SitePoint Podcast #55: State-sponsored Brown Paper

Matthew Magain

Episode 55 of The SitePoint Podcast is now available! This week your hosts are Stephan Segraves (@ssegraves), Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy), Brad Williams (@williamsba) and Kevin Yank (@sentience).

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Episode Summary

Here are the topics covered in this episode:

  1. Tactics Opera are employing to get into the App Store
  2. The team discuss features in the upcoming Photoshop CS5
  3. Chrome developer tools
  4. Patrick shares his experiences from South by Southwest (SXSW)

Browse the full list of links referenced in the show at http://delicious.com/sitepointpodcast/55.

Host Spotlights

Show Transcript

Kevin: April 2nd, 2010. Patrick shares his experiences from South by Southwest (SXSW), we take a peek at Photoshop CS5, and what Opera is doing to get into the App Store. I’m Kevin Yank and this is the SitePoint podcast #55: State-sponsored Brown Paper.

And it’s all hands on deck for this SitePoint podcast. We’ve got Stephan, Brad and Patrick, and myself all here. Patrick, of course, as we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, has just rejoined us from South by Southwest.

Hi, Patrick.

Patrick: Hey, Kevin.

Kevin: Does it feel like just yesterday or does it feel like a year ago now, for the conference?

Patrick: It feels like, I guess, just yesterday kind of, sort of. Back on top of things now, thankfully. It took a week or so to get back on top of all the emails and the forum posts and the blog posts and so on but yeah, back on top of everything and yeah, it’s good to be back.

Kevin: There are conferences that you can go to and you can go back to your hotel in the evening and keep up with your email — South by Southwest is not one of those?

Patrick: Well, they have Wi-Fi at the conference so there’s always the opportunity to check email and what not and then at the hotel there actually was free Wi-Fi. So it’s just a matter of always going. You get up, you get ready, you take a shower, get out of the room in an hour, breakfast, programming. I can’t walk from the hotel to the conference without seeing somebody that I know and, of course, there goes 10, 20-minutes of talking and just there’s still a lot of networking. I think that’s my favorite thing about it is meeting people, building relationships, growing my existing relationships and just having a lot of fun and seeing some interesting things on the side.

Kevin: On the show today I’m going to get you to reminisce, give us your highlights from the conference, but first we’ve got a couple of other stories to touch on. So let’s dive right in.

Opera submits Opera Mini for the iPhone to the App Store. So we got three iPhone users here … Brad, you’re still using the iPhone, right?

Brad: Yep, so far.

Kevin: So do we need another browser?

Brad: I definitely want to try it out, I mean if it ever gets accepted, that is. You know I think competition is always good. Anytime there’s kind of a monopoly is when you really get into trouble, whether it’s a particular piece of software or business or whatever it may be. So I definitely think competition is always a good thing and really kind of pushes innovation. So I’m anxious to try it out, again, if it ever gets accepted.

Kevin: So we’ve got a link in the show notes here to a SitePoint blog post that’s showing off a video of this browser that may never see the light of day in action. Opera’s been doing the conference circuit and showing this off. It seems like they’re tackling the issue of whether they might get accepted or rejected by Apple head on by just showing it to as many people as possible hoping that it leaves Apple with no choice but to approve them. I’m thinking that didn’t do a lot of good for Google with Google Voice. There sure where a lot of people clamouring for Apple to approve Google Voice and it did no good. What do you guys think Opera’s chances are here?

Stephan: They’re pretty good.

Brad: They’re pretty slim.

Stephan: Oh, you think so? I guess we’ll agree to disagree. {laughing}

Brad: And … fight!

Kevin: Stephan? “Pretty good” first …

Stephan: Well, I mean think that they, since they’ve come out kind of strong on this and kind of been pushing it a little bit more, I think maybe Apple would be a little bit more accepting of them, maybe. I think the Google Voice thing, it was kind of circumventing the whole call functionality, you know the AT&T network, so that was a reason right there to kill it. I don’t see how Apple could, in a good conscience, kill this. Is there anything in the SDK that says you can’t have a browser? I don’t know.

Kevin: The one thing that’s in there is that you’re not allowed to have a runtime of any kind. So if you’re creating a system that can run arbitrary programs maybe that you download from online which is a way around the Apple approval process and examples might be like a Gameboy Emulator for example, you can’t build that for the iPhone if it’s going to be able to download and run any arbitrary game from online because Apple considers that circumventing their control of the App Store, not in so many words but that’s what it comes down to and they won’t approve any app that has a language runtime in it. But thankfully, for Opera in this case, Opera Mini doesn’t have a JavaScript engine in it. What it does is it downloads the web pages to the Opera servers, processes it, preprocesses those pages and shrinks them down to something that’s really static and small and sends that to your iPhone. So there’s no JavaScript support in this browser per se but in this case that’s actually a good thing as far as getting this app into the App Store.

Brad, why do you think they don’t have great chances?

Brad: Well, I think just if history has proven anything with Apple and the iPhone, it’s that they really like to keep tight control over what it can do and over specific features, like you said Google Voice was one, and I can understand their argument for that one since it was more voice focused obviously, but I really think that Apple wants to have ultimate control over the browser on their own phone. And by allowing people to install additional browsers, it’s going to open the gate and the next thing you know there’d be a mobile Chrome, there’d be a mobile IE that’s on the iPhone and there’d be nothing Apple can do to stop it.

Kevin: There’s this thing that Apple trots out when they reject certain applications. They say that they it duplicates existing functionality within the phone which may lead to user confusion. This is paraphrasing — that’s the wording that they send to developers in cases like these. So if the phone already has an SMS application, then if you were to build your own SMS application, this might, in Apple’s opinion, lead to user confusion between the installed app and the core functionality and so they reject it on those grounds. I’m not sure whether there’s a clause about that in the Apple development terms and even if there is, it’s kind of vague because the argument could be made that a lot of the things that Apple does approve are spins on things that are core functionality to the phone. So the question here is, is Apple going to consider Opera Mini to be too much of a duplication of what Safari does for you? I’m not really sure.

Patrick: Is anyone going to jailbreak their iPhone to run Opera? I mean what is the lifecycle of this?

Kevin: Opera fans probably will. There is this whole gray market of apps that people have put a lot of work into developing getting rejected so they’ll put it out on these…

Patrick: Like Gameboy Emulators.

Kevin: Yeah exactly, Gameboy Emulators. They go into this second tier market that you have to jailbreak your phone in order to access but there is that market out there, and I guess it goes without saying that Opera will put it there if they have to in order to continue to put pressure on Apple. But I haven’t seen any cases of that swaying Apple.

Brad: I do love the count up that they put out. I would love to see every single app submitted to its own count up. It would even be probably be a fairly popular site if somebody built that just to kind of call out Apple and say look, the process is obviously very vague and in a given period of time it could be a day, it could be a month before they’re going to approve something. So maybe that would help them speed up the process a bit.

Kevin: So the count up here is: they submit it to Apple and then they start this counter counting on their website and so people can go and see how many seconds it’s been since it was submitted to Apple and I guess it’s a record of how long it’s taking Apple to make a decision one way or the other.

The weird thing – coming back to Google Voice – is that Apple maintains, at least when they were called in by the FCC to explain their actions, they maintained that they still haven’t rejected Google Voice. They are just considering it. So these count ups can go for a really long time if that’s Apple’s approach to making controversial rejections.

Patrick: That’s like saying the App Store is in Beta — and in beta forever. It’s like keeping something in Beta for such a long time. You know Apple has this sort of philosophy, this sort of – it’s almost like a part of the brand. I mean it’s a part of the ethos of the brand and how fans are attracted to them. It’s this sort of mysterious, secretive nature and I don’t know if that sometimes works against them and maybe this is a case of that but a lot of times this is just something a lot of Apple fans will be approving.

Kevin: When you were describing the situation, Patrick, and you said that Apple wants to maintain control over the browser on their phone, my mind immediately went back to the antitrust lawsuit that Microsoft faced over Internet Explorer in Windows. And I guess from that we know that it has been judged illegal for a vendor to tie their browser to their operating system and force users to use a particular browser. We know that that is illegal at least in the United States on desktop computers. The question is will that law apply to mobile phones and it seems the more powerful Apple makes its phones, the shadier the territory they’re getting into legally over this stuff.

Patrick: Yeah, Brad said that, not me, but I think it is a good point. You know I think it’s sort of a Microsoft thing; people view Microsoft as the dominant thing in operating systems, and it is but Apple’s phone or their sort of grasp on this whole market of phone apps – and I was talking about this on a different show about how it relates to intellectual property and how they’re happy to sell the devices but as far as stopping piracy of the apps and so on, maybe they’re a little lax because they make a majority of their money in the equipment.

So Apple is, as any company, going to look out for Apple.

Stephan: I think they make a decent amount of money though in the App Store.

Patrick: They do, but it’s not what they make in equipment.

Stephan: No. But my thing is, is that if someone wants to replicate and I’m sure this has been done, I don’t use them, the Notes app, if someone wants to replicate the Notes app, would Apple defend it? Would Apple kill a submitted Notes application to the App Store?

Kevin: There are tons of Notes apps for the iPhone.

Stephan: So what they’re doing then is if they kill Opera and they say this is a functionality that already exist on the phone, then they’re saying that they should kill off all the Notes applications out there, in my opinion, because in that case they’re just trying to push Safari and teach people that they should use Safari and hopefully get some people to use it on Windows computers or on a Mac that use Firefox or whatever. It seems a little on the bully side in my opinion.

Kevin: Their situation feels untenable to me. Their plans seems to be they’re going to make as much money out of it for as long as they can until someone forces them to change the way they’re doing this and I think it’s inevitable that they will be forced to do that.

Our next story is Adobe CS5, Creative Suite 5. Adobe has announced that it’s going to be unveiling their new Creative Suite on April 12th and I have to say upfront here that SitePoint is under nondisclosure agreement about CS5. So certain members of the SitePoint team cannot talk about this stuff but I personally have not played with CS5 at all. So anything I know is what’s publicly been said so just to get that out there.

Guys, they’ve shown off this video on the CS5launch.adobe.com site of this one particular feature coming in Photoshop CS5 and this feature is content-aware fill. Did you guys take a look at this video?

Stephan: Sure did, it’s pretty sweet.

Brad: It’s awesome.

Stephan: Especially for someone who can’t retouch anything in Photoshop!

Patrick: Says the non-designers, as everyone will point out in the comments. {laughing}

Kevin: So for our listeners who may not have seen this video, this feature basically lets you draw an outline around a part of a photo that contains an element you don’t like and in the example they have a lens flare and an entire tree in one case, and even the grand finale is like this road cutting through a landscape of shrubs in the desert and they just draw around the road and then you hit the content aware fill feature and Photoshop thinks about it for a little bit and then replaces that part of the photo with generated content based on what it sees around it. So if you’ve selected part of a cloudy sky that has an airplane in it, the airplane disappears and Photoshop generates new cloudy sky based on what it sees around it and it’s absolutely amazing. That last example of them, cutting the road out of the landscape and having it just generate new bushes to fill in the space, it’s astonishing. I think it was Alex Walker, our designer at SitePoint, he was reading – I think it’s YouTube comments following on from this video and one of the comments was I think Adobe has faked this video.

Stephan: It kind of looks that way, right? I mean it looks like I can take a picture of a really bad shady neighborhood and put it into this and it would turn it into some beautiful utopia like you said.

Patrick: You can’t select the whole picture! {laughing}

Brad: If I was a graphic designer, I would be a little bit worried about features like this. I mean obviously, this is a start of something pretty amazing if it’s as accurate as the video depicts it. I mean it blew my mind. It’s one of those links that came across Twitter, I saw a couple people post it, I didn’t think much of it and then it seemed like half of my Twitter list started retweeting it, so I knew I had to watch it and then after seeing it, you can see why. It’s mind-boggling.

Patrick: The way that you would describe it, it’s almost like the extinction of graphic designers! Today, content aware fill. Tomorrow, robot designers. ?

Brad: I wish they would make something like this for programming — like you just highlight the code and hit go and it would fix it for me.

Kevin: Yeah, or you take a screen shot of a browser window and you draw an outline of the contents of the window and you press a button and it fills it with a beautiful website.

Patrick: I think that it is what it is, right? It’s limited by the technology but it’s not going to replace professional photo retouching, you know that is someone actually retouching a photo and I mean there will still be human element here to take into account and this is just a machine processing a pattern. So take it for what it is, don’t be too scared, graphic designers, but it is really cool.

Kevin: Yeah, there are images that this will work really well with and it will save a lot of time and there are images that it won’t work well with. In general though, this is just one feature of CS5. Are any of you guys regular Adobe Creative Suite users?

Patrick: Yeah, I have an old copy of Macromedia. I think it was Creative Suite or something – Studio. I’m sorry, Macromedia Studio with Dreamweaver 8, Fireworks 8, etc. That’s my most recent suite.

Kevin: So I guess my question is what would Adobe have to do to get you guys back on onboard with CS5?

Patrick: Well, in my case they’d have to help me make some additional money because it’s not so much that I don’t view the software as useful, not that I think I somehow don’t want to upgrade, it’s just that for what I use it for, the basic functions that I use Fireworks for or Dreamweaver for, it works for me as it is right now and there’s no reason for me to pay the expense. Now one day, if I’m doing very well and have that money, then I’ll probably upgrade but I guess it comes down to what you use if for and if you really need to be on the cutting edge of these new features and have them integrated into your day-to-day life.

Kevin: So it’s features for you.

Patrick: Features, and time and money.

Brad: It really comes down to price. Running a small business, I can’t go out there and upgrade X amount of machines to the latest and greatest right away. So we’re usually one or two versions behind from a cost standpoint. It’s definitely tempting. If they keep rolling out with features like that, I would consider it to upgrade a little bit quicker than I normally do but really, it’s just the price because these suite packages are expensive, especially for small business owners.

Patrick: You could just say I’ll fire my graphic designer and with his salary I’ll upgrade our systems {laughing}

Kevin: Yes. One person’s salary will buy a lot of CS5 licenses. For me, features like this make great video fodder and are great for getting the word out there that CS5 is going to be available. So kudos to Adobe on that. But what’s going to make me buy an expensive suite of software like this isn’t one particular feature like this. This is a feature that I could see myself having a particular photo and sitting at my desk going: man, if only I had CS5, this would be so much easier but am I going to go and drop $600 on a Creative Suite license or whatever the upgrade costs from what I have now might be? Am I going to go and drop that money now just to make my job easier on this one photo? Probably not, it’s too big an investment. What’s going to get me across the line for the whole thing is if they improve the experience overall and this is something that I feel like Creative Suite really is in need of. The CS4 especially — the user interface feels like it’s hanging together with rubber bands and scotch tape. It’s feeling really shaky.

Patrick: That good?

Kevin: Yeah. And if they were able to tighten it all up in CS5 and I think some people are expecting this, at least from the Mac version, because word is that they’ve rewritten a large amount of it to run in 64 bit mode natively on the Snow Leopard operating system and whether they’ve done much work to the user interface. With CS4 they seem to go a bit cross-platform and they use their Adobe Air technologies for the user interface and this has really caused the experience to suffer. We’ve talked about it before but it’s very glitchy. You can, in some cases, drag a selection of text in a dialog box and go out the end of the text box and start selecting text that’s labels in the dialog box and your selection can go haywire. And the user interface is full of glitchiness like that and oh gosh, I’d love for them to go back to a more native user interface. It’s a lot more work to maintain across the Mac/Windows Divide but that alone would get me to buy a CS5 license. I don’t know what we can expect to see on April 12th. I’ll be tuning in with the rest of you.

Chrome developer tools. Brad, you’ve been on a bit of a Chrome developer tools kick I see.

Brad: Yeah. There’s a new Chrome extension that has been released — a web developer extension which is actually created by the same gentleman, Chris Pederick, who made the web developer add-on for Firefox. So they work very, very similar and it’s kind of starting to open up Chrome to be more of a development browser than just kind of a super fast browsing experience. So it’s pretty exciting.

Kevin: That one extension is like the top of the list for a lot of Firefox users. I know Firebug is really important as well but Google Chrome basically has the functionality of Firebug built into it but as far as extensions that build on top of the browser, that web developer tool bar in Firefox is must have for many developers, myself included and to have it on Google Chrome is a big deal. SitePoint’s Alex Walker did a blog post not too long ago called How To Break Up With Firefox and he was talking about how he had just made the move from Firefox to Chrome as his primary development browser. And the extension he recommended for replacing the web developer toolbar was called Pendule.

Have you seen Pendule at all, Brad?

Brad: No, I haven’t. I definitely have to look at that.

Kevin: It looks like it has a similar toolset to the web developer tool bar but the interface is quite different. I’m not quite sure whether I like it better or worse than the web developer toolbar but it certainly would be an adjustment for a developer who’s working day in and day out with the web developer toolbar in Firefox for them to make the leap to Chrome and this thing at once. It might be too much of a change at once to justify but once you are into Chrome, I think a lot of people might prefer Pendule’s user interface if it had all the features they wanted. If nothing else, it’s great to have some competition in this space.

Brad: Yeah, it’s already one of the highest rated Chrome extensions in the directory and it’s only been out about a week.

Kevin: Yeah. So I’ve said before that Firefox is my development browser and it still is but if I get a chance to take a break and have a project where a deadline is not looming and I have a little more time to play around with my developer tools, Chrome is looking very, very tempting at this point.

And that’s the news stories for this week. Now it’s time to dive in South by Southwest, dive in retrospectively. I don’t know if you can dive backwards through time but Patrick, that’s what I’m going to ask you to do.

Patrick: Okay. You’re the one in the future.

Kevin: Tell us about the conference. You’ve been to South by Southwest before so first of all, how did this year compare?

Patrick: Well, this is my third year attending and speaking in a row. First one was 2008 and I was talking to a friend of mine, Brandon Eley who author of a book for SitePoint, Online Marketing Inside Out and we agreed that it was the most fun that we’d had of any South by Southwest so far and I don’t know why that is. I think it’s a combination of being familiar with the conference, familiar with the venue, just knowing more people than we did the first time and it was just a great experience. For me, I go for the networking – very, very good networking. Everyone is there, not everyone but a lot of people in this space and this tech web social media sort of area are there and if you want to meet people, it’s kind of the conference to go to in this area. So it’s a lot of fun.

Kevin: So what were some of your highlights this year?

Patrick: Well, I did a lot of different stuff. Because the networking is the main thing, I didn’t go to tons of sessions, I would say maybe 10 in all but…

Kevin: That seems to be the way people do South by Southwest now. Like the programming is kind of a loose framework that allows people to justify their attendance but the real reason for being there is all the stuff that’s going on around it. This is a cliché with conferences but it seems especially true of South by Southwest.

Patrick: You’re right. It definitely is true. You’ll find people that don’t go to any sessions. There were people that I talked to that said they were badgeless. They didn’t even get a badge. They were just going to hang out in the convention center, hang out at the unofficial events and meet and network with people and not pay the $400 which is a great deal for what you get for the $400, $450, $500 at the door or something like that and just fly in for the people that are there and all these little events. So yeah, you definitely find people like that. I myself like to mix it up a little bit, go to sessions that are interesting or support friends that are presenting and you know just to be a part of it because you can only get in some parties or some events if you do have a badge. So it’s definitely true, and I did a lot of different stuff from stuff that’s related to me to stuff that’s not related to me.

And one of the sessions I went to, maybe the best session that I went to, was given by Paul Boag from Boagworld. He did a presentation called Pain Free Design Sign-off and it’s available online, you can watch this live and listen to him walk through it. And it was just a really good talk about the designer and client relationship and how that’s usually combative and how instead of being combative, what designers can do to make it more friendly, more proactive to engage their clients better. I thought he did a really good job making his points and giving strategies that you could actually take as designers and use today.

Like to give an example, he says that with a lot of designers and I’m paraphrasing, he says they make a design, they have the client fill out this short brief, and then they go away, they come back a while later and here is this design I’m bestowing upon you, this one design, it comes from the heavens, this is my skill and you’re going to love it. That’s not exactly what he said but that’s the gist of it and he’s just a really funny guy. So I’d definitely recommend any designers to check out that presentation and we have a link in the show notes as well.

Kevin: Alright. So that’s probably a talk that doesn’t have a lot to do with your day-to-day work.

Patrick: No, it’s not and to be honest, I didn’t go to a lot of talks that had to do with my day-to-day work. It’s just how it worked out unfortunately. Like another presentation I went to was called “Twitter and Dating in 140 Characters or Less” and that has nothing to do with my life at all actually but it was given by a friend of mine, Jeremy Wright who used to be a team leader on the SitePoint forums for awhile years ago and his partner in that was Melissa Smich and it was a really fun presentation. They did something where if you asked a question they gave you a beer and I had never actually seen that done before.

Kevin: So did Jeremy and Melissa date on Twitter?

Patrick: No, no, they’re just friends. They’re just friends, but apparently they both have had dates through Twitter and the talk was sort of part humor and joking around and part advice if you’re actually wanting to find dates through Twitter, things like having a picture as your avatar and doing this or talking in this way, talking in that way and so on and how you would appear to potential, I guess, suitors. But it was a lot of fun, and the beer thing was fun. I don’t drink and also don’t ask questions so I didn’t get anything.

Stephan: Hey, Patrick, I noticed the talk called “Shameless Self Promotion Without Looking Like an @#$%^&!”, I was wondering if you went to that and what you got out of it. ?

Patrick: I don’t know anything about that session. Ha ha, I’m just kidding. Okay, so I did a presentation with Twanna Hines called “Shameless Self Promotion Without Looking Like an @#$%^&!” (not a vulgar word there at all). I didn’t even make that title. I didn’t want that in there. But that aside, we talked about promoting yourself online and how really it’s born out of my community experience, managing online communities and how people promote themselves in a way and excuse it as shameless self promotion. It’s kind of a joke but at the end of the day, it can be very damaging to you, to your brand and so on, so we talked about how to do that the right way, how to promote yourself in social media in a way that’s going to be accepted and appropriate and in the end that will benefit everyone involved. That was the core conversation so it was Q&A. Basically, the crowd talked and introduced the subjects they wanted to introduce so we had a segment on, like, email marketing which to me wasn’t really shameless self promotion but it can be and we talked about that for about 10 minutes and it went well. I’ll probably post it online at some point but yeah, it was a lot of fun. Thanks for bringing it up.

Stephan: Yeah, cool. It sounds like it’d be a fun one.

Kevin: So you got to hook up with the 99designs guys while you were over there? For those who don’t know, 99designs is part of the SitePoint family. It operates as a separate company but the guys who build and run 99designs, they work right alongside the rest of us, so just to get that out there.

Patrick: That’s a well-known secret. But I’d met Jason Aiken last year at South by Southwest, him and Matt Mickiewicz and had talked with him and this year he was back there again with a booth this time. It was a kind of a special booth — it was in paper, just brown paper. The whole booth was covered in brown paper and they encouraged people to like write on it, to write whatever they wanted, Twitter names and so on and I guess it was all paid for by the state government in Australia which is pretty sweet. It was part of a “Portable Presents Plus 6” is what they called it and then there were five other exhibitors as well but the 99designs person was of course the only person I would ever be interested in, right? Legally. So I talked with Lachlan Donald there as well, Leni Mayo. We had a good conversation. They met Miley Cyrus. There’s a picture of that in the show notes I think.

Brad: Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!

Kevin: We just lost Brad.

Patrick: Brad fainted! There was a bang … No, but it was fun to see them and to see the booth and they did some press while they were there I guess. They had announced there was a new logo store shortly before coming to the event and did some interviews about that. So yeah, just a lot of fun.

Just on the SitePoint note, like I mentioned before, Brandon Eley was there and he actually did a book reading for Online Marketing Inside Out which is published by SitePoint and co-authored by Shayne Tilley and basically, a 20-minute presentation on the book content, how it came about and some lessons within and it went really well. I was at that as well and Brandon recapped the conference. The video should be online at some point but it’s not up just yet.

So yeah, there was a lot of – it’s funny because just to draw it altogether, when I went to the Twitter on dating thing, Jeremy is former SitePoint forum staff and so am I and so is Brandon and also Chrispian Burks was there and he was as well and you know there’s these sort of ties or bond that we formed in the forums over the last 8, 9, 10 years and you know so when you’re there – basically the people I hang out with most of the time are people I met in the SitePoint Forums. So it’s kind of funny.

Kevin: You mentioned Online Marketing Inside Out, Brandon and Shayne’s book, we do have an entire podcast with the two of them talking about that book. That was Podcast 16 if you wanted to look it up.

Kevin: I had sort of blocked out South by Southwest this year. I knew there was no way I was going to get to it and past years I’ve been really jealous of those people who did so I kind of forced myself to ignore it this year and you have completely shattered that attempt on my part now. I’m now intensely jealous. Was there anything else that you got to do that would make me especially jealous?

Patrick: I don’t know. I don’t know what makes you jealous, Kevin. You don’t strike me as a very jealous man.

Kevin: No? I hide it well.

Patrick: But I don’t know. Is there any way that you like to meet in this space? I don’t know, maybe I met them. I mean it’s just a fun event and I even went to a movie premiere for the first time – it’s the first time I ever done that because as a speaker you get into both Film and Interactive, and I’ve never taken advantage of that. But this year I actually went to a premiere for a movie called MacGruber — some may know the SNL skit MacGruber. Those clips are online on the Saturday Night Live website but they made a whole movie out of it and that was a lot of fun too to go see a movie that’s unfinished with the cast and crew there and to laugh with the crowd and what not. So that was a lot of fun and beyond that what we talked about and Kevin, are you coming next year?

Kevin: I really hope so, Patrick.

Stephan: I’m impressed that they were able to make a movie out of MacGruber.

Patrick: I’m impressed too – but I mean here’s the thing, if I wasn’t in the audience laughing with everyone, I would have laughed probably half less at home and that’s nothing against them. It was enjoyable but it’s definitely kind of vulgar and for a certain audience – and that’s cool. Two of the Lonely Island guys actually worked on it, and I love the Lonely Island and all the stuff they create — “I’m on a boat,” you know that part of the video you probably heard of if you listen to this podcast with T-Pain. But what I was going to say is that if Kevin can come all the way from Australia, okay, then Stephan and Brad, you have to guarantee that you will be there because you’re both here in the US – Stephan is in the state! He doesn’t even have to get on the plane; he can just drive. Everyone has to be there and I…

Brad: It’s too close for Stephan. ?

Patrick: Oh, okay, fine. But I mean we can do a live podcast at South by Southwest and, you know, do it right.

Stephan: Kevin, just start planning now. I’ll be there. I will mark my calendar if Kevin says he’ll be there.

Patrick: Well, for how much it costs from Australia, you better start saving now.

Kevin: Yeah. Well, to keep the cost down I might take a cue from the 99designs guys and I don’t know, dress entirely in brown paper.

Patrick: Or find some government money! ?

Kevin: That, I think, is a good place to wrap up, Patrick’s South by Southwest interactive recap. Thank you for that, Patrick.

Kevin: Let’s take a look at our spotlights this week. Stephan, what have you got?

Stephan: I got something just kind of goofy. It’s called 8-bit NYC and it’s a website this guy built using some mapping stuff and JavaScript and CSS to map New York City in 8-bit format. So it’s like playing Zelda in New York City. So it’s kind of cool. You can zoom in on different neighborhoods and stuff and it’s a neat idea, kind of pointless but just kind of cool. And I think he’s got the new one, 8-BIT AUSTIN. So if you get a chance, check it out: 8bitnyc.com.

Patrick: That sounds awesome.

Kevin: I’m taking a look at it now. I’m zooming in on the financial district in Manhattan and it’s greener than I remember. I supposed it’s not a completely faithful reproduction because these 8-bit games didn’t have a lot of skyscrapers in them. So it looks like they’ve got brown roads where there’s roads and green grass where there are buildings and they have little icons for particular landmarks. Oh, it’s very cool. I would play this game.

It reminds me of Ultima, the Ultima series of games. That’s what it reminds me of.

Patrick: Is New Jersey in there or just New York? Maybe Brad can see his house from here.

Stephan: I think you can get over to like Hoboken and that’s about it.

Brad: Nobody really wants to look at New Jersey to be honest.

Stephan: You know, Brad, it was suggested and this is no offense but I heard someone suggest that they should just build a giant mirror in New York City like on the Hudson and so that New Yorkers didn’t have to look into Jersey. Someone told me that the other day.

Brad: Yeah, I’m sure they would love looking at themselves.

Patrick: Ooh. That reminds me of a skit called Duane Reade skit. You can do a search for it by Streeter Seidell at CollegeHumor and I will find it and pop a link into the show notes, but it’s about just what Brad mentioned about New Yorkers. So it’s pretty funny.

Kevin: Speaking of CollegeHumor, you’ve got another video for us, Patrick?

Patrick: I do and it is from CollegeHumor. It’s called The Video Game Bosses’ Lament and it’s from earlier this month but I just saw it because obviously, South by and everything, but it’s the classic video game bosses: you’ve got Bowser, you’ve got Ganon, you’ve got Shredder from the Ninja Turtles, King K. Rool from Donkey Kong Country and so on, and they’re sort of addressing their minions about their inability to get the job done when it comes to handling one person as an army, as an army of bad guys and how their failings are going to end up in the destruction of the castle, the temple, whatever and things like how they attack one at a time instead of just simply everyone getting the hero or whoever the other person is in this case. So it’s a pretty funny clip like CollegeHumor usually is and this one’s actually pretty clean so that’s why I wanted to include it but definitely very funny.

Kevin: Excellent. Brad, what have you got for us?

Brad: Yeah, I actually have the two for Tuesday special — or Friday I guess if you’re listening when this comes up. My first host spotlight is actually a new release from Google called Skipfish and essentially it’s an open source web app security scanner for your websites written in pure C. So you can actually run this against your websites and it checks for a ton of different vulnerabilities on your website from SQL injection, there’s cross site scripting to server-side show command injection, and have this huge list of all the tests it does. It really looks that it kind of help you lock down your site and secure it to make it’s as safe as possible. So Google’s released this under their open source code base, which is pretty cool.

Kevin: Yeah, that’s fascinating. I never thought of those kinds of issues as the thing – the kind of thing you could test for automatically. I mean I suppose if things like SQL injection, if you manage to execute a command by injecting it into the SQL, you might be able to then test for the symptoms of that command being run, but I don’t know. It’d be difficult for a piece of software like this to test without doing any actual damage. So having not looked at this in detail, I’d encourage our listeners to read the documentation very closely before trying a tool like this. I’d love to hear from anyone who did know a bit more about this tool and how it worked and if they have any experience with it finding something for them.

Brad: Optimization is one of the kind of key features of how fast it runs. They’re saying you can get almost 7,000 requests a second if you’re running that locally which is pretty fast. But pretty interesting, definitely something to check out but like you said you want to be careful — you probably don’t want to run it on a live site your first go. I would try a dev site.

Yeah, and for number 2, hopefully I’d do a bit of self-promoting without looking like a beep. I want to promote my new book that just came out. My new book is called Professional WordPress. So if you’re on the WordPress, everything from designing to coding for WordPress, you definitely want to check out this book. It takes a more a technical look and really kind of digs into the core of WordPress, shows you how to actually look at the source code of WordPress and work with it as well as everything you would expect: creating plugins, creating themes, working with WordPress as a CMS and users. It really is a very detailed book and it’s authored by myself, Hal Stern, and David Damstra and the Technical Editor is Mike Little who is actually one of the co-founders of WordPress. So we have a nice team of authors. So it’s really a great book. I’m really excited about it.

It’s in stock on Amazon, so search for Professional WordPress, and I’ll make sure we have a link on the show notes.

Kevin: What’s the publisher?

Brad: The publisher is Wrox. It’s the Programmer To Programmer series, so it’s a little more technical.

Kevin: My host spotlight this week is also a bit self-promotional but I’ve also got two. First of all, over the next couple of months through April and May, I’m touring around Australia teaching JavaScript workshops. These workshops are based on the book that I wrote with Cameron Adams called Simply JavaScript, and I’m really sort of pulling that book apart and putting it back together for a live sort of classroom environment.

So if you’ve got a stack of beginning JavaScript books on your shelf that you’ve never gotten around to reading and you really just want to sink your teeth into JavaScript with some practical work — actually building some things that do useful stuff in JavaScript and you’d like to take a day or a day and a half and just get through that and actually get some experience playing with JavaScript, I think that’s what this workshop’s going to be. So if you’re lucky enough to be in Australia and you’re in one of the cities that we’ll be visiting — that’s Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, or Brisbane, yeah signup and check it out. We’re starting each workshop with a half-day complete beginner’s introduction. So if you know absolutely nothing about JavaScript or programming, you definitely want to take that half-day introduction and then the following day is a full day of JavaScript in depth where you actually get to rip into some code and build stuff.

The other thing I wanted to mention is the SitePoint’s new 5-for-1 sale which will have gone live by the time you’re hearing this show. So if you head over to sale.sitepoint.com, you can pick up any five SitePoint PDF books — 5 for the price of 1. But the special spin this time around is I have just spent, gosh, it feels like a week of long nights converting all of SitePoint’s books and building all the rendering tools necessary so that we can offer our books now in ePub and MOBI formats. So if you’ve got an Amazon Kindle, if you’ve got an iPhone running a reader like Stanza or if you’re planning to pick up one of the new Apple iPads that lets you read ePub books as well, you can now get your SitePoint books in that format. So the 5-for-1 sale is for the moment the only way to get SitePoint books in that format. So head on over to sale.sitepoint.com, take advantage of the deal and pick up SitePoint books in a brand new format or two.

That’s it for the show this week lets go around the table guys.

Brad: Brad Williams from WebDev Studios. You can find me on Twitter @williamsba.

Patrick: I am Patrick O’Keefe for the iFroggy Network — ifroggy.com and you can find me on Twitter @ifroggy.

Stephan: And I’m Stephan Segraves from Houston Texas, badice.com is the blog and you can find me on Twitter @ssegraves.

Kevin: And you can follow me on Twitter @sentience and SitePoint @sitepointdotcom. Next week I am off on holidays, so the rest of you hooligans are going to have to figure out something for our listeners to listen to and I look forward to seeing what that is.

Visit us at sitepoint.com/podcast to leave comments on this show and to subscribe to receive every show automatically. The SitePoint podcast is produced by Carl Longnecker and I’m Kevin Yank. Thanks for listening. Bye bye.

Theme music by Mike Mella.

Thanks for listening! Feel free to let us know how we’re doing, or to continue the discussion, using the comments field below.

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  • powerpotatoe

    If Adobe would offer any of their programs at a significantly lower price, I would get on board with Adobe. Even the student discounts were too high while I was a student. I prefer Adobe over any other design software, but the price is way to high for me (and I was not impressed with the user interface redesign as seen in CS 4-Windows). Even as a small business owner I would never buy the Adobe suit programs due to the price. If I go with Adobe, I would purchase the Elements versions and work around any missing features as compared to CS. I thought I was at a loss five years ago but Open Source projects have offered me a great alternative.

    The GIMP and Inkscape (and on occasion Scribus) have been my answer to Adobe’s high prices for the last two years. I occasionally use a copy of Photoshop Elements 1.0 that came with a Wacom tablet years ago to make up for file standards/type problems that occur in GIMP(which for my uses are not many). Actually, when I bought a laptop a year ago for my business, I passed over all of the major commercial products I needed (such as Microsoft Office and Adobe) for the Open Source alternatives (OpenOffice, GIMP etc.)

    The new content aware in CS5 tempts me to save for Adobe products, but when I seriously consider it, I would not use content aware often enough to justify the cost. For now, GIMP and Inkscape offer me what I need.

  • smichm

    I appreciate the awesome shout-out for the Twitter and Dating session! Glad to hear you had fun, next time participate for a beer ;)

    For more on the session and the sxsw experience, you can check out my wrap up which was covered in TechVibes. http://www.techvibes.com/blog/toronto-at-south-by-southwest-interactive-part-2

    Cheers,
    Melissa Smich

  • blindpete

    there are loads and loads of web browsers in the app store? Did I miss something?

  • Dave

    Do you really think that graphic designers just edit photos in Photoshop and make stuff look pretty? Photoshop is one of many tools that can be used for executing a concept.
    You probably need to educate yourself on what the profession of graphic design entails: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphic_design

    Macromedia? Seriously? You probably shouldn’t be talking about the latest Adobe products if you don’t even use them yourself.

    I had to turn off the podcast after those comments. Guess “graphic designers” are not your target audience.