A New Way to Debug your Website on Many Devices

Adobe Shadow Icon

 

Adobe has just released a public beta for yet another useful application for web development. The current title is Adobe shadow. Now I haven’t had much time to play around with it as of yet, but I’ll provide the run down.

 

What Adobe Shadow is used for is previewing your website on not only your browser, but also any mobile devices you can find. The application has two pieces: the application itself, which can be downloaded as a beta currently at Adobe Labs; and second is a Google Chrome extension. This means you will need to use Google Chrome currently when debugging your website, but if you aren’t already using Chrome, you should be. It is in my opinion the best browser and is also rated as the most secure browser.

 

Once you have installed both pieces, you then register all of your mobile devices. iPhones, iPads, and Android devices are currently supported. After the setup you can view and debug your website simultaneously on your computer and all your devices. This is great to not only see how your site works on all of your testing devices but also debugging your Javascript and other code that exists on your website.

 

This will work great testing your HTML 5 and jQuery applications and will also be quite powerful in conjunction with Dreamweaver CS5.5 and it’s mobile support.

A Great New Tool Fresh from Adobe Labs – Adobe Edge

Just yesterday a brand new tool was released to the public. Adobe Edge is a tool that allows you to easily create HTML 5 animations in a Flash-esque application. It uses a timeline, much like Flash, where you can add objects onto the stage and manipulate them in various ways across the timeline. These animations are created using SVG and CANVAS of HTML 5. Your projects are saved as HTML, Javascript and CSS files that make up the animations and this makes it very easy to place in your web pages through Dreamweaver.

In the current version only animations are available, but Adobe has promised that there will be new features added in new builds of the preview version. So, if you find Adobe Edge to be a useful tool (and how could you not?) be sure to follow the updates.

Tech Tip for the Web Designer

For those of you that are new to web design or would like to get started in the field, or if you are like me and just too lazy to code your CSS, I have a great tool for you! I recently stumbled on this web app CSS3 Generator which allows you to style a box to your liking using a simple graphical interface. Once you have the box styled, press the “Get the Code” button and you have the CSS code necessary to style any object on a site you are working exactly like you have styled the box. This works great with Dreamweaver and using HTML5.

Photoshop Express – Photoshop for the iPhone/iPad!

Yes, Adobe has made a version of Photoshop for iPhones and iPads, and the best part? IT’S FREE! Here is a link to a video that demos this new app: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hui0p_qI-Q

This is a great application for photographers looking to edit their photos on the go or for casual user who would like to edit or enhance their photos. Not only does it allow simple editing and enhancement all by touch, but also gives you the option to upload directly to Facebook and Picasa or share to friends via email.

Photoshop Express, I’m sure, will have photographers and graphic designers very excited, but another reason this app is so significant is that it is a precursor to having full desktop applications that have gone completely  mobile. This very well could be the beginning of the end for desktop computing in general.

Quick Tip from Jerome – Dropbox

If you have a Flash or InDesign project that you are putting time into both at work and at home or just have files that you access and edit frequently from multiple machines, then Dropbox is a tool that you should look into. Dropbox is available for essentially all platforms, mobile, Mac, Windows, and even Linux. Once you have installed Dropbox and logged into your account, it creates a Dropbox folder in your home directory. Anything you put in that folder from then on is synchronized over the internet to any other devices on which you have Dropbox installed. For mobile devices you merely open the Dropbox app and you then have access to these files as well. Bear in mind that Dropbox is completely free for up to 2GB of storage, not a bad deal at all!

Now if you are feeling saucy and really want to take full advantage of this great tool, you can further its usefulness by using symbolic links or “symlinks”. What these symlinks do is to redirect anything you put into a folder into another folder. For example, if I created a symlink between my Documents folder and a folder on my Dropbox, then anything I put into my Documents folder will go right into my Dropbox. Pretty slick. Just know that it will remove the original folder from your system. In the case of our example, my Documents folder would disappear unless I removed the symlink. So be sure to back up. (It wouldn’t be a bad idea to know how to remove this symlink either.) Are any other ActionScript 3.0 developers salivating over this besides me? What this means is that you can have all your 3rd party or home brew libraries and classes stored in the ‘clouds’ and any updates you make on one machine goes to all. Now that’s better living through technology.

Need help with this symlink business? Here’s a link:
Symlink Tutorial

Getting a New Computer Without That Hefty Price Tag

As much as I love the applications included in the Adobe Creative Suite I sometimes wonder if my computer is going to make it through my next Flash project or if it will even be able to open the flier I am editing with InDesign. So, seeing as the computers I own are getting on in years, I’ve been thinking it is about time for an upgrade. Now I have always been a Mac guy myself, but their prices are getting more and more outrageous. To get the power I want in a desktop without breaking the bank, I am in the process of choosing parts for a computer I intend to build myself. Now this may sound completely beyond your knowledge and skills, but surprisingly enough its no more complicated than my Lego Death Star I built in the 4th grade. All you need is proper manuals, here is a useful site that will tell you the necessary components and how to choose the correct ones. There are many more tutorials to be found by simple Google searches. Buying your own components and building your own computer will give you about twice as much bang for your buck. Yeah, the jig is up Dell and HP.

That being said, I have a few tips to save you even more cash. When it comes to computer hardware, take your time, you don’t want to get something that’s outdated but also don’t want to be spending too much on a piece of hardware that you could find on sale or cheaper elsewhere. If you are unfamiliar with Gizmodo, this site is your best friend when it comes to tech deals. Each day, Gizmodo will post an article called Dealzmodo that lists the best deals of the day for primarily tech items. There are always hardware deals on Gizmodo. Newegg is one of the best sources in general for hardware, everything you need will be on Newegg at reasonable prices. For in depth reviews of hardware, tomshardware.com is the place to go. One last thing, and this should go with out saying, avoid ebay. As appealing as some of those prices are, this is fragile technology and I, for one, would not trust ebayers with this stuff.

lego death star

On second thought, building a computer may be less complicated than the old Lego Death Star. I must’ve had a lot more patience back then.

Thats all for today,

Photography through Astronomy

As I was browsing the internet the other day, I stumbled across an article that may interest those of you who enjoy photography. It details a trick where you can use the rotation of the earth to create neat, long exposure photos. First, you need to know how to go about finding the North Star (Polaris), which is made easy by this picture:

Now with the north star located, you can create background designs with the stars. Over time, all the stars rotate about the North Star so the direction of your camera in terms of the North Star will change the pattern of the star movement in your photo. For example, angling your camera directly at the North Star will produce a circular effect whereas directing your camera to the left will produce arcs going from top to bottom in your photo. Chicago, obviously, wouldn’t be the best place to experiment with this, but the suburbs, and certainly while camping, would be great opportunities to experiment with this. Then once you get some photos you like, fine tune them or toy with them in Photoshop until they are to your liking. Get more details or see examples here.

Adobe Days: Win a copy of CS5 at Ascend Training

Join Ascend Training for an evening of CS5! Three simultaneous events will be going on at once in Flash CS5, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, InDesign and more. This is a great opportunity to learn about the new features, and network with other attendees.

Sessions begin at 4:30pm on June 3rd at our downtown Chicago facility. We will be serving pizza and cocktails through the evening.

Register for Adobe Days June 3rd

Adobe CS5 Free Shipping Ends May 31st

Adobe is offering free shipping on CS5 until May 31st, 2010. Adobe Creative Suite 5 is turning out to be one of the best upgrades since Photoshop version 3. Some of the new features to Photoshop are:

  • Better RAW processing
  • Content Aware Fill
  • Auto lens correction
  • Expanded painting effects
  • Advanced HDR processing

If you’re confused about pricing, Adobe has a great chart for you to examine the different applications and the best suite for you. Ascend is offering CS5 classes starting in June, but will continue to offer CS4 as long as there is demand.

Adobe CS5 Launch: June 3rd

Come experience the magic of CS5! Adobe has come out with a knock your socks off upgrade that is shipping soon. June 3rd, Ascend Training and Adobe are presenting 12 free seminars showcasing the new CS5 applications. Doors open at 4pm, and presentations continue through 8pm.

Ascend is offering all Adobe CS5 classes beginning in June. All students who take CS4 are still eligible to retake the class in version CS5.

Register for this free event.