Adobe Flash Player Projector (stand-alone application)

Client wants to create an interactive flip book out of a static PDF created with InDesign CC. So easy! From InDesign CC, go to Export and set the format to SWF. Double-click the SWF, and … wah wah wah … no application is associated with the SWF. Because InDesign doesn’t create the EXE / application projector for you. You could open the SWF in a Flash plugin enabled web browser, but maybe, like me, you want to see it as a standlone without automatic scaling and other browser-related interface elements.

So. Annoying.

After some digging, I found what I needed hidden in Adobe’s Downloads page. Actually, on Adobe’s “Debug Downloads” page which says:

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 10.24.57 AM


Guess what, you’re a Flash developer.

Adobe Flash Player Support Center: Debug Downloads

Click on Download the Flash Player projector to get the standalone application.

I’m so tempted to tag this as a #hack which is kind of isn’t. (Hey, what the heck.)

Apple iPad: WANT!

When Apple released the iPhone, it was obvious that it was a great device. Great for everything, it seemed, but making phone calls.

AT&T has been the Achilles Heel in the iPhone becoming a true “God Phone”. I know people in San Francisco complain about AT&T reception, but here in Alhambra, working from home, with AT&T cell towers all around me, I could not get a reliable cellular connection. The iPhone was unusable for me. And since I was working from home, being unable to use the phone at home was the dealbreaker.

I have said for a while — at least two years — that if they grew the iPod Touch into a 5.5×8.5″ format, or half of an 8.5×11″ sheet of paper, it would be perfect. Well Apple did me one better, going for the 10″ display at 1024×768 resolution. This is slightly smaller than the screen of my old 12″ PowerBook. Intuitively, this feels right.

I have held out on buying an e-book reader. The Kindle and Nook are interesting devices, but aren’t the solution that feels right to me. The hardware is expensive and not nearly as versatile as I would hope. My instinct tells me that the iPad’s color screen alone will be enough to make the iPad a better book reader than any others. The backlit screen, and shorter battery life, will be the tradeoff for using the iPad as a book reader over a Kindle or Nook.

Pair an iPad with the Skype app, wifi, and a bluetooth headset, and you have a media device capable of making phone calls. I don’t know how many iPad users will do this, but that is a usage statistic I’ll be watching for as the polls start coming in.

For web browsing, the 1024×768 resolution is perfect, in my opinion. Most websites will be viewable at actual size without left-right scrolling when in horizontal orientation.

The screen format has gotten some criticism since many movies are 16:9. So you’ll see black bars across the top and bottom of your screen. Tough. You get black bars on the sides when viewing standard definition movies and television on your high def screens. It isn’t ideal, but we don’t live in an ideal world. Deal with it.

Flash? I don’t want Flash. I want Apple to continue to stonewall on implementing Flash on all their products to spur the development communities on to better solutions. I agree with the person who said that Flash was a stop-gap measure — it should never have been used as a platform. Let the people who can’t live without Flash choose a Linux or Windows-based product.

Writing and responding to short e-mail will be better on the iPad than on your smart phone, but you’re not going to be using the touch screen keyboard to write anything very long at all. I hope I’m wrong about that, as it would be nice to do some blogging and writing/editing on the go with the iPad without needing a laptop, but I really hate the iPhone touch keyboard.

Aside from e-books, I expect gaming to really pick up with the iPad. As developers take advantage of the form factor to develop new and innovative games, I expect the iPad to become a really compelling portable game device. I don’t see much difference in God of War on the PSP and Assassin’s Creed on the iPhone. And I would love to see true virtual worlds come to the iPad platform, especially Second Life.

So I have my iPad on reserve. April 3 at 9:00 am, look for me in line at the Pasadena Apple Store.

I. Can’t. Wait.

Block Flash in Your Browser

FlashBlock for Firefox in action - this banner ad was blocked until I clicked the logo in the center.

This banner ad was blocked until I clicked the logo in the center.

As a web designer, I have a love/hate relationship with Adobe Flash. Flash can be a great interface for displaying interactive information. But Flash is also a security vulnerability, and Flash is a common format for banner ads.

My main beef with Flash as a user has to do with the banner ads. Flash banners are almost never served off the same server as the website they appear on. Instead, Flash banners are served by ad network servers that can dramatically slow the performance of the page you’re viewing. 

Now, there is a plugin that gives you the power.

If you’re using Firefox, you can install FlashBlock, and on Safari you can install ClicktoFlash. Internet Explorer users can install Toggle Flash. Google Chrome users may have to wait a while for Google to implement plugins, though there are kludges for installing FlashBlock for the technically minded.

In both cases, the web pages you view will not load the Flash elements by default, instead displaying a button you can click to deliberately load the Flash element you want to see. By blocking the default loading of Flash elements, you minimize your security risk through the Flash plugin and should see an increase in page loading times.

St. Jude Classic Banner Ad

Here is a quick little Flash banner ad I created this week for the St. Jude Classic golf tournament website.