CMX Weekly Newsletter

Check the News!

Will You Myth Out on Vista?

Vista isn't out yet, but there's plenty of speculation on the street, with people debating whether or not Vista will run on their less-than-stellar computers, whether or not it will support dual-core computers, and what about price gouging? Is it true what they say...? EdBott.com attempts to squelch the myths surrounding the soon-to-be released (?) Windows Vista and give you the lowdown on the facts.

How Zune Will Microsoft Beat Apple?

According to this blog at the Washington Post.com, about 30 million out of 110 million U.S. households own an iPod. That's 75% of the U.S. mp3 player market. Microsoft's portable media player, Zune, has been touted, at least by Microsoft, as the iPod Killer. With the current and steady appreciation of the iPod though, it's hard to imagine that anyone, even Microsoft, will be able to knock the iPod out of the top spot. I personally don't know anyone who has the Zune, but there are plenty of people willing to offer their input about it, whether they've ever used one or not. Just check out the article we pointed you to previously. One setback for Zune might be that it will not be compatible with Windows Vista...

Call Security!

If you have Automatic Updates turned on in Windows, you probably noticed a big update recently. If you don't have it turned on, then you should probably check for updates at Windows Update . Five out of the six updates released this week were deemed critical security updates by Microsoft. The updates patch security problems present in Windows XP, Windows 2000, Internet Explorer and Microsoft's XML Core Services. Read a bit more at MercuryNews.com.

iWonder If iWill Buy This

Aren't Mac users i'd out yet? Between iTunes, iMac, iPod, and all the other i's, you'd think Apple would move on to j or something by now. I guess you go with what you know, especially if it's been successful. Apple is probably hoping their newest i will be successful: The Apple iPhone has been rumored, but mass production of the phone has now been confirmed by Foxconn. It's said that the first generation of the iPhone will lack smart phone features, but it will no doubt be wildly popular anyway, since the phone will also be an mp3 player. Immediate reactions by the public will likely be along the lines of "It's an iPod and a phone? I'm so there!" Read up at DailyTech.com.

Could Be a Fish Story

Andy Taylor and his boy Opie loved fishing, but they'd probably hate phishing. Both Firefox and Internet Explorer, the two top browsers on the market, have anti-phishing capabilities built-in. But which one is more effective? According to this article at TheRegister.co.uk, Firefox ends up the winner in that particular comparison. Firefox 2.0 was able to block about 80 per cent of the phishing sites it was exposed to, compared to IE7's 66 per cent.

Satisfied Customers Speak Out!

  • "I was tearing my hair out all morning  with css forms- so much so I plonked my form in a table. After spending an hour with this method, I deleted the table and started over. Very well explained. Cunning use of fieldsets inside fieldsets for inline elements."

    - Simon D., CMX Subscriber, regarding Adrian Senior's article,
    An XHTML, CSS and Accessible Form Template.

    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:

"Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried." - Unknown

Black Friday, AKA "Dust Off That Credit Card!" Day

Black Friday is the commonly accepted term used for the fantastic shopping deals that occur the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S. Several websites have traditionally posted the specials that some of the more well-known stores are running on that day. For instance, Deals.pl.us and BlackFriday.info are reliable sources for Black Friday sales information. Apparently Best Buy has asked BlackFriday.org to take down the information related to their store, but Deals.pl.us still has that information. Happy shopping!

The Other 99% Deals With Midgets In Leather

A U.S. government-commissioned study concluded that about 1 per cent of all the websites on the internet deal with porn in one way or another. The study was pushed forward in an effort to introduce bills that could legislate x-rated websites and keep them from being seen by young folks. The study also investigated the most effective porn-blocking software, and it appears that AOL's "Mature Teen" software came out on top, blocking 91 per cent of the porn sites. More on this at CNN.com.

An Ironic Twist From YouTube

YouTube.com is known generally as the place to go when you're looking for just about any kind of video, whether or not it's copyrighted. YouTube built its foundation on turning a blind eye to copyright infringement, so it's a bit ironic that they have sent a cease and desist letter to TechCrunch.com, who made a utility that allows you to download videos from YouTube directly to your desktop. As Michael Arrington points out in his statement at TestCrunch, he is not the first or only person to make available such a utility. Is YouTube feeling the pressure from recent copyright infringement lawsuits pointed in its direction, or are they just hypocrites? You be the judge.

Colonel Sanders Welcomes The Aliens

Kentucky Fried Chicken is boasting that their logo will be the first-ever logo that can be seen from outer space. The next time you fly over Nevada, look down and see if you can spot KFC's 87,500 square feet logo. While this isn't really tech news, we had a ball looking through the comments that appear below the article on Michael Castellon's blog. While Jeph's "This makes me want to kill myself" comment is a bit extreme, Saskboy's "I wonder what it looks like from Uranus" predictably got a chuckle out of us.

Twelve Oddest USB Devices

Christmas is coming up, and who doesn't want to get a USB-powered Christmas tree? You could also give the cook in your family the USB noodle strainer as a gift. And what smoker wouldn't appreciate a USB ashtray? You can read about these odd gadgets, and other strange USB devices at NoHeat.com.

CMX AJAX Form Submit Behavior

  • The CMX AJAX Form Submit Behavior for Dreamweaver and Dreamweaver MX 2004 allows you to use AJAX technology to submit form information to a server-side processing script and receive the results back without having to reload the page.

    Take a look at this extension by CMX Partner Rob Williams

Fun and Freebies!

For Those Who Live In The Snow

Drive safely. Drive slowly. If you are approaching a vehicle and you know you are going to run into it, do not jump out of your car screaming like a couple folks in this video from MetaCafe.com.

So, I Guess I Wouldn't End Up In China After All

If you were to dig a deep hole, I mean a really, really deep hole and kept on going until you hit the "other side", where would you end up? Check out Pequenopolis.com to find out.

Just Because We Want To Hear You Say "Awwww..."

Chris Flick, resident CMX cartoonist, submitted this link that is just a huge collection of pictures and videos of kittens. He said something about it even warming Tom Green's cold, heartless heart. We're not sure what that means, but this page at TypePad.com is revoltingly cute.

Building a Drag-and-Drop Jigsaw Puzzle in Flash - Part I

  • Jigsaw puzzles were a mainstay of my youth on rainy afternoons. The earliest puzzles I remember had merely a dozen pieces, but ah, the sense of accomplishment! Piecing together the artwork was always a rewarding experience. One year, my mother found an ad in a magazine for a company that would convert your personal photo into a puzzle — at the time, the notion struck me as incredible! We ordered one and I treasured it for years. After reading this two-part series, you'll be able to do the same thing on your own computer! Over the course of these tutorials, you will write an ActionScript 2.0 class to build a re-usable jigsaw puzzle engine. Here in Part 1, we will deconstruct our endeavor into a handful of bite-sized methods and write one large method, CMXJigsawPuzzle.buildPuzzle(), to call those as necessary. The complete code is already included with this tutorial, but the full explanation will span into Part 2.

    This free article by CMX Partner David Stiller can be found here.

Weekly Content Listing

dw

Modify Dreamweaver to Create a Default Style Sheet

Zoe Gillenwater

When you work with CSS as much as I do, you find that there are certain rules that you use over and over again across your sites. Instead of writing them out in each sheet every time, you can save them as Dreamweaver snippets that you can insert into each new sheet you create. However, an even faster way to get all your standard CSS rules into your style sheet is to have them already in there as soon as you create a new style sheet in Dreamweaver. You can make this happen by editing the default style sheet file that Dreamweaver loads.

In this tutorial you'll learn how to locate and edit Dreamweaver's default style sheet. You'll also get recommendations on rules to put in your customized default style sheet, helping you learn how to optimize your workflow and manage your CSS effectively.

php

The Lost Art of PHP Control Structures: Part 2 the Break Command

Rob Williams

One of the key components of any scripting or programming language are control structures; statements that tell a language interpretter to stop reading code in a linear line-by-line fashion and start to make more complex operations based on simple logic. While most developers are aware of the common "if else" and "for" structures, there are many others available in PHP (and other languages I might add) that allow you to save a great deal of time and make your coding more efficient and easier to understand.

In this series we're going to take a look at some of those "forgotten" structures and some practical examples of how they can be used to clean up your coding techniques. This time around we're going to take a look at the all-important break command.

fw

Creating a Digital Framed Print in Fireworks

Jim Babbage

In my last tutorial, we learned how to create a realistic digital photo matte using Fireworks. Inspired by Scott Kelby's tutorial on creating a photo frame in Photoshop (Photoshop CS2 for Digital photographers - a great book, btw), I thought I would put a Fireworks spin on this process.

On the Macrodobe forums I often see questions where new or potential users of Fireworks ask for a comparison between Fireworks and Photoshop. Now I am not going to get up on a soapbox and expound the virtues of either program right now, other than to say that Fireworks and Photoshop are very different programs at their cores. A different mind set is required to work effectively in one program or the other.

This tutorial - and others where I have taken Photoshop techniques and translated them into Fireworks processes - is a good example. My workflow makes use of primarily vectors to achieve my end result, rather than a bitmap approach. Here's the finished result:



I have built on the digital matte tutorial; I now have a subtly textured matte, and the image appears in what looks like a gallery frame. Whether digital or physical, I prefer simple frames for my photographs, so that the viewer's attention is focused on the image, rather than the decoration. This shot was taken on the same weekend as the photo in the matte tutorial, on the morning I left. A light dusting of snow came down during the night and I wanted to capture that "first snow" feeling.

fl

Simian: A Flash Game of Pattern Recall - Part 2

David Stiller

Many of you will remember the Milton Bradley game Simon, immensely popular in the 1980s. This two-part series re-creates the game in Flash.

In the previous article, Part 1, we covered an ActionScript 2.0 class that manages the game's functionality. This class was specifically designed to be realized in a variety of ways. Here in Part 2, we'll prove that by walking through two different implementations — one very much like the Milton Bradley original (lighted buttons and tones), and one that relies on timeline animation, rather than sound.

Approximate download size: 4.7MB

fl

Working with Shared Libraries - Part 6: Using CSS with Shared Fonts

Robert Reinhardt

In this "Working with" series, you learn how to create and use shared libraries with your Flash movies. Shared libraries can help you optimize your workflow, making it easier to update assets across several Flash movies used for any type of project. In the last tutorial of this series, you learned how to reuse fonts with dynamic text fields created in ActionScript. In this tutorial, you learn how to use a CSS file (cascading stylesheet file) to format ActionScript-generated text fields. Sharing fonts is one of the best ways to trim down SWF file sizes for large projects involving many SWF files.

The Working with Shared Libraries Series:
Working with Shared Libraries - Part 1: Sharing Symbols in Authortime Libraries
Working with Shared Libraries - Part 2: Sharing Symbols in a Runtime Shared Library
Working with Shared Libraries - Part 3: Sharing Fonts with Static Text
Working with Shared Libraries - Part 4: Sharing Fonts with Dynamic Text
Working with Shared Libraries - Part 5: Sharing Fonts with Runtime-Created Text Fields
Working with Shared Libraries - Part 6: Using CSS with Shared Fonts
Working with Shared Libraries - Part 7: Sharing Components Coming Soon

illust

Extruding and Bevelling Fun

Kim Dudley

Illustrator has some great effects that make it very easy to create complicated looking artwork. One such effect is Illustrator's Extrude & Bevel Effect. This effect not only produces very cool results, it is also a lot of fun to use.

In this tutorial we will use the Extrude & Bevel effect to create two 3D graphics from simple paths. When using this effect many options such as lighting, shading, bevel, rotation and depth can be controlled to change the appearance of the 3D objects.

final banner

the final bow

Approximate download size: 1.4MB

fl

Create Weather in Flash [FREE]

Tom Green

Who says creating rain and snow in Flash has to be difficult? Combine Flash and After Effects and you too can be a rain maker or snow maker.

cf

A Simple Multi-language ColdFusion Content Management System - Part 3

Tom Muck

There are various ways to create a data-driven multi-language site, but the method I have shown in this article series uses an underused technique involving ColdFusion custom tags. Basically, the technique will turn any simple, well-formed HTML or XHTML page into a content management system with only one tag required on the page.

The first part of this series showed the principles behind the custom tag technique. The second part implemented the database tables and custom ColdFusion functionality to turn HTML tags into database-driven dynamic tags. This third part will create a simple administrative interface to administer the system.

The Multi-Language ColdFusion Content Management System Series:
A Simple Multi-language ColdFusion Content Management System - Part 1
A Simple Multi-language ColdFusion Content Management System - Part 2
A Simple Multi-Language ColdFusion Content Management System - Part 3

fl

Adding a Timer to the FLVPLayback Component

Tom Green

This component has everything but a timer. Here's how to add one...

Approximate download size: 4.2MB

cf

Flex 2.0 - Part 1: Exploring the IDE

Chaz Chumley

If you have been doing ColdFusion development for awhile then you have probably experimented with or created ColdFusion Flash Forms. That being the case then you have been working with Flex Lite. However, as you have probably discovered, Flash Forms can be difficult to work with, even harder to debug and all around not fun. Until now. The buzz around Adobe Flex 2.0 has caused ColdFusion developers to stand up and take notice. The Interface itself is built on the Eclipse platform and makes developing Flex applications and components very easy and fun. This article is the first in a series that will take you thru the Flex interface, developing Flex applications and components, tips and tricks, and best practices for using Adobe Flex 2.0. Part 1 starts with a guided tour thru the Flex interface and how you setup your first Flex Application.

Layout Building Blocks

  • Create a base CSS layout structure that you can use again and again to quickly begin your web site creation. Don't re-invent the wheel each time!

    Check out the Article by CMX Partner Paul Davis

Tips, Tricks and Dirty Cheats!

This week's Tip, Trick or Dirty Cheat is courtesy of Linda Rathgeber-Stewart.

Roll Your Own Swatches

Make a GIF of color swatches in Fireworks and export it to your assets folder for the site. When you want to sample a color from it, open the DW Assets panel and click on the Images button. Click on the swatches GIF so that it shows up in the preview pane of the assets panel. Use the eyedropper tool from one of the DW swatches pop-ups to pick a color from the GIF.

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!