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Kuler Panel for Flash CS3

kuler Panel for Flash CS3Ben Pritchard of the Pittsburgh Flash Users Group recently posted a cool add-in: Kuler Panel for Flash CS3. The extension adds a new panel to Flash which interfaces with Adobe's Kuler, allowing you to browse the color combinations from within Flash CS3. The best part, though, is that selecting a color scheme creates a layer with that scheme's name and then puts that scheme's swatches on the new layer. This makes using the schemes trivial, and is a great addition to the tool.

For more information, check out Ben's post on the panel, or download it here.

[Updated to reflect updated version of the panel, released June 7th, 2007]

Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac Announced

Parallels LogoParallels has just made an announcement about version 3.0 of what I believe to be the most useful Mac OS X application, Parallels Desktop.

New features in 3.0 include:

+ SmartSelect -- set your preferred application handlers cross-platform. Want to open URLs in IE7, mailto: links in Mail.app, or .xls files in Excel 2007? You can now.
+ 3D acceleration -- DirectX and OpenGL support will allow 3D gamers to play Windows games in their full glory
+ Snapshot -- back up your virtual machine easily and roll back at any time
+ Parallels Explorer -- copy files into or out of your virtual disk images or your Boot Camp partition without needing to start or load the Parallels VM
+ Enhanced Boot Camp support, better USB, better printer sharing, Coherence 2.0

    Since they are offering a nice pre-order discount ($39 until June 6), I placed my order this morning. Although the actual application is not available just yet, I received a new serial number right away and the email receipt said "Delivery no later than June 3rd" -- all of which makes me believe version 3.0 will be available before next week.

    Laser Engraving My MacBook Pro

    Yesterday I got my 17" MacBook Pro laser engraved, and I'm extremely excited about the results:

    Engraving Finished

    Overall the process is actually fairly simple - the artwork gets loaded into CorelDraw (oh how we were missing Illustrator) and then you print the design just like any other document. The printer driver allows you to select the settings for the laser engraver such as power, resolution, and dithering modes. After a test run on paper to ensure everything was lined up properly, we etched directly onto the laptop.

    Engraving Close-Up

    The hardest part was picking out and customizing the artwork. It is permanent, and as such the task of choosing artwork made me feel like I was getting a tattoo. Because I earn my living as a Flash Developer and I spend much of my day working on my laptop, the design had to be something I was sure would stand the test of time. For that reason I decided to choose something that had a retro feel, but also a bit organic and edgy. I think that was accomplished with this design, and once the process was finished I felt I had chosen correctly.

    Engraving Close-Up 2

    A big thanks to Joe at Engrave here in Portland, Oregon for spending a few hours helping me get everything perfect. Joe posted a few photos we took (including the two above) to his Flickr account last night, and the design is already getting some great feedback.

    Update: Here's a short video I shot with my small Canon Powershot last night of the laser in action:

    [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.jonnymac.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/engraving_video.swf" height="340" width="400" /]

    Update 2: Looks like someone posted this to Digg! Also, I've gotten a few emails asking about the artwork. It is an illustration I found on iStockPhoto, which I then put a few hours into customizing. So yes, it is unique, but you can find a similar illustration on iStockPhoto.

    CS3 Icon Branding Taken To The Next Level – The Rest Of Your Apps

    CS3 Icons Doc

    The Unofficial Apple Weblog has a hilarious post about someone who changed every icon in their OSX doc to match the Adobe CS3 branded icons. A full photo can be found here, and the article (which has some guesses at which icons are for which programs) is located here.

    For more background on the subject of Adobe's CS3 icons, be sure to check out my prior post.

    iPhone to Include Flash Player

    According to Ryan Stewart and the Wall Street Journal, Flash will be pre-installed on the Apple iPhone.

    I'm surprised that I didn't see links to this flying all over MXNA yesterday, as I would think that most Flash developers would be really excited to have the ability to publish to an estimated 2 million new handheld devices within the next year. This will significantly increase the installed handheld user base, and very quickly.

    It looks like there are still some questions floating around about who exactly is developing the player/plug-in (Apple or Adobe), but this could be a great platform and might even convince me to pick one up and ditch my Treo 700w.

    [Update: Gizmodo has a post suggesting that the Flash player will be there for sure, especially since the NYTimes.com page they use for all the TV advertisements shows the Flash video player as loading just fine. Looks like a good clue to me! (via i2fly)]

    [Update 2: Mike Downey from Adobe has a good post on the subject, but as we all know now that the iPhone has actually been released: there is no Flash support. I'd bet the farm that there will be soon, however.]

    OS X Update Includes Flash Player 9.0.28

    Apple released an OS X update today (10.4.9) which among several bug fixes also includes Flash Player 9.0.28. This means that anyone on a Mac who installs the update -- which I am assuming will be most users since it automatically prompts you as soon as you reboot your machine -- will automatically have the latest version of the Flash Player installed.

    IMO this is huge because it will have a significant push on the adoption rate numbers, and will continue the push of Flex as a significant development platform.

    Hey Adobe, think Microsoft will go for something like this in one of their monthly updates? Wishful thinking anyways...

    I first read this on John Dowdell's blog, who works for Adobe.

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