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2007 September



another useless animated gif

tractor bum

I swear I didn’t find this one on a porn site, it was on somebody’s friendster account. Nancy thinks this is what most men must daydream about. I’m not sure I agree, but I guess I did choose to post it. Oh well… I thought it was funny and strange. Do you dream of driving your John Deer lawn tractor down a nice bum?



Navexos P-35

I’ve been working on the flash book format today. I’m working on the AMFPHP code and all the other connecting code bits to make it more automated. Then I can just pass subcategory (or other) variables to it and the book will put all the pages in dynamically. Stay tuned for that one. I also have to write some more code to make this all work in the back-end of the site admin.

I needed to experiment more with the book interface to study variables and see how things go adding pages, etc. I remembered I had one artist book I made in college here at Nancy’s house. I gave it to her as a Christmas gift back in college. So I scanned the pages in and used it for the book above. This one isn’t dynamically generated though. It’s so fun seeing the book translated to digital format. It looks so much like the original!!! I think I’m going to ask my parents to bring a box of art books I have at their house so I can scan in more. Then I will use those when I start testing dynamically. The scanning part is pretty boring and takes a lot of time. But as I always say, I guess it’s worth it!!! hahaha…

On that note, my parents will be coming to visit Philadelphia next weekend. They haven’t visited the city before so we’re going to take them to see the Liberty Bell and such. Should be a fun time. Since I’m about to become an English teacher, I’ve noticed how my grammar is total shit! I write these blog entries so fast that they are barely thought out and never looked over before hitting the “publish” button. I feel slightly guilty about this. I really need to start thinking about what I’m writing and forming my thoughts better. It would probably be much more fun to read this blog if I did! I’ve also been thinking about how all I do is talk about these boring programming issues! hahaha. I need to start telling interesting stories so you are encouraged to maybe come back again, like two years from now… hahaha.



Artist books, here I come!

I finished the code work on the backend for the new “multi” page format. I also got the basics for the front end gallery view down, but they need much more work. As part of the “multi” view you can now embed flash movies. Yee haw! I dug up some code for one of those page flip flash modules. You can see a basic test file I threw together above. I figured out all the main variables I need to control the movie for my site template. Now I’m going to work on the AMFPHP part of it. This will let me dynamically input what images show up as pages in the book. I think this is pretty damn cool! Now I will be able to scan in or create artist books digitally and have them still be in a “book” format! Wooo hooo… I’ve been wanting to do this for a LONG time. I would really like to get a site going that just features different book artists in this manner. I love art books, but there is no way to see most of them, let alone own them. I think this would be a great way for many people to view a book online.



Never ending coding…

It never ends. I’ve been coding for two days straight, and I’m still not finished. Things are coming along nicely though. I made long overdue major revisions to the MySQL database structure of the site, which impacts just about the whole back-end admin. That’s what I’m still recoding at the moment. I did finish most of the updates to the front-end gallery pages that display video & audio. Check them out sometime!

The video & audio section both have a “show info” button that lets you view the title and caption information. I also programmed the site to take EXIF style information out of audio and video files and store it in the database. That information is also listed in the “show info” section at the bottom. The video section also has a slideshow feature now. It works like a photo slide show except that it pops open a window with a bigger scaled up version of the video. You can also choose a super big 960px video view as well! The show will advance to the next video automatically after 10 min or you can just click backwards and forwards to navigate through the videos. It’s pretty cool. The only bug I’m having an issue with is making the original video stop before the slideshow window pops up. It sucks because you then get two video audio tracks dueling each other! Very annoying. Hopefully I’ll figure it out soon. I’m in the process of trying to add support for flash galleries and the “multi” page idea is coming along nicely. We’ll see if I survive the next day or two. 🙁

I think I need to take a break soon and go take some photographs! I’ve been wanting to do a night series of big bright places so I’m hoping to do that sometime this week. I also really want to shoot some portraits but everyone here is so lame! If anyone wants to model for me please let me know… I need some new faces!

OK, time for a bit more coding and then it’s bed time for me… I’m jogging bright and early tomorrow! I’m not sure how I’m going to pull that one off. I’ve been staying up until like 2 or 3 am coding for the past four days… I’m thinking a very stiff cup of coffee made syrup style in the little french press and I’ll be good to go… maybe…. I think I’m at 21 miles now… I’ve ran 7 days and did about 3 miles each time… So yeah, 21! Woo Hoo… Now if my cute little smiling belly would shrink up, everything would be just fine. Running has been fine for me and after the first week, three miles isn’t hurting anymore at all. I know I have good muscle underneath, but I figure it will take about two months to be in tip-top shape again. Not having a mountain bike, scuba access, hiking trails, the beach, etc. has been killing me! I hate this suburban sprawl… Oh well, work with what you have, right?



New Home Page!!!

I’m so excited! Figuring out this AMFPHP connection is opening up so many possibilities for dynamic information display! I just reworked the home page with a new dynamic flash clip. Check it out! I’ve embedded the flash movie to the left as well as an example. The flash template grabs the details for whatever the current featured gallery is and shuffles the results. Then it picks the first six and loads them into the flash interface as you see above. After it cycles through, it picks six new images.

I’m going to start working on more dynamic templates that you can feed variables into to make them highly reusable. I just read that you can also use actionscript to program tweens and such as well! That opens even more doors. More on this soon I’m sure.



Weird Al does Dylan palindrome style

OK, so I figured out you can resize You Tube videos. There are a bunch of little functions you can use with their videos. This helps with my fuzzy resolution problems I was complaining about earlier. Like I said, it’s pretty convenient and useful, but something about it still rubs me the wrong way… I could only find this video via You Tube so I’m posting it. I also hate that big branded logo at the bottom. YUK! Anyway, this song is funny. Weird Al doing the Dylan video but using mostly palindromes!



New Gallery Page

I finally got the new main gallery page up and running! Please check it out when you get a chance. Just click on the “Gallery” link above. The flash movie to the right is an example of the same thing. It basically loads all the thumbnail images for a particular gallery into a flash movie and lets you scroll up and down to look at each one. When you find one you like and click, it takes you to that gallery and pulls up that image. Freakin’ cool!

This was one of the hardest projects I’ve done so far. I used AMFPHP to bring MySQL data into a flash movie that I generated using PHP. I had to use action scripting, MySQL, PHP and the flash remoting all together! YUK! But as I always say, I guess it was worth it… This is something I’ve been wanting to do for about a year. I’ve worked on it here and there, never with success until now. 🙂 This will open up a lot more possibilities to use flash in my site. I’ve been steering away from it because I couldn’t load data into the swf files dynamically. But that problem is now solved with AMFPHP. I tried using the XML methods that seem to be so popular these days, but I found them to be pretty slow and clunky. This flash remoting stuff seems to be pretty snappy, so I think it’s pretty useable. The only thing that still concerns me with flash is search engine caching, or lack thereof. If I embed movies I’ll certainly be trying to find ways to load the rest of the pages with keywords. There are still some bugs with that gallery page that I’m going to work out, but I thought it was good enough to put up now. I hope I have some time to develop more content using this method.



Anxiety Attack

I found this funny video a while ago. I had it saved in one of those folders I mentioned the other day. I was just rummaging through, looking at things I hadn’t used or looked at for like a year, and there it was. I thought it would be fun to post it here.

OK, so this is one of the reasons I don’t like You Tube:

The quality of the video is like huge blocks. I feel like I just jumped into the way-back machine or something. I know the bandwidth is free, but come on! I think they can afford better bandwidth.

Here is what I downloaded from the Jeffrey Lewis home page for comparison. Can you see a difference? I like how functional You Tube is, but it’s too busy and the quality sucks. These are things that make me squirm. OK, I know I’m an obsessive weirdo, but it’s not worth doing if it’s not done right.

alt : Jeffrey Lewis – Anxiety Attack



The Prosthetics

I managed to get up six tracks from our college band, The Prosthetics, last night. The recording quality is really terrible. We didn’t have any good recording equipment back then, so we just threw a boom box in the middle of the room and pressed the record button. That’s about as low tech as you can get! Well this recording just sat in a box in a closet for like ten years and I found it by chance the other day. I was cleaning out all this old stuff and throwing things away. I nearly tossed it but wanted to know what was on this unmarked tape. Lucky I didn’t throw it away! It was fun hearing the band after so many years. So I threw the tape in an old tape deck Nancy’s parents had lying around and sucked it into the computer’s analog input. That’s about as low tech as you can get as well… haha. Anyway, here are the tracks, just click the thumbs to go to the gallery:

audio :: the prosthetics - plushaudio :: the prosthetics - just like heavenaudio :: the prosthetics - in bloomaudio :: the prosthetics - monkey gone to heavenaudio :: the prosthetics - rainaudio :: the prosthetics - jeremy



Video & Audio are working… Finally!

Yay! I finally got video & audio working in the website interface! I had this terrible problem for months that I couldn’t solve. Then I revisited it today and boom, fixed it on the first try. 🙂 When you would click on one of the thumbnails and load a movie, it would work fine. But when you clicked on another thumbnail, the audio from the first movie would continue and then you would get two audio tracks playing at the same time. Click a third and now you have three at once… Not very nice indeed. But I finally got this javascript function working with the DOM (Document Object Model) code, and now it all works fine. So I have three of my little short videos on the site now. You can watch them if you click on a thumbnail below:

video :: monterey skatingvideo :: patchworkvideo :: breakwater cove

I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a “multi” page view of sorts. It would be a gallery view in which you could have all the media formats on the same page. I guess it would make those entries similar to a myspace page or even this blog in some respects. I was thinking of having each page capable of having video, audio, images and text. It would be nice to be able to have galleries that could incorporate all different media forms on one page.

The down side is formatting. If I make it part of the content management system, you can have only one template of sorts… You could only have say one instance of video, or two images, and they always have to be in the same places. I’d have to figure out a layout in advance and then stick to it. This has it’s advantages. The back-end code is easy to manage, the galleries look consistent and everything is streamlined. The down side is that you don’t have any page layout control because everything is predetermined. This is the problem with most CMS’s (content management system). An alternative I thought about was having basically a blank text window, similar to a blog interface. Then you could just input whatever code you want and basically build the page look and feel, as well as content, however you wished. The downside to this approach of course is that now you have to remember all the code to imbed video objects, audio objects and all the CSS and other code bits to fiddle with your page. Maybe I could build little buttons into the back-end that would insert code snippets for things like video object embedding.

We’ll see how far any of this goes. I’ve been planning something like this for over a year now and haven’t pulled the rabbit out of the hat yet. It’s not that it’s that difficult, it comes down to how much time I want to spend in front of the screen. For now, just enjoy the videos. I’m going to post audio tracks from my college band very soon. Stay tuned. I just contacted Vytas our bassist from the band recently and he has some old recordings from college as well. Hopefully I can get that in electronic format and then I’ll put some of that up too.