Shine a Light (2008)

       Rolling Stones (Actor), Martin Scorsese (Director)
	 File: 45  Score: 2.4  against: +2008 + March

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			Blogs » Archive for March, 2008		

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			Team SitePoint Learns To Improvise
			by Matthew Magain

One of the recurring requests in the reader survey we ran a few weeks
ago was for more info about what goes on behind the scenes at
Well, last Friday a group of eight employees from across each of the
different teams at SitePoint attended an improvisation workshop. It
was something quite different from the usual daily grind, so I thought
I’d share some thoughts about the day.
Artistic Director of Impro Melbourne, Patti Stiles, ran an afternoon
workshop where we were introduced to the principles of improvisation
— acceptance, being positive, being in the moment, making your
partner look good, embracing and removing fear, enjoying failure, and
storytelling. (No, we’re not thinking of moving away from the
Web and into the theatre — we were about to learn how the skill
of improvisation can enhance a workplace environment and the group
The workshop was held in a room at the Abbotsford Convent, a stunning
historic sandstone building built in the early 1800s — quite a
contrast from the shiny new SitePoint offices.
The Foundations Of Improvisation
As a warm-up, we formed pairs and played word …

				Monday, March 31st, 2008 | Posted in Web Tech |   7 Comments


			Adobe Photoshop Express Launches
			by Alex Walker

Well, we’ve known is been in the wings for quite a while, but
the beta for Photoshop Express — Adobe’s first online
application — finally touched down this morning. Although they
undoubtedly bring a mammoth graphics reputation to the table, they may
not have it all their own way as there are already some
well-established and classy competitors in this new arena —
specifically speaking Picnik, Pixer, Phixer , Pixenate and Fotoflexer.
First impressions:
1) The sign-up process wanted to know which country I came from
— as long as it was the US. Come on guys! Are you FedExing the
app to us? DO computers use a different gauge of Interweb in Europe??
Have the terrorists been waiting to use Photoshop Express to make
particularly visually attractive evil plans? 
Silly stuff. Don’t ask questions that only have one answer.
2) The interface is a basically an online Adobe Bridge, with lots of
blacks and charcoals making your imagery appear richer. If
you’re a Bridge fan, Express will feel very familiar, although
being a consumer-level product, you would have to question how many
users could draw on Bridge experience. 
Even if you’re not a Bridge fan (like …

				Friday, March 28th, 2008 | Posted in Web Design |   7 Comments


			Adobe Integrated Runtime: More Than Just Hot AIR
			by Matthew Magain

Reprinted from the Tech Times #187.
I’d like to use this opportunity to take you on a journey into
the Twilight Zone.
Of course, when I say Twilight Zone, I’m actually talking about
that strange, unexplored space that exists between web applications
and desktop applications. Only a couple of years ago this seemed like
a wide, uncrossable chasm; an eerie, transitory void between two
separate worlds.
While the Mozilla Prism package that I posted about recently takes the
relatively low-tech approach of packaging an existing site into a box
that looks like a desktop application, the Adobe AIR platform is
entirely more sophisticated.
With its 1.0 release appearing just last month, Adobe AIR still falls
into the “shiny and new” category, but feels remarkably mature.
AIR is much, much more than a single-site browser—it’s a
cross-platform runtime environment, and the differences between the
two are significant. In fact, AIR’s extensive API means it has more
in common with Java than it does with Mozilla Prism.
What makes AIR particularly interesting, however, is the fact that you
can build a desktop application to run on the AIR platform using any
of the following technologies:


				Friday, March 28th, 2008 | Posted in Web Tech |   9 Comments


			Other cool ruby projects
			by Myles Eftos

With all the noise that Rails makes, you would be forgiven for
thinking that it is the be all and end all of the Ruby world –
sure it has popularised the language, but there are lots of other cool
projects using the Ruby. Here are a few:
Merb is another full-stack web framwork, which works a lot like Rails.
However, the author has stripped quite a bit of the fat away, and made
the framework mush less opinionated as well as making it thread-safe.
Rather than having a large monolithic core, Merb tries to be as
modular as possible relying on third party gems for much of it’s
It includes support for different Object-Relational mappers (ORMs
– the thing that mediates transactions between your application
and your database), including DataMapper, Sequel and even the Rails
default ORM: ActiveRecord. 
Merb stands for Mongrel + ERB, so it isn’t suprising that they
make up a significant part of the framework, although you can use HAML
and SASS as your templating engine.
Camping is a micro-framework (only 4k!) designed by the disturbingly
talented Why the Lucky Stiff. It is probably more an exercise is

				Friday, March 28th, 2008 | Posted in Ruby on Rails |   Comments


			The Week in ColdFusion: 19-25 March: Adobe have been busy
			by Kay Smoljak

Lots of Adobe news: First, this week has been Adobe Developer Week,
with three ColdFusion sessions being run by Adam Lehman. Don’t
worry if you’ve missed them – Adam assures us that they
will be recorded, and he will post the locations once they are
Still from Adobe: the web site for the 2008 Adobe MAX Conferences is
now live. MAX 2008 North America will be held in San Francisco, MAX
2008 Europe will be in Milan, and MAX 2008 Japan will be held in Tokyo
(oddly, sometime in 2009). 
But-wait-there’s-still-more: ColdFusion product manager Kristen
Schofield has announced that ColdFusion 8 certification is now
available. Time to crack out those books! 
Onto some code. Ray Camden shares a helpful reminder: when diagnosing
odd code problems, make sure your framework is up to date, as it might
not be your own bug you’re chasing. Ray is the ColdFusion Jedi
Master, but I can’t help thinking Dan Vega deserves some kind of
title for his awesome posts about CFGrid. If you can think of
something cool, leave a comment! This week, Dan talks about extending
CFGrid by tapping into event listeners, then asks for some …

				Thursday, March 27th, 2008 | Posted in ColdFusion |   Comments


			.NET on the ‘NET March 18-25: New IIS7 Goodness and MVC opens
			by Ian Muir

Wyatt is a bit buried under work for a few weeks, so I will be your
new source for Microsoft news and updates for a little while. It’s
been a bit of a slow news week for .NET, so at least I get to start
off slowly.
This week, the big story that most people are talking about is still
the ASP.NET MVC project. While Wyatt has mentioned this a few times
already, this past week the full source code was posted on CodePlex.
There has also been a lot of buzz about MVC as people have started
using it. Some of you Rails and Django guys might think this is old
news, but MVC brings some nice things to ASP.NET such as running
command line testing and having 100% control over markup.
Another rather big news item from the Microsoft camp is a batch of
improvements to IIS7. The ASP.NET debugging blog has an overview of
the changes, but the two that are most important are the new FTP
Publishing Service and the CTP of the Administration Pack. The FTP
publishing service provides support for IPv6, some new features for
running shared environments and replacement of the IIS6 …

				Thursday, March 27th, 2008 | Posted in .NET |   Comments Off


			How To Become A Project Management Super Hero
			by Matthew Magain

We’re very pleased to announce our latest book, The Principles
of Project Management, by Meri Williams…
These days, project management skills aren’t linked to a job
title — they’re essential for anyone who’s responsible
for delivering an outcome within a specific budget and time frame.
This might mean that, as a freelancer, you’re delivering a site
to a client on time. Or that, as a team leader, ensuring that a
design/development team delivers its part of a broader project
perfectly to specifications.
In just about any role, your project management skills can make the
difference between becoming a superhero or super-villain!
Author Meri Williams has done a fantastic job of explaining concepts
that everyone can apply to their projects. She shows you that project
management isn’t rocket science, and that you don’t need to do
the PMP exam to be a project management superhero!
Download the sample chapter and check it out for yourself.
For more details or to order, visit the book’s sales page. 

				Wednesday, March 26th, 2008 | Posted in Selling Web Design
Services |   3 Comments »


			Microsoft set to launch Semantic Web light
			by David Peterson

Fascinating news coming from Microsoft Research. They are showcasing
for the first time their “research-output” repository
platform at the upcoming Open Repositories 2008 conference.
Here is an excerpt from the blog:
Our goal is to abstract the use of underlying technologies and provide
an easy-to-use development model, based on .NET and LINQ, for building
repositories on top of robust technologies.
The platform has a “semantic computing” flavor. The
concepts of “resource” and “relationship” are
first-class citizens in our platform API.
new entities can be introduced into the system (even programmatically)
while the existing ones can be further extended through the addition
of properties.
The key phrase in the above excerpt is: “The concepts of
“resource” and “relationship” are first-class
citizens”. Essentially this new platform being released by
Microsoft will allow .Net developers to leverage their skills along
with LINQ to create linked data clients that can participate in the
upcoming linked data Web. The very same linked data Web that Yahoo!
has thrown their full support behind.
This is what Semantic Web technology offers today, the ability to
create Web scalable applications that can shape themselves to the
incoming data. Microsoft is filling a gap between CouchDB and
full-blown …

				Wednesday, March 26th, 2008 | Posted in Web Tech |   4 Comments


			Mozilla Prism: Stuck In The Middle With UI
			by Matthew Magain

A recent guest post on TechCrunch reignited my interest in the space
between web apps and desktop apps.

				Tuesday, March 25th, 2008 | Posted in Web Tech |   11 Comments


			.NET on the ‘NET March 10-17: SubSonic Rocks and MVC is Hawt
			by Wyatt Barnett

This is being posted bit later than “early in the week.” But then
again, I got  the fun job of migrating some PHP apps (unfortunately of
my own nubile design  so I cannot point fingers). I never thought I
would miss the yellow screen of  death until I hit the blank screen of
death. No IIS7 so no FREB love, just lots  of feeling around,
print_r(), SQL Server Profiling and on the fly coding. I don’t  miss
the old days. And  now on to dotnet . . .
The lead story is that Rob Conery has been very busy boy post-MIX.  He
released  SubSonic 2.1 Beta 2 and launched a new SubSonic  project
site. Also, if you missed it, Windows Vista SP1 has been released.
Roll the dice and upgrade today!
ASP.NET MVC is the new hawtness. And, while you are thinking hawt
thoughts about MVC, you should make  sure to check out Stephen
Walther’s post on the Life  of an ASP.NET MVC Request as well as
Jeffery Palmero’s post on unit testing ASP.NET  MVC Controllers.
Finally, don’t miss Phil Haack’s MVC  Routing Debugger.
There …

				Thursday, March 20th, 2008 | Posted in .NET |   2 Comments »


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