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Happy Halloween 2009 from Sandvox!

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Be sure to pre-scale your QuickTime movies

We got an inquiry from Mike E. recently about some problems he was noticing with a Sandvox-built site playing back QuickTime movies when viewed from a Windows machine. While the movie played fine on a Mac, it seemed that as soon as he updated to the latest version of QuickTime on his PC, the movie he had in a pagelet stopped displaying.  In other words, a broken image, blank, not visible or displaying properly.

It turns out that there is a bug in the newest version of the QuickTime plugin for Windows, in that it can't handle scaled-down movies. In other words, a movie where the original pixel size of the movie (for instance, 480 pixels wide) gets scaled down to fit the sidebar (in this case, 200 pixels wide).

As we mention in our documentation, it's a good idea for you to scale down your movie to match the viewing size on your website, but the reasons we mention there have to do with file size and transmission time, as well as video quality. When you put a larger movie on your website, Sandvox is not able to scale down the original movie data to the viewing size, though your web browser is perfectly happy (except for this new Windows bug) to load the full size movie and shrink it down to fit the available space. The problem is that movies tend to hold a lot of data, and that means extra time to download that movie so it can play. You don't want your visitors to have to wait any longer than necessary to be able to watch the video, do you?

So if you have an embedded QuickTime video on your website, we recommend using a video tool to scale down the size of your video to fit the container it's in.  The dimensions you need to keep in mind are: 200 pixels wide for a pagelet, 320 pixels wide for a page with a sidebar, and 640 pixels for a page without a sidebar.

Sandvox 1.6.5 Released; How to Get it for Free

Today we released an update to Sandvox.  The latest version, 1.6.5, contains a few fixes to publishing and the iMedia Browser. You can fetch it via the usual methods: a download from our website, or by checking for updates from the Sandvox menu of the application itself.

Along with this new version, we are also announcing a special promotion that starts now and lasts through the entire month of November — one that can get you a license to Sandvox Pro for Free!

We've teamed up with a couple of our recommended website hosts for the entire month of November and will be giving away a free single-user license to Sandvox Pro with proof of a new one-year hosting signup from either A2 Hosting or Server Logistics, if purchased through the links on our hosting comparison chart.

Here's how this special, one-month promo works: You decide which plan you want, from either Server Logistics or A2 Hosting, and sign up for a year (or more) of hosting using the online form our comparison chart links to. Then, just forward the hosting company's "welcome" email to freesandvox@karelia.com. As soon as we receive your email and verify the purchase, we'll send you a gift certificate code for a free single-user license to Sandvox Pro.

(If you already have Sandvox Regular Edition, and you are looking for a new hosting company, you can take advantage of this offer to upgrade your license to the Pro edition, as well!)

That's pretty cool, but it gets better.  The participating hosts are also offering special discounts on hosting for Sandvoxers.  Server Logistics is offering a 15% discount and A2 Hosting is offering a 25% discount on a hosting package — just enter the coupon code FREESANDVOX when you check out from the hosting company's website.

With the discount coupon code applied, you can easily get a full year of hosting, plus Sandvox, for less than the normal price for Sandvox itself!

Go here to compare the available plans, review the details, and take advantage of this month-long offer.