Wednesday, January 4th, 2006
CMX Weekly Newsletter
Happy New Year!!
We hope that you and your loved ones had a great holiday season. Unfortunately, it's back to work for many of us, but CMX wants to make that transition easier, by offering you one of our best JumpStarts yet. We are pleased to announce the release of CMX JumpStart Inverness, which features a blog design. To make the release special for the holidays, we decided to run a blogging and JumpStart festival.
Inverness, capital of the Highlands, is the latest city in Scotland to attain city status. With its suspension bridges across the River Ness and its old stone buildings, this beautiful setting will inspire you to "think great thoughts" and transcribe them into your blog.
CMX JumpStart Inverness was designed and coded by CMX partner Gordon Mackay. It is a centered, two-column, fixed-width design that makes use of background images to achieve its faux column appearance. The page is constructed using valid XHTML 1.0 Strict markup and formatted using valid CSS 2.1 styling. Inverness also follows the WAI and Section 508 accessibility guidelines to provide you with a solid foundation for any design.
The package includes an extension for installing Inverness into the New Document dialog box, nine tutorials, a source PNG, main and Internet Explorer style sheets, and a starter page.
CMX JumpStart Inverness article for nonmembers and members who would like to read more about its features and see a modified Inverness design.
Be sure to enjoy all the recent JumpStart articles:
Firefox Web Developer Extension Hits v1.0
For those of you who use the Web Developer extension for Firefox, you know the wide range of neat tools this extension offers. Now, version 1.0 has been released, and it's got quite a few new features, like "Edit HTML", "Outline Positioned Elements", support for Flock and plenty more. You can see the full list of new features and bug fixes at ChrisPederick.com. You can download the extension from this link at ChrisPederick.com.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
We linked to an article last week that talked about Skype's VoIP service adding video (for Windows XP users only). Skype's celebration was probably short-lived, as this week, Yahoo! announced that they are going to begin offering their own VoIP service. The way Yahoo! describes it, the service will be remarkably similar to Skype, but calls will be one cent cheaper per minute than Sype when calling a landline from your computer. While Skype is probably the best at what they do, Yahoo! has an advantage, thanks to the millions of people who visit their site each month. More on this at FortWayne.com.
Turns Out The Queen Loves The iPod
Jonathan Ive, the chief designer of Apple's iPod, was recently bestowed the title of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Ive made the "Queen's Honours List", which pays tribute to outstanding service and achievement. Other honorees included those who responded to the terrorist attacks in London and to the Indian Ocean tsunami. Ive is in good company. Read more at InformationWeek.com.
Microsoft Knows How To Build Anticipation
We mentioned in last week's newsletter that a flaw in the Windows operating system is leaving many computers wide open to attack. The flaw affects all current versions of Windows. Microsoft has announced that we won't be seeing a patch for another week, and meanwhile it's being speculated that over one million PCs have been compromised. Since hackers know they've got a week until a patch comes out, the number of websites that exploit this vulnerability is bound to increase over the next couple of days. There are already thousands of websites taking advantage of the flaw, as well as some Trojan horses and at least one Instant Messaging virus. Until Microsoft puts out a patch for this, be careful about what websites you're visiting. Read more about it at News.com. If you were quick, you might have got a version of the patch that Microsoft inadvertently posted to their website, according to this News.com article. If you really want a patch, and can't wait, a Russian developer has created his own patch and is distributing it to anyone who wants it. Several tech security firms are advising people to use it. We haven't tested it, so we can't recommend it one way or another. But if you're curious, you can download it from HexBlog.com.
Satisfied Customers Speak Out!
"A bus station is where buses stop. A train station is where trains stop. On my desk is a work station..." — Anonymous
Dell Trying Out Firefox On Their PCs in The UK
At this point, it doesn't seem to have been "officially" confirmed, but that's what TheInquirer.net is reporting. The comments from visitors to BlakeRoss.com would seem to confirm it. This is good news for Mozilla of course, but it's also a very good sign of things to come. The browser wars have been leaning in favor of Internet Explorer for quite a long time, and this will give Firefox a huge audience that possibly would never have used Firefox if Dell hadn't exposed them to it.
The NSA Wants To Give You Cookies
The National Security Agency was chided by privacy activists recently due to the discovery of persistent cookies being used on their website in order to track visitors. The cookies were set to expire in the year 2035, which is much longer than the average life of a cookie. According to government policy, cookies are not supposed to be used on government websites at all, so that people's privacy will remain... well, private. Once the flaw was pointed out to the NSA, they immediately disabled the cookies, which they say made it to the website unintentionally during a recent software upgrade. NewsFactor.com has more on this. Additionally, it appears that the WhiteHouse.gov site has been employing cookies, but had no knowledge of it. The government is looking into whether the contractor who handles their website may have put them there without their knowledge. This story is also at NewsFactor.com.
If It's MySpace, How Come There Are So Many Other People There?
If you use MySpace.com to post pictures, blogs, music, or just use it to chat with friends, you may be interested to read an interview with MySpace.com founders Chris DeWolfe And Tom Anderson we found at Forbes.com. They go over what it was like starting the project, how they're able to cater to up-and-coming musicians and discuss the future of MySpace.com. If you haven't heard of MySpace.com before, it's an interesting schematic of a community at your fingertips, where you can remain fairly anonymous or link with as many other MySpace.com members as you want.
Wear Your Mp3 Player on Your Sleeve
Several weeks ago we linked to a website that sold jackets that would allow you to control your iPod by touching the arms of the jacket. Apparel that lets you control a digital device is a slowly evolving but promising new enterprise. TechWeb.com has an article the companies that are on the forefront of this new technology, and talks about what your clothing might be able to do for you in the future. Just think: Sitting down, leaning against a wall or bumping into someone could set off a whole entertainment center in your suit.
iTunes Video Gets Competition
The Starz cable network has announced that it will be starting a new service called Vongo, which will make video programming available over the internet. For about ten dollars per month, subscribers will have over a thousand movies at their fingertips, ready to stream on their computer at any time. For $3.99 a pop, you'll be able to watch a new release - which is usually six months or so after a movie has been out in theaters - right there on your computer. Starz thinks their Vongo service will be a winner because of the number of movies they'll make available, and the fact that subscribers can watch movies as many times as they want for the same price -apart from new releases. Read more about it at Reuters.com.
CMX Find a File Extension for Dreamweaver
Better Than a Lava Lamp
Put up your psychedelic posters, turn on some Grand Funk Railroad, turn on the black light and head over to Falstad.com and check out their Ripple applet, which simulates a ripple tank. Whoa.....
Are You Seeking Coverage?
At FindMyCover.com, you can search for the covers of your favorite albums. Search by the artist's name, or search by the album name. The photos are not high-resolution, otherwise they'd be perfect to use for CDs, but we thought it was neat anyway. You might find a cool use for it.
Make The Perfect Plane
Slowly but surely, the internet is making it possible to do anything online that you can do outside of the computer world. For instance, at FetchFido.co.uk, you can make a paper airplane and throw it. Yes, that's it. But somehow, it's still intriguing.
The Many Uses of the Malleable em
ASP.NET has a really useful control, the <asp:AdRotator>, which allows you to specify a number of banner ads in an xml file. The control will then take care of the dirty work of displaying the banner ads. Unfortunately, the very fact that the configuration for the control is kept in an XML file
sort of discourages people from using it. I mean, who wants to break open the FTP connection just to update a small configuration file.
The style rendering toolbar is a new feature in Dreamweaver 8 that I covered briefly in the Dreamweaver 8 Style Rendering Toolbar - A Sneak Peek. This is just about my favourite new CSS feature in Dreamweaver and it is a feature I use a lot.
Flash Video containing an Alpha channel can be used to intereact with your web pages. It is surprisingly easy to do.
PHP provides a wide variety of ways to work with the filesystem of the server upon which it is running. In the second part of this series, Basic File Control, we'll explore how to get information about and move/copy/delete files from within a PHP script.
Using a unique combination of Apache's configuration directives and the way in which 404 errors are handled, this article presents a creative way to provide for caching of dynamically generated content which can still serve up entirely in static form when it is cached.
All JumpStarts boast flexibility and the the Inverness Blog JumpStart is no exception. In this article you'll see how I reskinned the site with only minor modifications to the CSS and source PNG and NO changes to the original html file at all! A true reskinning operation. Check out how I changed the feel of the site: from cool Scottish Highlands to warm tropics at sunrise.
Our JumpStarts are designed to be easy to rebrand with your own unique look. To show you what it takes to create a unique design from a JumpStart, I've redesigned the Inverness JumpStart by modifying the PNG and changing a few lines of CSS.
With Christmas just around the corner take a little time to create a Christmas card for that special someone. In this tutorial we will use FreehandMX to create a Christmas card from scratch. Incorporating photo frames drawn in Freehand and using a personal photo you can create a one of a kind Christmas card with your own personal greeting.
There have been five parts in the series on creating a simple blog. The first five parts focused on creating basic functionality to get a basic blog up and running using simple Dreamweaver design tools. This part will show how to incorporate the functionality into a more complex design — specifically, the latest CMX Jumpstart — Inverness. This tutorial will be equally applicable to ColdFusion, ASP, PHP, ASP.NET, or JSP because we will be using standard Dreamweaver server behaviors to create the blog. In the course of merging the dynamic blog into the design, you'll learn the following about merging content with design in general — how to find repeating items and make them dynamic, how to separate parts of an existing design into a module.
Checking For Strong Passwords in ColdFusion
This week's Tip, Trick or Dirty Cheat is courtesy of Jim Babbage, CMX Partner
Editing Objects That Have Blend Modes Applied
In FW 8, when you group objects that have blend modes applied, it's not easy to edit the blend modes anymore, even though they remain applied. In order to alter the blend modes on grouped objects in FW 8, use the sub selection tool to access the various objects on the canvas and edit the modes via the Layers Panel or Property Inspector.
Would you like your tip published? Submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
That's it for this week. Stay tuned for the next CMX newsletter!