Site Security Information
Some pages on this site use various combinations of Java Script, ActiveX Controls, PERL and CGI.
No One ever seems to explain what the above are all about (at least in simple terms)....
Though somewhat involved, I'll try & explain each as simply as I know how.....
The purpose of this page is to explain why we use such code.
The entire purpose of this site is to serve as both a reference to vintage audio/video technology, as well us present the various transfer services we offer. As such, this entire site contains no malicious code whatsoever. In fact we do not even place so much as a single cookie on your system. Any information obtained whatsoever, such as email address as provided when contacting us, will NEVER be sold nor divulged to anyone, nor become part of a mailing list. Thus installing/running any Java or ActiveX Controls is perfectly safe anywhere on this site.
ok... let's get started :
Almost all professional sites use at least one (or more likely) a combination of these tools....
Java ® - Java Script
Developed by Sun Microsystems ®, Java Script has become a worldwide programming standard. So popular is it, that it's almost impossible to browse the web very far without encountering it.. Standard HTML (the code for building a viewable web page by browsers) has very limited functionality. HTML was initially designed to be nothing more than a standard of instructions as how web pages should be displayed by a browser. In that sense, the generated web page you see in your browser is considered a static page... That is: unchanging and exactly as specified by the html code that generated it. Further development of the web, meant the possibility for web pages to become more interactive, for which the original html standard itself was never designed nor intended to do.....
Java has many attributes and capabilities far beyond that of standard HTML code.... We use it on some pages to allow users to change the background color and on our "Contact Form" page to capture the required response to the dynamically generated CAPTCHA image or to return to the form without losing any of the previously entered data.. Java also supports extensive mathematical functions as used on the Webcam page to calculate temperature conversions. Aside from the far greater capabilities of Java to present /recognize user input & deliver a response, another key virtue is that the Java Script can be included along with the standard html and run as part of a standard web page. Though it is not standard html coding, it happily co-exists with standard web page html....
Most importantly, Java Script is not platform dependent; meaning that it will run equally and predictably as well for Windows users, Mac, Linux as well as on Unix platforms. One relatively small Java snippet of code embedded in a web page, covers all the bases so to speak, without the programming nightmare of having to determine which platform the request originated from to properly handle the request and then replying with a properly formatted response or page view. Many more reasons, but that's the main gist of it....
Most everyone is familiar with Windows Internet Explorer prompting whether to allow ActiveX Controls to be run. Few ever attempt to explain what it means in simple terms...
ActiveX can mean a number of things depending on the application, but in general terms as far as this site is specifically concerned and how it is utilized, it means the user can control various aspects of how a web page is presented or how information say from an external source is provided. ActiveX is not really a specific application per se, but rather a classification more than anything else.... Very simplistically, ActiveX implies the end user is allowing an external piece of code to run to control say, the site appearance and/or any external data presented, other than what the original html initially called for. In other words, something else externally will be allowed to execute.
For example: our forms page at one time, required the entering the textual representation of a CAPTCHA image as a means to prevent our being spammed by automated "Bots". This requires an external call to a remote CAPTCHA generating program that automatically generated a new random word triggered by every page load, and presents it back on our Contact Form Page.. This is naturally far beyond what the original html of the web page called for, since it resulted in an automatic outside reference to an executable, not initially specified when you clicked the original URL. One has to trust the automatic executable it performed (in this case the CAPTCHA image) was not instead, malicious code....
Even though "legit", your browser's security parameters, will deem the access to the CAPTCHA generator as being an ActiveX Control. In practical terms: Though the rest of the page will display normally in your browser, not permitting ActiveX to run on our "Contact Form" page, would not allow the display of the externally generated CAPTCHA image, since doing so would constitute running an "ActiveX Control".
ActiveX Control applications can be very dangerous if the site is not trusted, in that allowing external code to be run outside what the standard html called for, can result in unintended malicious code being executed. For trusted sites, allowing the use of ActiveX makes for a pleasant - easy and friendly user environment & in many cases is necessary to allow necessary features. Later versions of Windows Explorer as a security feature however, blocks the use of deemed Active-X Controls by default. For this site, simply allow the use of ActiveX Controls. Nowhere on our entire site is there any malicious code......
PERL (Practical Extraction & Report Language)
PERL Script can do again what html itself cannot... Written as a data collection and reporting language, PERL is commonly used as part of CGI (See below). This site uses PERL to collect general site statistics (ie: search terms used to find us, referrers etc) but mostly as a convenient means to capture and process the fields from our Contact Form Page. It's similar to Java in many respects, in that it is an object oriented script that needs an interpreter to process the script and execute. Unlike Java that must be installed on the user's system and run locally however, the PERL Script interpreter and processing, is instead processed on our server as part of a CGI.
In simple terms, you need not install PERL...... The reason, you ask ???: There is nothing for the end user to do & nothing to install ! Since it is nothing more than a data collection and reporting language that requires no further action from the user, it's already installed and running on our server. Merely submitting a form in this example, will call the PERL routine from our CGI-Bin area and "look" at the form submission fields and extract the info you entered, then generate for example, an email to us if we so choose. The fact that we used PERL to extract the data, is totally transparent to the end user. Since it changes nothing & is merely a capture/reporting tool so to speak, it is not normally considered or to be confused as being an ActiveX Control.
Most forms use PERL as the tool to extract the submitted data, including header information. It is also commonly used to track site statistics. It is really nothing more than a data collection tool....
It's sometimes more "accurately" referred to by programmers, as a "Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister"... (I have no reason to doubt the validity of the term)
CGI ( Common Gateway Interface )
There are many applications of CGI... But in terms of standard web pages you'll encounter on the web and as for this site; I've narrowed the discussion appropriately
A standard HTML web page document is static by definition.... meaning it exists exactly "as is" - dictated solely by the standard html coding as called for (read: a standard web page) .....
Some pages however, are dynamic - meaning generally, that they are more than just static, but rather; interactive..... Your response to a query for example, may generate a CGI program call, thus that it can output a dynamic response based on your input to either the end user or the host. Simply put: the page itself or site experience will change somehow based on your input.
PERL, C, C++, & Visual Basic are the most common processors run, though Fortran and a few others are also used..... Again: what defines a CGI, is the basic page being augmented by a response.
Thus CGI is more of a classification, than a specific application.... Perl, C++ and VB will all run in the CGI-Bin directory on the host sever. Put another way: CGI applications are always Server Side (meaning they are run on the host server), while Java is always "Client Side".... meaning it runs & processes the Java Script on your local system....
In real terms: there is nothing for the end user to do as far as CGI is concerned.... Nothing to install or maintain, as all processing is done on the server side. The use of C, C++ and VB as an external call, may however, be interpreted by your browser as being deemed an ActiveX Control.
Flash - Adobe Systems ®
Flash was originally nothing much more than a movie generating program, where various layered objects could be animated via key frame tweening & morphing and later exported & played back as a Flash Movie. Flash makes for "Wow" animated effects of various objects ! Later incarnations allowed Flash to sample user input (keyboard/mouse for example) and dynamically modify the movie based on user input (such as the ability to calculate physics motion & collisions between objects via script calls in real time ! )
Some flash applications are merely animated banners, logo's or text, while others may fully encompass an entire site - complete with animated navigation.
To be able to view Flash content, requires downloading and installing the Free Flash Player from Adobe Systems ®. Flash Player Download
To date, other than some Flash video clips, we have not yet incorporated Flash into our site; the belief being that content is more important than "glitz". Perhaps someday, I'll play with it and do up a "Flashy Logo", but that's still somewhere on the back burner.....
As with all extended applications, there is always some additional risk in allowing Flash to run. As long as you are running the latest version of Flash Player which has plugged certain security "holes", it's probably far safer than using any of the popular browsers themselves to surf the web....
Terms and Conditions to using this site
Last Modified: Mar 11, 2008
Since 1978 - Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Video Interchange
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92 George Luce Rd
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