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postcards add-on 1.1x
I'll test this out with something a bunch of people have asked about, and give it an offical status.

I have the 1.1x postcards add on ready for public consumption.


You need to have a working install of Links 1.1x series.
You need to have a working mailer (I know it works with sendmail, it may need to be tweaked to work with SMTP, I've never tried it, but it hasn't been disabled).
You need to know how to make a table, add the .def file and set permissions on an uploaded script.
You need to know how to edit a file, and add a few subroutines to HTML_Templates.pm.
You need to know how to edit templates, since the basic templates are just that _basic_ and made for step-by-step leading a person through a postcard, but also to be easily inserted into your default page template.
You need to have a page, program, or script that will send this script the information it needs to send a postcard, meaning it needs to be called with a link like:


You can do that either through standard <A> links, or via a form. The script expects to be passed a 'Picture' tag to start off.

If you know how to edit templates, and take a bit of time to look at how the program looks for the input, you can change that behavior as well.

Lastly, you need to follow the directions :)

It's very, very simple. It collects information from a form, stores it, then sends out some email. It accepts information from a form, and then displays the database record. It's the _SAME_ script we are running on our three main sites.

The upgrade version to the NG version of links is in the works, and should be ready once a stable beta hits. Upgrading to this version is free to anyone who buys the 1.1x version.

Version 2.0 of the program is also in the works, and will have expanded user features, and hopefully "plug-in" functionality. There should be two versions. One will hopefully just be an upgrade of the existing program, the other will out of necessity be a full-site postcards program requiring most likely another install of links. We'll also have an image subscription service for new images, under license, starting the end of January. "Different" images, not your usual stock photography, since everyone has those kinds of images.

This is all geared to the medium site that wants to add postcards to increase return rates, and create a very unique and personal look. Larger sites are on their own as far as images and feeding into the scripts.

There is a forum linked from the FAQ (on the main page) to specifically discuss these programs, so please ask your questions there!

I'm posting this here, since I've lost track of everyone who's asked about it, due to some personal things going on at my end. It qualifies as a mod since I've been asked about it at least a dozen times in other forums or email.

Costs are $75 for the script (you are on your own to install, other than regular forum support), or $125 installed. MC/Visa via Paypal or fax.

Ooops, and very lastly, we do need a signed/faxed (or emailed as a printable image) statement that "Digital Postcards&reg; is a registered trademark of PUGDOG&reg; Enterprises, Inc." The lawyers made me add that. That statement with a link back to our page needs to be at the bottom of the send-confirmation page (the page the person who sends the card sees after they send the card) and we would appreciate a similar link somewhere in your site's credits or copyrights page if you have one. You are not granted a license in any other way to use "Digital Postcards&reg;" so you are encouraged to come up with some sort of catchy name for your area :) "Postcards", "Virtual Postcards," "Electronic Postcards," "Electronic Greetings," etc are all ok. "E-Greetings" is also a trademark of another company, as are a few other names.

We would love to cooperate with sites for additional links, but the trademark law says we have to be nit-picky about the use of our trademark.

Also, if you set up a postcards site, don't forget to add it to http://postcardsportal.com another Links SQL based site. (Many of the 'standard' mods posted here, or fixes came from working on that site!).

PUGDOGŪ Enterprises, Inc.
FAQ: http://postcards.com/FAQ

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Re: postcards add-on 1.1x In reply to
One more "oops"

Automatic aging/deletion of postcards was removed from this version in anticipation of the addition of the extra user features. If you want that, you need to let me know, since I'll have to add that back in.

Otherwise, you can manually, and periodically decide what to delete, by doing a:

DELETE FROM POSTCARDS Where SendDate < CutOff_Date

Where CutOff_Date is an arbitrary date you pick.

I've found with SQL tables there is really no need to have to delete cards every week or two the way you did with flat files, and 1 month or so, especially in the summer time, is a good cut off.

PUGDOGŪ Enterprises, Inc.
FAQ: http://postcards.com/FAQ

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Re: postcards add-on 1.1x In reply to
The SQL 2.0 Links script is finished, and in beta. It is _not_ a plug in, but it provides the same functionality as the 1.1x scripts, but for the 2.0 scripts. It requires one new table, and at the current time, 2 lines added to Links.pm and 1 line to SiteHTML.pm

Should be finalized in a few days.

Next features are:

1) custom templates (to change the card layout)
2) User sign-in/logon integration
3) Unsend non-picked up cards, see picked up cards, "favorite" list, etc.
4) Address book type features.
5) ?? Mailing lists. This is problematic due to "spam" abuse.
6) Automatic "tag" generation, so that templates will not need to have hard-coded tags, and all tags are passed automatically. Right now you need to use standard "hidden" fields to pass tags. Next version they will be automatically generated as a <%pass_tags%> tag.

Already in it are:

1) send-later cards, up to 10 years (so far)
2) pick up notification
3) user-selectable image
4) Integration with HamWeather for sending weather cards (this requires you to install and modify the HamWeather templates to call the postcards.cgi script).
5) Send later can be triggered by a cron job or by a "pickup" request
6) No arbitrary # of fields, templates or customizations. The only 3 required fields to function are Picture, Sender and Recipient.
7) Extensive logging of demographics -- time of send, time of pickup, # times picked up, first and last pickup time, etc.
8) All card information stored in a single MySQL table entry.
9) No arbitrary limit to the number of cards you can have on-site (see #6)
10) Template variables are simple, and you can embed them in your own page template to give it the look/feelof your site.
11) No arbitrary limit on the number of templates -- you can send a card on one page, or multiple pages. This is controled by a template tag "NextPage".
12) "Default" behavior in the script so that tampered input simply causes the addition to fail, or the record to be unretrievable. It will still expire at what ever interval you've chosen. Very little "feedback" on errors is provided intentionally. This is a simple script -- email addresses + message + picture. That is well within the ability of the less-than-average internet user. Any "funny" input is most likely a hack attempt, and is just gracefully ignored.
13) Card is _not_ set to the user, they are sent a pick-up notification they can click, or a code they can enter on a pickup page. This prevents concerns about slow connections and "virus" infections, as well as prevents someone who knows an email address from being able to pick up a card.

Once the plug-in system is stabilized, I'll try to make it work from the Admin screen as well for postcards management, and install itself automatically.

This was fairly easy, once the beta bugs were worked out of Links.

I should have the auction program in an alapha or pre-alpha version shortly.

No demo yet, but I'll have a demo postcards site set up with Links 2.0 SQL shortly. There are still a few details to work out in the new version.

PUGDOGŪ Enterprises, Inc.
FAQ: http://postcards.com/FAQ

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Re: postcards add-on 1.1x In reply to

In Reply To:
5) ?? Mailing lists. This is problematic due to "spam" abuse.
Don't know if this helps or anything, but I have created a back-end internal mailing list add-on to Links SQL that is modelled after the "Mass Mail" function of Links SQL, but allows you to narrow recipients on different fields in a different table. I am also using an ADO structure to store ContactID and Contact_CategoryID in the Contact_Status table. Then I made a few modifications in the nph-email.cgi and Admin_HTML.pm files.

The only thing that would need to be added is a "List Owner" field based on the UserID in the Users table and then connect with your postcard script.

Just thought this info may help...but may be not.

Keep up the great work.


Eliot Lee
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Re: postcards add-on 1.1x In reply to
It might help. If you ever get it packaged up :) That would allow people to select what they want more easily.

But problem with spam is that on a "free" email type site, there are no controls, and the worst you can do is shut down the account after the fact. I would have to think about lists really, really carefully, and perhaps limit them to 25 addresses. It's more a human nature problem than a technical one.

People start to abuse anything that is "free".

I've thought about "message units" and limits per day, or week or month, but any reasonable monthly limit would still constitute a spam if done on one day. Then, there are reasonable reasons why someone would send out a large number of messages on one day, that wouldn't be spam, such as a party invitation.

This isn't an easy issue. The convenience of small lists for 90% of users will probably outweigh the risks, but the lists have to be limited.

I really think if you want to run mailing lists, and email services you need to set up for that specifically. You need to know what you are getting into, and all the risks/abuses people can do to your system.

The postcards script is so great in that it is a "fun" script, without much system risk or overhead. It's not a mailer, and not intended to be, but I am hoping to eventually tie in Gossamer Mail with Links and this script

PUGDOGŪ Enterprises, Inc.
FAQ: http://postcards.com/FAQ