Friday, November 18, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wanted to make something

So I did. A little social commentary on how much information we in America now have access to not only digest but to communicate while as a whole remaining willfully ignorant when it comes to how, where and with what our government and its interests use the peoples money.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Embedding fonts with Flash CS5


Let me start this little technical treat by first saying I hate the Flash IDE. If you are reading this article and you use the Flash IDE one very quick solution to all of your problems is to simply stop using it. Go and buy Flash Builder or for an even cheaper price get FDT. Both of those applications are built on Eclipse and are a much better more intuitive development environment.

That said I do realize that you are already too deep down the rabbit hole on your current project, or perhaps you work on a team that uses the Flash IDE or are picking up the broken pieces of another developers project.

Ok enough trash talk. In general adding a text field in Flash and clicking the embed fonts button associated with that text field is by far a great tried and true method of confidently embedding fonts. But that is not really all the powerful for developing anything more then a simple add banner or splash screen. The real power of Actionscript and text is dynamically generated content i.e. private var tf:TextField = new TextField();. For these types of text fields embedding fonts becomes a bit more involved.

The methods that Flash has historical used to embed fonts has changed a bit over the last several versions. With CS5 once again they have made additional “advancements”, which I assume are to help unleash the power of Flash’s text engine. I have sat at work for hours reading over users “best practices for embedding fonts with CS5”. Everyone seems to have a little something different they do. And even within those examples the end goal is very scattered. One might be for css, or textFormat, or to support html tags in xml. Either way its a big fact searching expedition with very mixed information. Well yesterday I went on this mission again for a team project I am working on where out of the blue several fonts for some magical reason stopped embedding. I stumbled across this blog post (http://www.dotstrosity.net/2010/05/10/flash-cs5-font-embedding-its-totally-different/) on the subject I and spotted a very interesting comment. One person noted that depending on what font management application you are using the font name that appears in the Font Embedding window may be completely wrong. At work I am on a Macbook Pro and use Suitcase Fusion 3 to manage my fonts. (I assume this little bit of misdirection is much more common on the mac.) This possibility had never occurred to me and got me thinking, “why don’t I just ask Flash what font it would like me to use”. So using traditional Flash “add text field” methods I used the ole tool bar, grabbed a text box and set that text field up with all the font features I wanted in my embed. Hold onto your seat because this is where the wonderment comes in. I added this code:

var objFormat:TextFormat = myTextField.getTextFormat();

trace(objFormat.font);

This trace will return the exact “real” name of the font that is being used regardless of whatever made up version your font management software is communicating to the IDE. Now all you have to do is copy that name and use it in your, xml, html, css, or textFormat.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I like to draw letters


I like to draw letters. “How come you never seem to post any?” you ask. Well somewhere between putting pencil to paper and time spent on the computer they just never seem to make it. I am not an illustrator by trade so going through the arduous task of scanning paper into the computer and digitizing hand drawn type into vector is just too many steps for me. Somewhere between the sketch and computer the wind falls quite abruptly from my sails.

Well this year for my birthday I decided to treat myself with a new digital drawing tool, the Wacom Bamboo Pen to be exact. Nothing too crazy, rather just their most basic small digital sketch tool. While Wacom does make some pretty serious multi-hundred dollar illustration tools I really just wanted something to do very basic blue lines that I could go in later with a mouse and refine.

Multi-platform Installation? Absolutely, I am on a mac at work and pc’s at home and installation was pretty straightforward. Oddly for being a “creative” tool installation on the pc was a bit easier.

Transition? If you are thinking about adding this tool to your box I will say it takes some getting used to drawing with your hand and looking someplace completely different.

Final word? I have no idea, I just got it but so far I am very happy with the speed at which i can flush out an idea from rough to black line.

Stay tuned and with any luck and practice I can turn the “final word” into some letters!

(I am very tired after a long weekend of traveling so I really hope this article is readable)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Apple.com/trailers bold move

Apple has made a rather bold decision that I can only assume is either a technical mishap or a move to leverage their already minimal design into the realm of their site content.

Currently all trailers link to wonderfully stark pages with little to no content.

Aside from the complete lack of the content I was looking for I rather like this new look.

Reminds me of Antrepo's minimalist effect project.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

totalFrames > 16,000


There is currently a limit in Adobe Flash involving total frames. The rule seems to be that that there can be no more then 16,000 total frames. There can also be no more then 16,000 total layers and 16,000 total symbol instances, but for this article let’s stick with total frames.

While researching this problem there were several common forum responses. The first of which being, “how the hell did you get more then 16,000 frames?”. The answer, self-contained video player with final deployment set for .exe i.e. no reference files.

The second response being a suggestion to break the project or video out into smaller pieces or chapters and dynamically load only the movieclip(s) needed at any given moment to stay or hide safely under the 16,000 frames. However when making a self-contained project you do not have this luxury and rather must embed all required elements.

As far as my web-investigative journalism can tell there is no way around this other then the technique listed above.

In my particular instance I was around 3900 frames over the limit, and apparently the client did not really want to hear that this project could not be accomplished and continuously dropping the frame rate of the video was not producing the James Cameron like experience I was hoping for.

The answer export the video chapters into separate .swc files. If you are not familiar:

“An Adobe SWC file is a package of precompiled Flash symbols and ActionScript code that allows a Flash or Flex developer to distribute classes and assets, or to avoid recompiling symbols and code that will not change. SWC files can be generated by the Flash authoring tool, and by Flex. They are sometimes referred to as a class libraries and cannot be directly executed by the Flash Player.”

In addition to the above a .swc file is also somewhat of a flash based file compression. The key to this technique working or not working was whether or not the files or classes contained within the .swc remained compressed until class instantiation. Apparently they do. I created a .swc for each chapter of the video. Each individual chapter ranged in frame size from between 4000 frames all the way up to 9500 frames. As long as you dispose of each movieclip prior to reaching 16,000 frames this technique seems to work fine.

*Please note that I also hit a file size limit, Im not sure what the exact number is but 62 mgs of content was too much and 53 mgs was fine.

Monday, April 18, 2011

100 Bags and Counting

I'm one of those metros that can never seem to satisfy my thirst for the ultimate metrosexual accessory, commonly known as the man-purse. Like most of my kind, rarely do I maintain a long-term sense of satisfaction with any bag. This eventual emotional detachment is what I believe causes metros to intensify their financial investment with every new bag purchase. This fact, coupled with evolving trends, tastes, and varying job titles, can only lead to a life with a 100 bags and counting.

If you haven't figured out by now—spoiler alert—yes, this article is about a recent bag purchase. Now I wouldn't say that the sole motivation behind this acquisition was an emotional detachment to my current bag (but truth be told, like all flings, the man-bag relationship can’t last forever). Rather, the true driver behind this latest sartorial quest, was the need to carry around my new gadget-of-the-day, a net-book. (Though this particular portable has been coined a “not-book” by Engadget reviewers, I’ll suppress my instincts and save that conversation for another post. Now, back to the story.) I needed a bag to satisfy not only my evolving fashion and professional needs but also my ever-growing tech collection. I wanted something that had a sophisticated yet youthful style and a completely utilitarian design, something that would protect my investment with a little space leftover for accessories.

If price were no object, the Burberry Medium Beat Check Nylon Crossbody bag would be the ideal. Unlike most high-end, luxury goods where conspicuous wallpaper-like branding and logo placement is the norm, Burberry’s male accessories line maintains design restraint, a modest reworking of their classic plaid motif into a soft, monochromatic color palette. However, the Burberry name comes at a hefty price tag, which was a little too extravagant to justify in this instance.

Then, my adventure brought me to an old and forgotten friend named Jack Spade. For the sartorially challenged, Jack Spade is not an actual person but rather the brain child of Andy Spade, whose wife is the very fashionable Kate Spade. I guess “Andy Spade” didn't test well with marketing. Self described:

JACK SPADE designs bags, wallets and clothing that work simply, age well and retain a sense of style.” 

Historically I have found Jack Spade’s designs to be a little too uneventful. Sure, the construction is solid and the design is classic and simple, yet the items always lacked that little extra something to justify their price point. Now my reconciliation with Jack Spade could signal two possible turn-of-events: either (A) I have become more conservative or (B) they have spiced up their offerings. I would like to believe that it was a little bit of both. Their current collection still adheres to the “keep it simple” motto, but now items are available in an exciting material that not only adds that little extra something, but also meets my aesthetic prerequisites—waxware. 

Waxware is a fine cotton canvas soaked in a centuries-old paraffin formula originally developed for sailcloth. One very unique quality to this treatment is how it ages with time, allowing the abrasive moments in life to be endured and captured in the finish. If by chance, showcasing those moments to the world isn’t your cup of tea , then some quick work with a hair dryer is all that’s needed to restore the material back to its original finish.

While the design elements of the bag have stayed firmly planted in the classic Jack Spade canon, by smartly swapping out their standard canvas for waxware they have pushed the bags from “simple” to “simply noticeable”. However this wondrous material is not offered on all of their bag designs. In fact, it is only offered on just a handful. And to add insult to injury, the waxware is available in only a few color options. So basically, if you have a specific purpose in mind, these limitations may help make your bag decision for you. This was certainly true in my case. I opted with the Jack Spade Waxware Computer File Case in the only color currently available, grey (which looks more like a rustic baby blue).

To say the least, this adventure was not without a few leaps of faith. I have no idea why, but there are no “non product-shot” photos of this bag on the Internet. Other than the listed measurement specs, there are no images showing it to scale or in everyday use. Since this purchase was made for transporting a net-book, I didn’t want to end up with a completely disproportionate bag, like something akin to the size of baggage prepped for a safari trip. Therefore, in light of this, my only complaint is that the bag can stand to be about an inch and a half shorter. I feel it’s just a little too “square,” quite literally. Another small gripe is the potentially disconcerting “file case” factor. There is very little room to push beyond this bag’s 3-4 inch depth limit. While I am sure you could get a bit more out of the space with some clever stretching technique, from the outside, it would seem too noticeable that the bag was being pushed and prodded beyond its limits.

In retrospect, I could not be happier with the look and feel of the bag—from the waxware exterior to the solid Jack Spade branded hardware. Overall, the bag feels as if it will last the ages, perhaps even a pass down to another generation, or at least, until my detachment creeps in and my wandering eye for a new man-purse sets in.


If you are interested in this bag please note two things, at the time of purchase, Zappos had this bag for $79.00 off. If that deal ends, you can always get 20% off at JackSpade.com just for signing up on their mailing list.

writer: Josh Nespodzany
editor: Janice Reyes

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

My Hero

Tyler Brûlé, my hero, takes a tech-political stand regarding his decision for producing the extension of the famed Monocle Magazine's news print addition.

“an anti-Ipad device”

Monday, February 28, 2011

CNNTech?

CNNTech recently authored an article criticizing Google’s “open” claim. Well actually I think the article was more that Google isn't actually “open” at all? No wait it was about how Google is “open” but how “open” is bad? Or wait was the article about Android’s “open” claim, hmm perhaps it was just a rough draft that somehow got published. I’m not exactly sure, the article seems to jump from topic to topic with little more intent other then representing the momentary topical view of the author Dan Frommer, a self titledBusiness Insider”. I’m not even sure it is worth the effort to pen a refute to any of his opinions, not because it would require too much research but rather because of the sheer number of opinions coupled with the fact that they seem to do a good enough job of refuting themselves.

Normally I would not even give something like this any attention, the last thing I want to do is to give this author traffic. However it’s not the article that makes for good reading, it’s the endless comments. It’s like having a really shitty meal with an amazing dessert.

Some of my favorites:

“mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/p... ; repo sync ; make”
-jivester

Author does not know what the term 'open' means. CNN, you have to take this article down. The tech dudes are going to rip this to shreds.
- DanikaV

wow, horribly written and researched article as usual. the word "open" is correctly used by google in some places. Although i am no fan of android any person, ANY PERSON, who understands how to write code can change android, that right isn't reserved to google's strategic partners. simply because the author has no clue on how technology works doesn't mean he should go along bashing it. For example if i feel like it i can go buy and android phone today, dump the OS from it and make any changes i like since the source code is available. not everyone can write that low level code but "open" means if you know how, you can. same goes for the "crapware", i hate it as much as the next guy but it is entirely possible to delete it, and rather easily but once again you have to know how to root the phone which is pretty easy. poor research and no facts article again.
- S3nse

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The internet has ruined everything

Today Borders Books filed for bankruptcy. You know Borders, its that major book store that always had the best selection design books. Its that store that when in a pinch, or you were just going to write off the purchase anyway, had design books that were not all from the early 90s. You know its that book store that decided to stand up to amazon and come out with its own e-book reader and was willing to dump money into setting it apart from its competition.

As it stands Borders plans to close 30% of its stores and do major restructuring.

This topic is such a double edged sword for me. My entire professional life would not be possible without the internet and I love what I do and feel thankful everyday I get to do what I love to do for a living. With that said, for as much as the internet has given it has certainly taken away.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Typography, not in the curriculum?

Was surfing Core 77 today and could not help but to notice this banner ad for Academy of Art University. I'm going to take a complete shot in the dark here and guess that typography does not appear in the curriculum?

Way to go!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Escape From Camden

I read tonight that Camden New Jersey will be laying off 40% of their emergency service personal, a good portion being police. Camden, if you do not know, is already one of this nations highest crime and most impoverished cities and right across the river from the place I call home. I can only imagine this decision will make it a North American Leader for such categories.

So I did what most creative people do when they read something disturbing, I made a little social commentary poster about it, enjoy.

+ you can get hi-rez here

Monday, January 17, 2011

A few weekend things...

First off, something I doubt anyone will actually care about but what is apparently a problem for some. After over 5 years of ownership I decided it was time to do a reinstall of the OS on my laptop. Before this turns into a flame-fest from mac owners, how about you spend your negative energy sending Steve Jobs "Get Well" cards. I have a Dell XPS m1530, It's a very fast dual core system to which I am very happy with. Shortly after reinstalling I discovered that my wonderful laptop lacked any computer / network card love. After some online investigation I learned that Dell in their infinite knowledge forgot to include the correct drivers for the network card on the back-up disks. For some reason many people have had a really hard time finding out where to download them so I'm posting a link.
+ Dell XPS m1530 network card drivers

Secondly I watched a wonderful video campaign for the upcoming EA game Dead Space 2, part of their "Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2" campaign. I have to admit after playing the demo I had thought it a little too stressful to play, ha yes I realize how that sounds it's also the reason I could not make it through Battlestar Galactica. But after seeing this campaign I think they have earned themselves a purchase.


Oh and finally congratulations to Natalie Portman on her Golden Globe win for Black Swan. I thought Black Swan should of won best motion picture but because facebook seems to dominate everyones lives I guess they figured why not the Golden Globes as well.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Remember when Fex-Ex was the best?

What is this magical package, why it's my CS5 stuck in some lazy Fex-Ex drivers truck. That is if it even made it on the truck. Claiming that Philadelphia's historic Wanamaker building is closed at 9:03 on a Friday morning really isn't the best story to come up with if your not going to deliver it. I think I would of gone with, "my dog ate your package". At least there is some plausible deniability with that one.

I called Fed-Ex and explained to them how this is actually not possible and if you have decided that today is just going to be to difficult to deliver the package just tell me rather then making things up. They have assured me that they have gotten a message to the driver to try again. I'm sure sometime between his pot break(s) and his Dunkin Donuts marathon there may be a glimmer that the package is still in the truck and will make it here.

Fed-Ex, so far have you fallen. I sent Adobe a email suggesting that they switch their preferred shipping agent to UPS. You may be able to claim faster on paper but when you factor in the reliability problems why bother claiming anything?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Icons in Modern Living

While I am certain I'm a little behind on such modern appliance design I was tickled to see a fun little icon for the popcorn setting on our new microwave. How cute, I actually hate popcorn but that fact does little to detract from its cuteness.

Friday, January 07, 2011

From the offices of the M.C.P.


So like many others I got a chance to see Tron Legacy and I must say that I am a huge fan of the original movie and could regale you with tons of crazy facts about the original. But lets stay on topic.

Prior to seeing the actual movie whenever I would see a trailer for it I felt as though I were 10 years old again, and lets not even start to talk about when those same trailers were released in 3-D. I began to become convinced that when I finally did get to see Tron Legacy the theater would be asking me to leave due to my squeals of pure joy and excitement. Alas the story of the movie left a bit to be desired however the visuals were pretty solid and the light-bike scene alone was full worth the ticket price.

On an unrelated but soon to be related note, along that same time I was turned onto the blog Letter Heady. Self described as:
Letterheady is an online homage to offline correspondence; specifically letters. However, here at Letterheady we don't care about the letter's content. Just its design.” 
This got me thinking, “wouldn't it be fun if the M.C.P. from the original movie had letterhead?”. It sure would!

Get Hi-Rez versions here:
+ Option 1
+ Option 2

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Found Packaging

Molino e Pastificio

First let me apologize for the image quality, I only had my Android with me.

This fantastic packaging was found in Di Bruno Brothers located in Philadelphia's historic Italian Market. So minimal and such a fresh approach to a color story for what would historically be bathed in earth tones or patriotic Italian banner colors. And with a complete lack of what is usually narrative imagery drawing the user back into a picturesque historic view of a simpler time period on a farm. Unfortunately I could not find much online about the pasta's manufacture or person(s) responsible for the design. If anyone knows please feel free to leave a comment.