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Archive for April, 2008

Sometimes You Feel Like a…, Sometimes You Don’t

Sometimes I just can’t get it right. My flight was delayed 7 hours this past Monday and as I sat in the airport, waiting for either a new plane or for them to fix the old one, I decided it was a perfect opportunity to look at my upcoming schedule of events. I have long been putting off changing the dates on my tickets for future travel, and it seemed fitting to take care of it while sitting in an airport. While I played around with the changes to one of my tickets, I found that I would be charged an extra 130 dollars to simply change the date of departure, which did not include the price of the ticket. My thoughts were something along the lines of, “Oh great, and I was hoping to change another ticket too!” I pondered whether I REALLY needed to change my second flight so I could save some money and then I happened to see that my flight itinerary had an error in it. Apparently when I was trying to book it I accidentally chose to fly into the Las Vegas airport instead of the Los Angeles airport! Too bad for me because it looks like the ticket into Los Angeles will be almost double the price and now a fee will be added onto it as well. Yes, share in my humorous error. It’s OK, you can laugh; I did. This just goes to show the importance of double to triple checking what you’re doing. Obviously I didn’t read the information carefully enough because I assumed I had it right. Fortunately at DDA there are people who proof projects after completion and they are meticulous in doing so. Too bad I can’t hire them to proof my personal projects.

Entry by: judy

Creating Basic Images in PHP

PHP can do a lot more than generate dynamic HTML, it can also generate images. There could be many reasons why you would need dynamically generated images over standard images, like creating buttons from text fields in a database or creating visual graphs from web site usage or ecommerce data. PHP also allows the image to be in a variety of formats like JPEG, GIF, BMP, and PNG.

PHP uses the function imagecreate, which takes at least two parameters (the width and height) of the image to return the handle for the image or the resource identifier. To use colors, the color must be allocated in a resource identifier using the function ImageColorAllocate($(Image Handle),RED,GREEN,BLUE). That function returns the handle or resource identifier for the color selected, which then can be used with functions like imagechar, imagefill, imagefilledrectangle, imagefilledpolygon, and imagestring.

Entry by: T-Bone

To CAPTCHA a Predator

In the past six months we have noticed a distinct increase in website form spam — forms that are filled out with junk content in them and submitted.

What causes this problem are bots — small programs, like search engine spiders, that can read and traverse websites. Unlike Spiders, these programs have malicious intent, be it just to cause vandalism, to create links to websites, or worse still, attempt to hack an unsecure form-mail system. These predatory programs can submit hundreds of forms a minute and not only cause chaos to your inbox, but slow down your server and website at the same time.

The solution is to make the form unsubmittable by a bot, this is achieved by adding a “CAPTCHA” which stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.” You have probably seen these hundreds of times and not realized what they are for. The most common type is an image CAPTCHA, which looks like this:

image CAPTCHA

You then type in what you see and therefore the form knows your not a bot and allows the form to be submitted. Here at DDA, we use these standard image versions but we have also introduced our own simple math equation version too.

As part of our website design standards, and thanks to our top notch programming team, all future forms for our clients with be built using some form of CAPTCHA system. But not resting on our laurels, as always, our team of expert website designers will keep a constant lookout for whatever future chaos spam artists try to throw at us next, and be sure we will be able to combat it just as effectively.

Entry by: mick

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