BrowserCanvas. The World’s Easiest Way to Dynamically Resize Flash

There are some challenges in Flash that are addressed with such regularity that it can be surprising that no uniform way of accomplishing these tasks has emerged. One of these challenges is dynamic flash movie resizing through JavaScript. While websites have been doing this for years and the techniques involved are simple, there are enough moving parts involved to make it a chore to recode and deploy every time you launch a new site. BrowserCanvas bundles all of the code necessary to do Flash resizing into a single ActionScript file which is easy to deploy and reuse. It takes care of a lot of the maintenance work necessary to do Flash JavaScript resizing so that it can be deployed with minimal effort.

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Adobe AIR Impressions

This weekend I had some time to work with Adobe AIR and I’ve walked away with a different impression of it than I thought I would. While I wouldn’t say my opinion of it has improved, I would say it’s a different product than I thought it was.

Adobe Air

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Curious Robots

When I was working on the current redesign of this site, I toyed with the idea of integrating a robot character into the site’s identity. With a site name like “doesnotcompute”, it seemed like the logical thing to do. I was unhappy with the results I came up with and abandoned the idea.

Out of this experimentation, however, I created the following Flash prototype of “curious” robots. The robots will watch and approach the mouse cursor, but will flee in fear if the mouse cursor gets too close. You can single out a robot and chase him around with the mouse while the others watch. This is both cruel and fun.

This site’s current three circle logo comes from the design of these robot’s “eyes”. The current logo, however, reuses the Trade Gothic “o” instead of a filled circle.

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Pestilence. Stylizing Conway’s Game of Life

Way back in 1999, I went to an exhibit on emergent behaviors at the now defunct Boston Computer Museum. While I had seen Conway’s Game of Life demonstrated before, I enjoyed it a lot more after seeing it in the context of this exhibit.

Static Image

Figure 1. A screenshot of Pestilence. Red is newly created life, black is life that has been alive for at least one step, white is empty space.

That same year, I created my first Life simulation in Flash 4. Unfortunately, Flash was not quite fast enough at that time to make much more than a small grid that slowly crawled along. The result was not particularly impressive.

Today however, Flash is a bit faster, as are most of our computers. I spent some time yesterday creating a life simulator in AS3. I applied a couple of bitmap filters to it in order to make the appearance more dramatic. You can view the real-time simulation at the bottom of this post.

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Tattoo Santa. R/GA has released it’s 2007 Holiday Card

R/GA has recently released their 2007 Interactive Holiday Card. I spent a good bit of time over the past few weeks working on it with a team of talented folks here at R/GA.

Tattoo Santa takes advantage of the performance improvements in Flash Player 9 to warp an image onto a mesh real time. By combining this with video playback, we are able to insert content into a video real time. I’m guessing that this basic technique is going to be pretty common place in the next few years as it has a wide variety of applications (besides the obvious one of putting tattoos on Santa).

Holiday Card 2

Figure 1. Tattoo Santa offers 6 different tattoo designs which incorporate a custom message from the user.

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Mniml Slideshow. A Flickr powered photo gallery for the Chumby

I managed to get my hands on a Chumby a few weeks back, but due to a heavy workload, I wasn’t able to play with it until recently.

For those unfamiliar with the Chumby, it’s essentially an internet enabled alarm clock. While that description doesn’t do justice to the Chumby’s full capabilities, it does quickly conjure to mind the Chumby’s basic form factor and suggests where a Chumby would sit in your home or office. I’ve now had the chance to spend some quality time with my Chumby, both as a user and as a developer.

Chumby and A Mug

Figure 1. The Chumby is about the size of the average alarm clock.

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