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August 06, 2009

Welcome to the latest issue of the Developer Shed newsletter. Even with the current recession, certain IT skill sets are in demand. If you're job-hunting, you owe it to yourself to check out the item we're highlighting this week from eWeek. It covers nine of the hottest IT-related jobs in the current economy. It's no surprise that security heads this list, but SAP? Check out the link for the other seven, and the reasons why they're in demand.

So what articles do we have for you this week? We're glad you asked. In addition to the two series we now have running on helpers and filters in PHP on Dev Shed, readers visiting the site this week will learn about bitwise operators in Perl. ASP Free featured a good assortment of information, too; I don't know about you, but I had no idea that there's a group of open-source programmers trying to reverse engineer Windows from scratch (ReactOS) or that Microsoft is including an XP mode in Windows 7 (good idea)! Stop by ASP Free for all the details on these and other subjects.

Web site designers and developers will notice that three of our ongoing series in Dev Articles wrap up this week: one on working with live data in Ext JS, one on regular expressions in JavaScript, and one on using fundamental principles of design (such as the Law of Thirds) when building a web site. You'll see plenty more next week, as well as the next part in our series on Active Client Pages technology. Dev Hardware readers got mobile this week, as they checked out our reviews of two mobile phones and a GPS that gets down to business.

The search-and-advertising deal between Microsoft and Yahoo rocked the world of SEOs, so naturally you'll find coverage of it this week on SEO Chat. You'll also find the second part of our two-part series on testing landing pages to increase conversions, and some important evidence that Google's algorithm now weighs a new factor - user behavior - when it considers where to place web sites in the SERPs. If you're new to having an online presence, you'll want to check out Dev Mechanic. This week, you'll learn where to draw the line at user comments, and what are some of the good web-based software options for small businesses that can save you some money.

With smartphones in everyone's purse, briefcase, or pocket (to say nothing of all those on belt holsters), many developers are getting into smartphone application development for the first time. If you're one of those developers and would like to ask a few questions of others getting their feet wet in this field, you're in luck. Our Dev Shed forums feature an area specifically devoted to smartphone development.

That's not all, of course. Codewalkers tells you about some of the Firefox add-ons that will help you get your job done better or otherwise improve your life online. Web Hosters provides you with a basic overview of web hosting technology. And Scripts and Tutorialized features some of the best content contributed by 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, guest starring the famous Mr. Fuji.
  • Jenny Got Game is gamier than ever.

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Validating Boolean Values and Float Numbers with Filters in PHP 5
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-08-05

Welcome to the fourth part of a series covering the use of filters in PHP. In this article, you'll learn some very useful ways to take advantage of the capabilities of the filter extension to validate Boolean values in arrays; we'll also show you how to validate float numbers.
Read the full article
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Perl, Bit by Bit
by Peyton McCullough, 2009-08-04


When you program, you're usually doing it at some distance from the bits and bytes that your computer understands. There never seems to be a need to think about bits. But believe it or not, learning about bits can be to your advantage for certain programming purposes. Perl provides operators for working with bits that let you leverage this knowledge.
Read the full article
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Developing a URL Handling Helper Class in PHP 5
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-08-03

In this third installment of a series on building helpers in PHP 5, I will provide you with the basic pointers for building a URL-handling helper class. The code examples, though simple, should serve to demonstrate how to create a helper that generates dynamic URLs.
Read the full article
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The BlackBerry Java Development Environment Inside and Out
by Joe Eitel, 2009-07-30

BlackBerry's Java Development Environment (JDE) is crucial for a developer to understand, because it's the heart and soul of the development process. The JDE is a fully-integrated development environment and simulation tool for building Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME) applications. BlackBerry's JDE is a Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) compliant Java ME environment, which is ideal for developers who want to uphold seamless portability in their wireless applications.
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Demystifying the XP Mode of Windows 7
by Barzan "Tony" Antal, 2009-08-05

Every new operating system brings enhancements and additions to all aspects of computing, from the user interface up to performance. However, they often bring problems when it comes to software compatibility. Running applications always relies on the foundation that is the main operating system. XP Mode is a new innovative solution of Microsoft to bundle their proprietary virtualization solution into Windows 7 and alleviate compatibility problems for good. Let's demystify it.
Read the full article.
ReactOS: Windows Makeover from Scratch
by Barzan "Tony" Antal, 2009-08-04


This more than 12-year-old project doesn't seem to get enough recognition. ReactOS started in 1996 with seemingly impossible goals. Right now, even though the project is still in the alpha phase (0.3.9), lots of milestones have been reached. ReactOS is totally written from scratch, resulting in Windows XP/2003-like OS implementation that gives full binary compatibility with Windows applications, NT/XP drivers, and hardware.
Read the full article
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Overview of Windows Deployment Services
by Gabor Bernat, 2009-08-03

Every so often we face scenarios where we're required to deploy operating systems on an outrageous number of computers with differing specifications. We can accomplish this with automated installations, and thankfully Microsoft gives us the tools and implements necessary features to accomplish tasks like these with great ease. This time we're going to take a look at the WDS - Windows® Deployment Service.
Read the full article.
Develop Your First ASP .NET Website with Visual Web Developer Express
by Codex-M, 2009-07-30

This article focuses on the objective of running your first ASP .NET website on your Windows XP Home computer using Visual Web Developer Express. If you still do not have IIS/ASP .NET installed in your computer (which XP Home does not have by default), no worries. The complete installation of Visual Web Developer Express will do everything for you.
Read the full article.
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String Objects and Regular Expressions in JavaScript
by Chrys Forcha, 2009-07-29

Welcome to the fifth article in a five-part series on JavaScript regular expressions. In this article, we begin the second and final phase of the series. In this phase we shall deal more with the properties and methods of the regexp object. We shall also deal with some properties and methods of the string object that are related to regular expressions.
Read the full article
.
Building an ACP 3D HTML Table Image Gallery
by Chrys Forcha, 2009-08-04


In this article I show you how the technology of Active Client Pages can be used to speed up the operation of a 3D HTML table image gallery. This technique is especially useful when visitors reach your site through a slow Internet connection. This is the first part of a two-part series.
Read the full article
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EXT JS: the Paging Toolbar and Live Data
by Dan Wellman, 2009-08-03


Thanks for joining me in part three of the EXT-JS GridPanel tutorial series. In part two of the series we covered the basic mechanics of getting the data into our JsonStore and displaying it in the grid. We looked both at the server-side PHP and the client-side JavaScript required for achieving this.
Read the full article
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A Simple Document Phase Example of Active Client Pages
by Crysanthus Forcha, 2009-07-31


In this fifth part of a twelve-part series on Active Client Pages, we look at a simple example illustrating the Document Phase of Chrys's Approach. You need good knowledge in HTML and JavaScript to understand this part of the series.
Read the full article
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Extending the Rule Of Thirds for Web Page Layouts
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-07-30

Welcome to the sixth part of a seven-part series that explains how to apply fundamental design principles to your web page layouts. In this article you'll learn more about applying the Rule of Thirds to your designs.
Read the full article
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Wii Sports Resort
by wubayou, 2009-08-06

The Wii gaming console from Nintendo is known for its highly interactive and fun games. One of its newest titles, Wii Sports Resort, fits right into this characterization. Keep reading for a closer look at this addition to the Wii lineup.
Read the full article
.

Garmin Nuvi 205W GPS
by wubayou, 2009-08-05


For many shoppers interested in purchasing a GPS for their car or travel needs, there sometimes lies the dilemma: do I go cheap, or risk it and pay a lot for a GPS that does more than what I really need, which is navigation? Not everyone needs a GPS that has all the bells and whistles. For them, the Garmin Nuvi 205W may be worth a look.
Read the full article.

T-Mobile Dash 3G
by wubayou, 2009-08-04


Many T-Mobile subscribers will likely welcome the addition of the Dash 3G to the carrier's lineup. The Dash 3G is a nice upgrade over T-Mobile's long-running regular Dash smartphone, which has gone relatively unchanged for the past few years. Read on for a closer look.
Read the full article.
BlackBerry Tour 9630 from Verizon
by wubayou, 2009-08-03

The name BlackBerry is one of the best known in the smartphone realm, and with good reason. A strong line of products in the past has made it one of the most popular series of smartphones not only for its performance but functionality as well. The newest edition, the BlackBerry Tour 9630 from Verizon, is no exception.
Read the full article
.
HTC Ozone
by wubayou, 2009-07-31

Verizon subscribers who are in the market for a new messaging smartphone with a decent feature set should be glad to know that the wireless company has added the HTC Ozone to its lineup. Today we'll be taking a close look at what this affordable cell phone has to offer. Could it be the right phone for you?
Read the full article
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The Emerging Importance of Behavioral Data in Rankings
by Ivan Strouchliak, 2009-08-05

As SEOs, we watch the search engines carefully for any indication of what factors they consider important when it comes to ranking a web site in their results. When those factors change, we change our approach. That was especially true for links. Now, Google seems to be using something even more telling than links for ranking web sites - user behavior.
Read the full article
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Improving Landing Page Conversion Rates Through Testing
by Ivan Strouchliak, 2009-08-04

Are you unhappy with the conversion rate of your landing pages? You can just make some changes and hope they improve things, or you can go about the task in a more scientific manner. Testing your changes will help you see what works and what doesn't. This is the second part of a two-part article.
Read the full article
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Microsoft-Yahoo Deal: Where Do We Go From Here?
by Terri Wells, 2009-08-03

As of Wednesday last week, the dance is over. Microsoft and Yahoo entered into a 10-year search-and-advertising agreement that effectively takes the latter out of the search business and finally makes Microsoft a search contender. What does this mean for the search field? And what does this mean for SEO?
Read the full article
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Web Hosting Technology Overview
by Joe Eitel, 2009-08-05

Have you ever wondered how the technology that powers the Internet and the web actually works? There are specific protocols in place that allow web surfers to find the pages they're looking for and see them in the way their builders intended. Keep reading to find out how the net keeps running smoothly.
Read the full article.
Other Uses for Your Web Hosting Server
by Joe Eitel, 2009-07-29

Welcome to the third article in a three-part series on hosting your own web sites. Now that you have installed your very own server, you have opened a whole new realm of possibilities for yourself and your business. Servers are very powerful computers that are capable of far more than just hosting one or two websites for your company. Relatively speaking, your websites should barely even scratch the surface of the capabilities of a typical server.
Read the full article.
Hosting Your Own Website: Reliability
by Joe Eitel, 2009-07-22

One of the largest issues for anyone who is considering moving their website to their own server is the reliability of hosting your own website. When you are working with a professional web host, chances are that they have numerous technologies in place to prevent their websites from going down for any extended period of time. When you are working with your own server, you do not automatically have that kind of protection.
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Check out the amazing tutorials from IBM developerWorks and see what all the buzz is about!

WebSphere Service Registry and Repository
Manage, govern, and share services across your organization by using WebSphere Service Registry and Repository. Follow the hands-on exercises to learn how to navigate the Web interface to publish, find, reuse, and update services.

Building JavaScript applications with JSEclipse
Using JSEclipse, JavaScript programmers now have their own Eclipse plug-in that provides many important features to aid in the development of JavaScript applications. JSEclipse gives JavaScript developers the same ease of use that Eclipse has been providing in the Java language and others for years. Learn to use this tool, while creating a colony of evolving "creatures" on your page.

Learn how to install and use the Rational Asset Manager Eclipse client
In this tutorial, you can learn how to install and configure the IBM Rational Asset Manager Eclipse client, explore the different views in the Asset Management perspective, learn various search techniques, work with existing assets, and submit a new asset.

Improve your build process with IBM Rational Build Forge, Part 1: Create a continuous build and integration environment
Learn how to implement a build management system that uses and extends your existing automation technologies. This tutorial shows, step-by-step, how to install and configure IBM Rational Build Forge to manage builds for Jakarta Tomcat from source code.

Build Web services with transport-level security using Rational Application Developer V7, Part 1: Build Web services and Web services clients
Build secure Web services with transport-level security using IBM Rational Application Developer V7 and IBM WebSphere Application Server V6.1. Follow this three-part series for step-by-step instructions about how to develop Web services and clients, configure HTTP basic authentication, and configure HTTP over SSL (HTTPS). This first part of the series walks you through building a Web service for a simple calculator application. You generate and test two different types of Web services clients: a Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) client and a stand-alone Java client. You also handle user-defined exceptions in Web services.

Test terminal-based applications with Rational Functional Tester
Regression testing -- in which code is thoroughly tested to ensure that changes have not produced unexpected results -- is an important part of any development process. But many testing environments neglect the terminal-based applications that still form the backbone of many industries. In this tutorial, you'll learn how the Rational Functional Tester Extension for Terminal-Based Applications works with other Rational Functional Tester to help test terminal-based applications quickly and easily.

Improve your build process with IBM Rational Build Forge,
Part 2: Automate builds for a real-world Tomcat project

Learn how Rational Build Forge can extend a simple compile and package build process by adding customization and deployment capability. Go from a manual method to automating: checking for code changes; getting the latest source; compiling and packaging; customizing; copying to and restarting a deployment server; and sending e-mail notification that a new version is available.

NEW! Application development for the OLPC laptop
The XO laptop (of the One-Laptop-Per-Child initiative) is an inexpensive laptop project intended to help educate children around the world. The XO laptop includes many innovations, such as a novel, inexpensive, and durable hardware design and the use of GNU/Linux as the underlying operating system. The XO also includes an application environment written in Python with a human interface called Sugar, accessible to everyone (including kids). Explore the Sugar APIs and learn how to develop and debug a graphical activity in Sugar using Python.

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

Change Eye Color in Photoshop
In this video tutorial, you will learn how to change eye color using Photoshop CS3.
Read the tutorial.

Creating a Pong Game - Part 1
This tutorial will teach how to Create a Pong Game in Flash ActionScript.
Read the tutorial.

Basic Outlining and Coloring
Color your illustrations in just minutes using these simple techniques with Illustrator.
Read the tutorial.

Create a Simple Flash Movie
In this video tutorial, you will learn how to create a simple Flash movie.
Read the tutorial.

Building a 3D album with FIVe3D and TweenLite
In this tutorial I will show you how to build a simple 3D photo album.
Read the tutorial.

Simple XML/RSS Parser
XML parser designed to parse most valid news and blog feeds.
Read the tutorial.

 

Want to Earn Cash & Fame Writing
for ASP Free

Developer Shed is actively seeking fresh, new writing talents for our Microsoft Windows technology site. We're looking for Windows programmers, system administrators, and more to provide our readers with the latest, up-to-date techniques and strategies.

Here's your chance to earn some cash, gain some exposure, and beef up your resume! If you would like to join our team, email your name, a description of your qualifications, and the topic areas you would like to cover to contact_editor@developershed.com.

 
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Scripts is dedicated to developer and programming related scripts both commercial and free, and for all OS platforms.

Ananyoo : The Accessible CMS
One of the most user friendly and highly accessible Content Management Systems on the net.
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SEO Business Directory
Complete web site based on ASP/XHTML/CSS script with pure table-less liquid theme design and Search Engine Optimized pages. Learn more.

Adbrite Clone
Get an adbrite clone script absolutely free. See and manage all the sites that display your ads.
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WinRAR
WinRAR is a 32-bit Windows version of RAR Archiver, the powerful archiver and archive manager. Great program!
Learn more.

Multi Operator ASP Chat Script
Improve customer satisfaction by providing online technical support for their service related queries.
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Cool Screen Capture
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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Web-based Software Options for Small Business
by KC Morgan, 2009-08-05


Keywords! Search engines! If you try to create a Web page, your entire life suddenly revolves around these highly-important search terms. But what is a keyword? What keywords should you use? And how do you know what will work? Keep reading for the answers.
Read the full article
.
Where Do You Draw the Line on User Comments?
by KC Morgan, 2009-08-03

You know that letting your users comment on your site's content will encourage them to stick around and quite possibly increase your traffic. What you may not be aware of is that there are certain pitfalls in addition to benefits to user comments. You need to worry about more than spam when you add a commenting system and welcome words of wisdom from your site visitors.
Read the full article
.
Search Engine Nightmares: Grammatical Errors and Misspelled Keywords
by KC Morgan, 2009-07-31

Despite the fact that search engines now offer suggestions to correct misspelled words in search strings, people still use them in their searches. Why? And how will this affect the traffic to your site? Keep reading to find out.
Read the full article
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10 Must Have Firefox Improvements
by Joe Eitel, 2009-08-05

If you wish your browser could do more for you, guess what? If you use Firefox, it can. The question is, what exactly do you want it to do? The improvements featured in this article should give you some ideas.
Read the full article
.
PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor: What is it?
by Joe Eitel, 2009-07-29

The name "PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor," commonly referred to as PHP, is a recursive acronym. In other words, PHP refers to itself within its name. This nomenclature is a bit of humor on the part of the Internet-age intellectuals that make up the leadership and development team of the online scripting language.
Read the full article
.
Network Magic 5.0 Review
by Joe Eitel, 2009-07-22

There seem to be countless gadgets and computer programs on the market intended to make our lives easier, but how many of these products are really worth their price? Cisco Systems's newly released Network Magic 5.0 is a mere $30 and allows users to easily set up, manage and secure their home or small office network effortlessly.
Read the full article
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At Defcon, You Can Even Hack the Badges

The Defcon computer security conference earned its reputation as a hacker haven honestly, with good-natured contests such as “Spot the Fed” and the usual warnings about their wi-fi network being “the most hostile network in the world,” where users should assume that logging on opens their hard drive to 5,000 hackers. What many may not know, however, is that Defcon badges feature their own customized electronics and are designed to be hackable.

Indeed, Defcon badges from past years go for good money on eBay, and Defcon's badge hacking contest is one of the con's most highly anticipated events. This year's badge featured even more capability than usual. It's a circuit board that runs on a three-volt battery and boasts a built-in microphone and multicolored LED. The LED responds to sound received by the microphone by blinking and by changing color and brightness. Aside from being totally cool by itself, the different types of badges (there are seven) come in shapes that fit together like the pieces of a puzzle.

And you can do some interesting things with multiple badges and some electrical skill. Each badge has three test points, and can be wired to other badges by the corresponding test points. So what can you make out of these badges? The badge hacking contest winner came up with a hat that can defeat facial recognition systems. The second place went to a group that attached some badges to a toy blimp and programmed them to steer the toy away from noisy areas. One entry that didn't place, but deserves points for sheer coolness, turned a badge into a polygraph device. After all, at this conference, you never know when someone is telling the truth.

Read more about this

Computer Interfaces of the Future

Many technical conferences offer a delightful glimpse of the future, and this year's SIGGRAPH is no exception. The annual meeting of the ACM's Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques showcased a number of especially cool and intriguing interfaces this year. Some of them seem like they're right out of a science fiction movie or novel.

Take the one created by a team of researchers at the University of Tokyo. Dubbed “touchable holography,” it uses an LCD and concave mirror to make objects appear in mid-air. That's not the most interesting part, though; it also uses an ultrasound device to produce the sensation of touch. As an example, you can actually feel holographic raindrops falling on your hand. Or if you're feeling a little more playful, Franz Lasorne, a student at L'Ecole de Design in France, came up with an augmented reality interface that, in combination with special movable hex grid platforms, lets you arm old toys, like Lego people, with virtual bazookas so they can shoot each other.

Or how about turning all the walls in your house into a low-energy computer interface? Chris Harrison, a research at Carnegie Mellon University, uses a stethoscope and a microphone attached to any surface to detect the sounds of scratches on the surface. Since scratches done at different speeds or in different directions can be distinguished - for example, when the user is scratching the shape of a letter or tapping the surface multiple times - it is possible to translate those scratches into meaningful input.

Read more about this

Even Appliances Twitter

You've probably heard about the cat that Twitters, or the cartoon character that Twitters, or even the beer fridge at Wired that...well, you get the idea. And of course, those are all really humans just pretending to be a cat, a cartoon character, and an appliance. But believe it or not, real appliances have been wired to post messages to Twitter...and some of them even have respectably-sized followings.

For example, one washing machine, Pimpy3wash, regularly posts when it has done a load of laundry. MyToaster alternates its Twitters between “Toasting” and “Toast is done.” Hacklab.toilet posts a random humorous message from a collection every time it flushes (such as “does anyone know a good plumber?” and “can I trade jobs with someone for a day?”). And mattsoffice, a collection of home light and temperature sensors, tweets about the temperature and the brightness in its area.

That last Twitterer is particularly interesting, because its creator, Matthew Morey, an engineer at Texas Instruments, can also control the array through Twitter. All he has to do is send a tweet directed to mattsoffice with the words “light on” or “light off,” for example, to control the light at his desk. More usefully, “I can adjust the air conditioning or the wireless security camera to take a picture of a particular spot in the backyard through Twitter,” Morey notes. With the various do-it-yourself kits on the market, you don't need to be a programmer or an electronics geek to make your appliances tweet what they're doing to the whole world.

Read more about this

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