990809.html | WebReference


(((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) AUGUST 9, 1999


This newsletter is sponsored by Keynote, WROX Conferences, and UKIBI __________________________________________________________________

Now with over 75200 subscribers

http://www.webreference.com http://www.webreference.com/new/ New this week on WebReference.com and the Web:

1. SOFTWARE REVIEW: Photoshop 5.5 2. SOFTWARE REVIEW: Fireworks 2 vs. ImageReady 2 3. MOTHER OF PERL: Monitoring Internet Services with Moniker 4. 3D ANIMATION WORKSHOP: A Challenging Model 5. NEW LINKS: Search Resources 6. INTERVIEW: Adobe's Doug Meisner and Karen Gauthier ImageReady/Photoshop Program Managers 7. OTHER VOICES: * Dr. Website Makes Perl Jam - webdeveloper.com * There's Gold in Them There Log Files! - wdvl.com * Web Server Review - vqServer - serverwatch.com 8. NET NEWS: * Why Microsoft Hates AOL * Drugs.com goes for $823,456 * Who's behind that dot-com? * Online Postage Battle Heating Up * NBC Answers Net2Phone's Call * Will Hackers Exploit Y2K Confusion? * Linux Products Flood In * RealNetworks Turns Up Volume on RealJukebox * Domain Registration Test Phase Extended

Looks like we let an old Webmonkey Fireworks 1 vs. ImageReady 1 review slip through last week. Consider it required reading. We'll make up for it this week with extensive coverage of Adobe's new offerings, including reviews and an interview with the product managers of ImageReady 2 and Photoshop 5.5. See our own comparison of FW1 vs. IR1 see:


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****************************************************** ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. SOFTWARE REVIEW: Photoshop 5.5

Adobe has webified Photoshop 5.5 with a host of useful Web-oriented features and improved GIF/JPEG/PNG optimization. We explore what's new in Photoshop 5.5, and delve deeper into the case of the "Lossy GIF." By Andy King.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. SOFTWARE REVIEW: Fireworks 2 vs. ImageReady 2

We compare these two graphics animation powerhouses using our trusty animated guinea penguin. Adobe has leap-frogged the competition with its new "Lossy GIF" feature that gives dramatic reductions in file size with little or no loss of image quality. By Andy King.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. MOTHER OF PERL: Monitoring Internet Services with Moniker

Aggravated because your Web server has decided to take a break? Upset because your mail server forgot to work? Let Mother of Perl help. In this issue, we develop Moniker, a monitoring program that don't take no lip. Just give Moniker your server's name and address, and it'll watch 'em closer than butter on a hot biscuit.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 4. 3D ANIMATION WORKSHOP: A Challenging Model

A one and a two, and a one and a two... Practice makes perfect when it comes to a really difficult modeling project like making a photorealistic violin. It requires both strategy and instinct. This column shows how these are refined through experimentation and planning to create perfect artistic harmony.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 5. NEW LINKS: Search Resources

Feeling a little lost on the waves of the Internet? Looking for That special someone or special place? Search before you surf using our handy list of people/business Webcrawlers. http://webreference.com/internet/search/peoplebus.html



Wrox Press - Professional Web Developer Conference 16 - 18th September 1999, Washington DC http://www.wroxconferences.com

Position yourself at the cutting edge of Web programming Understand the technologies that are defining the future: XML, ASP, ADO, CDO and Site Server.

**************************************************** 6. INTERVIEW: Adobe's Doug Meisner and Karen Gauthier ImageReady/Photoshop Program Managers

To find out more about the new Web features in Photoshop 5.5 and ImageReady 2 we talked to Adobe's Doug Meisner and Karen Gauthier, the Program Managers of ImageReady and Photoshop.

WR: I heard from one of your engineers that you used our animated penguin as a test image?

Doug: Yes, it was one of the images we used as a test file. Our engineers go to WebReference frequently to see the latest develoments.

WR: How would you differentiate Fireworks 2 from ImageReady 2?

Doug: That's a big one. Let's talk about Lossy GIF. It's a nice cheater feature that relaxes that lossless rule so you can get significant savings.

WR: How does the Lossy GIF work?

Doug: We want to be a little fuzzy on that, to not make it too easy on the competiton. We are allowing errors to occur in the GIF encoding.

WR: Looking at the individual frames it looks like you are also doing pixel differencing.

Doug: Yes, and bounding box optimization. There's an option to turn them off in the animation palette.

Doug: Here's an important tip to tell your readers: when loading an existing GIF file, the palette is set to "Custom" to preserve the original color palette. When tweaking images you'll want to reset the palette to *selective* or perceptual prior to reducing colors.

WR: Explain the perceptual palette.

Doug: It's based on how human eye sees color (for example, our eyes are more sensitive to green gradations than blue, so we assign more colors there).

WR: What is your selective palette?

Doug: The selective palette starts with the perceptual palette but is more sensitive to flat color areas and avoids these being merged with other colors. It's generally best for Web use. The perceptual palette is best for smooth-toned images like photographs.

WR: Tell us about the Web snap feature with adjustable Web snappiness.

Doug: This automatically shifts palette colors which are close to a Web-safe color to the Web color, minimizing browser dither when images are displayed on 256-color systems. A slider is provided so you can decide how strongly to do this shifting. It sets a threshold for how close to a Web-safe color the palette colors must be before being shifted.

Doug: We pulled Imageready's optimization code into a plug-in used in Photoshop's "Save for Web" in the file menu.

Karen: The two products are one now. Our objective is to evolve the Web features from IR into PS as appropriate.

Doug: We found there was an incredible overlap between the users.

WR: Do you plan to add LZW interframe optimization?

Karen: I better let doug take that one.

Doug: The programmers found that the Lossy GIF far outweighed the gains that we'd get from LZW.

WR: Yeah, LZW optimization can give you about 2%.

WR: What kind of savings do you get from the Lossy GIF feature?

Doug: You can get 5-50%, generally photographic noise increases the amount you can get. The slider controls the degree of error we allow the algorithm to introduce, and it's a nonlinear effect. It sets a tolerance threshold; up to a certain point you won't notice it and after a threshhold you will.

WR: What's difference between ImageReady 2 vs 1?

Doug: Greatly expanded slicing - you draw rectangles for each slice and we add the "auto-slices" required to create an HTML table. We also support rollovers, including automatic support for "secondary rollovers" in which areas outside the triggering slice change on a rollover.

WR: Is it still pixel-based?

Doug: Yes, fundamentally we are raster based.

Karen: Shapes were introduced in 2.0, they create a new layer and can be dragged around like an object.

Doug: The addition of Shapes, Layer Effects, and Styles makes IR2 much more vector-like than IR1.0, letting you efficiently add bevels, drop shadows, gradients, and re-edit the graphics.

Karen: It is very easy to do buttons now.

WR: Yes, everyone wants to do 3D rollover buttons now. Doug and Karen, thanks for your time.

Douglas Meisner - ImageReady Program Manager Karen Gauthier - Photoshop Product Manager



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****************************************************** 7. OTHER VOICES: Dr. Website Makes Perl Jam, There's Gold in Them There Log Files!, Web Server Review - vqServer

>Dr. Website Makes Perl Jam

Dr. Website, scourge of computer viruses and bacteria everywhere, returns with the scoop on how to use the Windows command line and tweak forms submissions with JavaScript. http://www.webdeveloper.com/drweb/19990715-drweb.html

>There's Gold in Them There Log Files!

Every Web site has a different set of goals, but there's one thing we all have in common: We want more traffic! This article is not about any one traffic-building technique. It's about using your Web server log files to direct your efforts and measure your success. http://wdvl.internet.com/Internet/Management/

>Web Server Review - vqServer

If you're running a small Web site from your office or departmental computer, chiefly for file-sharing purposes -- then vqServer is worth checking out. http://serverwatch.internet.com/webserver-vqserver.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 8. NET NEWS: Why Microsoft Hates AOL, Drugs.com goes for $823,456, Who's behind that dot-com?, Online Postage Battle Heating Up, NBC Answers Net2Phone's Call, Will Hackers Exploit Y2K Confusion?, Linux Products Flood In, RealNetworks Turns Up Volume on RealJukebox, Domain Registration Test Phase Extended

>Why Microsoft Hates AOL

Is it a war of products or a war of words? Microsoft's Internet strategy increasingly consists of jabs at America Online, the online service king that Microsoft has never been able to topple. http://www.pcworld.com/pcwtoday/article/0,1510,12189,00.html The Industry Standard, August 9, 1999

>Drugs.com goes for $823,456

Bidding for use of the Internet address Drugs.com jumped wildly every few minutes before an auction closed with an offer of $823,456. The business that submitted the winning bid Friday wanted to remain anonymous, but will be revealed in about a week. Hey, I've got a couple great domains... :) http://www.greatdomains.com http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2560625089-6a9 Infobeat/AP, Aug 8, 1999

>Who's behind that dot-com?

Looking behind registered domain names can often reveal much about corporate strategy http://www.msnbc.com/news/296852.asp MSNBC.com, Aug. 8, 1999

>Online Postage Battle Heating Up

Four companies planning to provide electronic postage services Monday won final certification from the U.S. Postal Service and will soon learn whether consumers will be willing to head to the Internet to avoid standing in lines. Stemps.com took out a full page ad in the NYTimes this morning. http://www.internetnews.com/ec-news/article/0,1087,4_178101,00.html Internetnews.com, Aug. 9, 1999

>NBC Answers Net2Phone's Call

NBC Monday signed a strategic partnership with Internet telephony firm Net2Phone Inc. to offer the telephony services from its properties: NBC.com, Snap.com and NBC Interactive Neighborhood. http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article/0,1087,3_178711,00.html Internetnews.com, Aug. 9, 1999

>Will Hackers Exploit Y2K Confusion?

Y2K experts hired to help could wreak havoc instead. As federal officials warn that year 2000 programmers could covertly introduce malicious code or install trapdoors, security experts urge organizations to scan their networks for sabotage before January 1. http://www.pcworld.com/pcwtoday/article/0,1510,12186,00.html Computerworld, August 9, 1999

>Linux Products Flood In

Corel's desktop version will highlight introductions at next week's LinuxWorld show. Corel and IBM are among the horde of firms expected to use next week's LinuxWorld Conference & Expo to launch or demonstrate new products based on the popular open-source operating system. http://www.pcworld.com/pcwtoday/article/0,1510,12146,00.html IDG News Service, August 6, 1999

>RealNetworks Turns Up Volume on RealJukebox

RealNetworks today said that it will begin selling an upgrade to RealJukebox, its popular free computer software for recording digital music. http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,0-40252,00.html?st.ne.140.head News.com, August 9, 1999

>Domain Registration Test Phase Extended

Network Solutions and the Commerce Department have agreed to extend the testing of a competitive system for registering the most popular form of domain names by another five weeks, and to allow another 52 accredited registrars to join in the trial. News.com, August 6, 1999

That's it for this week, see you next time.

Andrew King Managing Editor, WebReference.com update@webreference.com

Lanie Anderson Assistant Editor, WebReference.com landerson@internet.com

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