kottke.org posts about Flash
It feels like a stretch to call this “An Oral History of Homestar Runner” — the author only interviews two people, and it zips through time while all the details are kinda glossed over in a way that’s not entirely satisfying.
However. It’s still a solid interview with the two creators of Homestar Runner, which was easily the best all-ages cult video site from a time (the early 00s) when there weren’t exactly a lot of any of those things around.
It’s also a memory of a time when the web, or at least some corners of it, were a respite from the awfulness of the world, without being wholly removed from it. For example, I was introduced to it by a friend who’d just moved to lower Manhattan for grad school in 2002. We went and saw Ground Zero, commiserated about the upcoming midterm elections and the possibility of war with Iraq, and then he showed me a Strong Bad email. None of this seemed discordant. It was a firehose of new things, good and bad, not a stream of distilled horror demanding constant engagement. I miss that, and I know I’m not the only one.
So, every time I post one of these HTML5 games or apps (like The Game of Life), I got tons of email from people who say that it could be done much easier or better in Flash. Which is probably true. But I post these experiments because I’ve been using HTML since 1994 and I love it. It’s simple (or can be), open, can be edited with any old text editor, and increasingly capable. Oh sure, HTML can be maddening at times, but I’m fascinated and happy to see it maturing into something that has so much functionality.
The websites of the top 10 luxury brands don’t work that well on the iPad…most throw up a splash page prompting you to download Flash. This is what Cartier’s site looks like:
If I were Anna Wintour, I would be screaming at these companies to fix these sites. They reflect poorly on an industry that’s all about effortless style, appearance, confidence, and never, ever having a hair out of place (unless that’s the look you’re going for). This? This is like they’ve got no pants on — and not in a good way. That goes double for restaurant sites.
A letter from Steve Jobs about why they don’t allow Flash on iPhones, iPods, and iPads. (Notice he specifically uses the harsher “allow” instead of the much softer “support”.)
Jobs sort of circles around the main issue which is, from my own perspective as heavy web user and web developer: though Flash may have been necessary in the past to provide functionality in the browser that wasn’t possible using JS, HTML, and CSS, that is no longer the case. Those open web technologies have matured (or will in the near future) and can do most or even all of what is possible with Flash. For 95% of all cases, Flash is, or will soon be, obsolete because there is a better way to do it that’s more accessible, more open, and more “web-like”.
As an avid player of Flash games (when I’ve got time), I found Dan Cook’s post on the economics of the Flash game platform really interesting and applicable to anyone who is offering content online and wants to get paid for it.
Flash games are currently the ghetto of the game development industry. Compared to the number of players it serves, the Flash game ecosystem makes little money, launches few careers, and sustains few developer owned businesses. Despite the vast potential of the ecosystem, Flash games contribute surprisingly little to the advancement of game design as an art or a craft.
This is just the first installment…two or three more are yet to come. (via @anildash)
Pretty Loaded is an online museum of Flash preloaders. The site itself uses a Flash preloader and, oops, the universe just exploded. I could watch this all day.
Jonathan Harris recently gave a talk at a Flash conference, attended by a community of people that pride themselves on producing amazing work, and his constructive criticism didn’t go over too well.
With a number of notable exceptions, most of the work I see coming from the Flash community is largely devoid of ideas. There is great obsession with slickness, surface, speed, technology, and language, but very little soul at the core, very little being said. I believe that in the long run, ideas are the only things that survive.
That seems about right.
How uncanny is her valley? Very. Never has one of those Flash move-your-mouse-around applets been this creepy.
Can’t. Stop. Playing. Desktop Tower Defense. (
via damn you, schachter)
Mesmerizing movie of Paris Hilton’s unchanging facial expression. I can’t stop watching this. I especially like that her hair looks like it’s chasing itself around the top of her head.
Update: The Lindsey Lohan one is pretty good as well. (thx, patrick)
Adobe is planning on combining Flash Player and Acrobat Reader? As Todd says, “I don’t know about you, but I just got an acrid taste in my mouth”.
Update: John Dowdell notes that Adobe has clarified their position re: the above combination: “we will continue delivering the Flash Player as a small, efficient runtime for content and applications on the web”. (thx, neil)
Cool letter boxy stacking thing. (Oh, just go and type something.)
With AJAX MAssive Storage System (AMASS) a web page can store large amounts of data on a computer using hidden Flash applets. Brilliant hack, but seems like a potential security concern (an AMASS-like app could just fill up a hard drive without prompting, no?). I just looked at this briefly…would this allow one to run something like GMail offline? (I’m thinking not.) (via waxy)
VGMap is a library developed at Eyebeam that lets you overlay arbitrary data and graphics onto Google Maps with Flash. Since you can dump anything you want into a Flash movie, you’re free to annotate Google Maps with anything you want, from audio clips to banner ads of businesses. As an example, they’ve overlayed the NYC subway onto a map of Manhattan.
Awesome set of food photos with little people on them. They’re buried in a Flash interface (grr, Flash), but it’s worth the trouble to find them. Skip the intro, click on “minimiam”, and then select one of the “galeries” (primeurs, gourmandise, etc.). (via dtb)
Fun little Flash game, kind of a chain reaction Missile Command. My high score so far is 133 (49 on an individual screen). You?
Macromedia may be a bit concerned about Ajax competing with Flash’s XML socketing. “Kevin [Lynch] specifically wanted to explore the possibility of hooking into the Ajax system with Flash, via Flex.”