Wednesday, August 29th, 2007
CMX Weekly Newsletter
What Do We Want? Siggraph! When Do We Want It? Oh... So, You're Already Working On It?
Last week we posted a link to a video that displayed the power of a new graphics application named Siggraph. Here's a link to a YouTube video showcasing the software. We mentioned that Photoshop CS3 can't do what Siggraph can do, but that could change soon. It turns out that one of the architects behind Siggraph, Shai Avidan, is now working for Adobe. Wonder what he's working on? Hmmm.... We found out this bit of good news from TechCrunch.com.
So What's a Hulu Anyway?
NBC Universal and News Corp. have had a project going on for a while under the name "NewCo" which they say will serve whole episodes of television shows to the public from several sources, including News Corp. and NBC. They will also be serving content from companies like AOL, Comcast, MSN, MySpace, and Yahoo. While the name NewCo does have a certain ring to it, they've changed the name to a more Web 2.0-friendly name: Hulu. We're not sure exactly what a Hulu is, but the service does sound intriguing. You can sign up to be a beta tester at hulu.com.
Vista Update Scheduled
I still fall for it every time, don't you? The words "Update Scheduled" makes you think that there is an update... scheduled. Microsoft has announced a scheduled Service Pack for Windows Vista, but it won't take place until the first quarter of 2008. That's a long ways away. When I heard the word "update" (ok, I read it, so what?), the unabashedly naive part of me figured it was a few weeks off. Meanwhile, MS has also announced their third and final update for Windows XP. That Service Pack will go out in beta form to about 10,000
Because We Want You To Quit That Goofy Day Job
We post a lot of articles that talk about how to start your own business, how to maintain and run that business, and plenty of other stuff related to working for yourself. To that end, we offer up this list of the Top Ten Mistakes That Freelancers Make from FreelanceSwitch.com. Read these mistakes. Avoid them. Then send your buddies at CMX a ten percent commission check once you become big and successful.
Viacom Provides This Week's "What The...?" Moment
OK, let's see if we can explain this without getting lost: Viacom is what you would call a big "player." It owns MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, SpikeTV, VH1 and many other cable tv stations. Naturally, Viacom doesn't want their content reproduced on other websites where users can get it for free. But it seems that they don't mind turning the tables when the mood strikes them. On WebJunk 2.0, a VH1 production, they played a video featuring political candidate Christopher Knight. They figured the video was up for grabs since it had been posted on YouTube. But VH1 never asked Knight for permission to run the video. Here's where it gets funky: Knight took the Webjunk 2.0 clip and posted it to YouTube to get some attention. Viacom didn't like that idea and sent YouTube a "takedown" notice. To recap: Viacom uses a video without permission and then demands that YouTube take down a video that features the video Viacom used without permission. We're sure this is a case of one department of Viacom not communicating with another, but it doesn't make Viacom look too good, does it? More on this at ArsTechnica.com
Satisfied Customers Speak Out!
"Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that." - Norman Vincent Peale
Do You Want To Work For Google?
Most of us are used to job interviews, and there aren't too many surprises that occur during the process. Sure, you might get that silly "So where do you see yourself in five years?" question, but otherwise, it's pretty standard fair. Not so with Google, and a couple of other high-profile companies. If you're one of the few who scores an interview with Google, expect some pretty off-the-wall questions, like "You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?" Uhhh.... is the answer "freak out"? More on this at CNN.com.
Just A Friendly Reminder
Step away from the keyboard. What's that behind you? Oh look! There's other stuff in the room besides your computer! We developers are a bizarre bunch who seem to work at a feverish pace all the time, and we enjoy the work we do. The fact that we do enjoy our work makes it difficult to stop and smell the roses that grow outside of our immediate surroundings, but blog posts like this one from Nick Bradbury are a good reminder to those of us that start to forget our family member's names after a few hours....
Time To Send Out A Warning To Mom And Dad Again
We're sure that most electronics stores are totally legitimate. We buy from places like Best Buy, Frye's and Circuit City all the time. But this article at PCWorld.com is a bit disturbing. It outlines the ways in which some retailers will take advantage of less tech-savvy people by selling them recovery discs that they either do not need, or could easily create on their own. Recovery discs are also available directly from the vendor, and in most cases they will end up costing the consumer less than what the retailer is selling their own version for. Read the PCWorld.com article, and send it to your less technically-inclined friends and relatives.
iPhone? Old News!
Who needs an iPhone when you can get a Nokia that looks eerily similar to the iPhone? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... and the basis for kazillions of copyright infringement lawsuits throughout America. Check out the picture and video at engadget.com and you'll see what we mean. This is a pretty blatant ripoff, but as long as they're allowed to release it, it should keep Apple honest and on its toes.
Google Pack Gets... Packier
Last time we visited Google Pack, it came with a few cool applications, but it seems to have been beefed up recently. Google pack now comes with Google Earth, Norton Security Scan, Spyware Doctor, Star Office... aw, bunches of stuff. On the outside, it probably looks like a bunch of random applications. But really... yeah, it's just a bunch of random applications. That doesn't mean they aren't handy. Check it out.
CMX MP3 Player (Flash Extension)
OK Ladies, Get Him Before He's Taken!
Can't you see this guy settling down and raising a great little family... of level 8 druids?
Wedding Cakes For The Geekily Inclined
Who says that wedding cakes have to be traditional, boring or even aesthetically pleasing? It's your wedding. If you're a geek, get down with your bad self. These folks did.
Is This What Beer-Drinking Guys Like?
Heineken spends tons of cash on advertising, no doubt, but we're wondering who they're trying to appeal to with their latest commercial. Are they going for the cyborg-girl-loving guzzlers out there? Maybe the folks who just like creepy stuff? We don't get it, but of course we're more of the wine-in-a-bag type of crowd...
Using The Spry Accordian Widget
In this segment of the Object Oriented Designer - Creating a Reflective Image Menu, we will build on the previous tutorial and turn the reflective image application into a dynamic menu set-up. We will focus on: converting the previous set-up into a class based set-up, the loading of the external images, the XML configuration menu. This will set us up for the last installment, where we will make the menu interactive and scrollable.
In Part One of this series we showed how to move boxes outside a parent element via absolute positioning. Now we present an alternate method for the cases where the first method doesn't work or happens to have difficulties of some kind. This method also works with fixed position boxes.
A step by step guide to setting up a site in Dreamweaver CS3 using the advanced tab
In this Flash Video series, you learn how to process source video files before you encode the content to the Flash Video (FLV) format or the AVC/H.264 format*. Source video can be saved in a wide range of formats across Windows and Macintosh platforms, and each format can use specific audio and video codecs. In this tutorial, you learn how to retain the original quality of source footage after you've edited or applied effects to the footage in a tool such as Adobe After Effects.
After you learn to create layouts using CSS techniques, you may think that you no longer need to use tables. Tables are still a very important tool, though. They are still appropriate for their original intended purpose, that is, for tabular data.
When working in the Flex 2 environment, there are many times where you might find yourself in need of a component that does not exist. The Flex SDK offers plenty of extensibility for building custom UI components that can plug seamlessly into the existing framework. In the fourth lesson of this series, we will look into the steps involved in exposing properties for manipulating our component.
Learning Flex 2 can be can seem overwhelming at first glance, considering all the elements that go into the making of a Flex application, from the Flex product line, the development IDE, the source files, the runtime and the APIs, not to mention the abundance of documentation, examples and blog entries to choose from, not all of which are intended for novices. This series aims to take some of the mystery and confusion out of learning Flex 2, providing both a beginner's overview of building applications in Flex, as well as some in-depth examination of the basics for intermediate Flex developers.
The Hue/Saturation Control under the Image > Adjustments Menu, can make color changes to the entire image as well as only parts of it.
During the week of August 20th, Adobe announced its plans to support the AVC/H.264 video standard in the final release of Flash Player 9 update 3. You can currently download beta 2 of Flash Player 9 update 3 on the Adobe Labs site. This beta contains the AVC/H.264 codec, which enables you to test MPEG-4 files using the H.264 codec right now! I won't recap the information already provided by Adobe, but I'll provide a context for this announcement with existing Flash Video codecs and the world of Internet-delivered video.
You may have the best of intentions when it comes to making your web pages accessible, but all of us can forget to add an alt attribute or label element here or there. If you're using Dreamweaver (from version MX 2004 onward), you can customize it to remind you about these accessibility enhancements every time you insert one of a number of common elements, as well as help you insert the needed attributes or elements. While this won't help you make your web pages more accessible if you don't know how to properly choose the values for these attributes and elements, it does serve as a handy reminder for those that are already familiar with accessibility best practices.
We won't be focusing on the benefits and guidelines for each of these accessibility enhancements, but rather on how Dreamweaver helps facilitate them. Because of this, this tutorial is best suited for those already familiar with accessibility requirements and how to meet them. References to other articles providing this background information are supplied throughout the article, if you need to brush up in any of the areas covered.
Using the Flash CS3 FLVPlayback Component
This week's Tip, Trick or Dirty Cheat is courtesy of Jim Babbage, CMX Partner.
Quick Blend Mode
If you have a scroll mouse, you can quickly scroll through the Blend Modes menu in the Fireworks Layers panel to see the blend mode applied to your selected object or layer. Just click inside the Blend Mode Menu, then click once more to collapse the menu and scroll away!
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!