Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Free Webinars from Adobe in June

Introducing Adobe Business Catalyst
June 1, 2010
9:00 A.M. PT
June 11, 2010
9:00 A.M. PTLearn from the experts about Adobe Business Catalyst, a new hosted service that replaces 5 separate tools for building Online Business.
Register now

Getting Started with ColdFusion Builder
June 9, 2010
11:00 A.M. PT
Move your first application to Adobe ColdFusion® Builder. This session will cover the similarities and differences between ColdFusion Builder and non-Eclipse based development tools and more.
Register now

Open Source Media Framework 1.0 Launch Presentation
June 9, 2010
11:00 A.M. PT
Get to know the fundamentals of Open Source Media Framework (OSMF). Join us for a high level overview of why you would want to use OSMF and then dive into its underlying structure.
Register now

Flash Media Server Users
June 15, 2010
9:00 A.M. PT
Get the support and education you need in online video streaming, creation of interactive video experiences, application development and idea exchange.
Register now

Open Source Media Framework Users Group
June 16, 2010
10:00 A.M. PT
Learn how to create rich video experinces on the web with OSMF. OSMF is a free, open source, ActionScript® 3 based toolkit for developing rich media experiences on the web.
Register now

Adobe Creative Suite Web Premium 5
June 16, 2010
10:00 A.M. PT
Learn how to use the new features in Adobe Creative Suite Web Premium 5 to improve Your Web and Development Workflows.
Register now

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

CPAUG Sweepstakes Rules

To provide fair and equal chance of winning to all CPAUG readers, the following are the official rules for the all CPAUG sweepstakes.

All winners must be 18 years of age or older, unless otherwise stated and/or posted.

1. Entering Contests and Choosing and Contacting Winners
Winners of random email contests will be chosen at random from emails received.
Entrants must send entries using the correct contest entry email address, subject line, and any other specific entry information requested in the contest announcement. CPAUG is not responsible for and will not consider incomplete or incorrect entries, or emails sent but not received by CPAUG for any reason, as potential contest winners.

Winners of all contests will be contacted at the “sender” email address used to enter the contest, and the person receiving and replying to the winner announcement email will be considered the winner unless they specify another person within the reply email as the winner. CPAUG will mail the contest prize to the address supplied by the recipient of the winner announcement email.

Only one entry per email address used to send the email will be considered for contest entry, unless multiple entries are specifically allowed in the contest posting. Unless otherwise specified in an individual contest post, no person may enter any contest more than once using multiple email addresses.
Claiming of prizes requires an email response to CPAUG from the winning sender email address within 10 days of being notified of winning at the email address used to enter. Failure to respond shall mean that the winner forfeits the prize. CPAUG is not required to award elsewhere any prizes forfeited by the chosen winner(s).

2. You hereby agree to hold CPAUG and its affiliates, subsidiaries, licensees sponsors and assigns harmless from and against, and hereby waive any right to pursue, any claims of any nature arising in connection with the inclusion in, publication via or display on any CPAUG site, or any other use authorized under these Terms, of any photo or information submitted to CPAUG by you;
Photos or information submitted by you to the Site shall be the property of CPAUG, and CPAUG shall have no obligation to preserve, return or otherwise make available to you or others any photos or information so submitted.

3. Awarding Prizes
Winners are solely responsible for all taxes and/or fees that may be incurred. Winner may forfeit any and all winnings if verification cannot or has not been made within 10 days.

Winners may not request substitutions of prize winnings. All winners are solely responsible for any and all taxes and/or fees, and all such additional costs that may be incurred.

Neither CPAUG, CPAUG sponsors, nor volunteers of CPAUG a or sponsors may be held liable for any warranty, costs, damage, injury, or any other claims incurred as a result of usage of any winners of a prize once possession has been taken of the product by winner. CPAUG is not liable for any loss arising out of or in connection with or resulting from any contest promoted by CPAUG.
If the specified prize becomes unavailable due to unforeseen circumstances, CPAUG may substitute a prize of like or equal value.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

New UG Library Book: InDesign CS5 Classroom in a Book

Be the first to read our latest book in the CPAUG library, Adobe InDesign CS5 Classroom in a Book from Adobe Presss. This book is available currently so if you're interested, please reserve it now by filling out our Library Book Request Form.

Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?


Sent to you by Megan via Google Reader:


via Smashing Magazine Feed by Michel Bozgounov on 5/22/10

Smashing-magazine-advertisement in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
 in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?   in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?   in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?

Adobe Fireworks is the Swiss Army knife for many developers and Web, UX, UI and graphic designers. The application is known for its versatility, excellent blend of vector and bitmap tools and powerful built-in wireframing and prototyping options. Also, according to the SoDA 2010 Digital Marketing Outlook survey, Fireworks has become an important tool for many digital agencies.

It now has the same standing as other core Adobe products, such as Flash, Flex and Dreamweaver (to the question "Which technical skill sets, if any, will you look to hire or contract in 2010?", approx. 12% of the survey respondents replied "Fireworks", and to the question "Which tools/products will you or your organization use in 2010?", more than 44% of the survey respondents replied that they will be using Fireworks).

A lot of official Adobe pages cover the latest version of Fireworks, CS5, in detail: for example, the new Fireworks CS5 product page; the Fireworks CS5/CS4/CS3 comparison chart; and the pages that highlight Fireworks CS5's Web workflows and design workflows.

But none of these official Adobe pages actually answer the question that so many design professionals are asking in the first place: is Fireworks CS5 really better? Will it save you time and effort? Are the new features worth the upgrade price? This article gives detailed answers to these questions. We'll present a neat list of Fireworks CS5's new features and improved workflows, along with examples of how they will make your work much more efficient.

[Offtopic: by the way, did you know that Smashing Magazine has one of the most influential and popular Twitter accounts? Join our discussions and get updates about useful tools and resources — follow us on Twitter!]

1. Better Performance

Performance Improvements

One of the most notable (and welcome) improvements in the latest version of Fireworks is performance. Fireworks CS5 is faster and more lightweight, it uses less RAM and it is much more stable than any previous version of Fireworks.

For example, look at the following performance graph. Testing was done on a five-year-old Lenovo ThinkPad, with a 1.5 GHz Intel Pentium-M CPU and 1.5 GB of DDR memory.

Performance-graph-1-rv2 in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
Performance graph of start-up times.

Notice that start-up times are much better for the CS5 version, and Fireworks CS5 may need less than 4 seconds for a "warm" start on a five-year-old machine; some Mac users already report similar performance improvements.

More performance stats:

  • "Cold" launch times improved by 3 to 9% (average)
  • "Warm" launch times improved by 30 to 32% (average)
  • Memory (RAM) usage reduced by 2 to 16% (average)

Performance-graph-2-rv2 in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
Graph of general performance improvements.

So, while major new versions of Adobe applications are usually more resource-hungry than their predecessors, seeing that this is actually the opposite case with Fireworks is a pleasant surprise.

Better Handling of Files

Fireworks CS5 opens and saves PNG files faster, better and more reliably. It also allows you to open multi-page Fireworks PNG files much more easily, because the open dialog shows a preview of all of the pages inside.

Open-and-import-preview in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
Multi-page preview in the "Open" and "Import" dialog boxes.

(NOTE: Files created in Fireworks CS4 (and earlier versions) will not have the preview option available by default; a Fireworks PNG file must be saved at least once in Fireworks CS5 so that the multi-page preview becomes available for this file.)

Integrated Recovery Options

Fireworks CS5 is much stabler than its predecessor. Still, in case the worst happens and Fireworks CS5 suddenly crashes on your Mac, it automatically places a recovered copy of the file in a Recovered Files folder on your desktop. Windows users are protected, too: they can use the AutoBackup extension, which works perfectly with both Fireworks CS4 and CS5. The extension works on Windows and Mac and automatically saves copies of all opened PNG files at a user-specified interval inside a folder named FWAIRBackup (which is located on the same path as the original file).

Recovery-options in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
Fireworks CS5 Windows and Mac users are protected from data loss.

2. PI Panel Improvements

The powerful property inspector (or PI) panel has always been the core of Fireworks and one of its best features. From this panel, you can instantly change almost any available property for almost any selected object on the canvas: vector object, bitmap object, text object, a group of objects, etc.

Pi-panel-overview in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
The new PI panel in Fireworks CS5 (overview).

In Fireworks CS5, the PI panel has been largely improved. It now responds much faster, and compared to CS4, the "refresh" times are reduced, especially on Windows. It also has many new features. Let's look at the four most important ones:

New "Constrain Proportions" Option for Resizing Objects

No need to use the Numeric Transform tool anymore when you want to resize an object and keep its proportions locked. The new "Constrain Proportions" option on the PI panel simplifies this and saves you time (and a few extra clicks).

Pi-panel-lock-proportions-rv2 in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
The PI panel option to lock the proportions of an object.

New Dithering Option for Gradients

Gradient Dithering is a new feature introduced in Fireworks CS5. When working with gradients, switching the Gradient Dithering option "on" or "off" is now just a click away.

Pi-panel-gradient-dither-rv2 in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
PI panel option for switching Gradient Dithering on and off.

New Stroke Alignment Options

Need to change Stroke Alignment properties? You don't need to open the Stroke options anymore — just use the new Stroke Alignment icons, right on the PI panel.

Pi-panel-stroke-alignment-rv2 in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
The Stroke Alignment options on the PI panel.

New Compound Shape Tools

Fireworks CS5 has a powerful new feature: Compound Shapes (more on this feature later). Creating and editing them is done easily from the PI panel, too.

Pi-panel-compound-shapes-rv2 in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
Editing Compound Shapes on the PI panel.

3. New Text Engine Features

Fireworks CS5 has a much better text engine, with many new features and tiny enhancements that will help in your routine work with text. Here's a quick list of the enhancements:

  • Kerning, tracking and leading between characters in a text block can now be easily controlled using only the keyboard (simply put the cursor in between characters and use the keyboard arrow keys).
  • The slider value for kerning and tracking has been increased to 200.
  • If you open a PNG file created in Fireworks v. CS3 or lower, the kerning and tracking values will be automatically mapped and the look of the text will be preserved.
  • A new option (unique to Adobe Fireworks) allows you to multi-select characters and words in a text box and then style them together at once. This is complemented by another new option that allows you to auto-select similarly styled characters, words or paragraphs inside a text block, and then modify their styles at once.
  • An editable and auto-completing font list box feature has been added (Windows version only).
  • Now, you don't need to restart Fireworks after installing a new font (Windows version only).
  • Undoing (Ctrl/Cmd + Z) and redoing (Ctrl/Cmd + Y) at the character level is now possible while you're in text-editing mode.
  • Double-clicking selects the word, and triple-clicking selects the entire paragraph.
  • In the Layers panel, text object layers are now marked with a tiny "T" icon, for easier recognition.
  • A Text Overflow indicator appears when extra characters (that don't fit the text-in-path or text-on-path) exist.
  • Copying and pasting text from any version of Microsoft Office into Fireworks is much improved.
  • The number of characters that can be copied and pasted into a Fireworks text block at once has been increased from 2000 to 8000.

(We may highlight and explain text engine improvements in Fireworks CS5 in greater detail in a future article.)

4. Improved Adobe CS5 Integration

Integration of Fireworks CS5 with other Adobe CS5 applications is much improved.

  • Fireworks CS5 now supports ASE swatches, the same color file format supported by Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and Kuler. The .ASE support will allow designers to easily exchange color schemes between Fireworks and other Adobe products.
  • Fireworks CS5 has very good integration with Adobe Illustrator CS5. Fireworks CS5 can import graphic assets from Illustrator CS5 almost perfectly, and copying and pasting directly from Illustrator CS5 into Fireworks CS5 is possible with a high level of fidelity and editability, too (there exist only a few exceptions to this).
  • Fireworks CS5 can export in the new FXG 2.0 file format, and FXG 2.0 files can be imported into Illustrator CS5, Flash Catalyst CS5 and other Adobe programs with almost no loss in editability.
  • Fireworks CS5 is integrated with Adobe Device Central CS5 (read the article about Adobe Fireworks CS5 and Adobe Device Central titled "Mobile workflows using Fireworks CS5 and Device Central CS5").
  • The integration with Adobe Photoshop CS5 is excellent, too. Fireworks CS5 can import graphic assets from Photoshop CS5 very well. Fireworks CS5 has much better support for Photoshop PSD files. Adjustment Layers in a PSD file now retain their appearance when opened or imported in Fireworks. Gradient round-tripping is now possible between Fireworks and Photoshop.

5. Miscellaneous New Tools And Features

Compound Shapes

Fireworks CS5 has powerful new vector tools in its toolset, called Compound Shapes. Compound Shapes are special vector groups that give you greater vector power. You can create new compound shapes out of existing vector objects and you can also draw in several compound shape modes. A Compound Shape group allows the editing and styling of several vector objects as one, while preserving the original vector objects inside the group. The individual objects can be easily re-edited or ungrouped at any stage.

To use the new Compound Shapes, simply select several vector objects together, and then use one of the available Compound Shape operations (found on the PI panel): Add/Union, Subtract/Punch, Intersect, Crop.

After you have created a Compound Shape group, editing individual objects within the group is easy: simply use the Subselection tool (white arrow) to select and modify any individual object. To edit the Compound Shape group as one object, switch to the Pointer tool (black arrow).

Here's a simple example:

Compound-shape-example-rv2 in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
Example of Compound Shapes.

The introduction of Compound Shapes in Fireworks CS5 gives designers even more flexibility, because the standard vector combine workflows (Modify → Combine Paths → Join/Split/Union/Intersect/Punch/Crop) can be complemented by the new non-destructive combine vector workflows.

Compound Shapes are also fun for all kinds of creative artwork:

Compound-shape-monsters-by-molif in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
"Monsters," a creative use of Compound Shapes (illustration by

Dithering Option for Gradients

Fireworks CS5 now has a Dithering option for gradients, which almost completely reduces any "banding" in radial or linear gradients.

Gradient-dithering-rv2 in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
The new Gradient Dithering option reduces "banding" in gradients.

NOTE: The Gradient Dithering option is available for Radial and Linear gradients only. For now, other types of gradients in Fireworks are not supported.

Reverse Option for Gradients

Fireworks CS5 allows you to easily reverse the direction of any kind of gradient, which can save time.

Gradient-reverse-rv2 in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
Reverse Gradient option.


Snap-to-Pixel is a new feature in Fireworks CS5 that allows you to fix instantly almost any blurriness in a vector object (or a group of objects), after some complex transformations have been applied to it. To apply this command, use Modify → Snap To Pixel, or the Cmd/Ctrl + K shortcut. This is one of the best and most useful new features in Fireworks CS5.


Fireworks CS5 introduces Templates. Now you can easily create and share your own PNG templates inside a small or large design team.

To use this new feature, simply select File → New from Template to open an existing template, or File → Save as Template.

Fw-templates-1 in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
Templates options in the File menu.

Fireworks CS5 comes with several pre-built templates (neatly organized in a few groups: Grid Systems, Mobile, Web, Wireframes, etc.). Users can extend these easily by creating and saving their own templates.

Better CSS Export Options

Fireworks CS5 has much better CSS and HTML exporting options. Here are some highlights:

  • A new option to export multiple pages as CSS, HTML and images at once; a great feature for quickly exporting your designs as dynamic, clickable prototypes.
  • It is now possible to tag text objects by tag name to output the text with a particular HTML tag.
  • A Text Area symbol has been added for improved HTML-form prototyping.
  • There is a List Item symbol to allow for the creation of unordered lists (both normal text lists and lists with links).
  • Font sizes are now in percentages to allow for easy and flexible text resizing in all browsers.
  • Divs with set heights now have min-height equivalents to allow for text resizing and any amount of content.
  • Many other small and big improvements have been added to the CSS Export script.

Global Preference for Grids

In Fireworks CS5, preferences for grids are now global and can be overridden for individual documents.

Grid-settings-rv2 in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
Global preferences for grids.

Redesigned Align Panel

The Align panel is improved and more powerful. It now remembers the most recent settings used and is more usable.

Align-panel-rv2 in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
Align panel options.

New "Copy to Clipboard" Option for Colors

You can use standard option for copying color values of any selected color, or use the new option for one-click copy of the color value.

Easy-to-copy-color-values in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
Copying color #hex values is now easier.

New "Don't show again" Option for Resample Dialog

When you copy and paste objects between files that have different resolution (dpi setting), Fireworks will ask you if you want to resample the pasted vector or bitmap object. While it is certainly useful to have this option, experience have proved that leaving the original dpi setting of the object to be pasted is often the best choice and leads to better results.

So now in Fireworks CS5, you can select the "Don't Resample" option and check the "Don't show again" checkbox. Setting will be remembered and in the long run, this new option may save you time.

Dont-show-again-option-for-paste-rv2 in Adobe Fireworks: Is It Worth Switching to CS5?
Better paste options for documents with different dpi settings.

6. Early (P)reviews

Fireworks CS5 was released just a few days ago, but the (p)reviews thus far have been largely positive. Let's read some of them:

Fireworks CS5 is a very strong release.… For Fireworks CS5, more than with any other release in our history, we listened to our users. They told us that we needed to make sure Fireworks had rock-solid stability and reliability, and that we needed to refine the existing features before thinking about new ones. That's exactly what we did, and the results are impressive.

Bruce Bowman, Fireworks Product Manager at Adobe

I've had the unique opportunity to spend some time working with the new Adobe Fireworks CS5, and it has been a pleasure. The stability improvements are immediately noticeable, and although this has been described as a "stability release," there are some very useful new features that should not be overlooked.… Overall, Adobe Fireworks CS5 is a fantastic release. Stability, new features and a smoother workflow with other Adobe products keep it as the front-runner when designing for pixels on the screen.

David Hogue, Director of Information Design and Usability at Fluid, Inc.

Aside from the major performance, stability, install and memory enhancements… there are tons of tweaks under the hood of Fireworks CS5!

Darrel Heath, freelance web designer and developer

Adobe has published a really extensive piece surrounding the details behind Fireworks CS5. I've talked about it with a few designers, both Fireworks and Photoshop users, and had a gut feeling that it would be mostly a bug-fix release. While every Adobe product under the sun needs at least one full version release consisting of mostly bug fixes, I gladly welcome Fireworks CS5. The fixes mentioned in the piece have me really excited to put more time into working with the application after it's released.

Jonathan Christopher, front-end developer at Overit Media

Fireworks CS5: improved performance, more precise control over the pixel placement of design elements and a streamlined, accelerated workflow.

Webdesigner Depot

Adobe Fireworks CS5 is better than ever. The engineers searched high and low to find ways to make Fireworks faster, more stable and easier to use. I know I'm impressed and I hope… you will be too!

— Jim Babbage, author at (Part 1, Part 2)

Enjoy the increased stability and polish in Fireworks CS5. If you haven't upgraded in a while and passed over CS4 as some people I know have done, don't pass on CS5. It will make your current workflows much smoother and does add a few welcome new features. I highly recommend it!

St├ęphane Bergeron, freelance Web designer at Webfocus Design

7. Conclusion

So, is Fireworks CS5 really better? For me, it is. Fireworks CS5 may not be absolutely perfect or contain any "wow" features. But at the same time, it is a very welcome release — fast, stable, polished, with lots of tiny refinements and additions that will make your design work more efficient.

I wasn't able to list all of the new features and improvements in Fireworks CS5, but I hope your curiosity now is piqued enough that you will want to try Fireworks CS5 soon. If so, grab the 30-day free trial or order Fireworks CS5 from Adobe (either separately or as part of Web Premium CS5, Design Premium CS5 or Master Collection CS5).

Finally, check out other recent articles about Adobe Fireworks published on the Smashing Network:

We hope to see more smashing Fireworks-related articles in the next few months, so if you have questions, feel free to share them in the comments!


© Michel Bozgounov for Smashing Magazine, 2010. | Permalink | 52 comments | Add to | Digg this | Stumble on StumbleUpon! | Tweet it! | Submit to Reddit | Forum Smashing Magazine
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Friday, May 21, 2010

Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch Demos HTML5 Tools At Google I/O


Sent to you by Megan via Google Reader:


via TechCrunch by MG Siegler on 5/19/10

Today at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch was invited on stage to show off some of what Adobe is working on — with HTML5.

Yes, that may be somewhat surprising considering Adobe's position with Flash (and their heated debate with Apple), but Lynch said Adobe is all about enabling people to do what they want, no matter the technology. "HTML5 is great. It's a great move forward for video on the web," Lynch said.

On stage, Lynch showed off HTML5 support in the new Dreamweave CS5. Included here (through a software extension) is:

  • HTML5 starter layouts, making it easier for users to adopt the latest in emerging web standards
  • Code hinting for HTML5 and CSS3 capabilities to enable Dreamweaver users to easily make use of new HTML5 tags
  • WebKit engine updates and improvements to support video and audio in Dreamweaver CS5's Live View.

Lynch then announced that Adobe was going to support VP8 (Google's new open-source video codec) going forward in its Flash player. This will help the codec be distributed to a billion people in less than a year, Lynch says.

Lynch also teased there will be more talk specifically about what Adobe is doing with video and the web tomorrow at I/O. That should be interesting given his penchant to speak his mind and cause some controversy.


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What You Need to Know About Google TV


Sent to you by Megan via Google Reader:


via Mashable! by Jolie O'Dell on 5/20/10

The unveiling of Google TV today leaves many of us with more questions than answers. When can we buy one, and for how much? What kind of hardware and subscription services will we need? Can we get it in Canada?

Here are the facts straight from the CEOs of the companies involved in Google TV, including Google and Sony themselves.

Info for Consumers

  • With the Sony television sets, hardware will be integrated.
  • For non-Sony HDTVs, external hardware will use HDMI.
  • Hardware will be available exclusively from Best Buy.
  • Once you buy the hardware, the service will be free.
  • Google TV will eventually integrate with Sony Playstation.


  • Google TV is more robust than web TV or Apple TV; it's not just a browser or a guide.
  • Instead of a "guide," you'll be able to search for and navigate both TV and online content.
  • You'll be able to download and run Android apps from your TV.
  • You'll be able to control your TV from your Android mobile device, including voice-activated searches.
  • Required bandwidth will depend on the kind of content you consume, but good performance can be expected from 3MB/s connections.
  • The technology "stack" is the Android OS (2.1 to start) with the Chrome browser.


  • Developers can work on Google TV projects starting today.
  • Google TV will be available to consumers by fall 2010 in the U.S.
  • Aggressive international expansion is planned for 2011.
  • Android Market for Google TV will launch in early 2011.
  • Google TV APIs will be available in early 2011.
  • In summer 2011, Google TV will be open sourced.

We're very excited to see and use Google TV ourselves, and we're very curious as to what the exact price point will be. We'll keep you updated as we learn more.

For more technology coverage, follow Mashable Tech on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook

Reviews: Android, Android Market, Chrome, Facebook, Google, Twitter

Tags: google io, google tv


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