ColdFusion Muse

Help an Aspiring Animator

My nephew is 16 or 17 and wants to become an animation/game programmer. He's been working using a product called blender. It seems to be pretty polished for an open source project. I was impressed with the movie galleries on the site and especially with the "Big Buck the Bunny" and "Elephants Dream" - pretty awesome cgi stuff. Most of you who read my blog know that I am not qualified to do (or judge) anything artistic. My wife won't even let me choose which soap to put in the shower. So I thought I would be a good uncle and ask my readers if they have a take on Blender. Is it "up to snuff" for an IDE? Is there something more powerful or better he should be using (and why)?

He gave me an animation which I have converted to FLV. You can check it out at this link. Take a look and see what you think. I think he has talent. It needs audio, but it's pretty smooth and he's thought of a number of things - backlighting, reflections and shadows etc. What I don't know is if it's "out of the box" thinking or the result of working his way through tutorials. I would appreciate any comments you can muster, but please be helpful and not too critical (remember when you were just starting out :). If you have a comment you want to send without posting it "live" feel free to use the ask-a-muse box in the upper right or email me directly at mkruger at cfwebtools.com.

Testing 800 by 600 Resulution Using a Browser Bookmark

While I buy the axiom that "size isn't everything" in spite of how my spam is constantly nagging me about it, I must say I do like having a really big display for programming. I like being able to see the maximum amount of code in a single window. Sue me. My current display is a lovely 19 inch wide screen set to 1440 X 900 resolution. Please don't send me notes about how yours is bigger. I'm satisfied with mine thank you. Meanwhile, one of the annoyances is testing your web pages for 800x600 when required. I got this neat tip from Andy Matthews from icglink.com.

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How to Build a Website in 4 Hours (without Elves)

If it hasn't happened to you already it will happen eventually. Someday soon, someone is going to ask for your help building a web site pro-bono. Now, I think this is a very good idea. If you are a member of a Church, a Scout leader, a band booster or involved in any other worthwhile cause that's long on commitment and short on funds, you should dedicate a part of your skills to helping them leverage the web. The problem is usually time. If you are like me you may have trouble coming up with enough time to build a web site "for free" - at least not the 30 or 40 hours you feel such an effort deserves. Not to worry... I'm here to tell you that with a couple of simple choices you can build an excellent web site in around 4 hours. What?? You don't believe me?

Listen Here

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Sexism and Web Design - of Puce and Men

A friend of mine (Mike Klostermeyer) made me aware of an article on CNN regarding the aesthetic appeal of web sites to different sexes. The story is on CNN and it's titled "Web site's appearance matters" (story). The story describes a British study that details how men and women differ in their appreciation of web sites. That's no surprise I suppose. You would have to have blinders on to not realize that men and women in general have different tastes in fashion, decorating, and ... uh... hygiene I guess. That's why my stuffed moose head is in the shed instead of the living room.

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Third String Editor - What Bothers me about Dreamweaver

Dislaimer: Mark absolutely loves Macromedia. If Macromdedia were a woman Mark would have pictures of Macromedia on his closet door (although his wife would think it strange). Mark would be flipping burgers without Macromedia. Mark doesn't want anyone at Macromedia to read this blog and think he's a petulant child stamping his foot or holding his breath. Mark just wants to indicate some of the things about Dreamweaver that make it his third choice as an editor. Now that that is out of the way, Mark will stop speaking in the third person...

Most web developers have an opinion about Dreamweaver. Let me say at the outset that I believe DW to be the best tool to date for designing web sites. DW allows you to have a unified approach to navigation, layout, styles, images and synchronization. With DW you can treat a collection of "pages" as if it were single thing - a web site. That's handy during the design phase. I have often used DW to work with layouts and create templates from a mockup. It makes things like adjusting widths and investigating advanced CSS attributes friendly and accessible.

Having said that, I'd have to say that DW is a very poor tool for working with code. For the following reasons...

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RSS, Blogs and the Web Pendulum

Did you ever think about why RSS feeds have evolved and become such a ready standard? It seems like it happened overnight. One day we are all writing screen scraping routines to harvest information and the next day we suddenly have access to an XML feed that gives us all the information we need? How did that transpire exactly? And when did the blogosphere reach such critical mass? I think it's another pendulum swing.

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CSS and handling text overflow

Recently I was trying to solve a problem with an long text string that widened a table beyond its required width - causing the page to go out of alignment. Like a lot of you readers I'm a code junky who picks up CSS and style tips as I need them. So when I run into odd issues that I've not seen before I always need a little help. I was given this little tidbit that seems to work in IE, Firefox, Opera and Netscape 7.

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