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Up until now our primary mode of social networking has been via twitter and a variety of automated rss feeds. Over the last month though I have started putting more energy into two new streams - Dribbble and Facebook.

Dribbble

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I was really excited when I received my Dribbble invite from Juan Arreguin and while I haven't taken many shots of our Joomla template work yet I can really see the potential.

If you are new to Dribbble it's essentially a social networking platform for designers where they can share shots, rebounds and feedback on design concepts.

In fact at first, the 400 by 300px limitation for each shot seemed unnecessarily restrictive but after uploading a few shots I realised the benefit of having to focus on such a small area of the design. It's easy to lose site of the detail when designing on a large canvas, so forcing myself to take Dribbble sized snapshots of a work in progress really helps to flesh out the detail of a design.

Two Dribbble Invites ...

Part of the allure of Dribbble is that it's invitation only and you can only join if you are drafted ... And it just so happens that I have two invitations available, so if you are a brilliant designer with some mad skills, drop a link to your folio in the comments and I will announce the recipients early next week.

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The bamboo working bee

While I recognise that most of the visitors here are more than likely facing winter at the moment, Australia has just started to warm up and that generally means getting out into the garden and cleaning up some of the debris that has built up over the last few months - (well more than a few months if I'm honest).

Cleaning up ...

I'd like to extend the summer vibe to all of our Joomlabamboo members and enlist your help to clean up the debris here at Joomlabamboo. I tend to be an enthusiastic typer - often using more letters than needed for a word - and while the spell check on OSX works ok, I sometimes miss crucial typos in the rush to hit the publish button.

Harvesting fruit ...

As an incentive for pointing out where my fingers have gone wrong on the keyboard, each typo found will add an extra day to your membership. These typos can cover our template language files, extensions, demo sites, docs etc (not the forum though).

Spraying for bugs, picking the flowers ...

If you are feeling super summery you can also help to spot unknown bugs in the extensions and templates too. Each confirmed bug will add a week to your subscription and just to show you how appreciative we are of your time, if you include the fix we are going to be super generous and add an entire month to your subscription.

Where to start ..

You can drop your bugs and typo's into the Working Bee Forum if you spot something awry.

Just add the details there with a clear definition of the issue (if it's a bug) or a provide a link to the page with the typo.

If the typo or bug hasn't previously been listed then at the end of the week this will go towards your tally and days, weeks or months will be added to your subscription.

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The Bamboo state of the union

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As some of you may have noticed it's now December and we are yet to release the November template. November has been a funny month for us with some staff changes, a design that didn't quite come into it's own until quite late in the piece as well as needing more time than anticipated to bring a new module to the table. All of this has lead to us being incredibly late with the next template ... but please don't despair there is some good news ahead.

The Platform Joomla Template

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The good news is that the November template - Platform - is almost ready and it is stunning. It's a clean full width template that uses Masonry to create complex (but easy to control) layouts in a non-traditional blog format. It is also a responsive design and will scale to suit your iphone, android, ipad device as well small screen and large screen monitors. Check out the full width screenshot here.

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Cyber Monday - Coupon

It's been some time since we released a coupon to our Joomla template club and so we thought Cyber Monday was the perfect time to break the drought.

If you use the coupon "BAMBOO2011" on our subscription page you will receive 25% off all of our Joomla template subscriptions. This coupon will be available for the next few days.

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A small note to let you know that it is now possible to use 2Checkout and Paypal as payment processors when purchasing a subscription for our Joomla Templates.

Why did we do this?

In general we like the way paypal works (despite the horrendous UX in their admin area) however there are occasional hiccups in their system that are inconvenient for us and of course inconvenient to you. We figure adding the option of using 2Checkout as a payment processor will help to ease any of the pain that these occasional problems with Paypal may present.

2Checkout also accepts payments from users in more countries than Paypal and they also have a better vetting system against fraud.

New Buttons

As a side note the nifty new buttons are taken from the css button tutorial over here.

Because of the way that AEC (our subscription component) handles the add to cart buttons when there are multiple processors available we had to mock the buttons up in css first and then grab a screenshot and turn it into an image.

This was the first time I have gone from using css to a graphic in web design - normally it's the other way around.

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I've just rolled out a small but helpful addition to the Joomlabamboo profile area that adds some useful tools for our club members. The update includes added support for tabs that links to all of your ticket system requests, your Joomla template downloads as well as the twitter feed from the JB Activity twitter stream.

There are a few visual tweaks to the layout as well as some code optimisation to improve the ajax loading functionality of some of the tabs; these changes will hopefully tide us over until the next major overhaul of the Joomlabamboo main site (whenever that is).

I plan on adding some more stuff in the near future - such as some common documentation and getting started links as well as some other little bits and pieces but for now I think the profile area should prove to be a helpful resource for our members.

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Overhauling the frame and navigation for our Joomla template showcase is one of those things that has been on my todo list for way too long. In addition to showing tooltip images of the templates when you hover over the links (not a revolutionary feature I know), the Joomla version compatibility has also been added to the template info.

I will be adding more stuff like a description and zen grid framework compatibility notice, as well as hopefully plugging in a theme variation drop down as well. So for now I've just rolled out the first stage of the upgrade but I think it improves things dramatically. Stay tuned for more developments and of course the August Joomla template release which should be arriving in the next few days or early next week.

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It feels a little cheesey making this announcement but I'm pretty wrapped to have hit such a momentus number of messages posted on our support forum. To celebrate hitting the milestone I have just given the lucky subscriber who posted the 50,000th message. So congrats to Jonathanne who just picked up an extra 12 months on his subscription.

A big thanks to Seth, Paul, Jason and Ed who have helped with their sterling support efforts to reach that number too, plus of course all of our members who have helped put together such a great community of Joomla developers and users.

Also I will be drawing the winners of the site of the year and avatar competition on Monday now so there is still time to enter the competition if you haven't submitted your design or your avatar.

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Little Snapper + Ember = Heart

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I have been using the Little Snapper screen capture app for well over a year now to capture screenshots of our Joomla Templates but for some reason I have never really looked into the options it provides for sharing images.

It's probably easily explained by the fact that I (like I assume most people do) form habits in their workflow that hard to break. My usual workflow for working with Little Snapper is to take all of the screen shots of the template once the local version has been finalised, and then export the images to fireworks where I crop and resize them.

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I have been meaning to improve the style and design of our subscription pages for a few months now and have finally had a chance to implement the new layouts.

Check out the screenshots below or go straight to the subscription page.

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Over the last few months we have been debating about potential improvements to our Joomla template club from both a user and developer perspective (that's us) and I'm relieved to say that we have come to a decision and have started to roll out some of the changes.

We pride ourselves on the level of support we provide via our support forum and ticket system and the quality of the support is one of the things that people remark upon the most - the other being our beautiful joomla templates of course. But in the last few months the load that support represents to our daily workflow has been steadily increasing and we have found ourselves having to draw a line in the sand over what we will and wont offer in terms of customisation requests.

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I've been meaning to implement a better way of browsing our Joomla templates for almost a year now and I'm slowly eating away at the todo list and have just released a simple categorisation system which should help you to quickly find the Joomla template you need for your projects.

You can see the list of categories in a popup overlay on the Joomla templates page by clicking on the "View templates by category link". The new landing pages are just simple Joomla content pages but have an instance of our microblog module serving up specific content. The result is kind of like a manual tagging system and while it took a bit of configuring it allows me to create related or deeper groupings of content without resorting to another content extension. All of the pages that get delivered from those links are default Joomla content.

For those that are interested see the overview of how to use microblog to do this below.

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