   
 

Mac OS X includes Mail, a robust and highly customizable email program with support for POP, IMAP, and Exchange. It’s always had a very good junk mail filter that’s easy and intuitive to set up.

When you fire up Mail and configure it for the first time, you’ll notice some of your messages appear in your inbox in an amber typeface. This color means Mail thinks the message is junk. If a message is wrongly tagged as junk, you can click once on it and then press the “not junk” button in the toolbar. Conversely, if something gets by the filter, you can click once on it and then press the junk button in the toolbar.

When you feel that Mail is adequately filtering out the junk, you can take it out of this training mode by going to Preferences in the Mail menu on top of your screen. Click Junk Mail in the Preferences window toolbar and select the appropriate option in the “When junk mail arrives…” section.

I receive several hundred emails every day, and send quite a few, too; I spent a fair amount of time training my junk filter when I started at Small Dog about four years ago, and continue to tweak the filter’s performance by marking messages that get past.

I recently made the choice to wipe my computer clean and selectively rebuild my configuration from my backup. Like anyone else, my computer tends to accumulate crap, and it’s nice to have a fresh start now and again. One thing I did not want to do is re-train my junk mail filter. I didn’t mind re-doing my rules, but the meticulous marking of junk mail over the years is priceless.

Turns out it is very simple to preserve your hard work. Simply copy com.apple.mail.plist from ~/Library/Preferences on your backup into the same spot on your restored or new computer. This has the delightful side effect of preserving all of your settings.

 
   
     
  Instant Message Spam  
   
 

I am used to helping clients reduce spam by training Mail’s spam filter and enabling the pop-up blocker in Safari and Firefox, but I saw something new in a recent consult. Our customer emailed while presented with a warning about a Windows security problem, pushing a shady Windows registry repair tool. She went ahead and bought it before asking me and was still faced with the message. I had her confirm the pop-up blocker was not enabled, and that the spam didn’t via email. So how did this happen?

It was immediately clear when I arrived at her home that the client received the spam through Skype. Her husband was on a long Skype chat, during which two spam chats came in and were left on the screen after the chat session. Our client was tricked by the message, and I wrote an email to the shareware payment processing company on her behalf. I encouraged them to issue a refund and to not do business with a company that gains new customers through deception and fear-mongering.

To prevent future incidents, I changed my client’s privacy settings in Skype by selecting Preferences from the Skype menu and pressing Privacy. I changed most of these settings to only allow incoming chats and calls from people in her contact list. iChat has similar privacy settings available by selecting Preferences from the iChat menu, clicking on the Accounts tab and selecting your account. From here you can control just who can see you and send you messages.

Take a moment to check your privacy settings regardless of your Chat program. Don’t be scared of these powerful communication tools, but do use some common sense and healthy skepticism when you are online. Keep in mind that any message referencing a Windows problem will not affect your Mac.

 
   
     
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