Playing Around With AS3 Based Generative Art/Design

Now that I am Flexing pretty much full time at work, I thought I’d try my hand at some of the newer stuff in AS3, the revised drawing API and just some design stuff in general. I wrote a little function to create some pretty shapes in colors and had quite a ball with it. Check out this image:

AS3 Pastel Blurred Circles

Nothing to complex, but a larger set of the images is here at Flickr. I think I may try my hand at tying the drawing times to an audio channel next.

Absolutely Hilarious: StSanders Guitar Hero Shred Videos at YouTube.

I’m sorry, totally off topic post here, but man is this stuff just too funny. ReDubbed clips of guitar heros shredding in concert with horribly bad playing and sound effects/vocals. Hard to pick a favorite here (He has a dozen to watch)… Im going to embed a couple videos, but you owe it to yourself to go check out his other clips. Genius!

First, Slash Shreds!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEwIRZ9pLCM]

Next, it is time for OZZy…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eqtk6kKTlDM]

And Finally… Darth Vader is looking for his son:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfWoL4nXu0Q]

A bit too busy to blog. Sorry for the inactivity.

We have just turned in midterms at school, I have 3-4 pretty good size projects at work going on that are all in Flex and AS3 (We just jumped into this for client projects), and the kids at home are just busy with the school and the dance class and the halloween, etc. etc. etc. I do hope to post some code and some examples for a couple personal projects I have going on that are just to early to give more details other than a cool mashup involving Kuler and another project involving my good friend and colleague, Jim Ferolo.

Stay tuned.

Still using AS2.0 and need to get things done? Use CASA Framework.

I admit it. I still use AS2 for quick and dirty projects in Flash. I can write AS2 faster (as does at least one other Flash developer out there, I’m sure there are more.), need to think less about overall structure and organization and in general feel a bit more creative when I don’t need to use Flex, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I like the power of the Flex framweork and look forward to getting more fluent in AS3.0 (I too get lost in all the built in packages, etc.), but for now, when I need to pull some crazy little thing out of my Flash resources directory (a folder on my HD containing hundreds of code snippets collected from over the years) and turn it into something loosely resembling an RIA or dynamic animation or UI, I like to employ the CASA Framework to speed things up.

If you haven’t checked out CASA, you owe it to yourself. The UTILs and XML packages alone are worth the price of Admission… oh wait. It’s FREE! My faves in it (Of course, some of these are made irrelevant by AS3):

Do you use CASA? If so, let me know what you are doing with it? If you are a CASA developer, when does the AS3 version come out?

Are the Rules the most useless MXML elements or what?

Peter deHaan posted an example on his FlexExamples blog about the Styling the HRule and the VRule. Man, do I hate those useless little dividers. You just can’t style ‘em for crap. StrokeWidth, StrokeColor and StrokeShadow… that’s it. Worthless.
What I really wish it had were the following…

cornerRadius
backgroundColor
backgroundImage
borderThickness
borderStyle
etc. etc.

I currently just use the Box, because the Rule just doesn’t do what I want it to do. Of course, this makes the standards based designer in me cringe, but I guess MXMl isn’t quite XHTML, is it? Do semantics matter in this realm or am I just crazy?

This College Football Season is Just Crazy!

Talk about an unpredictable season. Ohio State and handful of others are the only unbeatens. No real clear dominant team from the SEC has managed to remain lossless and USC is not as tough as everyone thought… Of course my Badgers have taken a bit of a slide the last two weeks, but take a look at this clip from the College Gameday recap. It pretty much says it all. The inevitable question.. who should be #1…

Flex CSS Party Time: The Finer Frustrations with Datagrid, TabNavigator and TabBar

I’m a designer at heart, and that may be why I fell in love with Flash. It was easy to make fantastic designs come to life. I eventually tired of the difficult development path and ceaseless sessions of painful debugging. Things changed with Flex and I saw the potential to not leave the Flash platform for AJAX or some other technology from the darkside. ;-) Anyway… I have been working on an intranet/extranet app for our project managers and clients to use to share files and I have run into to some CSS styling issues that make me want to punch Flex. Now the frustration is on the visual end of things, not the functional… What was easy in Flash is not so much so in FLex and vice-versa. Take a look at these screenshots…


picture-4.png


How do you get the TabBar’s selected item to not have a seam between the tab and a canvas or other item? I want an effect like the TabNavigator, but I don’t want the associated canvases. I’m using the tabs to filter 1 datagrid. You would think you could target the active tab’s bottom border. Don’t seem like it from livedocs.And here is another one… once you round the corners of a datagrid, it seems to blow out or hide the actual corners… Weird. Check this out. Look at that top left corner… hrrrrmmm . Not cool.

picture-6.png


The annual conundrum to reup for .Mac or not.

Who here is a .Mac subscriber? I have been for years, but I hate shelling out every year for it.

I like the email ease of use and flexibility (Enoutrage, Mail, Webmail, iPhone… they all work with it.), but hate the amount of spam I get. I like the WebDav iDisk and the syncing of files, but hate the relatively small capacity (10GB). I love the backup app’s simplicity and power, but hate that you can only back 1 computer up to iDisk. I love sharing my photos with friends and family over the iWeb pages and easy web galleries through my iPhone, but wonder if Flickr would be just as good.

Ahhh the torment. I have like 5 days left to decide.

My Take on Thermo I’m Psyched. A Couple Caveats, Though.

After the demo of Thermo, there were few conversations with people at Max that didn’t eventually involve talking about it. It’s pretty amazing. I can’t wait to get my hands on it as it certainly will help my development team work with the design team. It should speed up the design process greatly. And knowing that the mockups they produce, can, *if they have to*, become full fledged RIAs in hours not days or weeks is pretty awesome to say the least!

Like a number of posts out there, though, I have my reservations.

  • The MXML equivalent of “DIVitis” – Divitis is is condition in HTML documentts where an overabundance of unecessary tags is used to help control a webpage’s layout in an excessive manner. Looking at the MXML that Thermo was producing, it looks like it might just be doing the Flex builder equivalent to an RIA of what Dreamweaver can do to a website if you aren’t careful. Not only would MXML like this possibly be difficult to maintain, it does really prevent you from being able to practice good MVC techniques when the interactivity is so closely wired into the visual components.
  • MX:Graphic / MX:Rect – I think these were the elements that Thermo created for the fancy tricks at the show. WTF? Seriously, this namespace is just getting huge! Why can’t the Graphic and Rect be attributes in existing components? Even cooler would be a Thermo namespace (eg: <Thermo:Rect> or <TH:Rect>… then you would know exactly where things came from, and it might just aid in roundtripping the stuff back through Thermo to the original apps. Or not.
  • Piles of images to load for clients - One thing not many people mentioned was the large number of PNGs generated by the thermo image slice up voodoo. now, I’m sure you can apply JPEG compression to ‘em, but let’s face it, an HTTP connection is an HTTP connection, right? That many external images could be a bottleneck in app loading.
  • Whatever happened to styling/skinning? – We need some attention in Thermo given to a smarter approach to styling. Let’s get some intelligence so that Thermo knows when it should make vector buttons, when it should create a programmatic skin, when it should simply apply css to a stock component. Maybe this is too much to ask for a 1.0 product/plugin, but it’s the kind of thing that really will get it some respect with developers.
  • How does it handle Apollo transparent windows? - Not really a reservation, but a question. How can you define the transparent regions, drag areas, etc.
  • Will every designer think they can design UIs now? – I see a whole world of potential for a repeat of the Flash 4 criticisms of days of old. Flash is 99% crap, etc…. if it really is so easy to make an RIA, does it cheapen the term?
  • My managers are just going to crap – Oh jeez another app to buy. This with Flex Builder 3 and the impending licensing terms for AIR and the “sneak previewed, sure to come out sooner than the capital expenditure budget would like” CS4… We spend so much much $ to stay in the game. Here is another little cog you need to be able to keep up with the Jones’.

Anyway, Thermo sure looks cool, and I definitely cannot wait to get my grubby little mouse on it. I’d like some feedback on my thoughts, what gets you going about Thermo? What are you planning on doing with it?

From Digg: Silverlight technology rivals Flash, AJAX

Hmmm… excuse me while I chuckle just a little bit… With all of the goodies released on Labs in the last couple of days, the super hot stuff shown in the general session on Monday and the sneak peaks that blew everyone’s minds (seam carving, C++ translation, flash home mobile), I can’t help but think this article is just a little misguided. Max showed pretty clearly that Adobe means business… I doubt Silverlight can catch up with the Flash platform…

FTA: “Silverlight lets Web developers and designers create “rich, engaging user experiences with 2-D graphics, animation, images, media, and video,” to use Microsoft’s own description. Silverlight competes in this arena with Adobe Flash and Flex, with OpenLaszlo and Curl, and with a variety of AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) frameworks.”

read more | digg story

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