Flash Enabled in Chrome on Linux?

I downloaded and installed the latest version of Chrome for Linux on my copy of 64-bit Linux Mint 7, today. Thinking nothing of it, I went on with my normal procedures. Then, Michael Klurfeld posted a Digg link to one of TechGeist’s stories. At the top of the story was an embedded YouTube video. Fully expecting it to show a big blank space as Chrome on Linux always has where a YouTube video should appear, I went on with reading the story.

I then looked up and noticed that the YouTube player had loaded and was showing the first frame of the video with the standard “Play” emblem in the middle of it. “This must just be a screen shot or something, like YouTube uses on their home page,” I thought, at first. Just for kicks, I decided to click the video anyway.

Much to my amazement, it started playing.

sIFR – Use Your Favorite Fonts on Your Web Site

I’m not sure how many people are aware of this amazing tool, as I just heard about it today. However, I came across an article discussing font replacement, and it mentioned a utility called “sIFR”. I quickly did a Google search and found out exactly what that is.

sIFR is a Flash/ActionScript/Javascript implementation that allows you to use any font you choose on your Web site. Rather than being confined to using the standard Web fonts that are available on all systems (or specifying a series of fonts from which the browser can choose), you can use specialty fonts without having to go through the hassle of converting them from TrueType Fonts (TTF) to GDF (the graphically-based font format that can be embedded within Web-based documents), you can simply use sIFR to use your favorite TTF.

Ikea Innovates Again

Ikea, the Swedish furniture giant, has once again developed a new and innovative way to advertise their products.

A few months ago, CenterNetworks posted about Ikea’s ad campaign with Nils, a single guy living alone in his Ikea-furnished apartment while his every move was broadcast across the Internet. That was pretty wild, but I think Ikea’s latest innovation is even more ingenious (although it’s just as creepy and weird as the Nils concept).

Ikea has unleashed a new site called “Come Into the Closet” (warning – for some unknown reason, this site resizes your browser window). This campaign uses Adobe Flash to synchronize stop-action animation (with actors, not drawings) with any music thrown at it. The characters will move in sync with the beat of the music. What’s more, the movements actually seem to be controlled by pitch as well as rhythm.

Be sure to check it out. You can even upload your own tracks to see how the characters interact. I found that the movements almost begin to look like epliepsy when you upload a track with driving beats and very little silence.

An Amazing Promotional Piece

My supervisor sent this to me at work the other day. It really is an amazing promotional piece. You may need to watch the video more than once to get the full effect, but it’s definitely worth watching again. I am truly amazed at how the developers were able to put this together, but I am incredibly impressed.

I assume that it’s all done with Flash, but I really am not 100% certain. What do you think?


Why is Everything so “Flashy”?

I’m sure this problem has always been around, but I hadn’t noticed it nearly as much for the last few years. So many people seem to be using Flash on their sites again, relying on it, and javascript, to render much of their design.

The problem, of course, is that a user without javascript or without Flash, doesn’t get to see much of what everyone else sees.

So, my question is why everyone seems to be using so much Flash again, recently? Why are so many home pages being built almost completely with Flash, only to completely fall apart when javascript of Flash is disabled? Why use Flash at all when 99% of the things being done with Flash (aside from things like YouTube videos, etc.) could be done with javascript and AJAX nowadays, and could be built to degrade gracefully for those without javascript?

An interesting discussion on this subject was started over at CollegeWebGuy.com. Since then, I’ve come across even more examples, though I don’t really feel right in sharing them.

It just bothers me, as someone who railed against Flash for so long only to see the days of pointless Flash splash pages finally go by the wayside. Now, to see Flash seemingly making a comeback in such a big way (at least, among higher education Web sites) really upsets me. To me, it actually seems almost lazy.

Why bother putting in the effort to develop sound DOM javascript and AJAX that degrades when you can put something together in Flash in a few minutes?

Enough of my tirade. What are your thoughts? Am I just super-sensitive to this, or are you noticing a comeback in Flash usage, as well? Does it bother you to see that, or are you okay with it? If Flash is necessary for certain applications, what are some ways you can make it accessible to disabled users?

Novell’s Web Site – Attractive Design

I visited the main Web site for the Novell companies the other day, and was fairly impressed by the design of the home page. I was a bit disappointed by the fact that the menu is hidden until you mouseover (poor choice for usability), but I was impressed by the overall design.

The site makes very good use of Flash, and seems to have optimized the Flash items extremely well. You won’t hear me toot the horn for Flash usage very often, but Novell’s Web site impressed me very much. When you have a chance, you should pop on over and check it out.

I was especially impressed by the home page of the main site and by the SuSE Linux pages. I am honestly shocked at just how quickly the pages load, even with the large Flash objects on each one.