News : November 2006
A Whole Lotta Contest Prizes!
Yikes! Some great companies have donated wonderful prizes to our snowboard design contest. Here's the list, in addition to the ticket for 4 days of conference and fun at Web Directions North:
- 50% off of Media Temple's great new Grid Server, FOR LIFE
- Studio 8: Flash Professional, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Contribute from the folks at Adobe
- 17 hour Illustrator CS2 Essential Training Videos from Lynda.com
- CSS for Designers Training Videos by Andy Clarke and Molly Holzschlag from Lynda.com
- A Training Video CD of your choice from Lynda.com
- Studiometry4, the professional's organization tool
- Perennial favorite BBEdit, the Professional HTML and Text Editor for the Mac, from Bare Bones Software.
- Mac information organizer Yojimbo, also from Bare Bones.
- 100 photo credits and a snappy t-shirt from istockphoto
- Pro CSS Techniques by Jeff Croft, Ian Lloyd, and Dan Rubin, from Apress
- Beginning Ajax with PHP by Lee Babin, from Apress
- HTML Mastery by Paul Haine, from friends of Ed
- Rails Solutions: Ruby on Rails Made Easy by Justin Williams, from friends of Ed
- 3 copies of Andy Clarke's new book Transcending CSS from New Riders/Peach Pit
- Nifty PHP stuff for designers explained by Charles Wyke-Smith in Codin' for the Web from New Riders/Peach Pit
- Dan Brown's Communicating Design from New Riders/Peach Pit
- A large moleskin regular sketchbook, a large watercolor sketchbook, and a 2007 moleskin pocket planner from the great moleskinerie
- Your choice of 2 t-shirts from this page at naature's, a cool t-shirt company
- Last, but by no means least, 3 copies of the much-anticipated new book from designer Mark Boulton, Five Simple Steps.
Some prizes will be combined in packages. How we'll divvy these up is still to be determined. Lots of prizes, though, so get your entry in by this coming Monday! Not entering the contest? Virtually every prize listed has been highly recommended by a top designer or developer
New Issue: Flash Video How-To
Tom Green has taken us on a journey through the world of Flash video in this series, starting with an account of Flash video's rise to dominance on the web (fortuitously published on the same day as Google's purchase of Flash-using YouTube) in Part 1. Continuing on in Part 2, he tackled the issues of quality and compression. Now, in Part 3, he presents a step-by-step guide to preparing video for the web, using Flash and other software, with a whole bunch of expert tips and resources to help you do it right the first time.
This week, Tom officially joins us as a columnist—details to follow later this week. Welcome, Tom!
Web Directions Discount for Our Readers
Use our code when you register, and you'll get $100 off the conference ticket. Combine it with the early bird special, and the total discount is $200 off of the regular $995CDN price! In US dollars that's only about $700 for a pass to the main, fully-catered, two-day conference and closing night party. (The ski trip and hotel are extra.) When you register for Web Directions North, in the Promotional Code field enter "dwwdn07" and you'll receive your discount. If you win one of the tickets in our snowboard design contest, you'll be reimbursed if you've signed up already. The discount code is good until December 31...if tickets are still available. More news about the contest still to come!
Digital Photography Roundup
Its now officially the holiday season and there are probably a lot of people taking snaps to capture the occasions. Here are a few handy photography tips, tricks and resources I have come across recently and in the past.
First, if you don't have a camera learn about all of the cameras out there, what's popular, what the specs are. The people at Flickr have a pretty handy Camera Finder site and DPReview.com is pretty damn good too. Bob Atkins also has a pretty good beginner's guide to digital photography which helps explain a lot of the confusing terminology and specifications.
Second, once you have your camera, learn how to hold your camera, a great article by Darren Rowse (be sure to check out his digital photography blog). Stephen Voss, a very talented photographer, has also authored a great article On Digital Photography here at Digital Web Magazine.
Third, learn the basics (hey, I am still learning this stuff too!) Camera basics: shutter-speed, aperture and ISO, another great article by by Simon Mackie (who of course also has a great blog called PhotographyJam). My personal favorite is NK Guy's Canon EOS Beginners' FAQ just because I am a Canon guy. Derrick Story's Digital Photography Pocket Guide is also a really handy guide to have on hand. Kodak also has some pretty good tips for great pictures.
Fourth, once you have taken your photos check out some of the cool tools you can use for reviewing and displaying them. for photo sharing there is, of course, Flickr (and all the Flickr toys that go with it), for viewing there is PicLens and my personal favorite SlideShowPro (see the Digital Web Magazine review of SlideShowPro). Then you have Apple's Aperture, a more professional software beyond iPhoto.
Fifth, once you feel your work is up to snuff, you also might want to check out Bruce Livingstone's Designer's Guide to Making Your Own Stock Photography (for non-photographers). Bruce runs iStockPhoto.com so he knows what he's talking about when it comes to this stuff.
Last but not least you can check out other reviews of photography software, plugins, filters and more plus interviews with expert photographers and more on Digital Web Magazine's Photography page.
Library behemoth, Dojo, adds a charting library as part of its 0.4 release; the beta of Script.aculo.us 1.7 has morphing effects (very similar to jQuery's animate() function, if you're familiar with that); and Google Web Toolkit hits 1.2 and now lets you develop on your Mac as well as Linux and Windows.
New Issue: Excerpt from new Croft, Lloyd, and Rubin book
Will this be the year of Jeff Croft? He's got a book, Pro CSS Techniques, coming out next week, his designs always capture a lot of interest, and he's been writing one great post after another on his blog. We wanted an excerpt from his new book, but after conferring with the authors, we all decided on a chapter written by talented co-author Ian Lloyd on CSS Styling for Print and Other Media. Check it out. Ian runs the great Accessify and has been pretty prolific himself lately.
Win a Free Ticket to Web Directions North!
Win a full pass to Web Directions North, in Vancouver, Canada, February 6-10, 2007. Web Directions North features top-notch speakers including Dave Shea, Doug Bowman, Veerle Pieters, Andy Clarke, Cameron Moll, Kelly Goto, Jeremy Keith, Dan Cederholm, Derek Featherstone, John Allsopp, and many more. Making the gathering even cooler, the conference is followed by two days of optional skiing & snowboarding, with speakers and fellow conference goers, at the world-class mountains of Whistler-Blackcomb, home of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Not much of a skiier/snowboarder? Whistler-Blackcomb features plenty for beginners, too.
- First Prize: A two-day full conference pass and one day at Whistler (includes luxury coach transfer to and from Vancouver/Whistler, and lift ticket). Value $USD1000.
- Runner Up Prizes (2 winners): One day of coach and lift tickets. Value $USD100 each.
To win, submit your very own snowboard design! In the grand tradition of pro snowboarders and classic boardsmiths like Burton, Lib Tech, and Sims, we invite you to put your design skills into the most radical snowboard ever! Make it geeky, make it awesome, make it classic—whatever you want, it's your design.
Not a designer? We've got an option for you. Take a photo of yourself on an improvised snowboard of your own invention. Sure, it might not be snow-legal, but it could work in a pinch. The more inventive, the better! Absolutely can't attend? Enter your design anyway - join the fun! Plus, we just might have some other prizes.
- Limit: 3 photo or design submissions per person, from a verifiable e-mail address.
- Send a 400 x 400 pixel jpg of your entry (for the photo option) or a wider jpg—even 800 pixels or wider is fine—(for the snowboard design option) as an email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like to use a template, we have some you can download.
- 2 week deadline—submission window will close end of day, 12/4/2006.
We'll post the designs as we go along, and the winners on 12/11/2006. Good luck!
Recent news from the coding world:
Two of the more popular PHP frameworks came out with new releases recently; CakePHP put out its last update before the big 1.2 release, and Code Igniter has now progressed to version 1.5, which features several cool new features including a database export class (supporting XML and CSV format), an FTP library, and, uh... a Smiley Helper class. If you haven't tried programming within an MVC framework before now, why not get downloading and see if this new programming paradigm is for you.
McClurg-Genevese on Color and Westin on Captivate
This week's issue takes us back to the classroom. For those of us who never experienced design school, columnist Joshua David McClurg-Genevese starts a three-part series on color, beginning with an investigation of the history of our perception of color. This is your opportunity to deepen your understanding of some fundamentals. Also on board is Ken Westin with his take on Adobe's Captivate, the eLearning and screencasting software.
Free Copy of Beginning CSS Web Development
There's a fun little contest over at John Oxton's site, and I'm one of the judges. The prize is a copy of Simon Collison's book Beginning CSS Web Development: From Novice to Professional. I'd call it more of a beginning to intermediate book; it's definitely for people who already have a good working knowledge of (X)HTML. Contest ends November 13.
World Usability Day Seattle
Blue Flavor, Deaton Interactive Design, and Puget Sound SIGCHI are proud to present World Usability Day Seattle. Join us for this open house event; There will be plenty of drinks and socializing to celebrate World Usability Day.
Activities for the evening include social hour, a round table discussion, PS-SIGCHI membership signup drive, and tours of Blue Flavor's new usability lab. Steve Krug has also given us 4 signed copies of his book Don't Make Me Think! for us to give out at the event. The festivities begin at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, November 14th at Blue Flavor in Fremont near the Troll.
And don't forget to join the "World's largest online card-sort" event on World Usability Day, sponsored by the Society for Technical Communication. Sign-up at http://www.stc.org/wud/.
Also be sure to post your best and worst usability experiences to the Making Life Easy blog, and vote for others as inductees to our inaugural Usability Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame (to be announced 14 November 06). For more information visit http://www.makinglifeeasy.org/
For more information including contact information, venue address, and RSVP information please visit the official World Usability Day Seattle event page.