Accessorizing Your Eyeballs

Matt Haughey provides a very interesting write up on ordering glasses online instead of at the local optometrist / giant chain store in his article Adventures in $40 eyeglasses. I love the idea of having more than one pair of glasses from which to choose each morning, while paying significantly less than I would for a single pair from my optometrist.

Now, I’m more than happy to pay for a good optometrist, but frames and lenses are commodities in all but the rarest instances, and those instances are out of my spending range. Plus, I really don’t like having a designer’s signature scrawled on my clothing, much less my glasses, so selling me on the brand doesn’t work. That said, I spent more on my current set of glasses than I ever had previously because they really feel right, but they aren’t practical to wear some days. Having a second set of glasses would be nice to have around when I know that I will be more active during the day. Hell, just the ability to get an inexpensive pair or two of prescription sunglasses would encourage me to leave my contacts in their solution in order to wear my glasses.

Matt also posted a link to Glassy Eyes, a blog about ordering glasses online – sounds dull, but it’s very useful. I’ll post back when I take the plunge.

Recent Links: November 26 to November 29

Here are the links that I’ve recently saved to Ma.gnolia.

FoodPairing

FoodPairing

“A list was made of 250 food products each with their major flavour components. By comparing the flavour of each food product eg strawberry with the rest of the food and their flavours, new combinations like strawberry with peas can be made. The way to use is, is just to select a food product like strawberries. You will get a plot where you have strawberry in the middle surrounded by other food products. Take one of those other food products and try to make a new recipe by combining those two. The more flavours food products have in common the shorter the distance between the food products.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Quick Look Folder and Zip plugins

Quick Look Folder and Zip plugins

Two useful plugins that add functionality to 10.5′s Quick Look feature – prevew the contents of folders and zip files.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Coroflot – 2007 Design Salary Survey

Coroflot - 2007 Design Salary Survey

A salary survey covering Graphic, Industrial, Interaction, Web, Interior & Fashion Design, as well as Design Management & Architecture.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Illustrator Resources

Illustrator Resources

Some nice free sets of brushes and symbols for Adobe Illustrator.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Straight Talk on Accessibility

If we can make the effort to care about cross-browser compatibility then we can make the effort to care about cross-person compatibility.

Jonathan Snook

That is one of the simplest, yet most effective points ever made about Accessibility in the realm of Web development. If you are in the least bit involved in any aspect of Web design or development, you should read What does Accessibility mean? It’s long, but well worth your time.

If you’re a believer, Jonathon provides a couple more rounds of ammunition, including a concise breakdown of the accessibility lawsuit (PDF) against Target.com. If you are unsure, or feel that accessibility isn’t important, you’ll learn a lot from his post.

This is important. I recently agreed to join the advisory board for AIR Interactive & Access U to lend my efforts to this extremely important cause. Every site on the Web should be accessible to all visitors. Yes, a balance must be struck, but right now the balance is tipped in the wrong direction. The effort to implement sites properly, ensuring everyone can access them is small.

Read the article. Think about how you work. Change what should be changed.

Recent Links: November 20 to November 23

Here are the links that I’ve recently saved to Ma.gnolia.

Cranberry Orange Spice Braised Short Ribs

Cranberry Orange Spice Braised Short Ribs

These sound absolutely amazing.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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ies4osx

ies4osx

“You can have several versions of IE installed side by side… try that on a PC ;).
Once You’re done with IE, drag it to the trash, and it’s gone.

ies4osx makes use of wine to install and run IE.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Recent Links: November 17 to November 20

Here are the links that I’ve recently saved to Ma.gnolia.

Reading Tea Leaves and Campaign

Reading Tea Leaves and Campaign

A very interesting graphical commentary by illustrator Ward Sutton, on the logo designs of current Presidential candidates.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Creating seamless patterns in Illustrator

Creating seamless patterns in Illustrator

“One of the frequest questions I get from readers is how you create seamless patterns in Illustrator. Today I’ll explain how I create such patterns and how you can scale and rotate them using different settings in the Scale tool options.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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XMas07

Most folks can ignore this post, but as I promised to get a list together, I decided it was easier to post here than e-mail it out.

Here are the some things I’d like for Christmas:

X-ish

Other Schtuff

Recent Links: November 14 to November 17

Here are the links that I’ve recently saved to Ma.gnolia.

FF Meta Serif

FF Meta Serif

A beautiful serif companion to the rockin Meta family, designed by Erik Spiekermann, Christian Schwartz and Kris Sowersby

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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BarackObama.com | Technology and Innovation for a New Generation

BarackObama.com | Technology and Innovation for a New Generation

Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s technology platform.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Top 10 Quicksilver Plug-ins

Top 10 Quicksilver Plug-ins

“Open source Mac utility Quicksilver isn’t just an application launcher – it’s a comprehensive keyboard interface Launching applications and documents…check out top 10 favorite Quicksilver plug-ins, and how to set them up.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Invitastic

Invitastic

“Invitastic™ is our tiny website for inviting friends and family (and even enemies and strangers) to events.

There are lots of things you can’t do here…create a social network, plan party activities, split the tab for the event, figure out carpool arrangements, find recipes for Mai Tais, and more. There are pretty much a limitless number of things that Invitastic doesn’t do.

Hopefully however, when it comes to letting a bunch of people know that you’re having a party or gathering, and finding out if they’re coming or not, we do our job exactly as you’d hope.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Posterwhore

Posterwhore

“A poster art promotion and inspiration portal, or visual blog, for designers and artists to submit their latest art and posters for sale.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Protect Your WordPress WP-Config So You Don’t Get Hacked

Protect Your WordPress WP-Config So You Don’t Get Hacked

This article shows you how to protect your WP-powered blog from a few simple weaknesses.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Together

Together

“Together lets you keep everything in one place. Text, documents, images, movies, sounds, web pages and bookmarks can all be dragged to Together for safe keeping, tagged, previewed, collected together in different ways and found again instantly.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Satisfying UI Design is Often Illogical

Satisfying UI Design is Often Illogical

A very interesting essay on the impact and need for UI changes and the expectations of and reactions to a market to those changes.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Everything I Know About Presentations, I Learned in Theatre School

Everything I Know About Presentations, I Learned in Theatre School

“I learned a lot of good public speaking practices from theatre school. They come in two flavours–content and technique…”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Satisfying UI Design is Often Illogical

Scott Stevenson provides a very interesting essay, Satisfying UI Design is Often Illogical, discussing the impact and need for UI changes and the expectations of and reactions by the market to those changes. The entire piece is well worth a read by anyone interested in design and user experience, with many valuable insights. One of my favorites though is encapsulated in a single line: “The real goal is user satisfaction, and some of that is really illogical and messy.”

Intelligent Curves

The study, to be published this week, shows that men who admire women with hourglass figures do so because they are more intelligent and therefore produce more intelligent children than waif-like women or those of “apple-shaped” proportions.

As noted in the Telegraph article, Another reason why men like curves, a test of 16,000 women and girls showed that those “with a greater difference between their waist and hip measurements scored significantly higher in [cognitive] tests, as did their children.” Oh, and apparently they live longer.

Curves are good.

Recent Links: November 11 to November 14

Here are the links that I’ve recently saved to Ma.gnolia.

The Nerd Handbook

The Nerd Handbook

A funny, yet true in-depth write up of how nerds think, why we do what we do and how to cope with a nerd as a companion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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WordPress Comment Moderation Notifier

WordPress Comment Moderation Notifier

A “small application that notifies me directly on my desktop when new comments come in to the moderation queue. It accesses the WordPress XML-RPC API by means of a small WordPress plugin that I’ve created.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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WordPress Comment Moderation Notifier for OSX

WordPress Comment Moderation Notifier for OSX

A “python script which connects to your WordPress installation and uses the HowToGeek – WP Notifier plugin to check for any comments that are awaiting moderation. If any are found, the script uses Growl to notify you that they’re waiting. “

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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4 Easy Photoshop Techniques to Make Your Pictures Pop!

4 Easy Photoshop Techniques to Make Your Pictures Pop!

“In this tutorial I will be demonstrating some quick, easy methods for adding drama and/or interest to your shots…As far as I know, these methods should work for both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Your Creation Museum Report

Your Creation Museum Report

A snarky tour of the Creationist Museum.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Prototype Composer

Prototype Composer

A free “Agile Application Prototyping Tool”.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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The Point

The Point

“Do something with a group, but only when you have the numbers to make it worthwhile.” “Start an ultimatum, fundraiser, event, or social contract. Whatever the cause, use a campaign to bring it to the tipping point.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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favikon

favikon

Upload images, crop them, and create favicons for free!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Fearful Men

“The line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep into our own history and our doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular. This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthty’s methods to keep silent. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result.”

Edward R. Murrow

Important words no matter the decade.

Know Your Nerd

Your nerd’s insatiable quest for information and The High has tweaked his brain in an interesting way. For any given piece of incoming information, your nerd is making a lightning fast assessment: relevant or not relevant? Relevance means that the incoming information fits into the system of things your nerd currently cares about. Expect active involvement from your nerd when you trip the relevance flag. If you trip the irrelevance flag, look for verbal punctuation announcing his judgment of irrelevance. It’s the word your nerd says when he’s not listening and it’s always the same. My word is “Cool”, and when you hear “Cool”, I’m not listening.

Rands In Repose: The Nerd Handbook

An absolutely brilliant article that deconstructs the nerd personality in an effort to make it easier for non-nerds to build a successful relationship with their nerd of choice. In this case Rands uses ‘nerd’ in much the same way as I use ‘geek’. Seriously, read the article, in full if you have any interest in spending time around a nerd/gee, which judging from the fact that you are reading my site, I would say is pretty likely!

If, on the other hand, you are a nerd or geek, you too should read it to see how closely it resembles you (it’s a great system to break down and understand); then decide if you should send the link to your friends and loved ones. I recommend you do.

Recent Links: November 08 to November 11

Here are the links that I’ve recently saved to Ma.gnolia.

Ma.gnolia Developer Center

Ma.gnolia Developer Center

This is the place to be for developers looking to integrate their applications with Ma.gnolia. Use our programming interfaces and feeds to enrich your application’s user experience with the wisdom and personality of the Ma.gnolia community.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Sleevage

Sleevage

Album cover blog, music, art, design. GREAT showcase of album covers.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Page Scanner Tool

Page Scanner Tool

“This tool scans a web page and counts the number of opened and closed tags of most common (paired) types.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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IE to Eliminate the “Click to Activate” Requirement for Flash & ActiveX

IE to Eliminate the “Click to Activate” Requirement for Flash & ActiveX

While Microsoft will reverse the “Click to Activate” requirement built into current versions of Internet Explorer, the time line for implementation of the change leaves a lot to be desired.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Foamee

Foamee

“Foamee is a free service that helps track who you owe beers to (and vice versa) using the popular messaging service, Twitter.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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FreeRice

FreeRice

“Give free rice to hungry people by playing a simple word game.” Amazingly addictive.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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The Ultimate Guide to Freezing Food

The Ultimate Guide to Freezing Food

An amazingly useful list of directions and information around freezing different types of food. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats and more are covered.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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IE to Eliminate the Click to Activate Requirement for Flash & ActiveX

About six months back, Microsoft was forced to hobble the usability of Internet Explorer as a tactic in their legal battles with Eolas. This lead to much consternation within the Web development community and too much time and money spent implementing a JavaScript workaround that ensured that user’s aren’t forced to click every bit of Flash they encounter in order to use the functionality. Without the workaround embedded Flash apps that perform an action when the user hovers over the app do not work in Internet Explorer until the user clicks the app to “enable” it. Dumb, but not really Microsoft’s fault. While some clever quickly built a JavaScript workaround, too much time and money was wasted on something that shouldn’t have been an issue.

Well, good news has come today in the form of Microsoft’s announcement that they have licensed the “technology” required to (re)enable this functionality! Great news, though oddly enough it will take another six months to roll out!? This is a feature that was in the app, taken out against everyone’s wishes, including Microsoft, and now, when they have the go-ahead to re-add the feature they are prolonging the rollout until April of 2008. Microsoft is missing out on an opportunity to make the dev community very happy while simultaneously making the Web a better place for everyone. Here is their plan:

The first chance will be with an optional preview release, called the Internet Explorer Automatic Component Activation Preview, available in December 2007 via the Microsoft Download Center. Additionally this change will be made part of the next pre-release versions of Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3. After giving people enough time to prepare for this change, we’ll roll this behavior into the IE Cumulative Update in April 2008, and all customers who install the update will get the change.

Well, that said, this is a good thing, even if it means bad patents are being rewarded. This is yet another example as to why our patent system needs a major overhaul.

Ma.gnolia Moves Forward

The Ma.gnolia team have just announced the Ma.gnolia Developers Center, and their initial foray into OAuth support! This is a great step for anyone who is interested in building apps based on Ma.gnolia, as well as anyone who wants new and exciting ways to access and use their bookmarks.

When time allows, I will implement some changes to the Ma.gnolia Plugin for WordPress, and will definitely dig into the available APIs to see what I can do and how I should do it. If I can figure out OAuth quickly enough, it may even give me the capabilities to expand the reach and purpose of the plugin, which would be no less than stellar.

Recent Links: November 05 to November 08

Here are the links that I’ve recently saved to Ma.gnolia.

Using external style sheets – Adobe Flex 3.0 Help

Using external style sheets  - Adobe Flex 3.0 Help

“Flex supports external CSS style sheets. You can declare the location of a local style sheet or use the external style sheet to define the styles that all applications use.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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1960′s Polaroid Pictures of Signs

1960's Polaroid Pictures of Signs

A Flickr photoset of Polaraoid pictures showing various signs in 1960s America.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Absolute Comments: Comment Manager with Instant Reply

Absolute Comments: Comment Manager with Instant Reply

A handy plugin that makes it easy to reply to comments from within the Admin interface. You no longer need to jump to the commented-upon page to reply.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Does Accessibility Cost More? – Accessites.org

Does Accessibility Cost More? - Accessites.org

Quality, accessible site should cost more money. They take more time, require a higher attention to detail and knowledge. Plus these sites benefit the client. Tell them.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Multiple Image Uploads Into Single MySQL Table (CakePHP)

Multiple Image Uploads Into Single MySQL Table (CakePHP)

“The goal of this article is to explain how to upload multiple photos in CakePHP using a single MySQL table. The images will be uploaded into an uploads folder, while the image names will be stored in a single MySQL table.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Government APIs and Mashups – ProgrammableWeb Resource Center

Government APIs and Mashups - ProgrammableWeb Resource Center

“With over a dozen government-related APIs and government-related mashups there are a growing number of ways to get data from government sources and to learn more about what elected representatives are doing with your tax dollars.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Defensio

Defensio

“Defensio is a spam filtering web service that you can use to protect your blog or web application from comment spam.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Drop.io

Drop.io

“A private place for storing and sharing photos, video, audio, notes, docs, etc. Each is accessible only to those whom you tell exactly where to look.

No signup and no ‘account’. We don’t even ask for your email. Create as many drops as you want…”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Reported Seagate drive failures may affect Mac laptops

Reported Seagate drive failures may affect Mac laptops

“UK drive recovery company Retrodata is warning customers of a rash of failures involving a particular Seagate drive model, a SATA unit made in China and used in Apple laptops. This specific mechanism, according to Retrodata’s intake notes, seems to be prone to a spectacular self-destruct where the drive heads auger into the platter, rendering the data mostly dead.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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The Cost of Accessibility

Accessible, standards-compliant, quality sites should cost more than their shabbily constructed brethren. You may worry that you’ll lose business to your competition, but realize that you’re not really competing with those who produce inferior work.

Mike Cherim in his article Does Accessibility Cost More?

Mike provides a great breakdown of the importance of Accessibility from a business perspective. If you build accessibly, you are by definition better at your job as a Web professional than a person who does not. The site you provide your client is of a higher quality, which will provide them benefits beyond doing the right thing for all visitors. I won’t go into all of the details as I hope to write an article around the business benefits of accessibility some time soon, but check out the article and Mike’s blog which provide a wealth of information. Mike is a great voice in the Web Development and Accessibility world, and well worth adding to your RSS feeds.

TechShop is Coming to Austin

TechShop, “a fully-equipped open-access workshop and creative environment that lets you drop in any time and work on your own projects at your own pace” is opening 10 new locations in 2008, including an Austin shop! According to their site:

The TechShop workshop provides a wide variety of machinery and tools for the open and unlimited use of its members, including milling machines and lathes, welding stations and plasma cutters, sheet metal working equipment, drill presses and band saws, industrial sewing machines, hand tools, plastic working equipment, electronics design and fabrication facilities, tubing and metal bending machines, electrical supplies and tools, and pretty much everything you’d ever need to make just about anything all by yourself.

How cool is that?! They provide classes around how to use the various tools, which are open to the public as well as members who sign up for one of the gym-like plans (daily, monthly and yearly subscriptions). While Sarah and I would both love to have an amazing workshop, and will likely build one over time, it’s pretty unlikely we could afford, or for that matter, justify some of the tools they will make available.

Man, a laser cutter would be so much fun to play with! Oh, and tinkering with the 3d printer would be a great too.

Recent Links: October 27 to November 03

Here are the links that I’ve recently saved to Ma.gnolia.

“Open in TextMate” from Leopard Finder

A handy AppleScript bundle that can be added to the tool bar, which will open a TextMate window”containing all selected or dropped items in a project.” Built for Leopard, though it should work in Tiger.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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10.5: Change the Dock’s background and separator

10.5: Change the Dock's background and separator

A set of tips to easily change the appearance of the dock and its separators in Leopard. For those folks who like the 3D look, but want to tweak it a bit, you now have an easy way to style it your way.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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OpaqueMenuBar

OpaqueMenuBar

“OpaqueMenuBar is a tool for Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” to make the menu bar non-transparent, so you cannot see through it any more. “

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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microPledge

microPledge

“Pledge small donations to support software development” An interesting example of taking social concepts and applying them to the business world. If you have an idea, but don’t have the funding, you can ask people to make micropledges to help support your work. On the other side of it, if you have an idea, or like one already out there, but are not able to develop it yourself, you can support it with whatever amount of money you’d lile.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Image Is Everything

Image Is Everything

“A review of three new pieces of Macintosh image editing software: Acorn, Pixelmator, DrawIt.”

“I won’t be comparing the applications’ feature lists exhaustively in the article. I am also going to concentrate on some major items that are always requirements for me. That means I’ll miss some that are critical for you. And I’ll be concentrating on the UI and the behaviour of these apps, because that’s where we spend the most time. Little things that get short shrift in other reviews like application and document icons will be covered.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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IxDA Booklist

IxDA Booklist

A great list of books about information and interaction design, usability, and user experience compiled by the Interaction Design Association.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Google’s OpenSocial API

Google's OpenSocial API

The URL for Google’s social networking framework.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Nine Inch Nails Open Source Remixes

Nine Inch Nails Open Source Remixes

“After months of deliberation of nearly 200 fan submitted remixes, the 21 track ‘The Limitless Potential’ open source remix collection is finally available for free download.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Retrieving data in CakePHP

Retrieving data in CakePHP

Some useful examples of Cake’s findAll functionality.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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21 Things You Must Know About CakePHP

21 Things You Must Know About CakePHP

A handy list of tips and tricks for CakePHP development, including the creation of static pages (static content in the default layout sans models), building a simple admin area, using Bake, advanced validation, logging, controllers that use multiple models, advanced model usage, inserting multiple rows, adding a WYSIWYG editor, sending e-mail, and more.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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The Bakery, Everything CakePHP

The Bakery, Everything CakePHP

A central location for CakePHP information, tutorials, news, code and articles.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Social Bookmarklet helper

Social Bookmarklet helper

A simple helper for CakePHP to display social bookmark links. It looks pretty straightforward to implement.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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The WordPress Help Sheet

The WordPress Help Sheet

The WordPress Help Sheet includes the following:

* Basic Template Files
* PHP Snippets for the Header
* PHP Snippets for the Templates
* And Extra Stuff for WordPress

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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3 Hidden CakePHP Functions You Can’t Live Without, Flay

3 Hidden CakePHP Functions You Can’t Live Without, Flay

Very useful functions built into CakePHP, including the ability to return text fragments of a specific length with an ellipsis at the end and HTML escaping,

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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