Archive for November, 2011

Lynda Weinman inducted into Women in Technology International Hall of Fame

Published by | Friday, November 4th, 2011
Lynda Weinman inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame

Lynda Weinman is inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame

Lynda Weinman, co-founder of, was honored recently by Women in Technology International (WITI). Lynda was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame during its Women Powering Technology Summit in San Jose.

“She is not only a pioneering woman in technology, and co-creator of a technology-based empire,” said WITI Hall of Fame manager Peggy Kilburn. “She’s a woman of integrity who makes a positive difference in the world. She shares her successes and helps others who are striving and struggling to succeed.”

Watch Lynda’s WITI Hall of Fame talk for insight into her early influences, the creation of the Online Training Library®, and the ways in which technology is re-inventing education.


Creating accessible PDF documents

Published by | Friday, November 4th, 2011

In a May 2010 report, the U.S. Census Bureau disclosed that there are 1.8 million people age 15 and older who can’t see printed words, and 1 million who are unable to hear a conversation.

With discussions about Section 508 compliance heating up and questions about accessibility trickling down, we have an unprecedented need to use today’s technology tools to create truly accessible content. Perhaps you need to know how to create accessible documents or movies for your students, or maybe you do business with an entity that requires accessibility compliance.

We’re planning a course to help you create accessible PDF documents using Adobe Acrobat. We’d like to hear what topics interest you most as you approach accessibility with your PDF documents. Please rate the importance of each topic on our 1-5 scale, with 1 being most important and 5 being least important.
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Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section. Your feedback will help us shape this upcoming course. Thank you!

InDesign Secrets: Easter Egg hunt for hidden features

Published by | Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

It’s just past Halloween, you probably haven’t bought your Thanksgiving turkey yet, and the stores are piping in Jingle Bells already. So what is the appropriate InDesign Secret for this time of year? Easter Eggs, of course. In this week’s free movie, David Blatner shows you some of the hidden little tricks (known affectionately as Easter Eggs) you can treat yourself to with InDesign. These hidden mystery features range from the mostly entertaining to the actually useful, but they’re all guaranteed to distract you from your mundane work and holiday overload.

For full frivolity bordering on total time wasting, David will show you how to visit a friendlier version of the ‘angry alien’ you may know and remember from QuarkXPress, and he’ll reveal how the About InDesign credits window can be transformed into an interactive butterfly landscape, complete with pin-a-butterfly capability.

On a more practical level, David reveals Easter Eggs that allow you to set up some custom stroke styles that actually give you patterns you can use. By creating custom strokes called Feet, Woof, and Lights you can automatically create the effects below by simply applying your chosen custom stroke to a boring standard one:

InDesign Custom strokes Feet, Woof, and Lights

In this case I set the Feet stroke to pink, the Woof stroke to brown, and for the Lights stroke I took inspiration from our resident InDesign FX guru and applied a Satin effect to give the bulbs glowing filaments. I can only imagine what Mike Rankin might be able to cook up with these strokes and his magic suitcase full of effects. If you have ideas, please be sure to share them in the comments section below.

Meanwhile, David’s partner in InDesign Secrecy, Anne-Marie Concepcion, has an exclusive members-only movie in the Online Training Library® this week: Cool GREP styles everyone can do. GREP actually stands for General Regular Expression Parsing, but—don’t be scared off—as Anne-Marie points out, it really means: “Way to use InDesign to make efficient formatting.” No tricks or turkeys here!

See you back here in two weeks with more InDesign Secrets.

• All the InDesign Secrets in the Online Training Library®
• Courses by David Blatner in the Online Training Library®
• Courses by Anne-Marie Concepcion in the Online Training Library®
• Courses on InDesign in the Online Training Library® author Jen Kramer on the latest Joomla! news

Published by | Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

I recently caught up with author Jen Kramer, and she filled me in on what a wild ride Joomla has had this year. Since Joomla! 1.6 Essential Training and Joomla! 1.6: Creating and Editing Custom Templates were released in our library, there has been a lot of great news to report, according to Jen:

First of all, back in February, I discussed Joomla’s new software release cycle. We are still on track with this new software release cycle, with Joomla 1.7 successfully released in July 2011. Even better, the promised ‘one-click’ updates were also available, and most people had no trouble transitioning their Joomla 1.6 sites to Joomla 1.7. That’s a huge win for Joomla, and I’m so pleased it turned out well!

Joomla 1.8, due in January 2012 as a long-term release supported for 18 months, is still on track for release, however, it’s no longer called Joomla 1.8. The new name is Joomla 2.5, with Joomla 3.0 to be released in July 2012.

Here’s the revised table of software releases:

Release Name

Type of Release

Release Date

End of Life

Joomla 1.5 long-term January 2008 April 2012
Joomla 1.6 short-term January 2011 August 2011
Joomla 1.7 short-term July 2011 February 2012
Joomla 2.5 long-term January 2012 At least 18 months
Joomla 3.0 short-term July 2012 February 2013
Joomla 3.1 short-term January 2013 August 2013
Joomla 3.5 long-term July 2013 At least 18 months

Each group of three Joomla releases comprise a release series. Joomla 1.6, 1.7, and 2.5 are one series, while Joomla 3.0, 3.1, and 3.5 will be another series. Each series consists of two short-term releases and one long-term release. Major changes to Joomla, such as a completely new administrator interface or changes to the way extensions are coded, would only be included at the start of a series. This policy was put into effect in the Joomla 1.6 to 1.7 transition.

There are minor differences between Joomla 1.6 and 1.7. For example, Joomla 1.7 has the ability to specify a background image on a custom HTML module, while Joomla 1.6 does not. However, Joomla 1.6 and 1.7 are about 98% similar from a site builder’s perspective. You should be able to follow Joomla! 1.6 Essential Training and Joomla! 1.6: Creating and Editing Custom Templates with very little trouble using Joomla 1.7. The same should also be true for Joomla 2.5.

What about clients who are still running Joomla 1.5? Recently, I wrote an extensive Joomla! Community Magazine™ article describing the Joomla 1.5 to 2.5 transition, including business and technical considerations when planning those migrations. At my company, we are moving some Joomla 1.5 sites to Joomla 1.7 now. For other sites, we’ll move them early next year. We’ve started the process of notifying our clients about the upcoming migrations now, so they can organize their resources for the move. As for new sites, we are building them in Joomla 1.7 wherever possible.

Planning for the Joomla 3.x series began at an in-person planning session on October 21 in New York City. You can watch the video from the Joomla planning sessions as well. Watch for more Joomla videos coming to the Online Training Library® soon!

Sal Khan private lecture and interview at

Published by | Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

This year is the proud season sponsor of UCSB’s Arts & Lectures series, and we were privileged to have one of their lecturers, Salman Khan of Khan Academy, deliver a private lecture at our facility before his public appearance through their program.

Mr. Khan has gained worldwide recognition as a pioneer in video-based education, revolutionizing the way math and a growing range of new subjects are being taught to a worldwide audience. He started recording YouTube videos for his cousins to teach them math, and eventually left his career as a successful analyst at a hedge fund to start a non-profit platform for his videos to be delivered free to the world.

For more information about Sal Khan’s philosophy and where he got his start be sure to check out the Sal Khan TED talk.

Here is a short video clip of parts of our private lecture and interview. Enjoy!

Deke’s Techniques: Creating a miniature model effect in Photoshop

Published by | Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

This week, Deke’s Techniques can make you feel larger than life—primarily by taking a photo of a regulation-sized city street and making it appear as though it were a miniature rendering of itself, complete with tiny cars and people. As you’ll see in this week’s free movie, Deke starts by applying a plastic effect through the strategic use of smart filters (Reduce Noise, Median, and Smart Sharpen), then he creates a faux depth-of-field effect with the Lens Blur filter, and finally he paints everything with Vibrance and Saturation to really play up the toy effect. The result is that the standard street scene you see here…

…turns into this rather delightful toy town:

I was so enchanted with this transformative yet relatively easy-to-apply technique, I decided to see what it looked like on a photo of one of my favorite cities. (Unable, or possibly just too lazy, to search through my own travel photos of Venice, I got this loaner from sara66 of the Fotolia Image Library.)

And with Deke’s technique (which I’ve now affectionately nicknamed ‘The Shrink Ray’) I was able to create this Pocket Venice, complete with authentic looking plastic water and tiny gondolier.

It’s not every day one gets to be a giant in their own mind (in Venice).

See you next Tuesday for more delights from Deke!

• The entire Deke’s Techniques collection
• courses on Photoshop in the Online Training Library®
• courses by Deke McClelland in the Online Training Library®

Three tips for managing your Gmail inbox

Published by | Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Between personal e-mails, work e-mails, mailing lists, offers, and Facebook system alerts, you are probably getting hundreds of e-mails per week. Opening a crowded inbox can an intimidating and stressful experience.

If you use Gmail, you can employ labels, filters, and inbox styles to efficiently manage your messages. Below, author and Gmail maven Susan Cline shares a few tips to help get you started.

Tip 1: Create filters to archive and label mailing list e-mails.

Reading the content of weekly newsletters, special offers, and digest e-mails is helpful, but it can be distracting every time a message from Zappos or Corn Dog Lovers pops into the top of your inbox. Use the Filter feature to create a filter that automatically archives the messages (that is, skips the inbox) and labels them. You can see the number of unread messages in each label by looking at the bold number in parenthesis. During your lunch break or down time you can peruse your mailing list e-mails.

In Gmail Essential Training, Susan demonstrates how to create Gmail archive filters.

Tip 2: Memorize a few keyboard shortcuts.

Clearing out your inbox can be time consuming when you are using the mouse. You select the message, then find the appropriate button on the toolbar to delete, archive, or label the message. Gmail has dozens of keyboard shortcuts to help you quickly navigate, delete, star, and label your messages.

Shortcuts to memorize include:

R – reply

A- reply to all

F – forward

R – archive

L – apply label

# – delete message

You can view all the keyboard shortcuts by holding down Shift+Forward Slash (/) when you are in your Gmail inbox.

In her new course, Gmail for Power Users, Susan shows how to employ Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts to quickly move through your inbox.

Tip 3: Send canned responses for common replies.

Do you find yourself writing the same response over and over? Perhaps you are managing a job hunt and sending e-mail confirmations for resumes that you receive. Perhaps you send your clients your rate sheets and terms via e-mail. Stop wasting time typing, and start using Canned Responses. The Canned Responses lab allows you to create and save default reply messages. Then when you want to respond to a message with a canned response, you just select the message from the Canned Responses drop-down menu.

In Gmail for Power Users, Susan shows how to create and send Canned Responses.

If you want more e-mail managements strategies and you’re a member of the Online Training Library®, Susan devotes a whole chapter to managing your Gmail inbox in Gmail for Power Users. Happy organizing!