The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'flash'
Web toy of the day (if not the year): Hobnox Audiotool. A TR-909, two TB-303s and a bag of effects pedals in a Flash applet, with a nifty patch-cord interface.
It sounds pretty authentic (well, at least as much as the various ReBirths and 303 softsynths) and flexible (the knobs produce the right amount of variation in the sound), which suggests that there is more to this than a bunch of samples in a simple player. The two options are:
- Recent versions of Flash have some kind of MSP/SuperCollider-style unit-generator-based audio engine built in, and pre-stocked with a bunch of useful components (such as wavetable oscillators, envelopes, filters, delay lines, convolvers, &c.), so that the Flash code only has to assemble a network of these and press play. Which essentially means that this sort of high-powered computer music infrastructure has become thoroughly commodified, to the point of being embedded for free in the infrastructure, remaining unnoticed until one actually uses something made from it. And that it would be possible to assemble quite usable audio production web applications in Flash, or:
- The applet merely communicates with a process on the web server, which synthesises the audio and streams it back to it.
Companies sometimes commission and give away "advergames"—free, branded, computer games designed to present their brands in a positive light. Now guerilla activist types are doing the same: such as this simulation of the hell of working in a Kinko's:
Disaffected! is an arcade-style game with fast action and high replayability. The player controls one or more employees behind the counter at a typical copy store. As each level starts, customers enter the store through the front doors and line up behind the cashiers at the counters. The player must try to find and deliver each customer's order. Obstacles include confused employees, employees who refuse to work, employees who move orders around indiscriminately so the player cannot find them. A complete in-game tutorial walks the player through both one-and two-player gameplay.The concept isn't new; perhaps the grandfather of the shitwork-simulation game genre was that early-1980s Game&Watch game where one has to catch boxes as they come down four conveyor belts; the fact that it was only a game, and not a soul-crushingly meaningless job, made sufficient difference to transform an existential ordeal into a fun activity.
Of course, the key difference is that Disaffected uses FedexKinko's logos in its graphics. I wonder how long until it gets taken down for trademark violation.
(via bOING bOING)
flickrGraph is an applet for graphically browsing social networks on Flickr, not unlike the TouchGraph LiveJournal Browser in concept. Except, of course, it is a Flash applet, which means that it (a) looks k3wler, as large full-colour icons jiggle, bounce and rotate, and (b) is less usable, as large full-colour icons take up lots of screen space, bounce unstoppably and obscure controls.
Tetka, an interactive Flash toy in which an oddly rubbery, physics-obeying female mannequin (which looks to be either the corpse of a drugged stripper, a perversely erotic crash-test dummy or a sex doll from well within Mori's Uncanny Valley) falls through an infinite void of spheres, hitting and bouncing off spheres, its limbs flailing realistically. It's compelling whilst at the same time disturbing.
Zero Wing Rhapsody; two tastes that go surprisingly well together. (Flash animation with music)
Another reason to not install Flash in your web browser (or, at least, switch it off and start it manually when you need it); not only is Flash used primarily for making ads more annoying, but now it can bypass cookie privacy controls to keep track of your web-browsing habits. (via /.)
Macromedia have a page where you can access your Flash plug-in's privacy settings; if you're using Firefox, you may also want to install Flashblock, which disables Flash by default but lets you load Flash applets on a case-by-case basis.
The Beaterator; an online Flash-based audio sequencer, which comes with loops and sounds from several popular house/trance/breakbeat/electronica artists, or you can upload your own.
A Break In The Road is a fairly nifty Flash game. It involves going around an urban street scene (somewhere in south/east London, by the look of it) with a MiniDisc recorder, recording various sounds (which include the Mike Skinner-esque cadences of a geezer talking with his china in a pub, soulful scat vocals from a girl at a railway station, electronic melody lines from video-game arcade machines and a klezmer loop filtering from the window of a kosher deli, amongst the usual percussive noises and urban sound effects) and then assembling them into a track in a vaguely Garageband-esque timeline to play at a club. If your track is good, the crowd will go wild. (via MeFi)
Local advertising campaigns for globally-released movies occasionally come up with interesting artefacts. Take, for example, this Kill Bill Flash game, developed by a Czech company to promote the Czech release of the DVD/movie. (via bOING bOING)
An interview with Richard M. Stallman, the head of the Free Software Foundation. In it he states his opposition to the Intel/Microsoft "Trusted Computing" system (or "Treacherous Computing", as he calls it), calls for web browsers to automatically send complaints to webmasters about Flash-based web pages (which, when you think about it, is not such a bad idea), and reveals that Debian has fallen out of favour because they tolerate the existence of a ghetto of non-free software. As well as the usual broadside at the Open Source movement (who, in rms's view, have more in common ideologically with Microsoft than with the Free Software movement). (via Slashdot)
Oh dear; is Microsoft about to buy Macromedia, turning Flash into part of the vast, amorphous Lovecraftian blob that is Windows? Mind you, Flash is wholly or partially proprietary as it is, and most Flash content tends to be annoying ads which either obscure your page until you've looked at the stupid little animation, or else freeze your browser until you stop your MP3 player so the ads on the page can play their audio, so I turn it off. Shame about the few badly designed sites which require Flash to have a "cool" navigation experience.
Kikkoman: the Movie (Flash animation). The odd thing is, this probably isn't much weirder than some Japanese TV ads. (via Graham)
Could this be the most twee Flash game ever? A kid of indeterminate sex flying a kite from a bicycle, over a vaguely pastoral backdrop, while a plucked acoustic guitar loop plays. How much do you want to bet the programmer was listening to a lot of Belle & Sebastian at the time?
Web Designer Builds Home out of Flash; hits the nail right on the head.
Conventional home builders aren't concerned just yet that they will become obsolete. "I see a fundamental usability issue with Flash homes," relates Greg Watson of J & G Builders. "For example, from home to home there will be design differences. In one house if you turn the door knob it'll open the door, but in another the house might start dancing."
No marks for The Designers Republic on their web design, mostly because they don't actually use HTML and just make everything embedded Flash. Having to start VMWare to access their web site (you try finding a working Flash plug-in for Linux) is annoying.
(And the Macromedia Flash plug-in for Linux is unusable. It works, but it grabs the audio device, and freezes Netscape until it gets it. Having to stop listening to your MP3s because there's a Flash ad on a page is just not acceptable, even for the leprous beggars who don't use Windows.)
Browsing the Macromedia Flash website, I discovered this "feature" entitled "What You Print Is Not What You See." This basically means when you print a web page, that little Flash banner ad can print out multiple pages worth of advertising drivel (if the designer wants it to). This is akin to having a unseen, secret speaker on your car radio that mysteriously blabs ads when advertisers want. Hey, thanks for thinking of the users, Macromedia!