Right on the edge of useful

Death of an Icon - Internet Explorer Macintosh

Posted Wednesday, December 28, 2005 4:36:28 PM by Stephanie


You've probably read it by now. Internet Explorer for Macintosh is now officially dead -- or will be in three days. There will be no further security or performance updates from Microsoft. I realize with the inattention it's received over the past few years, it's a welcome development for most of us. But in its day, it was da bomb! In fact, I would be bold enough to say that in its day, it was the most advanced browser (thanks to Tantek Celic and his team). It was ahead of the curve. It rocked. IE Mac boasted "the first browser ever to fully support CSS-1, HTML 4.0, PNG 1.0, DOM 1.0 HTML, ECMAScript-262, parts of CSS-2, and most of DOM 1.0 Core & some DOM 2.0."

But with the announcement of no further development, it fell more and more behind until, it is now loved only slightly more than Netscape 4. It has been sad to watch it die. But at this point, I'm happy to have the wake, reminisce for a bit, and move on. Microsoft is suggesting Mac users migrate to a more recent web browser -- like Safari (isn't it shocking they didn't mention Firefox? ;-))

If you need to support IE Mac, and thus check pages in it, make sure you've got a working copy. As of January 31st of 2006, it won't even be available as a download from Mactopia. For now, OS X users (IE 5.2.3) and OS 8 & 9 users (IE 5.1.7) can download their respective copies at the links provided.

And yes, it's certainly a thorn now -- but I do "remember when" ...

Category tags: CSS, Dreamweaver, Mac

Happy Holidays

Posted Monday, December 26, 2005 9:19:00 AM by Jim Babbage

Jim Babbage

What a great time of year it is! Some time off from work, a chance to enjoy the company of family and friends and - hey - FREE access to the entire CMX database of articles for the rest of 2005! Wow!

Before I head out Boxing Day shopping, I just wanted to post a link to a gift of my own to all of you.

I do a bit of writing, other than tutorials, from time to time. And while I am not much of a church goer by any means, this story came to me one time a few years ago. I couldn't get it out of my head. It's my version of the Christmas Angel. One day, I might even try to illustrate it.

 I'm very fond of it and I hope you will be, too.

A Midnight Clear (pdf file)

Happy Holidays!

Category tags: On the Personal Side

What's Your Favorite Community MX Article?

Posted Monday, December 26, 2005 7:09:33 AM by Kim


Starting this week we're opening the doors here at Community MX and making all 1,415 of our articles and tutorials free for an entire week. Whew! That would take some serious reading time to work through all of those. Maybe we can get a little help from those of you out there who have been regularly subscribers to Community MX in the past and would like to point to your faves.

Me? Well, I would like to recommend the fabulous series of articles from Zoe Gillenwater which really reads more like an eBook than just a series of articles. In A CSS Web Design Case Study: Constructing a Personal Site Zoe begins with a simple premise--reconstructing a web site from scratch. Throughout the 6 part series she takes you through the planning process, the construction of site compositions in Fireworks, how to slice out images for use in a CSS-based design, and brings the whole thing back together in Dreamweaver where she completes the design using web standards. It is the most comprehensive look at a site design using Fireworks and Dreamweaver I've ever seen outside something you'd find at the bookstore.

Now what about you? Do you have a favorite article or series of articles you'd like to share with those who might be dropping by CMX for the first time?

Category tags: Dreamweaver

The Little Christmas Tree

Posted Friday, December 23, 2005 9:45:36 AM by Chris Flick

Chris Flick

So this Christmas, I seem to find myself in a very nostalgic mood. Last night, while getting some last minute gifts - okay... after desperatly searching for that ONE %$#&^% gift I still haven't been able to find - I came across a Christmas CD called "Oldies but goodies". One of the songs happened to be an old childhood favorite of mine that I very rarely ever hear on the radio any more. It was "Snoopy's Christmas" by The Royal Guardsmen.

My brother and I used to listen to that song on the radio all the time on Christmas Eve as we were trying to keep ourselves desperately awake in order to see Santa. And even though I didn't care for the rest of the songs on the album, this one was worth getting so I plunked down my $5.00 and happily strolled out the store.
Along the way home though, listening to Snoopy fight the Red Baron during Christmas time got me to recall another long time tradition my family used to do on Christmas eve.

There was an old Christmas album my mother loved. There were a ton of songs on it but there was one selection that always seemed to hold a special place in my heart. It was a touching little story about a small Christmas tree that realized he was dying but a visit by Santa on Christmas Eve makes him realize what his purpose is.
It took me a while to find it since I didn't know what the title of the story was or who even narrated it. But thanks to lots of creative Google and Yahoo searches, I am happy to say I found it.

The story was an old radio play by Red Skelton. And, if you're interested, you can listen to the WAV format by clicking here. You should bare in mind though, that this is a very old recording so some things are dreadfully out of date.

But it's still a very touching story and takes you back to a gentler and perhaps a more simpler time too.

Now to get back home and start watching the 24 hour marathon of "A Christmas Story"!!!

Category tags: Blogs and Blogging, CMX Suite, Community MX, Midnite Madness, Music, On the Personal Side, This and That

Does Buying More Time on Your Domain Affect Search Engine Ranking?

Posted Thursday, December 15, 2005 8:36:28 AM by Stephanie


Recently, a long-time client of mine was purchasing more time for two of his four domain names. Since he didn't want to deal with it again for a while, he increased all his domains to 2008 or more. As he was waiting on the phone for the credit card to process, the person assisting him at GoDaddy made a comment about domain names and search engine optimization. He claimed that due to site's that try to make a big splash using lots of doorway pages and linking sites (that they keep for a year and then dump), Google now uses the length of time a domain is registered as one of the factors in their algorithm. (Google evidently doesn't look kindly at getting stuck with a lot of highly rated URLs that lead to defunct sites.) My client hadn't heard this before (nor had I) so he asked me to investigate.

I posed the question on Andrew Goodman's SEM 2.0 list and got some interesting replies I thought I'd share here. Remember that this information is from people in the SEO business, not from Google itself.

It seems that Google, while I wasn't looking, became a domain name registrar. This gives them access to all the Whois and registration information. With this info they can see how long you have owned a specific domain (likely, if you've owned it longer, you're more trustworthy), what other domains a spammy company may own and link together (or use for nefarious purposes), the length of time in the future you've purchased the domain for (perhaps meaning you have plans to continue with it -- not use it and drop it). One of Google's patent applications says in part:

"[0099] Certain signals may be used to distinguish between illegitimate and legitimate domains. For example, domains can be renewed up to a period of 10 years. Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while doorway (illegitimate) domains rarely are used for more than a year. Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain and, thus, the documents associated therewith."

Obviously, these factors are all just a small part of the overall algorithm, but smart site owners will use every legal avenue available to slowly and consistently move up in the rankings. Mike Banks Velentine, owner of Reality SEO, made this analogy:

"To the mechanically inclined, that may mean there are 24 teeth (ranking factors) on the gear that drives the ratchet mechanism. First, you must have all the teeth (ranking factors) intact. Second, implementing improvements to those factors will provide the leverage to turn the gear enough to ratchet up a notch in ranking. The ranking factors themselves don't help individually to ratchet up ranking a notch, but full presence of each of the teeth (ranking factors) on the gear is mandatory in order to have the ability to move steadily up. When all the gears in the mechanism have all their teeth - then you can apply leverage to crank up your rankings."

If having all the ranking factors moves you from #11 to #10, that can be a big jump. Taking advantage of smart, organic ranking factors is just one small step, but it could be valuable to you or your client.

Category tags: Dreamweaver, Search

Where in the World Can I Listen to Great Music?

Posted Friday, December 09, 2005 11:28:49 AM by Sheri German

Sheri German

When we drove to my parents' house in New Jersey for the Thanksgiving holiday, we hit many dead spots for radio stations with classical music. Finally we arrived in the Philadelphia area and got the frequency for a public radio station that was at that moment playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto.

It's sad to say, but finding classical music stations gets harder and harder. We mourned last year's demise of classical music on WETA, a public radio station that decided to move to an all talk format.

What is a classical music lover to do?

Go to the Internet!

This Sunday (Dec. 11), after about ten minutes of news (in French!), at 11:00 AM EST, Andy Hardy (the son of our luthier), will play a concert that will be broadcast live on the Brussels radio station Musique 3, RTBF. Want to hear a wonderful violinist and practice your French too? Just follow the directions below:

Go to and click on Ecouter en Direct, and then 128K.

The program is as follows:
Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonate N° 1 en Ré Majeur, Op. 12, N° 1,
Guy Ropartz, Sonate N° 1 en ré mineur (1907),
Gustav Samazeuilh, Sonate en si mineur (1902-03).

Category tags: Music

I Love Lucy and the New Bow

Posted Thursday, December 08, 2005 7:06:45 AM by Sheri German

Sheri German

Our son is getting more serious about the viola, and his teacher decided he needed a better instrument. Scotty has been borrowing a 16 inch viola from his teacher, but has longed for a 16 and a half inch of fine quality to call his own. (Bigger viola, bigger sound-that kid likes to play BIG.) Last July we set our luthier, Ray Hardy, on the task of finding a really special viola. He warned us that it could take a while because finding good violas is not easy. Finally, after months of waiting, Ray sent us an email saying he thought he had something that would be just right. He did some additional "violin making" work on it- further graduation of the plates, new bass bar, carving of the neck, etc.

My piano teacher used to tell me you have to "earn the music" - sweat over it, investigate it, try to get to the heart of its meaning. Well, we sure earned this viola. The months of waiting were not *quite* over. We had an appointment at 4:30 on Friday afternoon to try it out. We left our house in a state of enormous excitement at 4:00 to make the 10-15 minute journey to Ray's workshop. We pulled onto Interstate I-95 and STOPPED. It turns out that there had just been a very serious truck and car accident that closed down all four lanes. I tried to use my cell phone to call Ray, but got mysterious messages about not finding service. To make a long story short, after sitting for one and a half nerve-wracking hours (with Scotty pleading please don't turn around!), we finally pulled up to Ray's place and hoped he would still see us. He let us in!

Ray had five glistening violas lined up in a row. My son picked up each in turn and played. He was dazzled by so much choice, so Ray said, OK. Now turn your back and close your eyes and just LISTEN to them while I play. After listening to the five, we all knew immediately which was The One. Ray let us take it, along with another one, to play for a week and show his teacher. Over the course of the week, we have fallen in love. His teacher corroborated. Buy it! he said.

But that was not all. And buy a new BOW of commensurate quality his teacher ordered. I hadn't even told my husband how much this viola is going to cost yet LOL. Now I am conniving and plotting and trying to figure out how I am going to explain the bow. Shrug. A bow, you say. Well, his cheap student bow had cost us $200. Ray explained our options for a new one: nickel silver, silver, and professional silver. We're talking about a lot of money for the quality we want.

Conversation in our house last night:

Me: Scotty needs a new bow.

Him: So, what will that cost? About two hundred?

Me: (inwardly choking): What? His OLD bow cost that!

Him: So, how much then?

Me (Thinking, Sheri, you've got some 'splaining to do): I am not *quite* sure. I will let you know after we test them out.

Typically a luthier will let you look at a dozen or more bows and then settle on a few to take home to try out.

So. Is it worth it? What's in a bow? Yesterday my son had his first lesson on the new viola. His teacher let him use one of his fine German bows. I was sitting in the teacher's living room and didn't know about the swap. I heard Scotty start to play. It was quite miraculous. The bow, the bow, the bow made a huge difference.

So here's the plan. We'll just bring home a few bows and let my husband hear how Scotty sounds. I am quite positive he will hand over that check without a word.

Category tags: Music

The Fat Lady Hit Her Final Note
(or, we loved you macromedia, good bye...)

Posted Monday, December 05, 2005 1:17:41 PM by Stephanie


Most of you likely heard the news about the close of the Macromedia acquisition over the weekend. And this morning there's a new site in place of the old Macromedia site. Honestly, it gave me an odd feeling in the pit of my stomach this morning.

The lists I frequent are abuzz with concerns, excitment and confusion. And thankfully, it seems Adobe engineers are trying to be proactive and answer what they can. So far, this is what I've culled out of the discussions and my reading (in no particular order):

  • For now, the products will be sold under the Adobe Company name, but will have Macromedia appended on the front. ie: Macromedia Dreamweaver
  • Any changes and/or integration will be in the next product release cycle (Approximately 12-18 months).
  • At this time, all products from both companies will continue to be sold.
  • Some Macromedia developers have proclaimed their happiness at finally being able to "come out of the closet" about their Adobe product usage habit. (I've been known to open Photoshop from time to time -- usually related to photo optimization. But Fireworks is my very favorite web vector program and I've got my fingers crossed for it still.)
  • If you happen to be an Adobe CS user as well as a Macromedia Studio user, you can upgrade both packages as one combined "Adobe Web Bundle" at a discounted rate over what they would cost separately. It's $1899 -- but let's face it, that's a lot of products.
  • Adobe will continue to maintain and run "all websites, tutorials, forums and other resources formerly run separately by Macromedia and Adobe."
  • Many developers are unimpressed with the new Flash banner and tagline, "Revolutionizing how the world engages with ideas and information."
  • Lynn Grillo (Application Engineer for Adobe) is an Italian from New Jersey and is not a quiet person. ;)

There's an informative FAQ on the Adobe site with more information and links.

I have hope for the future of my favorite products (and friends), but it's still a sad empty feeling to watch the changes as they happen. It's like when your best friend is moving out of state. You watch them pack up the truck and you're not sure when/if you'll ever see them again. I realize Macromedia still exists on some level -- enveloped within the larger Adobe corporation -- but I don't know if I'll have the same contact and connection I've enjoyed over the past few years.

Goodbye Macromedia, my friend. I'll miss you.

Category tags: ColdFusion, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, Macromedia News

DW 8 javascript error on start up

Posted Monday, December 05, 2005 12:26:48 PM by Heidi Bautista

Heidi Bautista

I started Dreamweaver 8 this morning and got the following Javascript error:

The following JavaScript error(s) occurred:

At line 56 of file "D:\Program Files\Macromedia\Dreamweaver 8\Configuration\Shared\Common\Scripts\dwscriptsExtData.js":
ReferenceError: dwscripts is not defined

Fortunately, the fix is easy. Exit DW, delete the WinFileCache*.dat file in the Configuration folder, and then restart DW.

When tracking down this problem I found posts from other people who recommended deleting the entire Configuration folder. This works but you end up deleting more files than you really need to.

The WinFileCache*.dat file will be recreated next time you start DW 8.

NOTE: The "Application Data" folder is hidden by default, so you'll need to change your Windows Explorer Folder Options to View Hidden Folders.

Always remember to back up your Dreamweaver 8 folder before deleting files!

Category tags: Dreamweaver

Adobe Acquisition of Macromedia to complete December 3, 2005

Posted Friday, December 02, 2005 6:03:43 PM by Danilo Celic

Danilo Celic

I figure since my last post was on the announcement of the acquisition that I may as well post the news of it becoming final. From Macromedia's Press Room: ADOBE’S ACQUISITION OF MACROMEDIA EXPECTED TO CLOSE ON DECEMBER 3, 2005

Of course, until we hear through the offical channels what changes are to be made,  I'm sure a lot fo folks will be on edge (especially those with jobs in the line of fire), but I'm not so worried. This world is full of change and we'll keep going onward and upward.

Here's to Macromedia! Here's to Adobe! (raises first of several beers of the night)

Category tags: Macromedia News

Free web music player with Web 2.0 goodness

Posted Friday, December 02, 2005 10:33:46 AM by Zoe Gillenwater

Zoe Gillenwater

If you like Internet radio and you haven't heard about Pandora, I recommend you check it out. It's a Flash-based, Web 2.0 music player that works like this:

  • You tell it the name of an artist or song that you like.
  • Pandora analyzes the qualities of that song (or, if you entered an artist, one of their songs that it randomly picks) such as instrumentation, rhythm, etc.
  • Pandora compares your song with others that have been similarly tagged in the Music Genome Project and creates a station for you based on the inherent musical qualities of your song.
  • As you listen to your station, you can add more songs for Pandora to base the music off of. You can also tell it if you like a song it is playing or don't like it. If you don't like it, it will never be played again.

Before Pandora, I had been listening to Yahoo! Music often.  But Pandora is better because:

  • There is no audio advertising, just a visual ad on the page itself. This is so much more pleasant than being interrupted every 10 minutes on Yahoo to listen to that same Vonage commercial over and over again.
  • You can create multiple stations. This is especially important right now because I'm listening to Christmas music. On Yahoo, I could listen to Christmas music and rate it, but then it would get lumped in my one station and keep coming up all year long. On Pandora, I have a separate station for Christmas music playing just what I want to hear. I also have separate stations for my rock, my hip hop, and my mellow stuff.

There are some limitations to the service right now (doesn't have classical music (sorry Sheri), sometimes lags when you tell it you don't like a song, etc) but I'm sure it will only get better in time. 

Category tags: Flash, Music, On the Personal Side