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For 2023 - we are now fully retired from IT training.
We have made many, many friends over 25 years of teaching about Python, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, Java, C and C++ - and MySQL, Linux and Solaris/SunOS too. Our training notes are now very much out of date, but due to upward compatability most of our examples remain operational and even relevant ad you are welcome to make us if them "as seen" and at your own risk.

Lisa and I (Graham) now live in what was our training centre in Melksham - happy to meet with former delegates here - but do check ahead before coming round. We are far from inactive - rather, enjoying the times that we are retired but still healthy enough in mind and body to be active!

I am also active in many other area and still look after a lot of web sites - you can find an index ((here))
Making the most of critical emails - reading behind the scene

You can't please 100% of the people 100% of the time. So if you have a public facing website with anything like a reasonable number of visitors (we had accesses from over 16,000 different IP addresses in the last 24 hours), you're bound to have a few visitors who aren't totally delighted with what the see. The majority of them will just click away, so you won't be aware of their concerns and indeed your log files will show them identically to people who land at exactly the page they want and are delighted with what they learn - they tend to just click away too! So when someone takes the trouble to send you an email, you read it with great care; it could be the tip of an iceberg.


I am sure you are a bright person, but to say you are not a fan of frames and also to prove it by not using them shows a great deal of ignorance.

Your website like 99.999% of all websites fail to use frames effectively and by doing so cause the visitor to spend a great deal of time scrolling up and down. How stupid. So I have to scroll down to view the entire article but then I want to check out other things on your site and I have to scroll up to the top to find the menu. How stupid. Or even more annoying is the jumping div element that some goofy programmers employ to move the menu as the user scrolls.

It is not that difficult, put the menu in a frame so it stays visible and use another frame for the content. There is zero lose of functionality and a million percent improvement in usability. But because very few teachers/trainers are bright enough to espouse the virtues of frames they are rarely used.

It would be like Microsoft making all the menus in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. scroll off the screen as the user expands their document. How stupid would that be?!?! Just as exceedingly stupid as having one big body element with everything in it so your menu disappears when the visitor scrolls down to view other elements of your site. But that is what most sites do why because nobody knows how to use frames.

In general programmers are good at writing code but the really suck at developing usable sites. This is proven time and time again by the annoying implementation of flash or other popping, whirling, spinning or other crap like that displayed on numerous sites.


Well - that's a strong view, isn't it? I've previously written a "When to use Frames" article, and I would love to use them much more - but there are all sorts of issues with bookmarking, search engine placement, printing, complexity, alignment [and their deprecation in HTML 5 - thanks for the email to remind me, Ted!]... which have discouraged me in the past and will continue to do so into the future. I agree there would be gains from their use, but there would be losses too and, overall, the losses would probably outweigh they gains. We certainly wouldn't gain enough to justify the work to be done to make it happen.

But something doesn't quite add up about Vince's email. He's saying that only 1 in 100,000 web sites gets it right. Whilst we're not afraid to be different, we would have to think very carefully before adopting a scheme that so few others use. And he goes on to talk about jumping menus, and irritating flash elements which we certainly don't have on our site. So I think his email - though perhaps not a widely circulated spam - is a "form letter" that he's written once and sent to many.

Log files are very useful to retrace specific visits to a web site, and I decided to have a look and see whether "our Vince" had visited our site before sending his email to us. And indeed he had. He had arrived at 03:07 - via a google search for "PHP Frames" and spent six minutes reading our "Using Frames in PHP" page - which is a HowTo guide with complete example source that's runnable. He then ran the demonstration, changing the frame content 16 times before leaving the site at 03:20. His email is timestamped 35 minutes later, so either that's how long he took to write it, or he was off researching other sites who he felt might benefit from his comments.

All very curious - and a really interesting piece of detective work which I have quite enjoyed. I'm left wondering "what is his purpose in writing in this way" - no links in the email, no offer to sell his services to add frames to our site, not even a URL to go and look at. So - just as he had found us through Google, I decided to see what footprint he had there ... and I found that he's posted reviews of various products in the past ...


I purchase the ER33C after reading a lot of reviews and all I can say is there are a lot of people that are satisfied with poor performance.

The ER33C is VERY uncomfortable with ALL of the supplied tips. I modified the gray tip and it was sort of comfortable but not great.

The most common complaint I have read is that the mike slips down away from your mouth and you cannot be heard. I found this to be the case and moments after moving the mike up near your mouth it would slip down again. The reason is because of a poor placement of the cord which tugs on the boom pulling it down and could easily be rectified by Etymotic. ...



I purchased a pair of the Bose Tri-Port headphones and all I can say is they are the worst headphones I have ever used! I got these because they supposedly had superior bass response. Not only is the bass very poor but in general the sound is very poor. For $90 I was expecting to be blown away and raving about how good they are but that is FAR from reality. The $5 replacements at Wal-Mart would be better. ...


When I saw this phone I liked it instantly. The size and feel are great and it looks slick too. One of the main reasons I was looking for a new phone, particularly a Nokia, was due to my dissatisfaction with the Motorola Q9h; or more specifically the Microsoft operating system. Not only did every application respond slowly but the phone frequently rebooted it self and froze.

Anyway, the E71 looked like it was going to be everything I wanted ...

But now that I have owned this phone for a while I am a little disappointed by:

Goes on to list over 10 "design flaws" in the strong and colourful language you've already seen ...

There are a couple of other reviews too of a similar ilk, but I think my quotes above are more than sufficient to set the scene. I wasn't able to find any generally positive posts to help redress the balance.

Conclusion. Vincent Terpe, online from Michigan USA, has actually performed a useful service for us in triggering me to think again about our frames strategy - but my view remains that our site would loose more than it would gain by having changes made in this area. He's also given me a fascinating case study to look at and research - seeing how our log site analysis tools stack up when looking at a specific visitor, and how that visitor can easily be researched a little further. And he's reminded me to look at and thing of the person and the motive when judging apparently aggressive and critical emails. Actually I've quite enjoyed the last hour of research too, and because so much of his critical work is already in the public domain at his own hand, this is an unusual case in that I feel free to share it here.
(written 2010-12-16)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G902 - Well House Consultants - Web site techniques, utility and visibility
  [23] Skills and responsibilities - (2004-08-22)
  [32] Web design platoon - (2004-08-29)
  [98] No more 'Error 404' pages. Something better. - (2004-10-24)
  [109] URLs - a service and not a hurdle - (2004-11-04)
  [117] A case of case - (2004-11-14)
  [142] Colour for access - (2004-12-06)
  [165] Implementing an effective site search engine - (2005-01-01)
  [173] Data Mining - (2005-01-09)
  [179] The hunt for unique words - (2005-01-16)
  [182] Your personal Google ranking - (2005-01-19)
  [197] Allow for peak traffic on your web site - (2005-02-01)
  [202] Searching for numbers - (2005-02-04)
  [222] Who are all these visitors? - (2005-02-20)
  [259] Responding to spam - (2005-03-27)
  [261] Putting a form online - (2005-03-29)
  [268] Information request forms, cleaning up spam - (2005-04-05)
  [274] Our most popular resources - (2005-04-10)
  [276] An apology to Mr Boneparte - (2005-04-11)
  [278] Cover all the options - (2005-04-13)
  [284] The Iconish language - (2005-04-19)
  [288] Colour blindness for web developers - (2005-04-22)
  [311] Growth pains - (2005-05-14)
  [314] What language is this written in? - (2005-05-17)
  [320] Ordnance Survey - using a 'Get a map' - (2005-05-22)
  [322] More maps - (2005-05-23)
  [347] Frightening and from-friend viruses and spams - (2005-06-14)
  [348] Graveyard pages - (2005-06-15)
  [369] CMS - the minefield of Choices - (2005-07-05)
  [376] What brings people to my web site? - (2005-07-13)
  [414] Form Madness - (2005-08-14)
  [492] New Navigation Aid - Launch of My Wellho - (2005-11-11)
  [510] Dynamic Web presence - next generation web site - (2005-11-29)
  [528] Getting favicon to work - avoiding common pitfalls - (2005-12-14)
  [533] Bigger Box Campaign - (2005-12-18)
  [649] Denial of Service ''attack'' - (2006-03-17)
  [658] Keeping the visitors happy and browsing - (2006-03-26)
  [681] Mirroring a dynamic site - (2006-04-12)
  [718] Protecting images from theft - (2006-05-12)
  [732] Where is a web site visitor browsing from - (2006-05-24)
  [757] Horse and Python training - (2006-06-12)
  [767] Finding the language preference of a web site visitor - (2006-06-18)
  [800] Effective web campaign? - (2006-07-12)
  [893] Visibility - (2006-10-14)
  [916] Driving customers away - (2006-11-07)
  [976] Santa at the station - (2006-12-09)
  [994] Training on Cascading Style Sheets - (2006-12-17)
  [1015] Search engine placement - long term strategy and success - (2006-12-30)
  [1029] Our search engine placement is dropping. - (2007-01-11)
  [1055] Above the fold - (2007-01-28)
  [1104] Drawing dynamic graphs in PHP - (2007-03-09)
  [1177] Sorting out for a site map - (2007-05-05)
  [1184] Finding resources - some pointers - (2007-05-13)
  [1186] Two new pages / sites - (2007-05-14)
  [1198] From Web to Web 2 - (2007-05-21)
  [1207] Simple but effective use of mod_rewrite (Apache httpd) - (2007-05-27)
  [1212] What brought YOU to our web site? - (2007-06-01)
  [1237] What proportion of our web traffic is robots? - (2007-06-19)
  [1297] Stuffing content into a web page - easy maintainance - (2007-08-09)
  [1437] Above the fold with First Great Western - (2007-11-19)
  [1494] A time to update pictures - (2008-01-03)
  [1505] Script to present commonly used images - PHP - (2008-01-13)
  [1506] Ongoing Image Copyright Issues, PHP and MySQL solutions - (2008-01-14)
  [1513] Perl, PHP or Python? No - Perl AND PHP AND Python! - (2008-01-20)
  [1534] Where in the world / country is my visitor from? - (2008-02-07)
  [1541] Colour, Composition or Content - (2008-02-16)
  [1554] Online hotel reservations - Melksham, Wiltshire (near Bath) - (2008-02-24)
  [1610] PHP course dot co, dot uk - (2008-04-13)
  [1630] To provide external links, or not? - (2008-05-04)
  [1634] Kiss and Book - (2008-05-07)
  [1653] How do Google Ads work? - (2008-05-25)
  [1711] Rapid growth leads to server move - (2008-07-17)
  [1747] Who is watching you? - (2008-08-10)
  [1756] Ever had One of THOSE mornings? - (2008-08-16)
  [1793] Which country does a search engine think you are located in? - (2008-09-11)
  [1797] I have been working hard but I do not expect you noticed - (2008-09-14)
  [1833] Web Bloopers - good form design - avoiding pitfalls - (2008-10-11)
  [1856] A few of my favourite things - (2008-10-26)
  [1888] Find the link - (2008-11-16)
  [1955] How to avoid duplicating web page maintainance - (2008-12-20)
  [1961] Making our things easier to find - (2008-12-26)
  [1970] Plagarism - who is copying my pages? - (2009-01-02)
  [1982] Cooking bodies and URLs - (2009-01-08)
  [2056] Web Site Loading - experiences and some solutions shared - (2009-02-26)
  [2065] Static mirroring through HTTrack, wget and others - (2009-03-03)
  [2225] How important is a front page ranking on a search engine? - (2009-06-09)
  [2332] Formation, des langages Open Source - (2009-08-09)
  [2333] Formaci[83][c2]ón, de los lenguajes de c[83][c2]ódigo abierto - (2009-08-09)
  [2334] Formazione, Open Source computer lingue - (2009-08-09)
  [2335] Ausbildung, die Open-Source-Sprachen - (2009-08-09)
  [2336] Forma[83][c2]ç[83][c2]ão, Open Source computador l[83][c2]ínguas - (2009-08-09)
  [2337] Opleiding, Open Source computertalen - (2009-08-09)
  [2338] Uddannelse, Open Source computer sprog - (2009-08-09)
  [2339] Oppl[83][c2]æring, Open Source datamaskinen spr[83][c2]åk - (2009-08-09)
  [2340] ldning, Open Source dator spr[83][c2]åk - (2009-08-09)
  [2341] Koulutus, Open Source tietokone kielill[83][c2]ä - (2009-08-09)
  [2389] Writing with our customers words - (2009-09-01)
  [2410] Removal of technical resources from this site - (2009-09-19)
  [2519] Status Page / breaks of service in early December - (2009-11-30)
  [2532] Analysing Google arrivals by country of origin - (2009-12-10)
  [2552] Web site traffic - real users, or just noise? - (2009-12-26)
  [2569] How to run a successful online poll / petition / survey / consultation - (2010-01-10)
  [2668] Is it worth it? - (2010-03-09)
  [2981] How to set up short and meaningfull alternative URLs - (2010-10-02)
  [3022] Retaining web site visitors - reducing the one page wonders - (2010-10-31)
  [3149] Looking back at www.wellho.net - (2011-01-28)
  [3197] Finding and diverting image requests from rogue domains - (2011-03-08)
  [3367] Google +1 - what is it? - (2011-07-22)
  [3426] Automed web site testing scripted in Ruby using watir-webdriver - (2011-09-09)
  [3491] Who is knocking at your web site door? Are you well set up to deal with allcomers? - (2011-10-21)
  [3532] Sharing the user experience - designing a form with the customer in mind - (2011-11-29)
  [3554] Learning more about our web site - and learning how to learn about yours - (2011-12-17)
  [3563] How big is a web page these days? Does the size of your pages matter? - (2011-12-26)
  [3589] Promoting a single one of your domains on the search engines - (2012-01-22)
  [3623] Some TestWise examples - helping use Ruby code to check your web site operation - (2012-02-24)
  [3734] QR codes with marketing logos embedded - (2012-05-16)
  [3744] Short Web Addresses for Melksham - (2012-05-30)
  [3745] Legal change - You need to obtain user consent if you use cookies on your website - (2012-06-01)
  [3776] Some traps it's so easy to fall into in designing your web site - (2012-06-23)
  [3896] An email marathon - (2012-10-15)
  [3974] TV show appearance - how does it effect your web site? - (2013-01-13)
  [4001] Helping search engines with appropriate 400 error codes - (2013-02-11)
  [4076] Web site - fully back! - (2013-04-29)
  [4115] More or less back - what happened to our server the other day - (2013-06-14)
  [4136] How do I post automatically from a PHP script to my Twitter account? - (2013-07-10)
  [4239] Facebook marketing - early experiences - (2014-01-19)
  [4376] Well House Consultants, Well House Manor, First Great Western Coffee shop, TransWilts / 2014 web site reports - (2015-01-01)
  [4401] Selecting RECENT and POPULAR news and trends for your web site users - (2015-01-19)
  [4474] Effect on external factors on traffic to our web sites - an update - (2015-04-26)
  [4492] Almost so wrong, but perhaps it's right for some? - (2015-05-11)

A606 - Web Application Deployment - Apache httpd - log files and log tools
  [1503] Web page (http) error status 405 - (2008-01-12)
  [1598] Every link has two ends - fixing 404s at the recipient - (2008-04-02)
  [1656] Be careful of misreading server statistics - (2008-05-28)
  [1761] Logging Cookies with the Apache httpd web server - (2008-08-20)
  [1780] Server overloading - turns out to be feof in PHP - (2008-09-01)
  [1796] libwww-perl and Indy Library in your server logs? - (2008-09-13)
  [3015] Logging the performance of the Apache httpd web server - (2010-10-25)
  [3019] Apache httpd Server Status - monitoring your server - (2010-10-28)
  [3027] Server logs - drawing a graph of gathered data - (2010-11-03)
  [3443] Getting more log information from the Apache http web server - (2011-09-16)
  [3447] Needle in a haystack - finding the web server overload - (2011-09-18)
  [3670] Reading Google Analytics results, based on the relative populations of countries - (2012-03-24)
  [3984] 20 minutes in to our 15 minutes of fame - (2013-01-20)
  [4307] Identifying and clearing denial of service attacks on your Apache server - (2014-09-27)
  [4404] Which (virtual) host was visited? Tuning Apache log files, and Python analysis - (2015-01-23)
  [4491] Web Server Admin - some of those things that happen, and solutions - (2015-05-10)

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Horse's mouth home
Forward to
Melksham - two many councils?
Some other Articles
How do regular expressions work / Regular Expression diagrams
Matching to a string - what if it matches in many possible ways?
Python regular expressions - repeating, splitting, lookahead and lookbehind
Melksham - two many councils?
Making the most of critical emails - reading behind the scene
Sizers (geometry control) in a wxPython GUI - a first example
Object Oriented Programming for Structured Programmers - conversion training
Can you trust the big brand names?
Python - fresh examples from recent courses
XML handling in Python - SAX, DOM and XSLT examples
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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