Flash on a Shoestring

June 27, 2007 at 3:21 am | Posted in Coding, Open Source | Leave a comment

I’ve recently stumbled onto to OSFlash in my quest to eliminate my need for Windows entirely. For a while I’ve desired an open source solution to Flash development – ever since I was a teenager and downloaded my first Flash 4 trial, I’ve been into Flash, and marveled at it’s possibilities. Since then, I’m fortunate enough to have worked with a software development company and got to use one of their enterprise licenses for my personal use.

But for the self-start web developer, using Flash legally isn’t very feasible, especially when you need to pull out the big guns for your first few portfolio sites, and haven’t got any money to buy Flash.

So, OSFlash will show you how you can make Flash files for free, and I think it’s cool. The only caveat is that it only compiles Actionscript into a SWF. If you can’t yet code everything in Actionscript, then you’re not going to be able to use these tools efficiently. But it’s well worth the hassle to learn it top to bottom, because not only will it strealine your Flash files, but you’ll gain a greater granular control over your SWF files.

Advertisements

Swiss Army Knife

June 5, 2007 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Coding, Design, Management | Leave a comment

 

I have noticed over the last couple of days that web development involves a lot more jobs than I initially thought.
I’m only 3 or so years out of university. Fresh meat, you could say. Furthermore, my degree was in software engineering – peripherally relevant to the industry I work in, but not quite a nice mesh. As such, I’ve approached my job thus far with the same mentality I had while going through my studies – that of a code monkey, although the software engineering degree involved more management than I would have liked, but am grateful of now.

Continue Reading Swiss Army Knife…

The problem with search engines

June 5, 2007 at 2:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The whole world is following the search trend. Everyone is ranting and raving about how search engies changed how we looked at the world. The opitomy of success.I tend to disagree. Do search engines deliver the best of the search results? Or does it give you a version of what you want watered down by sneaky Search Engine Optimisation tactics?

Everyone knows that to have an effective website you need to be ranked in the top 10 of the search engines. But think about it, does that really mean you have an effective website? I took the opportunity to search “web design” and look at the top 10 web sites that was listed. One would think that people who specialise in web design would have the best sites, no?

Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case. Search engines rank sites via ‘n algorithm that looks at a whole load of different key words in the content and what type of sites link to your site and what links out of your site. This means that the 10 sites that list at the top of the “web design” search query are no where near the top 10 companies that offer web design as a service. At the risk of sounding extremely harsh, after looking at some of them the only thing they have in common with the words web design is the fact that you can find them on the web.

Sadly, high listing on these keywords means more traffic, more traffic means more leads, more leads means more sales. But that doesn’t mean you spent your money with the best company, it only means you spent your money with the company with the best Search Engine Optimisation plan.

The moral of the story here is, do your research properly. Find a company and look at their portfolio and compare that to what the industry is doing. Reference websites like www.thefwa.com to see what the best are doing. That doesn’t mean you need to spend millions on a website, but at least you know what the best are doing and can use that as a starting point. Rather work from the top down then from the bottom up when it comes to spending your money.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) kills over 480,000 women a year, about one per minute.

June 4, 2007 at 12:57 pm | Posted in disease, health, heart, heart and stroke, stroke, women | Leave a comment

Go Red For Women South Africa

Go Red For Women is the new division for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Please support this initiative. The aim is to raise awareness for heart disease among women. Some facts about Heart disease amongst women:

  • Over 60% of women believe their biggest health threat is breast cancer but heart disease kills 6 times as many women as breast cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease (CVD) kills over 480,000 women a year, about one per minute.

Shapeshift New Media

April 3, 2007 at 2:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The company I work for has decided to start their own Corporate blog.

Go check it out at:  http://shapeshift.wordpress.com/

Logo Rip Offs

March 26, 2007 at 12:41 pm | Posted in Design, General | 2 Comments

Today I was browsing through different blogs and I came upon the much talked about LogoMaid ripoff scandal. LogoMaid is a company that deals in “off the shelf” logo’s. They make (or buy logo’s) and then resell them. Unsurprisingly, their work is not very original or good, and in some cases, is a flat-out rip-off.

One has to wonder how long it is before someone get’s sued. I had a browse through LogoMaid’s “Unique Logos” section and found these gems of design:

I wonder of this designer has ever heard of which looks a lot like

Then there are these two the first one belongs to simplebits.com and the other to LogoMaid. Anyone see something dodgey?

Did xbox rip off LogoMaid? :O

Err, did someone just change the colour and remove the border?

These guys really must like Xbox : /

wait, that looks familiar?

is exactly the same as

I wonder what they were thinking? I found these pretty quickly and there were some more that I could have added but decided they were borderline…

Apperently they also ripped apple, but that got taken off the site soon after it was made public: http://flickr.com/photos/singletrack/429895395/

Where is the world going to when you think you are going to get away with stuff like that.

Pwnd. 🙂

You know you are a design geek when:

March 7, 2007 at 1:40 pm | Posted in Design | Leave a comment

1. You giggle whenever you use the colors F0CCED, EFF0FF and 44DDDD

2. You’re in the sun and you look around for a Drop Shadow to sit under.

3. You give your relatives a lecture about color spaces and profiles when you email them your vacation photos.

4. Seing someone use Lens Flare or Comic Sans adversely affects your blood-pressure

5. You maintain a grid system for your refrigerator magnets.

6. You organise your CD collection according to the Pantone chart.

7. You sit at work for eight hours straight just looking at your monitor, waiting for a spark of inspiration that doesn’t come.

8. You’re up ’til 5am because you came up with the best idea ever while brushing your teeth.

9. The hottest dream you ever had was “Trace contour… Find Edges… Pinch… Extrude… Smudge Stick… Motion Blur…. Sprayed Strokes…”

10. You know Lorem Ipsum by heart.

11. Your kid knows Lorem Ipsum by heart.

12. The preschool teacher complains your child won’t color inside or outside the lines – only indicate colors on a separate sheet.

13. Activating your entire font collection makes your computer crash – and you’re running OSX.

14. You deliberately butcher your perfectly cross browser compatible site in IE by placing a “Too Cool for IE” banner on it.

15. You prefer a Layer Style of 50% Opacity (or less) on your wife’s Satin.

16. You spend $200 on a font for your personal website because “it’s the only one where the lower-case g is just right…”

17. Looking at a menu make you go “hmmm, ITC Baskerville italic” rather than “mmmm, lunch!”

18. And when you finally order, you go for Layer Based Slices with Grain Texture…

19. You use words about fonts you dislike that other normal people reserve for fascist dictators and serial killers.

20. Apple+Z is the first thing that goes through your mind if you drop and break something.

21. You refer to colleagues as Strict, Transitional, Loose and the Future Unemployed.

22. You refer to your privates as “the Magic Wand”.

Simple Email Workflow

March 1, 2007 at 1:33 pm | Posted in Day to Day, General, Management | Leave a comment

Email is a big part of life in any company and in some ways basic email clients like Outlook and Thunderbird (which I use) is still lacking. I read this today and thought wow, what a great idea. All of the features he mentions are things that I will use daily.

“I send and receive lots and lots of email. My life runs on email. But, I find most of the current email clients lacking a few basic (but very useful) features that I think would be easy to implement. So, my idea is for an Outlook plug-in (I pick Outlook simply because that’s the client I use) that would do the following

  1. Response Expected: Let me flag messages I send out as being “response expected”. Once a message is flagged as such, the system would monitor to see if the message actually ever got a response from the recipient. Once such a message comes in, the original message would go back in to “normal” state. If a response didn’t come in, it would show up on a list somewhere (see below)
  2. Response Required: I’d like to flag incoming messages as soon as I scan them as being “response required”. This is a mental note to myself that a given message requires some response on my part. Similar to #1, if I don’t respond within a certain time (hopefully, user configurable), the message will show up on a list of messages requiring attention.
  3. Someone Should Respond: This is similar to #1, except that I’d use it when there were multiple people on the “to” list of a message. In this case, the system would “watch” to see if someone responds to the original message (likely some other party on the “to” or “cc” list). If so, then the message is considered “handled”. If not, then it would show up on the “attention required” list.
  4. Sender Significant: I’d be able to mark any sender of a given email as being “significant” (this would be a toggle). Until I turn this flag off, all messages from this sender would show up on the “Response Required” list (or otherwise be highlighted).
  5. Delegate: This would be an extension of “response required”, except it would be an email forward to a designated recipient with an automatic “response expected” flag turned on (to make sure the person who received the delegation acknowledged).

That’s it. Ideally, each of the above could be done with a single keyboard shortcut. Something like this would likely do wonders for my email productivity (and ensure that emails get handled appropriately). I can’t tell you how many times I meant to handle an email, but then just had it slip through the cracks. Outlook supports it’s “flag” feature, but that just doesn’t cut it for me as it doesn’t go far enough.

What do you think? Is this idea dubious, or is there a need for something like this? If such a tool existed, would you use it?”

February 15, 2007 at 7:35 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Google usually changes its logo appearance on special occasions and Valentines Day is not exempted.

Google Valentines Logo

But wait, do I read it Google? It seems like letter “L” is missing. Maybe it’s the stem of the strawberry or the melting chocolate is it.

A Work In Progress

February 9, 2007 at 9:13 pm | Posted in General, Management | Leave a comment

What is the general feeling on showing clients the work while it is in progress? I pose this question specifically to the web designers/developers of the world, but I guess it applies to a number of different fields.

Where I work, we upload websites in development to the life server, to a live domain name, but under an undisclosed development folder. The reason for this is mainly because we’ve noticed in the past that even if you think your development server is set up identical to your final hosting server, something will go wrong, and at least one unforeseen bug will come up.

It also helps when clients ask to see the progress on a website. The website is already there, we don’t have to create any special user accounts on private servers, all we do is tell them the name of the subfolder and tell them to surf their browser there.

But, after my most recent client, I’m second guessing our policy to allow the client to view a website that is in the middle of construction.

I was developing a website with a customized CMS that was developed in house. I haven’t been working at this company for very long, and the company is very new, and not extremely advanced in terms of web technology used in websites. I’m trying to develop a CMS on the fly, site by site, against my wishes.

Very close to the start of the project, the client asked to see the site progress and I agreed. What followed was constant hounding from the client that the website doesn’t look anything like we agreed it to look. No matter how hard I tried to explain to the client, I couldn’t get across that I was developing the backend of the website, the framework that the website is going to be built on. When he first asked for a look at the website, I didn’t have any graphics made. I left the design to build up the frame work and configure modules that had been written for a previous site.

So I put up a very quick home page with non-functioning links, and of course, didn’t bother optimizing the CSS for multiple browsers.

What’s worse, the client kept checking, day after day, and was growing increasingly frustrated at the perceived lack of progress. While I was building an object-oriented image gallery for his website, he thought I was sitting on my behind and doing nothing. He felt like he was not getting his value for money at all, which is understandable, and his knowledge of technology, specifically web technology, was so low that he couldn’t understand that a lot of the work I was doing, he would never see.

Unfortunately, this is really my only current experience in showing a client a website in progress, still being built. The client, in their limited understanding, and capacity to understand, was very unsatisfied and frustrated during the whole process, and it damaged his perception of us as a company, and set him instantly on the defensive whenever he dealt with us.

I believe, however, with a more “tech-savvy” client, that this process would be reassuring to them. I believe that if I explained what I was doing, and they tinkered around a bit with the admin section, they would see how it works before my demonstration, and be able to direct the administration of their website the way they want it.

I believe that it is important to keep in mind who you are dealing with when you are considering showing the client a website before it is finished. If the client has an honest, complete understanding that the site is not finished, will not perform as it is intended in the final product, and often doesn’t look anything like what they want it to, then there should be no objection to showing them a work in progress. However, in all seriousness, how many of those clients do web developers often get?

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.