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July 16, 2009

Welcome to the latest thrill-packed issue of the Developer Shed newsletter! Okay, I'm exaggerating just a little, but if tracking down criminals through digital evidence is your idea of excitement (or a job), you'll want to check out the article we're highlighting this week from eWeek. Who would have thought that Dell would offer a digital forensics service for police departments? And that it would be this cool?

If you're a BlackBerry smartphone developer, cool is exactly the right word to describe Dev Shed's offerings. We've started publishing more articles on this hugely popular topic; you'll want to check back often. We also showed you how to design a MySQL database and kicked off a series on using filters in PHP. On ASP Free, meanwhile, we wrapped up our series on coding Windows Forms applications.

Web site designers and developers enjoyed a good assortment of articles on Dev Articles. From participating in programming contests to regular expressions in JavaScript to new technologies like Active Client Pages, we covered it all. Dev Hardware readers, likewise, took in an excellent variety of topics. Whether your interest lies in Intel boards, streaming video, messaging phones, printers, or watching TV on your computer, you'll find something worth clicking to and spending some time with.

We'd never forget the SEO professionals busy climbing to the top of the search engine results pages while reading SEO Chat. If you're not sure what keywords to try for on your site, check out our item on analyzing and rating keyword difficulty. If you're busy link building, you'll want to read our article on rating the quality of a page for link building purposes. And if you're just looking for tools, we wrapped up our four-part series on SEO tools this week. Now if you're just starting to get a presence on the Internet, Dev Mechanic can help; you'll learn a couple of ways you can increase the traffic visiting your web site, and how to avoid getting sued for plagiarism.

Since we know you always want more...if your company is thinking about hosting its own web site, Web Hosters kicked off a three-part series this week on the things you must consider. Codewalkers offered a brief overview of Netfilter and Iptables. And Tutorialized and Scripts featured more excellent content from our readers.

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 dishes up the bizarre and serves it with a slice of Jenny.
  • Better check your bank accounts...Von Hackenstein returns!
  • DevShed Hulk teaches us all a lesson in link-baiting.

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Using Filters in PHP 5
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-07-15

You've probably built custom functions and libraries to validate user input in PHP 5. There's an easier way to do this, and it can save you considerable time and effort. It involves using PHP 5's own built-in and often-neglected filters. This nine-part series will introduce you to their use.
Read the full article
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Data Types and Data Retrieval with BlackBerry
by Joe Eitel, 2009-07-14


It seems as if everyone uses a BlackBerry these days. But not everyone organizes their information in quite the same way. If you're going to build the programs that help people stay organized with BlackBerry devices, you need to understand the kinds of data types that users acquire, organize, and use to get through the day.
Read the full article
.
Designing a MySQL Database: Tips and Techniques
by Codex-M, 2009-07-13

You are planning to develop a PHP web application that needs a MySQL database. Now what? You need to design your MySQL database first. Need a little help? Keep reading.
Read the full article
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The Advantages of Obscure Open Source Browsers
by Kathy Gatto, 2009-07-09

A lot of people are stuck in a rut, a complete web browsing rut. You use the same browser over and over again in the same old ways. It is a shame if you are one of those people. You are only cheating yourself out of the rich variety that the web has to offer you. It's time to explore the many other browser flavors out there. This article will give you a taste.
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Testing a Windows Forms Application
by Murach, 2009-07-15

Welcome to the conclusion of a five-part article series on how to code and test a Windows Forms application. In this part, we finally test our project. This article is excerpted from chapter three of Murach's Visual Basic 2008, written by Anne Boehm (Murach, 2008; ISBN: 1890774456).
Read the full article.
Using Visual Basic .NET Features to Code a Windows Forms Application
by Murach, 2009-07-14


Welcome to the fourth part of a five-part series that shows you how to code and test a Windows Forms application. In this part you'll learn how to use the smart compile auto correction feature, the My feature, and more. This article is excerpted from chapter three of Murach's Visual Basic 2008, written by Anne Boehm (Murach, 2008; ISBN: 1890774456).
Read the full article
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Correcting Code in a Windows Forms Application
by Murach, 2009-07-13

Welcome to the third part of a five-part article series on how to code and test a Windows Forms application. In this article you will learn a number of useful ways to deal with code, such as how to correct syntax errors, how to use code snippets, and so forth. This article is excerpted from chapter three of Murach's Visual Basic 2008, written by Anne Boehm (Murach, 2008; ISBN: 1890774456).
Read the full article.
Write Readable Code and Comments for Windows Forms Applications
by Murach, 2009-07-09

In this second part of a five-part series that shows you how to code and test a Windows Forms application, you will learn (among other things) how to make sure your code and comments are clear and readable. This will simplify the debugging process and in general make code maintenance much easier. This article is excerpted from chapter 3 of Murach's Visual Basic 2008, written by Anne Boehm (Murach, 2008; ISBN: 1890774456).
Read the full article.
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Range of Characters and More Regular Expressions in JavaScript
by Chrys Forcha, 2009-07-15

Welcome to the second part of a five-part series on regular expressions in JavaScript. In the first part we explained why you would want to be familiar with regular expressions and began describing them. In this part we'll pick up where we left off, covering special characters, combining with other characters, character classes, and more.
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More Tricks to Gain Speed in Programming Contests
by Gabor Bernat, 2009-07-14


As much as we would like to encourage smart thinking in programming contests, in the end, what makes the difference most of the time is who knows more tips and tricks to gain the extra advantage required. Today I am going to present another collection of them, believing that maybe someday, one of these will help you win.
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Building Dynamic Shadows for an Image Gallery with JavaScript and CSS
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-07-13


If you're looking for a way to get realistic shading effects on your web site with some JavaScript and CSS, you've come to the right place. This third part of a three-part series applies what you learned in the first two parts to adding dynamic shadows to a simple image gallery.
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Roots of Crys`s ACP Document Phase Approach
by Crysanthus Forcha, 2009-07-10


In this second part of a twelve-part series on Active Client Pages (ACP), I give you the roots that give rise to my approach. One way to learn is by asking questions. We shall use that learning method here. Some of the questions are: can you reference a previously opened page? How can you get and set contents in a page that has just been loaded? When DOM was invented, Active Client Pages technology was not envisioned, so we have to ask these questions.
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Swapping Columns Using the Divine Ratio for Web Page Layout
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-07-09

If you're a web designer who wants to learn how to create appealing and harmonious web page layouts by applying fundamental graphic design concepts like the "Golden Proportion" and "The Rule of Thirds,"keep reading. This is the third part in a series of articles that provides you with the right pointers to start implementing these principles for building aesthetically pleasant web sites.
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Nero Liquid TV
by Kathy Gatto, 2009-07-15

As the capabilities of our technology increase, there seem to be more and more ways for us to watch TV. You can use any number of cable or satellite providers to watch your favorite shows in the comfort of your living room, and even use technologies like digital video recorders (DVRs) or TiVo to watch them whenever you want. You can even watch TV on your computer now. Nero Liquid TV lets you do just that.
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Quality Inexpensive Scanners and Printers
by Kathy Gatto, 2009-07-14


We live in a digital world, but every once in a while we still have to put things down on paper. Whether it is a research paper for your professor, directions for your parents or new brochures for your business, this means that you are in need of the services of a printer. Of course, the quality of a printer can vary greatly depending on your needs and the model you purchased.
Read the full article.

Messaging Phones Compared
by Bruce Coker, 2009-07-13


If you do a lot of messaging on your cell phone, then you may have already heard of messaging cell phones as the new special category. If not, keep reading; in this roundup of four exemplars of the field, you may find just the one with the right mix of features to suit your speedy thumbs.
Read the full article.
Blu-ray versus Streaming
by jkabaseball, 2009-07-10

Some time ago we pronounced HD-DVD dead. This paved the way for Blu-ray to become the next format. I was sad to see HD-DVD die, but I was also very reserved about Blu-ray. While it was left to be the winner, I didn’t think that Blu-ray was the answer.
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Intel Nehalem Boards Compared
by Bruce Coker, 2009-07-09

In November 2008, Intel announced the launch of the successor to its Core 2 based consumer line of 64-bit processors. The Core i7, built on the brand new Nehalem architecture, represents much more than a trivial upgrade to Core 2. Keep reading for the details, and for a quick look at some products based on this new architecture.
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How to Analyze and Rate Keyword Difficulty in Google
by Codex-M, 2009-07-15

You may have thought about the keywords for which you want your site to rank well in the search engines, but do you have any idea how difficult it will be to rank for those words? Just how many sites are competing for visitors with phrases like "dog training" or "mortgage broker"? If you're not sure, keep reading; this article will explain the factors you must consider when trying to learn how difficult it will be to rank for your chosen keywords.
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Page Quality Factors for Link Building
by Codex-M, 2009-07-14

You know that Google uses back links to size up your website and determine its ranking. You also know that it wants to see quality back links, and if you want to rank high on the search engine results pages, you need to get quality links that are relevant to your keywords. But what is a quality link? If you're not sure how to decide whether you should try to get a back link from a particular page or web site, this article may help guide your decision.
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Competitive Research and Other SEO Tools
by Ivan Strouchliak, 2009-07-13

This is the fourth and final part of a series covering search engine optimization tools. In this article we cover competitive research tools, pay per click tools, professional software and several other tools.
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Introduction to Hosting Websites
by Joe Eitel, 2009-07-15

Have you considered hosting your own website? It's not unusual for a company to decide that this might be the way to go, but if you do, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. This three-part article series shows you the ramifications of this decision and explains everything you must consider if and when you take the plunge.
Read the full article.
Web Hosting 101
by Joe Eitel, 2009-07-15

Microsoft recently released a statement that verified what we've all known to be true: the Web is the future of commerce, education, and communication. The commerce portion of that statement is of the utmost importance for those who are running a business during this difficult financial time. If you're running a small, fledgling business that has - or hopes to have - any kind of online presence, choosing a web hosting service is literally one of the most crucial decisions you will ever make.
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Choosing a Website Host
by Joe Eitel, 2009-07-08

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.
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Tutorialized is dedicated to programming, designing, and many other
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Change Eye Color in Photoshop
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This tutorial will teach how to Create a Pong Game in Flash ActionScript.
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How Contests Contribute to Your Site
by KC Morgan, 2009-07-15


There are few things in this life that can match the special feeling you get when you reach your hand into a pair of jeans, and unexpectedly pull out a twenty-dollar bill. Or the sensation that comes with samples, door prizes and gift bags. Everyone loves getting free stuff. For Webmasters, this basic rule of human nature can lead to a great marketing campaign. Learn how contests contribute to your site.
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Is It Plagiarism?
by KC Morgan, 2009-07-13

You found a great quote you'd like to include on your Web site, an article that really seems to stick out in your mind, or a line you love so much you can't do without it. You copy it, you paste it, you put it on your page. Your readers find the same enjoyment in the piece as you; it becomes a great draw for more and more visitors, even a conversation-starter on the forums of your site. You're not the only Webmaster who's used the piece, and it seems to be working wonders for your pages. But is it plagiarism?
Read the full article
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Improving Blogspot Traffic with Free Google Tools
by KC Morgan, 2009-07-13

This article discusses how you can improve traffic in your Blogspot blogs using the top free tools from Google, namely Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. The early part discusses the fundamentals of these tools, and the last part will discuss strategies for improving traffic.
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Netfilter and Iptables Overview
by Tony Antal, 2009-07-15

We live in a world where being connected is the norm. If we were able to see the packets traveling around us, then we'd surely go insane. One of the main tasks of system administrators is implementing systems that work with these packets. Probably the most popular need is for a firewall. In this article we are going to overview the Netfilter framework, along with its Iptables user space in Linux.
Read the full article
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All About OpenOffice 3.0
by Tony Antal, 2009-07-15

No doubt, OpenOffice 3 is giving Microsoft Office a run for its money. Developers have worked on this suite for three years, and have created newer and more robust functions. While the suite offers some features you will find in Microsoft Office, there are others that you will not find. OpenOffice 3 offers flexibility and compatibility with other programs, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Flash. OpenOffice also works with multiple operating systems, such as Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, Sun Solaris, and GNU/Linux.
Read the full article
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Installing and Configuring Squid
by Joe Eitel, 2009-07-08

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!
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What's the PayPal Fee for a Satellite?

Up until now, only governments have boasted space programs. Sure, some companies take tourists to the edge of space and into orbit for a huge fee, but how many firms make a business out of launching satellites? This week, that number increased by one as SpaceX, a civilian spaceflight company founded by Elon Musk, successfully put its first satellite into orbit.

The launch took place from the Pacific Marshall Islands. The spacecraft, a Falcon 1 rocket, carried a Malaysian imaging satellite. Orbiting near the equator at an altitude of nearly 432 miles, the satellite will fly over Malaysia a dozen times a day. Scientists hope to use its pictures to assist in the management of the country's natural resources.

Musk, who also founded PayPal, is no doubt pleased, since this launch was the company's first for a paying customer. But it won't be the last. SpaceX landed a contract with NASA to carry cargo to the International Space Station. Those loads will use the much larger Falcon 9 to lift off, and take advantage of the facilities at Cape Canaveral.

Read more about this

New York Battles Internet Astroturf

Online reviews that secretly come from the entity being reviewed - such as a restaurant review that was actually written by the establishment's owner - are not unusual online. But some companies go too far, and despite the Internet being a modern medium, certain old laws apply perfectly well, such as the ones governing fraud. So it should come as no surprise that the attorney general of the state of New York stepped in when Lifestyle Lift crossed the line.

In what appears to be the first case of a state striking a blow against astroturfing, New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo reported a $300,000 settlement with the facelift firm. The company agreed to stop posting anonymous positive reviews about themselves to Internet message boards. Further, Lifestyle Lift will clearly and conspicuously disclose that they are responsible for the content when they do promote their services. The company's practices were aimed at tricking potential clients into believing the stories posted were from satisfied clients, when in fact they were from the company's own employees.

The state's investigation turned up numerous messages in which Lifestyle Lift employees were specifically instructed to engage in this fraudulent practice. It also revealed that employees attacked legitimate posters who made critical comments about the company and tried to get those negative posts removed. Lifestyle Lift even went as far as creating standalone web sites designed to look as if they had been made by satisfied customers, independent of the company. Some of these sites offered forums for users to add their own comments, but in reality the comments were all provided by Lifestyle Lift.

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Art Reaches the iPhone

If you're an art lover with an iPhone, auction house Christie's just released an application that will have you drooling. The new app will let you view virtual versions of the fine art purveyor's catalog on your mobile device, complete with high-quality images. Users will also be able to view real-time sales results. Those who own art they might wish to sell or are merely wondering what their collection is worth will be able to use the application to submit items for appraisal by the auction house's specialists, thanks to the iPhone's camera function.

The images in the virtual catalogs aren't mere snapshots, either; users will be able to zoom in on and rotate any object. If this sounds pretty impressive already, just wait; Christie's hopes to add a live bidding feature to the application some time in the future.

If you're eager to get this application on your phone, you can get it through Christie's web site, or find Christie's on Facebook or Twitter for the information. It will also be available at the iTunes App Store, of course. The application is the latest attempt for the company to reach a wider array of customers in a tough economic market; for example, it began sending text messages to clients about a year ago with information on on upcoming sales and price updates during bidding. Its real-time multimedia bidding arm came into existence two years ago and accounted for 11 percent of all lots sold in its first year of existence.

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