Behavior, Content, Money – 3 Things you should never give away for free!!!

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HTML5 WebWorker and Local Storage to improve long-running tasks and slow AJAX

Posted by bcmoney on March 16, 2014 in AJAX, HTML with No Comments


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English: Diagram of the HTML5 block elements: ...

English: Diagram of the HTML5 block elements: body, header, navigation, section, article, paragraph, aside, and footer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So there’s tons of hype around HTML5 which kicked off in a big way in 2010, and is still riding strong. Sure enough, everyone is raving about the shiny new multimedia features with HTML5 video & HTML5 audio, as well as the UI/UX features and capabilities such as Drag & Drop file uploads, interactive graphics via SVG & HTML5 Canvas, or the visual effects made possible by CSS3 such as animations and transitions. Mobile web usability enjoys a well-deserved close following with discussions on supporting Swipes, Pinches, Gestures, etc on top of the basic Keyboard & Mouse actions. Even data-centric stuff typically the realm of geeks only such as Semantic Layout block elements (as depicted on the right) or Microdata’s new “data-” attribute that allows extending any element as needed with additional metadata, making possible the initial promise of Microformats.

Yeah, all that stuff is pretty cool, I’ll admit. I’ve covered them in the past and will continue to do so. But what about some of the less exciting, more basic performance-related improvements such as WebWorker and localStorage? I think those deserve just as much time in the spotlight because they offer some serious benefits to developers and users alike, so I’ll talk a bit about them here.
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E-Learning for Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers: HTML5 Memory Game

Posted by bryan on July 20, 2013 in CSS, E-Learning, Gaming, HTML, JavaScript with No Comments


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These days, digital distractions are far too proficient at taking our attention away from important responsibilities. You know, like giving your children the care and attention they need and deserve. Especially when it comes to teaching and learning, I even find myself guilty of becoming quickly bored to tears of the typical paper flash word cards and basic, repetitive picture books for toddlers and pre-school aged children.

To fight this boredom, yet still fulfil my fatherly duties, I decided to put my “day job” skills to use and at the same time develop yet another requisite “me-too” HTML5 web app, but this time with a good purpose; namely, teaching my son more interactively.

This is a simple word/alphabet memory game I developed for teaching my child. He has trouble remembering certain colors, words and letters so this game basically mixes up a set of images and uses their filename to display an image. If the folder is prefixed with “alphabet_” it will also create a large letter “stencil” containing the first letter in the top left corner of each card.

It can easily be used for just about any subject by dropping a new folder in the images directory, full of the images you want to appear in the game.
For example’s sake, I’ve added “Animals”, “Numbers” and “Colors” as separate categories just so others can see how this is possible, and the possibilities are really endless.
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Skeumorphs – Good, Bad or Ugly?

Posted by bryan on May 31, 2013 in CSS, E-Learning, Flash, HTML with No Comments


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Nifty elevator interface. #skeumorph #nasig13

Nifty elevator interface. #skeumorph #nasig13 (Photo credit: BryanAlexander)

What are Skeumorphs?
In designing and developing new software systems and applications, a common strategy is to attempt to approximate device user interfaces to mimic or look like real-world physical objects. This is called a Skeumorph, or a skeumorphic design.

Some of the biggest problems with Skeumorphs are that they are time-sensitive and may not actually do a great job at approximating a particular item or interface from the real-world. For example, we still use the floppy disk to represent “Save” activities, when an entire generation of computer and internet users have grown up without the use of Floppy Disks.

This approach to implementing software solutions has been propagated by Apple in particular, as well as a number of other companies such as Adobe and Microsoft of late. On the other side of the fence is Google and Microsoft who have traditionally had very non-Skeumorphic designs that feel more like using a software interface than approximating any particular object in the real-world.

 

Where do Skeumorphs work?
Here are a few examples of types of interfaces for which I think Skeumorphs tend to work well (for the most part):

 

What are some non-Skeumorph design elements?
Some examples of non-Skeumorphic designs and Flat Design features would also be useful for comparison:

 

Side-by-Side Comparison

So let’s see some side-by-side examples of Skeumorphs .vs. Flat Designs that are each relevant in their own rights: Read the rest of this entry »

CNN-style Interactive News Ticker (HTML5/CSS3)

Posted by bcmoney on June 22, 2012 in CSS, E-Business, HTML, Semantic Web with 1 Comment


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CNN breaking the news of a plane crash at the ...

CNN breaking the news of a plane crash at the World Trade Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the real, true and unbiased news inevitably moving online towards the so-called “Alternative Media” (which really is almost reaching the point where it is not alternative so much as the first go-to source), its a good idea to start replicating some of the most useful elements from Television, Print and Radio (aka. the rest of the dinosaur media).

The CNN News Ticker Tape is a somewhat controversial item, as it is considered annoying by many. However, in terms of being able to quickly get information across the screen without interrupting another presentation, it is arguably somewhat effective. Proponents of its use claim it is the best way to get instant updates while maintaining a coherent programming schedule, while critics point to its potential for misuse and indoctrination of the weak-minded with subliminal messages flashing across the screen or fear-mongering sensationalism so common in the “Mainstream Media” today.

Taking the bad and the good into consideration, I’ve thrown together a mock-up that could function somewhat similarly to the Semantically Enhanced Video Pop-ups I’ve implemented using Popcorn.js and to replicate the VH1 Pop-up Video effect. You could imagine having the usefulness of having contextual content being inferred based on the content being viewed, or, simply populating a basic news ticker with the entries from an existing RSS or Atom news feed to link to the day’s top stories.
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iScroll with HTML5 Video and Pause/Resume

Posted by bcmoney on January 11, 2012 in HTML, JavaScript with 1 Comment


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English: Featured List barnstar scroll

Image via Wikipedia

iScroll 4 is the latest version and release of an excellent content slider-type JavaScript component by Matteo Spinelli. While one may argue that content sliders are a dime a dozen, iScroll differs in the fact that it has full support for all the main WebKit for iOS gestures including pinch/zoom, pull-up/pull-down, smooth scrolling and screen orientation resizing; while also allowing customizable scrollbars, automatic carousels, and much more.

Out of the box though, the automatic scrolling takes some hacking to get working right with an interactive component (such as an HTML5 or Flash video player), as if you activate the scrolling on an interval, it will continue to scroll even when a user is trying to interact with some component inside the active list item. To get around this, you’ll have to temporarily deactivate the scrolling and then reactivate it when the user has finished interacting.

Here is an example, starting with the basic HTML structure:
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BC$ = Behavior, Content, Money

The goal of the BC$ project is to raise awareness and make changes with respect to the three pillars of information freedom - Behavior (pursuit of interests and passions), Content (sharing/exchanging ideas in various formats), Money (fairness and accessibility) - bringing to light the fact that:

1. We regularly hand over our browser histories, search histories and daily online activities to companies that want our money, or, to benefit from our use of their services with lucrative ad deals or sales of personal information.

2. We create and/or consume interesting content on their services, but we aren't adequately rewarded for our creative efforts or loyalty.

3. We pay money to be connected online (and possibly also over mobile), yet we lose both time and money by allowing companies to market to us with unsolicited advertisements, irrelevant product offers and unfairly structured service pricing plans.

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