CMX Weekly Newsletter

Check the News!

Special Guest Author This Week

Gordon Mackay has written a brilliant - and free - article for us this week, "An Introduction to MOSe." Gordon runs GordonMac.com, where he provides tutorials, smart templates, and many other wonderful geek-related things that you should check out at your earliest convenience. MOSe means "Mozilla, Opera and Safari enhancement" and Gordon will lead you through creating a form that will take advantage of the rendering capabilities of those browsers. The final effect is a beautiful form that really stands apart from most forms you see on the web.

Please Check Your Privacy At The Door

IDScan, a British company, has come up with an ID tool for nightclubs called Clubscan. The ID-checker at the door would take your ID and run it through Clubscan to verify your age. It checks your ID against a database of passports, driver's licenses, and national ID cards from “Europe, the US, Australia, the Middle East, and the Far East." If that already has your big-brother radar doing loop-dee-loops you may not like the fact that Clubscan can also burn your ID to a CD if needed. Engadget.com agrees that this ID-checking solution may be a bit overboard.

For This Internet Explorer Developer, The Thrill is Gone

Scott Berkun helped develop Internet Explorer versions one through five, mainly working on the user interface. He was passionate about improving the web user's experience through better browsing. Back in December of 2004, he wrote a good essay in his blog about what he thought made for a better browser. To his credit, Berkun didn't tout IE as the best browser to ever exist. But times change, and now Berkun is saying - again through his blog - that he does in fact have a favorite browser, and it is... Firefox. Read why Berkun digs FF so much on his blog. You may find the many replies to his revelation interesting as well.

But Internet Explorer is Learning...

Internet Explorer 7 will have a few improvements over its predecessors, not the least of which will be support of OpenSearch, which is currently used to great effect in Amazon's A9 search engine. WebProNews.com points out several reasons why this is a good move for Microsoft, and one that benefits everybody - except for Google, that is.

And Let's Not Forget About Opera

Opera has been the favorite browser of a lot of users out there, but it has never caught on in the way that Firefox has. Part of what has held it back from fame is the distracting ads it sported, and the price you had to pay to get rid of those ads. For anyone who thought they'd like to try Opera if it got rid of the ads and became free, your time has come. Opera has ditched the ads, and their browser is completely free, unless you want support.

Satisfied Customers Speak Out!

  • "Thank you so much! the cmx-site and forum is such a frustration-buster! The way you run this service makes it a pure JOY spending money on the access to your articles and tutorials. I'm HAPPY again!!!"

    - Supinum (his forum name), 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:

"One of the best things to come out of the home computer revolution could be the general and widespread understanding of how severely limited logic really is." — Frank Herbert

Google Begins Testing Free WiFi

When Google started snapping up unused fiber-optic connections last month, it sparked rumors that Google was thinking of trying their hand at offering WiFi service to the public. So far, Google is still officially mum, but has planted seeds of information here and there. An obvious clue is on their website, in the form of the Google Secure Access tool, which they also have an FAQ for. Google states that they are only testing WiFi in spots close to their corporate headquarters, but they also sponsor a free WiFi hotspot at Union Square in San Francisco. Most folks believe this is just a precursor to Google coming out with WiFi service, and they're probably right, considering that this would enable Google to pinpoint advertising on their website based on the user's location. More information on this at Yahoo.com.

If You Like Your iPod So Much, Take It To Your Wedding!

That's what some people are doing: Using an iPod instead of a DJ at your wedding may become the next big thing. With the ability to easily access a huge number of songs, it's much simpler to get your best man (let's call him "Melvin") to just pump out tunes on an iPod than to get a professional to bring their rig out and pretend to enjoy themselves. While IndieBride.com recommends sticking to numbers like "Whip It" and "YMCA", we uh... don't. Read more about getting married with your iPod at News.com.

You Could Buy Them All, To Avoid The Frustration

Are you in the market for a Mac? Between the iMac G5, the Power Mac G5, the Mac Mini, the eMac G4, etc, etc, it might be difficult to pick the best one for your needs. MacWorld.com has a great article that can help you decide, complete with a quiz that helps match you up with the right Mac.

How To Promote Your Website Even If You're Flat Broke

WebProNews.com has an interesting article this week on how to promote your web design business without spending a ton of money. Out of the five steps that they walk you through, only step three will actually cost you anything. Although following the article's advice will not net you as much traffic as spending more dough, the advice is good and couldn't hurt as a starting point.

Future News: Dell to Send PC World a "Hush Up" Letter

PCWorld.com has an article called "20 Things They Don't Want You To Know" that gives computer buyers some great tips Among those twenty things are the truth about extended warranties, getting your computer cheaper than the asking price and overclocking your processor to save money.

JavaScript Evaluation Extension for Dreamweaver

  • Frequently when you are building web pages, you need to test out little pieces of JavaScript. This extension installs in Dreamweaver and runs as a floating panel so that you can copy/paste code from Dreamweaver into the panel and execute it. It also works well for extension developers because you have access to the DW API and any shared script functions that are in memory.

    Take a look at this extension by CMX Partner Tom Muck

Fun and Freebies!

Becoming a Millionaire, One Pixel At a Time

More and more people are turning to the internet in times of debt. James took a different route than people who simply ask for money to pay off their debts. He is selling 100 pixels of space on his web page for one dollar, or a penny per pixel. He has a million pixels to sell, and says that if he sells them all, the ten thousand dollars should pull him out of his debt. So far he has sold 53,600 pixels. Check out James' millionpennyhomepage.com home page.

This Should Fuel Kids Nightmares For Years

Italy has long been known as a producer of some of the world's finest artists, creating beautiful art on canvas as well as in architectural design. Every once in a while, it's good to shake up perceptions. A Vienesse art group called Gelatin has constructed a 200 foot long giant, pink bunny rabbit on the side of a mountain in Italy. The artists say they would like people to climb up and fall asleep on the rabbit's stomach. Art... go figure. Read more at the Guardian. Community MX cannot be held responsible if you click on any of the links on that page and find anything questionable.

Calling All French Fry Addicts

Ore-Ida is having a promotion where you can order some free Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Easy Fries. You can cook these right in the microwave, and then squish them all together and make one giant bunny out of them. Oh wait. That's the previous story. You'd just eat the fries. Forget about that bunny stuff.

A Fireworks Quickie - Using Text as a Mask (Free Article)

  • In this introductory masking tutorial we will take a photograph and mask it with a string of text. This technique is requested often in various user groups. While not difficult to do, it certainly expands the creative options for text.

    This free article by CMX Partners Jim Babbage can be found here.

Weekly Content Listing

dw

Rotating Images with Dreamweaver and JavaScript [FREE]

Danilo Celic

Slideshow, rotating images, image-a-go-go, whatever you want to call it, a client will ask for an image or banner to swap out with another image (or more than one), and continue swapping every so often. With Dreamweaver it's pretty easy to throw together some scripting that will accomplish just that for your client. Dreamweaver does most of the heavy lifting, and all you need to do is to paste in a little bit of code, set the images you want to display, how long you want the interval between image swaps to be and your all ready to send the invoice. Right, yes you did read that you'd be doing a bit of work up there, but don't worry, once you have this technique down it can take you as little as 20 seconds to get this going.

css

How Inline Elements Work - Part Four

John Gallant, Holly Bergevin

In this, the fourth tutorial in our series, we continue with inline elements by looking at some CSS properties that directly modify the appearance of the text glyphs themselves. The font-style, font-variant, and text-transform properties are ones that most coders may not be very familiar with, but they can be useful when the need arises. We'll cover what they're supposed to do, and then look at practical applications and any potential problems with browser implementation. Onward!

The Inline Elements Series:
How Inline Elements Work - Part One
How Inline Elements Work - Part Two
How Inline Elements Work - Part Three
How Inline Elements Work - Part Four

cf

Building a Receipt on World Pay's Secure Server

Adrian Senior

In this tutorial we will look at how we can present our shopping cart customers with a nicely formatted receipt after they have paid. In this instance we will be doing it the World Pay way. Once you have created an account with World Pay you are presented with your own CMS on the World Pay site. From here you can set many parameters, not the least of which allows you to customise the paid and error pages that you will present to your customers once they have completed their transactions.

fh

Getting an iPod Perspective with Freehand MX

Kim Dudley

Perspective in artwork adds an extra dimension, creating a much more realistic representation of an object's size and proportion. Freehand's collection of drawing tools includes a perspective grid for easily adding perspective to almost any vector artwork.

In this tutorial we will use Freehand's perspective tool to add some perspective to an ipod Nano. Freehand is not a 3D rendering application but the perspective tool does simplify basic 3D artwork creation. As well, like many of Freehand's tools this one is quick and easy to use and can be a lot of fun too.

fl

Loading Assets into Flash with MovieClipLoader

Paul Newman

In this article, you'll learn how to use the MovieClipLoader class to load external assets, such as SWFs and JPEGs, into Flash movies. Unlike loadMovie(), the MovieClipLoader class enables you to monitor the loading progress of a download to display feedback to the user. With MovieClipLoader, you can also use a single instance to load multiple assets.

opensrc

Open More Windows, with TheOpenCD Project

Thomas Pletcher

Thanks to TheOpenCD project, sampling a range of high quality open source apps on your Windows computer is easier than ever. There's something for everyone, including Windows-based Web developers. This article provides a quick overview of all TheOpenCD programs.

fl

Pushing Flash Player 8 Technology [FREE]

Robert Reinhardt

Whenever a new version of the Flash Player is released, Flash content creators need to decide how soon they'll start building content for the new player. In this article, you learn more about Flash Player adoption trends.

dotnet

Try/Catch and Exception Handling

Heidi Bautista

Using try/catch blocks in your code is easier than you might think. Plus, it's good coding practice. Pairing try/catch with proper exception handling can help to make your application more reliable, robust, and easier to maintain. This article introduces the concepts of exception handling and the try/catch using C#, but the principles apply to all .NET languages.

ds

A CSS Web Design Case Study: Constructing a Personal Site - Design Comp Construction [FREE]

Zoe Gillenwater

So far in the case study of building my personal site, you've seen how I planned my web site and came up with ideas for its design. In this article, you'll see how I turned that sketch into a design comp using Fireworks MX 2004 and a bit of Freehand MX. Because this article is meant to help you understand the design process rather than the specific design techniques I used, it will not go into the technical details of how I completed every task. So, I won't bore you with every click I made in Fireworks, but you will learn how to set up your comps in a web instead of print mentality, so that when it comes time to actually build the pages, you won't tear your hair out trying to create a design that isn't well suited to its medium.

The CSS Web Design Case Study Series:
A CSS Web Design Case Study: Constructing a Personal Site - Planning
A CSS Web Design Case Study: Constructing a Personal Site - Visualizing the Design
CSS Web Design Case Study: Constructing a Personal Site - Design Comp Construction

fl

Flash Capabilities Detection: Part 2 - Frame Rate

Joey Lott

In this article you will learn how to detect a user's frame rate capabilities. Frame rate detection is helpful in determining whether or not the user will be able to playback content as intended. Often you can use frame rate detection in order to provide the user with the optimal content specifically designed to playback at their frame rate capabilities. This article looks at both SWF timeline frame rate and FLV frame rate detection.

The Flash Capabilities Detection Series:
Flash Capabilities Detection: Part 1 - Bandwith
Flash Capabilities Detection: Part 2 - Frame Rate

Streaming MP3s with Flash Communication Server - Part 6: Displaying Dynamic MP3 Data in a Flash UI

  • In this tutorial, you learn how to create Flash MP3 browser which uses a series of List and RemotingConnector components. These components enable the interface to fetch MP3 artist, album, and song information for a ColdFusion CFC, accessed over the built-in Flash Remoting gateway available on ColdFusion servers.

    Check out the Article by CMX Partner Robert Reinhardt

Tips, Tricks and Dirty Cheats!

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

Improve Your DW8 Files Panel Performance

To improve performance in the Files panel, it can help to turn off the "Enable Column Sharing" preference in the File View Columns category of your site definitions. Unless you're currently using this feature, disable it and it will speed things up a bit. 

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!