Fun Flash – ThisIsSand.com

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 | Personal | No Comments

Sometimes people do the dumbest things with flash.  A website can be entirely pointless, yet do something that entertains, and overall… is “cool”.

Here’s another one, http://thisissand.com/

This brilliant, yet simple, website lets you create sand sculptures by throwing sand around.

Click on the Grey block in the top left corner if you get lost.


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Android and Silverlight will help the iPhone

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008 | Personal | 1 Comment

So the #1 competition that the iPhone has, Google’s Android — and Apple’s big rival’s, Microsoft’s, rich web plug-in Silverlight — Will both help the iPhone?


Lets all be honest here, Apple’s been holding control of the iPhone in too close.  We all have wanted GPS navigtion (real gps navigation), VOIP applications, alternative email applications, alternative podcasting apps, better browsing experience, and an overall better experience.

Until now, Apple had the final say on all of those things.  Preventing applications that competed with the iPhone’s core functionality, relenting to implement common technologies such as VOIP applications, Flash in Safari, and other nice to have’s.

With the Android platform out there, we can all bet it will soon have both Flash and Silverlight running.  It’s just a matter of time.  

Apple can’t afford to be so stringent, with a fairly capable competitor doing things that will gain it significant market share.

I love my iPhone, but if the Android gets flash and Silverlight (not that I’m a fan of Silverlight, but at least it’s something) — I’d probably give Apple a week or 2 to make an announcement, then go right out and get one.  Not only that, I’d happily leave AT&T for another provider. 

We all hope Apple sees this, and starts helping us out.

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Papervision3D update

Saturday, October 11th, 2008 | Business | 1 Comment

So far so good with Papervision3D.  It took me a few hours but I’m already mostly up and running with the new framework.

Later on I will post each step that I made in working with Papervision3D.

When I learn a new framework I like to learn each of the basic tools first in their entirety.  It helps later on when dealing with more complicated ideas.

Along the way I’ve run across a few extremely useful sites:

  • Mad Vertices – Jim Foley’s Brain.  Flex, Flash, Papervision 3D, Swift 3D and other cool stuff.
  • InsideRIA – Useful blog touching on more complex flash / actionscript 3.0 issues
  • EverydayFlash – Creative use of technology.  A blog about 3D Flash and Actionscript by Bartek Drozdz
The libraries that I’ve ended up with are:
Papervision is, of course, the core 3d engine.
Tweener provides some very nice 2D and 3D transformation animations with actionscript.  This is stuff I’ve always done by hand before, no longer!
AS3Dmod is a great library of cross-engine modifiers.  The modifiers provided include Bend, Noise, Skew, Taper, Bloat, Perlin, and Twist.  It has some nice developer documentation (for developers, not really mainstream).  To be fair, only hardcore developers should get themselves into these modifiers.
In a little over 5 hours I’ve managed to explore the nuclear functionality of all of these frameworks, so it’s quite possible.  
Sometime soon I’ll be posting my progress in a series of flash and actionscript source files.

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Papervision 3D work

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008 | Business | No Comments

Among us flash web developers, who hasn’t tried creating a 3D engine of their own before?

I think it’s par for the course for any flash programmer who has taken linear mathetmatics or 3d coding classes at some point in our histories.

I’ll admit, my last official adventuring into 3D engine work was maybe 8 years ago back when I was in the Computer Science program at Boston University.

At that point it was mostly implementing ray tracers, DirectX 3D transforms and other basic 3d manipulations (stick figures, kinematics, reflectivity, etc.).

Flash has been much more “complicated” as it were.  Given the processing limitations it’s always been a game of artifically implementing 3D effects, as opposed to creating a real 3D engine.

In my upcoming project, I’ll be playing with Papervision 3D (Blog, Project Home, Official Site).  

I’ve followed Papervision3D for a while now, watching as site after site wins awards.  

The most interesting thing, is that the sites that win awards for implementation of Papervision3D don’t implement extraordinarily complex 3d sites (at least so it seems, maybe that’s the magic) but artfully integrate a 3d engine into their experience:

  • Barcinski & Jeanjean – I love the unique “loader”, as well as simple early interactions to allow for loading, while the user doesn’t think loading is going on.
  • Fat-Man Collective – A great website fully integrating a 3d engine with design, seamless, simple, and very effective.
  • 13Flo – Ignore everything you think a website had to be, just take a look at this.

Results will be posted here.

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Flash for the iPhone – Already developed by Adobe

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008 | Personal | 1 Comment

Announced at Flash On The Beach, Adobe confirmed it is actively developing a Flash Player for the iPhone.

Broken (as far as I can tell) by Flash Magazine, on the post Flash For the iPhone Confirmed At FOTB.

Now lets hope it doesn’t suck too many batteries, is fully compatible with the standard flash browser, and Apple will graciously let Adobe deploy the Flash Player.

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Flash Optimizations of onClip enterFrame events

Thursday, September 25th, 2008 | Business | No Comments

I’m going to be writing up a tutorial and exploring the benefits of what I am about to propose, this is for conversation and discussion.

When creating MovieClip objects that update their status every frame they enter, traditionally you bind a general loop to their “onClipEvent(enterFrame)” or other methods to bind to the onEnterFrame method.

Inside is normally a loop that executes perpetually with each frame refresh.  When objects build up with this logic, the framerate in Flash movies can dwindle.  This is especially evident on slower functioning computers.

I will be testing out a method to enhance movieclips who don’t need to always be looping.  For example, if you have a navigational structure with 3 elements.  Lets call them Home, News, and Contact.  These navigational elements need to animate themselves when told to do so by the main flash animation.

Normally I would bind a method to “setTargetXY”, “doAnimation”, and let the main handler “onEnterFrame” handle the animation from there.

But what about when the movie isn’t moving the navigation around?

I propose the doAnimation should always have a “this.start()”.  Additionally when the animation is over, the main handler should “this.stop();” to stop the moving from entering frames and continuously checking for an “isActive” or other qualifiers to begin animation calculations.

I’ve informally done this before just out of optimizing code, but I think a more formal approach may be beneficial.

Does anyone know if the flash player automatically does this?  Tests for logical qualifiers in movie loops, and stops them until those qualifiers change? 

It could be a nice optimization to the way Flash player handles static objects who have a loop with a single if statement wrapped around.

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G1 – Will it support flash?

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008 | Business, Personal | No Comments

One of the biggest questions I have right now, is will the G1 support flash?

The famous “Google Phone”, competing with the iPhone — so far I cannot confirm or reject the possibility that it supports flash.

The lack of flash support on the iPhone is my biggest problem with the phone.

Some other various pieces of information I have gathered, mostly negatives about the G1:


  • it is almost 30% thicker, 20% heavier
  • smaller screen
  • forces the user to use google accounts for email / contacts
  • does not sync with desktop applications 
The positive updates:
  • Built in compass (think of applications in Streetview, and other geospacial technologies)
  • Google Street View support
UPDATE 2008.09.23- According to Xbit laboratories in this article, the Google Android Phone will NOT be supporting flash.

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Liquid Flash Layouts — taking up the whole screen effectively

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008 | Business | No Comments

Something that I’ve just recently started playing with again is the ability for flash to intelligently adapt to it’s window becoming larger and smaller.

After researching the subject (go google!) I found a great resource to help me along Liquid Flash Layout.  It included examples and methods used to do the whole thing.  Liquid flash layouts really aren’t all that complex — initially.

Now that it’s implemented, I have a routine that updates all windows when the browser is reset.  To eliminate those crazy user actions, I forced it to stop at 640×480 (or any variant like that).


Flash and WordPress integrate easily

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008 | Business | No Comments

After a few quick tests, I was able to modify the actionscript libraries slightly to pull WordPress blog entries into a flash website.

Please check out this great article on xmlrpc and integrating flash with WordPress.

Final results will be posted soon.  My goal is to have the website react to live posts via wordpress, and leverage wordpress as a CMS “on the go” using the iphone WordPress application to post “Press Releases” on my website remotely.

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Integrating wordpress, xml, and flash

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008 | Business | No Comments

I am experimenting on integrating the wordpress application with my flash front end, through the RSS XML conduit. 

I’ll post any results — of course if there are no results, you may not see anything at all!

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