Wednesday, February 15th, 2006
CMX Weekly Newsletter
TODCon 2006 in Orlando
For the few who haven't experienced it yet, TODCon is the most informative yet informal Macromedia-related event you're going to find. Whether you're a seasoned veteran of Macromedia products or just starting out, you will have a great time learning a great deal from many knowledgeable speakers about CSS, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, ColdFusion, Flash, Central and even about running your business properly. Those who attend usually end up coming back every year because of the unique and informal atmosphere. You don't want to miss out on this event. This year, TODCon will take place in beautiful Orlando, Florida, just a hop, skip and jump from Walt Disney World. Your registration (with the rooming option) includes three nights (May 18th, 19th and 20th) at the Wyndham plus a 3-day trolley pass that covers transportation throughout the International Drive attractions area.
You're invited to register for this fantastic, one of a kind event.
Reports of Fireworks' Demise May Be Premature
In a recent thread on the Macromedia Forums, Danielle Beaumont, the new Product Manager for Fireworks, gave everyone some very encouraging words with regard to the future of Fireworks. Among them, she said "Fireworks continues to be an important product to the combined Macromedia/Adobe portfolio and is actively under product development for a yet-to-be announced product release." In the same thread, a bit farther down, Dave Storey, another Adobe worker, said "It turns out many of the doomsayers were wrong when they forecast the end of Fireworks." For those of us who can't live without Fireworks, this is great news. You can read Stephanie Sullivan's and Jim Babbage's reactions to these remarks at the Community MX blog, CMXtraneous.
Are All The Big Deals Done Over Bad Meals?
In last week's newsletter, we mentioned that the deal struck between Adobe and Macromedia was done at a "cheesy Italian restaurant," according to former Macromedia CEO Stephen A. Elop. Now we learn that the deal struck between iStockPhoto.com and GettyImages.com was done "over a greasy breakfast." You can read about the acquistion at iStockphoto.com. Is this a new trend? Will the folks from Gerber and Beechnut be meeting over a can of worms to discuss what the future holds for each company?
Camino Users, Start Your Engines
Camino 1.0 has just been released, and it's an effort that has been a year in the making. This upgrade purports to fix hundreds of bugs, as well as some new features, including the utilization of universal binary, allowing it to run safely on the new Intel-based Macs. Other new features are ad/popup blockers, a new tab appearance and history searching, among other things. You can check out all the new features and download Camino 1.0 at CaminoBrowser.org.
Why Pay a Fee When You Can AVG?
Symantec and McAfee nearly have the market cornered when it comes to antivirus software, but AVG antivirus has been around for years, and has proven to be very effective in its protection against viruses. Although businesses have to pay a licensing fee to use it, AVG is free for home use. If you've grown tired of having to pay for antivirus protection, AVG is a good alternative you might want to look into. NewsFactor.com has a solid review on version 7.1. You can download AVG from Grisoft.com.
Satisfied Customers Speak Out!
"Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one." — Charles Sykes
Windows Update Alert
Microsoft issued a patch that fixes two critical flaws found in the Windows operating system. The patch addresses security holes in Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer which could expose your computer to hackers and give them control over your computer. You might recall a similar warning last month. If we're lucky, Windows Vista will address the security issues that seem to keep popping up in Windows. Check out the full story at Yahoo.com, but first, head to Windows Update. And if you're on a Mac, stop giggling already.
Back In My Day, All We Had Was One Abacus For The Whole Town
News.com poses a question to some top folks in the tech field: What was your first computer? The most interesting reply probably comes from Michael Dell, the Chairman of Dell Computers, who says that his first computer was an Apple II that he owned in 1980 at the age if fifteen. Meanwhile, Dan Hutcheson, CEO of VLSI Research remembers his TRS-80 from Radio Shack, which boasted a 4 MHz processor and 16K of RAM. See if you get as sentimental as we did by reading this article at News.com.
Tim Buntel, Program Manager for ColdFusion, is leaving Adobe to work in the field of children's education, something he's apparently always wanted to do. You can read the goodbye in his blog at Buntel.com. Tim has helped bring ColdFusion along to what it is today, and I'm sure he'll be missed. The part of his blog entry that caught our eyes was where Tim mentioned the bright future that ColdFusion has, the betas being developed, and the commitment from Adobe to ColdFusion. That's the good news.
Quite a Sarcastic Article
Do people laugh at your emails when you really didn't type anything funny? That's part of a question that the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology tried to answer recently. The study centered around what people believe they are communicating to their recipient versus what the recipient believes is the intended message. It turns out that much of the time, someone sending an email believes that a bit of sarcasm or other subtle inflection within their email will be understood by their recipient. Many times that is not the case. The study says it comes down to people liking their own perspective so much, they assume that others will get what they're talking about. We've never had that happen (rolls eyes). Read more on the study at Wired.com.
The first Mac laptops using Intel chipsets will be shipping this week. The Macbook Pro, costing $2,500, will ship first, with a less expensive but less powerful version shipping next week. According to this NewsFactor.com article, "Apple has included software-translation technology, called Rosetta, that lets the new machines run most of the older Mac OS X PowerPC applications seamlessly." We're not sure what is included in "most", or more importantly, what is not included in "most." We'll wait until a couple of our friends test them out before buying one ourselves, but we're pretty excited to see what the next year will hold for Apple and this new direction they've taken.
CMX Mp3 Player
Origami. It's No Kid Sport.
We thought Origami was basically crushing a piece of paper and then calling it a cat or something. It turns out that it's a bit more than that. If done properly, it can be quite a piece of art, as you can see at WorkSafeVideos.com.
Make Your Own Stereogram
No, not a telegram to your stereo because you miss it so much by being in front of the computer all day. Besides, according to MSNBC.com, telegrams stopped, didn't they? No, I'm talking about one of those stare at the image until you're cross-eyed to see a 3-d image "pop" out at you, like the ones here at Flash-gear.com.
OK, One Day Late, But Still Good Stuff
Valentine's Day came and went yesterday, but we still want to pass along the urban legends gathered at Snopes.com that relate to love. They've sorted the maybe-true-maybe-not stories into three categories: Love Betrayed, Dating Disasters and Scorned Lovers Avenged. The greater majority of the stories are of "indeterminate origin," but still fun to read. Head to Snopes.com.
Adding Flash Video To Dreamweaver
In this part of the Exploring ASP.NET v2 series you'll learn how to customize the asp:Login control using VWD's built-in "chrome" feature, which allows you to convert the control to use a layout template. This allows for much greater flexibility in the look of the login form. Plus you can replace the auto-generated table markup with more accessible and css-friendly code that you provide. This article also discusses several of the login control's attributes, such as the "Remember me next time" checkbox, pages to redirect to upon success of failure, and form validation error messages.
Setting out on the path to dynamic web site development can be a daunting task — it really is a whole new ball game. We can make things a little easier on ourselves by making an adjustment within Internet Explorers default settings and do away with the dreaded, and utterly useless, HTTP 500 error.
Why wave at the world when you can can turn your web camera into a kaleidoscope?
You've seen them before, the URLs with a querystring (the stuff after the ?) a mile long. There's no way the user will ever hope to remember that URL without bookmarking it. And what's worse, search engines don't seem to like following those links if they're too long. Ever since people started making dynamic websites, they have been in love with the querystring. But it's time to break free, take a stand, and start making our URLs simple, and easy to remember.
Valentine's Day is here, and what better way to show someone how much you love them than creating a custom image that combines a favorite photograph with a nice heart shape. In this Captivate video tutorial you'll learn how to create your own heart-shaped photo frame by using some simple techniques in Fireworks. The heart shape is created by using a Webding font to create the heart shape, followed by some simple masking and work with vectors to create the frame. This is a quick and easy method for creating something special, and you should have no trouble in getting a little valentine of your own done for someone you love.
Some people click on links to RSS files without knowing what to do with the file at the end of the link. With one part XSLT and one part CSS we can make any RSS feed more informative to the uninformed.
Clients continually ask for more and more control over their sites, whether they need it, or whether they will actually ever exercise that control. This is one reason why Content Management Systems (CMS) can work so well for many customers. Mostly they want to edit the content of a particular page, or to add a new item to their shopping cart. But occasionally they also want to change the order of the menu items, or move the news section around, above the main content one week, and the next at the bottom of the menu column. Most CMS applications can handle the content portion of things very well, but few readily accommodate layout changes. In fact, quite a few CMS impose their own layout (albeit with several templates to choose from) on a site when they are implemented.
Even seasoned CSS developers need a quick refresher course in CSS concepts and techniques from time to time. This CSS Cheat Sheet is designed for just that. Use it as a reference on topics that you've already learned about in-depth but need a few reminders on. This Cheat Sheet describes how to apply styles to your (X)HTML pages. Styles can occur on your page in three forms: inline, embedded, or external. Get a reminder on how each method works and which scenarios each is suited toward.
PowerPoint has been capable of accepting and playing back videos for quite some time, at least as far back as Office 97. In most cases the process is quite simple. Go to the Insert menu, click on Insert Movies, and away you go. At least in theory. The reality of the situation is that your success with video in PowerPoint may vary wildly. Sometimes things will play back absolutely perfectly, especially if you use the same computer with the same operating system to create and encode the video, create the PowerPoint file, and playback the slide show. But what happens when you develop your video and PowerPoint show on different machines? Or perhaps you're collaborating with someone else who is producing the video while you create the slide show? Luckily, there is a solution that works between versions of PowerPoint that eliminates the unknowns and ensures that your video will playback exactly the way you want. By converting your video to Flash Video and inserting the completed file into your PowerPoint show you can be certain that the video will playback regardless of the computer and even the operating system that is being used.
Many developers have local testing servers running on their development machines to allow for quick offline tests of materials before they are sent to the live server. If you happen to be running a local server on your development machine, though, there's no reason that its functionality should be limited to mere page testing. In this, the second part of the series, we'll continue to build upon our Photo gallery management script and complete its functionality by adding both FTP and cURL support.
Creating A Swear Filter in ASP.NET
This week's Tip, Trick or Dirty Cheat is courtesy of CMX Partner Paul Newman
Another Way to Reposition a Flash Text Field
Ever wanted to reposition a Flash text field without pressing Esc + v to return to the Selection tool? Try this out:
You can now move the text field around the stage. When you release the Ctrl key, click inside the text field to insert more text.
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!