CMX Weekly Newsletter

Check the News!

Studio 8 Now Available

Anyone who pre-ordered has likely gotten their email from Macromedia already that said Studio 8 is being shipped to them. You can also download it from Macromedia's website, along with any of the individual products. Community MX already has quite a bit of information on Macromedia's newest versions of your favorite development tools, but if you snoop around Macromedia.com enough, you'll find the likes of our own Tom Green and Stephanie Sullivan giving their evaluations of the Studio line of products.

eBay Moves Into VoIP

eBay has purchased Skype, one of the largest VoIP providers in the world, for more than 4 billion dollars; 1.3 billion in cash, another 1.3 billion in stock, and another 1.5 billion in... well, the article at News.com doesn't say, but we think it may be pizza and beer. It's unknown whether eBay will keep Skype's basic computer-to-computer telephony free or not, so if you haven't used Skype yet, this would be a good time to try it... just in case.

A New Browser Called Flock. People Are Gonna... Nope. Can't Say It.

Some of the folks from Mozilla have been very busy, getting their new open source browser ready to launch. No, it's not Firefox or Netscape, it's Flock, a brand new browser that has the web community all a-twitter, if Roland Tanglao's blog is any indication. It's based on the Firefox engine, and the developers are calling it the "Social Browser" because it makes working with blogs and online tools like Flickr as simple as drag and drop. It's not available to the public without a special invite yet, but it should be out soon. Get more info about Flock at Wired.com.

Apple Helps Developers Make The Transition to Intel

Apple has launched their Developer Transition Resource Center. Developers needing to port their applications to Apple's new Intel-based hardware will find plenty of help in the form of Quicktime videos and documents explaining the new architecture.

Office 12 Preview - Or Office 2007 Preview. Take Your Pick.

Office 12 is a ways off, but like most tech-heads, we love to see what will become of applications we use a lot. ZDNet.com has some screen captures of Office 12, and while there is plenty of time for Microsoft to make changes to the UI, we've got to say... Office 12 is cute as a button. Will it be worth the upgrade? It's too early to tell, but ZDNet.com a review of the pre-beta for Office 12.

Satisfied Customers Speak Out!

  • "THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

    I've been tearing my hair out over this project for so long, trying to get various things to work, that I just wasn't thinking clearly... or more to the point... reading all of your clearly written instructions.
     
    Many thanks for getting back to me, taking the time to figure out my lame problem, and more importantly, for writing the code to begin with! You've saved my web project; if I couldn't get this to work, I was going to have to abandon ColdFusion, tell my client of the setback, and start over with a different application server.
     
    P.S. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!"

    - MG, a very appreciative CMX Subscriber, commenting on the help received in our Forums at Community MX
    .

    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:

"Looking at the proliferation of personal web pages on the net, it looks like very soon everyone on earth will have 15 Megabytes of fame." — M.G. Siriam

Volkswagen Eases The Pain of Living in Your Car

First there was the AM radio for your car. Then wonderful FM. 8-Track players were taken over by cassette players, which in turn have been replaced with CD players and satellite radio. You can also play your iPod through your FM receiver now, but yet... it's just not good enough. Volkswagen is equipping their Golf, Golf Plus and Touran model vehicles with ports that will accept your iPod or USB connectors, and will play the device through the car's stereo system, which will display up to six folders from your digital music player. Now this is a step in the right direction. Gizmodo.com has more on this.

Steer Clear of Fraudulent Katrina Relief Websites

Out of more than 4,000 websites that claim to give aid to the victims of Katrina, about sixty percent are presumed to be fraudulent. There are also tons of email scams meant to get your money by pretending to help victims of Katrina. There are currently more ways to lose your money in a Katrina scam than there are ways to actually give money to legitimate organizations that actually help. ScamBusters.org points out how to be aware of most Katrina-related scams, and gives advice on how to donate where it will help the most.

Your Blog Might Get a Lot More Attention Soon

Google has launched Blog Search, a new search engine devoted to combing through blogs in search of what you're looking for. Jason Goldman, Google's product manager for Blogging Search, says "There really has been a need for a world-class search product to expose this dynamic content to a worldwide audience." We're not sure why that sounds dirty, but after using Google's Blog Search for a while, we can see that it's a great tool for finding specific blog content.

The Keyboard Silencer Can't Be Far Behind

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, recorded people typing at a computer, and were able to figure out ninety six percent of what was being typed, thanks to a specific algorithm they used. If researchers are able to recover what you typed through acoustic means, according this article at CBC Business News, other people could find a way to listen in as well. Thankfully we're not paranoid, and will continue to type loudly and proudly.

Microsoft Widens Their .NET

Microsoft Expression was just announced, and from the looks of it, it may do us the favor of knocking FrontPage out of the playing field for good. Expression is meant to put Microsoft back into the web developer field and compete with the likes of Dreamweaver and Adobe's GoLive applications, and can be used to build rich internet applications - as long as you're not on a Mac, since Expression does not have a Mac-compatible version. Community technology previews are out now, but the real thing won't come out until sometime in 2006. See PCWorld.com for more info.

CMX Blog Scroller (Flash Extension)

  • This Flash component enables you to display one or more RSS feeds in Flash Player 7 with a number of customizable options. CMX Blog Scroller automatically parses the XML and displays the latest blog entries.

    Take a look at this extension by CMX Partner Paul Newman

Fun and Freebies!

Tongodeon, Our New Hero

We don't know his real name, but blogger Tongodeon is brilliant. He had a picture of himself hard at work made into a life-size plastic blind, and hung it at his cubicle door, making it look like his empty cubicle contained a guy working diligently. You can see him hardly working at LiveJournal.com.

Kid Friendly, or Just Plain Scary?

So you want to get your kids into eating sushi, but your little McDonald's lover isn't into the idea? Maybe you just need to make the sushi more attractive. If you need some ideas on how to do that, just check out FreeShell.org. Sorry, the site won't work in Internet Explorer.

What's in a Name?

When hurricane Katrina hit, a lot of people rushed to Katrina.com. What they found was a web design and computer consulting company owned by Katrina Blankenship. People emailed her to find out more about Hurricane Katrina, and rather than apologize for any confusion, Blankenship did what few probably would. She converted her entire website into a resource center for the hurricane. She links to news items, gives information on lost and found people, and even fields all of the emails she's getting which reach about 1,500 a day. She was even offered $500,000 for the domain name katrina.com, but wasn't interested. Sounds like a pretty neat person. More on Katrina, the person, at USAToday.com.

List Display Problems In Explorer For Windows - Part One (Free Article)

  • This tutorial begins a series about display problems encountered in Internet Explorer for Windows when using list elements. First up, we will discover some differences between browsers and how to compensate for them, and then we will solve the mystery of the missing bullets in IE. Join us!

    This free article by CMX Partners Holly Bergevin and John Gallant can be found here.

Weekly Content Listing

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Using Related Fields with the CMX Auto Complete Extension

Rob Williams

The CMX Auto Complete Behavior makes adding basic "auto complete" functionality to your HTML forms fast and easy; when you begin to develop larger forms though you may be ready to start utilizing some of the more advanced features of the extension.

Note: This tutorial requires that you have the CMX Auto Complete Behavior installed on your system and are familiar with its use.

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What's with the Question Marks? Or: Where are my Curly Quotes? [FREE]

Arman Danesh

If you work with ColdFusion and popular databases such as MySQL you my find yourself geting strange results. Even if you don't use non-Roman scripts such as Chinese or Arabic you may find curly quotes or other extended characters magically becoming question marks. This article discusses techniques you can use to resolve this common problem.

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Text in Captivate [FREE]

Tom Green

Why, oh why, oh why do people not format their text in Captivate? Here's a quick overview of some the options available to you for formatting your text in Captivate.

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Visualizing Data with Google Maps

Joel Martinez, CMX

"Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego", "Where's Waldo" ... What do these childhood books/games/shows have in common? The desire to geographically locate someone (or something). Whether it's a customer trying to find a specific store location, or a business attempting to understand the demographics of its customer base,this is a problem domain that has long intrigued the human race.

Google Maps has succeeded in creating a fantastic mapping product that arguably trumps the others in the field. The best thing about Google Maps is that they have opened up their API for people to innovate with. Several examples include Chicago Crime and MyWikiMap (formerly Cheap Gas). These are sites that have some set of data that lends itself well to geographic visualization.

This article will walk you through the process I took to write a Google Maps application that displays all of the members in my .NET usergroup for the purpose of demographic analysis. You will be able to download an easily customizable console application written in C# and instructions on how to integrate the result into a fully functional Google map that you can deploy to your website.

Now, you might ask yourself, "Why a console application, why not a .NET page that could be run to generate the actual JavaScript Google needs?" ... a fine question to be sure, unfortunately, the data retrieval process I describe in the tutorial involves contacting a third party website who's performance does not lend itself to being used in a production environment ... especially if the amount of data you have to display is significant. With a console application, you can run your data retrieval process manually and it doesn't matter how long it takes to grab all of the data.

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Introducing CMX Jumpstart Machu Picchu [FREE]

Sheri German

Machu Picchu, Peru: a rediscovered ruin, a sacred ceremonial city of the Incas, a place of ethereal beauty, and now also a Community MX JumpStart. CMX JumpStart Machu Picchu, designed and coded by Adrian Senior, was built specifically to take advantage of the new Style Rendering Toolbar in Dreamweaver 8. It includes style sheets for the screen, print and handheld media types.

Read on to learn more about this centered, two-columnm, fixed-width, Web Standards compliant CSS layout.

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CMX Jumpstart: Machu Picchu

Adrian Senior

Welcome to our latest CMX JumpStart offering; Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu has been developed to be accessible to screen, print and handheld devices. Handheld devices are still very much a gray area in our content delivery for web pages. PDAs and more modern phones can do a very good job of rendering web pages and with a little tweaking can provide us with access to very usable and good looking web sites.

Similarly a print style sheet, when correctly set, can give our users access to printed content that can be digested at their leisure. Web pages that don't print correctly can be very annoying and detract from the site's value. It is these two media types that we will be focusing on along with screen media in Machu Picchu. The aim is to provide content of a high quality to screen, handheld and print medias.

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Image Editing Panel - Fireworks 8 Sneak Peek [FREE]

Jim Babbage

There are many new goodies awaiting you in Fireworks 8. If you are new to Fireworks, Macromedia has added some features to help you get "up to speed" very quickly. One of these new features is the Image Editing Panel. Its purpose is to quickly expose new users to some (not all) of the most common image editing functions in Fireworks. This brief overview details will give you a basic grasp of what the Image Editing Panel can do

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Distributing a Class Library: Part 2

Danny Patterson

Continuing with the series on distributing ActionScript classes, this article will examine creating documentation for your classes. We will comment our classes with Doc-Style documentation. Then we will use a product called BLDoc created by B-Line Express. This tool will parse our classes and generate help files that we will then include in our installation package. This will make the documentation available right inside the Help Panel of the Flash authoring environment.

The Distributing ActionScript Classes Series:
Distributing ActionScript Classes - Part 1
Distributing a Class Library: Part 2

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Investigating Drag-and-Drop For Use in Content Management Systems: Part 1 - Drag and Drop Lists

Danilo Celic

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.

The first part in the series shows how to apply a drag and drop mechanism to a list of categories in Dreamweaver so that the order of the categories displayed can be modified by your end user. The pages created from the steps outlined in this part of the series can be performs for ColdFusion, PHP, and ASP-VBScript pages.

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Easy Text Effects: Part 4 - Punch Your Text up With a Highlight

Linda Rathgeber-Stewart

There are times when the highlight you get from applying a bevel or other kind of filter just doesn’t create a dramatic enough effect. In this tutorial, you’ll learn an easy way to create a clearly defined highlight, separate from the text body, you can recolor and manipulate in any way you like.

The Easy Text Effects Series:
Easy Text Effects: Part 1
Easy Text Effects: Part 2 - Grunge Text Decollage
Easy Text Effects: Part 3 - 3D Innies and Outies
Easy Text Effects: Part 4 - Punch Your Text up With a Highlight

Importing CSV Data Into an Access Database

  • From time to time a client will ask if they can do a bulk upload to insert new data into a database, rather than the one item at a time that many content management systems allow. For example, the eCommerce site you've been working on may need to have 50 or more products to be added at a time, and boy, you don't want to be the one to type in each product one at a time. You may have included a multi-item insert into the site already, but even then, that's a lot of work to enter in all the new products. Now imagine if they add that many items every week, or multiple times a week, phew, worn off fingertips, for sure. Hmm, note to self, write producers of Law and Order about a computer crime idea. ;-).

    One item at a time won't work, and even allowing multiple items to be inserted at once with a web page is still a pain. That's where bulk inserting from a CSV file can come in handy.

    Check out the Article by CMX Partner Danilo Celic

Tips, Tricks and Dirty Cheats!

This week's Tip, Trick or Dirty Cheat is courtesy of Danilo Celic, CMX Partner.

Copy an Error Message

If you run into an error within Dreamweaver and you need help fixing it, you can help your helper by providing the exact error message. Now, some of those messages can get pretty long, and trying to type them perfectly is just plain asking for trouble. Have no fear, there is an easier way. When the error dialog is open, click on it with your mouse (not the OK button) to make sure it is in focus, and then hit CTRL+C (CMD+C mac) and you now have the error on your clipboard, so you can paste it into any type of document.

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!