Category Archives: Web

Spare changes

The Spare change website is now live, please feel free to drop by – if nothing else to appreciate the team involved and look at some of the “behind the scenes” photos by the lovely Vivacious Mel and the erratic photographer. There is still much work to be done, but this is hopefully a good starting point.

SCWeb

The site is at: http://www.sparechangemovie.co.uk

Being as homelessness is on the increase, I am hoping to use the film to raise some funds for homeless charities who have been hit by the current economic climate. Meanwhile I would be absolutely thrilled if you could start following our new Sparechangeuk twitter feed and pass the word on!

http://twitter.com/Sparechangeuk

Many thanks indeed!

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Getting animated

I’ve been meaning to post a progress update on The Lonely Bear.

As already mentioned, I am using Flash for the animation. The truth is I’m not a Flash expert and I’ve been tearing my hair out trying to get things moving. The last version I used was when it was owned by Macromedia (circa 2000). Therefore it was back to the drawing board when I fired up the latest version in my Adobe Creative Suite. Some bits were  still familiar, most of it I needed to relearn.

One of the discoveries I made early on was the bone tool. I had a play and all seemed to work well on my demo with Mr Circle Man – I was very excited!

Circle man demo

This excitement was short-lived. My project kept crashing whenever I tried to save it – extremely frustrating. The only way I could save anything at all was to export to an earlier Flash format. The downside was that the bone tool didn’t appear to work properly now – despite my numerous attempts and following online guides. Eventually I gave up.

At this point I decided to return to my trusty old friend “Tweening” for help. Tweening is a process where you set two key frames (a start position and an end position). The “tween” then attempts to fill all of the frames in between these two points. Just to confuse things – Adobe Flash has a fancy new tweening method which I wasn’t quite able to get my head around.

Momentarily frustrated again, I decided to try stop motion and just move each leg, arm, foot, hand etc manually. Now I have to say I adored the crude look this produced. However even I was able to foresee the world of pain this would ultimate cause. I was hoping to finish the film this decade with some sanity remaining. I decided to take another quick look at tweening and I stumbled onto “Classic Tweening” – this appeared to do what I needed. At last!

Okay – enough talk, time for a visual demonstration as things currently look. The timing isn’t right, although I like the effect that produces:

Right, that only took most of the week – let’s hope I can get things moving a bit quicker next time.

Cookie monster

Do you run your own website and are you based in Europe? Are you using Google analytics or embedding any Google maps, Facebook “like” buttons, YouTube videos on the pages?

If so, by Friday you may well be breaking the law and could be held liable!

That’s right folks! For those who haven’t heard already – it is now compulsory to let people know you are setting cookies on your web-pages and they have to agree to “opt in” rather than the “opt out” (as has been the case until now). That is unless they are deemed “absolutely essential”. Sadly – none of the above will qualify as “essential”.

Scared? Well you’ve all had a year to patch. No – I didn’t hear about it until recently either. Naturally many people are now running around like headless chickens!

Unlike a rather unhelpful talk I went to on the subject recently, I will at least try and point worried folk towards “some” direction. Disclaimer: please note I am only pointing, I am not a legal professional. It is ultimately your responsibility to decide how you should proceed:

  • Firstly, show the ICO you are taking things seriously by producing a cookie audit (if you haven’t already). Browsers themselves tend to list the cookies, but there are some free tools out there which can also help. Do not pay for these tools, some people are charging! Here is a free example of a plug-in for Chrome which you could use. There are no doubt many others out there also.
  • Next write a privacy statement which contains the cookie audit as part of it. Make it easy for non-technical people to read. Explain all cookies you set, where you use them, what you use the cookies for. Make the link obvious and ideally appear on all pages (perhaps in a header/footer).
  • If possible look for a pre-existing script to do some of the hard work for you (this is just one, if it is helpful buy this chap a beer!)
  • There are lots of other useful sites out there – such as this one. If you haven’t already: Go! Research!

I’ll end by saying I find a lot of this daft. So much so, that the people who are enforcing it (the ICO), set a cookie when you say “I don’t want cookies” but “I want you to remember that I don’t want cookies”. Completely barmy! I believe it makes more sense to force compliance at the browsers application end, rather than stressing so many web-developers out of their minds unnecessarily! Now what was that well-known saying about what “the law is” again?