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 […]
What’s your biggest gripe about power strips? Since most power servers like that are pretty standard these days, your beef probably isn’t about performance or connectivity. No, the biggest rap on trying to use many power strips is the curious engineering decision that often leaves multiple oddly shaped plugs and charging units unable to all […]
Between work, family obligations, and just getting to bed at a decent hour, we all have a lot on our plates these days. So, it’s easy for things like grooming and skincare to never be a high-priority issue. That is until they become a high priority issue. Like when your face constantly breaks out. Or […]
Today’s teachers extol the virtues of hands-on learning, the method of helping students, particularly the youngest children, learn through basic doing. From trial-and-error methods to practice honing their emerging skills, youngsters can soak up a world of learning opportunities when their developing minds are unleashed. While the thought of dropping a smartphone or tablet into […]