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Dan Rubin's SuperfluousBanter

Design, random musings, and the Web. Since 1977

Archive for 2004


And The Weather Is Beautiful

Monday, October 4th, 2004

There are times when liv­ing in the trop­i­cal paradise/hurricane tar­get range that is South Flori­da can be quite nice, and today I’m bask­ing in one of those times.

I’m writ­ing this as I sit on the front porch, in very com­fort­able 86 degree not-too-humid weath­er. A soft breeze is blow­ing through the trees, and I have just enough shade to keep the sun out of my eyes and eas­i­ly view my LCD screen. This is the per­fect dis­trac­tion-free envi­ron­ment for writ­ing, which is my task this afternoon.




Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

tree broken in half by hurricane frances

This is just one of the trees brought down by Frances over the week­end. It took down a pow­er line as well, thus our entire block is with­out pow­er (still) and will like­ly remain that way for the next few days (I’m cur­rent­ly post­ing from Star­bucks, which is kind­ly offer­ing free wire­less access for the time being).

I’ll have some more pho­tos soon, but I was able to take a few small videos dur­ing the first feed­er bands of the storm, so if you are on a high speed con­nec­tion, go ahead and give them a whirl:

We’re thank­ful no one was injured, and oth­er than the trees we suf­fered no prop­er­ty dam­age either. We count our­selves lucky, how­ev­er Hur­ri­cane Ivan lurks on the hori­zon, so our shut­ters will remain in place for the time being…


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There’s a New Blog in Town

Monday, July 19th, 2004

With­out fur­ther ado I bring you:


Com­ments on this entry are closed, you will find enough oppor­tu­ni­ty to com­ment on my new blog. I give all the con­trols back to Dan. My time here has been a blast — more on that lat­er. For now: enjoy!


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Bitmap Fonts in Flash

Tuesday, July 6th, 2004

It’s 3:00AM and I just spent 2 hours fix­ing a bitmap font (pix­el) to dis­play cor­rect­ly in my Flash movie. I even­tu­al­ly solved the prob­lem. Thank god, because I think I was going mad. Here’s what I did to avoid a few noto­ri­ous problems.

Problem 1: Blurry Text

You got your nifty font all ready and sud­dend­ly Flash is not being nice and diplay­ing it all blur­ry. Yuck. It turns out that when a text field­’s X and Y stage coor­di­nates are non-inte­ger val­ues (for exam­ple X: 102.4 and Y: 301.3) the pix­els at the edge of the font suf­fer from over anti-alias­ing. You can read more about it in a Flash Tech­Note. The solu­tion is pret­ty sim­ple: just change those nasty non-inte­ger val­ues to nice inte­ger val­ues. This was some­what of a “duh” moment — when read­ing the Tech­Note I remem­bered this odd­i­ty (the doc­u­ment dates from 2001 for cry­ing out loud.) Addi­tion­al­ly Fonts For Flash has a use­ful user guide to help you make sure those bitmap fonts dis­play as crisp as they should (note: they car­ry a nice selec­tion of bitmap fonts for sale.) Good, time to move on.

Problem 2: Filled Characters

My prob­lems were far from over. The first prob­lem was solved in a mere 5 min­utes. A lit­tle Google here and there and you’re ready to get going again. But then sud­dend­ly some char­ac­ters of my font filled them­selves where no fill was intend­ed. Com­pare the two images below.

Look mom! I screwed up my font in Flash!

Now, obvi­ous­ly sit­u­a­tion A total­ly sucks. Use­less. Before I go on I must add that this was a bitmap font I edit­ed and changed myself using Macro­me­dia Fontog­ra­ph­er, an appli­ca­tion I’m not ter­ri­bly famil­iar with. I did­n’t like some spe­cif­ic let­ters. How­ev­er only “R” and “D” were giv­ing me trou­ble (i.e. fill­ing up) and I did­n’t touch those — go fig­ure. Any­way, to be hon­est I had no clue what was going on. I redesigned both let­ters, but alas with­out sat­is­fac­to­ry result (I was doing some­thing wrong obvi­ous­ly.) After doing some research I came across a tuto­r­i­al at Ultrashock.com on this very sub­ject. I was saved. I cor­rect­ly edit­ed the let­ters that were caus­ing the pain and it automag­i­cal­ly all worked per­fect­ly as shown in sit­u­a­tion B.

Feeling Silly

I feel a bit sil­ly for my lack of knowl­edge in this spe­cif­ic case — it’s not like this is an extreme­ly recent prob­lem or any­thing (more like known for ages.) I guess I nev­er real­ly used bitmap fonts much in Flash and if I did, I was a lazy bum and would import images (which is obvi­ous­ly a big no-no con­sid­er­ing file size and dynam­ic text fields.) Any­way, I hope my igno­rance will help you with future projects and lead to less frus­tra­tion and time loss. I’m going to bed and dream about bitmap fonts in Flash and world dom­i­na­tion. Catch you later.



Tour de France 2004

Saturday, July 3rd, 2004

Tour de France

15 sec­onds. That’s the amount of time Ull­rich lost today to Arm­strong. Not much, right? True. But this is not about the amount of sec­onds as such — this is about the psy­cho­log­i­cal effect. This fact aside, the big ques­tion of course is: will Arm­strong win a 6th Tour. Will he be the first to break the myth­i­cal 5 Tour de France vic­to­ries? Leg­ends such as Anquetil, Hin­ault, Mer­ckx and Indurain all failed at their 6th try. Per­son­al­ly I will be root­ing for Ull­rich. Not because I do not like Arm­strong or think he is not enti­tled to win a 6th Tour, but sim­ply because I pre­fer Ull­rich’s style of cycling and personality. 

Jan Ullrich
Yet, today Arm­strong did not win the pro­log — as usu­al I would say. It is a pain to wear the yel­low jer­sey the first week and US Postal knows it. Arm­strong would rather have oth­er teams con­trol the race, have them do the sprints etc. Could he have won? Prob­a­bly. Not impor­tant any­way. He did his job. Sur­pris­ing­ly enough, a young (23) Swiss fel­low named Can­ce­lar­ra won. Anoth­er inter­est­ing fact is the amount of Amer­i­cans in the top 20, name­ly 6. That’s a good thing for the pop­u­lar­i­ty of cycling on the oth­er side of the pond. 

So, my favorite sport­ing event has start­ed. 3 weeks to enjoy, espe­cial­ly the last week where every­thing will be decid­ed. I will not be blog­ging the Tour as such, maybe an occa­sion­al post, but I doubt even that. I will be enjoy­ing the event on TV and maybe even dri­ve to the French Alps to view a stage live. Check out the stage stand­ings and stage cities descrip­tion and detailed itin­er­ary.