As versatile as the World Wide Web is, it sure doesn’t support very many graphics formats—only three, in fact. (Aside from Scalable Vector Graphics, or SVG, supported by HTML5, but that’s another story.) Internet browsers support only three bitmap image formats: GIF, JPEG, and PNG. The type you should use depends primarily on the type of image (its content), you are saving.

The following description of each file format contains information sometimes critical to achieving the best possible quality, information such as the file’s properties, and its best uses. But first, here’s a word about compression.

Epson Expression Premium XP-810 Small-in-One Printer Review and RatingsIt’s been almost a year now since we reviewed and raved about Epson’s flagship all-in-one inkjet printer, the Expression Premium XP-800 Small-in-One. It was fast; it had a remarkable feature set for so small a device; and it printed stunning-looking images and business documents. It was, as we noted at the time, a remarkable piece of engineering with just one flaw (albeit, a significant one): It cost too much to use.

Here in October 2013, Epson sent us the XP-800’s replacement to evaluate, the $229-list Expression Premium XP-810 Small-in-One Printer. On the whole, the XP-810 is the XP-800 reheated, with a few cosmetic changes and a $50-lower suggested retail price. However, this new Small-in-One has the same ink-inflation issue as its predecessor, which kept it from winning our Editors’ Choice nod. It uses the same ink cartridges as the XP-800, with the same projected yields. That means it also rings up the same high cost per page (CPP).

Epson Expression Premium XP-810 Small-in-One PrinterThat really is too bad, because otherwise, like the XP-800 before it, we really liked this highly attractive little dynamo. As mentioned, it’s loaded with features, among them an auto-duplexing document feeder (ADF) for scanning, copying, and faxing two-sided documents unassisted, as well as the ability to print labels on appropriately surfaced recordable CD and DVD discs. When it comes right down to it, there’s not much this little all-in-one can’t do—and what it does do, it does well.

Don’t mistake this for a business printer, however, or a model meant for reams of text-document output. Like the XP-800, the XP-810 is above all a photo printer, and like most photo-centric models, its per-page cost of ink is higher than that of many business-oriented AIOs. That said, as we also noted about last year’s model, the cost per page (CPP) is even higher than most other photo printers, too. That issue—the soaring per-page cost of ink—is our only real complaint about this AIO.

But it’s a really big one that, unfortunately, relegates this otherwise impressive piece of hardware to our long list of good “occasional-use” AIOs. In other words, it’s a great printer as long as you don’t print a lot. Compared to several somewhat pricier, higher-volume inkjet AIOs, such as HP’s $399-list OfficeJet Pro 276dw Multifunction Printer, the more you use this machine, the more it will cost you. (We’ll talk more about this model’s CPP in the Setup & Paper Handling section, later on.)

Still, there’s a lot to like about the XP-810: It’s attractive and compact, it prints well (especially photos), and it comes loaded with connectivity options, making it a great match for light-printing small and home offices that need to print often from mobile devices. It works, too, for offices that need immaculate photo and document output, as long as the cost of printing them is not a primary—or even secondary—concern.

Read full review at Computer Shopper.



 

New ed2go Adobe Muse course announced

(Camarillo, CA – March 22, 2013) Journalist, author, and online course instructor William Harrel and eClasses (eClasses.org) have teamed up once again to announce a new online course. This time, the subject of the class will be Adobe’s new WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) Website design app, Muse.

The first session starts on April 1, 2013 and you can sign up or get additional information here: Introduction to Adobe Muse.

Harrel teaches Website design and animation at over 3,000 colleges, universities, and other online outlets, and eClasses is one of the world’s largest and most successful online course publishers.


What is Adobe Muse?

Adobe Muse software enables designers to create HTML websites for desktop and mobile devices, without writing code. Design web-standard sites, like you design print layouts. Use familiar features, hundreds of web fonts, and built-in tools to add interactivity.  Then, publish with the Adobe Business Catalyst® service and redeem site hosting support, or publish with any hosting provider. (Source: Adobe.com)


Course Overview

This new course, which is under development now, will be entitled: Websites without Coding with Adobe Muse, and will consist of six-week sessions (two lessons per week) covering the following material:

Lesson 1: Getting Started with Muse

  • Overview: Designing Websites in Muse
  • Plan Mode — Starting a Website in Muse
  • Design Mode — The Page Design Interface

Lesson 2 : Creating a Basic Site in Muse

  • Mastering Master Pages
  • Working with Boxes
  • Typography: Working with Text

Lesson 3: Using External Content with Muse

  • Using and Formatting Word Processor Text
  • External Graphics and Images
  • Digital Sound, Video, and other Media

Lesson 4: Working with Widgets

  • Creating Compositions
  • Web Forms
  • Making Menus

Lesson 5: More Widgets and Templates

  • Creating Expanding Panels
  • Slick Slideshows
  • Using Templates with Muse

Lesson 6: Using other CS6 Programs with Muse

  • Using Photoshop and Fireworks with Muse
  • Using Photoshop Buttons with Muse
  • Using Edge Animate with Muse

Lesson 7: Interactivity: Triggers and Targets

  • Making Mouse States
  • Interactivity Triggers
  • Page Navigation with Targets

Lesson 8: Creating Sites for Mobile Devices

  • Repurposing Existing Content
  • Formatting Content for Smartphones
  • Formatting Content for Tablets

Lesson 9: Stylizing Type with Typekit and Web Fonts

  • Decorative Type with Typekit
  • 3D Type and other Special Effects
  • Working with Web Fonts

Lesson 10: Advanced Web Design Techniques

  • Accommodating Flexible Browser Widths
  • Embedding Google Maps
  • Embedding HTML Code

 

Lesson 11: Working More Efficiently in Muse

  • Getting the Most from Master Pages
  • Sharing Content between Pages and Sites
  • Sharing Muse Content between Media Types

Lesson 12: Publishing Your Muse Websites

  • Publishing to Adobe Business Catalyst
  • CMS Integration on Adobe Business Catalyst
  • Publishing with FTP

Check back with us for updates and projected course release dates.

Introduction to CSS3Several years ago, cascading style sheets (CSS) revolutionized Web design. CSS freed Web designers from depending on woefully inadequate HTML tables to create highly stylized Web pages. It provided us with the means to format and reformat multiple pages from one single set of styles, thereby liberating us from the tedious task of formatting one page at a time. Enter CSS3, the next generation of Web design. Special effects, animations, transitions, gradients – all the content we’ve traditionally fallen back on graphics and animation software to achieve are now at our fingertips through CSS code. CSS3, the first revision to cascading style sheets since the advent of handheld smartphones and tablets, is here, now, ready for prime time. Don’t miss William Harrel’s Introduction to CSS3 eClasses.org. The first session starts April 16, 2012. See you there!

This is a complete, hands-on class in creating Websites with CSS3. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Syllabus


Week 1 – Introduction to CSS3

  • What are Styles?
  • What are Style Sheets?
  • How do Style Sheets Cascade?
  • Evolution of CSS
  • CSS and HTML
  • CSS—A  Bunch of Rules
  • The Anatomy of a CSS Rule
  • Why CSS3?

Week 2 – CSS3 and HTML5

  • What is HTML5?
  • HTML5 Page Structure
  • HTML5’s Built-In Containers
  • Create an HTML5 Page
  • CSS3 and HTML5 Working Together
  • CSS3 and Earlier Versions of HTML

Week 3 – In Depth CSS

  • Class, Type, ID and Compound Selectors
  • Inline, Internal and External Styles
  • CSS Containers
  • CSS Rules for Adapting to Display Size and Device Type
  • CSS Print Media Formatting

Week 4 – Formatting a Page with CSS3

  • CSS3 Page Sections and Includes
  • Format Boxes with CSS3
  • Format Text with CSS3
  • Format Images and other Media with CSS3

Week 5 – CSS3 Special Effects

  • CSS3 Shadow and other Text Effects
  • CSS3 Box Shadow and other Box Effects
  • CSS3 Color Gradients and Fills
  • CSS3 Menu and Navigation Formatting Effects
  • CSS3 Background Effects
  • Use WebKit, Mozilla and other Browser Extensions with CSS3

Week 6 – CSS3 Animations, Transitions and Transformations

  • Create and Animate Simple 2D Shapes
  • Create Page and Object Transitions
  • Create Object 2D and 3D Transformations
  • WebKit and other Browser Extension Transformations

Week 7 – CSS3 and Mobile Devices

  • CSS3 Formatting Based on Screen Size and Device Type
  • Integrate CSS3 and JavaScript
  • Integrate CSS3 and jQuery
  • Media Quires
  • Viewport
  • Device Orientation

Week 8 – CSS3 Advanced Techniques

  • Fluid, Multicolumn Pages
  • Stylized Links
  • Format Form Fields with CSS3
  • CSS3 Sprites
  • CSS3 Drop-Down Menus

 

Mobile Web Design at eClasses.org

Communications Technology Watch is happy to announce a new course on mobile design at the popular online school eClasses.org. The course covers Web design, but from the perspective of designing for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. We’ll look at creating HTML, CSS and JavaScript for handhelds. Companies, individuals and organizations that ignore the mobile Web user do so at their own peril! Mobile Web users are by far the fastest growing group of Internet users. This course is designed for students who wish to expand access of their company (or client’s) websites to the most modern of Internet users – people who use their mobile phones and tablets to access the Internet. The emphasis is on creating Web content that displays well and plays properly on the vast and ever-growing number of mobile devices available, today and in the future.

The course’s text book will be William Harrel’s newly released Mobile HTML, CSS and Javascript Development for Dummies. This is an 8-week course. Here is the course outline:

Week 1: Introducing the Mobile Web
  • What is the Mobile Web
  • The Mobile Web User
  • HTML on the Mobile Web
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) on the Mobile Web
  • JavaScript on the Mobile Web
  • Software and Utilities
Week 2: In Depth Mobile Technology
  • 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
Week 3: Creating Your First Mobile Site
  • 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
Week 4: Interactivity and Multimedia
  • 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
Week 5: Mobile WebKit Extensions
  • What are WebKit Extensions
  • Device Orientation
  • Artwork with WebKit Extensions
  • Special Effects with WebKit Extensions
  • Animations with WebKit Extensions
  • Other Browser-Specific Extensions
Week 6: Advanced Mobile Web Technologies
  • Introducing Mobile CSS3
  • FormatMobile Page Elements with CSS3
  • Mobile HTML5
  • Highly Useful Mobile HTML5 Tags
  • Automate Your Mobile Sites with JavaScript
  • Server-Side Scripting with PHP
Week 7: Automating Your Site with JavaScript
  • JavaScript Automation Basics
  • Detect Device Type with JavaScript
  • Adapt Page Content with JavaScript
  • Change Style Sheets with JavaScript
  • HTML Form Field Validation with JavaScript
Week 8: Creating a Mobile Quiz
  • 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
Bonus Week:
  • Make Your Mobile Site Search Engine Friendly
  • Createa Mobile Search Page
  • Use Mobile Blog Themes
Prerequisites
Completed ‘Introduction to HTML’ (H101) and ‘Introduction to Cascading Style Sheets’ (H151). Knowledge of computer graphics, digital video, and Flash movies would also be helpful, but by no means required.
Requirements
  • 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.

 

Books:
Required Book: HTML, CSS and JavaScript Mobile Development for Dummies

 

HTML, CSS and JavaScript Development for Dummies at Amazon

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

 

Go to Computer Shopper Review

A great little printer with an excellent cost per page (CPP)

Once again Kodak releases an economical small office printer that offers great print, copy and scan quality and excellent cost per page (CPP) at a terrific price. Read the review of this Editor’s Choice at ComputerShopper.com

Formatting Two Columns with CSS Widget

Two Column Widget

 

 

If you want you pages to appear magazine-like, displaying text in a two column format, you can use this HTML and CSS page to achieve the two-column effect (simply replace the boilerplate text with your own):

The code:

The code for creating a two-column Web page with CSS

Simply change the CSS to modify columns, text, and background color.

Posted by WilliamHarrel.com

Introduction to Flash Course at ed2go

The much anticipated launch of William Harrel’s Introduction to Flash CS5 was announced at over 2500 colleges and universities this last Monday, January 11th, 2011. The wait is finally over.  Hundreds of students have taken Harrel’s tremendously successful Introduction to Adobe Flash CS4 course and they continuously rave about how well -written the course is and how much about the program they learn in six short weeks. “The new CS5 course,” Harrel says, “is even better. While I have taught digital design in several traditional classroom settings, Flash CS4 was my first online course. The CS5 course incorporates what I learned the first time out and the valuable feedback from students.”

Typical Student Review

“I have enjoyed taking this class and learning how to use the Adobe Flash program. I plan to practice the skills I have learned in the Introduction Class, then sign up for the Intermediate Class. I also liked the online learning, so I could access and complete my work when I had time. The lessons were well written, not easy by any means, but thought provoking. I had to really think through the instructions and redo until I got it right. Thank you for the opportunity to learn Flash.”

Find a School Near You

Exciting new CS5 features, such as Code Snippets and TLF Text are covered in the CS5 course. Interested students should check with their school.  To find a school near you offering Introduction to Flash CS5, click here.  To find a school offering Introduction to Adobe Flash CS4, click here.

Intermediate Courses Offered Now

Look for Harrel’s Intermediate Flash CS5 and CS4 were released in Spring, 2011. Here is a short course description:

It’s time to take your Flash design skills to the next level! In this course you’ll learn how to use Movie Clip symbols to create movies inside movies, and how to use ActionScript to control Movie Clips and the objects inside them. Then, we’ll go over how to use external ActionScript class files to draw and animate graphics dynamically. Then, we’ll look into how to load and format external content, such as text and images, on the fly—techniques for keeping your lengthy SWFs lean, mean and responsive. This course is full of ActionScript examples for performing all kinds of animation and special effects. You’ll also learn how to use ActionScript to create Flash applications that make decisions based on user input. The course is not all programming, though; we’ll also get into sophisticated Motion Editor, Bone tool, Spray Brush tool and other animation and special effects techniques.

To find a school near you offering Intermediate Flash CS5, click here. To find a school near you offering Intermediate Flash CS4, click here.

Note: If either of the above links take you to a course catalog, rather than a course description and a school near you, the course has not been published yet. Please check back in a week or so. The CS5 course is slated for mid-Spring.

William Harrel – www.williamharrel.com



 

Beautiful Outsides and Output

Beautiful Outsides and Output

In over 20 years of reviewing hardware, I seldom come across products that are so well constructed, stylishly designed and do what they’re intended to do so well. The Canon MG6120 is a beautiful machine, and prints some of the nicest looking photos I’ve ever seen. You can see my entire review at computershopper.com.