Category Archives: About the site

All growed up (and out)

I used to spend most of my time here evangelizing about Macromedia Flash, searching for the perfect OS X text editor and generally blathering on about the world, the Web, and things I thought were pretty cool at the time. For the past several years, though, I’ve “gone dark” online — sorta.

Truth is, I’ve been more active than ever lately — as a Web and mobile developer, online contributor, new father and bottle washer. I’ve tweeted and evangelized on other subjects (and for other organizations), and overall been pretty happy.

A few updates for those keeping score at home:

  1. I haven’t touched Flash in years. Turns out I stopped enjoying Flash development at about the same time the rest of the world decided it was the bee’s knees.
  2. I moved on from jEdit to KomodoEdit, and eventually, to KomodoIDE. I’d always planned to blog heavily about the transition, but it turns out, the love affair was also brief: As of now, my new “best text editor ever” is SublimeText (Still waiting to jump head-first into 3.0, though).
  3. I toyed with Android development and hated every minute of that infernal hodgepodge that Google is trying to pass off as a viable option. I have some fairly major titles on the Play store, but I feel pain for anybody that has to use them on Android. This is, of course, just my opinion… but that OS is a tremendous pile of crap, and I’d highly recommend that anyone still using it upgrade as soon as possible to iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry or at least a 1997 Nokia handheld.
  4. I don’t blog much anymore. But that could change. Probably not.
  5. I tweet a bit but nothing of interest.
  6. I absolutely love what I do for a living, whatever that happens to be right now.

So thanks for asking.

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Why Turdhead has been mighty quiet lately

The fact that articles like this can be written without one’s tongue firmly planted in one’s cheek says a lot about how misguided and broken Adobe’s vision of the future seems today.

Momma always said, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, just don’t say anything.”

That pretty much sums up why Turdhead.com has been collecting cobwebs in recent years: After years of touting the virtues of Macromedia/Adobe Flash (even sponsoring an ActionScript Poetry contest and actively working to get support for the language into cross-language programming editors), I guess I decided I had nothing nice left to say about the product and company that once brought me so much joy, riches and enthusiasm.

I’ve been working a lot lately with Objective-C, HTML5 and JavaScript development (among other things, replacing a lot of now-legacy ActionScript code), and while it doesn’t thrill me in the way ActionScript did in its day, it’s not burdened with unfixed and compounding bugs such as those that live in the tools available from Adobe today.

That’s right: I’d rather float a <div> in IE6 than have to deal with Flash CSx’s penchant for crashing on save or Photoshop’s inability to respect its own preference settings.

Turdhead.com will eventually become useful again… but if you’re expecting more ActionScript/Flash love from this site, you may want to go ahead and remove it from your RSS feeds.

Thanks!

Dear Flash: You know I love you… but we need to talk

One of the main functions of this site has always been to preach the good word of Flash to the uninformed (or misinformed) masses — it’s why we created The ActionScript Jabberwocky and hosted the once annual ActionScript Poetry Contest. It’s also why we created Flash games and spent months turning a long-in-the-tooth open-source text editor into a fairly great little ActionScript editor.

Over the years, we’ve had our differences with the makers of Flash (both Macromedia and Adobe), but we’ve never been shy of professing our love for their work in no uncertain terms.

So why so silent on the matter for the past few months?

Well, quite frankly, we’re not feeling it any more.

Don’t get me wrong, I still use Flash daily — sometimes still for fun, but most often for work, and there are some amazing things being done in the world of Flash, Flex and AIR these days. And thanks to a diverse client base and a plethora of cool projects, I’m quietly taking part in many of them every day.

But am I loving the platform? Quite frankly, no.

Thanks to a growing problem with bugs, inconsistencies with external interfaces and a general lack of faith in the player itself, Flash is starting to feel a lot like the HTML/Javascript fiasco that caused me to seek out Flash’s “works anywhere” promise way back in the 1900s. These days, I seem to be debugging the player more than my own code.

Chris at FlexibleFactory, has a post today that sums up my own feelings toward the state of Flash pretty well. In fact, he inspired me to finally break my silence on the matter too. Anybody else want to chime in?

Time to think about usability

Lately, Turdhead.com has been defying the innate silliness of its own name to actually provide useful content for a change.

We’re not sure how it happened, but our series on adapting the open-source jEdit programmer’s editor for use as a state-of-the-art ActionScript editor has actually turned out to be worth reading, and it seems to be drawing a lot of interest from the Flash community — especially among developers on OS X and Linux platforms (those fortunate enough to have moved away from Windows, but who nonetheless still miss their favorite editors from the platform).

In trying to ensure that the information remains useful, I suddenly realized that the format of Turdhead.com — the multi-column, newspaper-inspired, fixed-width design — doesn’t really lend itself to “print and file” archiving techniques (there ends up being a lot of wasted space when the pages are printed), and after my tirade last month against other companies who fail to provide hard-copy support, I figured I’d better do something about it.

Thus, regular visitors may notice the new “Print this article” link at the bottom of each article on Turdhead.com now. I’m using Lester Chan‘s excellent WP-Print WordPress plugin to handle the formatting, and so far I’m pleased with the results. Not only does it change the page to a more printer-friendly style, but it also provides a table of links and images for easy reference later on.

Of course, in the process of adding plugins, I also went ahead and finally upgraded the WordPress software itself to the latest version, so if you see anything that seems amiss, please let me know! And thanks again for reading.