Wednesday, April 19th, 2006
CMX Weekly Newsletter
TODcon 2006 in Orlando - Getting Closer Every Day
For the few who haven't experienced it yet, TODCon is the most informative yet informal Macromedia/Adobe-related event you're going to find. Whether you're a seasoned veteran of Macromedia or Adobe products or you're 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 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. Do it quick, while the early bird pricing is still effect.
Better Late Than Never!
Community MX has a new author in their midst. Joseph Balderson is a teacher of Flash Development at the Humber College School of New Media Studies in Toronto Canada, with over seven years experience in the new media industry. He divides his spare time between teaching, coding, writing, hiking, and training his cats to appreciate the subtleties of Monty Python and the Infinite Improbability Drive, in the hopes they might one day tell him the Secrets of the Universe (because those darn mice aren't talking). His work can be seen at joeflash.ca, and of course, at Community MX. We're really happy to have found such a great resource for Flash technology. Joseph is going to be teaching all of us with his wealth of knowledge.
The King is Dead. Long Live The Burger.
Between Spider-Man, The Godfather, Shrek and The Matrix video games, you'd think that no one would have room to throw their own character into the mix. Burger King, with the help of Microsoft and the X-Box, are hoping to make the first video game starring a fast food icon. The game is said to be a mix between "Mortal Kombat and Need for Speed." Read more about it at Adage.com. We hear Ronald McDonald is already coming up with some cheat codes to send the King into oblivion.
Flash Slideshow, Brought To You By Fireworks.
Alan Musselman has created an extension that helps you build a Flash slideshow. There are a lot of these on the market right now, but Alan's extension doesn't require knowledge of Flash or XML and can be done entirely within Fireworks. We haven't used it yet, so we can't give you a review, but this is a fresh take on creating a slideshow and might be worth your time to explore. The extension and the tutorial on how to use it can be found at Macromedia.com.
What's in a Word?
Do you ever find your Word documents in a state of general disarray? Then it only makes sense to go to GeneralDisarray.Wordpress.com to get some help on straightening them out. You'll find a few good tips there, mostly on using styles in your documents, whether it's text or tables. If you're used to Dreamweaver's styles, you might be comfortable turning on the styles that come with Word. The author mentions in the article that the same styling features in Word are available in other word processors, like Open Office.
Satisfied Customers Speak Out!
"If you write a post and put it on a blog, that's a historical document. If you change your template, then that entry looks completely different. It's the same words, but not the same meaning. This all depends on what historical questions that people will be asking and we can't know what they will want." — Josh Greenberg
Have Fun. We're Watching You.
Guests of the Alton Towers amusement park in England have come up with an interesting way to curb mayhem, find lost kids and provide you with a video journal of your trip to the park. When you arrive, you have the option of wearing a wrist band with an RFI chip on it. Your movements are tracked via cameras throughout the park, which make people a little less brave than if they know they're not being watched. For anyone with kids, this wristband idea is probably something they've been wishing for. Providing the guest with a DVD of their surveillance at the end of the day is a great motivator to get people to wear the wristbands. Read more about it at BBC.co.uk.
This Really Hurts. And Not In a Good Way
The guy who invented the mp3 format as well as the first mp3 player, Kane Kramer, must be a rich man today, right? In 1979 he held the patent for his player. Believe it or not, these days, Kane runs a furniture store rather than lying on the beach sipping margaritas. What happened? It's an interesting - if not pathetically sad - story that you can read about at MacNewsWorld.com. The short story is that you should always try to renew patents that might go somewhere...
Thunderbird Upgrade Released
Mozilla's Thunderbird 184.108.40.206 has been updated to version 220.127.116.11. Besides bug fixes and enhanced security, it doesn't look like there is anything terribly exciting in this version. Actually, there's nothing else at all. However, if you use Thunderbird, it makes sense to download a newer, more secure version.
Can You Design a C.R.A.P. Website?
For the purposes of this article at ThinkVitamin.com, a C.R.A.P. website is one designed with Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity in mind. The author of the article delves into why each of the points that make up C.R.A.P. are important to understand and implement. Some are on the common sense side, but are still good reminders to keep us in check as we design.
He Never Made It Out Of Liberty City
Of the staff at Community MX has a brother-in-law who is a police officer. He says that criminals will run from him or drive away, only to get caught very quickly. He says the most often used excuse for hightailing away from the cops is "I didn't think you'd catch me." No one ever said crooks were that bright, but Tyrone McMillan puts the rest to shame. His excuse for leading the police on a high-speed pursuit was that he was sure he could get away from the cops because... he was so good at playing Vice City. Good thing he wasn't into the Spider-Man videos instead... More on Captain Video at CapitolNews9.com.
CMX ColdFusion Image Popup Server Behavior
Odd But Interesting
At JustCurio.us, you can ask any non-offensive question you want, and wait for people to answer it. However, before you can ask a question, you must answer a question. Some sample questions posted by visitors to the website include: "How ordinary is extra ordinary?", "Would you let your 16 year old daughter keep a fake ID you found while rummaging through her personal belongings?" and "What is the next big way that technology will change society?" Some of the questions, even though the administrators ask users to exercise discretion, are a bit... colorful. You've been warned. We're not sure if anyone has asked what you'd do for a Klondike bar yet...
Just To Prove You Still Haven't Seen It All
Have you ever been sitting at the computer, wondering what you haven't seen on the internet yet, only to wonder "Hmmm... what about sculptures made of Oreo cookies?" OK, you probably haven't. But now you don't need to. Some elementary school kids came up with some great ideas involving Oreos. And Double-Stuffs, of course. Check them out at TechnoSpudProjects.com.
When is a Ring Not a Ring?
If you've ever set your cell phone to vibrate and thought you were receiving a call, but really weren't, don't worry. You're not alone. Although it doesn't have a name yet, this phenomenon apparently occurs to a lot of folks, mostly those who are awaiting a call or have a significant relationship issue going on. Turn your phone off and go to jscms.jrn.columbia.edu
Using JumpStarts with Cartweaver, Featuring Minneapolis
The next time you're ready to develop some interesting display typography use Photoshop. Using the Clipping Mask tool (to create Clipping Groups) in the Layers palette as well as other creative tools in Photoshop, you can capture images of textures, including wood, to create decorative lettering effects.
Creating metallic effects in Fireworks can easily be accomplished throught the use of Curves. What's that you say? You thought Curves were only used for color correction in digital photographs?
More and more Flash content creators are discovering the power of printing from the Flash Player. Since Flash Player 4, you've had the tools to print content from a Flash movie. Starting with Flash Player 7, a powerful ActionScript class named PrintJob has been on the scene to enable exacting control over printed output from a Flash movie. In this multi-part series, you learn how to build a printable certificate from a Flash movie. In this first installment, you learn how to create the certificate template in Adobe Illustrator CS2 and Flash 8.
It is surprising how much poorly written queries can slow down your application, and yet page execution times are something we can easily test and optimise during the development process.
Have you ever wished you could see the source code for a web page without actually viewing the source? Or perhaps you've wanted to be able to expand or collapse parts of a source code so you could get them out of your way while you deal with other parts? Maybe you've even wanted a visual display of how the source code of your page is nested (or not) without having to go to the CSS and put in background colors or borders?
The previous installment of this series described how to customize the
From t-shirts to web pages, the "I've been around for 100 years" look has become quite popular. On web pages, the effect can be used to add some texture and interest to graphics; on t-shirts it creates that favorite old t-shirt feel right off the rack. Whatever the resulting artwork will be used for, this method is easy to do and can be customized to suit any application.
No doubt it's happened to you. You stare at the blank canvas for hours, and not a thing ignites your imagination. Not one thing.
Community MX is pleased to announce a very exciting new series of design goodies that we have tagged CMX Design Elements.
Building a Dashboard Widget
This week's Tip, Trick or Dirty Cheat is courtesy of CMX Associate Tom Muck
Sort Through Your Conditional Logic
When writing server side code (using any language) using IF statements, put the condition within a comment after the end of the conditional code block so that nested conditional logic is easier to read -- especially when the code is long and involved. For example:
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!