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Issue 114 - Feb 1, 2012



1. Save $500 on CMS Builder 5-packs (Until Feb. 8th)
Save $500 on CMS Builder 5-packs (Until Feb. 8th)

Save 50% on any 5-pack purchase of CMS Builder for one week. Don't miss this sale, buy now and Save on purchases of 5 (each license for only $99.97!). Take advantage of a total savings of $500 off the regular CMS Builder price.

As always, this price includes free support and our 90-day, unconditional money-back guarantee. Place an order or if you have any questions, give us a call (toll free 1-800-752-0455), send an email, or post in the forum. We're always here to help you out!

2. Tech News: Best and Worst of 2011
More Tips? Tech News: Best and Worst of 2011?

January - time for the mass publication of lists - top ten lists, best-of lists, worst-of lists! Poring over the year in review can be a lot of fun, so here are some links to remind us of the best, worst, and most memorable tech stories of 2011.

Wired recounts some of 2011's biggest tech fails:
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/12/2011-tech-fails-oof/

Google reveals the top 10 searches of 2011:
http://www.cio.com/article/696589/Google_Reveals_Top_10_Searches_of_2011

C-Net weighs in on 2011's best and worst tech CEO's:
http://thenextweb.com/media/2011/12/27/the-top-ten-media-apps-of-2011/

11 days that Shaped 2011:
http://11in2011.aol.com/infographic/

Memorable moments in tech news:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2011/12/19/technology-2011-year-end-top-stories.html

So many articles, not enough time- how to choose? Some of the best tech writing from 2011:
http://www.theverge.com/2011/12/30/2667920/best-tech-writing-2011

10 Lists, 10 tech products each = 2011's CNet 100:
http://www.cnet.com/cnet100/?tag=mncol;bc

A peek ahead at 2012:
http://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/innovation/top-tech-2012

3. Smash Mental Blocks in 7 Easy Steps
Smash Mental Blocks in 7 Easy Steps I was sitting at my desk the other day, telling myself that I was researching a project (aka surfing). My goal was to write a vivid and compelling project overview that brought a client’s vision for their website to life, explained why and how their site was different from and superior to other sites in the same market, and why our software and consulting would make all the difference for them.

I understood the task, I had some good ideas, but I could not get started. I watched the clock tick steadily towards my deadline, felt my pulse start to pound a little harder as the anxiety built up in my bloodstream, but the words would not come. I would start typing a sentence only to erase it in disgust a moment later. I told myself that all I needed was some more background information, a little more research, and so I found myself jumping from link to link, reading about celebrity divorces, and watching “Boots and Cats” on youtube, - procrastination at it’s finest.

It happens to all of us - the dreaded mental block. You are programming, writing website copy, or designing a template, and you’re making good progress when suddenly - thwack! You run straight into a brick wall and you can’t think your way around, through, or over it.

We all know how good it feels when we’re in “the zone” - to be fully immersed in the work, your focus narrowed on the task at hand, and the satisfaction of complete involvement and motivation. But how to get there when you hit a block or can’t seem to start your project?

I decided to ask my colleagues here at interactivetools what tips or tricks work for them. Here are some of our favourite ways to get unstuck:

1) Go for a walk, get moving! Taking a short walk and getting a change of scenery can really help to get the ideas flowing. Fresh air helps clear out the mental cobwebs, and can provide a much-needed boost of energy.

2) Switch projects. Stay productive by spending some time on a different task, and let the problem sort itself out at the back of your mind. Engaging a different part of your brain can help you get “unstuck”.

3) Talk it out. Step away from your computer and software tools and explain or re-state the problem out loud. Verbally describing the problem to someone else will clarify your thoughts and often the answer will jump out at you, shouting “here I am”.

Sometimes the problem isn't that we don't know how to program, design, or create, but that we're actually not completely clear on what we're trying to do in the first place. Saying it out loud can bring focus to previously shadowy concepts.

4) Embrace the block: Don’t try to fight it. Find part of the project that requires the least amount brain power and creative thinking, and chip away at that. As Theo (one of our senior programmers) says, “ I just have to make progress, and then progress turns into momentum”.

5) Turn off any distractions like email or facebook and force yourself to do 5 minutes on something. Anybody can commit to 5 minutes, and once you've started you'll often get hooked and carry on.

6) Don't worry about quality - just start coding/writing/designing anything. Writers call this "Writing for the trash can". Just getting started is half the battle.

7) If all else fails switch gears and give yourself a moral boost by doing an unrelated task that has been taking up mental space, no matter how small. Clean up your desk, write out some notes on a great business idea you have, follow up with another client, etc. This will make you feel productive, allow you to tackle something on your to-do list, and free up some mental space for working on your project.

Here are some extra goodies to help you get going!

What to do when the code won’t come?
http://www.zdnet.com/news/when-programmers-can-write-no-more/109401

A novel way to cure writer’s block:
http://www.wired.com/geekdad/tag/writing/

Some cool writing prompts to help you get going:
http://writingprompts.tumblr.com/page/2

The neuroscience behind writer’s block:
http://scienceblogs.com/neurontic/2006/02/on_writers_block.php

Good Luck!
4. News from the Forum
News from the Forum

Jason also explains how to output category links automatically:
http://www.interactivetools.com/forum/gforum.cgi?post=91870#91870

Some example code to display archive date links to records with month and year:
http://www.interactivetools.com/forum/gforum.cgi?post=65421#65421

A tip by Jason to use the 'allowSearch' => false, code on pages with multiple section content to prevent results from being filtered by search queries:
http://www.interactivetools.com/forum/gforum.cgi?post=91876#91876

Add on simple line of code to show the number of records per category - example: Rentals (45) :
http://www.interactivetools.com/forum/gforum.cgi?post=91846#91846

5. Developers Resources & Useful Links
Developers Resources & Useful Links

Android Style Guide for Apps::
http://developer.android.com/design/index.html

When and where to use HTML5::
http://www.webmonkey.com/2012/01/html5-please-helps-you-decided-which-parts-of-html5-and-css-3-to-use/

New computer in the house? Add a new programmer to the family:
http://kidsruby.com/

Are you impressed with the quality of the home video you've shot with your smartphone? How about making a feature-length film?:
http://thenextweb.com/video/2011/12/27/olive-the-first-cinema-film-shot-on-smartphone-but-will-it-democratize-hollywood/

Curious about Google+ but not sure how to get started? Check out these tips for beginners:
http://www.cio.com/article/685930/10_Google_Tips_for_Beginners?page=1#slideshow

Have you ever wondered why is Mozilla called Mozilla?
http://www.webmonkey.com/2012/01/the-curious-case-of-web-browser-names/

That's all for now. If you have links to suggest for the newsletter, send them to me.

Thanks!


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