Monday, 17 March 2008

So much for Silverlight...

Microsoft has just licensed Adobe’s FlashLite for Windows Mobile phones - see here .

A little bit of background for anyone who doesn't really understand this. Adobe's Flash is the de facto standard for delivering animation, vector graphics and rich media to the web. Recently, Microsoft has released a technology called Silverlight that aims to do the same thing. Displacing Flash is quite a lofty goal though, even for Microsoft, as Flash has over ninety percent market share.

So what is behind this move of licensing Flahlite for mobile phones from Adobe? Is it a loss of confidence in their fledgling technology? Is Silverlight not all that? Is it perhaps too resource heavy (as Microsoft's technologies often are, they're often just pushing the next generation of hardware after all) for current generation mobile phones?

Perhaps Microsoft is playing it safe, providing all the options, unlike the iPhone? After all, there is no Flash on the iPhone. This did puzzle me for a while, until I learned that you can do voice over IP in Flash.. i.e. make free phone calls. AT&T and O2 wouldn't be happy with that. So maybe this is a move so they can say Windows Mobile is better than the iPhone, which in this case, would be true.

Whatever, it can really only be a good thing for Windows Mobile users... not that I'm one. I once owned an O2 SDK with Windows Mobile 2003 OS on it and it would lock up and crash all the time, so I sold it on eBay and never looked back. Now I use a small, regular mobile phone that never crashes and has very good battery life. Result.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Living in the "Digital Shadow"

Whether it be held on the web, in the multitude of databases that institutions use to hold all kinds of information about us, or on the hard drives archived from security cameras - what happens with all that data?

"My big concern is that pretty soon these organizations that have collected so much information about us will know more about us than we do about ourselves," Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center Latest News about Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), told TechNewsWorld. "We need to start thinking about this, particularly as ID theft becomes more widespread."

What happens when the data stored about us exceeds what we've voluntarily committed into the digital domain? What if that day is almost here already?

Read the full story here.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

It's good for you boy, blog it

It turns out that blogging is good for you. Ah, I feel better for just blogging that ;)

Monday, 3 March 2008

Flocking in Flash

I put together a simple flocking demo in Actionscript during the week and tweaked it a little over the weekend. The algorithm is very simple but does support a goal location and also obstacle avoidance. The goal by default is the top right of the map but you can click anywhere to set the goal there instead. You can think of this flocking as representing something like an insect swarm.

What's interesting is how the flock have some ability to find their way around obstacles without having any knowledge of the game space. They do know there is an obstacle there when they are repelled by it, but that is all. So no path finding in here, no influence maps, yet they do have some ability to get around the map simply as emergent behaviour.

There really isn't too much else to say about this as there are lots of flocking algorithms out there but not too many in flash so I figured I would share it with you.

Anyway, the demo is available here. It uses fifty sprites and is not optimised.

Snow is alive.

That's right, you read that right. Bacteria are necessary for snow to form. Read further here.

Gaia theory, anyone?