Monday, September 22, 2008

A Touch of Class

Some years ago, I bought my first PDA. It was a Palm M500. I bought it on sale at the end of its market life and used it until very recently when the cover finally wore out and the battery became unreliable. Our cell phone is also old and cannot be used past this November when Bell Mobility upgrades its network. 

I had thoughts of using the iPhone 3G to replace both my PDA and my cell. Unfortunately, Rogers wanted far too much for the little use I make of a cell, so I turned to the iPod Touch. When the newest version arrived this fall, I took the plunge and bought the 16 Gb version. It is such an elegant little gadget. It doesn't take long to learn the gestures and procedures to use its many features. When I am in range of a wifi, the very well thought out Safari browser works as does my email. 

In spite of the small screen, it is easy to read, and most screens can be magnified. The little touch keyboard takes some practice, but then so did Palm's Graffiti. Screen resolution and colours are outstanding. A sturdy replacement for my little M500, the iPod Touch is a classy affirmation of Apple's design and construction quality - and like my iMac, the user interface makes it a delight to use.  I snapped the image at the left with my Sony F828 to give you an idea - the colours aren't quite accurate and the highlights washed out a bit.  

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ready in a Flash

Last spring, a client asked for a few Flash files for his new site. I said, "no problem, I have Flash CS3 on my Mac". However; Flash is no Photoshop. Its variety of "objects" that do "this", but not "that" combined with a strange GUI left me struggling. I managed to make a few Flash "movies" but I didn't promote them to his web site. Instead, this fall I did two things. Bought a training book (Flash CS3 Professional, by Todd Todd Perkins) and registered for a class at Humber. 

My instructor, Paul Minstrell, is a gem. He was trained in traditional hand drawn animation and has used Flash since it first arrived on the market as "FutureSplash Animator". Paul is a dynamo filled with information on Flash and the animation creative process. In our first class, he mentioned "Bitey Castle", a site whose creator shows what can be done with Flash. Click here to go to the "Bitey Castle"home page. Or click here to go to "Frank", a 45 second example of  Adam Phillips's wry humour and drawing skill. Have a peek!     

The Way Back Machine

Did you know the web has an archive too? Visit to see what is saved in the Internet Archive. A note on their home page explains that "The Internet Archive is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form." Included are movies, music, audio, text and web pages.  Enter a URL in the address box for the Way Back Machine and you will get an index of pages by date saved. For example, I can go back to 1998 on our site by entering "", our original URL, or "", our current URL. Some images are missing, but the the few links I tried within a page seemed to work.