Tuesday, May 27th, 2008
There’s no doubt in my mind that the little blocks from Denmark known simply as LEGO are the greatest toy ever. I put in more hours playing with Legos than all other toys combined. I loved to use my imagination to build with them. It really didn’t matter what: a car, a fortress, star destroyer, space station, whatever. It was about taking an idea and bringing it to life piece by piece.
This love to build something from nothing still resides within me; it’s just been replaced with web technologies instead of plastic bricks. Today I build websites, plugins, widgets and anything else that takes life in my imagination. The thing I enjoy most is seeing if I can pull it off — can I get what’s in my head to take form on the web? Most of the time I can.
But there’s something that really bugs me about all of my creations. They simply don’t last. In fact, over the years I’ve found the life span of any web-based product to be short, very short. Of all the websites I’ve built, more are gone than remain. They’ve been replaced by newer versions or completely phased out. There’s no place for nostalgia on the web.
I have a deep jealousy of designs that last. I look at Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel which has been around for five hundred years and is in no danger of ever being updated or phased out. Or Beethoven’s 9th symphony which he completed in 1824 and still moves the soul today. I’m betting that even more recent artists like Christian R. Lassen probably never worries about their work becoming dated and needing to be replaced. But in the world of computers, nothing lasts.
Does anyone else find this frustrating or at least a little depressing? Of course it’s not just my work. I already have images of a new 3G iPhone dancing in my head and my current iPod is only two years old. My three thousand dollar computer that I hand built from the greatest specs three years ago doesn’t run today’s DirectX 10 games. How sad…
You have to ask yourself when developing software or web pages if pixel perfection’s really all that important when it’s only going to last a handful of years anyways? Could this be why Microsoft released Vista knowing full well that it was far from done? Microsoft is already talking about their next OS, Windows 7 and Vista is barely out of the wrapper.
I know, it is what it is, the beauty and the curse all rolled into one. The ability to create knowing full well that you will do it all over again in a handful of years. I guess it’s job security, right?
Thursday, May 15th, 2008
It’s always good when you learn something that you already knew isn’t it?
I know that probably doesn’t quite make sense but what I mean is that quite often you know how things work but it’s how they are applied that can make all the difference. This is the beauty with CSS where you can always be surprised at the different ways the same layout can be achieved. This happened to me the other week when I noticed a different way that a site had been centered using simple techniques already known to us all. Indeed, many of you may already have used this method but it seems to have escaped my attention until now.
The Old Way
One of the first things I learned to do in CSS was how to horizontally and vertically center a fixed width and height element. This could be an image for a splash page (god forbid) or a small centered site that some designers love to do. Originally this was accomplished with absolutely positioning an element 50% from the top and 50% from the left of the viewport. This of course only places the top left corner of the element at the center of the viewport and you then need to drag the element back into a central position with a negative margin equal to half the height and half the width of the element.
Let’s take a look at the old way of doing this and note what the problems are.
Monday, May 5th, 2008
Introducing the Comment Info Tip Plugin
You asked for it – now you got it!
This WordPress plugin provides you and your commenter’s a bit of information on their posting stats.
How It Works
When you mouseover a commenter’s name you will see a tip appear displaying some information about that given commenter. The tip will display 1 of 4 results:
- If the commenter has only posted once then it will say so in the tip (see number 1 in the legend below).
- If the commenter has posted more than once we will look up the last three posts they have commented in and display links to those posts. This allows you to see which type of posts this user is interested in and easily navigate to those posts (see number 2 in the legend below).
- If the commenter has posted more than once we will attempt to search their RSS feed and show an excerpt from their last post (see number 3 in the legend below).
- If it’s a pingback or trackback the tip will indicate so (see number 4 in the legend below).
DOWNLOAD THE PLUGIN HERE
* Please give it a shot and return here and tell us where you installed it. Let me know how it’s working for you and of course if you have suggestions or advice please let me know.
Thursday, May 1st, 2008
The Open Screen Project is working to enable a consistent runtime environment â€“ taking advantage of AdobeÂ® FlashÂ® Player and, in the future, Adobe AIRâ„¢ — that will remove barriers for developers and designers as they publish content and applications across desktops and consumer devices, including phones, mobile internet devices (MIDs), and set top boxes. The Open Screen Project will address potential technology fragmentation by allowing the runtime technology to be updated seamlessly over the air on mobile devices. The consistent runtime environment will provide optimal performance across a variety of operating systems and devices, and ultimately provide the best experience to consumers.
Specifically, this work will include:
- Removing restrictions on use of the SWF and FLV/F4V specifications
- Publishing the device porting layer APIs for Adobe Flash Player
- Publishing the Adobe FlashÂ® Castâ„¢ protocol and the AMF protocol for robust data services
- Removing licensing fees â€“ making next major releases of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices free
WOW!!! That may be the best news I have heard about Flash in a long time! An open platform will not only help developers but should certainly bring more people to the Flash table.