CMX Weekly Newsletter

Check the News!

TODcon 2006 in Orlando

For the few who haven't experienced it yet, TODCon is the most informative yet informal Macromedia-related event you're going to find. Whether you're a seasoned veteran of Macromedia products or just starting out, you will have a great time learning a great deal from many knowledgeable speakers about CSS, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, ColdFusion, Flash, Central and even about running your business properly. Those who attend usually end up coming back every year because of the unique and informal atmosphere. You don't want to miss out on this event. This year, TODcon will take place in beautiful Orlando, Florida, just a hop, skip and jump from Disney World. Your registration (with the rooming option) includes three nights (May 18th, 19th and 20th) at the Wyndham plus a 3-day trolley pass that covers transportation throughout the International Drive attractions area.

You're invited to register for this fantastic, one of a kind event.

The Adobe Influence Makes Its Way To Community MX

Knut Kubenz has recently joined Community MX as a partner. Knut has been using Photoshop since the first version came out, and is currently teaching Imaging using Photoshop at Centennial College. Knut has an immense amount of Photoshop knowledge, and besides his teaching gig, he also imparts his Photoshop knowledge to folks at seminars and corporation workshops. His skill and expertise are a good fit for our team. Check out his first article for CMX, Cosmetic Surgery in Photoshop.

Yahoo And AOL Decide To Be Profitable

Yahoo! and AOL, two of the world's largest email providers, will begin charging for incoming mail soon. Any email that comes from an address that is not in a Yahoo or AOL subscriber's address book will go through the obligatory spam filters unless the sender has paid for the privilege of sending the email. Individuals or companies who fork over the cash, can send emails to Yahoo or AOL accounts and are guaranteed to have their email delivered with no hassle. Will this lower the amount of spam these subscribers receive? Actually, no. It will simply make sure that some companies can get to their inbox that might not have been able to before. We're wondering how this will affect people who do a lot of online shopping and depend on emailed receipts and things of that nature. Most everyone we've spoken to sees this as a bad move on the part of AOL and Yahoo, and say that it's too bad that the people who tend not to send spam are the ones who will have to pay for the people who do. More on this at WashingtonPost.com.

Price Drop On iPod Shuffle, And a New, Less Expensive iPod Nano

Apple has finally seen a small decline in the number of iPod unit coming off its shelves, and has dropped their prices to spur more sales. The 512 megabyte version of the Shuffle will fall from $99 to $69, while the 1 gigabyte version will drop from $129 to $99. Additionally, Apple has introduced a 1 gigabyte version of the iPod Nano, which goes for $149 - $50 cheaper than its 2 gigabyte counterpart. Read more about it at Yahoo.com.

Heartburn May Have Caused Macromedia/Adobe Deal

For their first meeting together to discuss a merger, ex-Macromedia CEO Stephen A. Elop and Bruce R. Chizen, Adobe CEO, met at what Elop calls a "cheesy Italian restaurant." BusinessWeek.com has an article that provides a glimpse into the mindsets of each company head before their deal was struck, and also discusses the thinking that went into putting Macromedia workers in key Adobe positions. Oh - and we're pretty sure that garlic did not affect Elop's decision regarding the acquisition.

Satisfied Customers Speak Out!

  • "With Community MX, I have 24-7 access to quality information. I get the best answers in the simplest way, in the most respectful manner. I never feel like someone on the other end is rolling their eyes, "Sheesh, they don't know THAT?!" I've learned so much from Zoe whose posts on CSS-discuss list are brilliant and understandable, and from Big John... I can go on and on.... Through Community MX, I have been able to grow professionally, and for me, I can also give more quality help to the non-profits which I support.

    Y'all are brilliant, and I am so grateful."

    - Dorothy H., CMX Subscriber, commenting on the help she has received in the Community MX forums


    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:

"''Where do architects and designers get their ideas?'' The answer, of course, is mainly from other architects and designers, so is it mere casuistry to distinguish between tradition and plagiarism?" — Stephen Bayley

Google Decides There Aren't Enough Ways To Chat Just Yet

Although Google Talk has been out for about six months now and has an instant messaging feature, Google wants to make sure you never have to go without chatting. With that in mind, Google will soon be releasing Gmail Chat, which will enable instant messaging from within your Gmail account. No software download is required to run Gmail Chat, so as long as you've got a Gmail account, you can chat. That's one way to get around those darned IT people at work. Read more about it at CNN.com. If you're going to be using Gmail Chat and you use Firefox, be sure to read the article at InformationWeek.com that warns against using Gmail Chat if you've got the AdBlock extension for Firefox installed.

Target Not Hitting The Mark With Blind People

Retail giant Target is the target of a class-action lawsuit started by a blind UC Berkeley student. the suit says that Target has failed to make their website accessible to the blind. The screen readers used by the blind to navigate websites are rendered useless by Target's lack of alt tags and poorly implemented image maps, according the lawsuit filed by Mazem Basrawi, an attorney with Disability Rights Advocates of Berkeley. Talks were in the works with Target back in the early part of 2005, but Target didn't take action to make their site any more accessible, prompting the lawsuit they're now up against. More on this story at SFGate.com.

The Father Of The Internet Raises Concerns On The Future Of The Internet

Vinton Cerf, the co-designer of the TCP/IP protocol, and nicknamed the "father of the internet", recently voiced his concerns to lawmakers about keeping broadband providers neutral in their service offerings. His fears are being spurred by some of the talk coming out of providers like Verizon, whose vice president, John Thorne, said that Google is basically getting a free ride by riding the backs of the telecom carriers' networks. Specifically, Thorne said "The network builders are spending a fortune constructing and maintaining the networks that Google intends to ride on with nothing but cheap servers. It is enjoying a free lunch that should, by any rational account, be the lunch of the facilities providers." Cerf does not agree, and believes that any attempts to make startups pay to play could kill the type of creativity that resulted in companies like Google and Amazon. Cerf is pushing for a law that would keep broadband providers "honest." Read more about it at PCWorld.com.

New Guinea Sprouting New Species

Scientists have discovered dozens of new species in the Foja mountains within New Guinea. Among them are previously undocumented types of frogs, plants and butterflies. They also discovered a new type of bird, which is known as the orange-faced honeyeater. One of the plants they discovered is the largest rhododendron flower on record - almost six inches across. The reason for the wealth of new life in this part of New Guinea has largely to do with how isolated and inaccessible the land is from any type of civilization. MongaBay.com has more info on these interesting new forms of life. Oh- and if you're interested in much older forms of life, check out independent.co.uk and read about the fossils that China has discovered as belonging to the earliest known relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Star Gazing The Easy Way

No matter where you live, you can only see so many constellations. But if you go to Stellarium.org, you can download their free program, and view every constellation and planet in the sky from the comfort of your computer. Honestly, it sounded a bit boring (ok, really boring) until we saw it in action. Stellarium will give you plenty of information about the planets you choose. It can also show either a traditional outline of constellations, or the graphic representation of them. With the "ground" feature on, you sort of feel like you're seeing the entire sky right from your back yard.

CMX Table Sorter Extension for Dreamweaver

  • The ability for users to re-organize tabular data to better suit their individual requirements has become an almost expected attribute of digital data. Many web sites currently provide this ability by relying on server-side coding and database queries to constantly re-sort the data before it's transferred to the client. This causes both increased server load and inconvenient delays for users as they wait for the data to be reloaded.
    The CMX Table Sorter behavior allows you to provide those same sorting abilities for your HTML table without having to waste time and resources on server-side sorting methods.
    This extension has been updated 4/18/05. Please download the zipfile and replace the old extension with the newer one.

    Check out the Extension by CMX Partner Rob Williams

Fun and Freebies

Yet Another Simple, Frustrating, Addictive Game

The concept is simple. You control a little red square with your mouse, and you can't let the red square hit any walls, or any of the blue meanies flying around. Seems simple at first, until it starts to go faster. Play Red Square at Members.iinet.net.au.

Relive The Superbowl... Commercials

Superbowl XL has come and gone, but the commercials live on. You can check them all out at once by going to Google Video. You can watch your favorites one at a time, or see all of them through one stream. You can even watch the Go Daddy commercials that never made it to air. When you see them, you'll probably know why.

Hmmm... Wonder What Inspired This Idea...

Janos Martin likes to modify his computers. He also seems to like his liquor. He combined those two passions and came up with the Whiskey computer. It's pretty much what you'd imagine - if you're imagining a computer built into a regular old whiskey bottle. See how he did it at Metku.net.

A Fireworks Quickie: Using Text As a Mask

  • 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 Partner Jim Babbage can be found here.

Weekly Content Listing

golive

Cool GoLive Features: Part 3 - Exporting to PDF

Sheri German

There are cool GoLive features, and then there are very cool GoLive features. Surely the native PDF creation and optimization tools in GoLive fall into the very cool category. No, let's make that very, very cool - how would you like to instantly create a PDF for mobile devices with the click of a button? If so, then follow along as I convert a regular Web page into a PDF that you can comfortably read on your PDA.

The Cool GoLive Features Series:
Cool Adobe GoLive Features: Part 1 - The Site Diagram Tool
Cool Adobe GoLive Features: Part 2 - Extending With Smart Forms
Cool Adobe GoLive Features: Part 3 - Exporting to PDF

Approximate download size: 480k

photoshop

Cosmetic Surgery in Photoshop

Knut Kubenz

A lot of times you find you have a friend or a family member of whom you've taken a quick photo. Upon closer examination they're not too thrilled about the facial lines that have developed over the years.

There are many ways to solve this concern, and we will be looking at a Hollywood glamour technique which makes use of the Quick Mask in Photoshop.

Approximate download size: 342k

opensrc

A Lean, Mean Virtual Machine

Thomas Pletcher

Would you like to run two powerful operating systems at once and be able to switch between them without rebooting? How about trying various Linux distributions — or a different version of Windows — without repartitioning your system? Virtual machines are the answer, and the new, free VMware Player makes this technology easily available to you. This article will show you how to install, configure and use VMware Player to expand your development horizons.

fw

Under the Hood with Fireworks

Jim Babbage

An odd title from someone who even takes his car into the shop to get an oil change, but there you have it. A question was posed to me recently by one of the CMX partners; he was wondering if there was some extension or automatic way to have an image sliced and exported out as multiple pieces. While Fireworks doesn't quite have this innate ability, you can create a fairly automatic process do this.

In this article, we will look at creating a custom command for generating automatic slice guides at predetermined distances. We'll also go under the hood and look at the JavaScript code used to generate this command and see how easily it can be customized.

I — and others — have written previous articles about creating custom commands (see the list at the end of this article) They're so darned easy to make that if you think you're going to be repeating an identical process more than a couple times, custom commands can really save you time. And time, as they say, is money.

css

Managing HTML and CSS to Keep Clients Happy and Avoid 'Disaster' - Part Three

John Gallant, Holly Bergevin

Last time we studied the generalities of the viewport and layouts that may appear in it. This time we'll look more closely at those layout types, what they can do, and what they can't.

This is not a tutorial on constructing those layouts, but is instead an overview of how they function in browsers. We hope to demystify the topic just a little for those who may be a bit hazy on the subject.

Let's go!

The Managing HTML and CSS to Keep Clients Happy Series:
Managing HTML and CSS to Keep Clients Happy and Avoid 'Disaster' - Part One
Managing HTML and CSS to Keep Clients Happy and Avoid 'Disaster' - Part Two
Managing HTML and CSS to Keep Clients Happy and Avoid Disaster - Part Three

css

An XHTML, CSS and Accessible Form Template

Adrian Senior

In this tutorial we will look at how we can create a generic form template that can be used as a starting point in your web designs. We'll pre-set selectors so that you can choose to display your from elements inline or at block level.

fw

A Fireworks Quickie - Optimizing Text

Jim Babbage

Getting good quality text in a JPEG file has long been a concern for many designers. Fortunately for us, Fireworks MX and higher versions have a very useful feature to help with this called the Selective Quality. In Fireworks MX 2004 and higher, we also have the ability to adjust and customize the aliasing of text. In this short tutorial find out how to utilize these features to keep your text crisp and snappy when exporting a file as a JPEG image.

Approximate download size: 2.5MB

dotnet

Exploring ASP.NET v2 - Part 3: Graduate to SQL Server 2000 and IIS

Heidi Bautista

Ready to deploy your v2 app? This article will show you how to graduate to SQL Server 2000 and IIS.

In this part of the Exploring ASP.NET v2 series you'll learn how to use SQL Server 2000 instead of SQL Server 2005 Express to store the data needed for membership, roles, profiles, and personalization. The Express edition is great for development but it's not appropriate for deployment. This article shows you how to create the database, configure and populate it. In addition, you'll learn how to use IIS instead of Cassini to test and debug your pages.

The Exploring ASP.NET v2 Series:
Exploring ASP.NET v2 - Part 1: Membership Tags, VWD, and Cassini
Exploring ASP.NET v2 - Part 2: VWD's ASP.NET Web Site Administration Tool
Exploring ASP.NET v2 - Part 3: Graduate to SQL Server 2000 and IIS

Approximate download size: 506k

opensrc

Getting Started with Eclipse - Part 2

Michelle Kempner

In the second article of this series, you'll learn how to install Eclipse plug-ins for ColdFusion, PHP, and ActionScript.

The Getting Started with Eclipse Series:
Getting Started with Eclipse - Part 1
Getting Started with Eclipse - Part 2
Getting Started with Eclipse - Part 3 Coming Soon

css

Practical/Cool Uses of Attribute Selectors

Gordon Mackay

In a recent article we introduced you to the concept of attribute selectors, in this article we will take that underpinning knowledge and explore two ways in which they can be used to enhance the way in which certain elements within typical (X)HTML documents are presented to a site's visitors.

In the course of studying these two examples you should be able to come up with some neat ideas for styling other page elements based on their attributes.

Practical/Cool Uses of Attribute Selectors

  • In a recent article we introduced you to the concept of attribute selectors, in this article we will take that underpinning knowledge and explore two ways in which they can be used to enhance the way in which certain elements within typical (X)HTML documents are presented to a site's visitors. In the course of studying these two examples you should be able to come up with some neat ideas for styling other page elements based on their attributes.

    Check out the Article by CMX Partner Gordon Mackay

Tips, Tricks and Dirty Cheats!

This week's Tip, Trick or Dirty Cheat is courtesy of CMX Partners Chris Flick, Stephanie Sullivan, John Gallant and Heidi Bautista.

Dealing With HTML Spam

Are you frustrated with the heavy amount of html spam mail you might get with your ISP? Are you tired of waiting for each html e-mail to show up in your inbox before you can delete the message and move on to the next one? Here's a simple little thing you can do to speed things up a bit:

Chris Flick: Once I open Entourage, and once all my e-mail has entered my inbox, I immediately shut off my Airport connection - meaning I'm no longer connected to the web. This way, I don't have to wait for all the html spam images to load in multiple e-mails. I can immediately open and delete them without waste of time. Once they are all deleted, I turn my Airport connection back on and answer whatever e-mails I need to.

Stephanie Sullivan: Also in Preferences > Security > HTML Options (in Entourage) you can allow or disallow complex HTML. The newest version of Entourage (called 2004) will not download images unless you check the box saying to download them if they're from people in your address book. Elsewise, you have to click the "download images" link at the top of the message.

John Gallant: Thunderbird allows image blocking, while optionally permitting images only from those in the address book. Also you can block Javascript.

Heidi Bautista: Outlook 2003 does image blocking as well. Hadn't seen it before but it's a pretty cool feature.
Tools > Options > Security tab. Click the "Change Automatic Download Settings" button in section labeled "Download Pictures".

Heidi also gave us Microsoft's reasoning for blocking images coming through via email, and it has nothing to do with speeding up the download process: "Blocking pictures in e-mail messages can help protect your privacy. Pictures in HTML e-mail can require Outlook to download the pictures from a server. Communicating to an external server in this way can verify to the sender that your e-mail address is valid, possibly making you the target of more junk mailings."

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!