Ian Hoar – Passion for Technology – Geeking Out - Technology, Web, Toys, Games, Design, Entertainment, Gadgets, & Geeking Out

Why Flash sites usually suck

FlashI’m seeing much less full on flash sites than I used too, but I seem to be seeing more flash portfolios. If your only goal is to be a Flash developer than that’s fine, but if you want to be seen as a web designer / developer and your site is 100% Flash, you’re probably not going to impress anyone.

Why Flash sucks — most of the time

Flash usually sucks because it is used in places where it’s not needed, breaks usability basics, or tries to deliver a rich media experience to people who don’t care. Lets face it, most of us are not coming to a site to see Flash animations, flashy enter pages and load dialogues; sure this was impressive 5 to 8 years ago, but most of us are over it now. I remember animating menus, playing with collision and elastic algorithms I found on the web and drooling at the newest Flash in the Can awards which are still pretty impressive. It was really cool and fun, and there are a lot of places where this will still fly if done right, your website may not be one of them.

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How to transfer your itunes library to another computer

I spent a good chunk of time this weekend figuring out how to transfer files from an iTouch to a new laptop. The original library was on an old computer and I wanted an easy way to transfer the files from the iTouch to the new laptop. Considering how easy most Apple products are to use it’s surprising that there is nothing easy about transferring your files from an iPod to another computer. Yes there is the quick transfer purchases option, but unless you bought every song from the iTunes store it’s a pretty useless feature. Many of us have invested a lot of time ripping our old CD collections or heaven forbid may have bought our mp3 music elsewhere. Why is it so hard to transfer YOUR music? The apple method requires burning CDs, DVDs or transferring the entire hard drive over. Maybe the record labels play into this, who knows, but it’s damn inconvenient. The locks on transferring files are obviously artificial since an iPod is a simple USB storage device.

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Adobe Photoshop CS4 release date and wish list

AdobeAdobe Creative Suite 4 is set for a September 23 release date (Update: the 23rd was the announcement date, release date should be mid October). Adobe has a registration form up for a September 23 web broadcast of CS4. I always look forward to the Adobe products, especially Photoshop. This is a program I have grown to really know and I’ve used it since version 3. Even though I love this program, their are some little issues that bother me, so I thought with the release coming up I would create my personal wish list for CS4.

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Create a custom iPhone icon for your website

ianhoar.com iPhone WebClipIf you own an iPhone you may have noticed that you can bookmark websites and add them to your home screen. These are called Webclip Icons and they are either a snapshot of the website or an actual website icon similar to a favicon that shows up in a desktop browsers address field. If you want to add an iPhone icon to your site it’s very easy to do.

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Websites that require a specific browser

BrowsersBrowser specific websites used to be the norm in the early days of the web. Back in the days when a site would tell you what resolution you should be using and what browser works best. This should be a thing of the past, but every now and then I still see “This site best viewed in such and such a resolution” and sometimes a splash saying “This site is only supported in Internet Explorer”.

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Custom 404 error messages and how NOT to do them

User friendly error messages are an important part of good site usability, especially if you do not want to scare away a lot of your less web savvy users. A 404 page not found error message is one of the worst kind because if it is a new visitor there is a high probability they are going to click away to the next best site. If you have a friendly 404 you might be able to salvage the situation.

A 404 error message means that the server was successfully contacted but could not retrieve the file requested by the client (browser). This can happen because of an outdated or expired link, a linking error on the site itself, or a user typo.

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Gravatars, what are they and how do I get one?

Gravitar LogoA few days ago I added Gravatar functionality to my blog. A Gravatar is a unique picture or icon of yourself which is stored online and globally accessible by blogs that implement Gravatar, or globally recognized avatar. When you post or comment to Gravatar enabled blogs your own avatar will show up on that blog if you have signed up for one on the Gravatar site. It’s a nice way of making your posts more unique and personalized.

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Twitter vomit—a great way to get removed

TwitterI recently started using Twitter. For the longest time I couldn’t really understand what all the fuss was about. Now I get it, and I like using it. It’s a great networking tool, and a cool way to follow industry leaders and pass around breaking news that you care about. To me Twitter is different from many other social media sites out there because it’s not overloaded with tools and apps I don’t need. Twitter is so simple and I think that’s why it has taken off.

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Using WordPress custom fields for toggling plugins

WordPressMore and more I find myself using WordPress as a CMS. This requires a little more customization than you would need for the average out of the box blog experience but WordPress can make a wonderful little CMS.  Custom fields are just one way to gain finer control over your pages and posts both for blog or CMS functionality.

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Extended Warranties and the hard sell

HP Artists Edition DV2890CAI think I’m usually a pretty nice guy, but the other night I got snappy with a sales person. I’ve been doing laptop research for the past few weeks and I finally picked the HP Artists Edition Laptop which was on sale at Future Shop. I know, everything is always on sale there and if it’s not, you’re probably paying too much for it. That said, I was picking it up for someone else and we had pretty much settled on which one we wanted.

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