Archive for October 2005

Happy Halloween!

31 October 2005 | 0

Jesse as Zombie

I like:

26 October 2005 | 0

43 Folders, because it gives me ideas for organizing my online and offline worlds, and Merlin is fricken hilarious

Mashup.Podcast, for being a voice behind a music style I adore

Odeo, for giving me fun new podcasts to listen to (one of which you’ll find above)

Ernie Cline, for being the voice of geeks everywhere

Violet and Dodgeball, for helping bridge that gap between the real and the virtual by thinking of different ways to experience online notifications

For those Flash users who have moving on the brain…

26 October 2005 | 0

Aline says:

can it. Use the idea of a box instead

… so here’s the same explanation, but with boxes:


In Flash, you’ve got three types of Symbols: Movie Clips, Buttons and Graphics. Graphics are nothing more than 1 frame Movie Clips, so let’s conviently forget those. So now you’re left with Movie Clips and Buttons. Movie Clips are great, because you can store stuff in them. Buttons are great because you can put some fancy-pants text on them (in the biz, we call that “ActionScript”), and let people interact with your pages and animations. In order to make something into a Button or Movie Clip, we need to draw the object we want, then select it and do Modify > Convert to Symbol.

Here’s where things get tricky.

Upon doing this conversion, you just created a potential headache for yourself. You have now entered the territory of “nested timelines”. For newcomers to Flash, this always seems to trigger a host of incomprehensibilities about how Flash works:

“Where do I create my animations?”

“Where do I put my button’s ActionScript?”

“How do I change the color of my button?”

“Where am I?”

Repeat after me: It’s all boxes. When you do that Convert to Symbol command, you basically take that little drawing you did and box it up. It’s contained. It’s enclosed. It’s symbol-ized. You can prove this is true because when you click on your object, you get a blue rectangle around it called a “bounding box”. To edit your freshly made symbol, you double click on the object, and you are now in that symbol’s timeline. Yes, just as you can put smaller boxes in larger boxes, you can put timelines within other timelines (in this case the timeline of your Movie Clip or Button within the main timeline).

Here’s where the box analogy really pays off. When you want move stuff you put in a box, how do you move it? You don’t open up the box, take everything out one-by-one and move them. That defeats the whole purpose of boxing them up in the first place. No — you move your conveniently packaged materials through the real world via your box container. Just like a Movie Clip. When you want to do motion tweens on a Movie Clip, you move the symbol around, not the object within the symbol. Thus, you are building the animation on the timeline that holds the Movie Clip, not the timeline within the Movie Clip.

Think of it this way:

Real World > Box > stuff you put in the box (books, stuffed animals, whatever)

Main Timeline > Movie Clip Symbol > original drawing

When you want to read the books you put in the box, you open the box. When you want to edit the original drawing, you “open” the Movie Clip (by double clicking on the symbol).

Same deal with Buttons. When you want to label your boxes so you know at a glance what is in them, you put a label on the outside of the box. When you want to put ActionScript on a Button so you can let people interact with it, you put the script on the Button symbol, not within the Button. You should be able to see that blue bounding box when you are adding scripts to a button — you should never see the Up, Over, Down and Hit states when you’re trying to add ActionScript to control buttons.

But, unfortunately, you cannot store leftovers on the internet

26 October 2005 | 0

So, it seems that I tend to think in terms of food. Which is fine: I like to eat. But when I try to describe basic Flash concepts to my students, I inevitably begin the discussion of tupperware.

In Flash, you’ve got three types of Symbols: Movie Clips, Buttons and Graphics. Graphics are nothing more than 1 frame Movie Clips, so let’s conviently forget those. So now you’re left with Movie Clips and Buttons. Movie Clips are great, because you can store stuff in them. Buttons are great because you can put some fancy-pants text on them (in the biz, we call that “ActionScript”), and let people interact with your pages and animations. In order to make something into a Button or Movie Clip, we need to draw the object we want, then select it and do Modify > Convert to Symbol.

Here’s where things get tricky.

Upon doing this conversion, you just created a potential headache for yourself. You have now entered the territory of “nested timelines”. For newcomers to Flash, this always seems to trigger a host of incomprehensibilities about how Flash works:

“Where do I create my animations?”

“Where do I put my button’s ActionScript?”

“How do I change the color of my button?”

“Where am I?”

Repeat after me: It’s all tupperware. When you do that Convert to Symbol command, you basically take that little drawing you did and box it up like the leftover spaghetti you made last night. It’s contained. It’s enclosed. It’s symbol-ized. You can prove this is true because when you click on your object, you get a blue rectangle around it called a “bounding box”. To edit your freshly made symbol, you double click on the object, and you are now in that symbol’s timeline. Yes, just as you can put smaller tupperware in larger tupperware, you can put timelines within other timelines (in this case the timeline of your Movie Clip or Button within the main timeline).

Here’s where the tupperware analogy really pays off. When you want to bring that leftover spaghetti to work with you the next day, how do you move it? You don’t open up the tupperware, grab the noodles with your bare hands and slide them around. No — you move your conveniently packaged pasta through the real world via your tupperware container. Just like a Movie Clip. When you want to do motion tweens on a Movie Clip, you move the symbol around, not the object within the symbol. Thus, you are building the animation on the timeline that holds the Movie Clip, not the timeline within the Movie Clip.

Think of it this way:

Real World > Tupperware > noodles and marinera

Main Timeline > Movie Clip Symbol > original drawing

When you want to eat the spaghetti, you open the tupperware. When you want to edit the original drawing, you “open” the Movie Clip (by double clicking on the symbol).

Same deal with Buttons. When you want to label leftovers so you know what it is later, you put the label on the outside of the tupperware. When you want to put ActionScript on a Button so you can let people interact with it, you put the script on the Button symbol, not within the Button. You should be able to see that blue bounding box when you are adding scripts to a button — you should never see the Up, Over, Down and Hit states when you’re trying to add ActionScript to control buttons.

Okay, I should probably get back to my lunch… I think it’s starting to get cold…

Rails Party!

25 October 2005 | 0

In less than 48 hours I will be in what will be perhaps the geekiest party I could ever dream up. I have invited 6 of my closest coworkers to, with me, examine and play with Ruby on Rails. Yes, I organized it. Yes, I researched it. Yes, I am a huge fucking geek. For those of you who read my blog and may be of the PHP persuasion, Rails is a framework well worth checking in to. Support for it is not nearly as widespread as PHP support (read: every fricken Linux box online), but it’s only been around for a year, so I would anticipate the numbers will only increase (especially if you buy into all the hype, which I do because I’m a fanboy).

Also, some insights I’ve made into the Ruby and Rails communities:

  • Lots of Mac users
  • Good graphic design sensibility
  • Strong spiritual undercurrent in the community

Letters to a Young Poet

20 October 2005 | 0

Just found out today, in doing a search to help inspire Aline, that the full text to the wonderful book “Letters to a Young Poet” is available online. I love the internet.

Flashizzle

17 October 2005 | 0

I’m writing a rap about Flash, ’cause Jen said that I should be MC Tween.

F*** Design!

17 October 2005 | 0

I’m going back to my roots…

That link probably won’t live long, but for those who want the sneak peak, check it out!

Hipsters vs The OC

12 October 2005 | 0

Death Cab for Cutie rocks my panties off. Well, not quite, but they definitely know how to rock. I just got home from First Ave. and, man, were they good. Ben is my new personal hero: the man can play fricken every instrument on the stage. They played a nice long set, mixed up the rocking songs and the quiet songs, had me both bobbing my head and in tears, and, all in all, left me feeling good coming out of the show. The crowd was interesting… there was the shy girl who obviously came by herself and is obviously in love with Ben, dressed in all black, with a black backpack and black hoodie and gigantic black boots. She was probably a cutter and used to write bad poetry. Then, there was the overly-confident, baseball hat-wearing, polo shirt a bit too tight (to show off his massive pecs), California transplant wannabe jock with his blonder-than-blonde, booze bottle in one hand, glittery top a bit too tight (to show off her massive boobs), Fox-watching, California transplant wannabe girlfriend (who he’s probably cheated on at least once). Then, there were all those other guys who are probably in their own emo bands, who aren’t quite so pretty, and had their heart broken and stepped on by the one girl they gave their soul too. They all sung along pretending they were up on stage. And then there were all the other girls who wore scarves (even though it was a zillion degrees in there), and long skirts, and strange fuzzy sweaters, and clung to their other girl friends so as to avoid having to talk to the emo-boys. All those girls want to take Ben in and love him and cherish him, but you know that they probably are _exactly the same type of girl_ who broke Ben’s heart in the first place.

Oh, yeah, Ben is the lead singer of DCFC, if you didn’t gather that already. And, obviously, I’m making broad generalizations and buying into unfounded stereotypes. And, just so you know, I was in the emo-boy crowd (except I don’t have a band, which significantly decreases my chances at rockstardom).

Maybe one day I’ll teach myself how to play the guitar or something and then I can write songs and make the kids sing along. God knows I’ve got the material for at least an album’s worth of emo lyrics.

Another one down (and other nonsense)

9 October 2005 | 0

Well, I just woke up. It was nice to be able to sleep in on a weekend. It doesn’t happen often, so when it does I really cherish it. But I have a lot of catch up to do here, so here we go:

First, yesterday was the day. Another birthday come and gone. I’m officially at 25 now. There are only a couple of really significant things behind being 25: I can now rent cars without crazy additional fees, my car insurance rates will drop considerably, and I will never be able to join Fabrica or be on The Real World (I don’t need the drama of The Real World anyway). The party went well. It wasn’t tons and tons of people, but it was enough, and the people who were there made for a great time. I laughed a lot, I played some great video games, I ate some awesome cake and ice cream, and I got a lot of much-needed human contact and conversation.

Second, I’ve been meaning to write about the whirlwind trip to New York. Jamey and I flew out last Saturday morning, shot tons of photos for a freelance project we’re doing, and flew back that evening. We spent something like 6 1/2 hours in the city, and about 13 hours in planes or at an airport. It was quite fun though, and even more fun since I got to hook up with Aline to hang out during that time. It was great to see her: she looks awesome and seems really happy and at ease there (most of the time!). Thank you for the birthday presents, Aliney!

Third, I finally got an iPod. It makes me happy. My FM adapter just died though, so I need to kick some ass about that one: the damn thing didn’t even survive a month, and at $40 a pop, that’s not a “subscription model” I want to be a part of.

Fourth, I’m really digging on Ruby on Rails (and Ruby in general). Plus, the awesome friend that is Jen hooked me up with some space on her server that already has Rails installed, so I’ll be crushing on that for a while, I’m sure. Even though Flash 8 has some fricken sweet features, I think there may be fewer and fewer reasons for me to build SWFs when Rails has some beautiful Ajax support.

Fifth, another of my recent crushes is del.icio.us. I’ve known about it for a while, and always thought it sounded neat, but only recently have I witnessed the true power of that which is del.icio.us. If you have not checked it out, do yourself a favor.

Sixth and last, I’m building… something. It’s not art, it’s not software. But it’s cool, and I hope you’re going to want it. Stay tuned to our irregularly scheduled program…