Monday, June 30, 2008

Be the CPAUG Co-Manager!

CPAUG needs a Co-Manager - are you up for it? As a Co-Manager you'll help out the CPAUG Manager (me!) by assisting or taking my place when I'm unavailable. Additionally, I may ask you to help out, run meetings or presentations on occasion.

So, what's in it for your (other than fame and glory)? You get free Adobe software, discounts including to Adobe MAX, free Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) certifications, schwag, books, access to Beta testing, privileged Adobe company & product information, meet some great people and more.

Are you interested? Please email me at meganfister(AT)gmail(DOT)com by July 7th. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Fireworks photography in 5 easy steps

A timely article from Budget travel about how to take some great fireworks shots!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Help out Pearson and get two free books of your choice!

Pearson is looking for a group of people to survey about potential cover images for an upcoming series of titles. It will involve looking at 3 different title covers and providing comments on which would be the best and most attractive to a beginner/intermediate audience. Each participant will be able to pick any two books from our InformIT store as a thank you for taking part in the survey. I’m looking to recruit at least 20 people – first come, first serve — so please forward on if you know anyone that may be interested. A signed non-disclosure form will be required for those who accept and must be received via PDF or fax by July 2nd.

Anyone interested should send their name, mailing address and contact e-mail to

Many thanks

Emily Nave, PR Coordinator

Representing Imprints of Pearson Education

Thursday, June 19, 2008

June Meeting Recap: Relational DBs and ColdFusion

Thanks to this month's presenters Tina Anness and Justin Treher. Additional thanks goes out to O'Reilly book publisher for generously donating Flex 3 Cookbook to both of our presenters and our group raffle. Congratulations to our grand prize winner, Tim Rose, who will be enjoying the Adobe CS3 Design Premium.

Some of the things we discussed at the meeting include:
Did you fall in love with ColdFusion? Then you'll definitely want to join the Central Pennsylvania ColdFusion Users Group.

Other CPAUG items of note:
New Tech Meetup of Central PA
Top 10 Apps Worth Installing Adobe AIR For
Flash Working on the iPhone...
Filmmaking 101: Anatomy of a Final Cut Express Project - Peachpit Sample Chapter
Peachpit Press - Bigger discount!

Upcoming Meeting Dates:

Wednesday, July 30th 6-8pm. - Casual Meeting at Panera Bread, Union Deposit Rd., Harrisburg
Wednesday, August 27th 6-8pm - East Shore Area Library

New Tech Meetup of Central PA

Date: 1st Monday each month starting July 7, 2008
Location: TBD

About the New Tech Meetup of Central PA:
Following the model of Scott Heiferman's wildly successful NY Tech Meetup, on the 1st Monday each month at 7PM, 5 people get 5 minutes each to demo something cool to Central PA's tech community (geeks, marketers, investors, entrepreneurs, etc).

More details and information at:

Note: This is not a CPAUG/Adobe meet-up group.

June Meeting - WIN one of the Creative Suite 3 bundles and an intro to Web Applications with ColdFusion

Date: Thursday, June 19, 2008
Time: 6-8PM

East Shore Area Library - Computer Lab, 1st floor (basement)
4501 Ethel Street
Harrisburg, PA 17109
No food or drink is allowed in the computer room.
Information about the meeting location


About the Meeting:

One lucky person will win one of the Creative Suite CS3 bundles in a random drawing! Everyone present will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win. However, for every CPAUG meeting you've attended and signed in for since February 2008 you'll receive an extra raffle ticket!

Haven't been able to make meetings or would like to increase your odds of winning Creative Suite CS3? Bring a friend that's new to CPAUG to the June meeting and get
one additional raffle ticket. Or, write an original 300-700 word article, tutorial or book review for the CPAUG blog, submit it via email to meganfister(at)gmail(dot)com by 06/18/08 at 6PM, and get one additional raffle ticket! Maximum 5 total raffle tickets per person. You must be present at the meeting to win. Retail value of the prize is up to $2100 USD. No substitutions may be made.

The Flex 3 Cookbook has generously been donated by our friends at O'Reilly for both of our presenters and for our raffle! Be sure to check out the O'Reilly Media Flex Cookbook Cook-Off Contest going on now.

Extremely simplified relational databases - presented by Tina Anness.
Tina works for TekSystems as a Programmer/Analyst II consultant at The Hershey Company. Although her background is in VB/VBA/SQL programming she has a Bachelor of Science in Art and tries to fuse design and programming together whenever possible.

An intro to Web Applications with ColdFusion - presented by Justin Treher, a ColdFusion Developer and Manager of the Central Penn ColdFusion Users Group

Justin will give an introduction to application programming. Perhaps, as a designer, the applications department has always been a mystery that you’d like to understand. Maybe you’d like to learn a few simple ways to go one step beyond HTML and CSS. Adobe ColdFusion is a Rapid Application Development (RAD) web server platform progressing into its 9th generation. The rapid part means what you’d expect, you can do stuff a lot faster and easier than with PHP, ASP.NET, JSP etc. It’s great for beginners and those who don’t want to learn a lot of programming mumbo jumbo. However, once you go over the cliff, you’ll find the possibilities for advanced programming and website engineering are endless. Fortunately, Justin won’t bore you with those intimate details; you’ll see how you can quickly get a ColdFusion website up and running with a simple Microsoft Access database and learn a general introduction to web application programming.

Upcoming Meeting Dates:

Wednesday, July 30th 6-8pm. - Casual Meeting at Panera Bread, Harrisburg

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Top 10 Apps Worth Installing Adobe AIR For

Lifehacker wrote a great article Top 10 Apps Worth Installing Adobe AIR For. It's a nice way to check out some of the top AIR applications out there.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Filmmaking 101: Anatomy of a Final Cut Express Project - Peachpit Sample Chapter

Check out this sample chapter from Lisa Brenneis' book, Final Cut Express 4: Visual QuickStart Guide. Lisa will show you how to manage a well-organized project in Final Cut Express. Courtesy of Peachpit Press.

Firefox 3 - Set a Guinness World Record, Enjoy a Better Web

From the Firefox 3 download website:

"Sounds like a good deal, right? All you have to do is get Firefox 3 during Download Day to help set the record for most software downloads in 24 hours - it's that easy. We're not asking you to swallow a sword or to balance 30 spoons on your face, although that would be kind of awesome.

The official date for the launch of Firefox 3 is June 17, 2008. Join our community and this effort by pledging today."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Peachpit Press - Bigger discount!


(Updated 6-13-08 - increased discount from 30% to 35%!)
User Group members receive a 35% discount off the list price of any of our books.

At checkout, right before you put your credit card number in, you must enter the user group coupon code UE-23AA-PEUF (case-sensitive). This coupon code is an exclusive offer that may not be used in conjunction with any other coupon codes.

JobOp: Web Designer/Developer in South Carolina

I'm looking for a solid Web Designer/Developer for a contract to hire or long term consulting role -- your choice -- in South Carolina.

JavaScript, XSLT, CSS, etc. are all important. Great chance to work in a company that values its employees, offers great benefits, a real work/life balance, potential for growth...all of the things most of us value.

If you're open to relocation please let me know. I can be reached at or by phone at 1-800-521-8077 x317.

Marianne Mazer
Premier Alliance Group

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Creative Transitions Conference

Creative Transitions Conference
Date: August 13-15, 2008.
Location: Milwaukee WI

The conference is focusing on what's next for Adobe users. If you are a print designer, there will be web sessions to show you how to transition. If you are a photographer, how to move things to video, if you are in web how to transfer to flex, etc. According to Adobe, by the time the conference begins, we will be able to present sessions on CS "next" applications as well. Sessions will even be covering DW CS4.

The unique feature of this is Adobe is using us as a "test tube" for a new format where on Day 3, the presenters give 3 hours of hands-on training based on their sessions. Seating is limited in these workshops and are filling fast. If this works, they intend to triple attendance in three years and have it out west.

As part of their ongoing support of our User Group Program, the conference coordinators have offered Adobe User Group members a significant discount off registration. The code is ASUM0508. Members get $100 of registration!

For more information, please go to the conference site at

Friday, June 6, 2008

Contest: CSS Style Switcher - Smashing Magazine

From the Smashing Magazine CSS Style Switcher Contest page:

"Style switchers are used to provide users with a choice of layouts, fonts, colors and views they can use to adapt the design to their personal needs. Designs with style switchers are more flexbile, more adaptive and more user-friendly as different visitors can quickly modify the design for their personal convenience.

The award is Apple Cinema 20 Flat Panel Display with 16.7 million colors, 400:1 contrast ratio, 0.258 mm dot pitch, 16 ms response time and 170-degree viewing angles (see the image below). The winner will be chosen randomly among participants of our contest."

To learn more, visit

Thursday, June 5, 2008

MTV and HP "Engine Room" Digital Artist Competition

From the Engine Room Website:
  • We are seeking digital artists (at least 18 years of age) from around the globe to compete in a series of creative challenges utilizing HP computers.

  • Once selected, 16 people will be flown to New York City commencing on or about July 18, 2008 through on or about August 16, 2008 (collectively, the "Filming Dates"). They will compete in teams of 4 participants each for prizes by creating animations, websites, short films, sound mixes and more in the "Engine Room".

  • We will cover incidental expenses (including flight and hotel) for those selected to participate in the "Engine Room" show.

  • The winning team will get $400,000USD in cash and HP gear to be divided equally among the 4 teammates.

  • "Engine Room" is a new MTV series which will be seen around the world.

  • By entering the Casting Call, you will automatically be considered for the Weekly Audience Winner Contest in accordance with the Official Rules.

More information at

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Adobe Air Browser War Competition

Want a chance to win the Adobe CS3 Master Collection or CS3 Web Premium? Enter the Adobe Air Browser War competition hosted by the Stockholm Multimedia User Group! Hurry! Deadline for submissions is June 25th. More details and how to enter can be found at

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tutorial: Taking a Fireworks comp to a CSS-based layout in Dreamweaver

Be sure to check out this comprehensive Adobe tutorial "Taking a Fireworks comp to a CSS-based layout in Dreamweaver".

JobOp: Web Developer / Webmaster - Harrisburg

Web Developer / Webmaster - Harrisburg

Harrisburg Firm seeks Web Developer / Webmaster to design and code without the assistance of Web site design applications and to create easy to understand interfaces. Candidates should have experience with interface design and understand usability issues, experience and understanding of email server/web server maintenance. Understanding of scripting languages (PHP, Javascript, Python, ASP)W3 standards (CSS, HTML, XHTML and database design) Familiarity with SQL (MSSQL, mySQL) and multimedia design and production software (Photoshop, Flash, etc.)

Send cover letter and resume to: Promotional Partners Incorporated, 2259A Woodlawn Street, Harrisburg, PA 17104, or fax 717-671-4493 or email to


Monday, June 2, 2008

O'Reilly Media Flex Cookbook Cook-Off Contest

This summer, O'Reilly Media announces the Flex Cookbook Cook-Off contest to celebrate the recent publication of "Flex 3 Cookbook: Code-Recipes, Tips, and Tricks for RIA Developers," written by Josh Noble, Todd Anderson, and a selection of authors whose recipes were plucked from the Adobe Flex Cookbook web site.

From June 2-August 1 O'Reilly invites you to submit your best code recipes for the chance to win some great prizes.

Four winners will be chosen during the contest period. The prizes include:

-Grand prize: A ticket to Adobe MAX in San Francisco, California and $500 (US) in O'Reilly Media books
-Community choice award: $350 (US) in O'Reilly Media books

-Second prize: Every Adobe Developer Library book published by O'Reilly Media

-Third prize: Five O'Reilly Media books of choice

Contest runs June 2–August 1, 2008
Winners are to be announced Sept 1, 2008

To submit your entry, go to:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Book Review: AJAX and PHP: Building Responsive Web Applications

AJAX and PHP: Building Responsive Web Applications
by Christian Darie, Bogdan Brinzarea, Filip Chereches-Tosa, Mihal Bucica
Review by Megan Fister, Central Pennsylvania Adobe User Group (CPAUG) - Manager

AJAX and PHP: Building Responsive Web Applications is the ideal book for those who currently have some PHP, XML, JavaScript and MySQL already under their belt. Little time is spent on the basics of these technologies other than a brief history of the Web and predictions for future Web applications making this book a great segue for those looking to take their basic skills to the next level. The code is well documented and commented so if you are the type of person who prefers to jump right in and work with code, then this book is for you.

The biggest strength of this book is that is provides practical code examples that teaches the
reader how to combine and use these technologies together. Some of the most handy examples are server-enabled form validation, an online chat tool and an RSS feed reader. Even if you only need to know one of these items, though there are plenty more, it's well worth it to pick up this book. No only will you be able to create these applications yourself, but you'll learn best practices and understand the why and how of each program as well. Additionally, the book's companion website is quite good and allows you to download all of the code. This can be especially helpful if you find yourself getting stuck somewhere and want to do a side-by-side comparison of the your code and the book code. There are even five free additional PDF chapters for download including an updated version of Chapter 5 - AJAX Chat - which uses JSON instead of XML.

However, if you're the type of person that is looking for a very concise, step-by-step book, you may find yourself frustrated. Just as its strengths are in letting you jump right into the code, if you're not at the stage where you're comfortable with any of the included technologies, you'll quickly find yourself overwhelmed with a lack of direction and an abundance of code.
Additionally, while the use of bold type clearly indicates emphasis on specific code lines, if anything could improve this book, just for readability's sake, it would color-indicated code.

In conclusion, if you've already gotten your feet wet with PHP, XML, JavaScript and MySQL then AJAX and PHP: Building Responsive Web Applications will help you get to the next level with real-world code examples and projects. You'll not just "copy code" but gain an understanding as to the "why and how" of creating AJAX Web applications.