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Computing With Bifocals
by Nancy Carroll Gravley

A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....

Nancy's Nifty Newbie JavaScript Web Tips
April 25th, 2001

I have been on vacation this week which means I have had time to roam the Internet. I came across some really nifty Web page tricks that I have tested and want to pass along. Observers who want to learn how to do basic HTML code and create their own Web pages will find lots of help in the Index for Computing With Bifocals.

Web Tricks

Scrolling Text

This first trick allows you to include message along the bottom of your Web page window, adding one letter at a time.

See the "This i" in the lower left hand corner? That's where your text will scroll.

To do this you must use JavaScript. You don't have to understand how it works, you just have to find a script that has already been created and adapt it to your own text. As usual, it wasn't quite as easy as it sounded, but it only took me about 30 minutes to get it exactly as I wanted. To use this script you must copy it exactly and put it at the very top of your Web page. If you are using a package Web page editor that comes set up with some like this:






Take out the above HTML code in your page and insert the following code that includes this JavaScript in it's place. Note that it includes some of the same elements you deleted.

<META NAME="GENERATOR" CONTENT="Adobe PageMill 3.0 Mac">
<TITLE>Status Character Scroll</TITLE>
<!-- hide from old browsers
var init_msg = "This is a test."
var str = ""
var msg = ""
var leftmsg = ""

function setMessage()
if (msg == "")
str = " "
msg = init_msg
leftmsg = ""

if (str.length == 1)

while (msg.substring(0, 1) == " ")
leftmsg = leftmsg + str
str = msg.substring(0, 1)
msg = msg.substring(1, msg.length)
leftmsg = leftmsg + str
str = msg.substring(0, 1)
msg = msg.substring(1, msg.length)
for (var ii = 0; ii < 120; ii++)
{str = " " + str}
str = str.substring(10, str.length) // decrease str little by little

window.status = leftmsg + str
JSCTimeOutID = window.setTimeout('setMessage()',100)
// done hiding -->
<BODY BGCOLOR="#ffffff" onload="JSCTimeOutID = window.setTimeout('setMessage()',500);">

<!-- END OF SCRIPT -->

The only thing you have to change is the part I have marked in bold "This is a test." Type your message in there.

Add a Game or Two or Three

Another cool thing you can do is add a game to your Web page and this is even easier than the scrolling script. I got the scripts at a Web site called Netpedia. For anyone interested in making Web pages this is definitely a site you want to bookmark. In addition to all the JavaScripts, you can even download software for creating Web pages. When you go to their Web sit, choose "JavaScript" from the Coding category in the column on the left. When you get to the JavaScript page, you will see a list of scripts from which to choose, also in the left column. If you want a Web page development application choose "utilities" and search through the pages to see what sounds interesting. The same thing goes for "games."

There is a list of games to download, like this Maze game.

This is different in that you are downloading the script in the form of a stand alone Web page. When you download it, it will look something like this:

Sample Downloaded Icon

Since this is a complete HTML document all you have to do is save it in the same location as you save the rest of your Web page material and link to it. (http://www.your Web page link/game07.html. Make sure you upload it to your server when you are ready for others to see it!

Language Translation of Your Web Page(s)

Quite by accident I discovered a free Web site that will instantly and automatically translate your Web page into other languages or allow you to instantly translate text from any source within the limitations of the languages available. The site is called FreeTranslation. I added Spanish and French capabilities to a Web site that I created for an organization and it was not only very easy to do, it seems to work perfectly. (I don't actually read Spanish or French but it LOOKS good.) The site has the following disclaimer: is an easy-to-use site for rapid translations where you can get the "gist" of foreign language text and Web pages.

The FreeTranslation home page offers opportunities for translating text that you want to translate using cut and paste. The home page also allows you to translate a Web page from Spanish, French, or German to English, or from English to Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, or Norwegian by simply inserting the Web page URL in the box indicated and hitting "translate".

To add automatic translation capabilities to your own Web page(s) click on "Link to This Site" at the top of the page. You have three options for adding the translating capabilities to your site. I suggest you use "Add a Text Link" because it is easy.

The HTML code is provided, set up for translation from English to Spanish. It looks like this:

<a href=""> Translate this page into Spanish</a> using <a href=""></a>

You can also translate from English to French, German, Italian, Portuguese, or Norwegian by replacing the %2FSpanish above with the code given for that language. must be changed to the URL of the page you want to have translated. You must add the code to each of your pages anywhere within the Body. Once the HTML code is added the following link(s) will appear on your page at whatever point you have inserted the code - one for each language. You can make the fonts for these messages as large or small as you wish.

I have set up the Spanish translation on my personal Web page and you are welcome to switch over to it to see how the translation works.

If you have any questions, comments, or tips, let me know and I may include them in a future column.

Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions  for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping.   To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.

Post your comments below.
Check out Nancy's complete index of all her columns for the most complete list of tips anywhere. The list is categorized and is a great reference when you are looking for help!

A Capacious Catalog Of Computer Tips

Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color, covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.

Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.

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