Adobe Flash, the clunky and unsearchable interactive plugin tech, was always bad. Its presence on a website guaranteed a user interface disaster, an unblockable ad, or general bloated shonkiness. But it was also liberating, making animation and programming accessible in a way unseen since the days of 8-bit computers with BASIC built-in. Flash Is Responsible for the Internet's Most Creative Era, writes Ernie Smith.
The web has actually gotten less creative over time, not more. This interpretation of events is a key underpinning of Web Design: The Evolution of the Digital World 1990-Today (Taschen, $50), a new visual-heavy book from author Rob Ford and editor Julius Wiedemann that does something that hasn’t been done on the broader internet in quite a long time: It praises the use of Flash as a creative tool, rather than a bloated malware vessel, and laments the ways that visual convention, technical shifts, and walled gardens have started to rein in much of this unvarnished creativity.
This is a realm where small agencies supporting big brands, creative experimenters with nothing to lose, and teenage hobbyists could stand out simply by being willing to try something risky. It was a canvas with a built-in distribution model. What wasn’t to like ... besides a whole host of malware?
Actionscript 2 was the heart of this, a marvel of approachability to amateurs, beginners and people who were just not gonna put up with a bigger headache. After years of trying to learn to program, AS2 got me going. The more capable and pro-oriented Actionscript 3 killed Flash's accessibility to nonprogrammers stone dead and (for better or worse) energized the market for more dedicated game making software.
Piet is an esoteric programming language where the programs are encoded as images and resemble abstract paintings. Spot-on Mondrians (pictures) are the hook, but a wide range of pixelated styles are possible; the logic of the program can be exposed in the image. Prime Number Generator Sylvain Tintillier provides a method of generating prime numbers […]
A young Massachusetts woman who recently graduated from Tufts University is convinced that she has found a ‘secret’ encoded message in “Paradise Lost,” the poem by John Milton.
Simon Niklaus et al devised a method to convincingly add a 3D Ken Burns zoom effect to 2D photographs. Their code works as well as a professional graphic designer: better than simple cut-outs slapped into an After Effects stage, thought I still get that slightly uncanny “2.5D” Viewmaster effect. The Ken Burns effect allows animating […]
Gather round, young and old — and hear tales of bygone days. Back in olden times, citizens would mass at a house of coffee, wherein skilled java alchemists would concoct special blends and apply artisanal wizardry to make each steaming chalice an appointment for the taste buds. Granted, said wizards, once known as baristas, were […]
The last few weeks have given us all a lot to think about. As we watched stores close, Costco lines snake through parking lots and items like hand sanitizer and toilet paper disappear everywhere like they were Lady Gaga tickets, there’s one significant takeaway it’s safe to say we all can agree on. We should […]
Whether it was Bach or Chopin, Ray Charles or Jerry Lee Lewis, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Alicia Keys or Norah Jones, there was someone whose mastery on the piano made you think, wow, I wish I knew how to do that. It’s a singular, almost timeless skill — and if you love music, there’s no […]