Paint.NET 3.0 released

The final version of the 3.0 release is now available for download. It’s only been just over a week since the release candidate was made available, so it looks like everything was ok. If you’ve got an earlier version installed, open up Paint.NET and go to Help -> Check for updates and follow the prompts, otherwise grab the installer from the download page. Note this version requires at least Windows XP SP2, Windows 2003 or Vista & the .NET Framework 2.0 to be installed.

Just a reminder of the new features in 3.0:

  • Simple and intuitive tab-based multi-document user interface
  • Now available in 8 languages: English, Chinese (Simplified), French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), and Spanish
  • Interactive Gradient Tool that makes it very easy to draw and then fine-tune placement and coloring of a gradient. (this is very cool, you can move the markers anywhere after placement to change the angle and distance of the gradient)
  • User-definable color palette (as opposed to just the color wheel)
  • New effects: Clouds, Median, Unfocus, Outline, and an improved Sharpen
  • More intuitive and more powerful toolbar
  • Generally improved and cleaner user interface
  • History files are now compressed to save disk space, reduce disk activity, and improve performance.
  • “Merge Down” layer command

Congratulations to Rick & his team, it’s a great product, worthy of support.

Get Paint.NET!

Bible Verse of the Day plugin 3.0

Since updating to WordPress 2.1 I’ve been keeping my eye on both of my current active plugins: Bible Verse of the Day & Feed Locations.  They both seem to be working fine (and I’ve heard no complaints yet from users) so I’ve added them to the compatibility list.

The rest of this post is a technical description of updates done to the Bible Verse of the Day plugin.  If you’re not a plugin developer or not interested, the short of it is that the 3.0 version plugin has been released with a bunch of updates and improvements.  This release requires WordPress 2.1 to work, so if you haven’t updated WordPress, don’t update this plugin.  If you have, grab the update here.  The zip file now contains 2 PHP files, extract both into your wp-plugins folder.

On to the tech stuff…

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Powershell cheat sheet

The Windows Powershell Blog has posted a two page cheat sheet for Powershell that was put together by Ben Pearce.  It’s very handy, I’ve already printed this out & sent it to the rest of the development team at work.  It’s in Word 2007 format, which is a bit of a problem for most people as Office 2007′s only been out for a couple of weeks.  What, you mean you didn’t immediately rush out and buy it?! Bill will not be happy with you!

Anyway, I do have Office 2007, so I’ve done up a PDF version of the sheet. You can download it here (200kb). Alternatively a commenter on the Powershell blog has posted a Word 97-2003 document version.

Update: Jeffrey on the PowerShell blog has now posted a PDF version too (see comment below. Thanks Jeffrey!)

See yourself on Google Maps on Australia Day

Just in case someone in Sydney hasn’t seen this yet, Google will be having a plane fly low over Sydney on Australia Day (Jan 26 for those at home) taking super-high resolution photos of people celebrating. There’s a map on that page showing the area that the plane will fly in and a nifty little click-and-drag marker that shows the approximate time that the plane will be flying overhead.  The x marks the spot shadow and bounce on drop is a particularly nice effect, does anyone know if that’s a standard Maps API function or something custom they’ve written?

Anyway, if you can make it into Sydney on Australia Day, do something for the camera, and once the images go live, leave a comment linking to where you were.

Google plane area

[via Simon, Mashup, Google Maps Mania & Google Operating System]

WordPress 2.1 – Ella

WordPress 2.1 has been released. There’s a heap of updates which I’m not going to re-list here, check out the post on the WordPress blog for the full list.

A couple of things stand out for me, as a developer, that will be really handy:

  • You can set any “page” to be the front page of your site, and put the latest posts somewhere else, making it much easier to use WordPress as a content management system.
  • Pseudo-cron functionality let’s you schedule events much like cron.
  • The new WP_Error class cleans up how we do error reporting and handling.
  • Image and thumbnail API allows for richer media plugins.

That first point I think will be a bigger change than people think.  It will, very simply, allow people to use WordPress to maintain an entire site, not just a blog within a site.  Deane over at Gadgetopia will probably find this interesting too. (Update: Told you!)

I’ll be upgrading in the next day or so & see what all the changes actually mean.  Unfortunately I haven’t had the time recently to check whether my plugins work with 2.1, but they’re fairly self-contained, so hopefully it should be ok.  Once I install Ella I’ll check them out and release any updates as needed.

Check out the official release post for the full list of updates, and check out Aaron Brazell’s 10 things you should know about WordPress 2.1 post that I mentioned yesterday for some more detailed information on some of the changes.

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30 days of WordPress plugins

Lorelle VanFossen has a worthy dedication for February:

I love WordPress Plugins. And I love WordPress Plugin authors even more.

Their jobs aren’t easy. They pull their hair out (and turn some parts gray) building their WordPress Plugins, then are assaulted by bug reports and users begging them to fix their Plugins because “we love them and we need them and can’t run our blogs without them”, all for no money nor return on their investment. Their days are spent responding to comments about the Plugin, often to users who can’t follow the most basic instructions, and chasing down reports of problems in the WordPress Support Forums.

So, I’m dedicating February to WordPress Plugins and WordPress Plugin authors. I’ll be writing 30 posts about different WordPress Plugins and the art of the WordPress Plugin.

This won’t be the first time she’s blogged about plugins, at the bottom of that post there is a long list of articles she’s written about pluigns and how they can be used.  They’re all well worth a read for anyone with a WordPress blog, and the How to Write a Simple WordPress Plugin, WordPress Pluggable Functions and Plugins by Nadgouda & WordPress Hooks – All of Them posts link to particularly useful reference material for plugin developers.

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10 things you should know about WordPress 2.1

Aaron Brazell, co-author of the 10 things you should know about WordPress 2.0, has posted a similar article about the 2.1 release of WordPress.

Tomorrow, WordPress 2.1 will be released and it signifies the first major release since the 2.0 branch was launched. As is typical of major releases, they do not only address security/bugfixes but they release new functionality.

So in the spirit of the original article, I give you ten things you should know about WordPress 2.1.

It’s an extensive article, going into great detail about all the major changes & enhancements that are in the new release.  Looking forward to this release. The image uploads handling improvements will be worth the upgrade alone. I’ve found the popup menu on images has been the single most confusing part of the admin interface for users. Anything that will simplify this it a plus.

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Gravatar is coming (again)

Great news, Tom Werner has announced that the new incarnation Gravatar will be released next month:

The wait for Gravatar 2.0 is almost over. The new site will be released in early February with an all new interface and some great new functionality.

He’s started a blog on the Gravatar site to keep us all updated on the progress. Thanks Tom!

Oh and for those who had a What the? moment with the heading of this post, Gravatar = Globally Recognized Avatar. It’s what provides the images next to people’s comments on this blog (if they’ve set one up) using ZenPax’s Gravatars2 plugin.

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Paint.NET 3.0 release candidate 1

The Paint.NET developers have put up the first release candidate build for the 3.0 release. This is a great application for image editing.  It’s fast & reliable.  And while it may not have all the super-professional features of Photoshop (eg. Pantone colours), it’s plenty powerful enough for the average home user and I’ve found it to be more than enough for web & application development work. The previous 2.x releases were good, but they were lacking.  Most notably they lacked a multi-document interface, ie. having more than one file open at a time.  The 3.0 releases have added this, along with a swag of other features.

  • More intuitive and more powerful toolbar
  • User-definable color palette (as opposed to just the color wheel)
  • Gradient drawing
  • “Merge Down” layer command
  • New effects: Clouds, Median, Unfocus, Outline, and an improved Sharpen

It also handles layers, with blending options and opacity. There’s a whole bunch of image effects with on-the-fly previewing. It also has my favourite feature: unlimited undos!  It’s also open source, released under the MIT licence.  The 3.0 releases also have built-in support for eight different languages: English, Chinese (Simplified), French, German, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil) & Spanish.

There’s an active forum community for answering questions and reporing bugs.  That forum also has a bunch of plugins to download.

The only downside (for some people at least) is that it needs the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 and at least Windows XP (SP2).  Prior to 3.0 it did run on Windows 2000, but support for that was dropped with the 3.0 betas.  Works on 2003 & Vista.

This  application has become an absolutely integral part of my freelance development work, and we even have it installed as part of our standard developer image at my day job

Get Paint.NET!


This post is part of the O’Reilly Windows Developer Tools Day, celebrating the tools that make Windows developers lives easier.


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Australia gets its own Google Maps domain

Google Maps now has an Australian domain: It’s the same site as, except it starts with the satellite view of Australia & you don’t need to put Australia in the search query when looking up Australian addresses. For example, if I was searching for Penrith in New South Wales, in Google Maps Australia I just have to search for Penrith, where as the regular Google Maps doesn’t find it, unless I add NSW Australia.

One other thing I noticed, while Google Maps is a fully fledged graduate of the Labs, Google Maps Australia is still in beta:

I’m hoping that this means, with the release of this domain, that business directory listings like what they have for the US & the UK aren’t too far off.

I’ve written up an open search plugin (a.k.a. Firefox search engine), which you can grab from the Mycroft site.

[via Google Maps Mania]