CMX Weekly Newsletter

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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 guinea pigs beta testers soon. No word on when it might be made available to the general public. More on this at News.com.

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!

  • "Very good article, helped me understand better the CSS box and poisitioning model. Keep up the good work!"

    - Stuart L., CMX Subscriber & Contributor, commenting on guest author Thierry Lorey
    Create a Postage Stamp and a Rubber Stamp Effect In Fireworks
    article.

    Whether you're just starting out or need advanced support, Community MX will give you answers and ideas to work through your tough issues. Don't miss out. Learn more about CMX or sign up for a free trial today!

Great Quotes:

"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)

  • The CMX MP3 Player component enables you to load external MP3s from an XML playlist. Features include track info display (title, artist), elapsed and remaining time, audio scrubber, volume slider, and playlist navigation.

    Take a look at this Extension by CMXpert Paul Newman

Fun and Freebies!

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

  • One of the new features in Dreamweaver CS3 is the integration of the Spry javascript library. In this series, we'll look at using Dreamweaver CS3 to insert, integrate and modify the Spry Accordion widget. Give your pages the pizzazz they deserve!

    This free article by CMX Partner Stephanie Sullivan can be found here.

Weekly Content Listing

fl

The Object Oriented Designer - Part 4: Building a Reflective Image Menu with AS 3.0

Derrick Ypenburg

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.

The Object Oriented Designer Series
The Object Oriented Designer - Part 1: Animated Buttons
The Object Oriented Designer - Part 2: Making the Button Class
The Object Oriented Designer - Part 3: Creating Reflective Images with AS 3
The Object Oriented Designer - Part 4: Building a Reflective Image Menu with AS 3.0

css

Positioning Outside The Box - Part Two

John Gallant, Holly Bergevin

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.

It's a neat trick all on its own, and just might come in handy some day when you are faced with a difficult layout situation. At least that's the general idea!

The Positioning Outside the Box Series:
Positioning Outside the Box - Part One
Positioning Outside the Box - Part Two

dw

Defining a Site in Dreamweaver CS3, Advanced Tab [FREE]

Paul Davis

A step by step guide to setting up a site in Dreamweaver CS3 using the advanced tab

video

Preparing Source Video for Flash Video: Part 2 - Preventing Quality Loss

Robert Reinhardt

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.

*On August 23, 2007, Adobe announced its intention to support the popular industry standard AVC/H.264 codec in Flash Player 9 update 3. Currently, Flash Player 9 update 3 is available as a beta 2 version on Adobe Labs.

NOTE: All of the tutorials in this series require Apple QuickTime Player. I recommend purchasing Apple QuickTime Player Pro directly from Apple. The Pro version enables you to export audio and video files. This series augments the material discussed in my book, Adobe Flash CS3 Professional Video Studio Techniques (Adobe Press).

Approximate download size: 18.9MB

The Preparing Source Video for Flash Video Series:
Preparing Source Video for Flash Video: Part 1 - Converting MPEG Files
Preparing Source Video for Flash Video: Part 2 - Preventing Quality Loss

edu

The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series - Part Thirteen

Sheri German

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.

In the last part of this series, you dealt with Word documents and their tendency to break valid code. Now you'll turn to Excel and learn the best way to convert its documents into spreadsheets on the web. You'll take an Excel document that contains a spreadsheet of the plays of Shakespeare, convert it to clean (X)HTML, add accessibility and usability features, and then style it to match the design of the Shakespeare site. You can download the support files, as well as a completed version of the page, in the download link so that you can "play along at home".

Approximate download size: 687k

The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series:
The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series - Part 1
The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series - Part 2
The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series - Part 3
The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series - Part 4
The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series - Part 5
The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series - Part 6
The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series - Part 7
The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series - Part 8
The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series - Part 9
The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series - Part 10
The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series - Part 11
The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series - Part 12
The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series - Part 13
The Dreamweaver Web Standards Lesson Plan Series - Part 14 Coming Soon

flex

Creating Custom UIComponents in Flex 2: Lesson 4 - Property Exposure

Steve Schelter

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.

The Creating Custom UIComponents in Flex 2 Series:
Creating Custom UIComponents in Flex 2: Lesson 1 - Overview
Creating Custom UIComponents in Flex 2: Lesson 2 - Basic Setup
Creating Custom UIComponents in Flex 2: Lesson 3 - Dispatching Events
Creating Custom UIComponents in Flex 2: Lesson 4 - Property Exposure

flex

Flex 101: Part 5 - Using MXML

Joseph Balderson

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.

In this article, we will learn the basics of MXML syntax and the mx namespace, as well as a workflow optimization for distributing Flex code.

The Flex 101 Series:
Flex 101: Part 1 - Introducing Adobe Flex 2
Flex 101: Part 2 - What's New In Flash Player
Flex 101: Part 3 - Using Flex Builder 2
Flex 101: Part 4 - Building in Design Mode
Flex 101: Part 5 - Using MXML
Flex 101: Part 6 - Components and Databinding Coming Soon

photoshop

Hue/Saturation — Summer to Fall in a Wink

Knut Kubenz

The Hue/Saturation Control under the Image > Adjustments Menu, can make color changes to the entire image as well as only parts of it.

This brief tutorial will serve as an introduction to this powerful control and demonstrate its use in both changing color in parts of an image as well as the entire image. Along with this I'll show you how you can also quickly and safely edit the color changes if necessary.

video

What AVC/H.264 Means for the Future of Flash Video [FREE]

Robert Reinhardt

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.

dw

Dreamweaver's Accessibility Preferences

Zoe Gillenwater

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.

In this article, you'll learn:

  • what elements Dreamweaver provides with accessibility prompts
  • how to set your preferences so that it will prompt you about these elements every time
  • what each prompt looks like and what accessibility changes it produces in your markup

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

  • Adobe may just have pulled off the "seemingly impossible": They made something that was dead simple to use, even easier to use

    Check out the Video Tutorial by CMX Partner Tom Green

Tips, Tricks and Dirty Cheats!

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 tips@communitymx.com.

That's it for this week. Stay tuned for the next CMX newsletter!