CMX Weekly Newsletter

Check the News!

Yahoo! Is Cheap

Seems like every other month or so, another bunch of yahoos start offering an online music download service. Well, the yahoos at Yahoo! didn't want to be left out, and are launching their own online music store - Yahoo! Music Unlimited. For $6.99 per month, or $60 per year - at least during the beta phase - Yahoo! is offering unlimited downloads from a one million strong catalog of mp3s. Although their service won't work with Apple's iPod, it will allow you to download mp3s to about ten other portable mp3 players. The only catch is that if your subscription runs out, your tunes expire and will no longer play.

Meanwhile, Napster Is Busily Freaking Out

Yahoo's inexpensive download service cannot be good news for Napster, who have yet to see a profit. After a net loss of $6.57 million during the first quarter of last year, they are facing a loss of $24.3 million for the first quarter of 2005. According to this story at news.com, the folks at Napster say that the introductory pricing of competitors is causing their loss for now, but they expect to get their heads above water again once those new services start charging more. So, it appears that to the folks at Napster, the portable music player is always 1/2 full.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Spyware

Think Macs are immune to malicious exploits? It's a widely held belief, but unfortunately it is not quite true. The brand new Tiger OS from Apple seems to have a "feature" called the Dashboard, which can autoinstall "widgets." Cool. Unfortunately they can't be removed, and sites may be able to autoinstall their widgets without the user knowing. It's still too early to be panicking, but check out this article from Gadgetopia.com for some straight talk on widget worries.

Google Accelerator Grinds to a Halt

Last week we mentioned the Google Accelerator and how it would cache pages for you, speeding up your web surfing experience. It appears that Google may have underestimated how popular their service would be, and have already hit full capacity. They are no longer offering the software for download.

AOL Launches HotMail... Er.... AIM Mail

Starting on May 12th, you'll be able to get a free email account through AOL that will be tied into their AOL Instant Messenger software. The screen name/password you use for AIM will also be used for the email account. AIM VP and GM Chamath Palihapitiya said he hopes that the security features and drag-and-drop message storage will be a big draw to consumers. Keep an eye on AOLs website if you're interested, but for now, you can read this article at Yahoo!

Satisfied Customers Speak Out!

  • "Short and sweet. I just finished a 400+ page book on CSS and did not get any useful advice like this. That zero-ing out idea has simplified things tremendously."

    - J. OBrien, CMX Subscriber, commenting on Adrian Senior's "CSS: Getting Into Good Coding Habits" 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:

"Treat your password like your toothbrush. Don't let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months" — Clifford Stoll

Bug... Or Feature?

iTunes software for Windows was found to have a bug that would let attackers infect your pc with any code they wanted to. Apple has updated their iTunes software so that won't be a problem any longer. But you have to wonder: When someone told Steve Jobs about the problem did he say "Well, let's get this fixed, gosh darnit!" or instead, did he chuckle and say "And the problem is...?" More on this at SecuriTeam.com.

But Community MX Will Still Be Open

Can a movie really be so good that it causes employees to call in sick to the tune of $627 million? The New York Post reports that lost productivity due to absenteeism will be at an all-time high for the first two days that Star Wars Episode III opens in theaters. For you managers and owners out there, may the job force be with you.

Wired.com Quoted As Saying "%&*#@!!!"

Wired.com has just told us that they make up their stories from scratch rather than using legitimage sources of information. OK, they didn't say that, but many quotes used in articles by (ex?)Wired employee Michelle Delio are being taken with a grain of salt now that it's been discovered that many of her sources cannot be uh... located. Wired.com reported the story themselves, in an ode to honesty.

People In Europe Like To Flash More

If you're starting out in Flash, and you're worried that the number of computers that are Flash-enabled might not be that high, don't worry too much. Macromedia has posted the results of a worldwide survey illustrating Flash penetration in several countries. Europe comes in at number one with 92% of all computers attached to the internet having Flash Player 7 installed.

Firefox Fix Found

On May 7th, Mozilla reported that two serious security flaws had been discovered in Firefox that could allow attackers to run arbitrary code on your computer. Thankfully, no one ever got a chance to exploit these Firefox vulnerabilities, and Mozilla has fixed the problem. It's advised that you upgrade to Firefox 1.04.

CMX CF MultiPart Server Behavior

  • CMX CF MultiPart is ideal to use for emailing your newsletters. This server behavior includes the following features:

    1. Attaches both an html and plain text document to your email so that email clients that cannot read html will see a plain text version.
    2. Sends to all of the email addresses you choose within a recordset.

    Works with ColdFusion 6.1 and higher

    Take a look at this Dreamweaver Extension by CMX Partner Bill Horvath

Fun and Freebies!

Why Is Stuff Like This So Fun ?

Simple concept: Teddy Bears are piled up, cheerleader-style, and you knock 'em down.

Huh?

Honesty in advertising is something that more companies should practice. HuhCorp.com takes honesty a step further than we might be ready for though...

Take Your Vanity Search a Step Further

Admit it. You've gone to Google and typed in your name just to see what comes up, only to be surprised by how many people share your name. The results you get from your search can leave you feeling unsatisfied. Go to Googlism.com and get some short, to-the-point feedback on yourself.

Living in a Dream House: Or How to Bring Web Standards to Your Web Sites (Free)

  • We hear the phrase "Web Standards" frequently these days, but what does it mean, and why should we care? There are many advantages to using XHTML, CSS, and 508 accessibility, and we'll look at some of them in this article. We'll look at how structuring and designing web pages has evolved to its current "best practice" of separating content and presentation. Finally, after looking at a few of the problems involved in using CSS for layout, we'll wander through the CSS Zen Garden to look at a few inspiring examples of what can nonetheless be achieved when designers code for standards compliant browsers.

    This free article by CMX Partner Sheri German can be found here.

Weekly Content Listing

php

PHP Image Series: Part 6 - Building a Photograph Album

Joey Lott

In Part 6 of the PHP Image Series we will start building an application utilizing the topics discussed in the previous aritcles in the series. The application is a photograph gallery that has features such as batch upload (using ZIP files,) dynamic borders, watermarks, and graphs. In this article we'll build the basic database structure for the tables that will hold the photograph, album, and category data. Additionally, we'll build the PHP interfaces for adding albums, categories, and uploading photographs.

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Turn the Page with Freehand

Kim Dudley

When working with page layout applications the final product will often be printed on a sheet of paper. This may be the reason why the work area in these applications is called a page. The concept of a page is pretty straight forward, but the way applications handle pages is a different story.

This tutorial will look at Freehand's flexibility when working with pages. If you are more familiar with working with canvases in photo applications or if you have only used one-page layouts in Freehand, this tutorial will introduce you to a whole new world of features you may have been missing. Get out that list because this tutorial is going to give you more reasons to use Freehand for that next big project.

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Streaming MP3s with Flash Communication Server - Part 8: Playing Streams from Virtual Directories

Robert Reinhardt

In this installment of the "Streaming MP3s with Flash Communication Server" series, you learn how to apply the knowledge from Part 7 to the Flash UI you started building in Part 6. In the following sections, you will accomplish the following tasks:

  • Setup a virtual directory for your music MP3 files, so that your FlashCom applications can access them.
  • Edit the ColdFusion component (CFC file) created in Part 5 to return a FlashCom-friendly URI to the Flash UI. The MP3 file locations stored in the MP3 database file are local paths (e.g. C:\MP3\Johnny Cash), which cannot be used for runtime playback in the Flash UI.
  • Create NetConnection and NetStream instances within the Flash UI to play a MP3 file that is selected in the songs list.

This tutorial assumes that you have read and completed Parts 5, 6, and 7. Please review these other tutorials before you proceed with this tutorial.

The Streaming MP3s Series:
Streaming MP3s with Flash Communication Server: Part 1 - Streaming Basics
Streaming MP3s with Flash Communication Server: Part 2 - Creating an MP3 Component
Streaming MP3s with Flash Communication Server: Part 3 - Adding a Playlist to the MP3 Component
Streaming MP3s with Flash Communication Server: Part 4 - Using Other Playback Components
Streaming MP3s with Flash Communication Server: Part 5 - Creating an MP3 Database
Streaming MP3s with Flash Communication Server: Part 6 - Displaying Dynamic MP3 Data in a Flash UI
Streaming MP3s with Flash Communication Server: Part 7 - Linking MP3 Directories to the FCS App
Streaming MP3s with Flash Communication Server: Part 8 - Playing Streams from Virtual Directories

js

Dynamic CSS: Real-time Rule Changes

Rob Williams

The ability to give users the power to manipulate and control the styling of your site in real-time can change the way users experience and use your site forever. In this article we'll take a look at how to work with and change style sheet rules in real-time.

css

Modifying the Aspen JumpStart to Work with Short Pages

Zoe Gillenwater

There's no such thing as one-size-fits-all in web design — some layouts are suited to particular types of content, and others are not. The Aspen JumpStart is no exception. One thing it does not handle well are pages with very little content. As a three column, liquid design, it's better suited toward pages that are bursting at the seams. But luckily, it can be revised to improve its performance on short pages. This article will explain how and includes all the modified files.

If you previously purchased the Aspen JumpStart, please send an email to info@communitymx.com and we will send you this article and the support files at no charge. Please include the email address for the PayPal account used to make the purchase in your email.

fl

ActionScript Drawing API Part 3: Making a Paintbrush

Derrick Ypenburg

In Part 3 of the ActionScript Drawing API, I will cover how to program and create a doodle board/white board application. This drawing application will include brush color, brush alpha and brush thickness options for the user.

fl

A Flash Animation Case Study: Animate a Company Logo - Part 2

Kim Cavanaugh

Clients can come up with the darndest ideas. Imagine this scenario - your client wants to add an animated splash screen to their site. As much as you dislike those kinds of things, your client really wants this done, and is of course, willing to pay for your time and expertise. Not being one to either (A) make your client angry or (B) turn down a paying job, you agree to do the animation for them. In this Captivate video case study you'll follow along with the steps I took when presented with just this challenge.

breeze

Breeze Gets an Update [FREE]

Tom Green

Macromedia shines up its brass knuckles and goes into "Street Fighter" mode with the release of Breeze 5. In this article, I review some of the major features of the Breeze Meeting 5 which, in many respects, is the "Crown Jewel" of the release.

fl

Resolving Undefined Methods and Properties Within a Flash Object

Danny Patterson

The __resolve method of the native Object class in Flash is a fairly unknown feature. When implemented, it gives an object the ability to handle requests to undefined members. In this article we will look at how we can use this feature to resolve undefined properties and methods. We will then use it in a real world example as we create a proxy class to an XML document.

dotnet

AJAX.NET

Joel Martinez

AJAX, it's the hottest thing since sliced bread right now. It stands for Asynchronous Javascript using XMLHttpRequest and the basic premise of it is that you can call serverside code from client side javascript without reloading the page. In essence, this gives almost limitless powers (as far as programming languages go) to the little script that could. The canonical example that started the whole craze was Google Suggest, where search results show up as you type.

In this article, I'm going to discuss a novel product (AJAX.NET) which is thankfully free, that takes all the guesswork out of creating AJAX applications. The code is presented in C# and you will not need a compiler to run it.

Regular Expressions With ActionScript

  • Regular expressions provide you with a powerful way to locate substrings within text. While you may not use regular expressions in every project, once you learn them you'll likely start to find more and more uses for them. Regular expressions can help save development time and add more features to projects. This series does not attempt to be a definitive reference for regular expressions (something that would require an entire book.) However, once you've read this series, you should have the knowledge that will enable you to get started applying regular expressions, and you will be prepared with the fundamentals to learn more about regular expressions through practice.
    Check out the article by CMX Partner Joey Lott

Tips, Tricks and Dirty Cheats!

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

Another Way to Reposition a Flash Text Field

Ever wanted to reposition a Flash text field without pressing Esc + v to return to the Selection tool? Try this out:

  1. Create a new text field in Flash using the Text tool and enter some text.
  2. Hold down the Ctrl key. The cursor changes to the move icon.

    You can now move the text field around the stage. When you release the Ctrl key, click inside the text field to insert more text.

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!