The Canon imagePrograf PRO-1000 ($1,299.99) is the first new near-dedicated photo printer we’ve seen from Canon in quite a while, and it was well worth the wait. With support for pages up to 17 by 22 inches, it has graduated from the company’s Pixma Pro printer product family—which brought us three excellent prosumer models: the Pixma PRO-1, the Pixma PRO-10, and the Pixma PRO-100—to its imagePrograf professional plotter line. Machines like these are designed to print exceptionally well, and the PRO-1000 certainly does. It prints well enough, in fact, to earn it an Editors’ Choice award for C-size (17-inch paper width) professional photo printers.
With its Business Smart, Business Smart Plus, and Business Smart Professional Series families of printer, Brother was one of the first printer makers to support wide-format printing in a big way in multifunction inkjets for consumers and small businesses. Whether it’s simply printing the occasional oversize document, or delivering the ability to scan, copy, fax, and print them, a subset of these business-oriented all-in-ones (AIOs) adroitly handle tabloid, or 11×17-inch, pages at prices usually reserved for models that support paper no larger than letter- or legal-size.
The topic of this review, Brother’s $229.99-MSRP MFC-J6520DW, is one of these wide-load-capable models in the Brother line. A Professional Series model, the MFC-J6520DW does it all. It not only supports printing to tabloid-size stock, but because the scanner and the automatic document feeder (ADF) also support 11×17-inch pages, you can also scan, copy, and fax pages that big. (When you fax, of course, the document gets reduced on the receiving end if need be, since most receiving fax machines will be letter- or legal-size only.)
Unlike the other major makers of inkjet printers, which by now have all come out with a wide-format model or two of their own, nearly all of Brother’s business-centric models support tabloid printing. We’ve reviewed several of them, including the MFC-J6520DW’s higher-volume sibling, theMFC-J6920DW, a late-2013 Editors’ Choice recipient that’s still going strong on the market.
Over the past couple of years, though, we’ve seen business-centric wide-format models from both Epson and HP, such as the WorkForce WF-7610 All-in-One and Officejet 7610 Wide Format e-All-in-One, respectively. (Canon’s most recent wide-format inkjet model, the Pixma iX6820, is a very different animal, a single-function photo printer.) However, while these two machines have several features in common with our Brother machine under review, they also differ in some very significant ways.
Both the Epson and HP wide-format models, for example, additionally support a slightly larger page size, the next size up from tabloid at 13×19 inches, also known as “supertabloid” or A3+. (We say “slightly larger,” but the fact is that supertabloid pages contain 60 inches of additional surface area versus tabloid.)
While support for these even larger papers may not matter to everybody, a feature we really like about this Brother multifunction model is its low per-page operational cost—the cost per page, or CPP. As you’ll see in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on, compared to other wide-format printers, this one is relatively inexpensive in terms of ink upkeep, making it an ideal candidate for high-volume print runs of both standard letter-size andtabloid pages.
Unlike the costlier MFC-J6920DW, though, we had a few concerns about this model that left it just shy of a Computer Shopper Editors’ Choice high-five. As we discuss in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on, there are some significant, perhaps obvious, drawbacks to a wide-format printer with only one paper-input tray. In addition, the MFC-J6520DW doesn’t print photos as well as some of the other wide-format models we’ve talked about here so far.
But, then again, reconsider that this printer is part of Brother’s Business Smart Professional Series, as we mentioned earlier. Not all business printing calls for stellar photograph reproduction, and, frankly, this printer’s low CPPs, as we see it, should make stomaching the slightly subpar image rendering easier.
Overall, we liked this printer, but its somewhat limited paper-handling abilities might make it a better pick as a dedicated tabloid printer for light-to-moderate oversize output, as opposed to a general-purpose office machine. In any case, the MFC-J6520DW prints wide-format pages on the relative cheap, and that should be attractive to a wide range of small offices and workgroups.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper
(Camarillo, CA, March 22, 2013) William Harrel and ed2go.com announce Intermediate Flash CS6, the follow-up course to Harrel’s popular Introduction to Flash CS6, launched earlier this year. When completed, a little later this year, the course will be offered at over 2,500 colleges and universities.
If you have a basic understanding of Flash techniques and you’re eager to create more sophisticated and powerful Flash movies and applications, this course will take your Flash skills to the next level.
You’ll start by examining the versatile Movie Clip symbol, using it to create Flash movies—animations and special effects—inside other Flash movies. Then you’ll delve into ActionScript and learn how to turn your simple SWFs into epic Flash masterpieces. For example, you’ll learn how to write a single script that controls hundreds (even thousands) of objects based on user input.
Interactivity that goes beyond simple buttons is crucial to many types of Flash applications. In these lessons, you’ll find out how to use ActionScript to develop interactive courses, surveys, quizzes, and tests, using scripts that make decisions, count and keep track of user choices, and tally up and report the results. In addition, you’ll learn how to compose and use external ActionScript Class files to extend Flash’s capabilities. External ActionScript files allow you to use the same scripts across multiple SWFs, as well as to create SWFs that load and interact with other SWFs—the secret to creating in-depth, multifaceted Flash applications.
While this course is heavy on useful, everyday ActionScript examples, it’s not just about programming. You’ll also try your hand at advanced Flash animation techniques, learning high-end Motion Editor skills for creating artistic transitions and other animated effects. In addition, you’ll discover the secrets for creating intriguing Flash effects with advanced Bone tool features that make your IK bones appear more lifelike and believable, as well as the Deco tool, Spray Brush tool, Layer Masks, Onion Skins, and other techniques for creating professional-grade graphics and animations.
In each lesson, you’ll find practical, hands-on activities that allow you to practice the skills you’re learning. By the time you finish this course, you’ll know more than enough to confidently market yourself as a Flash designer.
|Wednesday – Lesson 01|
|Flash supports many ways to accomplish essentially the same tasks. Depending on your movie’s purpose and overall design, some techniques are much more suited to specific applications than others. In today’s lesson we’ll look at Movie Clip symbols—a powerful and efficient tool for creating rich content. While learning to create Movie Clips, we’ll go over some of Flash’s basic design and interactivity features, just to make sure we all start the course with a similar set of skills. Get ready to dive headlong into Flash’s intermediate-to-advanced movie design techniques.|
|Friday – Lesson 02|
|A design effect that at first looks complicated is the inner pop-up—a pop-up that loads and plays external content within the main movie Timeline. However, as with many techniques in Flash, creating inner pop-ups really isn’t all that difficult, once you know how to do it. While Flash supports many ways to accomplish the inner pop-up effect, an easy and straightforward method is to load and play an external Flash movie in the UILoader component. With UILoader, you can play any Flash SWF movie from your main movie’s Timeline. Designing movies this way helps keep your movies small and reduces download time. It also helps keep your main movie’s Timeline simple and easy to manage.|
|Wednesday – Lesson 03|
|As you tackle more sophisticated Flash movies and applications, the method of laying components out frame-by-frame on the Timeline simply won’t cut it. That’s when it’s time to unleash ActionScript 3.0. In this lesson, that’s exactly what we’ll do as we take on a more complicated project: building an online products and services portfolio that can showcase hundreds of products. You’ll learn to make a project of this magnitude manageable by using ActionScript 3.0 to call objects from the Library dynamically—without physically placing and positioning each one on the Stage. You’ll also learn the power of ActionScript classes and variables. By the end of the lesson, you’ll know how to write a single event handler that can call hundreds, even thousands, of external movies to the Stage.|
|Friday – Lesson 04|
|In today’s lesson, you’ll learn to use one of the most important tools in complex application design, the external ActionScript file. External ActionScript files not only help keep Flash files small and manageable, but they also expand your design options and can even increase your overall productivity. In this lesson, you’ll learn to write an external ActionScript class file that, when loaded into a Flash movie, will define a new class object. Then you’ll use the new class object to turn the user’s mouse cursor into an interactive paint brush.|
|Wednesday – Lesson 05|
|This lesson takes a straightforward procedure—loading an external image—and turns it into a multifunction chain of events. The simple event handler that loads an external file triggers other events that not only format and apply special effects to the new content, but also manipulate other objects on the Stage. First, you’ll learn how to format external text files with HTML tags and load the text into Flash. Then, you’ll start creating the cascade of events, which includes: using the List component to trigger a function that loads image files; which in turn passes the new content to another function that applies a tween to the images as they display; then the chain continues with simple, powerful If Conditionals that play Movie Clips—all based on the original data passed by the first event in the chain. To make all this possible, you’ll use AS3’s indispensable trace(); statement to find out what data your functions and statements are passing among themselves.|
|Friday – Lesson 06|
|When it comes to animation, the Motion Editor is one of Flash’s most useful features. It allows you to apply multiple transformations and effects all in the same tween. In this lesson, we’ll look closely at the Motion Editor, at all its various options and how they work. Next we’ll combine several objects containing Motion Tweens to create a sophisticated transition effect and subsequent animation sequence. Then we’ll use Flash’s built-in Timer to control when our animation sequences play on the Timeline. The resulting movie will be a rotating, never-ending banner similar to those you see on many of today’s more popular Web sites.|
|Wednesday – Lesson 07|
|This lesson explores some advanced Bone tool techniques. The Bone tool uses an animation technology known as inverse kinematics (IK), which simulates the movement of animate objects, such as people and animals with skeletal structures. IK is also used in the science of robotics. This lesson assumes some basic experience with IK chains and builds on that experience, teaching you how to modify IK chains to make their movements appear more realistic. We also look at making IK chains interactive, so that your users can manipulate them at runtime. Then, we go animating IK chains with ActionScript. The lesson ends with a short demonstration on using Movie Clip symbols with the Spray Brush tool to create special effects, such as twinkling stars or rotating planets.|
|Friday – Lesson 08|
|Flash is by far not just an animation program. Many application developers use it to create sophisticated programs that do all sorts of things, such as building online courses, creating shopping carts for online stores, and just about everything else you can think of. In this lesson, we create a self-scoring quiz, or test, where users answer a series of questions and are then given their scores at the end of the test. To accomplish this, we’ll revisit the oh-so-powerful external class file, taking the technique further by creating multiple class files that reference one another to make decisions. You’ll learn to use several common and highly useful programming concepts, such as Arrays, Sprites, ints,for loops, Boolean operators, radio button groups, and several others. After completing this lesson, you’ll have a basic understanding of creating applications with Flash, as well as an all new understanding of the power of ActionScript.|
|Wednesday – Lesson 09|
|Flash designers typically enjoy creating content in Flash Professional’s visually-oriented authoring environment. Many designers do not, however, care for coding, or writing the necessary ActionScript to create interaction. New to the Adobe CS6 suite of applications, Edge Animate allows you to create simple, interactive animated interfaces without coding. You design the interaction and animations visually, and Catalyst writes the code for you. This lesson introduces you to Edge Animate. We start with an Illustrator artboard, import it into Edge Animate, and design a Web interface from the Illustrator content—a completely visual and automated procedure devoid of manual coding. Since Edge Animate creates projects compatible with the HTML5 environment, your animations will be more compatible with mobile devices.|
|Friday – Lesson 10|
|Many Flash applications, such as games and quizzes, call for advanced user interactivity—providing the user with control of various objects on the Stage. Some movies, for example, call for allowing the user to drag and drop objects, or move them from one spot to another. Other applications call for allowing the user to rotate, resize, and recolor objects. All of this interaction is accomplished with ActionScript. In this lesson, you’ll learn to write scripts that turn control over important functions to the user. First, I’ll show you a simple set of scripts that allows the user to drag and drop an object on the Stage. Then we’ll look at creating sets of buttons that allow users to rotate and resize objects. After that we’ll look into allowing users to change not only the color of objects on the Stage, but also the Stage itself—all with the use of a handy little component known as the Color Picker.|
|Wednesday – Lesson 11|
|In this lesson, we look at a few of Flash’s lesser-known, but highly useful features. First, you’ll learn how to create layer masks for producing display effects from objects you draw with Flash’s drawing tools. Then, I’ll show you how to build an image list—a list consisting of images—with the TileList component. Finally, the lesson ends with an in-depth look at Flash’s metaphorical equivalent to the days (not all that long ago) when animations were created one drawing at a time on translucent sheets of paper, stacked one on top of the other—a process known as onion skinning. Flash’s Onion Skin feature can help you significantly when developing simple frame-by-frame animations.|
|Friday – Lesson 12|
|A relatively new addition to the Flash platform, Adobe AIR allows you to create stand-alone desktop applications with Flash Professional—fully functional applications that access and utilize system resources, such as the clipboard, system menus, Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons, print functions, and many others. AIR applications are platform-neutral, meaning that you or your users can install them on any Windows, Mac OS, or Linux computer. Any existing Flash movie can be published as an AIR application. In this lesson, you learn how to create system-level functionality (unavailable in Flash documents destined for Flash Player), and how to publish and install AIR applications—yet one more way you can utilize and capitalize on your Flash skills.|
Flash has grown beyond its best known application, Web pages. Nowadays, Flash movies appear everywhere—the Internet, mobile devices, the cinema, TV shows and commercials, computer games. Using Flash, you can create a wide variety of file formats, including apps (iOS and Android), HTML5, and video that work on virtually any device.
In this course, you’ll learn how to create animation, interactive movies, and mobile apps in Flash CS6 and develop several full-blown Flash applications. We’ll start by reviewing the Flash workspace, creating text and graphics, and animating objects on the Flash stage. Then, we’ll look in detail at the anatomy of a Flash movie—how to use the Flash timeline, layers and frames to control objects, and timing on the stage.
While creating your first Flash movie, you’ll learn how to format and embed external digital media and how to make them appear or play at specific times. We’ll also look at controlling digital media based on specific events, such as end user mouse clicks.
No course on Flash is complete without an introduction to ActionScript, Flash’s powerful programming language. We’ll get our hands dirty, creating interactive buttons with ActionScript 3.0. You’ll also learn to write scripts that control movie flow, and scripts that call to and load external videos, Web pages, and other Flash movie files.
As we create our movie, we’ll go over creating and animating 3-D objects, syncing sounds with animations, and publishing your Flash movies to the Internet and to mobile apps. By the end of the course, you’ll understand the fundamentals of Flash and be ready to master more advanced Flash topics.
We are happy to announce the latest installment of William Harrel’s popular Flash Professional courses at ed2go.com, scheduled to start sessions in early 2013.
Take your graphics skills to a whole new level by adding Flash to your designer toolkit! In this course, you’ll learn how to create animated, interactive movies and mobile device apps in Adobe Flash CS6.
These days, Flash movies and apps are everywhere—including the Internet, films, TV shows and commercials, mobile device apps, and computer games. The skills you’ll learn in this course will get you started on your way to a lucrative career designing animated graphics, mobile apps and special effects for one of these fun and exciting fields.
During this course, you’ll create a full-blown Flash application, complete with animated text and graphics and interactive buttons. You’ll start by exploring the Flash workspace, creating text and graphics, and animating objects on the Flash movie stage. Next, you’ll look in detail at the anatomy of a Flash movie—how to use the Flash timeline, layers, and frames to control objects and timing on the stage.
While you can create an entire movie or app in Flash, most often you’ll need to import graphics, sounds, and digital videos from other applications. While creating your first Flash movie, you’ll learn how to format and embed external digital media and how to make them appear or play at specific times. You’ll also learn how to control digital media based on specific events, such as end user mouse clicks.
Because no course on Flash is complete without an introduction to ActionScript, Flash’s powerful programming language, you’ll create interactive buttons with ActionScript 3.0. You’ll also learn to write scripts that control movie flow and scripts that call to and load external videos, Web pages, and other Flash movie files.
As you create your movie, you’ll find out how to design and animate 3-D objects, sync sounds with animations, and publish your Flash movies to the Internet and mobile apps. By the end of the course, you’ll know how to create and publish Flash movies and applications, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Flash designer.
- What is the Mobile Web
- The Mobile Web User
- HTML on the Mobile Web
- Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) on the Mobile Web
- Software and Utilities
- Types of Mobile Devices
- Mobile Device Operating Systems
- Mobile Web Browsers
- Which Devices can do what
- Define Devices by Class
- Mobile Detect and Adapt Systems
- Your First Mobile Web Page
- Mobile HTML Page Structure
- Mobile-Friendly and Mobile Specific CSS
- CreateMobile Web Page Elements with CSS
- Design Mobile Web Templates
- Create Mobile Web Buttons and Hyperlinks
- Create and Format Graphics for the Mobile Web
- Create and Format Digital Video for the Mobile Web
- Create and Format Flash Movies for the Mobile Web
- What are WebKit Extensions
- Device Orientation
- Artwork with WebKit Extensions
- Special Effects with WebKit Extensions
- Animations with WebKit Extensions
- Other Browser-Specific Extensions
- Introducing Mobile CSS3
- FormatMobile Page Elements with CSS3
- Mobile HTML5
- Highly Useful Mobile HTML5 Tags
- Server-Side Scripting with PHP
- The User Interface
- Store and Retrieve Data in Radio Buttons
- Store and Retrieve Data in Check Boxes
- Format Your Quiz with CSS
- Script the Form
- Make Your Mobile Site Search Engine Friendly
- Createa Mobile Search Page
- Use Mobile Blog Themes
- Software: Aside from a text editor, such as Windows Notepad or Mac OS TextEdit, there are no required software applications to complete this course; however, you’ll find the following software useful:
- Dreamweaver CS4 or later: You can download the latest trial version from adobe.com, but if you do, since the trial version is good for only 30 days, do not install it until the third week of the course.
- XAMPPWeb server software. XAMPP is a free Linux Web server emulator you can use to test your Web pages. You can download it from: http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html . It comes in both Windows and Mac OS versions.
- FTP client software: File Transfer Protocol, or FTP, software allows you to upload your Web page files to a Web server. You can perform this function with built-in Windows or Mac utilities, but will find this much easier with an FTP utility. You can download FileZilla for free at: http://filezilla-project.org/ . It comes in both Windows and Mac versions.
- Webspace: You’ll need a website to which you can upload your assignments. There are several free Web hosting sites available. However, many of them place ads on your pages. This can be very annoying, but if you can live with it, so can I.
It only takes a quick glance to know: Here in late 2011, most new tablets are built for consumers. Only a few current ones, such as the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook andFujitsu Stylistic Q550 Slate, have been designed specifically for business. The PlayBook might be a little too tied-down for your tastes, in that it doesn’t offer its own e-mail client and must be tethered to a BlackBerry smartphone to get the most out of it. Windows-based slates like the Stylistic Q550, meanwhile, give you easy access to your business documents—but Windows isn’t ideal for touch input. (Also, Microsoft doesn’t yet offer an infrastructure for downloading free or inexpensive apps, like you have with Apple iPad or Android tablets.) These two tablets are pretty accurate representatives of the state of business slates today, so it’s clear that getting the best of both worlds (a consumer-like tablet experience, with all the versatility and security you need for business) hasn’t been possible—until now. Built around a 10.1-inch screen, Lenovo’s new ThinkPad Tablet has all the accoutrements you would expect in a device that bears the ThinkPad name. What sets it apart, though: It lets you keep your access to apps and features as open as your company will allow…. Read more at Computer Shopper.
I’ve looked at a bunch of tablets lately. This one stands out. It’s small, light, and thin. Easy to hold and use, just overall gorgeous. Samsung left off some convenience features, and that’s disappointing. But overall, I’d rather carry this one around than several others I’ve reviewed. See the review at Computer Shopper.
If, nearly 20 years ago, when I first started designing Web sites, you’d have told me I’d be writing a book about designing World Wide Web pages for cell phones, I’d have told you to lay off the crack. In those days, cell phones did nothing other than make and receive calls. (Besides, very few people could afford them.) The Internet, which most of us accessed through dial-up modems over inadequate copper phone lines, was a slow and temperamental Never-never land. I, like everybody else writing about information technology (we didn’t call it that then), was still amazed when my mobile calls connected.
But here we are sliding through 2011 with a round of mobile devices that can handle the Internet nearly as well as full-blown computers. Mobile Web surfers have become a force to contend with. It’s time for Web designers and the companies they work for to make their Websites mobile-device friendly. In this new Dummies book, available at Amazon now, I’ll show you how to do that.
William Harrel – www.williamharrel.com
This tutorial shows you how to fade several objects onto the Flash stage at once. You can use this technique in all versions of Flash, except that in versions of Flash prior to CS3, Classic Tweens are called Motion Tweens. The following video was done in CS4, but, again, the only difference between Flash versions is the change of tween names.
The following steps fade several objects onto the Stage at the same time. These instructions assume that all the objects you are animating are currently on the same layer. If you already have your symbols on separate layers, skip the steps for distributing the symbols to layers. For this procedure to work, all objects you animate must be symbols.
- SHIFT + click all the objects you want to animate.
- Right-click one of the selected objects and choose Distribute to Layers.
- Clear the frames on the new layers. Flash will insert new keyframes in the frame directly behind the last cleared frame on each layer.
- In the top layer of the group of layers you want to animate, click the animation end-point frame to select it, and then, on the bottom layer of the group of layers, SHIFT + click the animation end-point frame. This selects all the frames in the animations’ end-point columns.
- Right-click the selection and choose Insert Keyframe from the pop-up menu.
- Click the animation start-point keyframe on the top layer of the group to select it, and then click the Pasteboard to deselect the symbol. (Deselecting the symbol here is necessary because, while Flash does select the symbol when you click the frame, the selection is not in the correct state to apply an Alpha affect. The purpose for clicking the start-point frame was to get us back to that frame.)
- SHIFT + click each of the symbols you want to animate to select them.
- In the Symbol Properties panel, under Color Effect, click the Style drop-down and choose Alpha.
- Set the Alpha percentage to 0.
- Click the end-point keyframe on the bottom layer to select it, and then SHIFT + click start-point keyframe on the top layer to select all the frames on all the layers you want to animate.
- Right-click the selection and choose Create Classic Tween from the pop-up menu.
Intricate stuff, huh? Your objects should now fade onto the Stage. I probably don’t need to point out here the necessity for precision. But I’ll do so anyway. It’s important that you follow these steps exactly. I suggest you watch the above video.
William Harrel – www.williamharrel.com