Monthly Archives: August 2008

7 Useful Google Talk Bots That You Must Add as Friends

Written by Amit Agarwal

google-talk-botsYou can do lot of interesting stuff with Google Talk like get alert notifications, save bookmarks to delicious, manage web calendars, set reminders, write blogs, and so much more.

Such features can be easily integrated into Google Talk through ‘bots’ which, in simple English, are like virtual friends who are online 24×7 and will always respond with a smile to your questions or requests.

Here are some of the most useful ‘bots’ that transform Google Talk into a more useful program:

feeds 1. [email protected] – Add this IM Feeds bot as your Google Talk buddy and you’ll be able to read any blog or website that syndicates content via RSS feeds.

To subscribe to a website in GTalk, simply send a new IM message that says “sub” where is the address of the website / blog you want to read inside Google Talk.

friendfeed2. [email protected] – This secret bot lets you post to FriendFeed from Google Talk. You may submit either hyperlinks or text messages.

3. [email protected] – This imified bot turns Google Talk into a real powerhouse.

imifiedYou can post bookmarks to delicious, send messages to Twitter, submit blog entries to WordPress, Tumblr or Blogger, manage events in Google Calendar, shorten long URLs, run whois and so on.

anothr 4. [email protected] – Like IM Feeds, iNezha bot helps you read feeds inside Google Talk but this is slightly more versatile. For instance, you can simply say “digg” and it will show a list of all feeds that match that search term so you don’t have to type (or copy-paste) feed addresses.

translation 5. Translation – This is a free service from Google that helps you translate words from a foreign language into your native language. Just add the relevant bot (e.g. [email protected] for Hindi to English or [email protected] for English to Hindi) as your buddy, send him a message and it will get translated instantly.

alarm 6. Set Task Reminders – If you need to remember something important, Google Talk can send you reminders for that event.

Just add timer to your Twitter friend’s list and then add [email protected] to your buddy list in Gtalk. Now if you want to get a reminder after 50 minutes, send a direct message to twitter like “d timer 50 pick kids from school” and a reminder will automatically pop up in your Google Talk after 50 minutes.

7. Transliteration – If you want to chat in your mother tongue (like Hindi or Tamil) but feel more comfortable using the English keyboard, Google Transliteration bot will come in handy.

For instance, add [email protected] to you friend’s list in GTalk and all messages you type in English will get transliterated in the language of your choice. Available only for a few Indian languages.

The 5 Best Free File Hosting Services To Store Your Files

Written by AN Jay

People have a love and hate relationship with file hosting sites. Some file hosting sites are really handy and make sharing data even simpler than sending a file via email while other services spam you with countless pop ups and forced membership options to simply download a file.

Here is a list of some great file hosting sites that make uploading and sharing files a cakewalk.

You are welcome to share if you know more free file hosting services which our readers/viewers may like.

File Savr – Free File Hosting

File Savr makes file hosting easier with Web 2.0 technology and the use of Ajax and Flash. FileSavr has 10 GB upload size limit, currently the largest available on the internet. This allows users the flexibility to upload any large file of 10 GB or less.

File Factory – free and simple file hosting service

File Factory

FileFactory lets you host files up to 300MB for free. You don’t have to register and there is nothing to download. Your files can be downloaded an unlimited number of times! One thing we found very annoying and spammy about FileFactory was the number of ads they have on the page.

FileDen – Free file hosting and online storage

File Den

With File Den’s free file hosting and online storage service it’s easy to share files across the internet with friends, family, work associates or anyone else. They allow our users to direct link to their files also giving you the oppurtunity to embed your files into your webpages, myspace or other social networking profiles.

Fileqube – Free Online Storage


Fileqube has an eye-pleasing design that shows its intentions well. When you upload a personal file it gives you a download link, a link to remove the file, and embed code to drop your file’s link on a website. The only downside is the 150MB file size, which is rather small with some of the other sites in comparison.

File Dropper – Free File Hosting for MP3, Videos, Documents

File dropper

FileDropper’s beauty is in its simplicity. It has one click file hosting where you simply click on the upload button and select your file. After the file is uploaded you are taken to the page where the file is hosted. If the file is an image, it shows the image directly on the page for easier sharing. Upload size is an impressive 5 GB.

75 Adobe Fireworks Extensions-It is better than Photoshop

Written by speckyboy

We all know how powerful and how great Adobe Photoshop is, we know that all the best graphic designers use it, we also know that Photoshop when mastered lets you create amazing art.

Update SymbolsSadly, we also know it is very, very expensive. Its also very difficult for the novice to master and it takes a hell of a lot of your PC/MACs precious memory and storage. What is the answer?
The answer is Adobe Fireworks CS3, Photoshops lesser used and lesser known little brother. Its far cheaper, easier to learn and reasonably light weight. But, can it be as powerful? Of course, it can. Just like Photoshop the volume of extensions available are extensive, and with the correct extensions can be almost as powerful.
So, what are you waiting? Give Adobe Fireworks a try, I promise, you won’t go back.

I started using Adobe Fireworks a long long time ago, I also use other software (Photoshop, Illustrator…), but have always fallen back on trusty Adobe Fireworks (I miss Macromedia, remember them).
I started collecting extensions, spending many hours scowering the web, with the intention of making Fireworks as powerful as Photoshop. Some will certainly improve your productivity, some are so useful you couldn’t live without, others a little pointless, but a hell of a lot of fun to play about with.

This article came about because of lack of time to maintain my Fireworks site (FW Extensions), I hadn’t gone near it for a couple of months and I had recieved over 11,000 spammed comments, and I just thought, I can’t be bothered. Apologies to anyone that used the site.

Anyway here are below the best 75 Adobe Fireworks Extensions (MXP), nearly all are compatabile with Fireworks MX, 8 and CS3 (and quite a few with Fireworks 3 and 4).

Update Symbols

Update SymbolsImporting symbols from another file is one of Fireworks’ most powerful functions. But if you have a lot of files that use imported symbols, it can be a hassle to update them in every file. The Update Symbols extension lets you batch-update the imported symbols in multiple files with just one step.
Running the extension displays the “Files to Open” dialog. In this dialog’s “Files to Process” menu you can choose to update all of the open files, some or all of the files in the Project Log, or a manual selection of files. To select the files manually, click the … button to display a file selection dialog. Use ctrl and shift to select multiple files. When you’re done, click Done, and then OK.
The command will open each selected file in turn, update its symbols, save it, close it, re-open it, save it again, and then close it one last time. The double open and save is necessary to force the preview that’s saved in the PNG file to be in sync with the updated symbols.
Download: Fireworks Log from source ( ).


HarmoniaHarmonia generates harmonious color schemes with ease. Simply select a color from the color spectrum and Harmonia gives you its complementary, split-complementary, triad and analogous colors.
Great color picker.
Note: This is an extension I downloaded a while back, when I try to visit its homepage its a dead link. If anyone can help, so I can give credit.
Download: Harmonia 1.0 (Source: Project Fireworks).

Color Glow v.2.2.1

Version 2.2.1 adds a Flash GUI, and a more accurate control of the effect to be applied on the selected image, to the previous version, which, with “Soft Glamour”, has been featured as one of the best Fireworks extension on September 2002 issue of Computer Arts Special. “Color Glow” is a non-destructive image effect for Fireworks MX that can be employed to colorize and glow selected part of an image.
Download: Color Glow v.2.2.1 (Source: Aftershape).

Extrude Paths

Extrude PathExtrudes a single selected vector path vertically at a specified height. This does not alter the original path but, instead, creates 2 new objects representing the extrusion: 1) a copy of the original as the cap or top of the extrusion (the original remains in its place at the bottom of the extrusion) and 2) a group of paths making up the extrusion walls.
Note: depth sorting for the extrusion wall paths is not perfect due to varying sizes of paths. After extruding, you may need to manually adjust arrangement for more accurate results. Also, complicated paths (such as paths converted from text) could cause slow results.
Run Extrude Path from your Commands > Paths menu.
Download: Extrude Path (Source: Senocular).

Kinesis v.1.0.1

Kinesis Kinesis allows you to copy or move an object-based selection, using Cartesian or Polar coordinates in a relative or absolute manner. The package includes a user’s manual in PDF.
Note: This is an extension I downloaded a while back, when I try to visit its homepage its a dead link. If anyone can help, so I can give credit.
Download: Kinesis 1.0.1 (Source: Project Fireworks).

Watermark 1.0

Watermark 1.0 ScreenshotWatermark 1.0 is a Fireworks command which allows watermarking with 4 main features : position, message, date and time.
1. Watermark position: Watermark gives you the choice between 9 positions in your file.
2. Name: can be a message, name, symbols or text you want to insert.
3. Date formats: you can select either the European format : Date/Month/Year or the American format: Month/Day/Year.
4. Time formats: you can select to insert: hour : month :second or hour :minute or just hour.
5. Preview window: in Arial 12 black.
6. Close button: close the command which tells Fireworks to keep the changes.
7. Apply button: click Apply and it creates the watermark as set by the Commands options.
8. Watermark order : name-date-time or date-time-name or time-date-name.
9. 2 type of separators or line by line : dash or comma separators or each information on one line.
10. In features 2,3 and 4 you can hide or display: text, date and time with a checkbox.
Download: Watermark 1.0 (Source: Fireworks Zone).

Simple Link

Simple LinkSimple Linked Selection is panel allowing you to add simple object linking functionality into Fireworks. What it does is, when enabled, allows you to add links between a selection of objects so that when one object is selected, the other objects linked with that object become selected too effectively having the images “linked.
Download: Simple Link (Source:


Annotations ScreenshotThis Annotations panel lets you view and edit simple text annotations for any fireworks PNG document and any individual object within it. When an object is selected annotations are displayed for that object. When no object is selected, document annotations are shown.
Plus icon [+] saves an annotation*
The Minus icon [-] clears the current annotation
*Note annotations can only be added to a single selection or no selection (document) and not multiple selections (in other words, to add an annotation to a selection, make sure you have only one object in that selection; a multiple object selection will not save).
** Warning: With auto update applied (annotations update for selections as they are selected, FMX 2004) you may experience problems when working with some tools. The option for disabling this has been added to help get around those issues. With auto update off, you can manually obtain a selection’s annotations using the Update button.
Download: Annotations (Source: aftershape).

Select Points

Select Points ScreenshotTo manipulate vectors with a high degree of control it’s often necessary to subselect individual points on the path. But selecting lots of individual points on a complicated path can be awkward, especially if it’s hard to use the marquee to select them. The commands in this extension can reduce the amount of clicking required to select those points.
Four of the commands will select all the points on the top, bottom, left or right half of the path: Select Points – Top, Select Points – Bottom, etc. This can be helpful when you want to resize the path in one dimension by moving half of its points.
Compound paths with interior holes present a special challenge. It’s possible to move an interior hole by selecting all the points on it, but doing this over and over becomes tiresome. The Select Points – All command simplifies matters. If you subselect just one of the points on the interior hole’s path and run the command, all the other points on the path will be selected as well. You can do this with multiple objects at the same time.
Download: Select Points (Source: John Dunning).

DistriFusion FW8

Distrifusion Box ScreenshotDistriFusion FW8 is an innovative command to help you organize your objects which are inside your documents’ layers. Its two main features is to distribute and to combine objects. DistriFusion FW8 can be used with Fireworks 8 (and lower versions) and with Fireworks CS3. What does DistriFusion do?
Let’s take a Fireworks document with 5 objects (on different layers or not) DistriFusion FW8 will take all objects or those selected and create 5 new documents with one object per document. That is the Distribute feature.
On the other hand, if you have 5 documents with one object per document with DitriFusion you can re-group or combine the 5 documents into one with 5 objects in it. Multilingual application
DistriFusion FW8 is a multilingual application that displays the appropriate language strings depending on the Fireworks language. For example, with the English version of Fireworks you will get the English version of DistriFusion FW8. So far, it has been translated in 4 languages: English, French, Japanese and Spanish. Support
Inside the zip file you will find an MXP file with a comprehensive and illutrated Instruction Manual included.
Download: Distrifusion FW8 (Source: Fireworks Zone).

Crop Assistant v.1.0.0

Crop AssistantCrop Assistant enables precise but flexible cropping of objects or the canvas.
Download: Crop Asst Zip(Source: Project Fireworks).

Twist and Fade

Twist and FadeTwist and Fade 3.1.1 is an interim release to fix a couple of issues that were raised after Fireworks MX was shipped. These changes are to allow a greater granularity regarding slider control. Updates include Dual Direction Sliders allowing input via the slider or the keyboard for increased control of output, and faster algorithms for the preview pane (85% to be exact). This means overall performance of the command has been ramped up by ~60%.
Download: Twist and Fade (Source: Phireworks).

BEND 1.0.2

Bend distorts a path by adding a bloated or spiked effect to it. It offers enough variation controls for maximum creative freedom. This package includes a user’s manual in PDF.
Download: BEND 1.0.2 (Source


Allows direct resizing of the canvas for those times when you run out of screen real estate.
Download:CANVAS SQUEEZER. (Source


This package consists of two commands, one of which increases the font size of the selected text block(s) by 2, and other which decreases it. If the text block consists of multiple sizes, then the size of each run is increased or decreased by 2. So if your text block contains text with sizes of 12, 18, and 14 when you run “Text Size – Increase by 2?, then afterwards the sizes would be 14, 20, and 16. You can run the command repeatedly to keep increasing or decreasing the font size.

These commands will be more convenient if you assign a keyboard shortcut to them.
Download: CHANGE TEXT SIZE 1.0.1. (Source:


Are you tired of selecting your favorite commands from the Commands menu? Don’t want to create a keyboard shortcut for each one? Well, then, the Commands panel is for you. It’s a toolbar that provides one-click access to your commands. Switch to the “All” tab to find a list of all of your installed commands. Click a command to run it, or add it to your favorites list by clicking its star icon. Then switch to the favorites tab, where you’ll find a shorter list of starred commands. Pretty simple, but pretty convenient, too.
Download: COMMANDS / PANEL 1.2.1. (Source:


Fireworks is great because you can create lots of individual objects on multiple layers and then easily export a single merged image. But what if you want to simply copy the flattened pixels onto the clipboard and then paste them into another application?
You could export the image, open the file, select all, and then do the copy, but that’s not very convenient if you’re modifying your image a lot and have to copy each change. Or, you could select all the objects in you document and then copy, but only objects on unlocked layers get copied that way, forcing you to unlock every layer first.
With just one step, the Copy Merged command copies onto the clipboard the entire document as a flattened image. It even copies the objects on locked layers, without affecting your document.
If you want to copy just a portion of your image, first select an object that encompasses the area you want to copy, and then run the command. Slices work well for this purpose. Copy Merged will copy only the area covered by the selected object.
Download: COPY MERGED 1.0.0.(Source:


Envious of Dreamweaver’s Site panel? Wish Fireworks MX had something like Photoshop 7’s image browser? While far from complete, this panel is a step in that direction. File Explorer offers a view of your files that’s similar to Dreamweaver MX’s Site panel. When you’ve found a file you want to open, just double-click it, select it and click the Open button, or press return.
This command panel is still very much a work-in-progress (as denoted by its 0.6 version number). Its biggest current limitation is that there’s no way to refresh the file view-you have to close and reopen the panel. It also works only on Windows, but Mac support is coming.
Download: FILE EXPLORER 0.6.0. (Source:


Have you ever wanted to select several objects, each with a different stroke color, and change all of their stroke widths to a new value? If you try this with the Properties panel, you’ll find that all of the selected objects get the same stroke width, but also that their other stroke properties are changed to identical values as well. This is generally not what you want, but unfortunately, the only way to avoid this bug is to change each object’s stroke width invidually.
That’s where the Fill and Stroke Utilities come in. Choose Commands > Stroke > S – Width, enter a new stroke width in the dialog box, and each selected object’s stroke width will be set to that value-without affecting the other stroke attributes. This package contains a separate command for each stroke and fill attribute in the Properties panel. There are also shortcuts to some of the commonly used stroke types, like Soft Rounded and Hard Line.


Fill Handles Assistant allows precise and easy manipulation of fill handles.

Download: FILL HANDLES ASSISTANT 1.1.0. (Source:


Fireworks has a dauntingly powerful JavaScript API, and and understanding it all can take quite a lot of work. To try out a new function, you have to write a little command script that uses it, put the script in the Commands folder, run it, tweak it, run it again, etc. I used to find myself writing a lot of commands in the form of “alert(Files.getDirectory(dom.filePathForSave))” to see what kind of data these functions would return.
Well, the Fireworks Console simplifies this process considerably. Instead of writing and running an entire command, you can simply type code snippets into a Fireworks panel and immediately see the output. It’s a little like having a command line prompt for Fireworks. You could even ignore the GUI altogether and create your web graphics via JavaScript (not that I’d recommend it).
Using the console is straightforward. Type JavaScript in the Code field, press Execute or type ctrl-Enter, and the code’s return value is displayed in the Results field. Pretty much any JavaScript is valid, including comments, if-then’s, for-loops, etc. Two variables have already been defined for you: “dom” is equivalent to “fw.getDocumentDOM()” and “sel” is equivalent to “fw.selection”.
Be careful not to write code that might return a lot of information, such as simply entering “dom”. It may take several seconds to transfer all the data from Fireworks to the Flash panel. And don’t do something silly like writing an infinite loop. You’ll have to force-quit Fireworks if you do.
The Fireworks Console is still very much a work in progress, hence the 0.1.0 version number. But I hope you find it useful nonetheless.
Download: FIREWORKS CONSOLE 0.1.0. (Source:


While the rounded rectangle tool is handy, it’s not very flexible. Once you’ve created a rectangle with rounded corners, you can’t easily resize the rectangle without distorting the rounded corners. You can scale the rectangle proportionally, but what if you want to change the rectangle’s proportions? You can sub-select the corner points and drag them to a new position, but that’s an awkward solution. You can also grab the rectangle’s corner points, but they’re hard to click on, and resizing the rectangle that way changes the radius of the corners.
This command eliminates these problems by fixing distorted rounded corners. After you create a rounded rectangle, adjust the Roundness value to set the corners to the desired size. Then use the Scale tool to freely resize the rectangle, or use the Info panel to change the size numerically. (If you subselect the corners and move them or just drag a single corner, then this command will have no effect.)
After resizing the rounded rectangle (and thereby distorting its rounded corners), select it and run this command. The rectangle’s corners will be re-rounded according to their original pixel radius. The Roundness percentage will be different, since the rectangle’s size has changed. You can select more than one rectangle and run this command on all of them. You may find it convenient to assign a keyboard shortcut to the command.


Working with lots of frames and layers can be tedious, because many frame and layer menu commands that you perform over and over again don’t have keyboard shortcuts. And other actions, like hiding a layer on every frame, aren’t supported at all by Fireworks’ built-in tools.

The scripts in the Frame and Layer Utilities extension are intended to remedy this situation. Many of them, such as L – Rename (rename the current layer) or F – Duplicate (duplicate the current frame), simply replicate existing functionality. Their only advantage is that they enable you to create shortcuts for these actions through the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog, which doesn’t list their built-in equivalents.
Other commands offer completely new functionality. For instance, L – Hide in Other Frames, hides the current layer in every frame except the current one. In a document with many frames, this is an otherwise very tedious process. With L – Delete Visible, you can quickly delete all of the visible layers, instead of doing it one by one.
Download: FRAME LAYER UTILITIES 1.0.0. (Source:


Knife Assistant allows pecision-cuts with the Knife tool.
Download: KNIFE ASSISTANT 1.0.0. (Source:


The “Distribute to Frames” command will distribute the selected elements to frames, one element per frame. But how do you undo this operation? With the “Frames – Merge Back-Front” command. This extension performs the inverse of “Distribute to Frames”: it merges all the frames in the document on to one frame, putting the contents of the last frame on top. The remaining frames are deleted.
The “Frames – Merge Front-Back” command does the same thing, but puts the contents of the first frame on the top, and that of the last frame on the bottom.
Download: MERGE FRAMES 1.0.1. (Source:


The Patterns and Textures panel displays installed patterns and textures in a scrollable interface allowing for easy selection.


The Pinwheel Auto Shape creates a “Pinwheel” consisting of 2 to 16 consecutive spirals placed revolved around a common center. It consists of 5 control points to control size (inner and outer radius), rotation, spiral count, spiral style (solid, checker, and wire which can be cycled through by clicking the Style and Count control point) and spiral curvature. As an additional feature, you can use the sub select tool to alter the path of the primary spiral (the one previewed when altering the shape that is formed between the control points) and have all other consecutive spirals mimic the change. Altering the shape with control points after doing this will undo the effects
Download: PINWHEEL AUTO SHAPE. (Source:


This command lets you resize a bitmap using 9-slice scaling. Before running this command, you need to define your slice grid using the marquee tool. A single rectangular shape drawn using the marquee tool represents the boundries used by the scaling process. With the marquee applied, run this command to provide new size values in either or both width and height.
Download: RESIZE 9-SLICE BITMAP. (Source:


This panel ships with Fireworks MX, so you should already have it. Resize Selected Objects lets you make precise, single-pixel adjustments to the size of a selected object without using the Scale tool. It resizes each selected object independently, which the Scale tool cannot do.



To manipulate vectors with a high degree of control it’s often necessary to subselect individual points on the path. But selecting lots of individual points on a complicated path can be awkward, especially if it’s hard to use the marquee to select them. The commands in this extension can reduce the amount of clicking required to select those points.
Four of the commands will select all the points on the top, bottom, left or right half of the path: Select Points – Top, Select Points – Bottom, etc. This can be helpful when you want to resize the path in one dimension by moving half of its points.
Compound paths with interior holes present a special challenge. It’s possible to move an interior hole by selecting all the points on it, but doing this over and over becomes tiresome. The Select Points – All command simplifies matters. If you subselect just one of the points on the interior hole’s path and run the command, all the other points on the path will be selected as well. You can do this with multiple objects at the same time.
Download: SELECT POINTS 1.0.0. (Source:


A nice and simple Smart Shape creating a glassy orb, with control over shadow opacity, base color, overlay color and globe shadow color.
Download: SIMPLE ORB. (Source:


A persistent panel for inspecting, resizing, and rotating selected objects or selected vector points. Values can be specified as being absolute or relative. Objects can be transformed as a group or individually. For more information about the panel and its functions, click on the help icon located at the top right of the panel.

Download: TRANSFORM PANEL. (Source:


Twister provides highly configurable means of rotating paths, resulting in practical convinience and creative freedom. The package includes a user’s manual in PDF.
Download: TWISTER 1.0.4. (Source:


The (perhaps unfortunately named) Wedgie command breaks the selected object into 2 or more wedges. This can be handy if you need to create, say, 4 rounded corners for a table frame by splitting a circle into 4 parts. The wedges are centered on the middle of the selected object. If you select several objects, they are merged into a single bitmap that is then sliced into wedges. The wedges always start at the 12:00 position and then work their way around the object clockwise.
Note that the selected object is deleted in the process of breaking it into wedges, so you may want to clone it before running the command.
Download: WEDGIE 1.0.0. (Source:

Another 41 Smaller Extensions…

Fillet ( .zip” onclick=”javascript:urchinTracker(‘/file/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/fireworks3_4/_br_/’);”>Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
FireFrame (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Paste In Place (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Curvia (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Duplicate Path Segments (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Reflect (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Center Vertically or Horizontally in
(Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Repeat History Steps (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Open and Close Path (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Convert Selection to Symbols (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Guides On Anchor (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Precise Circle (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Dynamic Canvas (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Resize Rectangle (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Knife Tools (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Make Rectangle From Selection (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Anchor Power Tools (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Round Bitmap Corners (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
360 Text Loop (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Add Arrowhead (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Anchor Power Tools (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Animate Opacity (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Append (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Auto Slice (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Bend Path (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Canvas Sizes (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Close All Documents (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Center Vertical Horizontal In Document (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Convert Selection To Symbols (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Dotted Line (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Draw Path From Points (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Edit Rectangle Corners (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Edit Rectangle Corners In Pixels (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Fade Live Effects (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Export To Director (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8. Guides Pack (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Mirror (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
MotionGuide (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
Mirror (Download Zip File). Fireworks 3, 4, MX and 8.
MotionGuide (Download Zip File)

Some Excellent Adobe Fireworks Links

John Dunning Extensions (“>
Fireworks Zone: Fireworks news and resource site. (“>
Phireworx: Fireworks and Flash resource site with forum and downloads. (“> Fireworks (“> Everything Fireworks and Flash. (“>
Official Adobe Fireworks Page. (“>
Adobe Fireworks Latest News. (“>…news.html).
Official Adobe Fireworks Page. (“>

Now, honestly, after all these extensions tell me I am wrong!!!

10 Principles of the CSS Masters

Written by Glen Stansberry

When it comes to CSS, there are lots of resources and supposed “expert tips” on the web. These are from unproven, self-proclaimed “gurus” who have no street cred in the design world. While they may have valid points, how is one to know whether a CSS tip is a valid resource or just an untested hack?

Instead of relying on unknown sources for advice, let’s look deeply into designers who have excellent design backgrounds and have walked the walk. These CSS tips are gathered from some of the most respected designers on the planet. They have the portfolios to back their advice up, so you’ll know that each tidbit of advice is of the highest quality.

Below are 10 excellent principles that any web developer or designer can find useful, meaningful, or challenging. Consider this sage advice from journeymen (and women) who have walked the long, hard road of design excellence. These are the true masters of CSS. Drink deep from their knowledge and take their wisdom on your next designing adventure.

1. Keep CSS simple – Peter-Paul Koch

What bothers me most about the mindset of CSS hackers is that they are actively searching for complicated solutions. Seek and ye shall be found, if you want complexity it’ll take you by the throat. It’ll never let go of you, and it won’t help you, either.

Peter-Paul Koch is a godfather of web development. While he’s an old-school developer and the bulk of his web portfolio was between 1998-2002, he’s worked with the likes of Apple and other heavyweights. He’s written a book on javascript, but don’t think for a second he doesn’t have anything to say about CSS.

The danger of CSS hacks

Koch has addressed something that every designer and web developer should follow with zeal: Keep your CSS simple. Simplicity is a hard thing to achieve, especially in CSS design. There are a myriad of CSS hacks that one can find for making all browsers look the same, regardless of version or type. Yet there’s a fundamental flaw with using many CSS hacks. As web browsers evolve, it’s much harder to keep up with the changes.

Koch makes an interesting point about developing for the web. The Internet as as whole is a very unpredictable place, and trying to second-guess the way it will work in the future is a very bad strategy.

The Web is an uncertain place. You’ll never be sure that your Web sites will work in the exact way you want them to work, not even when you apply all modern insights from CSS, accessibility and usability. Instead of seeking false comfort in hacks that seem all the more comfortable because of their complexity, you should accept uncertainty as a basic principle.

Browsers don’t have perfect CSS support; especially for people who’ve just started learning CSS, that can be infuriating. Nonetheless CSS hacks are not the solution. Acceptance of the way the Web currently works is the best way to go because it’ll keep your sites simple.

Peter-Paul has hit on something that rings true for not only CSS, but for web development as a whole. Simplicity is key for efficiency in coding.

2. Keep CSS declarations in one line – Jonathan Snook

Jonathan Snook is an incredibly popular designer from Ottawa, Canada who’s made his name in web standards and design. He’s spoken at prestigious conferences like SXSW and has published quite a few technical resources on design through Sitepoint.

One of Jonathan’s tenants to coding CSS is to keep declarations in one line.

The second one may look prettier but it sure doesn’t help me find anything. When looking for something in a style sheet, the most important thing is the ruleset (that’s the part before the { and } ). I’m looking for an element, an id or a class. Having everything on one line makes scanning the document much quicker as you simply see more on a page. Once I’ve found the ruleset I was looking for, find the property I want is usually straightforward enough as there are rarely that many.

Jonathan goes on to give an example for single line declarations that looks like this:


{font-size:18px; border:1px solid blue; color:#000; background-color:#FFF;}


h2 {
border:1px solid blue;

Not only does this approach help with quickly scanning your CSS, it also helps in keeping your CSS file smaller by removing unneeded spaces and characters.

3. Use CSS shorthand – Roger Johansson

Most people know about and use some shorthand, but many don’t make full use of these space saving properties.

Roger Johansson knows a thing or two about designing for the web. The Swedish web designer has been working on the Internet since 1994, and has a popular web design blog. When it comes to simple and elegant solutions, Roger is one of the most knowledgeable in his field.

Johansson has a very in-depth article on the importance of CSS shorthand, and gives quite a few examples of how to use it while coding CSS. Here’s an example:

Using shorthand for these properties can save a lot of space. For example, to specify different margins for all sides of a box, you could use this: margin-top:1em; margin-right:0; margin-bottom:2em; margin-left:0.5em; But this is much more efficient: margin:1em 0 2em 0.5em; The same syntax is used for the padding property.

While CSS shorthand reduces the size of the stylesheet, it also helps organize and keep the code simple. Beautiful CSS is simple CSS.

4. Allow block elements to fill space naturally – Jonathan Snook

Mr. Snook has another piece of crucial advice that every web developer should live by: allow block elements to fill space organically. If there’s one recurring theme in CSS development, it’s to not force the code to do things it isn’t meant for. This means avoiding CSS hacks and finding the simplest solution possible.

My rule of thumb is, if I set a width, I don’t set margin or padding. Likewise, if I’m setting a margin or padding, I don’t set a width. Dealing with the box model can be such a pain, especially if you’re dealing with percentages. Therefore, I set the width on the containers and then set margin and padding on the elements within them. Everything usually turns out swimmingly.

Jonathan’s rule of thumb is great for ensuring that your layouts won’t break and that the simplest approach is used when creating layouts with block elements.

5. Set a float to clear a float – Trevor Davis

Floating is probably one of the most important things to understand with CSS, but knowing how to clear floats is necessary too.

Trevor Davis may not be as big of a name as Zeldman or Snook in the design world, he surely deserves some mention just based on his excellent portfolio of web layouts. His blog is an excellent resource for any web developer wanting to brush up on his design chops.

Clearing floats

In Trevor’s flagship article The 6 Most Important CSS Techniques You Need To Know, he’s added a nugget that can save many headaches when using columns in your layouts.

I have created a simple page with two floating columns next to each other. You will notice in the example that the grey background does not contain the floating columns. So, the easiest thing to do is to set the containing element to float. But now, you will see that the container background doesn’t contain the content area.

Since the container has margin: 0 auto, we do not want to float it because it will move it to whichever side we float it. So another way to clear the float, is to insert a clearing element. In this case, I just use an empty p set to clear: both. Now, there are other ways to clear a float without markup, but I have noticed some inconsistencies with that technique, so I just sacrifice an empty p.

6. Use negative margins – Dan Cederholm

Sometimes it’s easier to deal with the exception to the rule, rather than add declarations for all other elements around it.

Dan Cederholm’s company SimpleBits is a powerhouse of a design company. Dan’s worked with the likes of:

  • Google
  • Blogger
  • MTV
  • Fast Company

… and many other high-profile web companies. Fortunately, Dan passes on some of the knowledge he’s learned working with these massive names on his blog at SimpleBits. Here’s a rule of thumb for you web designers and developers: If Dan Cederholm says anything, you listen. Think of him as a digital sherpa, guiding you to the crest of your design mountain.

Negative margins

While it may seem counterintuitive to put a negative in front of any declaration (like margin-left: -5px), it’s actually quite a good idea. Mr. Cedarholm explains that using negative margins on elements are sometimes easier than having to change every other aspect of the design to make it align they way you want.

There are situations when using negative margins on an element can be the easiest way to “nudge” it out from the rest, treating the exception to the rule in order to simplifiy code.

You can see his example of proper negative margin usage here.

7. Use CSS to center layouts – Dan Cederholm

“How do I center a fixed-width layout using CSS?” For those that know, it’s simple. For those that don’t, finding the two necessary rules to complete the job can be frustrating.

It’s no surprise that Dan is going to make this list twice. Centered layouts are on the surface a very simple idea, but for some reason they don’t always work as easily as advertised. Centering layouts with CSS can be a frustrating endeavor for a beginner if they’ve never tried it before.

Dan’s got a tried-and-true method that he uses frequently to achieve centered-layout nirvana.

#container { margin: 0 auto; width: xxxpx; text-align: left; }

Many modern designs rely on centered layouts, so using this method will at some point come in handy for web developers and designers.

8. Use the right DOCTYPE – Jeffrey Zeldman

You’ve written valid XHTML and CSS. You’ve used the W3C standard Document Object Model (DOM) to manipulate dynamic page elements. Yet, in browsers designed to support these very standards, your site is failing. A faulty DOCTYPE is likely to blame.

Jeffrey Zeldman is one of the co-founders of the excellent resource site A List Apart, co-founded and ran The Web Standards Project, runs the Happy Cog design studio, and even wrote the book on designing for web standards. In short, Zeldman is in the upper-echelon of web designers.

DOCTYPE misunderstanding

The DOCTYPE of a web page is one of the most overlooked aspects of design. Using the right DOCTYPE is crucial, and Zeldman explains why.

Using an incomplete or outdated DOCTYPE-or no DOCTYPE at all-throws these same browsers into “Quirks” mode, where the browser assumes you’ve written old-fashioned, invalid markup and code per the depressing industry norms of the late 1990s.

Zeldman stresses the importance of a) actually using a DOCTYPE, and points out that you have to add an url in the declaration like so:

If you’re finding unexplained problems with your layouts, odds are the DOCTYPE could be the problem.

9. Center Items with CSS – Wolfgang Bartelme

Centering items is a frequent task when designing websites. But for people that are new to CSS it’s mostly kind of enigma how to center for example a whole website in browsers other than IE.

Wolfgang Bartelme is a web designer with Bartelme design, a web design firm. Bartelme has one of the most elegantly-designed blogs, and continually creates excellent icon and design work. He’s done design work for the blogging platform Squarespace, as well as the popular software event MacHeist.

Wolfgang has created a tutorial that helps with the complicated task of centering elements with CSS. Centered elements are insanely useful, but are sometimes hard to achieve given the design. Bartelme’s tutorial ensures centered alignment by choosing the right DOCTYPE and making adding his CSS voodoo. The code nothing fancy and gets the job done, and falls directly in line with striving for simplicity in CSS.

10. Utilize text-transform commands – Trenton Moss

Trenton Moss knows web usability. He has his own web usability company that trains people in usability training and web writing. He also writes for sites like Sitepoint. Trenton gives excellent tips based on his experience as a web usability expert.

It’s a simple fact that designs change over time, especially in the way text is displayed on websites. The best thing a web designer can do is plan for the future to make sure that instead of having to manually change the way text is displayed, it’s best to use CSS to change the appearance of the text. Trenton Moss shows us how to achieve this through the use of a simple, underused CSS command called text-transfom.

One of the lesser known, but really useful CSS commands is the text-transform command. Three of the more common values for this rule are: text-transform: uppercase, text-transform: lowercase and text-transform: capitalize. The first rule turns all characters into capital letters, the second turns them all into small letters, and the third makes the first letter of each word a capital letter.

By using CSS to display the appearance of text on the site, it allows for change in the future and keeps things consistent over time.

This command is incredibly useful to help ensure consistency in style across an entire Website, particularly if it has a number of content editors. Say for example your style guide dictates that words in headings must always begin with capital letters. To ensure that this is always the case, use text-transform: capitalize. Even if site editors forget about the capitalisation, their mistake won’t show up on the Website.

While text-transform is a small thing to add to add to a css layout, it can make a world of difference in the future when changes need to be made.

Glen Stansberry is a web developer and blogger who’s struggled more times than he’d wish to admit with CSS. You can read more tips on web development at his blog Web Jackalope.

101 Atheist Quotes

Written by The Atheist Blogger

The following 101 quotes are some that I have stumbled upon on the web, or seen in books / popular culture. Each quote was either written by an atheist, or is about atheism in general.

  1. The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality. – George Bernard Shaw
  2. Faith means not wanting to know what is true. – Friedrich Nietzsche
  3. I believe in God, only I spell it Nature. – Frank Lloyd Wright
  4. We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes. – Gene Roddenberry
  5. To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today. – Isaac Asimov
  6. A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows. – Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)
  7. Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. – Seneca the Younger
  8. Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. – Anonymous
  9. Not only is there no god, but try getting a plumber on weekends. – Woody Allen
  10. If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul. – Isaac Asimov
  11. Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination. – Edward Abbey
  12. With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. – Steven Weinberg
  13. I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence. – Doug McLeod
  14. The world holds two classes of men – intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence. – Abu’l?Ala al Ma’arri
  15. Since the Bible and the church are obviously mistaken in telling us where we came from, how can we trust them to tell us where we are going? – Anonymous
  16. I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. – Susan B. Anthony
  17. The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike. – Delos B. McKown
  18. Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer. – Anonymous
  19. Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation; all of which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, even if religion vanished; but religious superstition dismounts all these and erects an absolute monarchy in the minds of men. – Francis Bacon
  20. The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. – Richard Dawkins
  21. A God who kept tinkering with the universe was absurd; a God who interfered with human freedom and creativity was tyrant. If God is seen as a self in a world of his own, an ego that relates to a thought, a cause separate from its effect. he becomes a being, not Being itself. An omnipotent, all?knowing tyrant is not so different from earthly dictators who make everything and everybody mere cogs in the machine which they controlled. An atheism that rejects such a God is amply justified. – Karen Armstrong
  22. It is not as in the Bible, that God created man in his own image. But, on the contrary, man created God in his own image. – Ludwig Feuerbach
  23. People ask me what I think about that woman priest thing. What, a woman priest? Women priests. Great, great. Now there’s priests of both sexes I don’t listen to. – Bill Hicks
  24. All the biblical miracles will at last disappear with the progress of science. – Matthew Arnold
  25. Blind faith is an ironic gift to return to the Creator of human intelligence. – Anonymous
  26. Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain and presumptuous desire for a second one. – Richard Dawkins
  27. What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof. – Christopher Hitchens
  28. In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point. – Friedrich Nietzsche
  29. It will yet be the proud boast of women that they never contributed a line to the Bible. – George W. Foote
  30. On the first day, man created God. – Anonymous
  31. I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. – Stephen Roberts
  32. You do not need the Bible to justify love, but no better tool has been invented to justify hate. – Richard A. Weatherwax
  33. What’s “God”? Well, you know, when you want something really bad and you close your eyes and you wish for it? God’s the guy that ignores you. – Steve Buscemi (From the movie “The Island”)
  34. As far as I can tell from studying the scriptures, all you do in heaven is pretty much just sit around all day and praise the Lord. I don’t know about you, but I think that after the first, oh, I don’t know, 50,000,000 years of that I’d start to get a little bored. – Rick Reynolds
  35. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish. – Anonymous
  36. Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color. – Don Hirschberg
  37. God should be executed for crimes against humanity. – Bryan Emmanuel Gutierrez
  38. To say that atheism requires faith is as dim-witted as saying that disbelief in pixies or leprechauns takes faith. Even if Einstein himself told me there was an elf on my shoulder, I would still ask for proof and I wouldn’t be wrong to ask. – Geoff Mather
  39. I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it. – Mark Twain
  40. Of all religions the Christian is without doubt the one which should inspire tolerance most, although up to now the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men. – Voltaire
  41. And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence. – Bertrand Russell
  42. Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? – Epicurus
  43. I’m a polyatheist – there are many gods I don’t believe in. – Dan Fouts
  44. If it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think that he’s evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever. – Woody Allen
  45. A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. – David Stevens
  46. Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a God superior to themselves. Most Gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child. – Robert A Heinlein
  47. I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing. – Douglas Adams
  48. It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand. – Mark Twain
  49. He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave. – William Drummond
  50. Remember, Jesus would rather constantly shame gays than let orphans have a family. – Steven Colbert
  51. Which is it, is man one of God’s blunders or is God one of man’s? – Friedrich Nietzsche
  52. Religion does three things quite effectively: Divides people, Controls people, Deludes people. – Carlespie Mary Alice McKinney
  53. Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea. – Anonymous
  54. When a man is freed of religion, he has a better chance to live a normal and wholesome life. – Sigmund Freud
  55. They felt that science would be corrosive to religious belief and they were worried about it. Damn it, I think they were right. It is corrosive to religious belief and it’s a good thing. – Steven Weinberg
  56. Take from the church the miraculous, the supernatural, the incomprehensible, the unreasonable, the impossible, the unknowable, the absurd, and nothing but a vacuum remains. – Robert G. Ingersoll
  57. History teaches us that no other cause has brought more death than the word of god. – Giulian Buzila
  58. Atheism is a non-prophet organization. – George Carlin
  59. We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. – Richard Dawkins
  60. A believer states everything must have a creator but fail to say how he was created. – Anonymous
  61. “There are no atheists in foxholes” isn’t an argument against atheism, it’s an argument against foxholes. – James Morrow
  62. People will then often say, ‘But surely it’s better to remain an Agnostic just in case?’ This, to me, suggests such a level of silliness and muddle that I usually edge out of the conversation rather than get sucked into it. (If it turns out that I’ve been wrong all along, and there is in fact a god, and if it further turned out that this kind of legalistic, cross-your-fingers-behind-your-back, Clintonian hair-splitting impressed him, then I think I would choose not to worship him anyway.) – Douglas Adams
  63. Properly read, the bible is the most potent force for Atheism ever conceived. – Isaac Asimov
  64. If all the Christians who have called other Christians “not really a Christian” were to vanish, there’d be no Christians left. – Anonymous
  65. An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support. – John Buchan
  66. Gods dont kill people. People with Gods kill people. – David Viaene
  67. If God were suddenly condemned to live the life which He has inflicted upon men, He would kill Himself. – Alexandre Dumas
  68. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma. – Sam Harris
  69. I don’t believe in God because I don’t believe in Mother Goose – Clarence Darrow
  70. No philosophy, no religion, has ever brought so glad a message to the world as this good news of Atheism. – Annie Wood Besant
  71. I refuse to believe in a god who is the primary cause of conflict in the world, preaches racism, sexism, homophobia, and ignorance, and then sends me to hell if I’m ‘bad’. – Mike Fuhrman
  72. Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. – Frater Ravus
  73. Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-o, and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have. – Penn Jillette
  74. Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power but absolute power is corrupt only in the hands of the absolutely faithful. – Anonymous
  75. Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense. – Chapman Cohen
  76. The inspiration of the bible depends on the ignorance of the person who reads it. – Robert G. Ingersoll
  77. When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion. – Robert Pirsig
  78. I wonder who got the shit job of scouring the planet for the 15000 species of butterfly or the 8800 species of ant they eventually took on board Noah’s Ark. But at least we got that magical rainbow for all their trouble. – Azura Skye
  79. I have no need for religion, I have a conscience. – Anonymous
  80. Man has always required an explanation for all of those things in the world he did not understand. If an explanation was not available, he created one. – Jim Crawford
  81. I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. – Richard Dawkins
  82. What has been Christianity’s fruits? Superstition, Bigotry and Persecution. – James Madison
  83. The characters and events depicted in the damn bible are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. – Penn and Teller
  84. If god is the alpha and the omega. The begining and the end, knows what has passed and what is to come, like it states in the bible, why do people pray and think it will make any difference. – Mark Fairclough
  85. The finality of death is the coldest truth one must face. Religion makes the perfect distraction. – Anonymous
  86. Religion is the opiate of the masses. – Karl Marx
  87. If God created the world, then who created god? and who created whoever created god? So somewhere along the line something had to just be there. So why can’t we just skip the idea of god and go straight to earth? – Ryan Hanson
  88. If we expect God to subscribe to one religion at the exclusion of all the others, then we should expect damnation as a matter of chance. This should give Christians pause when expounding their religious beliefs, but it does not. – Sam Harris
  89. Atheists will celebrate life, while you’re in church celebrating death. – Anonymous
  90. Animals do not have gods, they are smarter than that. – Ronnie Snow
  91. I have observed that the world has suffered far less from ignorance than from pretensions to knowledge. It is not skeptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress. No agnostic ever burned anyone at the stake or tortured a pagan, a heretic, or an unbeliever. – Daniel Boorstin
  92. I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious ideas of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God. So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake… Religion is all bunk. – Thomas Edison
  93. Fundamentalism, of any type, due to its prerequisite lack of intelligent thought, could prove to be the worst weapon of mass destruction, of all. – David J. Constable
  94. To really be free, You need to be free in the mind. – Alexander Loutsis
  95. Most religions prophecy the end of the world and then consistently work together to ensure that these prophecies come true. – Anonymous
  96. Jesus hardly made the greatest sacrifice. He knew he would be resurrected anyway. – Anonymous
  97. Religion is like a virus that affects the behaviour of its host in such a way as to propagate itself further. – Jack Pritchard
  98. Religions are like pills, which must be swallowed whole without chewing. – Anonymous
  99. Today’s religion will be the future’s mythology. Both believed at one time by many; but proved wrong by the clever. – Steven Crocker
  100. The Bible – A Fairytale book of rules brainwashing millions. Obliviously used to help create war, kill, hate, judge and discriminate. – Anonymous
  101. Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? – Douglas Adams

Please feel free to comment on these quotes, and inform me of the authors of any I have misquoted or marked as “Anonymous”. There are so many sources for these quotes it’s hard to keep track of who really said what!

Update: The Most Convincing Argument For Atheism I’ve Seen Yet


Science vs. Religion:.A casual disregard for facts

Written by John S. Wilkins

A little while back I linked to Sahotra Sarkar’s review of Steve Fuller’s Science versus Religion. Now Fuller has put up a defence at the Intelligent Design website, Uncommon Descent, under the gerrymandered image of a bacterial flagellum (if you want to know what a real flagellum would look like at that scale, see this).

While I haven’t yet read the book (I’ll be reviewing it for Metascience), a couple of points that Fuller’s post make clear:

1. He has a really casual dismissal of factual accuracy so long as the “spirit” is right

2. This explains why he’s allied himself with ID.

Intelligent design is (as the link above showed) very cavalier with details and facts. The “impression” of design is reason enough to ride roughsod over the details. In fact, as the flagellum indicates, mostly their argument is argument ab cartoon – if you squint hard, then it looks like a machine. Imagine a physicist doing that and coming up with a cartoon physics!

Fuller derides Sarkar for caring about factual claims in detail, when the point is that… what? That you can make history say anything you like if you ignore historical data? Here is his defence of a few claims:

Let me take the following two criticisms together:

“Logical positivists, and not just Popper, are supposed to have labeled Darwinism a “metaphysical research program” (p. 133). I am not aware of a single logical positivist (or logical empiricist) text that supports this claim. Given that for the logical positivists (in contrast to Popper) “metaphysical” was a term of opprobrium, it is unlikely that any of them would have embraced this formulation. The logical positivists may well have believed physics to be of more fundamental importance than biology, but the latter science nevertheless belonged to the pantheon. The foundations of biology were intended to be part of their Encyclopedia of Unified Science.”

“Around the same time, Lamarck is supposed to have held that “lower organisms literally strove to become higher organisms, specifically humans, who at some point in the future would be Earth’s sole denizens” (p. 146), a view to be found nowhere in the Lamarckian corpus.”

These criticisms illustrate what I have called the ‘New Yorker magazine view of the world’ that afflicts some analytic philosophers. (I originally made this claim against a philosopher who actually began his career as an editor. Oops!) It basically reduces the history and philosophy of science to checking for facts and grammar, respectively. However, as so often is the case when dealing with editors, the fact-checker goes astray when he decides to venture opinions of his own. So even if it is strictly true that only Popper called Darwinism a ‘metaphysical research programme’ and the official logical positivist line was anti-metaphysical, it is equally true that the positivists themselves did metaphysics in everything but name (e.g. Carnap’s Aufbau), not least in the IEUS volume on biology that attempted to lay down the discipline’s axiomatic foundations. Perhaps it comes as no surprise that Popper wrote the obituary for its author, Joseph Woodger, in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science in 1981.

On the point concerning the ‘Lamarckian corpus’, again I am happy to concede that the man himself never explicitly stated the thesis I attributed to him. As it turns out, the passage Sarkar quotes refers to Lamarck and Comte together as representatives of a pro-human line of evolutionary progress that was opposed to the more ecocentric line taken by Darwinists attempting to influence British sociology in its early years. Whatever Lamarck’s actual views on the ultimate fate of humanity (which are up for debate), it is clear that the Lamarckian tradition has been generally committed to what the historian Charles Gillispie called an ‘escalator of being’ on which all creatures were moving, with humans currently on the top floor. A clear expression of the view I attributed to Lamarck can be found in his most visionary 20th century follower, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who envisaged the Earth as someday becoming one ‘hominised substance’.

Now anyone who has studied logical positivism and Popper knows well that Popper resiled from the LPs’ claims to be metaphysics free. They held that metaphysics was something one ought not to do, in favour of positive knowledge. They held the famous Verification Principle, which Popper among others used as a reductio of the LP program. To say that they “were” doing metaphysics is to fundamentally mischaracterise what was going on. They claimed not to be. It was the critics, including Popper, who said they were. And so when Popper called Darwinian evolution a metaphysical research program, he clearly did not intend that as a criticism, even before his retraction. The positivists thought that was a criticism, but they didn’t make it. Post hoc assertions that they were one and the same is to completely mischaracterise what was going on then.

Fuller is well read. He should and probably does know this, so only two other interpretations are possible: carelessness, which undercuts the veracity of the argument, or mendacity, which also does. I like to think that Fuller is being careless rather than trying to deliberately mislead. But if that is his approach to the history of ideas, then I think there is a problem, Houston. Of course Popper wrote Woodger’s obit – that’s what victors do if they can. It doesn’t mean they get amalgamated with their former opponents. To say otherwise is to completely misunderstand the nature of dialectic.

Likewise the point about Lamarck. Lamarck, in what I have read (hey, the Zoological Philosophy is online in French and English; check for yourself) held that there was an impetus driving evolution “upwards” (a physical impetus, by the way – since Vance Alpheus Packard’s 1901 work, we have known that Lamarck did not mean “will” by “besoin”) but that individual lineages could not enter a filled “rung” on that ladder. And so far as I know, he never said anythign even remotely like that view that only humans would remain. Appealing to what others might have thought after Lamarck is in no way a justification of that very bad claim. And even Teilhard did not think there would be nothing but the Omega Point, merely that humanity would become one at that point in a kind of cosmic salvation.

This disregard for facts, so far from being a corrective to the “New Yorker” approach, is merely a Marvel Comics form of philosophy and history, and it’s the only kind that can support ID. I think the less of Fuller just for this one claim. I can only imagine what the full work will lead me to think of him.

Packard, Alpheus. 1901. Lamarck, the founder of evolution: His life and work. New York: Longmans, Green and Co.

How to draw anything (in 1 step)

Written by Meowza Katz

Almost all of us have our own weaknesses when it comes to illustrating particular subjects. I, personally, can not draw a horse to save my life. I can’t imagine a situation where the difference between my life and death depends on my ability to draw a horse, but still, it’s haunted me for years.

I’ve talked about my lack of ability to draw horses to many of my artist friends and peers. To my surprise, many of them recounted me their own secret, shameful inabilities to draw all sorts of subjects including hands, proportions, machinery etc…

I then realized I was not alone in this. We all have our Achille’s heel, and I wanted to help all of us.

So a while back, I asked users here to email me illustrations they just could not finish due to their own personal weaknesses, or to send me any illustrations for general critique on areas that could use improvement. So that maybe I could find a common thread in all of our inabilities.

And it dawned on me. All of our problems could be solved with one simple technique:

Practice? No.

How To Draw Anything in One Step

You may be asking, “How could you possibly learn how to draw anything and everything in just one step? Are you a moron?” And if you are, there is no need for childish name-calling. Let’s be civilized adults here.

Follow along as I teach you how to draw everything, in this tutorial.

Step 1. Draw a dog covering the thing you can’t draw.

Don’t believe this works?

Remember how I asked users to send me their problem illustrations? Well, let’s test it out firsthand, shall we?

Brandon Kobayashi from Burnaby, Canada sent me this email and his illustration of a woman sitting on a tree stump:

“I often find myself having difficulties drawing human feet. Do you have any tips on how to improve my ability (or lack thereof) in that department?”

Sure there is, Brandon. Just follow my tutorial and you will be set.

Step 1. When finding you can’t draw feet, conveniently enough, a dog decided to rest at the woman’s feet the day the portrait was painted.

Melanie Goode of Auburn, WA, wrote me asking for help on this particular image:

“I don’t seem to have problems drawing bodies, but I am mystified when it comes to getting the proportions of a human face just right.”

Well, Melanie, I see you’re off to the conventional start by adding in the guidelines for the facial features. Most art instructors teach this very method. But I find it’s a lot easier if you follow my tutorial.

Step 1. Pretend a dog ran across the woman’s face the day she decided to lay in the grass.

At this point you’re probably wondering, “Wow, this is great! But will this technique work in different illustrative styles, as well?” Why, thank you for the compliment! And yes, it will work in all illustration styles.

For example, Ken Tanaka from San Diego, CA sent me a cartoon image of a solider he wanted depicting an M-16 machine gun.

Step 1. I have never personally been interested in drawing weaponry, but even with my lack of experience I was able to use my own tutorial to complete the image of a soldier holding an M-16 machine gun. (Who just happened to be walking along the direct path of a leaping golden retriever.)

And people of all ages can do it, too.

Wendy Lee of (address undisclosed) sent me a drawing by her 6 year old son and told me how he loved to draw dinosaurs and wants to learn to draw them more realistically.

Well, first off, dinosaurs do not talk, smile, nor has there ever been (in any official documented report) a dinosaur that existed labeled a Kevinsaurus.

So how will my system work on a 6 year olds drawing? Very well, actually!

Step 1. As we can add multiple dogs to cover the child’s numerous, major technical flaws.

So, there you have it: The be-all, end-all of illustration tutorials.

With my method, I guarantee you’ll find yourself with a newfound ability to draw anything and everything you can imagine on this big, round Earth. Including the Earth.

Q: “What if my weakness IS drawing dogs?”
A: It’s time to change hobbies.

5 Really Weird Things About Water

Written by Neatorama

Water, good ol’ H2O, seems like a pretty simple substance to you and me. But in reality, water – the foundation of life and most common of liquid – is really weird and scientists actually don’t completely understand how water works.

Here are 5 really weird things about water:

1. Hot Water Freezes Faster Than Cold Water

Take two pails of water; fill one with hot water and the other one with cold water, and put them in the freezer. The hot one would be frozen before the cold one. But wait, you say, that’s counterintuitive: wouldn’t the hot water have to cool down to the temperature of the cold water before proceeding to freezing temperature, whereas the cold one has “less to go” before freezing?

In 1963, a Tanzanian high-school student named Erasto B. Mpemba was freezing hot ice cream mix in a cooking class when he noticed that a hot mix actually froze faster than a cold mix. When he asked his teacher about this phenomenon, his teacher ridiculed him by saying “All I can say is that is Mpemba’s physics and not universal physics.”

Thankfully, Mpemba didn’t back down – he convinced a physics professor to conduct an experiment which eventually confirmed his observations: in certain conditions, hot water indeed freezes before cold water*.

Actually, Mpemba was in good company. The phenomenon of hot water freezing first, now called the “Mpemba effect” was noted by none other than Aristotle, Francis Bacon and René Descartes.

But how do scientists explain this strange phenomenon? It turns out that no one really knows but there are several possible explanations, including differences in supercooling (see below), evaporation, frost formation, convention, and effects of dissolved gasses between the hot and cold water.

*In reality – of course – it’s much more complex than that: hot water freezes first (it forms ice at a higher temperature than cold water), whereas cold water freezes faster (it takes less time to reach the supercooled state from which it forms ice) – see discussion on our previous blog post about this topic.

2. Supercooling and “Instant” Ice

Everybody knows that when you cool water to 0 °C (32 °F) it forms ice … except that in some cases it doesn’t! You can actually chill very pure water past its freezing point (at standard pressure, no cheating!) without it ever becoming solid.

Scientist know a lot about supercooling: it turns out that ice crystals need nucleation points to start forming. These nucleation points could be anything from gas bubbles to impurities to the rough surface of the container. Without these things, water would continue to be a “supercooled” liquid well below its freezing point.

When nucleation is triggered, then a supercooled water would “instantly” turn into ice, as this very cool video clip by Phil Medina of MrSciGuy shows:

Note: Similarly, superheated water remains liquid even when heated past its boiling point.

3. Glassy Water

Quick: how many phases of water are there? If you answer three (liquid, gas, and solid) you’d be wrong. There are at least 5 different phases of liquid water and 14 different phases (that scientists have found so far) of ice.

Remember the supercooling we talked about before? Well, it turns out that no matter what you do, at -38 °C even the purest supercooled water spontaneously turns into ice (with a little audible “bang” no less). But what happens if you continue to lower the temperature? Well, at -120 °C something strange starts to happen: the water becomes ultraviscous, or thick like molasses. And below -135 °C, it becomes “glassy water,” a solid with no crystal structure. (Source)

4. Quantum Properties of Water

At a molecular level, water is even weirder. In 1995, a neutron scattering experiment got a weird result: physicists found that when neutrons were aimed at water molecules, they “saw” 25% fewer hydrogen protons than expected.

Long story short, at the level of attoseconds (10-18 seconds) there is a weird quantum effect going on and the chemical formula for water isn’t H2O. It’s actually H1.5O! (Source)

5. Does Water Have Memory?

In the alternative medicine of homeopathy, a dilute solution of a compound can have healing effects, even if the dilution factor is so large that statistically there isn’t a single molecule of anything in it except for water. Homeopathy proponents explain this paradox with a concept called “water memory” where water molecules “remember” what particles were once dissolved in it.

This made no sense to Madeleine Ennis, a pharmacologist and professor at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Ennis, who also happened to be a vocal critic of homeopathy, devised an experiment to disprove “water memory” once and for all – but discovered that her result is the exact opposite!

In her most recent paper, Ennis describes how her team looked at the effects of ultra-dilute solutions of histamine on human white blood cells involved in inflammation. These “basophils” release histamine when the cells are under attack. Once released, the histamine stops them releasing any more. The study, replicated in four different labs, found that homeopathic solutions – so dilute that they probably didn’t contain a single histamine molecule – worked just like histamine. Ennis might not be happy with the homeopaths’ claims, but she admits that an effect cannot be ruled out.

So how could it happen? Homeopaths prepare their remedies by dissolving things like charcoal, deadly nightshade or spider venom in ethanol, and then diluting this “mother tincture” in water again and again. No matter what the level of dilution, homeopaths claim, the original remedy leaves some kind of imprint on the water molecules. Thus, however dilute the solution becomes, it is still imbued with the properties of the remedy.

You can understand why Ennis remains skeptical. And it remains true that no homeopathic remedy has ever been shown to work in a large randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial. But the Belfast study (Inflammation Research, vol 53, p 181) suggests that something is going on. “We are,” Ennis says in her paper, “unable to explain our findings and are reporting them to encourage others to investigate this phenomenon.” If the results turn out to be real, she says, the implications are profound: we may have to rewrite physics and chemistry. (Source)

So far, other scientists failed to reproduce Ennis’ experimental findings (throughout, Ennis herself was skeptical of the result’s interpretation that water has a “memory” but maintained that the phenomenon she saw was real).

See also Jacques Benveniste’s Nature controversy | Louise Rey’s thermoluminescence study

More recently, a team of scientists at the University of Toronto, Canada, and Max Born Institute in Germany, studying water dynamics using fancy multi-dimensional nonlinear infrared spectroscopy did find that water have a memory of sorts – in form of hydrogen bond network amongst water molecules. Problem for homeopathy was, this effect lasted only 50 femtoseconds (5 x 10-14 seconds)!

Bonus: Ice Spikes

photo: SnowCrystals

Ice spikes are, well, spikes that grow out of ice cube trays. They look like stalagmites found in caves, and you can make ’em yourself using distilled water. Kenneth G. Libbrecht of SnowCrystals explains:

How do Ice Spikes Form?

Ice spikes grow as the water in an ice cube tray turns to ice. The water first freezes on the top surface, around the edges of what will become the ice cube. The ice slowly freezes in from the edges, until just a small hole is left unfrozen in the surface. At the same time, while the surface is freezing, more ice starts to form around the sides of the cube.

Since ice expands as it freezes, the ice freezing below the surface starts to push water up through the hole in the surface ice (see diagram). If the conditions are just right, then water will be forced out of the hole in the ice and it will freeze into an ice spike, a bit like lava pouring out of a hole in the ground to makes a volcano. But water does not flow down the sides of a thin spike, so in that way it is different from a volcano. Rather, the water freezes around the rim of the tube, and thus adds to its length. The spike can continue growing taller until all the water freezes, cutting off the supply, or until the tube freezes shut. The tallest spike we’ve seen growing in an ordinary ice cube tray was 56mm (2.2in) long. (Source)

Bonus 2: Make Instant Snow with Boiling Water

What do you get when you throw boiling water to the air in subzero weather? Instant snow. Interestingly, it only works with boiling hot water:

[YouTube clip]

These aren’t the only things weird about water. We didn’t talk about how water density changes with temperature (ice, for instance, is less dense than water so it floats – a key property of water that made life possible in the oceans and lakes). Nor did we talk about the weirdly strong surface tension of water, ordered clustering of liquid water, and so on. If you are interested, check out the Anomalous Properties of Water article by Martin Chaplin