About this site's lack of design: Yes, it's supposed to look this way — I'm helping create a new sandbox theme for WordPress (see it on GitHub).

Dan Rubin's SuperfluousBanter

Design, random musings, and the Web. Since 1977

Archive for July, 2004

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!


No Comments

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.