Mantracker Episode Airs Monday Sept 25th at 6pm on OLN in Canada

Well finally, over a year after shooting, my episode is going to air on Monday! My brother Ryder and I saw a pre-release DVD yesterday, and were really happy with how it turned out!

For those who think reality TV is a sham, everything you see on the episode actually did happen. Of course a lot was cut out due to taking 2 days worth of film, and putting it into 45 minutes, but all the good parts are in there.

Hopefully everyone enjoys it!


Math calculations in Flash return wrong number with lots of decimals...

...In other words, a Floating Point Error, or so my web research says.

Apparently, in all coding languages (not just Flash), a decimal does not have an exact representation in binary. So, for example, 5.100000000000000001 is seen as close enough to 5.1. This is fine when doing other things, such as moving a Movie Clip to an x position, but if you are coding something such as a calculator when you need to display the exact number, it can be frustrating.

I found a method online that corrects this by comparing a few numbers, and estimating. Seems to do the trick in my case.


Firebug and Flash Video

I haven't officially confirmed this yet, but I think I've found the reason why my Flash Video was frequently pausing and skipping mid-stream. I thought it was just the Mac-doesn't-like-Flash-Video thing, but I think it was actually mostly due to Firebug. After disabling it, video seemed to work much better.


X and Y positions inaccurate after startDrag with boundaries set.

Working with a recent project, I had to create a pseudo swipe on a nav bar button (CS5 was not available). So I put a listener on the button which would detect the MOUSE_DOWN and MOUSE_UP positions, and compare the difference of the mouse x/y positions to see if there was a swipe. Because the button was within a nav bar that had to be scrolled, the button had a startDrag() attached to it so it could move up and down while detecting if there was a left/right swipe.

However, once I added that startDrag() method, the x and y co-ordinates started giving me inaccurate results. If you try the following code, you will see that the x/y positions traced are exactly the same at the start and end of the click, even if myBox has been dragged 100 pixels.

import flash.events.MouseEvent;

var myBox:Sprite = this.getChildByName("myBox") as Sprite;
myBox.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, boxDownHandler, false, 0, true);
stage.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_UP, boxUpHandler, false, 0, true);

function boxDownHandler($evt:MouseEvent):void{
	myBox.startDrag(false, new Rectangle(0,100,0,100));
	trace("STARTING MOUSE POS:", stage.mouseX, myBox.mouseY);
}

function boxUpHandler($evt:MouseEvent):void{
	myBox.stopDrag();

	trace("ENDING MOUSE POS:", stage.mouseX, myBox.mouseY)
}

I never figured out why it wasn't allowing me to get the x/y positions of the mouse, considering it was independent of the clip being dragged. However, I found a workaround. If you simply get the mouseX and mouseY position while the box is being moved, and ignore the result at the end, it gives you accurate results that you can use.

import flash.events.MouseEvent;

var myBox:Sprite = this.getChildByName("myBox") as Sprite;
myBox.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, boxDownHandler, false, 0, true);
stage.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_UP, boxUpHandler, false, 0, true);

function boxDownHandler($evt:MouseEvent):void{
	myBox.startDrag(false, new Rectangle(0,100,0,100));
	trace("STARTING MOUSE POS:", stage.mouseX, myBox.mouseY);
	myBox.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_MOVE, mouseMoveHandler, false, 0, true);
}

function boxUpHandler($evt:MouseEvent):void{
	myBox.stopDrag();
	myBox.removeEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_MOVE, mouseMoveHandler);
	trace("ENDING MOUSE POS:", stage.mouseX, myBox.mouseY)
}

function mouseMoveHandler($evt:MouseEvent):void{
	trace("MOVING MOUSE POS:", stage.mouseX, myBox.mouseY)
}

TweenMax does loading

Haven't tried it out yet, but it will be in my next project. Greensock is now taking on loading with
LoaderMax. Number of features seems to overtake my usual BulkLoader, and he usually dishes out good stuff. So I'm looking forward to giving it a go.


Flash CS5 exporting causing "Error opening URL" error

I recently upgraded to CS5. Maybe that as a stupid thing to do before the first upgrade was released... As usual, there are a list of bugs. One of which, it turns out, does not allow me to work.

When exporting any FLA, including a brand new one with no code whatsoever, I get an "Error opening URL" error. It seems Flash is trying to find the SWF I am trying to export, and is getting lost.

After deleting my preferences, reinstalling, checking forums, and all the other regular things you do to fix a bug, I gave Adobe Support a call. After an hour of getting to the right person, trying to explain to him the problem, and setting up screen sharing, it turns out File Vault needs to be turned off in order to export a SWF. I tested this by creating a new user account, and everything worked fine. It also fixed the issue with Dreamweaver CS5 not opening at all.

I can't go without security, so looks like I will have to use CS4 until Adobe comes out with a fix.

Hard to believe Adobe wouldn't have tested this before releasing.

---UPDATE
Adobe seems to have fixed this. See blog post for more info


FITC Toronto 2010

In the midst of Toronto FITC. As usual, sessions are hit or miss. So far, only one has kept my attention throughout the full hour. Last year was very good, but I fear this year is following the lines of 2008's quality.

So far, the underlying theme that I'm noticing is that there finally is a real drive towards mobile apps. Even though everyone here seems to be pushing the "other mobile platforms" so you can develop with Flash ... I'm starting to realize that I'm going to have to start learning Objective C.

I was also able to talk to a couple of the FDT Developers today - specifically Michael Plank - and I brought up my problems with FDT not being able to change the format of the method params to include a $, and also that whenever I close and re-open my class folders in the Explorer, all the sub folders that were open become closed. He seemed genuinely surprised at that one, so hopefully will be able to fix it in a future release.


I never thought I would say this... Steve Jobs is a douchebag.

For the first time in 15 years, I am considering buying a Windows machine. Apple is becoming like Microsoft was in 1990. Not letting third party developer API's to develop for the iPhone is just pure crap. I truly hope they realize how many people they are pissing off - not just Flash developers - and re-write the new iPhone 4.0 SDK agreement.

This link pretty much sums up how I feel as well

Flash aside, any developer should be posting their disagreement with this. To quote the Facebook "I'm with Adobe" group - "Apple has proven themselves to be anti-competition, anti-developer, and anti-consumer".


Solution for clickTag buttons blocking underlying buttons

When doing a banner ad, I tend to code things different ways, depending on the situation. Sometimes laying out items on the timeline, sometimes adding items dynamically.

But no matter what, there is always an invisible clickTag button above it all allowing for the user to click through to the desired website.

However, a lot of the time, items below this invisible button require some sort of user interaction, such as a button which does something besides go to the website. If the invisible clickTag button is over this item, it will not register any mouse events.

This is fine if the items were added dynamically - we can just swap how they are layered on the display list so the clickTag button is below it. But if the underlying button is on the timeline, it becomes more problematic - A button under a button, or two buttons at the same time are a pain.

So I came up with a class which dynamically creates an invisible clickTag button, and allows you to add or remove items underneath it to look out for, and allow them to have user interaction.

Download PassiveClickTag (AS3)

To use, in your main class type the following code:

var bClickTag:PassiveClickTag = new PassiveClickTag(this.stage.stageWidth, this.stage.stageHeight);
bClickTag.addEventListener(PassiveClickTag.CLICK, clickHandler, false, 0, true); 
bClickTag.start();

This will set up an invisible clickTag button which calls the clickHandler() method on click.
Nothing else is needed besides the event handler itself, for example:

function clickHandler($event:Event):void { 
	  trace(_clickTag)
}

When you have a button or object below the clickTag button that needs to have MouseEvent access, type:

bClickTag.addButton( myUnderlyingItem );

And to remove, type:

bClickTag.removeButton( myUnderlyingItem ); 

Once started, an ENTER_FRAME event runs and looks through the added buttons to see if there is anything the mouse is over that needs any MouseEvents. If so, it disables the clickTag while that button is below, re-enabling it once the mouse is not over that item anymore.

Feedback is encouraged. If someone can come up with another way to do it that does not require an ENTER_FRAME, I would be interested to hear what you think.


Pointroll API classes for FDT

The Pointroll Ad Server requires an MXP extension on Flash in order to give it access to the Pointroll API. This makes things work great when working directly from Flash, but when working from FDT, it does not give access to the custom class files and methods. It also makes FDT think that calls to these methods are errors.

I was recently doing a banner ad using Pointroll, and all the so-called errors were annoying me. So I did a little research, and found where Pointroll (and, as it turns out, a bunch of other extensions) store their classes.

In case anyone else is having this issue, they are located here:

PC – C:\Documents and Settings\ [USER] \Local Settings\Application Data\Adobe\Flash CS4\en\Configuration\Classes\PointRollAPI_AS3

MAC - HD/Users/ [USER] /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Flash CS4/en/Configuration/ Classes/PointRollAPI_AS3

You can then add a Linked Library to the FDT project, so that you have access to whatever you need within the Pointroll API.