Glossy buttons in pure as3 code

I’ve been playing with the drawing classes, experimenting gradients and blending modes, and so I put together a small (basic) as3 class that generates a glossy button with pure code – no library assets.

You can download the class here.

The class constructor expects only 3 parameters:
@param rad = Width of button
@param darkColor = The color in top area, more dominant
@param lightColor = The color in the bottom area

* you can then place it anywhere, and use method setCaption(cap:String) to place a label on the button, though this is a very basic implementation of text handling, I focused on drawing..

Let me know if you liked it : )

New year upgrades

After many troubles with my (old) hosting provider, along with the new year I finally moved to a new one, hopefully no more down times and mail issues..I grabbed the opportunity and also upgraded the blog’s WordPress to the latest version, and customized a K2 theme to fit my orange look (this is really simple, K2 supports customized style sheets on top of the standard css, so you do not have to deal with many definitions – change only what you want).I will probably fine-tune the theme during the next couple of weeks, and when I’m done – I will probably change it completely : )

Cool recycled MacbookPro stand, do it your self!

Few days ago my good old 17″ Studio Display monitor died after almost 9 years of devoted service. It’s been about two years that my main computer is a MacBookPro, and the old G4 is nothing more than a file server & itunes jukebox.One thing that I wanted to change for a long time is the angle of the display when I am working with my portable Mac on a table. There are few professional solutions out there, mostly by Griffin, but I wanted something more practical, and yes, cheeper..Here I saw an opportunity – the cool stand from the CRT display, that was never equaled in any model by any brand (at least that I saw) can serve just this purpose, lifting the portable and making air flow easy for cooling the burning machine, tilt-able and even aesthetic.macbookpro_stand_1.jpgmacbookpro_stand_3.jpg
If you want to try this at home, here’s a little tip: after disassembling the stand from the old monitor, you should change the spring direction, to support the portable weight which has the opposite direction from the CRT. to do that, remove the center screw, and the screw that holds the spring, remove the white anchor, and rotate the top of the stand, front to back.Put the white anchor back, and now the string will be facing the other side of the stand.macbookpro_stand_4.jpg
Now hook the spring on the plastic handle. that’s it – you’re done.

Sony Bravia has a great 3D interface in flash

Sony Bravia new site ( is a great example of 3D navigation system in flash, bringing a new and fresh feel to site navigation, worth the long loading.
Using keyboard arrows is so easy and intuitive for controlling the 3D menu, it’s a shame the actual sections content is not arranged for keyboard control and requires “traditional” mouse interaction. But it is very cool eventhough.

I did not read Nielsen’s latest book, not sure I want to.

Jeff Atwood of Coding Horror extracts from Jacob Nielsen’s latest book Prioritizing Web Usability, it is interesting how flash is still listed as a problem, a “two skulls” problem! this comes out in 2007?I respect Jacob Nielsen very much, though he is a problematic card to use with clients, as it tend to explode in your face.. I rather consider his guidelines as yet another professional reference, a way to evaluate aspects of my work, a severe and rigid one.So many Web UI standards are tied to circumstances that are no longer relevant, not only flash, take the default blue link color for example: today, that most of the rational web sphere has digested the need to differentiate the links from normal text, using colors, sometimes also underline, comes the question – does it have to be blue? are we still in a reality that most users are not familiar with hyper text and its behavior? I think not.As a designer I learned that no pioneering comes from just following rules, you should always have a doubt, never loose the curiosity and exploration. I think that In terms of UI, each time has its own trends, innovations and other factors that change the usage habits and acceptance. Therefore each project should have its own definition of the UI standards that match the usage cases for the target audience in this time.

Adobe Kuler – color schemes made cooler

For those who are not subscribed to the Adobe Edge newsletter, Adobe recently released Kuler – a really cool free on-line platform for creating & sharing Color schemes.Creating the color schemes is really easy & fun, colors can be defined in RGB, CMYK, LAB, HEX, making it applicable to all kind of implementation. Kuler provides predefined “Rules” which are actually preset relationships between colors, so you can change the range of your scheme on the spectrum and keep same relationship, really nice and cool!From designer point of view, these rules are replacing the “human touch” with technology. Enabling unexperienced users to reach good successful color schemes, and enjoy the experimental way.
The interface is simple & easy, however performance is not so great, every act that requires communication with the server (saving, searching, sharing) takes too long in my standards, I wanted to create few schemes to share with others, but after saving the first two I gave it up. The community features are also limited, currently only browsing and ranking, I found it painfully slow to browse other’s schemes as kuler displays 9 schemes each time and takes ages to load.

The Venice Project Interface oddities – a quick review

Before commenting about the interface I must say that the Venice Project client has very good table manners and generally behaves very nice, before installing it checks your hardware and informs you if your computer meets the requirements, uninstalling is also a breeze, very nice guys. Also, the video quality is pretty amazing, especially when compared to the traditional streaming alternatives, the Venice Project has a very fast initiation and almost no disturbances and freezes.The downsides are with the interface, aimed to be viewed in fullscreen mode, and probably later on through a TV, the texts are big (a la front row), the panels are clear and simple. However the interface suffers from few oddities, most annoying is the endless looped scrolling – Hey! this is really confusing, if you’re looping the menu items, let us know, put a loop marker at the end of each balk.
The main panel that has all the ‘Play Controls’ also holds the Application Controls (Quit, Resize), while in the top-right corner of the screen there is a floating icon for hiding the current screen – shouldn’t it be the opposite? It seems that the Quit button should be always present and not associated with the playing controls, furthermore, the Hide Screen is inconsistently appearing inside & outside of panels.
Another issue is the keyboard arrows, while in the ‘My Channels’ screen it is so easy and fast using them to navigate in & out of channels, in ‘Channel Catalog’ moving back to the Suggestion menu is not possible, only Up & Down.. Once I enter the ‘Channel Catalog’, I can only exit, cant go back to ‘My Channels’, even if I got there this way. come on, how will you menage a remote control navigation if you cant eat this?
Beside, it is not clear why the duplicated channels screens is needed, from the ‘Channels Catalog’ it is not possible to launch the channel, you can only add it to ‘My Channels’ – how can I know if I want to add this channel if no preview or description is available? after I added a channel to ‘my channels’ I cant remove it. ‘My Channels’ is also lacking the image/logo preview the ‘Channel Catalog’ has.
In ‘My Venice’ screen, pressing ‘My Venice Plugins’ button brings the ‘My Venice Menu’, hmm. the menu it self is mixing sections and items in the same level – News Ticker Manager along with the Feeds themselves..
Also, from the menu screen I cant know which item is enabled and needs to be clicked, and that’s the menu purpose.The feeds marquee is moving too fast for human reading.I still think that the general experience is great, and that the interface is not that bad for a beta, I hope it will improve in the future, and that we’ll see more content too :)