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Web hello.co.uk

Site FAQ


Browser issues

Site Features

Conversions, Units and Calculators


What is the purpose of the site?

The site is intended as a general reference work primarily aimed at UK users. By nature the Internet is global in scope. It is sometimes difficult to pick out information, resources and suppliers of goods and services local to the UK. Hello.co.uk is designed at the outset as a UK focused gateway for individuals and companies to find the information they need.

Does the site contain any non UK material?

Yes of course. We do not limit site content but simply attempt to present subject material from a UK perspective.

Where is the News?

Hello.co.uk is not a news site - it's a reference site. It attempts to reduce the need for weighty reference works on your book shelf. Hello.co.uk may carry some topical information like weather and currency rates but it is not our aim to provide current affairs material.

How often does the site change?

A reference site needs to be easy to use. Whilst we are continually adding new information we attempt to keep the site format as static as possible. We do not rearrange material unless it is necessary. We believe you would prefer material to be in the same place whenever you visit.

Hello.co.uk is not an attention-grabbing, rib-tickling, fun-loving, bottom-kicking, continually-changing, glitzy site and we like it that way. Hello.co.uk is aimed at the intelligent, calm, thoughtful person looking for real information rather than action and fast changing ephemeral content.

Is the Site Family Friendly?

All content is suitable for a family audience including the results from Google searches. We never knowingly include 'Adult' material. We are similarly careful of the sites we link to. Of course the Internet is continually evolving and sites can change their nature and content without warning. Please tell us if you find we've linked to any site you believe to be unsuitable.

Can I suggest links for inclusion on your site?

If you know of a site you think we should include then email the details and it will be considered. Please remember our working model is a 'reference site'. The Internet is full of 'interesting' sites which we do not regard as reference material. However it is sometimes difficult to differentiate sites by this rather arbitary criterion. Some sites of this nature may be listed if we judge them to have special merit.

Why is your site called Hello.co.uk?

We wanted an easily remembered web site name with broad appeal. We chose 'Hello' because the word is an internationally recognised English Language word of welcome. We think it reflects our commitment to provide an open friendly site with no connection or bias to any particular industry, commercial sector or political view.

Is Hello.co.uk connected with any other organisations with a similar name?

No. When we last checked there were more than 40 registered UK companies with the word Hello in their name. We have no connection with any of them.

How long has Hello.co.uk been available on the Internet?

Hello.co.uk was one of the first web sites to appear on the Internet. It has been in continuous existence since 1995. Hello.co.uk has always provided information to the technical community. We now plan to provide a wider range of reference material to a broader audience.

Who runs Hello.co.uk?

Hello.co.uk is run by a family owned, small UK company, Altek Instruments Ltd. We are based in Walton-on-Thames, about 15 miles to the south west of London. To learn more click the 'About Us' link in the sidebar.

I have another question not addressed in this FAQ

We always try to be helpful. Please email if you have any questions.

Browser issues and site problems

Which browser do you recommend for your site.

We do not recommend specific browsers as they all have their strengths and weaknesses. We test our site with what we believe to be the three most popular browsers. The site is know to work properly with Internet Explorer(v6.0+), Netscape(v7.02+) and Opera(v7.10+).

Some earlier browsers are known to work but the appearence of the site may be compromised. Some do not support all the technical requirements needed to make full use of the site's features. We recommend you upgrade to at least the version mentioned.

Some things do not work with my browser.

We use a number of technical features on this web site. For the site to work as intended your browser should at least support Javascript, Cookies and Style Sheets. These are known generally as DHTML features. In the past browsers differed in the way they supported some of these features making it virtually impossible design a web page that worked with all browsers. However a new DOM (Document Object Model) standard is now being adopted by all new browsers. We shall support this new standard exclusively in the future which means some older browsers may not work with all our pages. If something doesn't work for you please upgrade your browser to the latest version.

I have a problem with my browser.

Since our first web site in 1995 we have yet to see a browser without any bugs and/or glitches. Sometimes these difficulties are minor but it is virtually impossible to design a web site which works well and looks good with all browsers. We check our site with the most common browsers and we try to avoid leading edge features until they have matured. Nevertheless some users may experience problems with viewing our site with older versions of some browsers.

There appears to be a bug in your site.

Please let us know. But be aware some site issues may be caused by using older browsers (refer to the other FAQs on Browser Issues and site problems.)

The search box causes an error for my browser

This is a known issue with some versions of Internet Explorer 5. Upgrade to a later version and the problem will disappear.

Site Features: Page Tabs

How do your Page Tabs work, where is the information stored

The information is held in your own computer using a Persistent First Party Cookie. Your browser must have cookies enabled for the Tabs to work. The Tabs will be unique to the computer used to program them. If you use different computers for different jobs you can program the tabs differently on each machine. The cookie will expire after a long period of inactivity. However you only need visit the Hello.co.uk site at least once per year to keep your Tabs programmed. (If the date on your computer is incorrectly set it may affect the expiry period)

What are the limits on each Page Tab

To avoid disturbing the page design the Tab title is limited to 10 characters. The link URL may be up to 100 characters. Characters with special meaning to HTML (example <b>) are not allowed and are filtered out. There is no limit on the number of times you change the Tab settings.

How do I enter the link

The link is entered as a URL to the target site exactly like the URL entered into the browsers's Address bar. This will usually be a link using the http: potocol but advanced users may like to know other protocols like ftp: can also be linked to (browser dependent). URLs should generally use 'absolute' addressing unless you are linking to another page on this web site.

How do I link to a local Web page on my own computer or Intranet

There are a number of ways depending how your computer is configured and which browser you use. The best method is described later under the heading "A Better Way". Linking to local files has proved difficult for some so I will attempt to give a comprehensive answer. If you don't need all the details just skip to the relevant paragraph. There is an answer to all the difficulties mentioned - see 'A Better Way' below.

Using Microsoft Windows on a machine with no local web server installed. As an example lets assume your file you want to link to has this path...

...then the URL to link to this would be...
Notice that all the slashes are 'forward slashes' you should never use 'backslashes' in a URL. Microsoft Explorer and other browsers will make any necessary corrections if the filing system itself uses backslashes.

Although the foregoing syntax for a URL pointing to a local file is correct it will not always work. Many browsers now consider access to a local file from a remote web site to be a security issue and will not grant access. It WILL work if you use the URL on a local machine linking to a local file but Hello.co.uk is a remote site and many recent browsers will not allow you to link direct into your local filing system.

If you are using Interner Explorer v6.0 you can make it work by changing the URL slightly. I do not know if this is a 'bug' or a 'feature' and future versions of IE may not work in quite the same way. Assuming the same file path as before, the URL to use is...

Notice that the drive letter is not given, the C: drive is assumed by default.

But what if you want to link to a file on say the D: drive? This can be solved by using a 'redirect' file located on the C: drive. Link the tab to the 'redirect' file and point the redirect file to any other drive location on your computer or Intranet.

Here is an example 'redirect' file. Change the url assignment to your target file.


<META http-equiv="Refresh" content="0; url= file:///d:/myotherdir/myotherfile.html ">
<p>Redirecting to new location

The latest versions of Netscape and Mozilla browsers do not seem to allow access to the local machine's filing system from a remote site at all.

Opera allows access using a different syntax. You can link to a file on the computer using this syntax...
This is similar to (but not quite the same as) the http syntax mentioned below.

A better Way

All the difficulties outlined in the paragraphs above arise because of the security implications of linking direct into a non controlled section of the computer's local filing system from a remote site on the public Internet.

Using the Tabs on the Hello.co.uk' web pages does not in itself pose a security risk but if files on your machine are accessible in this way a malicious web site could be set up with links to probe or even run files on your local machine.

However there is a better way. If you were to create an isolated directory (or set of directories) containing only non risk files then it would be safe to link to them from a remote site. This is exactly what happens when you install a web server on your local machine. All the files are isolated in a secure section of your filing system and the browsers then allow them to be linked from a remote site. From the point of view of the Local Computer User the directories and files appear as normal. Providing you do not open your web server to the outside world then the files remain private to your own machine and cannot be accessed from elsewhere.

Here are the details. Install Web Server software on your local machine. This can be any of the Microsoft Servers IIS or PWS. Or if, like us, you prefer to use an alternative Web Server. Use Apache- it is free, well supported, installs perfectly on a Windows Machine is easy to maintain, runs faultlessly and interfaces with PHP and MySQL database and is easily the most successful Web Server on the Internet.

Your Web Server will provide a safe directory structure for your Web documents. Providing you do not make your web server publically available outsiders will not have access to your pages but you will be able to link to them from the Hello.co.uk page tabs from your local machine.

Here are some examples of URLs used to link to the files. It is assumed the target file is located at /mydir/myfile.html relative to your web root directory.

Assuming web server is located on your local machine

Assuming web server is located on a machine with an IP number on your intranet.

Assuming web server is located on a machine with an IP number on your intranet and you are using a non standard port 8080.

Assuming web server is located on a machine called 'fred' on your intranet.

Site Features: Jotter

What is the purpose of the Jotter

The Jotter is a quick and easy place to note down scraps of information as they appear randomly throughout your working day. Telephone numbers, appointments, details of telephone calls, things to do, and so on. You can type your information direct to the Jotter or cut 'n' paste it.

How do I save the information

Everything is saved automatically as soon as you enter it, you don't need to do anything. Even if your computer suffers a sudden power failure your information will have been saved. The next time you open the jotter the information will be there.

How does it work. Where is the information saved

The Jotter uses a cookie to save the information. The cookie is updated each time you change the jotter text. You do not need to remember file names or directories the web browser handles everything for you. The information is stored on the computer you used to note the information, you can only see your Jotter notes from that computer.

The Jotter does not work for me

For the jotter to work you must be using a browser with cookie capability and cookies must be enabled. In the interests of privacy recent browsers give the user much control over the use of cookies. If you disable cookies then the Jotter will not work. The Jotter needs the use of a 'Persistent First Party Cookie'. If you feel the need to reject persistent cookies then you can enter www.hello.co.uk in your trusted site list to overide this restriction for our site.

Conversions, Units and Calculators

Unit Conversion and Calculators: How accurate are they?
We believe the results are accurate to within normal working limits. However some units of measurement, particularly archaic units, may be inherently imprecise. You are also limited by the accuracy of the mathematics software built into your browser. Furthermore there is the possibility of human error when compiling the conversion factors. If you are working on a critical application it is prudent to compare the result with a second source. We strive for accuracy but cannot always guarantee it under all circumstances.
Why do your currency rates sometimes differ from other web sites?
Some sites show a continually updated currency rate. This is fine if you are a currency trader or need to know the instantaneous rate. However if you want to buy currency for a trip abroad or work out the cost of a foreign credit card purchase the instantaneous rate is not the best choice. Banks use a rate published at a fixed time each day. We use the rate published by the US Federal Reserve Bank in New York. The rates are updated each working day at midday (local time).
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