Getting Started with Drupal cover My second training course from video2brain is now available. It's a wicked humdinger, clocking in at nearly five and a half hours, and it's called Getting Started with Drupal.


In Uploading WordPress Files from my introductory WordPress course, I showed you how to upload files using a file transfer application. There's one thing I forgot to mention explicitly: files that start with a dot might not be visible (by default).


In Running the Installer from my introductory WordPress course, I don't talk about situations you can get into where the installer won't run. There potentially many, and they can vary a lot with the different ways people can host a website nowadays, but today I want to take a look at one specific error:


Introducing WordPress - Learn By Video cover Late in 2011, I got involved with the fine video training company video2brain. They're based in Austria and offer a lot of software training, especially with Adobe products, but also WordPress, Joomla, and other goodies too.


I had a really great time at DrupalCamp LA this weekend. It had been a couple months since I'd been able to make any of the community meetups, and it was nice to feel like a part of the community again.

It's been years since I did much (if I'm being honest, I think the right word is probably "any") presenting for more than one or two people at a time. Since I joined up with LA Drupal, though, I've been feeling the itch to get up and speak, so for DCLA I gave three talks. Here are links to the session pages, the slides, and the screencasts:

  1. The Power of Display Suite - Video / Slides
    This is an overview of Display Suite, a tremendously powerful and useful module for Drupal 6 and 7. This was one of the first presentations of the camp, and seemed to be very well-received by the folks in the room, and even remotely by the maintainer of the module! Thanks for Steve Rifkin for organizing it, and for the second half of the presentation. Unfortunately, I couldn't attend because of…
  2. A Bajillion Modules - Video / Slides
    Drupal has a ton of modules and themes available in the contributed repository. This presentation was part of the beginner's track, and gives a quick (especially at the end when I was running out of time) overview of a bunch of the good ones.
  3. My First Module - Video / Slides
    I think there are a lot of builders of Drupal themes who don't touch module development because it seems difficult. It certainly can be if you're talking about the big ones out there, but there are cases where writing a small, simple module is the way to go, and it's not difficult. This presentation goes over the basics.

I'm still catching up and recovering from the weekend's excitement, enrichment, and foolishness (the fun kind). Once I do, I'll probably post again with some reflections on and favorites of the session I attended. There was a lot of great stuff. Can't wait for next year!

(By the way, are you wondering if I'll ever update this website, maybe even turn it into a Drupal site? Me too!)


Update August 28, 2006 -- I am again questioning the ability of Photoshop Elements 2 to produce remotely accurate colors using Save For Web. I'm following my own instructions, starting with sRGB IEC61966-2.1 documents, and getting the dull colors again. This is rather disheartening. I'm leaving this discussion up here because it did work for me once, but there must be a something more subtle I'm continuing to miss. Maybe someone will see article and be able to shed some light on the issue.

At ShooFlyDesign, we do all kinds of web work. One very common bit of work is converting other people's designs into working websites. As a result, we receive lots of Photoshop documents. Because we're working with graphic designers who are very careful with where they pixels are placed, and how they look, color is not something to be trifled with. This is true in any somewhat artistic endeavour -- everyone wants the colors they choose to look the same wherever the document is reproduced.

Because we're interested in keeping our costs down, ShooFlyDesign has not invested in Photoshop CS or any of the other full versions of that venerable software. Virtually all our work is done for the web, and Photoshop Elements does the job admirably for a small fraction of the cost of Photoshop. We use version 2.0, which was the first version to run natively on Mac OS X. It's not the current version, but so far we haven't needed to upgrade. Elements can't read or save CMYK images, and is missing many of the advanced automation and image adjustment features of the full version of Photoshop. But for most people, it has plenty of power, and with certain add-ons, it can be very powerful indeed.

Although we don't need to deal with CMYK images in Photoshop, we do need to be able to output accurate color to the web. Photoshop Elements includes a Save For Web command, but if you're not careful, the images it saves will have colors that look desaturated and rather dull. I'm certainly not the first person to notice this. The difference isn't the same as the difference between color and black and white, but to a reasonably discerning eye, it's pronounced.

The reason, I think, is that Save For Web strips out the ICC color profile information from your original document (the information that tells Photoshop how to render color on your screen) when saving to JPEG, GIF, or whatever1. Most web browsers ignore color profiles (Safari is an exception), so stripping them out is generally a fine thing to do. Photoshop Elements has the ability to save the image without the ICC profile, looking the same as your original, but only if you follow certain steps. This has been a source of many headaches over the years, but finally, I've figured out a procedure that lets us output correct colors from Photoshop CS2 documents.

The Procedure -- How To Keep Your Colors Looking Good

There are two main variables you need to control:

  1. Photoshop Elements' Color Settings preference, found in the Photoshop Elements menu in Mac OS X. Set it to "Limited Color Management". Doing so will tell Photoshop Elements you only care about the sRGB color profile, which is the one used for keeping colors consistent on the average person's screen, across computer platforms (Windows, Mac, etc). I was inclined to think that "Full Color Management" would also work, but alas, it seems not to. It seems to me the three available modes (None, Limited, Full) might have been better named "Always Ignore", "Always Use sRGB", and "Always Use Adobe RGB".

  2. The source document's color profile. This should be sRGB IEC61966-2.1. Although Photoshop Elements can open and work with any RGB document, if you start with Adobe RGB, there's nothing you can do to save that image to the web that will preserve the original colors2. The full version of Photoshop can convert between profiles easily, so if you're working with other designers, ask them to work in sRGB.

Once these two things are under control, you can use the Save For Web command to yield color as accurate as Photoshop (any version) can produce without ICC profiles embedded. I tested this in my copy of Photoshop Elements, and a copy of Photoshop CS2 belonging to a less frugal colleague, and the results are identical.

What Can Go Wrong

If you start with Adobe RGB, you get dull colors. If you work in Full Color Management mode, regardless of the color profile you start with, your colors will be dull after you Save For Web. That part, in particular, is just amazing to me -- if Limited Color Management can do it starting with sRGB, Full Color Management should be able to do it too. Unless there's some subtlety to color management I'm missing, this is a bug.

For the record, in Photoshop CS2 (and probably earlier versions), you don't need to fuss with all this document ICC profile, color management setting nonsense. The full version of Photoshop will apparently do whatever it needs to do internally to make your images look right on the web. You can start out in Adobe RGB -- CS2 will change the profile internally and match the colors as best it can when saving the image. It's really irritating to me that Photoshop Elements (as of 2.0 anyway) doesn't have this particular aspect of Photoshop's brain. Perhaps Photoshop Elements 4, which is presumably based on CS2, has fixed this behavior. If it has, and it's not any slower, I will have a very compelling reason to upgrade. Alas, as of today there is no downloadable trial of Photoshop Elements 4 for the Mac available, so I can't test it.

Two More Things

To add to the potential irritation, the procedure can be slightly different if you're working on documents you create yourself. New documents created in Limited Color Management mode will not have an ICC profile attached. This means the whole business of ICC profiles as used by Save For Web can be safely ignored, because there's no profile to strip. However, if you use bits of other images with color profiles, you'll need to switch to Full Color Management before copying those pieces into your new Photoshop Elements document, or the colors will be imported into your document looking dull. With Full Color Management turned on, Photoshop will confirm that you want to copy, say, a bit of image in Adobe RGB into your sRGB or untagged RGB document, and that you want Photoshop to try to convert the colors to match. If you have Limited Color Management turned on, you won't get this opportunity. Once the other image is imported into your document, you can switch back to Limited Color Management.

When I first started noticing this problem, I would copy the image slices I was working with into GraphicConverter and use its "Merge color profile into image" checkbox in its Save dialog. This effectively does the same thing that Photoshop CS2 does when you Save For Web there -- it matches the colors as best it can to their untagged, non-color-managed equivalents. And GraphicConverter is even cheaper than Photoshop Elements! If you have no choice but to use Adobe RGB originals, GraphicConverter might save your bacon. Its results are not quite as accurate to my eyes as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements configured the aforementioned way, but they are definitely much better than Photoshop Elements configured incorrectly.

  1. You can tell Save For Web to embed the ICC profile, but unless the browser or other viewing software can use the ICC profile, this does nothing but make the bigger.
  2. Well, okay, there is one procedure that works, but it's a pain, and if you have a lot of images to work with, it gets old awfully fast, especially if you want to keep your document's layers intact. In essence, you have to copy your image (either merged, or one layer at a time) from the Adobe RGB document into an existing sRGB document while in Full Color Management mode.

If you get an email from any web service asking you to confirm your password, credit card number, or anything else remotely sensitive, be extremely careful. The scammers are very sneaky about this stuff. Emails can look credible, even offer links that look safe, to the websites you actually use.

Here are some things to do to make sure you're really going where you think you're going.


It's generally not a good idea to attempt to design your own website without some prior experience. Bad things can happen. Updating your own website, on the other hand, is cost-effective and relatively painless, for you and the people who painstakingly designed it.

It is possible, and frequently a good idea, to build special online tools to edit portions of your website that update frequently (news sections can be run with weblog software like Movable Type, for example). We'll assume you just want to perform occasional updates on certain pages, in which case specialized, or customized (like we can provide), software is not necessary.

Updating bits of your website is pretty easy, but we're going to try to cover everything you need to know, so this document may look a little long. Don't be afraid, it's not hard.


We don't use Windows on a regular basis, but we have tried various FTP and SCP clients that will help you move files to and from your web server. Here are some to check out.

  • WinSCP -- This does SCP, not FTP. Make sure your server supports SSH (if you use Pair or Hostbaby, it probably does).
  • LeechFTP -- A friend of ours thinks this is the cream of the crop for free FTP on Windows.
  • SmartFTP -- Supports regular FTP.
  • FileZilla -- Feature-rich and free, but a bit slow in our experience.
  • FTP Explorer -- Mimics the Windows Explorer.
  • WS_FTP LE -- Free for educational users. We used this when I was in college.

Every self-respecting nerd knows that FTP is the way to move files around. Actually, I should say that FTP is the way to move files around unencrypted. Sending files by email is convenient, but inefficient and slow. Email was designed for sending small bits of text, not large binary files.

Enough of the "I don't like attachments" tirade.

At ShooFlyDesign, we use two FTP clients for the Mac: * Interarchy * Transmit

We are fans of both these fine applications. Neither is free, but both are excellent. I was an Interarchy user through version 5, at which point I switched to Transmit. Now that Interarchy 7 has come out, I've returned to the Interarchy fold. But I still like Transmit a great deal, and use it from time to time.

Interarchy is a true power-user's FTP client. It also does SFTP and FTP over SSH, two ways of sending files over an encrypted connection instead of a clear one. It does all kinds of other stuff, all of which are very useful, and packs the whole thing into a nicely thought-out interface. They've borrowed a great deal from Safari, Apple's web browser for Mac OS X, in their user interface approach. It's fast, feature-rich, and reasonably priced at $39.

If you're still using Mac OS 9, you can use the last version of Interarchy (6.3) for Mac OS 9 for free. Just download it from Stairways, and off you go.

Transmit is the picture of elegant software. It is the FTP application I would recommend for people who don't use FTP all the time, but do need to use it from time to time. Transmit can also speak SFTP, but that's it. Clean and simple. At $25, Transmit is also a great buy.

If you need something free, and your server supports one of the secure variations on FTP (SFTP or SCP), check out Fugu. Even disregarding the price, it's excellent. There are many other FTP clients at various prices and levels of quality, if you're interested.



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