Visual Studio 2008 - Silverlight Tools Beta 2 Errors


When I installed Visual Studio 2008 with pre-existing Silverlight plugin, I suddenly could no longer create new Silverlight project from within Visual Studio.

 

This was the error message that I got Could not load type ‘Microsoft.VisualStudio.Web.Silverlight.IVSilverlightService’ from assembly

 

Doing some research led me to BradleyB’s Weblog. Following the steps from his blog post seems to solve the above error message. However, I then got a new error message “Object reference not set to an instance of an object.”

 

Doing a devenv /resetskippkgs on the command prompt helped me fix the second error message.

 

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Linux Flash Player


For the first time in a year I boot up my Linux box (I am setting up an SMS gateway and I hope to write a tutorial on this when I have more time) and finally got the chance to experience first hand the prowess of the Linux Flash Player version. I must say that I am very impressed with it.

 

Everything works very well (including sound too), except for the slowness. However, it is expected since the box is not very new (366 MHz Pentium II with a 64 MB RAM).

 

It is just amazing how multimedia and multiplatform Flash is now. All I can say is, developing interactive projects to reach a large number of audience has never been easier. Even hackers and uber geeks (at least that is the stereotype in my mind that Linux/Unix users are hackers and geeks) can now finally have a little more fun visiting a more visual and interactive sites.

 

To install the player, download it from here. Then just follow the steps there. If none of the steps work, you can manually copy the file “libflashplayer.so” to “/usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/” or whereever your mozilla plugins directory is.

 

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The FWA 2


On my first FWA winning project, I was pretty much cluelez as to what is the FWA. I did not know about thefwa.com, and a friend of mine was actually the one who told me that the project I worked on was in it. I did not realize that it is actually super awesome to be able to get into thefwa.com.

 

This time around I am beyond stoked that the project I worked on while asleep and awake, have also been selected for the FWA award.

 

Feel very fortunate to be surrounded by some bad ass people.

 

The FWA Volkswagen of America Snapshot

 

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Semapedia English-Bahasa Indonesia Translation


I promised my friend Stan, at Semapedia.org to do an English - Bahasa Indonesia translation of the site a couple of weeks ago (we utilize this software called poEdit). I finally got it done today. Why it took me a while is partly because I was really hectic. However, I think the biggest reason is that doing translation is not as easy as I initially imagined. There are words that you can’t just do a direct translation because it does not make sense, legal terms that sounds like German to me, and stuff like that. Well, I am glad I finally got it done, because I would feel really bad otherwise.

 

Check out the Bahasa Indonesia version of Semapedia.org. Yes if there happens to be people who understand Bahasa Indonesia and found a mistake in my translation, do let me know.

 

Oh yes, if you are left wondering what Semapedia is, it is a pretty cool tool utilizing the ‘QR Codes’ technology, and Wikipedia to tag the real physical world. Then if you happen to see any of this tags, you can use your cellphone to read it. (obviously you need the reader software installed to your cellphone first)

 

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Revolutionizing the Way We Search


In this age of information, people are constantly finding new ways to find the information they need as fast and as specific as possible.

 

There was a time where Yahoo! search engine rulez, until Google came along with a supposedly better algorithm and most importantly a more specialized service, that is, search engine. Who cares about all the news in entertainment, sports, etc that you see when you open up Yahoo! when you already know in mind that you are searching for a way to set up your home networking for example. This is where Google has the advantage, service specialization. Those are also the reasons why Google is now the new “king of search engine”.

 

Current Yahoo! and Google interface comparison

Yahoo! and Google

 

Just when you think the search engine war is over, well it is not. Web 2.0 startup companies focusing on the way we do searches are mushrooming. KartOO for example is showing your search result as a cluster of icons. Ujiko is giving you the ability to customize your search by marking the sites you like or dislike. For those that thinks Google is not accurate enough, Rollyo allows you to customize your search on the fly. What more can there be? Well today I just found out Yahoo! is doing a good move to regain the “king of search engine” status by releasing the “Alpha beta Search” (not sure what it is called), where images from Flickr photos, Youtube videos, Wikipedia, etc along with the usual search results all show on the same page. Pretty cool stuff.

 

KartOO, Ujiko, and Rollyo interfaces respectively.

KartOOUjikoRollyo

 

Yahoo! Alpha Interface

Yahoo! Alpha

 

Well the moral of the story is that live is full of ups and downs. You can’t always be on top. Whether or not any of this new search theory will overtake Google has yet to be seen. But unless Google keeps on improving their main traffic driver (maybe along with AdSense), one of these days, somebody will dethrone them.

 

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PowerCast - If We Can Pull Data Out of Thin Air, Why Not Energy?


PowerCast

PowerCast is a company that develop a way to power electronic products wire-free.

 

Thought that it is very interesting and quite true at the same time that we have been pulling data using Radio Frequency (RF) for a lot of things we do daily such as cell phone, Wi-Fi and radio, why can’t we do the same with energy?

 

Genius!!! Maybe able to use solar energy in the afternoon and this new technology at night to run vehicles in the future.

 

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Flash Site Optimization


One very important thing that a lot of web developers forget is making a site that is optimized. What I mean with optimized here is for the site to only do things and load things that is necessary for the it to perform properly.

 

It is understandable since computer and internet connection are getting faster and faster, that developers sometimes forget about those still using a 56K dial up connection. I myself don’t normally invest too much time into optimizing the sites I develop until I started working at my current company where they pay attention to every pixels, download time and always pushing and changing stuff to get the end result better and better. I guess that is what separate a good site and a great one. It is a lot of hassle, but I believe these small and yet actually important details are the things that can help get your skill and knowledge to the next level. Am I glad to be around all these talented people or not?

 

Back to the topic. There are 2 ways to tune up your site. First is through the client side elements, and Second is through the server side.

1. Client Side

-Refactoring. - This one is obvious. The lesser the lines of codes that you write, the smaller the file size is going to be. Sometimes it is good to refactor your code to improve perfomance, since the second time round you look at the code you can actually take out a good chuck of unnecessary code excecution.
-Assets optimization. - Cutting down the file size of the image assets used in Flash. For example often times using an image with quality 90% and 60% is almost the same visually. So why use 90% if 60% looks alright.
-Omit trace actions. - For the final release it is good to omit trace actions. First it prevents people from seeing the swearing you use in your trace statement. Secondly, it can also cut down your file size quite a lot depending on how much you put traces in the codes.
-Asset / Font sharing - This one is a good one. Most Flash sites now use multiple files that is loaded by the master.swf file. So instead of embedding fonts and exporting assets in every single external component, sharing those might cut down size tremendously. Check out Informit if you need to find out how to do this.
-Class Exclude. - This one is also a good one. Basically what this means is that instead of having to export every classes in every external clips, you might be able to share some of those classes that are used across the clips. Check out www.martijndevisser.com if you need to find out how to do this.

 

2. Server Side

-Caching. - Turning this on means that components that has been loaded once does not have to be loaded again and again.

In Apache webserver this is how to turn this thing on

First you have to turn on this module LoadModule expires_module modules/mod_expires.so

Second add this codes
<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive on
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access plus 1 months”
ExpiresDefault “access plus 1 days”
</IfModule>

 

The above tips should be able to save quite a bit of loading time. I am sure there are more ways to even improve perfomance further. So feel free to drop a line to share it.

 

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Actionscript 3 - Sound Spectrum


One of the cool features in AS3 is the ability to take snapshots of the sound wave as your sound is playing, allowing you to do crazy animations that match your sound.

 

So I decided to make a little experiment using it. Click on the preview below to see how it works (it will take you to a new page).

 

Frog Sound Spectrum Snapshot

 

By the way, it was meant to be a frog, eventhough it looks nothing like a frog. ;p

 

The title of the song used is “Teluk Bayur”, which means “Bayur Bay” by an Indonesian singer “Rani” (Note: Rani is not the original singer of the song. I hope I won’t get sued for putting it up. After all it is kind of a promotion. ;p). The song tells a story about someone leaving his/her hometown to learn and acquire new knowledge for a better tomorrow, just like me. So I guess it is a dedication to everyone like me, and a reminder for me not to let my mom and dad down. ;p

 

The coolest looking sound spectrum experiment I have seen is the one done by Andre Michelle, which is also the one that inspires me to write this one.

 

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Guest Speaker at the University of Miami - School of Communications


Today, I had the privilege of speaking as a guest speaker for an Actionscript course at the University of Miami - School of Communications.

 

The session was not so much into technical stuff. It was more about an overview of the capabilities of Flash/Flash Lite/Flex, what it takes to get into the industry, what life is like working in the industry, and how the process work from concepting/ideas to production and launching.

 

Initially I was kind of concerned that I won’t have enough materials to talk about for 1.5 hours, but I felt that it ended up great. I also pulled up some of the projects that we have done just to show them the kind of work we are doing, and I think that everyone was really liking it, asking lots of questions like how we built it and stuff.

 

I also got a tour of the whole facility and learning new stuff along the way. They showed me how they do radio broadcasting, tv broadcasting and some other stuff, which I have never done before.

 

Like most people do, I ended up the session by giving out business cards, hoping to get some qualified people on board.

 

Overall, I had a great time and the trip was a blast. I am so glad that they invited me over. I would think that it won’t be the last time, but a beginning of more.

 

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Flash Lite MIDI Composer


While watching college football yesterday, I came up with this simple idea for a Flash Lite experiment.

 

So I opened up Photoshop, and started making the layouts.

 

One day later, this is what I got. (Note: The notes sound is screwed when not run through the phone or emulator. I only enable teeth number 1 here, just for a preview.)

 

To use, click on the teeth 12 times.

 


 

The idea is to enable you to compose a MIDI (if you have the application on your phone), and allow you to send it to someone else through the MIDI creator service I put up on the server. Also I decided to use smiley teeth instead of regular piano to make it more fun (At least that is what I hoped for).

 

Here is one of my favourite songs I created through the application.

 

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