Create Amazing Sliders For Your WordPress Site With SlideDeck

http://www.cultofmac.com/224085/create-amazing-sliders-for-your-wordpress-site-with-slidedeck-2-deals/

iPhone The Missing Manual

This book is an owners manual with a get out of jail free card
that will help the reader navigate the complexities of syncing, Siri, iCloud,
Facetime, or just the simple setup steps of a new owner.
David’s unique writing style has made this a humorous and intuitive guide to
one of the world’s most addictive and popular computers.

RapidWeaver 5.2.2 review

Title: RapidWeaver software version 5.2.2

By Linda McNeil
Company/Producer’s name: Realmac Software
Online address: http://www.realmacsoftware.com/
Technical support #(for software): http://www.realmacsoftware.com/support

Subject(s): website development,
Interest Level: x_Business x_all ages _x_anyone interested___
Price: $ 79.00
Copyright: 2011 (new version 5.3.1 coming out for better integration with Mt Lion)
Hardware requirements: Requires Mac OS X 10.5+ (compliant with Mt Lion)

Description of program or book:
RapidWeaver is a website development application for the MAC. The program provides you with all of the tools you need to quickly and efficiently publish websites without learning any code or html. However, customization is possible for those who want to add variations with the addition of plug-ins, CSS, and other advanced tools.
The RapidWeaver 5 program comes with more than 40+ great designs and themes (more available for various prices online). The themes include a wide variety of page types (all of which link nicely with your iPhoto library) that can be incorporated into the website. The program very efficiently organizes and categories your pages with a sitemap so that publishing online is very simplistic. There is built in support for FTP & SFTP uploading of sites.

Strengths:
1. RapidWeaver focuses on simplicity over flexibility. You get all of the tools needed to create a wide variety of page formats including blogs, photo galleries, videos, slideshows, podcasts, etc.
2. RapidWeaver has posted a wide variety of online video tutorials for getting up to scratch. I found the best tutorial was done by Screencasts online. However, these tutorials also created a weakness in that there were not enough of them available unless you spent more money.
3. The ability to work in different modes (edit and preview) made the interface easy to navigate.
4. Publishing a site was very simplistic and easy. (See comments)
5. Drag and drop functionality is definitely a plus.
6. Automatic navigation with broken links a thing of the past.
7. Indefinitely expandable- third party plugins are numerous.

Weakness & Limitations:
1. RapidWeaver’s focus on simplicity over flexibility was a drawback to anyone who didn’t know html or CSS because you had to go with the canned themes.
2. Themes packaged with the program were basically similar. For anyone who wanted something different the themes must be purchased from outside sources, many of which were suggested to readers.
3. Manual could be more user friendly
4. Sometimes I was unable to find an undo feature and ended trashing/starting over.
5. Hard to find work around when I wanted to modify a design to meet my
needs.

Comments:
I had all of my content available when I started to review this application for our usergroup. I spent a few hours viewing the tutorials and the user manual. For the most part I gathered a general understanding of the application’s intricacies with the available free materials. I would have really liked having access to the paid tutorials in hopes that the questions still remaining would be answered.
I also spent more time than I wanted perusing an appropriate design theme. I liked parts of one and different parts of others. Finally I settled down and created a site for my content.
When I went to upload it to my host site which allows subdomains, the trouble started. I spent many hours troubleshooting the potential problem. I even brought it to a usergroup meeting for others to see what wasn’t correct. Finally I gave up and switched themes but not content for the site. Uploading with the new theme went through very easily. I concluded that the previous theme had bugs in it. Immediately after that I created another simple site with RapidWeaver5 and uploaded it without any problems.
New users who need a website setup quickly will find this a good WYSIWYG application that allows drag and dropping within the navigation sidebar.
Even though I had some trouble with a buggy template, I was pleased by how easily it created an uncluttered website (www.lindamcneil.com) with one click publishing. Personally I would have preferred more clearly defined ways to mold the themes to my needs. However, I do appreciate the lower learning curve with RapidWeaver5 than Dreamweaver who constantly changes their user interface arrangement.

Ratings:

*Excellent

good

*Average

Weak/Acceptable *Poor
Ease of installation:

*
Format or size of book:      NA
Ease of use:(reading)

*.5
Documentation:

*.5
Product support:

*.5
Packaging:                        NA
Index:
Graphics:

Sound:

QuickTime usage:

Color:

Overall rating:

Appropriate for: _x__Business _x__Education _x__Personal

Adobe Photoshop CS One-on-One (CD-ROM included)

“Adobe Photoshop CS One-on-One (CD-ROM included)” by McClelland, Deke
Reviewed by
Linda McNeil
11/07

Adobe Photoshop CS One-on-One
By McClelland, Deke
Published by Deke Press/O’Reilley

Subject(s): Photoshop CS3 for graphic artists, designers, and photographers

Interest Level: X_Business _all ages X_adult _X college _X_anyone interested___
Price: $ 49.95
Copyright: 2007
Hardware requirements:
Compatible with any machine that will work with Photoshop CS3 (cross platform). Several exercises can be accomplished using older versions of CS. However, many projects can only be done utilizing PS CS3. (Adobe Photoshop CS3 Software, 512MB of RAM, 2 GB of free hard disk space (1 GB for Photoshop and 470MB for the One-on-One Project and video application files), remaining 630MB for PS scratch disk, Color monitor with 16-bit color video card, 1,024 by 768-pixel monitor resolution, CD-ROM drive, Apple’s QuickTime Player Software version 7.0 or higher, PLUS you must install all sample files, total training video training software, One-on-One Photoshop preference settings, color settings and keyboard shortcuts.)

Description of book:
Deke created this book for both amateur and professional graphic artists, designers, and photographers. It is another in a series of books that provide step-by- step lessons accompanied by beautiful full colored lessons combined with video lessons and data files. The author’s approach is a “hands on – a step-by-step process” that allows the reader to proceed at their own pace and establish their own sequence of lessons to personalize the instruction.

The book’s content is divided into 12 lessons that include several (up to 3 – 7) step-by-step exercises to explain the techniques. Explanations, data files, and video lessons support these real world project based exercises.

The book is highly visual, colorful, informative, easy on the eye providing nicely laid out pages on heavy clay based paper, and a comprehensive index to support the text.
The content is as follows:
Lesson 1: Open and Organize. File management and navigation
Lesson 2: Highlights, Midtones, and Shadows
Lesson 3: Color balance corrections
Lesson 4: Managing selection tools
Lesson 5: Crop, straighten, size
Lesson 6: Paint, Edit, Heal
Lesson 7: Creating and applying masks
Lesson 8: Focus and filters
Lesson 9: Building layered compositions
Lesson 10: Text and Shape layers
Lesson 11: Styles and specialty layers
Lesson 12: Printing and Output

Strengths:
The lessons are highly structured. Deke presents the key concepts needed for each lesson in the video tutorial. The advanced user is not left out because the lesson is structured so that the advanced procedures or extra techniques are placed at the end of the basic technique sequences. These segments are called “extra credit.”

In addition, the author helps the reader to check their grasp of the concepts presented in the chapter by providing an end-of- the-lesson quiz. The author presents the information in such a way that the reader will understand what to do, how to do it, and why it is done.

Weakness & Limitations:
Another potential weakness was the fact that the book does not cover all of the techniques needed to effectively handle Photoshop CS. The author has planned ahead and listed up front the techniques not included. He then states that there will be another book in this series to cover those techniques.

The only weakness I found was the index (same as the earlier books also). Although it is very comprehensive, it is visually boring. All the letters were the same. I have become use to having key topics or techniques bolded or highlighted to bring attention to major concepts.

Comments:
After reading many easy-to-understand chapters and looking at the informative CD-ROM, I felt that my personal skills had definitely been improved substantially. At the beginning of each book-based exercise, it was very helpful to play the accompanying video lesson and learn about the key concepts involved. I love the “Read, Watch, Do” sequence for learning. Lastly, the wonders of the digital age have provided us with the possibilities of a virtual classroom in which anyone can invite an expert in the field to tutor them one-on-one. I would like to say that Deke McClelland has created a comprehensive training experience into which you can submerge yourself for hours at a time. In process of reading this book you’ll get a good dose of graphics theory, best practices, and tips for avoiding Photoshop disasters.

Parallels 7 Review

Windows logo

Review of Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac by Robert Axelrod, 12/1/11.

If you want to run Microsoft Windows applications and have an Intel Mac running Mac OSX 10.7 Lion, Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac is a great bargain since buying a separate Windows machine isn’t necessary.

Parallel Desktop 7 for the Mac is software that installs on your Mac and allows you to run operating systems such as MS Windows, Linux, Google Chrome, MacOS X Server, etc. After Parallels 7 is installed, you install the operating system that you own; I installed XP. A path is provided for buying Windows during or after installing the Parallels Desktop if you don’t own a copy. Finally, you install your Windows applications. Since I can’t run my PowerPC version of MS Office for Mac after upgrading to Lion, Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac came in very handy to access my Word and Excel files. Parallels also provides a way to migrate your PC files into you new Windows running on your Mac.

Once you’re up and running, you can run Windows and Mac applications side-by-side, cut and paste or drag and drop between them, share resources like printers, play Windows games, etc.

Requirements for running Parallels 7 and Windows applications are common on typical recent Intel Macs. These include Intel Core 2 Duo process or better, at least 2GB of RAM (4GB for Windows 7 is recommended), a minimum of 700MB of free HD space for installing Parallels, 15GB for installing  Windows and running Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.8 or Lion 10.7 or later.

I have no special computer skills as a Mac hobbyist, so I think most anyone can do the installation. It took me thirty minutes to install Parallels 7 and about two hours to install Windows XP since I downloaded all the Windows upgrades/security patches that accumulated since using my older Parallels 5. I didn’t experience any glitches during the whole process and I had no need to contact Parallels support since the booklet provided and on screen instructions were clear and accurate.

I’d rate Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac five MacBUS pretzels!

Quark XPress

QuarkXPress
Reviewed by
Bill Schwartz
7/06

Company/Producer’s name: Quark
Address: Cheyenne, Wyoming 82003
Phone #: 800 676 4575
Online address: www.Quark.com
Subject(s): Page layout program

Interest Level: _x Business _all ages x_adult _college _High sch.
Price: $ 699.00
Copyright: 2006
Hardware on which prograsm tested: Macintosh G-4 dual 1.4 , 1.5 gig ram

Description of program or book:
QuarkXPress is a page layout program for both Mac OSX and Windows. It has been in existence since 1981. In Spring 2006 Quark released version 7.0 of it’s software with over 160 new features. In version 7.0 the program adds support for OpenType, Unicode, and PDF/X. It also provides native transparency at the color level. Also, the composition zones or job definition format feature makes it the only desktop layout application with multi-user potential. It is expected that there will be a universal binary version released this Summer for Intel based macs.

Strengths:
This program is a very dynamic and intuitive program to use for designing everything from a simple brochure to magazines and newspapers. The size of the project can be easily controled by the easy to use displays and menus. As a new user to Quark, I found myself appreciating the layout and design of the program. The enhanced measurement palette also provides design functionality making the tools readily accessible. I also appreciated the synchronizing of text and pictures throughout a project so that I didn’t have to constantly check for changes in spelling or graphic changes. I really appreciated the fact that QuarkXPress integrates with native Adobe Photoshop images and the implementation of drop shadows.

Weakness & Limitations:
As a small business owner the new features that target workgroups and collaboration do not apply to my situation. I found that the main deterent was time that was needed to come up to scratch. For the most part I found it very intuitive but at times I relied upon the help index.

Comments:
As a new user of QuarkXPress I found it to be very user friendly. However, I am also sure that experienced users will appreciate the 160 new features and the restructuring of the interface that I read about in the brochures. It won the MacWorld Editor’s Choice Award this year as a practical design application second to none. The ability to add drop shadows to images will come in quite handy in my work when I design layouts.

I enjoyed learning and investigating this application. I can see that it has a lot of potential for both simple projects as well as quite detailed books and magazines.

Ratings:

*Excellent

good

*average

weak/acceptable *poor
Ease of installation:

Format or size of book:

*
Ease of use:(reading)

Documentation:

Product support: n/a
Packaging:

Index:

Graphics:
*
Color:

Overall rating:

1/2
Appropriate for: __x_ Business __x_Education __x_Personal

Reviewer:
Bill Schwartz is an enthusiastic mac user who works mostly with video and graphics software. Bill is a member of several mac user groups in the Philadelphia area.