Archive for the 'General' Category

25th Nov 2008

Installing Trac and SVN

Last week I had the distinct pleasure of installing Trac with SVN support on one of the servers I am managing, and yes it is as bad as you have heard. So I thought I would share the resources that helped me get through it.

I basically followed this guide http://www.techyouruniverse.com/software/installing-trac-with-subversion-on-cent-os-5-with-neon-and-quicksilver
However, be sure to read all of the comments as it was not until I read through those that I discovered there are some additional development packages that I needed install to make it work.

I also used this a a secondary resource:
http://www.daniel-skinner.co.uk/setup-subversion-and-trac-on-centos-5/06/01/2008

Took some fiddling, but finally got it to work.

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30th Oct 2008

arcTo curved animation

While trying to answer another post on Flashkit, ran across an interesting dilemma.

The basic idea here was to create a function that would create a curved animation path to a specified x and y coordinate.

The basic idea here is:

  1. Find the pivot point between the current x and y and the desired x and y.
  2. Calculate the current angle from this pivot point for the current x and y of the clip.
  3. Calculate the ending angle based on the desired ending coordinates and the pivot point.
  4. Using trig, update the x and y of the clip along an arc at a given radius until it reaches the end angle.

After a while of playing with it, came up with this

In AS frame main movie:

import CurvedAnimation;
var ca:CurvedAnimation = new CurvedAnimation(ball);
ca.arcTo(500,500);

Class File (this is by no means complete and has some code left over from various previous attempts, but it shows what I finally came up with):

class CurvedAnimation {
private var _clip:MovieClip;
private var startAngle:Number;
private var currentAngle:Number;
public var speed:Number = 1;
public var arcWidth:Number;
private var endAngle:Number;
private var pivotX:Number;
private var pivotY:Number;
private var updateInterval:Number;
public function CurvedAnimation(clip:MovieClip) {
trace(“new curved animation”);
this._clip = clip;
}
public function arcTo(endX:Number, endY:Number) {
var midWay = Math.sqrt(Math.pow(this._clip._x-endX, 2)+Math.pow(this._clip._y-endY, 2))/2;
this.arcWidth= 100;
_root.endPin._x = endX;
_root.endPin._y = endY;
_root.endPin.lbl_txt.text = “End point”;

if (endX>this._clip._x) {
this.pivotX = Math.floor(this._clip._x+midWay);
} else {
this.pivotX = Math.floor(this._clip._x-midWay);
}
if (endY>this._clip._Y) {
this.pivotY = Math.floor(this._clip._y+midWay);
} else {
this.pivotY = Math.floor(this._clip._y-midWay);
}
this.currentAngle = this.startAngle = Math.atan2(this._clip._y – this.pivotY ,this._clip._x – this.pivotX)*180/Math.PI
this.endAngle = Math.atan2(endY – this.pivotY ,endX- this.pivotX)*180/Math.PI
this.updateInterval = setInterval(this, “updatePosition”, 100);
debug();
}
private function debug() {
_root.midPin._x = this.pivotX;
_root.midPin._y = this.pivotY;
_root.midPin.lbl_txt.text = “mid point”;
trace(“Current position x: “+this._clip._x+” y: “+this._clip._y);
trace(“Pivot point x: “+this.pivotX+” y: “+this.pivotY);
trace(“Start Angle “+this.startAngle);
trace(“Current Angle “+this.currentAngle);
trace(“End Angle “+this.endAngle);
_root.debug.mouseAngle.text =this.currentAngle

}
private function updatePosition(){

//this._clip._y = -0.002644 * Math.pow(((this._clip._x += 5) – 200), 2) + 200;
if (Math.floor(this.currentAngle) <= Math.floor(this.endAngle)){
this._clip._y = this.pivotY + Math.sin(this.currentAngle * (Math.PI/180))*this.arcWidth;
this._clip._x = this.pivotX + Math.cos(this.currentAngle * (Math.PI/180))*this.arcWidth;
this.currentAngle += this.speed;
this.currentAngle %= 360;
}else{
clearInterval(this.updateInterval)
}
debug();

}

}

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24th Oct 2008

Joey Lott Presentation

Yesterday I attended a presentation on Adobe Air by Joey Lott. First of all, this guy is a great presenter and if you have the chance to go see him, do so. Secondly, if you have not read any of his books, I highly recommend them. Currently I am reading through Adobe AIR in Action and that is definitely worth taking a look at if you are interested in AIR.

However, it is not really the topic of AIR or Joey’s books that I want to cover.

During the presentation, the topic of what skills one should focus on if one wanted to get a job in the industry came up. Joey made a particular analogy in his response that is worth sharing.

He likened knowing ActionScript to knowing English (or any other language). He then went on to say, knowing English, while a prerequisite for being a poet, is not itself alone enough to make you one.

He was using this analogy in the context of reviewing potential candidate for his company. He was not interested in degrees or certifications, he wanted to see your poetry (what can you do and what have you done).

This is a great point he was making and it is something that is missed by many interview processes (especially phone screens). Basically many of the interviews I have been through start with a phone screen where they archaic questions about language features. Who cares. If you can’t tell I have the skills you are looking for from the examples I provide on my blog and resume, why bother calling me?

So perhaps when you are evaluating whether you are interested in working for a company, ask yourself; where the interested in what I had done, or more interested in my ability to answer silly question?

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09th Oct 2008

Gotta Go To Mo’s

Just finished up the site redesign of Modell’s Sporting goods. I was a team member on this and the rest of the team was a great help, so I in know way want to represent this as if I was the only one involved.

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30th Jul 2008

Can I Ganymede your Ubuntu?

So I decided to boot up the old Ubuntu box. I have been using Eclipse 3.4 (aka Ganymede) at work now for a week or so and decided to see if I could upgrade the old 3.2 version that came with Ubuntu. So fired up synaptics and low and behold all it had was the 3.2 version.

So I decided to go with a manual install. I did a quick search for Eclipse Ganymede Ubuntu and found this blog post. I followed the instructions there and had Ganny on my Ubuntu in no time.

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18th Jul 2008

A Little House Keeping

I am currently in the process of restructuring my site, so you may see some broken links and missing media, but I hope to have everything up and running in a few days.

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10th Jul 2008

A Cup of Joe

So I recently switch jobs and the new place I am working for uses JSP. So there may be some change of focus on some of my posts (when I get the time to do them).

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29th Apr 2008

Nothing Left To Take Away

Recently I have bee reading this book
Beautiful Code : Leading Programmers Explain How They Think by Greg Wilson (Editor) , Andy Oram (Editor)

and I just got through a chapter entitled “The Most Beautiful Code I Never Wrote”. The main idea expressed in this chapter is that a project is not finished when there is nothing more to add, but rather when there is nothing left to take away.

This immediately struck me as true based on my own experience, but perhaps a bit counter intuitive.  It is easy to conceptualize a task in terms of what needs to be accomplished (added), but we may often forget that it is equally important to review what has already been done to see what can be improved or refined. Many times the first attempt at a project is just an attempt to get it done (normally under the constraints of an unrealistic deadline). Looking back now, most of my best projects (and most satisfying) are the ones I went back and reviewed and found simpler ways to accomplish what I had done.

In the world of tight deadlines, we do not always get the luxury of doing this, however, the sentiment of nothing left to take away is an important one and should at least be remembered if not always implemented.

Some notable quotes from the chapter:

  • Simplicity does not precede complexity, it follows it. (Perlis)
  • Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler. (Einstein)
  • A designer knows he has achieved perfections not when there is nothing to add, but when there is nothing left to take away (Saint-Exupery)

And to sign off,

If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter. (Pascal)

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24th Apr 2008

DigitallyU Portfolio Software

So this may come off sounding like a bit of an advertisement, but this is one of the major projects I have worked on, so I thought I would mention it.

DigitallyU is the project where I got my start in Flash. We actually started creating it in Flash MX and the final product ended up being produced in Flash 8 (3 years of development in total). The major components of the system are XML, ActionScript, and MDM Script (the scripting language for ZINC, a program that allowed manipulation of the local file system long before Adobe AIR) .

The original idea started out as a method of allowing prospective college students to create multimedia  based portfolios for college admissions. This grew into the idea of portfolios for professionals and as people tested those versions for us they suggested that a generic version for building family media collections would be nice as well. Hence, we ended up with 3 versions; Scholarship, Professional and Scrapbook (the generic version).

The basic methodology of the program is that you select media files (images, sounds, videos and documents) from you local hard drive. For each portfolio the editor tracks the location of the selected files. When you are ready to publish your portfolio you choose from 40 or so templates designed to read exported output. Exporting (aka publishing) a portfolio assembles the selected files along with your selected template into a predefined web ready folder structure that can then be uploaded to the web, or put on some external media device.

The major difference between the version is how much we predefined what sections are in a portfolio. Scholarship includes predefined sections such as SAT scores, Professional mimics a resume and Scrapbook is a free for all. So we were not out simply to provide a generic portfolio tool, but also took into account the final audiences for the portfolios.

Currently, the software is in use at American University, Rutgers, University and the Worchester Preparatory School. We have been told that several students have taken their portfolios to admissions interviews and the response has been very good.

If you would like to play with it, trial version are available on the website http://www.digiallyu.com .

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26th Mar 2008

Introduction

Based on the speed of the admin section, I have no idea how many people will bother waiting for this to load (the other sections of the site seem to load fine, only the blog is slow for me), but for those of you who stuck around, Hi.

So, my name is Jeremy Wischusen and at the time of the creation of this blog I am working as a Flash-PHP developer for myyearbook.com.  Aside from that, I do a lot of freelance Flash and Flex work and have been known to spend time answering questions at Flashkit’s forum. Since that was not taking up enough of my free time, and I am a glutton for punishment, I thought I would give this system a try since my web hosting provider provides it for free.

If time permits, I thought I might chronicle some of the more interesting situations that I have run into in the course of my projects, but we shall see  how that goes.

So if you have stuck around  long enough to read this line, thank and feel free to comment.

Bye for now.

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