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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!


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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.