Xara: new tutorials

From the Xaraxone November News:

The recent release of Adobe Illustrator CS2 introduced a new feature that has created waves of hype and interest. The feature in question is the Live Trace, which can be used to convert bitmaps and other raster images into vector shape compilations. Many Xara users may realize that this sounds remarkably similar to the Bitmap Tracer that Xara has offered for the last decade. Xhris provides a useful comparison between the different methods in this month’s Guest Tutorial.

The guest tutorial is well worth reading; and Gary Priester’s November Tutorial is particularly detailed, to help new users become familiar with Xara. It also shows off the new Xara Live Effects.

The visual editor – TinyMCE

I found myself agreeing with this post: Visual Editing still needs work.

It really now begs the question as to whether TinyMCE is the right choice for a rich text editor. How on earth are they gonna fix this mess? It would probably take a lot of collaboration with the TinyMCE team – lots of time and work. Just wondering when is the right point to cut your losses …

I can only assume the WP team have looked into the other options out there.
FCKEditor seems to be almost overkill, for my personal taste; I have to say I like the look of XStandard – maybe I’ll find the time to give it a test run.

Akismet was updated

I noticed that during the subversion updating at one of my WP blogs, new files (called “external”) were fetched for akismet. When checking my Plugins section, I found I had two akismets: one version 1.03 and the new version 1.11. I had to deactivate the old and activate the new.

Not a big deal. Just wondering whether in future they might make it so clever that it automatically supplants the old version. However, since there is the tiny issue of plugin activation involved … hmmm, just thinking out loud here: Maybe it would pay in future, when updating via svn, to first deactivate akismet. Make sense?

WordPress 2

Even before 1.6 is out of alpha, already a version 2 (!) is popping its precocious head over the parapet.
All this while I take a weekend out to do some serious house-hunting … typical!

One enterprising blogger has set up a site running WP 2.0 and reporting on it. And I’m proud to see a Kiwi site, nixit.co.nz, playing along with the latest release.

Various issues (read: bugs) are being discussed on the forum, and there’s a plugin compat list.

The only blog to make it clear, however, that WP2 is in fact the ‘upgraded’ version number of WP 1.6 (which I’ve been running for a long time now) … is Lunacy Unleashed.

WordPress is growing so quickly … it does scare me a bit.

RedAlt: new Support Forums

Asymptomatic Owen has set up a freshly-scrubbed and shiny support site for all his (many) WP plugins and resources.

There’s a lot of spiffy functionality there, making registering and using the site a real pleasure.
I have already posted there, regarding the adhesive (or Sticky) plugin – without which I’m truly hobbled.
I need it very much for a community web site I’m working on (nznaturaldog.org.nz), and I’m hoping that Owen will find the time to make it compatible with WP 1.6.

Better Browsing with Shortcuts: CTRL+E for Google Search

I’m a big fan of shortcuts. Sometimes you discover one by accident. OK, I could read through the Mozilla Help file and try and memorize a whole batch of them … but does anybody do that?

I stumbled across CTRL+E by accident. In Firefox, if you press this combination (or CTRL+K), your cursor focus shifts to the Search box at the top, next to the address bar (Google in my case). If text is in there, it is highlighted – so you’re ready to type in your query.
Because I discovered this accidentally, and was so delighted, I’m much more likely to remember it now. 🙂

And as to another very useful (indispensable) shortcut: CTRL+W will close your current tab.
It must be easily 100 times a day I use that one.

PhotoPress has a new Home

One of my all-time favourite plugins now has a new home: Photopress at familypress-dot-net.
And a new version (0.72) is out too!

I think it works best when you have a smaller archive of photos to manage – for instance, the odd picture to include in a post. I wouldn’t use it – yet – for running a full-fledged photo gallery. But I can see how, with further development, it might well become an all-round solution. Let’s hope so.
Meantime, for any bigger gallery jobs where efficient handling of large numbers of photos is required, I use Plogger.