An open question on Javascript/AJAX frameworks.

I had a really nice post on Javascript and frameworks going here… really I did. Asking questions about whether people actually surf with Javascript off. Wondering if JQuery or Prototype were being given a free pass about the whole degrading/failing gracefully sort of mindset held by most standards focused designers/developers out there. I did.

Then, Firefox crashed. How did it crash… I went to Digg.com and turned off Javascript with my Web Developer toolbar. Gah.

Anyway, the question is valid. Who has Javascript turned off while surfing? Of course, using custom attributes or some sort of crazy non-standards compliant trickery is not nice. But really, it’s 2007. Can’t we depend on if we send the client a script for media type = screen, can’t we depend that the functions will be executed? Can’t we trust that our cool fades/reveals and asynchronous data requests to XMLRPC / SOAP webservices will work flawlessly? This blog post raises the same questions.

I’m torn. On one hand, yes, I realize that the site you are slaving over needs to at least offer a minimal amount of functionality to all users, script enabled or not, but do we need to provide an equal experience? I sure hope not.

Flash sites exist because they enhance an experience… I think that with these new breed of interactive RIA like sites with AJAX will occupy a similar but equally as important space as these Flash sites. They enhance an application. They make things like a page refresh a bad memory. They produce a more seamless interaction platform. They make people happy while they use your site/application. All of these seem like a win to me.

Wetblankets beware, you will probably have someone in a position above you asking, “Why doesn’t our site have fading menus and sliding windows?”.

Looking Forward to in 2007: Fun

This year has a lot of great things in store for us. Do you play video games? If so, check out all the cool games that are coming out for the Wii. Movies, got you covered, too.

  1. Super Smash Brothers Brawl - Yowza! I love SSBM on the Cube so much. Unlocked just about everything. Hours and hours of time spent mashing buttons and drinking beer with buddies. SSBB looks to more of the same, with better graphics, more playable characters, more arenas… More More More! Will it be internet enabled? Maybe. Hope so! There are a few other games out there coming in 2007 that look great, too, but this is the biggie for me.
  2. Visiting New York - Some time this year I will be going back to the big apple to visit my buddy Max. He’s a law student at Brooklyn Law and runs a student site there. Maybe after his and my finals, I will be on my way to go visit him. I already got the go ahead from Renee, so it looks like I’m golden there, so now, I just need to save my pennies.
  3. Vacation (post baby) – The plan is that by the end of 2007, Renee and I will be taking a trip to somewhere nice and warm. We like Mexico, so that’s a likely candidate, but who knows. California would be cool, maybe Costa Rica, too. We’ll just see what kinda deals are out there, but I definitely want to get out of the Midwest a bit.
  4. Summer Movies - Spideman 3, Transformers, woohoo! Can’t wait to see some “asplosions”. I’m honestly a bit mixed about the actual design of some of the characters in both of those movies, but there is only so much you can tell from sneak peeks and trailers.
  5. Interpol’s Third Album – One of my favorite current bands… they’re due for a new album before the end of the year. Hurry up, I’m entirely not gloomy enough.
  6. iPhone, iPhone, I want phone! – The gadget lust is thick and I’m really having problems waiting for June for this thing. Seriously.
  7. Car? - Somehow, if I can swing it, I’m going to try and get a new car. My 2001 Hyundai Accent is over 76k miles and I’m really just tired of it. It’s been a good car, but man… 6 years is a long time to own something that you use pretty much everyday. What’ll I get? Hopefully something hybrid. I would love a Prius, Civic Hybrid or something similiar, but really I just need a four door with good fuel economy and a connection for my iPod. Priorities, you know.

Superbowl XLI: Bears vs Colts ?Ǩ Madden 07 Wii Simulation Results

Madden 07 Wii Box art.So, I usually run the Super Bowl matchup on my Madden. This year, Madden 07 on my Wii.

I was especially intrigued to do so after reading the article about EA doing the same thing. Playing a best 2 out of 3 set of games with them alternating home and away, using All-Madden levels and a slight amount of rain… Here are my results this year.

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That’s not a hair related question, sir.

Is it an afro or perhaps a greaser do?

Link at it again!

Enabling Deep Linking in Flash – Changing my mind on experience sites in general.

I have been developing flash long enough to become jaded in regards to getting sent links to the newest hot Flash sites out there. Big deal. We have seen enough tweens and clever perspective tricks. Integrated video? How 2005. Blurs and dynamic dropshadows. *yawn* Granted, yes, the art is fantastic. The blurring of lines between video effects and Flash is awesome. But, the drawbacks have long been enough for me to say that a site should primarily be built with HTML and only have smatterings of Flash throughout it.

Where does this lack of enthusiasm come from? Partially from the fact that navigating a large monolithic 100% Flash based site is cumbersome. It’s impenetrable by search engines. It’s impossible to bookmark. Sending a URL for a specific screen/scene in a movie to a friend. Fuggeddabouddit.

Anyway… I’m starting to warm to the idea of some of the projects I have going at work because of some great new scripts coming out that allow us to get around some of those issues. The brilliant SWFObject was a great first step in solving the non-standard compliant “” tag issues. It serves up Flash, the alternate content and helps search engines by
providing a bit of meat to latch onto. The even newer SWFAddress is also a fabulous innovation by eschewing the deep linking issues inherent in a 100% Flash site.

I have a couple of projects currently inflight that will be deployed some time this quarter that will be using both of these libraries. I’m excited once again by the prospect of producing a Flash based site for a client. These scripts have freed me from my typical “killjoy” anti-flash stance by helping me be able to produce more accessible multimedia.

Google Earth and Sketchup used in zoning board presentation on Wind Farm.

An opponent of proposed $250 million wind farm sought Monday to show what the project would look like from his point of view. Are others out there using free tools like this to help their cases in community forums, meetings, etc.? Seems like a great use of technology.

I really like the ability that these tools give the user. The integration between the two is fantastic. Real world visualization that would have bene prohibitively difficult or expensive can now be had by anyone with some time.

read more | digg story

Looking Forward to in 2007: Industry

A little less personal than my last “Looking Forward” post, but also important. It’s difficult for me to sometimes separate the work I do, and what I am interested in in my spare time. I really like what I do, it’s true. So when things like this are set to happen, it just spills into everything else in my life.
So what I am I looking forward to in the year 2007 for the web design and multimedia world? Here you go.

  1. New OSes! - Woot! So OSX and Windows both have new versions coming out. Vista is out, OSX Leopard to follow in the spring. New OSes mean new features and new ways for people that consume the media I produce. This is almost always a good thing. The OSX Dashcode beta and the new Vista sidebar have lots of cool possibilities for new delivery platforms for the desktop RIA and cool widget-y toys everyone loves. It’s just a matter of time before clients start wanting custom apps made to run in dashboards and sidebars.
  2. Adobe CS3 – The first Adobe branded version of Flash will be coming out this spring/summer. I have dabbled in Flash 9 or CS3 or whatever they are planning on calling it and I have to say I am excited. Looking forward to Actionscript 3 and hoping that some other cool new designer features make it into the app. The authoring possibilities for mobile devices and the fact that the Nintendo Wii browser comes with Flash and the iPhone is also going to play Flash and I am pretty psyched to put some content out with this new toolset.
  3. Adobe Apollo Platform and FlexBuilder for Mac - Its a bold new world for the SWF. Branching out into RIA development a couple years ago with Central was a good try. Sort of. It had licensing issues and the runtime situation was confusing. Add to the fact that developing Flash RIAs with the Flash IDE isn’t easy and you have yourself a situation. The Adobe Apollo project looks like it will solve those problems and allow us to develop full fledged apps for the desktop without an external tool like Zinc (which I do use). Hardcore developers have long been using MTASC and Eclipse to develop apps and advanced SWF charting, etc. I guess I just wasn’t hardcore enough. I found using external compilers and opensource IDEs to be confusing and a little more than clunky. Did I not give it a good enough try? Maybe. I think its more likely that I just had too much bilable work to do to spend a few weeks testing out new workflows. Flex builder helps me (being a pretty mainstream Flash developer) get things done quickly without having to cobble together an IDE and complier setup. It just works. I have played with it and can’t wait to use it on a client project.
  4. Webkit Everywhere - The Engine used to render HTML in Safari is an opensource project called Webkit. Webkit is pretty decent. Fair rendering of CSS, nice typography (Drop shadows, etc.) The iPhone most certainly uses it. Adobe’s Apollo uses it. The opensource project looks to have some steam building up and it most likely will only be a matter of time before additional vendors use it. The more devices with browsers that are good, the better.
  5. Web2.0 Buzz subsides - Will the craze of gradients and rounded corners ever die? Sure. Will the thought that if you tag an item or add a taxonomy to a site give way to a dose of realism that not everything has to be social. I recently tried out me.dium. Blah. I don’t think I want to chat with other random nerds out on the WWW. I know enough nerds in realspace. I like that people are excited about the web again. I worked in 1999. It was fun. 2001-2002 pretty well sucked to be a web designer. Don’t want to go back there, but can we please not have to say, “it’s like flickr mixed with digg but with a folksonomy layer delivered via webservices.”

Anyway… thats some of the products/events, etc, in the web world I’m looking forward to. How about you?

From Digg: The Adventures of Fancy Pants Man — Cool Sonic-like flash game

Really cool animation, fun music, great art… All in all a very solid flash game! Lots of fun.

I have built puzzle games, exploratory games, quiz games, side scroller race games, but never a platformer. Maybe I should try one once. Anyone need a platformer game out there? ;-)

I do miss the days of the 2D sidescroller. Hopefully with the Wii’s Virtual Console success we’ll see a resurgence in the old school mechanics of a good ole’ scrolly game.

Bring on the powerups!

read more | digg story

Looking Forward to in 2007: Family

The year 2007 is sure to be a great year for me and my family. We have some really awesome things about to happen. Some very exciting landmarks and life changing events.

It seems in the time since I have graduated from school things have accelerated, though I don’t feel as overwhelmed with life changes as I used to. I guess I was too self absorbed or over analytical. Maybe I’m getting mellower, I don’t know. Had things like this magnitiude even happened to me several years ago, I probably would have flipped out.
So what exactly am I looking forward to?

  1. My new son – Just as Sophia changed my life and my relationship with with my wife, parents, in-laws and friends, I’m sure that when Liam gets here my life will be changed as well. I’ll now have a boy to teach and play with, to hope with dream with. And of course to buy Star Wars and Lego toys for! In just under two months from today, he will probably be here and I’ll be exhausted. Renee will be ecstatic and even more tired that I. Sophia will be wondering just what happened to
    her little world. In short… nothing will be the same.
  2. My Sister’s Wedding – Jessie has been dating her fiance Joe for about 2 or maybe even three years. They have a beautiful home and a great dog Maizy(sp?). And soon, they’ll join the club of old married people like me and Renee. We’re really looking forward to being part of their big day and hope the best for them!
  3. My Brother In Laws daughter - Finally! A first cousin for Sophia and another grandchild for Renee’s parents. Something tells me Christmas is going to be crazy come 2007! Maggie is going to so fun! We can’t wait.
  4. My parent’s new house – For the first time in thirty years, my parent’s will be moving. They are actuallly planning on leaving Southwest Wisconsin to move to Northwest Illinois. They’ve assured me that they are still going to be Packer and Badger fans. I’m really excited for them.

So, four main things… no big top ten or anything, but some really great stuff. I really am hopeful all of things go smoothly and will be very thankful with the passing of each and every one of them.

What am I looking forward to in 2007?

So, I am planning on making a series of posts that will detail some of the things that I am waiting for/anticipating, etc in the year 2007. Many people make a list of top ten albums, movies etc that they enjoyed at the end of the year, but I guess I’m kind of flipping that around. I will be posting a list under each of my blog categories. (At this time: Family, Fun, Industry, School, Uncategorized, Work). Probably won’t be in that order. I think I’ll probably post in whatever order I formalize my thoughts in first.

I would ask that if you are reading this, you think of doing the same. What will you be thankful for at the end of the year? What new toys will you be playing with? How will your work, life, friends, etc. be different or, better?

Keep checking this site. I’ll be posting about every other day on this topic until I’m done.

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