Posted Wednesday, December 29, 2004 9:54:22 AM by Tom Green
I have been doing a lot of thinking about eLearning these days.It started about five years ago when I worked with with a close friend of mine,Tom Auger to develop an online Photoshop course for the College and I really haven't stopped being fascinated with the subject. The experience was that profound.
When we developed the course we looked at what a number of institutions were doing and rejected their model. In many respects, most of the courses were nothing more than "Digital In-Baskets". The student hits a web page, downloads the material and submits completed exercises, or papers, back to the institution via email. When one University told me how proud they were of doing online courses, they were not exactly happy with my response which was: "You could have saved yourself a ton of money if you had forgotten "online" and sent the student a bunch of envelopes and stamps."
Colleges and universities are rapidly hitting the point where they either have to get the course delivery digital or get dead. It is that stark. My College is a fairly typical example. There is pressure to grow but we are rapidly running out of parking lots where buildings can be constructed. In rather blunt terms, we need to put "bums in seats" but don't have the space for the seats. eLearning may just be the solution to that issue.
That view is the sledgehammer view of the situation. A more refined view is the facilitation of learning. Our students grew up digital. They are untethered. They are just as comfortable using their cell phones to message each other as they are surfing a web page on a computer. Though I jokingly say that many of them appear "glued to their devices", it isn't that far from the truth. What really catches my attention though, is when I mention to them that they will be among the wireless pioneers, how interested they become. Which brings me to eLearning.
Just as computers are becoming untethered from their networks, so too, are bums becoming untethered from their seats. Learning can now be done anywhere, and at anytime. In fact, I am hearing a lot of students wonder why their courses can't be done online. Interestingly enough, I don't hear this from educators. This is a rather interesting "disconnect". Just as the bums are preparing to leave the seats, the institutional chatter increases around how to glue the bums into the seats, or how to tighten the bolts even further. Maybe the time has arrived to make use of some bolt cutters.
How my "deal became sealed" came about through a conversation I had with Juha Christensen, Macromedia's President, Mobile and Devices, just after his Max presentation. We were talking about the mobile and wireless market in North America and what I was looking at doing at the College regarding eLearning and wireless devices. He made a rather pointed observation that should resonate with anybody thinking of getting into eLearning. "What you might really want to think about", he said, "is how to provide learning to your students using a variety of media. The question is not how to provide the elearning. The question is how do you get your students to use their devices and cell phones for five minutes of learning."
This is "facilitation". The learning is geared to the medium and facilitates on demand learning - learning that occurs when and where you choose - rather than putting a bum in a seat for a 3-hour class. This is a fascinating concept and it isn't surprising that Macromedia sees a link between mobile (phones) and devices (PocketPC) and eLearning. It should also come as no surprise that many of their products - Flash, Captivate and Authorware, for example - are ready for eLearning.
Though the products are ready, I really don't know if educators are ready.
In order to facilitate on demand learning, the traditional education mindset has to change. This means it is no longer sufficient to regard learning as taking place in a controlled setting at specific times. On demand learning throws class schedules out the window. Attendance is a thing of the past and learning is provided in a virtual, not a physical, space. Books will be added to with Rich Media. Content will have to be tailored to the medium - viewing a one-hour video lecture on a cell phone just isn't going to work - and teachers will have to learn to master an entirely new set of tools and a very foreign, virtual space.
This should throw the private sector institutions for a loop. They are used to delivering courses over a three or four-day period. The classes usually run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and a lot of information is tossed at the student during that time frame. The more bums they can put in the seats, the more courses they can run and the more money they can make. The eLearning model, is the exact opposite. Students will learn at a time and place of their choosing and will move through the material at a pace best suited to their learning style. If it is three days, fine. If it is fifteen days, so what?
The public sector institutions that provide the education are also going to have to do some serious navel-gazing as well. It is no longer sufficient to provide a digital in-basket. Technologically savvy students simply won't stand for it. They live in a digital space that delivers content - from streaming video to text messaging - on demand. They will expect no less from their learning providers: subject matter that is rich, indulgent and an experience. That is just for starters.
Paul Clothier delivered a rather important session at the Macromedia Max Conference in November which dealt with the subject of "Blended Learning". Before private and public sector institutions go out and "get some eLearning" he suggests they carefully consider their efforts from the following angles:
- What are the learning objectives?
- What is the budget?
- Who is the audience?
- How much time is to be available for knowledge transfer?
- What resources are available to the institution and the learner?
- Who are the Subject Matter Experts?
- Is the course scalable?
These are extremely important questions and, what struck me, was the fact that technology really doesn't enter the equation until you reach the resources question. Yet many institutions, both in the private and public sectors, go right to the technology and build from there. According to Clothier, that would be a fatal error.
We are in for a few very interesting years as digital media technologies are applied to eLearning. It is going to be fascinating to watch how public and private educational institutions adapt to the "new" way of doing things and how they grapple with the very real issue of faciliating learning through a variety of digital mediums.
Most important of all is how they deal with the fact that the days of putting bums in seats are starting to disappear.
Category tags: Using the Web
Posted Friday, December 24, 2004 7:59:20 AM by Sheri German
It poured like crazy yesterday in the D.C. area, but it stopped before the temperatures dropped in the evening. That's fine with me because I am more into ballet than skiing. I like liquid as long as it's not snow, though, and especially if it's a liquid, 3 column CSS-P design.
Enter Aspen, the latest JumpStart in a growing collection of Dreamweaver templates that use XHTML, CSS 2, and WAI and 508 Accessibility. In order to get a three column layout in the past, I simply used tables. Now I don't have to, and I anticipate using this classic CSS-P design over and over.
What is so cool about the JumpStarts is that they get coding issues out of the way so I can just, um, jump right in and start messing with design. Aspen is especially fun because the background images lend themselves to playing around in Fireworks textures and gradients. It is the sandbox all over again as I try out every combination, in every kind of blending mode and opacity level, till I find the effect I want.
So jump in! The liquid is fine...
Category tags: Dreamweaver
Posted Friday, December 24, 2004 6:34:03 AM by Kim
You gotta love shopping like this--or at least I do. I can sit at my trusty Mac and pound on my credit card for a while to get a nice mix of tunes from the Music Store. (I won't admit how much I spent, but let's just say that there were a lot of "Ooooh! Gotta have that one!" moments.) She gets a collection of folk songs that I know she'll like, with plenty of Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, and Carole King. A 60's and 70's mix with Aretha, Jackson Browne, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, and The Eagles. And a couple of car tunes mixes with "Love Shack" (gotta have Love Shack!), some John Hiatt, and other goodies that I know she likes to sing along with. Oh yeah, and a tasty Tom Petty CD with all her favorites.
It's been fun, and a little nostalgic thinking about all the songs we've enjoyed in our 18 years together, and then digging them up at the Music Store. Some of these songs take me back to those early days when she had a VW convertible and would buzz all over town with the stereo blasting. And even though she drives a mom-mobile these days, it's nice to listen to a song that helps you remember what things were like back then, and that beautiful laughing girl I married.
So, anyone else out there mixing something up for a loved one for Christmas this year? I'd love to hear what songs you've picked out. And it's probably not to late to take your own trip down memory lane and get some music to help you and someone you're close to relive old times.
Category tags: On the Personal Side
Posted Thursday, December 23, 2004 5:58:22 AM by Kim
From a web developer's standpoint, this project has been a real eye-opener for me. I've definitely stretched my web design and usability skills in new ways, had to think towards the future and plan for inevitable changes and new technologies, and most importantly, had to really consider how a school website ought to be marketed to a wider audience. For the most part, school and school district sites are intended for use by teachers and administrators, and by students in a classroom setting. Wanting to open thinks up to a wider audience--parents and after-school programs primarily--we decided to register the domain name PalmBeachLearns.org and really work on marketing the site. (We picked up the .com extension for the inevitable "mistakes" that we know users will make.)
This has been a great project to be involved with, and I'm excited about the future of our little endeavor. I have 6 co-workers who are beginning to use Contribute to keep their own areas of the site up-to-date, and a brand new copy of the Contribute Publishing System to begin using after the holidays as we roll out a Contribute-based solution to other groups in our department. On a larger scale, I'm co-chairing a committee with about 15 or so department web masters to begin the process of bringing some consistency and ease of use to other departments all over our district offices. It's going to be a big job, but in the end we hope to have a much more professional presence on-line, and one that actually gets used, because it's usable.
Category tags: Designing for the Web
Posted Wednesday, December 22, 2004 9:29:13 PM by Danilo Celic
I ran across an interesting little Dreamweaver extensibility tidbit this evening while reading through the Dreamweaver application install Configuration folder. I'm writing it up now, as I'm not sure what use it will be for anything in particular any time soon for me, but I don't want to forget it.
var dom = dw.getDocumentDOM();
var p = dom.parentWindow;
Not milk-in-a-bag neat, but neat nonetheless, eh?
<title>DW invoke JS demo</title>
document.content.innerHTML+= "add content ";
alert("I can alert too");
Posted Monday, December 20, 2004 11:41:09 PM by Stephanie
Beware if you run OS X without a good font management tool. That's me. Somewhere along the way with my HD crash and reinstalling/upgrading programs, I ended up without a working version of Font Doctor. (Yes, I own Suitcase, but somehow can only find the upgrade which does not include Font Doctor.) And yes, if I had a day to spend with my computer, perhaps I could find it. But I'm always two projects behind and well -- you get the picture.
In the past few days I had some oddities happen which, by reporting this here, might help someone else. On Friday, Fireworks started crashing when I attempted to change a font in the file. Over the weekend, Photoshop refused to open. I had some other problems with Photoshop relating to color selection, resizing and opening new documents (all fixed today by trashing the preferences ... thank you Andrew! :), so I thought that perhaps this crash when opening was simply my original problem getting worse. I also noticed Saturday that my email program (Entourage) and at least one browser were displaying in very funky fonts.
On Sunday evening, I opened Dreamweaver to create an invoice and, you guessed it, it wouldn't open. Hung up on start up. This was too much. I went to bed. Monday morning, coffee in hand, I decided to tackle my programs one by one so I could actually work. I started with Fireworks since I assumed there was a corrupt font issue. I slowly moved up the font list until I found the font that crashed the program every time. I removed that font from the Library. It still showed up in the FW font list however, and it still crashed FW. So on the advice of Stéphane Nahmani, I downloaded and ran Font Finagler. This cleared up the font caching issue and FW was once again perfect.
So I moved on to Photoshop. Suddenly it opened without fail. I tried Dreamweaver with the same results. Hmmmmm... Everyone opens well, but the offending font had been installed for ages. About an hour later, I received an email on my FreeHand list where someone claimed that after installing the 10.3.7 updater they could no longer open Freehand. That's when it hit me that all my problems began after my 10.3.7 update. And before you jump me, yes, I did repair permissions first. Also this weekend while the problems were happening, I did an /sbin/fsck -y (which found no problems) and zapped the PRAM. I'm not in the least saying that the updater corrupted the fonts. Just that something about this update is touchier than the previous version of the system. And users should beware and know what issues to look for if they're experiencing flakiness as well.
All is well with LiquidSky now, except that since clearing the font caches, I can no longer view Trebuchet MS and Impact within any programs. They are in my font folder in the Library as always, but they're not accessible to anything. Lovely. If you know a fix for that one I'll be grateful, but for now, I'm just happy to have my programs back!
Posted Monday, December 20, 2004 3:09:25 PM by Stephanie
In case you haven't yet heard, in the latest "sue the search engine" saga, a judge has ruled that Google is not at fault in allowing AdWords customers to bid on trademarked terms. The jury is still out on whether those same terms can be used in text ads, and if they are wrongly used, whether the advertiser or Google is liable. You can read about it in the Seattle Times.
At the same time the litigation was brought against Google, Overture (a Yahoo! subsidiary) was also sued. Overture decide to settle out of court. Thank goodness Google didn't. What precedent would that have set?
So what will this do for your clients? Will any of them benefit or be hurt by the ruling? If you manage AdWords campaigns, will you be changing their structure? Read more about it in The Unofficial Yahoo! Weblog.
Posted Friday, December 17, 2004 11:28:37 AM by Heidi Bautista
I recently joined a networking group called BNI - Business Network International (great concept BTW, check it out at bni.com). One of the members, Ace-ana Promotions provides promotional items. You know, pens / water bottles / notepads / etc with the company's name imprinted on it. I decided this year to jump on that bandwagon and instead of giving out impersonal (but delicious) chocolate confections, I ordered these cool tool sets. They've got every little tool you could ever need to open up and mess around wtih your computer. A great geek gift.
Anyway... I needed two sets of graphics. One for the toolcase and the other for the box. Dreamweaver MX Studio to the rescue! With lots of help from CMX partner Kim Dudley, I created a simple Freehand image suitable for printing on the toolcase and then I used Fireworks to create the image for the labels pasted on the outside of the box and printed up the labels myself.
The logo on the toolcase itself is really simple. Just a curvy graphic similar to my business card and my domain name. But I got a little more creative with the label. I used one of the images that came bundled with the new North Pole JumpStart (the cute little wrapped packages at the bottom of the page) and simply added a "Happy Holidays" message.
No, I'm not going to quit my day job as an ASP.NET programmer but the side trip into graphics was fun!
Only time will tell if my client gifts garner continued business but as with all gift giving - it sure feels good.
Happy Holidays to my CMX colleagues and all our great subscribers!
Category tags: Web Business
Posted Friday, December 17, 2004 9:56:31 AM by Kim
One of our partners here at CMX--Derrick Ypenburg--has been blessed with a new baby very recently. Congratulations Derrick!
I have a bunch of friends and acquaintances and coworkers who are new Dads these days, and thought this would be a good time to clue them in to some of the mysteries of parenthood. (My own daughter just turned 12 so I've had some time to reflect on this whole thing a little bit.) Here's the deal. The best way to get through all of this, especially the first 6 months, is to just treat it like an episode of The Twilight Zone:
Welcome New Father,
We here at the Planetary-visitor Opportunity Orientation Program (P.O.O.P.) wish to thank you for your selfless decision to accept one of our alien visitors into your home.
We assure you that your wife will stop being angry with you in time, although we do recommend contrition and obeisance in the interim period. This transition period for your marriage may last anywhere from several weeks until the end of your natural life.
During the first 6 months with your alien visitor you will be faced with many challenges. As the visitor becomes acclimated to our climate here on earth they will require almost constant attention from a human. Basic functions such as the required nutrition and (ahem) elimination that your visitor needs will be totally in the hands of yourself, your wife, and any unwitting volunteers that you can dupe..strike that...convince....to assist you with its care and feeding. As you will be deeply immersed in the required acts of contrition (see Paragraph 1 above) you can expect that your wife will be nearly as demanding as your visitor, which will place a great deal of stress on your sanity. This is a completely normal turn of events and we assure you that the overwhelming levels of stress and lack of sleep will not kill you, despite reports you may have read.
Following the initial period of climate acclimation your visitor will become more and more accustomed to life here on earth, and will begin attempting to communicate with you. This is known as the Cute Phase, as opposed to the Oh My God I Can't Go On Another Day Without Sleep Phase which immediately precedes it. Your alien still requires constant and unrelenting care during this time, but there are small rewards when they begin to communicate with you and your partner. You may find that your partner also begins to communicate with you again during this phase about subjects unrelated to care of the alien.
Many challenges lie ahead after this initial orientation phase is over. Your alien will actually learn to speak our human language after only a year or so. While it is true that they often revert back to their own alien language in the years following "age" 12 or so, the early years you have with your alien will be filled with much communication as they are endlessly curious about Earth.
Once again, we here at P.O.O.P. want to assure you that the first 6 months with your adopted visitor are by far the most challenging, and that the difficult times will most likely fade from memory. (We believe that this may be some sort of telepathic power that the aliens possess but cannot confirm this theory.) Evidence of this memory erasure are evident all over the world as many parents actually decide to adopt multiple visitors.
We are certain that you will also find the total experience to be gratifying and rewarding in the end and wish you the best of luck in these early days of low sleep and high stress.
Category tags: This and That
Posted Thursday, December 16, 2004 5:19:08 AM by Sheri German
Hard as it is to believe, Community MX is giving away its latest JumpStart as a holiday gift to the web development community. North Pole is a two-column, fixed-width CSS positioned layout that uses a clever deployment of background images in its navigation and content areas of the design. And of course North Pole validates for CSS, XHTML, and 508 and WAI accessibility. Also included in the gift is a bundle of six articles that explains the techniques behind the construction, and two articles that explain the techniques behind the creation of the graphics. So what are you waiting for? Download North Pole now and join the party here at Community MX!
Want to decorate your site for the holidays? This is a quick and clean way to do it. Our own Jim Babbage has already put his site into the holiday spirit: Jim's Site
You can see my site dressed up for the holidays here.
While you're visiting CMX, take a look at our gift certificates for geeks. If you are looking for a special gift for the Web guru who has everything, make sure he or she really has everything--including a subscription to a gift that will keep on giving during Christmas in July.
Now I wonder what city CMX will travel to next? And when? Keep tuned: our elves have been very busy...
Category tags: Dreamweaver
Posted Wednesday, December 15, 2004 10:14:32 PM by Danilo Celic
The topic slipped my mind for a while, but a thread in the Dreameaver Extensions forum I participated in brought it back up from the depths.
A while back I was testing out the code I was using to position the cursor for the column portion of the Go To Line Column extension. Code looked perfect, worked great....on paper. But wouldn't you know it, Dreamweaver had other things in mind. Funny thing was the if I added an alert() to try to figure out where the error was occurring, the error stopped happening. Remove the alert() and back comes the error.
Randy, one of the Dreamweaver engineers pointed out that perhaps it was a focus problem. When the user clicks into the text field to type in their column to go to, the document could be losing focus. He pointed out that there is a function used in a couple of places within Dreamweaver that can handle positioning the focus where you want it to, dreamweaver.setFocus(). This function takes a string as a parameter, with values of document, textView, or html. document places the focus into design view, textView places focus into code view, and html places the focus on the Code inspector (F10). All of these are predicated upon those views being visible at the time dw.setFocus() is invoked.
Interestingly, the reverse function dreamweaver.getFocus(), according to the docs, will return document, textView, html, site, or the name of the floater in focus. However, don't try site, or a floater name as the input to dw.setfocus() as you'll run into an error. Not sure exactly why that is, but that's how it works, at least in Dreamweaver MX 2004.
Posted Monday, December 13, 2004 6:30:10 PM by Stephanie
There are only two days left for geeks that haven't made all their holiday gift requests to add one more to the list. But you've got to act fast! Until December 15th, you can still wrangle a loved one into purchasing a Community MX Gift Certificate. And because we want your loved one to feel special too, we've provided a way to give them some bang for their buck -- a buy one get one free sale!
That's right, if they purchase a 3 month CMX subscription, you'll receive 6 months. A 6 month subscription becomes a year and a year becomes two years. You get the picture. And heck, maybe you need to put something in your own stocking this year. With almost 900 tutorials in stock and two more every day, CMX JumpStarts, CMX extensions and a host of new items planned for 2005, there's not a better value... But you've gotta beg fast! ;)
Posted Monday, December 13, 2004 6:25:49 PM by Chris Flick
Okay... now that I have your attention, here's the deal...
A couple of weeks ago, in the CommunityMX Newsletter, we featured a link to Clientcopia. If you missed it or don't subscribe to the FREE CommunityMX Newsletter, Clientcopia is a site where graphic designers, artists, web designers and just about anybody else can go and share their horror stories about past clients. Some of the stories are truly hysterical if, for no other reason, you have probably experienced something similar.
Well now is your chance to share your own web designing client horror stories with the rest of your CommunityMX neighbors.
You may be asking yourself exactly why should you do such a thing. Well, I will tell you why! Because if you e-mail me YOUR favorite client or web designing horror story AND if it's humorous enough, clean enough, AND able to fit into the format of a web comic, I will create a CMX Suite strip based on your story!
And, should this contest exceed my expectations and I end up getting more submissions then I know what to do with, I might just make this a regular, once-a-month feature with CMX Suite.
So... what do you get if I should happen to pick your story as the basis of the strip?
<Cue drum roll please>
You will receive a copy of the full size (10.5x4.5") high resolution version of the comic strip plus my original sketches based on that strip. The artwork will be sent to you flat via snail mail. And, if you so choose, you will also receive full credit for the idea as well. If you want to remain anonymous, you can do that as well.
So, what do you need to do? It's simple, really.
Send me an e-mail at email@example.com with "Web designer client horror stories" in the subject header. Or you can just click on the link I just provided and everything should be good to go. If your e-mail client does not have anything in the subject header however, please make sure to copy & paste "Web designer client horror stories" in the header so I know that this is an entry. Any e-mails I get that do not have the "Web designer client horror stories" in the subject header will be disqualified or eliminated.
Tell me your story.
Supply a mailing address so I can be able to actually send you the artwork. Or, if you have a broadband internet connection and can handle a large file size download, I can also transfer the high resolution files to you via e-mail should you prefer this option.
Let me know if you would like to receive credit or would prefer to remain anonymous should your story ultimately be picked.
Then, once I have had a chance to read all of the e-mails, I will choose a winner. Once that winner has been chosen, and the strip created, I will let them know when the strip will appear on the CommunityMX web site and approximately when they can expect to receive their prize.
And since the New Year will soon be approaching, we'll make this a New Year's contest. The cut-off date for receiving entries will be 12:00 midnight, Sunday, January 16th eastern standard time. Once the deadline has been met, the winner will be chosen and the strip created. The winner will be notified as soon as the strip is complete.
So, if you're interested, start sending in your submission entries TODAY!
And, good luck!
Category tags: Web Business
Posted Friday, December 10, 2004 11:54:33 AM by Danilo Celic
Yet Another Toolbar Item, brought up by installing Dreamweaver on a new system. It alwasy takes a bit to get things settled in correctly. Placing the toolbars properly, grouping panels, removing labels form toolbars, etc.
You may have noticed that I put quotes around removed above. The reason for that is the Dreamweaver engineers didn't actually remove the functionality, they just commented out the small bit of XML code that told Dreamweaver to display the Code Navigation button. Not sure why they decided to do that, but when MX 2004 came out, I was temporarily lost until ~Angela told me about the commenting out issue.
So how do you get this button back? At it's simplest, all you'd need to do would be to uncomment the code for the button within the proper XML file: /Configuration/Toolbars/toolbars.xml**. However, due to to the way that Dreamweaver works with multi-user operating systems, if you have installed an extension that has modifed any of the built in toolbars, then you may find that the commented out code is no longer present within toolbars.xml.
Open up your user copy of toolbars.xml and look for code similar to that listed below. It may be all in one line rather than spaced out. I'd suggest doing a Find for DW_CodeNav, to see if it is present. If it is present and commented out, then uncomment it.
<menubutton id="DW_CodeNav" image="Toolbars/images/MM/codenav.png" disabledImage="Toolbars/images/MM/codenav_dis.png" imageMac="dwres:18067" disabledImageMac="dwres:18080" tooltip="Code navigation" enabled="dw.getFocus() == 'textView' || dw.getFocus() == 'html'" menuID="DWCodeNavPopup" update="onViewChange"/>
If this code is not present in your user config toolbars.xml, then copy the code above, and paste it into your toolbars.xml file within the <toolbar> tag with an id of DW_Toolbar_Main. If you want to keep the original placement from Dreamweaver MX, then paste the code just after the <button> tag with an id of DW_DocRefresh. Save toolbars.xml, then close and restart Dreamweaver, and you should now have the Code Navigation button present on your Document toolbar.
Note: You can also copy the code from the application install configuration folder. As well as the code for the reference button which was also commented out.
Posted Friday, December 10, 2004 5:09:28 AM by Kim
I've been using Breeze Live the last week or so in some further experiments in my day job. It's been interesting to see some of the things that can be done in Breeze, especially in terms of screen sharing.
I have a free Breeze account through my work with the Macromedia Education Leaders program, one of the nice bennies that we get in exchange for pestering the people at Macromedia to do a better job in the K-12 education field and for helping them define what works for us. (I even get a spiffy bio page, not that I'm vain or anything). Sort of a Team Macromedia for educators.
Back on topic, one of the interesting things I've done is set up a virtual Help Desk as a separate meeting room in Breeze Live. The room is always there when I need it, and I keep the URL stashed in my Tasks section of Entourage. When I need to see what's going on at someone's desktop I just fire them an e-mail with the URL and meet them in the room. Here are some examples of how that feature has saved me lots of time and aggravation:
- I'm collaborating with a coworker who's office is about 30 miles from me. We needed to discuss the training materials he's working on and be sure that we had all our bases covered and that things were being structured correctly. This is for a series of Camtasia videos that we want to be as portable as possible--ready for web or CD distribution or as part of an on-line course--so getting all of the parts and pieces together is a big part of the job. Breeze allowed me to see right into his Explorer window and discuss with him the structure of the materials, file naming conventions, how to handle source files, and a world of little nitty-gritty details that were much easier for us to agree on when we were both seeing the same things.
We're exploring a new discussion board system that we launched as a
beta the other day. Good thing we said it was a beta, since the
permission settings that we need to give the users results in a much
different view of things than I have as the administrator. So how do
you train your users in what to expect when you can't see the same
desktop they do? In this case I had a friend of mine across town log in
for me, share her screen, and I then recorded her screen using
Camtasia. Now I have a pretty nice (OK, a little fuzzy) introduction to
the discussion board for new users, and they see the correct desktop.
Recorded while I controlled her desktop miles away from her actual
- The biggest part of my job is to administer/train/coordinate a huge CMS that allows our schools to build simple web pages, maintain a calendar and news section on-line, and for the secondary schools, let's parents see their kid's grades on-line. Breeze has been incredibly handy for talking the school-level administrators through problems, having them show me what the problem is instead of exchanging eleventy-dozen e-mails, and generally making the support process faster and more efficient.
The upshot? Cool stuff. There are other systems that do the same sort of thing (Net Meeting I suppose is the best known), but I'm finding Breeze to be pretty easy to use for this sort of thing, and it certainly has added some new methods for how I do my work.
(John Dowdell had a mention of this function in Breeze the other day in his blog. I'd link to JD but I'm mad at him right now for suggesting that people register their blogs with the big aggregators out there. Funny how my first deluge of comment spam at my other blog happened just two days after following his advice. Just kidding JD. You know you're my fave.)
Category tags: Macromedia News
Posted Thursday, December 09, 2004 5:16:46 PM by Stephanie
Just released, sIFR RC2. I just downloaded the new version to update a project. I have another in the works now that will really benefit from beautiful image-like headings. They've fixed some Opera quirks as well as the Flash URL limit.
Be sure to check it out. And if you haven't been following along and wonder what it's really about, you can view Danilo Celic's Breeze presentation about sIFR. He gave a nice visual guide to the process.
I'll type more later. For now, I've got a beach volleyball tournament to win. ;)
Posted Thursday, December 09, 2004 10:20:15 AM by Danilo Celic
Since I'm on the topic of toolbars, I wanted to share a quick space saving tip for the Document toolbar. When Dreamweaver MX 2004 first came out, I was disappointed that I didn't have a preference setting option to turn of the labels for the View icons. No I don't mean, The View, that trite morning show with insipid hosts, I mean Code, Design, and Split View buttons on the Dreamweaver Document toolbar.
If you'd like to remove the text from those icons, either to save room, or because you know what they do already, the fix is relatively easy. Open up /Configuration/Toolbars/toolbars.xml. To Locate this file, check out Dreamweaver Configuration files locations. Check in the User's folder first for the file. If it isn't present, check in the All Users/root folder, then check the application install folder. In that order, the first one you find, open toolbars.xml. Next, look for a <toolbar> tag with an ID of DW_Toolbar_Main. It should be the first one listed. Then, the first 3 tags are the tags related to the view buttons. Look for the label attributes and set the value to an empty string. i.e.: label="".
Save toolbars.xml, close and restart Dreamwevaer, and your View icons will be label-less.
As with any configuration edits, make a back up copy. For many of the Dreamweaver XML files, it is best to give the back up a different file extension, or save the back up outside of the folder you're modifying.
Posted Monday, December 06, 2004 11:08:29 AM by Danilo Celic
When you install some extensions, Dreamweaver has a nasty habit of resetting your toolbars. So if you have the Standard toolbar visible, you may find after installing an extension that the toolbar has been turned off and isn't visible any more. There may be more situations where this happens, but I've seen it happen when you install an extension that modifies the menu system, if you install a toolbar extension, or if you reload extensions.
To see your toolbars getting reset, CTRL+Click on the Options menu of the Insert bar when it is Tab layout, and select Reload Extensions. Please note that resetting your toolbars will cause them to stack up vertically, turn off any toolbars that are not set to be visible by default, and the toolbars will get reattached to the document window, if you have moved your toolbars off of it.
While you can't stop Dreamweaver from resetting your toolbars, you can stop it from turning off the toolbars that you want to remain visible:
Go to your user configuration folder and open up /Toolbars/toolbars.xml. If you do not have toolbars.xml in your user folder, then go into the application install folder and open that toolbars.xml file. Back up the file, by saving a copy with a different file extension, or save a back up copy in another folder. Within toolbars.xml, look for the <toolbar> tag with an ID of Standard_Toolbar. Change the value of the initiallyVisible attribute to "true". Save toolbars.xml and restart Dreamweaver.
If you have other toolbar extensions installed, and they disapper, then you can change the initiallyVisible attribute to true and they won't disappear when your toolbars are reset. Some toolbar extensions will install their own XML file into the Toolbars folder. You'll need to open that file in order to perform the necessary edits.
Posted Friday, December 03, 2004 1:54:43 PM by Tom Muck
You can download the Sniplet extension for free from http://www.tom-muck.com/extensions/
Category tags: Dreamweaver
Posted Friday, December 03, 2004 11:49:54 AM by Kim
Way Cool Firefox Extension for Breeze: I've been using Breeze Live a lot lately, in the hopes that we'll pick up the software at my day job for doing distance learning, on-line meetings, and virtual help desks.
Tom King at Macromedia has posted a link to a very cool new extension for Firefox that allows you to search in your Breeze account for participants, content, and key words. The Breeze Search for Firefox installs right into the same little window in Firefox where you're probably used to doing your Google searches. Just drop down to the Breeze logo after it's installed, type in your search term, log on to your Breeze server, and the results will be displayed right in Firefox for you. Really great if you've got archived presentations that you want to search without having to guess when in the presentation a topic was covered.
Tom also announced the Outlook plug-in for Breeze a few days ago in case you missed it. Here's hoping they can work one up for Entourage as well.
Category tags: Macromedia News