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Archive for the ‘Web’ Category

iTransmogrifyToo! Update

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008
iPhone missing plugin icon
The Riddler Brick

Joe Maller updated his iTransmogrify! iPhone bookmarklet, which now converts many more types of Flash-based video embeds to clickable iPhone links.

So I’ve updated my own auto-iTransmogrify! script, suitable for embedding on your own site. Once embedded, when an iPhone visits your site, all convertable elements will automatically be converted for it, and any future updates to the script will be automatically propagated. Yes, it will be magical.

For even greater ecstasies of convenience, I’ve put the script in a .js file, downloadable here:


Include this script in your footer, or after your page’s </body> tag, by referencing it as below:

<script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" src="!.js"> </script>

You may either hotlink directly from my site by using this code verbatim, or use your own copy by uploading the .js file to your root web directory and replacing “” in the script reference with your own domain name.

So far this update doesn’t affect my own site, as all but three videos I’ve posted are on YouTube, and those three are in formats which aren’t yet supported. But we live in hope.

R.I.P. AnimWatch

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

On December 31, Steve Ogden, founder and writer of the online independent animation zine AnimWatch, called it a day. Disappointed in AnimWatch’s low readership after its four-year run, he announced his decision to stop producing the website in order to devote more time to his own films.

AnimWatch’s focus on independent animation was unique. Its thoughtful edited content, including film profiles and interviews with independent animation producers, clearly took a lot of time and effort. In his announcement of the site’s demise, Steve consoles himself with this thought:

If there were an easier way to run a site like AnimWatch, someone else would be doing it.

Well, maybe. It’s easy to think that since the world is so chock-full of nonsense, all the good thoughts must have already been thunk, but I have more faith in the infinite number of monkeys.


YouTube Auto-Transmogrification

Saturday, January 19th, 2008
iPhone missing plugin icon
Lego of mystery

I noticed that the YouTube movies I was embedding in my posts (as well as all embedded YouTube videos everywhere) showed up as “broken plugin” icons on my iPhone, even though the iPhone supports YouTube videos and can play them from links.

Last week Joe Maller released a bookmarklet for the iPhone called iTransmogrify! that fixes this problem in an ad-hoc band-aid sort of way. You download it to your computer, then sync it to your iPhone, and then when you find a broken embed you hit this bookmarklet and some JavaScript trickery replaces the embeds with follow-able links.

I didn’t want that extra step when testing my own site, so I made an automatic workaround.


Newgrounds Comments

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

In early 2004, somebody created a Newgrounds account in my name and submitted five old Flash pieces of mine — Shinji-San and the four Oddgods episodes — using descriptions apparently cribbed from the pieces’ original HotWired Animation Express entries. They got my hometown right, but listed my age as 42.

I didn’t learn about any of this until three years later, when I discovered it while tracking down hotlinked images, looking for unauthorized versions of my stuff online. Once I got past the mystification, I had a lot of fun reviewing the comments on my pieces. I hadn’t ever seen any large body of response to any of my work before — it all went online before the great populist wave of feedback culture happened, and I only ever got emails from people, including a Russian stalker who used to send me flash files with pieces of my animations chopped up and rearranged. I kind of miss that guy.

Anyway, the comments included some really nice stuff — in fact, overall, the three years’ worth of responses discovered all at once like my own personal Dead Sea scroll encouraged me to go back online. But this comment struck me as particularly amazing, speaking of “Shinji-San”:

It’s like you went “Hey, let’s take a pointless series of images, combine it with vague ideas, add in lots of color and low-level suburban white man racism, claim its abstract art that’s simply beyond the comprehension of its critics and get rave reviews.” This is, at its heart, empty, pointless, and meandering. It’s not a child’s story, nor does it even count as nonsense. It’s not art; it’s crap. Try again.

Honestly, this is the beauty of the Internet. Step 3: Profit!

Future Imperfect

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Animators need good timing. So to practice my timing, over the weekend I moved this site to DreamHost from another, lesser host. It took me a while to migrate my SQL database because I’ve tried never to give myself any reason to use the phrase “migrate my SQL database” and DreamHost’s support pages are written by their users in a wiki, rendering it inedible.

Josh at DreamHost
*This guy

My timing was peccable: this morning somebody* at DreamHost typed “8” when they meant “7” causing the billing system to think it was December 2008 and that nobody had paid for their hosting in 12 months. Then the system charged all their clients a total of $7.5 million and started shutting their sites down for delinquency. Ohhhh the internet is not happy.

So if my site a splode it’s because I’m delinquent — IN THE FUUUUUTUUUUURE.

Bradbury’s Secret

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

From Wikipedia’s article on Ray Bradbury:

He attributes his lifelong habit of writing every day, with no known exceptions since he was 12 years old, to an incident in 1932 when a carnival entertainer, Mr. Electrico, touched him with an electrified sword, made his hair stand on end, and shouted, “Live forever!”

…so far, so good. Cf the prophet Isaiah.

The whole story is on Bradbury’s website.

Pascal Campion

Monday, November 26th, 2007

A tomato thief.

Pascal Campion, champion short-attention-span animator, has some of the tightest timing I’ve seen anywhere. His work is clear and effortless, even in scribble-form, zooming past in fractions of a second.

From the main page of his site,, select the “Animations” link to view his gallery of wonders. He also has a blog which he apparently updates in his sleep every night.

He’s currently in California, but spent formative years in France, where there’s apparently something in the l’eau.


Friday, October 12th, 2007
Quarter-inch thick Plywood 59 Chevy Impala
Well there’s yer problem (“A rest stop on the road to enlightenment”) is one of the feeds I rely on for “random cool stuff” in the absence of like-minded coworkers. I file it somewhere between Boing Boing and Fortean Times.

I am pleased to see that my Space Bunnies animation has made their cut, and now ranks with the likes of the Death Star Dam Busters and the Plywood Impala. Thanks Transbuddha!


Thursday, October 11th, 2007

I discovered only a few weeks ago, by blindly googling “Maya wiki” in hopes one existed. Behold and lo, Ed Caspersen, a student at ITT Tech in Grand Rapids, had apparently started just such a thing in August, and had entered the vast majority of content on his own.

There’s certainly a need for this sort of resource. The bulk of home-grown online advice seems to be in forums, a format prone to spam, abuse, rambling conversations, tangents, and redundancy — it’s really not suited to any kind of communication apart from the ad hoc and ephemeral. So I was excited to find such a wiki, though it was clearly in its very early stages. I edited a few articles but hadn’t become very involved, and today I checked the site again to see how it was going. This is what I saw:


Seadragon and Photosynth demos

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

In the giant logjam of data that has been the internet for the last 10 years, something finally just gave.
Try the Photosynth demo.

Song of Civil Revolution

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

Nobody rocks Frère Jacques like Red China.

WordPress Video Switcheroo

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

I majored in video. No, really. So I’m picky about video quality online. YouTube is all well and good, but it’s still like four inches across, and so compressed it’s like watching the neighbor’s tv through their living room blinds, and you have raw eggwhite dripping in your eyes. I wanted a less egalitarian solution for my high-res output.

70's LED TV alarm clock
Now with less eggwhite

I wanted to post videos here on that were hosted on someone else’s hard drives, that didn’t come encrusted with extra interface, that didn’t require installing fancy plugins or obnoxious P2P servers, and that were the highest possible quality to minimize compromizationalizement of my pure artistic visionalism. As of this post, you can’t get there from here all at once, but with Stage6, Vimeo, and a bit of JavaScript switchery I have a workable solution.