thanks for the help. i'm glad to know that the functionality had changed and it wasn't that i was misreading the book!
so, i changed my php file to look like this
echo "<br>Full Name=$_POST['fullname']";
because i was told, quote, $_POST['nickname'] instead of $nickname and so on, unquote.
so when i send this through, i get the following error message:
Parse error: parse error, unexpected T_ENCAPSED_AND_WHITESPACE, expecting T_STRING or T_VARIABLE or T_NUM_STRING in c:\inetpub\wwwroot\php-testing\p-4-1.php on line 2
so now i need to ask where do i go from here?
sitting here waiting for the day when i can look back at this and laugh.