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Sep. 03, 2009

Welcome to the latest issue of the Developer Shed newsletter! Summer is winding down, school has already started in many places, and if you're celebrating Labor Day next weekend, you probably have your plans locked in by now. If you can stand another reference to work before you take your break, you might want to check out this item from eWeek. It's a gallery displaying 50 of the most influential people in business IT. Vint Cerf is there, of course, but so are many others. The names were chosen in a reader poll; check it out and see if you agree!

So what else do we have on tap for you this week? Well, we're starting to wrap up our two series on helpers and filters in Dev Shed, and we finished the one on building a dynamic Twitter signature. ASP Free readers learned all about using Firebug, the FireFox plug-in for modifying HTML and CSS, from Windows XP Home. It's ridiculously useful if you do any web site development, whether you're just getting started or have years of experience on your resume.

Speaking of web site design and development, We continued our coverage of two great JavaScript libraries on Dev Articles, Ext JS and jQuery. We also kicked off a series on how browsers respond to Active Client Pages, so you can make sure your creations are compatible with the browsers your visitors use. Dev Hardware treated readers to a reasonable selection of reviews – two very different cell phones, a set of in-ear headphones, and more (check back on Thursday for the flat panel reviews and Friday for the game review!).

SEO Chat served up some help for bloggers this week with a great list of must-have WordPress SEO plug-ins, and the start of a three-part series that explains in detail how to move your Blogger blog to WordPress using your own domain name. You'll also learn how to optimize your conversion rate, which should really buck up your bottom line. Meanwhile, if you're new to having a web presence, Dev Mechanic will introduce you to the benefits of offline blog managers and help you decide whether it's time to archive your content.

Looking for more? Check out our latest article on the CodeIgniter PHP framework at Codewalkers. Learn about cybersquatting at Web Hosters. And enjoy our excellent reader-generated content at Tutorialized and Scripts.

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

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IBM eKits Make Development eAsy!
Take advantage of free e-kits from developerWorks. E-kits give you a collection of tutorials, articles, webcasts, podcasts, and demos about a particular product, task, or role. This one-stop shop of resources empowers you to maximize your enterprise investment.
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IBM Rational Project and Portfolio Management certification training e-kit
Get free PMI training in the IBM Rational Project and Portfolio Management certification training e-kit. As a member of the Project Management Institute's (PMI's) corporate council, IBM has more than 12,000 PMI-certified project managers and has been honored for its educational programs. Now, you can learn more about the difference that IBM's project management curriculum makes with six free courses based on IBM's best-practices processes and tools.
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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:

  • Jenny talks about what's hot. Here's a hint: it has two thumbs and loves the word researcher.
  • News of the Weird has a new look, same dumb stories.
  • Mind-chilling credits!
    Watch the video!
   
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Flex Array Collection Sort and Filtering
by Keith Lee, 2009-09-03

It's not unusual to need to write an application that can filter and sort a list of items based on user input. Maybe your e-commerce shop offers a variety of notebooks from different companies, and you want visitors to be able to sort or filter your selection. Combining Flex with ActionScript allows you to create such an application with a minimum amount of hassle (and code), as you'll see in this article.
Read the full article
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Getting Started with Rich Media
by Joe Eitel, 2009-09-02


Before we can discuss how to make the most of BlackBerry's rich media capabilities, it's important to have a firm understanding of what rich media is and how it's characterized. We'll start with an explanation of what it is exactly, and then go on to cover what you can do with the Plasmic Content Developer's Kit.
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Sanitizing Strings with Filters in PHP 5
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-09-02

Welcome to the eighth part of a nine-part series on using filters in PHP 5. In this part, I discuss how to use the filter extension for sanitizing strings in all sorts of clever manners. I'll show you how to encode quotes, low and high ASCII characters in literals, and remove them in the same easy manner. Doing this can help prevent SQL injections and XSS attacks when developing PHP applications.
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Caching Dynamic Twitter Signature Images with PHP
by Nilpo, 2009-08-20

Welcome to fifth and final part of this series on creating a dynamic Twitter signature image in PHP. In the last segment, I showed you how to implement custom PHP exceptions as an error-handling mechanism in your signature image application. Today we're going to wrap up our signature image application by adding a caching feature. This is a two-fold solution that both boosts performance and overcomes a pitfall in the Twitter API.
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An Overview of Windows Server 2008 R2
by Tony "Barzan" Antal, 2009-09-03

At the beginning of the year 2008, when Windows Server 2008 hit the shelves, it was considered the most mature operating system that Microsoft had ever created. Come to think of it, the successor was from the year 2003—that's five years of development! Windows Server 2008 has already received two service packs, and now, roughly a year and a half later, we're already playing around with the second release (R2) of Windows 2008.
Read the full article.
Advanced Firebug Techniques in Windows XP Home
by Codex-M, 2009-08-25


In the previous article, we discussed important Firebug techniques for inspecting and editing CSS. We also started to analyze CSS metrics. In this last part of the three-part series, you will learn how to maximize the CSS metrics, analyze web page loading times and start using Firebug with JavaScript. In short, we are starting to look into the advanced uses of Firebug.
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Editing CSS with Firebug in Windows XP Home
by Codex-M, 2009-08-24

Are you looking for a tool to help you with web development that is both free and incredibly easy to use? Firebug fits the bill. This FireFox add-on will let you make changes to HTML in real time. This is the second part of a three-part series that shows you how to use this tool.
Read the full article.
Using Firebug in Windows XP Home
by Codex-M, 2009-08-31

Firebug is an indispensable tool to a web developer. Whether you are an amateur and have no idea how to start being a web developer, or a seasoned professional, Firebug cannot be eliminated from your web developer's basic set of tools. In this three-part series, we will take a look at how to make the most of this browser add-on.
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Creating JavaScript-Based Table Rulers
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-09-03

Welcome to the second chapter of a series that shows you how to create table rulers with CSS and JavaScript. This series provides you with a bunch of useful pointers that hopefully will get you started incorporating appealing table rulers into your own web sites with only minor hassles.
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More Mouse and Keyboard Events with the jQuery JavaScript Library
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-09-02


Welcome to the fourth article in an eight-part series on the jQuery JavaScript library. In this part, I will walk you through using a pair of brand new methods provided by the library for processing some additional keyboard-related actions, such as keydown and keyup events.
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How Browsers Respond to Active Client Pages
by Chrysanthus Forcha, 2009-09-01


In this article I will show you how browsers respond to Active Client Pages. In particular, we will focus on the question of whether different browsers respond to all the features of Active Client Pages as they should. Recall that browsers do not implement all the features in the HTML, JavaScript and DOM specifications. So we need to ask this question.
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Developing Information and Question Boxes with the Ext JS Library
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-08-21


Welcome to the fourth article in a five-part series on building message boxes with the Ext JS framework. In this part of the series, I demonstrate how to create a couple of message boxes for displaying quick information and different questions to users of a web site.
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The Window Phase of Chrys`s Approach to ACP
by Chrysanthus Forcha, 2009-08-28

The Window Phase of Chrys's Approach to ACP is similar to the Document Phase. However, instead of having HTML documents (pages) opened within one browser window, you open both browser windows. This is the ninth part of a twelve-part series on Active Client Pages.
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HP w2558hc and Planar PX2611w
by wubayou, 2009-09-03

Are you looking to upgrade to a flat panel LCD monitor? Today we'll be reviewing two that are definitely easy on the eyes (though possibly not the budget), the HP w2558hc and the Planar PX2611w. Both have a lot to offer the discriminating user.
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In-Ear Headphones
by wubayou, 2009-09-02

Style and quality are two of the most important traits of any electronic equipment you can buy nowadays. It is just so important that it does not look like some rubbish you took out of a container. Otherwise, your image may be compromised, and nobody wants that. So anything you may construct, first make sure that it looks good. If, by doing this, you also increase the performance of the equipment, so much the better. Let us see if in-ear headphones, and in particular the Sennheiser CX 300 in-ear headphones, manage to pull this off.
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Pharos Traveler GPS 127 Smartphone
by wubayou, 2009-09-01


The GPS feature on many smartphones these days sometimes stands as a case in point for the disadvantages of a multi-functional device. Is it worth paying a premium on a gadget that does a variety of things, but none of them very well? The Pharos Traveler GPS 127 smartphone claims to be different. Today we'll see how well that claim holds up, and whether the phone is worth its premium price.
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Samsung Solstice SGH-A887
by wubayou, 2009-08-31

AT&T customers or those looking for an affordable touch screen phone are likely to be interested in a new arrival from Samsung, the Solstice SGH-A887 cell phone. This new release from the manufacturer specifically for AT&T combines touch screen capability and convenience with a nice set of features for a decent price.
Read the full article
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Samsung Reclaim SPH-M560
by wubayou, 2009-08-20

Are you looking for a cell phone that will help you save the environment - or at least make an ecological statement? Then perhaps the Samsung Reclaim SPH-M560 is for you. Its backs up its undeniable enviro-cred with all the features you'd expect from a smart phone. Keep reading as we take a closer look.
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Conversion Rate Optimization
by Ivan Strouchliak, 2009-09-02

Most websites convert only a fraction of visitors into customers. According to Clickz, the average online conversion rate is around 2.3%, with the highest at approximately 9% (only a few websites go over the 10%-15% mark). In this article we focus on conversion rate optimization techniques and touch on the following topics: demographics, psychographics, unique selling proposition, performance gaps, website redesign, persuasion architecture, testing and conversion paths.
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How to Move from Blogger to WordPress Using Your Own Domain Name
by Codex-M, 2009-09-01

You may have started out with a Blogger blog, but now you feel as if you've outgrown it. You want to give your readers more. You've heard that WordPress offers lots of options, and that it's easier to optimize it for the search engines, so you'll have an easier time increasing your readership. If you own your own domain, it's easy to move your Blogger blog and make it into a WordPress blog. This three-part series takes you step by step through the process.
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Must Have WordPress SEO Plugins
by Ivan Strouchliak, 2009-08-31

If you have a blog, chances are you use WordPress as a content management system. In this article we will review WordPress SEO plug-ins that help your posts and pages achieve higher search engine rankings.
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What is Cybersquatting?
by Joe Eitel, 2009-08-26

Cybersquatting, also known as "domain squatting," is a practice that has gained an incredible amount of volume in the past two decades with the rise of the Internet. Cybersquatting is essentially when any individual purchases a domain name that is not related to their business or personal interests with the intention of achieving financial gain through the popularity of the domain's name.
Read the full article.
We're at War with Botnets
by Joe Eitel, 2009-08-26

There is no doubt that personal computers have to endure many threats when they are connected to a network and/or the Internet by consistently battling viruses, worms, and malware. And now you can add perhaps the most dangerous threat: botnets. If you've never heard of this threat, or if you know what they are and want more information on combating them, keep reading.
Read the full article.
Multiple Data Center Hosting
by Joe Eitel, 2009-08-19

What exactly is multiple data center hosting? Why does it exist? Is it expensive? Can it help your business? Should you even be looking into it? These questions and more will be answered by this article.
Read the full article.
 

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.

Straighten Crooked Photos
Learn how to easily straighten crooked photos in Photoshop.
Read the tutorial.

Basic Drag and Drop in Flash 8
How to create basic drag and drop with Flash 8.
Read the tutorial.

Blend Techniques With Layer Mask
Learn blending techniques by using this layer mask. Read the tutorial.

Grails Services and Google Maps
A guide to using them. Easy tutorial and simple to read. Read the tutorial.

Flash Zoom In and Zoom Out
A Flash zoom in and zoom out application with Actionscript 2.0.
Read the tutorial.

Google AdSense Split Testing
Guide to maximizing your revenue with a small PHP script.
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.

h2desk Help Desk Software
h2desk is the powerful way to provide online support to your customers. Create, manage, and overlook unlimited staff and more.
Learn more.

PHP Store Pixel Ads
PHP Store Pixel Ads comes with advanced settings including the ability to use interlaced images, and much, much more. Learn more.

Framework for WEB Development
You will be able to develop easily and really fast grids, reports, graphics, filters, forms, and more.
Learn more.

Inventory Bookkeeping
Billing accounting software generate various accounting reports including final report, stock reports, sales reports, and others. Learn more.

Time Tracking
TimeTracking is a web based time tracking application. It allows you and your team to enter time spend on different task while working.
Learn more.

Remote PC Monitoring Software
Network asset database administration freeware utility generates software auditing and management reports. Learn more.

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Offline Blog Managers
by KC Morgan, 2009-09-02


Any blogger with a significant amount of content on his or her site should consider some kind of content management system. There are many different types, but offline blog managers offer some real advantages worth considering. In this article, we'll talk about those advantages and line up seven offline blog managers for your consideration.
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Is It Time to Archive Your Content?
by KC Morgan, 2009-08-31

What does your site need most? More content, what else? You fill your pages with interesting, engaging, keyword-rich content that not only drives the traffic your way, but keep visitors coming back for more. You build your site around content. So what happens when it starts to take over your entire site…and all the space you've got for it? Should you build a bigger site, or should you start archiving some of that great content you sweated over? How is archived content different from everything else on your site?
Read the full article
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On-Site Advertising: How Much is Too Much?
by KC Morgan, 2009-08-28

How much space are you dedicating to your online ad agreements…and are you drowning out your own content as a result? How much is too much when it comes to on-site advertising? Learn a little more about advertising, content and how it all works together before you decide.
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Inserting Database Records with a CodeIgniter PHP Framework Model
by Alejandros Gervasio, 2009-09-02

Welcome to the fourth part of an eight-part series that shows you how to build a generic model for the CodeIgniter PHP framework. In this part of the series, I code a new method for the generic model class which allows you to insert new records into the specified database table, as well as update an existing one. Keep reading for the full details.
Read the full article
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Fetching Database Rows with a Model for the CodeIgniter PHP Framework
by Alejandros Gervasio, 2009-08-26

Welcome to the third part of a series that walks you through building a generic model for the CodeIgniter PHP framework. Comprised of seven tutorials, this series shows you in a step-by-step fashion how to create a useful abstract PHP class that will allow you to fetch, insert, update and delete rows in a specified database table very easily by using only a few child models.
Read the full article
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Model Data and Validation Rules for a Generic CodeIgniter PHP Framework Model
by Alejandros Gervasio, 2009-08-19

Welcome to the second part of an eight-part series on building a generic model for the CodeIgniter PHP framework. In this part, I will expand the functionality of the "AbstractModel" class we created in the first part by adding a couple of handy methods to it. Keep reading for the full details.
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Legos Advance Scientific Understanding

If you're trying to understand how nano-particles behave, you run up against an obvious barrier: you can't see them, except perhaps under a very powerful microscope. Is there a way to increase the size of the interactions while preserving the quality? Researchers at John Hopkins University think they found the answer in a common children's toy: Legos.

The team took a large Lego base and attached small, one-peg blocks to it in a grid pattern. They then submerged their Lego construction vertically in a aquarium tank full of glycerin, and dropped ball bearings of different sizes into their creation to see how they behaved. The glycerin, being more viscous than water, slowed down the descent of the ball bearings so that their paths could be clearly observed.

Researchers noted that, despite the increase in size, ball bearings passing through their construction behave basically the same way as nano-particles moving through a nano-device. They found that smaller ball bearings followed a zig-zagging path, while larger ones traveled in a straight line. This information may be helpful in predicting the behavior of nano-particles moving through microfluidic arrays. Such arrays could find uses in the future in everything from medical testing equipment to the computer industry.

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Build Your Own Storage on the Cheap

When you're a backup company, you need to store a lot of data, and you need to keep your costs down. So when Backblaze found out how much companies such as Amazon, Dell, and others were charging for storage solutions – especially when compared to the price of the raw hard drives – they decided to build their own. That in itself may not be so remarkable, but they took it one step further: they posted the full instructions for how they did it, for anyone to copy, on the Internet.

According to their site, their motive is simple: “Our hope is that by sharing, others can benefit and, ultimately, refine the concept and send improvements back to us.” The instructions show how to build a storage pod containing 67 terabyte 4U servers for $7,867. At that price, a petabyte of storage would cost less than $120,000. It's an illustration of how far we've come in the area of computer storage; back in 1980 you could buy a 10 MB hard drive for a little under $10,000.

Backblaze's directions include a downloadable 3-D model of the storage pod, a price comparison chart with the major storage vendors, a detailed parts list that includes prices of components, a wiring diagram, and complete assembly instructions. The company explains the choices they made as well; for example, “We use two power supplies in the pod because 45 drives draw a lot of 5V power, yet high wattage ATX PSUs provide most of their power on 12V...We could have switched to a power supply designed for servers, but two ATX PSUs are cheaper.” Factors such as cooling and vibration are also taken into consideration. Naturally, the pod runs free software (64-bit Debian 4 Linux).

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Modern Tech Decodes Old Texts

Pattern recognition programs, among other things, can help catch criminals; now they're being used to decipher ancient texts. Since such documents were written long before the advent of the printing press, scholars must struggle not only with different languages, but widely varying handwriting styles, text that has faded over time, and other issues.

Italy Bar-Yosef, a researcher from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, notes that the program can even recreate portions of text that have been written over by later scholars. “The more texts the program analyzes, the smarter and more accurate it gets,” he said. The program handles digital copies of the texts, determining where the writing is by rating the darkness of each pixel.

While the team working with the program has so far used it mainly on ancient Hebrew texts, they say it will work with other languages as well. A program for all academics could be out in two years. Eventually, it could lead to a digital database of handwritten historical documents that could be searched by a search engine in much the same way web surfers now use Google to find sites online. One scholar notes that such a database could allow research that would take years today to be conducted in a matter of minutes.

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