FITC Video: Jim Corbett and Colin Moock

Buy this book at Amazon.com!One FITC video stands out for me, Jim Corbett and Colin Moock. Jim Corbett has some real historical perspective and technical details about Flash back when it was Macromedia Flash—and they talk about what is happening today with Flash. This past-present coherence wrapped in technical details is what attracts me.

So, these two uncovered many details about Flash that I have inferred or felt over the years. Here are some I can remember right now:

  • Macromedia Director functionality was systematically cannibalized and moved into Flash. The technical reason for this was a design ‘flaw’ in Director: it was designed for high-bandwidth CD-ROM applications—not the low-bandwidth 1990s Web.
  • Jim Corbett admits that the culture at Macromedia was very different than the Adobe company culture. Macromedia was more hippie than Adobe. This might explain why I was contacted by David Edwards from Authorware team back in 1995.
  • There is a sizeable chunk of the Flash “developer community” that will probably never deliberately use ActionScript 3. Some code-generation magic is definitely out there—maybe a product like Adobe Flash Essentials or another domain-specific offering like Breeze.

Another Item Off the TODO list: Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Beta

The last few days should show me announcing to the world (me) things that I will not do. “Oh! It sounds so negative.”—that’s me mocking a popular American identity assumed by too many these days. The latest item off my list is what the super-productive Scott Guthrie announces in “Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 Beta.” Out of respect for Scott’s warnings like, “There is a change in behavior in the .NET 3.5 SP1 beta that causes a problem with the shipping versions of Expression Blend. This behavior change is being reverted for the final .NET 3.5 SP1 release, at which time all versions of Blend will have no problems running…,” I just can’t take the risk (today) of messing my shit up by adding adventure to adventure.

There is just too much transition and arrhythmic instability going on right now (this feeling has been with me for decades so this could actually be what you call “life”) for me to introduce one more known risk. But I really could use these changes in SP1 today—as in right now:

  • Support for “classic ASP” is back. I hate to admit that I need this. No, really, I hate to admit this. I ‘officially’ retired my ASP support in 2003—documented in “Songhay ‘ASP Classic’ Core.”
  • Scott Guthrie strikes back (probably unknowingly) at NetBeans 6.1 with better JavaScript support: “VS 2008 SP1 adds much better intellisense support for popular Javascript libraries (we specifically did work to support JQuery, Prototype, Scriptaculous, ExtJS, and other popular libraries). You will get better default intellisense when you reference these libraries. We are also looking at whether we can maintain additional intellisense hint files that you can download to get even better intellisense and documentation support for some of the more popular libraries.”

More Gleaning of the TODO List: A List of Artists

Ridiculous but better… As of before this article is written, there are 79 items on my TODO list. Corpulence! Let’s trim down a bit:

Buy this Book at Amazon.com! Christopher Okigbo

Christopher Ifekandu Okigbo (1932–1967) was a Nigerian poet, who died fighting for the independence of Biafra. He is today widely acknowledged as the outstanding postcolonial English-language African poet and one of the major modernist writers of the twentieth century.”

Benny Andrews (1930–2006)

Benny Andrews, nationally recognized as an artist, teacher, author, activist, and advocate of the arts, grew up in rural Morgan County. Although he moved to New York in 1958, his formative years in Georgia continued to inform his work. Andrews explored American life in his collages, prints, paintings, and drawings by fusing memory and imagination.”

Egon Schiele

Egon Schiele (June 12, 1890–October 31, 1918)…was an Austrian painter, a protégé of Gustav Klimt, and a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. Schiele’s body of work is noted for the intensity and the large number of self-portraits he produced.”

Mark Rothko

“One of the preeminent artists of his generation, Mark Rothko is closely identified with the New York School, a circle of painters that emerged during the 1940s as a new collective voice in American art. During a career that spanned five decades, he created a new and impassioned form of abstract painting. Rothko’s work is characterized by rigorous attention to formal elements such as color, shape, balance, depth, composition, and scale; yet, he refused to consider his paintings solely in these terms.”

Songhay System Drops Yahoo! Search for Google Search

I spent almost all of the daylight hours last Saturday next to an open patio door trying to figure out why the Yahoo! Search API was not working with me. After discovering that search for kintespace.com was broken (probably for weeks), my emotions got in the way and my ego wasted precious time. I spent too much time troubleshooting Yahoo! REST calls with cURL in bash and in PHP instead of dropping Yahoo! completely. My angry conclusion: the Yahoo! Search API is safe and secure from PHP developers all over the world. It would have been great to log into some kind of utility to test my “app id” with the service to verify its correctness. Instead the “safe” thing to do is to return 500 errors and not explain what is going on… See ya later!

The decision that would have saved time is that, in my little world, the Yahoo! Search API has regressed and the Google Custom Search offerings have improved—in fact, they have exploded into a vast array of things that provide me with almost too many options:

And there are probably others—and most of them do not require coding (apart from markup). I have yet to find a comprehensive listing of all the Google Custom Search offerings for the year 2008. But I went with the AdSense deal because “at the end of the day” Google is an advertising technology company.

Warning! Google rant: after Google bought Double Click the whole mystique of Google hiring these “pure” technical intellectuals for the sake of improving mankind and making a little money along the way (like some Ben-and-Jerry’s-style, ultra-premium brand) became a little bullshit-like to me. Double Click people are crawling all over Google now—one or two of these corn-fed sales folks used to manage the hardware section at a Wal-Mart. So much for Google technology purity…

So it was with much hesitation that more of the Songhay System eggs are placed in the Google basket. And this probably explains a little more why I would ruin a weekend trying to get Yahoo! shit to work. Here are two more Google news stories that take the luster off the pig: “Google daycare now a luxury for Larry and Sergey’s inner circle,” “Google’s daycare debacle: the Kinderplex memos,” and “Google called ‘Robber Baron’ by National Black Chamber of Commerce.”

And now the punch line: as of this Monday afternoon—after my ruined weekend—my PHP implementation of Yahoo! search is suddenly working! I have preserved my misery as a Songhay System YWS Sample. Clearly something was “down” over the weekend—or the new Yahoo! app id I applied for had to propagate. It would have been great to get some detail from Yahoo! about what could have been wrong their end while I spent hours trying to figure what I was doing wrong.

Note that these anti-Yahoo!-Search comments do not affect in any way my continuing devotion to YUI under Douglas Crockford. And, oh!, for those of us who are looking for excuses to spend more time with PHP, check out “ONLamp.com: PHP Search Engine Showdown” detailing ways to avoid Google, Yahoo! and other blasphemous “cloud” companies.

Today on the Server

Buy this book at Amazon.com! “Upcoming Changes In Routing”

Phil Haack: “We’ve been making some changes to routing to make it more powerful and useful. But as Uncle Ben says, with more power comes more responsibility. I’ll list out the changes first and then discuss some of the implication of the changes.”

“New Version of the Open XML SDK is Available for Download”

Eric White: “Erika Ehrli has just posted the news that the April 2008 CTP of the Open XML SDK is now live on the web, and available for download!” According to the Roadmap, they have not hit features that concern me.

“Microsoft announces Open XML SDK roadmap”

openxmldeveloper.org: “…Content object model including additional classes and methods for simplifying developer work within parts (example: methods for retrieving or modifying a specific paragraph, style, cell, or shape within a part)…” This is essentially a direct response to my complaints in “Microsoft Word 2007 Research.”

“Coding In Paradise: XHTML Considered Harmful”

Brad Neuberg: “…XHTML is a useless technology that is retarding progress, especially when it comes to Dymamic HTML (DHTML) and AJAX applications.” I have no idea where this is coming from… My AJAX designs depend on the XML ‘nature’ of XHTML. Of course this article was written in 2005 but the anti-XML sentiment among AJAX “thought leaders” lingers to this day…

Buy this Book at Amazon.com! “The seven rules of pragmatic progressive enhancement”

A “brown bag presentation”… It’s a series of slides… but I vaguely remember seeing a Yahoo! motion picture on this subject… I need to check my DVD archives…

“Building a Better Website With Yahoo!”

This Kevin Tyler prose features Y!Slow grading his improved site above grade D. My copy of Y!Slow grades http://clickontyler.com/ with a D. This confuses me.

“Twitter Said To Be Abandoning Ruby on Rails”

Buy this Book at Amazon.com! Michael Arrington: “We’re hearing this from multiple sources: After nearly two years of high profile scaling problems, Twitter is planning to abandon Ruby on Rails as their web framework and start from scratch with PHP or Java (another solution is to stick with the Ruby language and move away from the Rails framework).”

Either Arrington is profoundly mistaken or Twitter is a massive example of how many excuses and free passes the North American tech “elites” give to Twitter. I guarantee you that an Indian or Chinese—or Ed Dunn—equivalent of Twitter crashing once means it is abandoned immediately and never spoken of again…

Cloud Studio

Amazon.com: “Cloud Studio is a Java application for the management of Amazon EC2 instances. It features a multi-pane interface with a list of available AMIs, a list of running instances, and access to keypairs, security groups, and IP addresses.”