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Stanford/Palo Alto Macintosh User Group Newsletter
April 1, 2012
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Dear (Contact First Name),
SMUG is off to Blighty!Vote!
Actually nobody calls it Blighty any more, but I am off to London, where among other things I'll hope to stop in at the Apple Store in Covent Garden (above). The place has changed a lot since it was London's fruit and vegetable market - the apples have completely changed! Then it's on to Liverpool, where I don't think I'll find such a cool store, but I'll let you know. Meanwhile, no meeting in April, but we'll be back in May with a pile of cool stuff - watch for our next newsletter for details.

March 12th, 2012 SMUG Meeting Notes
Owen Saxton had a lot of interesting Shareware to show - if you missed it, or forgot the information, the list of apps is available on the SMUG website.

Dan Wood showed us Sandvox, which is easy-to-use website builder software. (Like iWeb, except that Sanvox gets updated once in a while!)

 

The main engineer for Sandvox is in the UK. Sandvox (note from Dave: and I think Dan!) was here about 5 years ago. Sandvox is more full featured now.

 

iWeb was a thorn in Sandvox's side. Apple put a lot of limits into iWeb, so some people went to Sandvox. Now someone important said there are only three apps in iLife. So what happened to iWeb? The sun is setting on iWeb, and people are trying to find alternates.

 

Sandvox is not only a tool to build your website, AND it provides direct connection to a host for the website. (Note from Dave: That makes this the likely replacement for my iWeb!)

 

People procrastinate. By June 20, people can still go to the old iWeb sites. It is a good idea to start now and point your website fans to your websites's new location so Google and others can find it. Then you put MobileMe site to bed.

 

In Sandvox, Dan clicked a create a new site button. Sandvox is template based, there are lots of color variations for its web pages! You see the WebKit page as it shows in Safari. Sandvox has a toolbar on top.

 

Anyhow, once Dan clicked the create a new site button, Sandvox came up with a home page. He typed "Renee's Place" for the title of that page. The webpage updates live as we go. He opened a Pages file (as in a word processing document from Apple Pages), clicked, and pasted it into the web page. It was like using a word processor. Do you want a graphic on the web page? Dan dragged a photo in. Then he opened the inspector and made the text wrap around the photo with a simple click.

 

Dan clicked the Add a new page button (note from Dave: just like I used to do in iWeb). He made an empty text page. He typed "Directions" to name it. You can also use google maps, dragging that in for a location. Sandvox has a list of pre-configured things, like a map, that you can put into the web page.

 

He added a Photo album page. He dragged a bunch of photos in, and Sandvox auto-built the thumbnails and made the photo gallery. Inspector turned on a gallery, where you have a layer where you can look thru the photos without leaving the page. In other words, a slideshow. Sandvox has also just added (version 2.5) another way of looking thru photos: a frame (note from Dave: "frame", for want of a better word!) that auto-transitions thru photos, which you can put on your home page. This had a neat effect for transitions through the photos.

 

The home page shows the site menu at the top.

 

Each website you make with Sandvox is one unified design: the template you choose makes the webpages all have a similar design. For really different templates, you can pick another website.

 

Dan showed putting video into a Sandvox web page. Once you export your video into iPhone/iPad compatible format, Sandvox makes the video compatible. You can't

can't put in flash video. Sandvox uses HTML 5, but in lower level, it can use flash in case the browser is not HTML5 compatible. It used to be that with a Windows machine, you had to install a QuickTime plugin. Sandvox gives video the mp4 h264 format.

 

You can create a blog in Sandvox. Blogs create web pages in reverse chronological order. The first post to this blog is added automatically.

 

The media browser had Flickr in there. (Note form Dave: I saw it!)

 

Dan had a nice graphic of yummy food. Then he added a little bit of content (note from Dave: some words, and this writer approves of words), and a nice photo. Then he scrolled down to an older blog page.

 

Dan added a YouTube video and embedded it into a webpage. He then used the inspector to adjust for the video not being widescreen and he wanted to change the aspect ratio.

 

Dan has showed us the very basics on how to make a website. At anytime, you can change your website to a different design (a different template). And you can choose sub-pages, of course.

 

In a Sandvox blog, you can choose a comment provider: just register the site. The Facebook one is interesting, it is nice in that someone visits your site, leaves a comment, and the comment is also posted onto their Facebook wall. This gets people on Facebook to find your website.

 

You can change the banner at the top. In inspector, under appearance, Dan found a graphic and replaced the generic banner with the graphic. And you can just delete the little "created with Sandvox" icon that is on the Sandvox web pages, if you wish.

 

You can create your own webpage design, but Dan does not recommend it (this involves that you know CSS and the like).

 

Dan dragged in a PDF, and it showed up fine in Sandvox. Could you make this webpage open in a new window? Yes, set that in the inspector.

 

For publishing your website, Sandvox has a partner they use: A2 hosting, whom they like a lot. Sandvox can work with any type of ftp host. Sandvox will test out the settings to the web host and see if it works. Once you are set up, just click publish and your website on your Mac uploads to to your web host. (Note from Dave: I think that when you make changes, Sandvox uploads your changes without having to reload your whole site).

 

A2 hosting costs a few dollars a month. (Note from Dave: Cheap is good.)

 

How about metadata? You want to make sure your website is easy to find. iWeb was not nice with search engines that way. You have a window title, fill this in with something useful, maybe something like Renee's Place organic chinese cuisine. Make the description of your website compelling (more than just "home"). Do a meta-description title.

 

Can you rebuild iWeb in Sandvox? You grab the iWeb content and put it into your Sandvox pages.

 

You have a sidebar, you can put stuff in there.

 

You should not put your email address into your website (note from Dave: unless you want nasty little spambots to find it). Instead of that, you can have a form on your website that people can fill out. Someone can fill in the form and send to an email address that you provided on the form. You can even have a pop-up menu of subjects for users to pick for the email.

 

What about the width of the web pages? Well, now that the iPad is out, Sandvox is likely to stay with its standard width. There are third party plug-ins you can use to change that. Depends if you prefer work on a big screen or a small screen or both.

 

Sandvox lets you create a plain HTML page, since websites having cool code gadgets for your website say to paste this HTML code into your website. In the sidebar, you can paste some raw html code. Google gadgets has some pasty HTML code for a calendar; Dan made it narrower to fit the sidebar. He copies and pasted it and got a calendar! You can have an entire page in raw HTML. (Note from Dave: I was looking for that!)

 

You can also create a webpage without the sidebar. The photo pages are like that.

 

There are about 200 pages of Sandvox online help and an 18 minute introduction video.

 

We have a discount that expires at the end of April: muggle

 

There is an upgrade price, just look for it when you go to sandvox.com. The regular price is $79.99.

 

Dan brought a Sandvox certificate to raffle off. Awfully decent of him!

 

Sandox rivals? iWeb was the big one. If you want to have your website stuff tied into your computer, Sandvox makes sense for you. Sandvox is great for people who love their Macs.   

Dave Strom, Vice-President

 

See you in May!





Steve Bellamy
SMUG President
 
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