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July 02, 2009

Welcome to this week's Developer Shed newsletter! This week our partners over at eWeek are featuring an article whose topic has been on our minds for quite some time - What is the next breakthrough product from Google? With Microsoft recently unleashing Bing, you can bet the big-wigs at the GOOG are cooking something up. Read the article to find out what!

And speaking of partners, you might want to check in on our series of articles for Smartphone Developers, or drop in on our forums and join in the conversation.

You'll notice that we're not publishing any articles on Friday this week, even though we normally run items in Dev Articles, Dev Hardware and Dev Mechanic on that day. Friday is July 3rd, the day before the U.S. Independence Day holiday...and our very understanding bosses gave us the day off to hunt down fireworks and otherwise get into trouble. (James, you DID say you'd post bail, right?)

Dev Shed featured a fair assortment of articles this week, covering Flash, XML and PHP. We also introduced a new writer, Keith Lee, one of our very own programming gurus. You'll be seeing more articles by him in the future (hey Keith, I'm waiting for some Silverlight pieces from you!). ASP Free covered Microsoft-related technologies, as always; if that's your area of expertise, be sure to stop by for the latest tips and tricks to help you get your job done.

Do you like those awesome three-dimensional shadow effects on the web, but don't know how to get them on your site? Dev Articles kicked off a three-part series this week that shows you an easy way to build dynamic shadows. We also showed you how to prepare for programming contests, and took design principles known by the ancient Greeks and Romans and updated them for the web. Pretty cool, eh? Meanwhile, Dev Hardware made the lives of hardware enthusiasts easier and more fun by showing you how to take your music into the water with you, the latest in flexible displays, what kind of GPS you should get (standalone vs. cell phone application), and more.

If you're an SEO, you'll want to check out the conclusion to our two-part series on local search optimization on SEO Chat. And you'll definitely want to read our four -part series on some of the handiest SEO-related tools you can find on the web. This week we ran the first part, so be sure to stop by and start reading it from the very beginning. You'll also want to read Dev Mechanic, which features a review and how-to for the popular blogging site LiveJournal and a helpful discussion of just how much it costs to run a web site, even if it's free.

Speaking of web sites, if you're looking for a host for yours, Web Hosters featured an article on the factors you should consider when choosing a website host. If you were intrigued by the overview of the Squid caching proxy that we ran a couple of weeks ago, you won't want to miss this week's Codewalkers article, which explains how to install it. And as always, Scripts and Tutorialized await your explorations with some of the best content created by our visitors.

As always, thanks for reading. Until next week,
Developer Shed Staff

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It's edgy! It's irreverent! It's all about technology! It's News You Can't Use,
and you won't want to miss it! View this week's edition to learn the answers to these burning questions:

  • News of the Weird serves up another hot cake.
  • Juan Valdezburg wants to sue the pants off of you. Provided of course you are a lovely lady.
  • A new character is introduced. Don't bother running your antivirus. It is already too late.

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Using the spl_autoload() Functions to Build Loader Apps in PHP
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-07-01

Welcome to the seventh installment of an eight-part series on building loader applications in PHP. In this part, you will learn how to use the "spl_autoload()," "spl_register()" and "spl_register()" functions to build a small file loader class. This class will be able to perform recursive searches through the file system to find a targeted resource.
Read the full article
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Working with Flex and Datagrids
by Keith Lee, 2009-06-30


Flex 3.0 offers a strong foundation of user interface (UI) controls by which users can harness a great deal of power to create beautiful UIs without having to toil in the details of low level functionality. Of these controls, the DataGrid sets itself apart by offering characteristics similar to a list or tree control (which are also listBase controls), but going further to offer an easy way of displaying columnar data without a complicated interface. In this article, I focus on creating a basic DataGrid and populating it with XML data by using only MXML tags.
Read the full article
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An Overview of Flash and ActionScript
by Joe Eitel, 2009-06-29

You can find Flash almost everywhere on the web, adding its magic touch to web sites. ActionScript makes it work. If you're thinking of making your web site a little more flashy, keep reading for an overview.
Read the full article
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Working Out of the Object Context to Build Loader Apps in PHP
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-06-25

Welcome to the fifth part of an eight-part article series that teaches you how to build loader applications with PHP. In this installment of the series, I explain how to create a small, efficient file loader class, with a difference: no instance of it needs to be spawned to include a targeted file, thanks to the implementation of a static recursive loading method.
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How to Add Code and Validation Controls to a Form
by Murach, 2009-07-01

Welcome to the fourth part of a five-part article series on building web applications with ASP .NET. In this part our form really starts taking shape, as we add validation controls - something which belongs on every web-facing form. This article is excerpted from chapter two of Murach's ASP .NET 3.5 Web Programming with VB 2008, written by Anne Boehm (Murach, 2008; ISBN: 1890774472).
Read the full article.
Working in Source and Split Views to Build a One-Page Web Application
by Murach, 2009-06-30

Welcome to the third part of a five-part article series on building web applications with ASP .NET. In this part, we take a closer look at working in the Design view of this application development framework. This article is excerpted from chapter two of Murach's ASP .NET 3.5 Web Programming with VB 2008, written by Anne Boehm (Murach, 2008; ISBN: 1890774472)..
Read the full article.
How to Build a Web Form for a One-Page Web Application
by Murach, 2009-06-29


Welcome to the second part of a five-part article series on developing a one-page web application with ASP .NET. In this part you'll learn how to add a table and server controls to a form, and a lot more. This article is an excerpt from chapter two of Murach's ASP .NET 3.5 Web Programming with VB 2008, written by Anne Boehm (Murach, 2008; ISBN: 1890774472).
Read the full article
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How to Develop a One-Page Web Application n
by Murach, 2009-06-25

In the previous three-part article series, you learned the basics of web programming with ASP .NET. This five-part article series picks up where that one left off. We'll be using Visual Studio 2008 to assist us in developing a small web application. This article is excerpted from chapter two of of Murach's ASP .NET 3.5 Web Programming with VB 2008, written by Anne Boehm (Murach, 2008; ISBN: 1890774472).
Read the full article.
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Concluding a Menu for All Browsers
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-07-01

At last we have a web page menu code that can be used for any browser without any of its code segments being specific to any particular browser. I called the design approach of the previous series the Simple Layout Approach. I call the design approach in this series the Elaborated Layout Approach. In this last part of the series I give you a summary of the two design approaches. I also give you the advantages and disadvantages of the two approaches. Everything in these two series is my conception.
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Preparing For Programming Contests
by Gabor Bernat, 2009-06-30


A programming contest is a special kind of challenge - one in which the most important fact is the knowledge with which you come to the contest and the intuition you will have during it. What really counts is not your level of physical fitness, but the state of your mind. To prepare for something like this requires a different approach. You will found out exactly what it takes if you read further.
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Building Dynamic Shadows with JavaScript and CSS
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-06-29


Do you like the three-dimensional effects that dynamic shadows can add to your web site? In this three-part series, you'll learn how to create this effect with JavaScript and CSS. This first part shows you how to implement some basic CSS approaches to build a few primitive shadowed web page elements.
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Active Client Pages: Chrys`s Approach
by Chrysanthus Forcha, 2009-06-26


If a user is burdened with a slow Internet connection, he will find that it takes time for a web page to be displayed (downloaded) to his client computer. Now there's a way to arrange it so that only the first page of his requested web site would take a long time to be downloaded; the rest of the pages would come very fast. This can be a real advantage. If you want to learn more about this approach, referred to as Active Client Pages, keep reading.
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Fundamental Design Principles for Web Page Layout
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-06-25

Many web site designers build beautiful pages, but if you ask them why they constructed a particular page in a certain way, they'll simply say that it looked good to them. There are design principles that predate the Internet; some of them even go back to ancient Greece and Rome, and they're as applicable today as they were then. If you still make pages that look good without knowing the science behind good design, this seven-part article series introduces you to concepts that you can consciously apply to your next web site design project.
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Waterproof Music
by Bruce Coker, 2009-07-01

Cyclists do it, runners do it - even gymnasts and golfers do it. Until relatively recently, only swimmers had trouble listening to music while practicing their favorite sport. But that’s all changed now. Want to get your tunes on while catching some waves? Keep reading to learn about all the best options.
Read the full article
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Stand Alone versus Cell Phone Based GPS: Which is Right for You?
by Katie Gatto, 2009-06-30

Have you been thinking about purchasing a global positioning system (GPS) device, but aren't sure which ones represent the best deal? Price is far from the only factor you'll need to take into consideration. For example, there are at least two different approaches to GPS on the market, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. This article will help you figure out what questions you need to ask and priorities you need to set when shopping for a GPS device that will suit you.
Read the full article
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A Look at Flexible Displays
by Bruce Coker, 2009-06-29


The holy grail of display technology is small, light and flexible; it's also virtually impossible to break, consumes almost no power, and can be rolled up or folded and put in your pocket. Amazing? Yes. Pipe dream? Don't be so sure. This article takes a close look at where we are in the development of flexible displays.
Read the full article.
Is a Mac Really More Expensive Than a PC?
by Katie Gatto, 2009-06-26

We all know that no matter how well you take care of your computer system, eventually you will have to replace it. At the very least, the hardware will go obsolete. When the time does come to get your new system and you actually have to make your decision with your wallet, there are a lot of factors that you will have to consider. If price is one of them, shouldn't you learn whether there's any truth to all the stories about a Mac being more expensive than a PC before you put your money down?
Read the full article.
Animating a Nokia Cell Phone Theme with Carbide .ui
by Bruce Coker, 2009-06-25

This three-part series of articles takes a comprehensive look at the process of developing themes for Symbian S40 - and S60 - based Nokia cell phones using the powerful Carbide .ui software. This is the third part of the series, and will focus on some of the more advanced effects.
Read the full article
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List of SEO Tools
by Ivan Strouchliak, 2009-07-01

In this four-part article series we will cover a total of 91 tools. Those tools include SEO tools, keyword research tools, content management systems, image search tools, ranking checkers, analytics tools, social media tools, online copy writing tools, link building tools, statistics tools, competitive research tools, PPC tools, related tools and professional development tools. If you're looking for a tool to assist you in your SEO efforts, you will probably find it here.
Read the full article
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The History of Search and Search Technology
by Ivan Strouchliak, 2009-06-30

This is a brief history of search engines and search technology. In this article you can learn the basics of how search engines work and how they got to where they are at the moment. We'll also look at important ranking factors, including the historical reasons for why they are important; near the end, we'll consider what factors may become more important in the future.
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More Ways to Optimize for Local Search
by Ivan Strouchliak, 2009-06-29

This is the second part of a two-part article on local search engine optimization. In this part we are going to cover how different factors affect local search engine rankings: the number of user reviews, positive and negative reviews, reviews on third party websites, the age of the business listing, keyword location, categories, phone number and more.
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Choosing a Website Host
by Bruce Coker, 2009-07-01

For any business operating online, one of the first steps is finding a company to host the business’s website. Most companies rely on existing services called “website hosts” to provide server space and features to host a website. In general, this is not a big concern. However, if chosen improperly, a web host can cause nightmares for any business.
Read the full article.
Collaborate: An Examination of Tools for Groups Working in the Cloud
by Bruce Coker, 2009-06-24

As the popularity of cloud computing increases, so do the number of common tasks that the cloud’s resources must support. Likewise, so has the number of tools designed to support such tasks. Since the birth of the personal computer, one of the most powerful capabilities of the technology has been to allow people to work collaboratively on tasks such as document creation and editing, project management and database maintenance.
Read the full article.
Social Networking Security
by Bruce Coker, 2009-06-17

Developers and regular users alike learned all the key points necessary for online security back in the 1990s, when email first became dangerous, right? Well, maybe not. Recent attacks on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and others have left users exposed to having their accounts hacked into, or worse. Keep reading for an overview of the phenomenon, and some hints for protecting yourself.
Read the full article.
 

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Tutorialized is dedicated to programming, designing, and many other
tech related tutorials.

Horizontal Slider Menu
Learn how to create a horizontal slider highlighted menu in Flash.
Read the tutorial.

How Do I Draw Digitally
It goes without saying that you need to have an aptitude if you want to pursue drawing digitally.
Read the tutorial.

Fading Text Banner
Learn this easy technique to create those cool fading text banners. Read the tutorial.

Glamour Photo Effect Steps
See how to create glamour photo effect in few steps. An easy solution to this cool effect.
Read the tutorial.

Making a Character Walk
This video tutorial is all about Adobe Flash animation.
Read the tutorial.

Working With Time Zones in PHP
Explains how to convert times to a user's local time zone in PHP.
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Customers can capture video or image from DV, TV Tuner and other devices. It can set video compression codecs and set device properties. Learn more.

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Your Site`s Budget
by KC Morgan, 2009-07-01


Nothing comes for free, not even the Internet. You may have signed up to receive a free Web site with many free pages, blogs and extras, but that doesn’t mean you won’t end up spending. Do you know what you need to do to maintain, control and decide what’s best for your site’s budget?
Read the full article
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LiveJournal: Blogs for All
by KC Morgan, 2009-06-29

Are you interested in sharing your thoughts with the world? There are plenty of places for you to do that online. One of the easiest ways to talk to the world is with a blog, and LiveJournal offers an interface with which even newbies can feel comfortable.
Read the full article
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Why Are Search Engines So Popular?
by KC Morgan, 2009-06-26

Is there a guaranteed formula for success online? Many well-visited sites have found the answer: provide a search engine for the Internet public at large. Why are they so popular? Hint: it isn't just that no one can find anything without them. Keep reading to learn their secret.
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Installing and Configuring Squid
by Barzan 'Tony' Antal, 2009-07-01

Recently we published a brief overview of Squid. And right now we’re following up with a sequel to that introductory article. In the previous part we barely touched the tip of the iceberg, even though Squid’s major functions were clearly explained. Now we are going to actually get it up and running!
Read the full article
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Clickfree PC Backup Systems Compared
by Barzan 'Tony' Antal, 2009-06-24

When was the last time you backed up your PC? If you're having trouble remembering, you could be in for a traumatic experience if and when your system fails. If you understand the need to do backups, but hate the hassle, keep reading. This article will introduce you to some backup solutions that take care of themselves, leaving you free to handle less tedious, more important tasks.
Read the full article
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Squid, the Caching Proxy
by Barzan 'Tony' Antal, 2009-06-17

Lately, being connected to the Internet with sky-high values of bandwidth has pretty much become the norm. Surely, the time of dial-up with 56k modems have passed; our website requests load almost instantaneously, but there is always room for improvement. Squid is a cross-platform, open source, feature-laden caching proxy. We will cover it briefly in this article.
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Lunar Probe Prepares to Get Smashed

NASA proved it can still reach the moon with its latest pair of probes, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). After separating shortly after take-off, the two probes prepared for very different futures. LCROSS is currently in an elongated polar Earth orbit, taking pictures of the surface and beaming them back home. But on October 9, it will smash head-first into the moon.

This is no idle whim. NASA plans to analyze the debris plumes kicked up by LCROSS for the presence of water, water vapor, and other materials. The information will be useful for any future missions to the moon, especially manned ones. Discovering water on or near the moon's surface, preferably in large quantities, would potentially make it easier to set up a permanent manned base on the moon, or perhaps even a lunar colony.

Meanwhile, what is the fate of LRO? It is currently orbiting the moon with an eye to finding potential landing sites, “potential resources,” study the radiation in the lunar environment, and test out some of the advanced scientific instruments that have been created since NASA's last unmanned visit to the moon over a decade ago. As the Internet has also advanced considerably in that time, you can also check out a Twitter feed from NASA covering the probes' missions.

Read more about this

Kodak Takes Our Kodachrome Away

Blame it on digital cameras if you must, but it had to happen sooner or later. Just in time for summer vacations, Kodak announced that it is discontinuing its Kodachrome color film, beloved of professional photographers since 1935. The film produced images so vivid that Paul Simon famously sang about them in one of his songs.

As such, it was the film used by National Geographic photographers, and millions who grew up reading that magazine thrilled to the vivid way it brought the exotic closer to home. Writing about it for Wired, Jim Merithew observed that “Kodachrome's red was the hue that photographers using other films could only dream of.”

Kodachrome could only be processed by a special Kodak lab; there is only one of these left, and it will accept rolls up until the end of next year. Kodak estimates that stores have enough supplies on their shelves to last until fall 2009 before they run out. While the basic laws of supply and demand have killed Kodachrome - Kodak said declining demand basically made it not worth their while to keep producing the film - there are now other films made by the same company that “offer features that current Kodachrome users would appreciate,” according to Kodak's press release.

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Deep Lab for Dark Matter

How do you find the most elusive substance in the universe? With a lab burrowed 4,850 feet deep into the earth. At least, that's what scientist hoped as they gathered at the Black Hills of South Dakota near an old gold mine for a groundbreaking of sorts. They're also hoping that lightning strikes twice: a portion of the gold mine named the Davis Cavern hosted Nobel Prize-winning physics research that demonstrated the existence of solar neutrinos.

But the research scientists hope to do in these caverns will be even more difficult; they hope to prove the existence of dark matter. Many scientists believe that the galaxies could not have formed without dark matter, but very little is known about it. It is believed that most of it contains no atoms and does not interact with ordinary matter through electromagnetic forces.

So how will scientists detect it? They're building a 300-kilogram tank of liquid xenon to capture the detection-defying particles. Xenon is three times as heavy as water, and must be isolated underground for the sake of the signal-to-noise ratio; such a tank placed above ground would be bombarded by cosmic radiation, causing the detector to record thousands of false positives. By detecting and studying dark matter, scientists believe we will gain greater insight into the Big Bang.

Read more about this

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