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Notes from An Event Apart Boston 2012 I had a great time at An Event Apart Boston, 2012. Ill post some photos soon. The conference avoided deep dives into code in favor of showing WHY you would do reactive design. As Eric Meyer said "My...

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Judging the CT Student Innovation Exposition (E-Commerce)... Want to know what the next 10 years will look like? Ask a high school student. Their creativity isnt limited by their knowledge of what we currently call technological limitations. They have a vision of...

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The Value of Feeling Appreciated as an Employee in... Whether you’re a new employee or the vice president of the company, everyone wants to feel valued, even appreciated, in the workplace. Not only does it improve morale and make the workplace a more pleasant...

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The difference between classic and motion tweens in... Here it is: If you're used to doing things "the cs3 way" then you can continue to do so with the classic tween tool. It works the same way as you remember, using key frames as normal, but you cannot...

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PHP: If (equal to AND not equal) - eliminate form spam... Just learned a great function of PHP thats already made my forms a lot better. A while back I wrote an article about eliminating form spam without captchas by using css to hide a text input box for bots...

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Breaking News

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Save the Date: TEDxBushnellPark is 6/22/2013

Category : Around The Office, General Web Info, Social, Technology

Mark your calendars for June 22nd, 2013.
The topic is: Improving the Community.

The rest is still in the works as the speaker list is still developing and the location is TBA. However, I’ve been meeting potential speakers and am in talks with several venues. I’d like this event to showcase the innovative work that Hartford is doing to improve not only itself, but also the world as a whole.

There will be more announcements in the future and work has already started on the website and social media pages.
Anyone interested in contributing to this effort is welcome to contact me. Please include your reason for taking interest, what you think you can help with, and your favorite TED video.

Currently looking for:

A/V Tech(s)
Event Coordinator
Grant writer
Interns

SOPA Protest tomorrow. See you on Thursday.

Category : Around The Office, General Web Info, Politics, Social

This website will be “blacked out” in solidarity with the SOPA Protest for Thursday, January 18th, 2012. The internet needs to be protected in the same way as the press, and for the same reason.

If you’re just now learning about SOPA and Protect IP – scheduled to be voted on by the senate in the near future then you might want to do your research quickly – as over 30,000 websites will be down tomorrow to protest this ineffective, business killing, nanny-state, double speaking bill.

In the name of “internet security” aka (profit protection) the MPAA, RIAA, along with the Chamber of Commerce want to change the way the internet works from the router up. They want to be able to remove ANY website’s DNS listing because someone might have posted a link to a copyrighted material SOMEWHERE on the website. No court hearing to see if the plaintiff actually controls the rights, no appeal if they are wrong, no recourse for you to claim damages… just another way to frighten and kill competition from the same people who were VERY willing to sue single moms and students for downloading music and movies instead of adapting their business models to a new medium.

In case you didn’t already know Im talking about RIAA, MPAA, Chamber of Commerce, and an evil gang of media thugs (CBS, ABC, FOX, COMCAST, DISNEY, etc). These media thugs claim that there is a culture of thievery on the internet, and that may or may not be true, but what the forget to mention is that THEY CREATED THIS CULTURE – and whats more they PROFITED FROM IT.

CBS, for example, owns C|net, which was the exclusive distributer of Kazaa and Limewire in the mid 1990s and 2000s. C|net makes money every time someone downloads an application from them from referrals and advertising, sometimes up to $5 a download. With over 500 million downloads between just these two applications it’s safe to say they might have made more than a billion dollars creating this online culture. Now that phase I is complete they want to use this online community WHICH THEY FOSTERED AND PROFITED FROM as justification to rewire the internet in a way that coincidentally will make them even more money while creating unknown security and architectural problems for the rest of us.(http://www.filmon.com/cbsyousuck/)

Firefox 3: 8 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do

Category : Cool Web Programs, General Web Info

The name says it all. Pay Special attention to the HUGE security problem detailed in number 8. If you read only one… read that one. The fact that it’s number 8 I find comical, as if to suggest almost a reward to those who read the whole thing.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2704,2331278,00.asp

First Meeting with Gray Screen Developement Process

Category : Around The Office, Coding and Database, General Web Info, Great Tutorials, Technology

I had my first in person meeting with a new client yesterday, The Autism Society of Connecticut. This is the first project I’m using the gray screen development process for and I LOVE it. The process is much more straight forward and we covered in detail almost all the pages in the site objectively. Because I had the whole site mocked up we could see potential problems that would otherwise not have been evident and we were able to completely rework the navigation from the way it was in this first round of revisions.

We’ll see how it works in the next round and make more revisions on it I’m sure, but this was awesome in a first meeting. I’ll build out the backend as a gray screen using developer notes instead of actual database functionality.

NewFangled, hats off to you for bringing this technology to my eyes. You broke the industry. If you dont know who these people are, click the link and check out Process >> Prototyping. You wont be disappointed.

CompUSA Back from the dead – Retail 2.0?

Category : General Web Info

More than 3 years after the chain closed all their doors they are back open again. About 30 stores have reopened with the theme of “retail-2.0″. Modeled after the every so successful website mash ups in the 2.0 revolution CompUSA and their parent company (owner of TigerDirect) seem to think that if they connect every computer to the net and let their customers do their independent research in store, people might be more informed and because they linger for a longer period of time looking at reviews they just might buy more too.

This has never been tried before. Kudos to CompUSA for trying something new in the old world of retail. Rather than dealing with some pimpled 14 year old at Best-Buy who trys to hustle me a service plan before checking inventory (one of their favorite tricks) I can see the inventory of the story Im in from any screen in the store. This is really handy and I hope it manifests into sales for the “new” company.

Read the full story on Wired.com

Want a new way to transition content? Try scrolling it! – My Thoughts on Vertical Content Scrolling

Category : General Web Info, Technology

I image if done wrong this could look… so bad. Fortunately for the folks at Kobi in Leeds, they found the people to do it right. The site is well designed, has bright colors, good typography, and an attractive navigation. Then you click a button and everything moves… Not a fade in fade out like you see on so many other flash sites. Oh no, instead the pages all move behind a window as if they were on a roll of paper somewhere inside the site.

I’ve heard of this style of navigation, but never seen it before. Kudos to Kobe for doing it right.

So now that I’ve admired the site for a few sentences, I’m now thinking about some of the pros and cons of this type of layout. The user experience is enriched with the addition of the new eye candy, and there doesn’t appear to be any loss in usability. So the only cons I can find to this type of transition are that you just can’t do this kind of scripting on the timeline in flash and the usual setbacks that apply to all flash sites.

As cool as this is, no novice would be able to code it. (You could if you really wanted to and if the site was small enough, but you would have to make every instance of translation [ie from page A to B, A to C, B to A, B to C, C to A, and finally C to B, etc.] and this only gets more complicated as you get bigger. The alternative used here is to use a single frame movie that houses all pages in one long symbol. Clicking the navigation plays a function that sets the _y property on the movie. Using action script like this also allows you to control the speed and ease of the tween more precisely than using the timeline. Some would say this is the only way to do flash and the more of it I see, the more I agree with them.

Now the other setbacks that apply to all flash movies: lack of a back button support, no out of box ability to deep link into the internal pages of the site, questionably SEO, reduced crawlable content, and a limited site map. All of which can be addressed with third party solutions after the fact by a skilled web designer.

Why Traditional Captchas No Longer Work

Category : General Web Info, Technology

Captchas is a test run to determine that you are human, and screen out the bots, scrappers, and automated spam that finds it way to all things good and wholesome on the internet. You see them everywhere: e-commerce site, blogs, hotmail, myspace, and so on. The trouble is that more and more administrators are finding that advanced screen readers have become better at decoding text than humans with poor vision. The end result is that the most significant impact of adding a poor captchas to your site is to limit the use by your intended audience, the real humans using your site. Contunue Reading

8 hacks to make Firefox ridiculously fast

Category : General Web Info, Technology

If you came to this page and your running IE, start by downloading firefox 3 here. Thats step 1 to getting a faster browser.

The rest of the steps, to varying degrees, will increase your browser’s speed. No doubt about it.

Piplelining, telling your browser to request multipul packets of data before any have been recieved, I would not recommend from an IT person’s view as this draws additional bandwidth and server load. Most sites will have no problem if one maybe two hundred people do this, but imagine how bad it would be if you got Dugg and even a tenth of the people had this turned on. Even a really robust systemwould break down and cry.

Number 3, Fast Loading, I’m all for as its totally on the user’s side. Essentially you tell your computer to manage (load) data instead of power the user interface. This improves load times at the expense of browser responsiveness. As soon as the page is  done loading your back to normal.

http://www.techradar.com/news/software/applications/8-hacks-to-make-firefox-ridiculously-fast-468317

 PR: wait…  I: wait…  L: wait…  LD: wait…  I: wait… wait…  C: wait…  SD: wait…

Flash preloader has delayed visibility or flash preloader is not visible until most of the video is loaded already.

Category : Flash, General Web Info

Problem: Flash preloader has delayed visibility or flash preloader is not visible until most of the video is loaded already.

Solution: You have too many things loading on frame 1. The only thing that should be in the first frame should be your preloader. All code and other content should start on frame 2. This guarantees that your preloader loads first.

If your preloader doesn’t appear until well into the load time then you likely have media content that’s set in the linkage tab to export in the first frame (auto selected when you set it to link with action script). This is important as content that is unused in the movie is not included in the final .swf file, but by loading the content on the first frame it screws with your preloader. The work around is to include the content on frame 3, and have your movie begin on frame 5.

This way the preloader loads on frame 1. Checks and rewinds on frame 2. If all frames are loaded then it goes to frame 5 and plays. It never actually plays the media in frame 3 or 4, but by being in the timeline they are loaded and can still be referenced with variables in action script without disrupting the preloader.

Something I learned while I was working on the litchfieldathleticclub.com site.

Happy coding.

HattersWorkshop is looking for interns

Category : General Web Info

We are currently accepting applications for interns. Hours are flexible in the Hartford area studio (exact location still to be determined). Interns will work on print and web project as well as provide office assistance.

Applicant portfolios should demonstrate an understanding of typography and typographic standards. Ability to work on both PC and Mac preferred, but not necessary. An understanding of both photoshop and Illustrator are required; Other software (Flash, Dreamweaver)  cinema, photography or sound production is a plus.

Applicants should live in the Hartford area, or be able to commute (no telecommuting).

Please send your resume and any portfolio materials to syanicke@gmail.com or call 860-331-8747 for more details.