Carl Camera

Standards, Measurements, and the SCOFF Browsers

I've been following IE and how it relates to web standards for quite some time now. I haven't been all that vocal over the past two years because, mainly, IE has been moving rapidly and in the right direction. For all the progress made, however, Internet Explorer's detractors - many who are fans of the SCOFF Browsers™ (Safari, Chrome, Opera & Firefox) - are not so much interested in web standards as they are in deriding Microsoft and its products. IE's lack of web standards became a rallying point for them. But times have changed.


Special Pricing on Expression Studio

UPDATE: Microsoft Expression Design is free now

Nineteen months ago I wrote how I felt that Expression Studio is a better design value than the comparable Adobe suite. This price disparity still exists more than a year an a half since I wrote it. On, owners of Photoshop can upgrade to CS4 Web Premium for just $1290. Owners of any Expression product can upgrade to Expression Studio 2 for $330.


In the Spotlight Again

Fresh off the attention I received for my Vine Type website, Microsoft now spotlights ... me.

Community Spotlight Interview


Inner Shadow for Expression Design

Expression Design provides several great graphics effects, but one that is sorely missed by me is inner shadow, or inner glow. They're basically the same except inner shadow would be a black glow, I suppose.

I've been using a simple solution to simulate inner shadow by using two rectangle objects and a blur effect and I demonstrate this effect in the following video tutorial. Click on the photo below to view the tutorial.


Blueprint CSS Template for Expression Design

In preparing for my own design work, I created an Expression Design template for myself based on the Blueprint CSS framework.

There are utilities to customize the Blueprint grid to any number of columns of any width, but I started with the default 24-column grid and created a starting template for my latest project.


Microsoft Spotlights Vine Type

It's been said that nothing breeds success like success. That appears to be the case for me right now. The folks at the Microsoft  Expression Studio website have taken a liking to my Vine Type redesign and are currently featuring it in their Expression Studio Gallery.


Adobe Swatch Exchange Converter

Starting with the CS2 product line, Adobe Systems introduced a cross-program swatch format called Adobe Swatch Exchange format or ASE for short. The purpose of the swatch file format is to allow different programs to use and exchange palettes.

Kuler the online palette app generates ASE palette files as well, but the palette format purely proprietary, and is not published. Nevertheless, with some help from others who did some reverse-engineering of the format and a bit of my own studying of various binary files generated by Kuler and other Adobe apps, I've gained a very good understanding of the ASE file format.


I'd Like to Thank The Academy

Prompted by a blog post by Khoi Vinh, I was introduced to a little site called CommandShift3 that pits website designs against each other. Having recently rebooted the Vine Type site, I thought I'd play along. Fast forward one month.


Expression vs CS3 Pricing

As someone who expressed recent interest in jumping into Flash development, the announcements and **demos at Mix07 have significantly altered my software purchasing outlook.

I cannot and will not comment on whether Silverlight is a Flash Killer but I can provide one data point and reasoning for my interest in Silverlight as well as my corresponding disinterest in Flash.


CSS Specificity for Poker Players

Some folks getting on board with CSS tend to get stuck on CSS specificity. The descriptions of which rules override other rules tend to make more sense to programmers than designers, since programmers are used to the concepts of inheritance and overriding properties.

If you're not from the programming world and CSS seems a bit confusing, perhaps this analogy may help clear some concepts up. Think of CSS rules as poker hands. The best hand determines an element's style.


Grids Are Good

I'm back to the daily grind after that whirlwind weekend known as South by Southwest Interactive.

I'm a little stunned to read Robert Nyman suggesting that perhaps conferences like SXSW have lost their usefulness. I, for one, don't have to look past my own nose for an example of someone who has directly benefited from the two most recent SXSW conferences. Here's proof:


CSS Photo Shuffler

For a while now, I've been looking for a Flash application that would perform the ubiquitous photo slideshow that I see on so many of the sites featured at Godbit ( now defunct).

Then I came across Richard Rutter's CSS Image Fades page last week. Cool, I thought. If I can fade from an image to a background, why stop there? Once a background image is fully visible, I could move it to the image tag, set its opacity to 100 percent, then slide a different image underneath it.


Atom: I Need You

MMmmmmm. Crow for breakfast today.

Despite my proclamation last year that the Atom syndication standard was redundant and irrelevant, Vine Type v1.2 will support three distinct Atom feeds.


IE7 Tips and Traps

With the announcement that IE7 will be pushed to the general public via a high-priority Automatic Update, we need to be even more diligent in ensuring our sites render correctly with the IE7 browser.


application/xhtml+xml Part Deux

My site is serving application/xhtml+xml once again thanks to the fine detective work by Microsoft IIS Tech Support Specialist WenJun.

After over twenty, yes twenty, emails, message board posts, and responses, the problem was determined to be ... my code. I was not handling correctly Request objects that did not contain an AcceptTypes object.


CSS Flyouts

I've made a minor redesign change to my company site, switching it over from hand-coded ASP to Vine Type. Part of why I didn't do this earlier is that I had flyout navigation in place.

Now with the release of Vine Type 0.98, I can use the $_nav_map template variable where my navigation goes, then employed nickrigby-style css flyout technique (with some Eric Meyer thrown in ) to create the flyout menu. As I add pages, the flyout expands automatically.