Monthly Archives: September 2005

Flash 8 Local Content Updater

Tired of seeing those warnings when playing Flash movies locally from your hard drive? Download the Local Content Updater (C++ source available) and set the SWFs so they won’t show the warning anymore.

Here’s the info from Macromedia:

“The Local Content Updater (LCU) is a free command-line utility that can add, remove, or check for local-with-networking privileges, operating on one or many SWFs. This tool allows you to change the security sandbox that the SWF file operates in when it is played as a local file.”

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Flash Player 8 vs. 7 benchmark tests

There is a new article on Performance Improvements in Flash Player 8 at the Macromedia Developer Center. Along with it is an interesting look at some benchmark tests between Flash Player 8 and 7, and between Windows and Mac.

The new incremental garbage collector in Flash Player 8 (vs. reference-counting in Flash Player 7) is the main reason for reduces memory usage and overall improved performance.

To take advantage of the new player features, it is important to point out that this new player should be adopted much quicker than previous versions, because of an auto-update feature (already in Flash Player 7) with express install (without leaving the playing SWF file). It’ll be easier to convince clients and end-users because of the many new improvements and abilities to do something that was never possible before.

It’s also interesting to see the specs of the test reference machines, which are not your latest/fastest boxes, but more realistic real-world end-user systems:

  • Mac OS 10.3 – 800 MHz – 256 MB RAM (1 CPU disabled on dual processor machine)
  • Windows XP SP2 – P3 1 GHz – 384 MB RAM
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Flash 8 (the making of) video

Flash 8 is a truly amazing release, thanks to the hard work from the Flash teams at Macromedia. Here is the “making of” video with the engineers and teams before the product was shipped.

P.S. Someone asked me what my top 5 favorite new features are… Here they are:

  • BitmapData / pixel-level manipulation
  • Filters & Matrix
  • New video codec (with alpha channel support in amazing quality)
  • Improved performance (IDE & runtime)
  • Mobile Emulator and Flash Lite support

Again, thank you Macromedia!

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Nintendo Revolution controller

Wow, this new Nintendo controller for their next generation game console Revolution is really revolutionary, and may change the way video games are played. This bold move may bring Nintendo back to the front of the line among the next generation consoles.

Make sure to check out the mini review from IGN.

Also of interest is the keynote speech by Nintendo president at the Tokyo Game Show today.

I wonder which TV manufacturer will start using this concept for digital TV interaction. Imagine using this for Flash UI control…

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Flash 8 tips and tricks

  • In the Actions panel or external code editor, press Ctrl-‘ to select the text between braces.
  • With the Actions panel in focus, choose Find & Replace from the Edit menu to open the extended dialog box with more options (Ctrl-F only opens the minimal Find & Replace).
  • If code hinting doesn’t seem to work, check the dropdown menu in the left pane of the Actions panel, and make sure “ActionScript 1.0 & 2.0″ is selected (and not one of the Flash Lite options).
  • After choosing a mobile device from the Device Settings dialog box, click OK and test movie will show the default device in the mobile emulator, until the device is selected again in the mobile emulator. Saving the movie will keep that preference with the FLA.
  • The CheckBox component interferes with the FLVPlayback.seekBar and FLVPlayback.volumeBar (when they are not part of the FLVPlayback component on stage), dragging one of the handles won’t work. Solution, wrap the seekBar or volumeBar inside a movieclip (thanks to Jeff Kamerer at Macromedia).
  • Change the Help panel search hilite color in this file (Windows): C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication DataMacromediaFlash 8enConfigurationHelpPanel_sharedassetshelp_pc.css – change background-color under .searchhilite.

Any tips to offer? Please add them below…

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Sparkle

Ever wonder where Manuel Clement and Samuel Wan (hi guys!) have been working on? Yep, the secret Microsoft project code-named Sparkle has been announced at the Microsoft PDC yesterday.

The official name of Sparkle is Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer, which is one of three products in the Expression family.

Check out the hour-long video at Channel 9 (Windows Media), where you get to see Manuel (and Sam briefly), with others of the Sparkle team (hi Pete). It’s a rare occasion to see the “pre-pre-release” product in such details.

What’s interesting in particular (compared to Flash) are the scalable IDE, native OS controls, data-binding, roundtrip XAML, interface (property panels, timeline, object transformations), 3D, and rendering effects.

Sparkle generates XAML code, that can be used directly with Visual Studio or rendered in Avalon (with graphics hardware acceleration). It is a tool for designers to build interactive UI and animations for next-generation Windows applications (or Internet Explorer applications).

The platform (Vista) that Sparkle runs on won’t be out until late 2006, and the adoption rate of the next generation Windows OS will be much slower than the adoption rate of the Flash Player (which is free and has auto-update and express install to guarantee a much quicker rate than previous versions).

Flash’s ubiquity (cross-platform/browser/device) is the strongest reason that it will be around for some time. Of course, Vista will be the dominant OS one day; but that will be at least two years away. In the mean time, Flash designers, developers, and users have lots to look forward to with the current and next-generation Flash Platform, and all these other tools to explore.

Here’s an interesting read from a former Sparkle product manager (Jon Meyer) on Sparkle, Flash and AJAX.

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