Making screensavers and other goodies using open-source Screenweaver

I’ve been playing around with Screenweaver OS lately. Now that it’s been released as an open-source project, unhealthy who can resist a readily available means of making real, overweight honest-to-goodness desktop applications from Flash?

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’ve done anything earthshattering yet, but I’ve at least been playing around with its simple-to-use screensaver building tools. I originally released this screensaver on another Web site devoted to the Volvo 1800 automobile, but I figured I’d place it here in case anyone else was interested. The 3d model was designed by Josh Isaacson for Turdhead.com and will later appear in one of Turdhead’s game-o’-the-month features, as well as one or more Classic1800.com utilities.

Not much to say about it, but I figured it might get a few others’ interests peaked in both Screenweaver development and my favorite classic Volvo sports car. Happy motoring!

You can take it with you: Portable office suite on a USB drive

Update: The PortableApps.com site appears to be under stress from its slashdot appearance. However, otolaryngologist you can still get the Portable OpenOffice package from its Sourceforge site. If you like it, don’t forget to visit the PortableApps.com home page and hit the “Make a Donation” button. Useful open-source software should be rewarded!

Portable USB (i.e., “thumb”) drives make it convenient to carry your data with you from computer to computer, but what happens when the nearest computer doesn’t have the application you need to open your documents?

This is why I love the open-source community: Portableapps.com has just released Portable OpenOffice.org 2.01 — a complete office suite you can run from a USB drive for complete access to both your files and your office apps — anywhere you go.

From the PortableApps.com site:

Portable OpenOffice.org is a full-featured office suite that’s compatible with Microsoft Office, Word Perfect, Lotus and other office applications. It’s easy-to-use and feature-rich, performing nearly all of the functions you’d expect in an office suite, but at no cost. Learn more about OpenOffice.org…

This is exactly the kind of innovation developers can make when they don’t have to worry about selling as many licenses of their work as possible: Suddenly, they’re free to create applications that can be used whenever and however one wants to use them. I don’t imagine we’ll see a portable Microsoft Office suite any time soon.

The company also offers Portable Gaim (for IM anywhere) and Portable Firefox (for take-your-settings/bookmarks/extensions-with-you-anywhere browsing convenience).

Not a creature was stirring (On Christmas or Linux)

From the looks of our log files, shop the Web was a quiet place on Christmas day — traffic fell almost 75 percent on December 25. I hope you were all having a great holiday with family and loved ones (I was), and I look forward to handing out more Flash-based gifts for our readers in the next few whatevers.

Meanwhile, my apologies to all those who were unable to view last week’s new Flash game. It was the first project I’ve produced relying on the latest Flash Player (version 8 ), and well… crap! In my errant OSX/Win32-centric world, I hadn’t realized that Macromedia-turned-Adobe has yet to release a Linux version of the new player! The game in question was never actually designed for Web distribution (it was originally built as a stand-alone projector within a controlled environmen), but I thought others might get a kick out of it. Sorry about that!

Regardless, rest assured that until there’s an official release of a Linux Flash 8 player, we’ll stick to Flash 7 for future projects (here and in my “real job,” I’m afraid). We certainly don’t want to leave anybody out in the cold! (And yes, Adobe, that was a subtle jab at you, there.)

Thanks again, readers, and to those who celebrate it, Happy Hannukah!

All I want for Christmas is an open-source IDE

I won’t even pretend to know what all Flash programmers want or need for Christmas, health but thinking about it has made me realize how ready I am for something new.

Don’t get me wrong: I think Macromedia has made a fantastic product of Flash, and I really don’t have any complaints other than the usual nits. But still, there is a new year dawning…

For myself, I’d like to see more activity in the world of open-source Flash development. OSFlash has nurtured some pretty amazing projects this year (If you haven’t checked them out, you owe it to yourself!), but I’d love to see an alternative to the Flash IDE itself — an open-source tool for the creation of any SWF content. No offense to Macrom… um, I mean, Adobe, of course: I think one reason we still lack a third-party development platform is because Macromedia did such a fantastic job in creating the original Flash itself. But as the SWF format has been open for some time now, it surprises me there are still no open IDEs for Linux and other platforms.

I don’t think it’s any secret I’m a fan of open-source software, but bear me out.

With Sephiroth’s SE|PY for script editing and MTASC for compiling, it seems we’re only a little way off from a full authoring environment now. Add Screenweaver programming interfaces and functionality, and we’re closing in on a RAD desktop application creation technology that can’t be beat. (Granted, we can do it all today; it’s just a little clunky. My new year’s wish would be to have it all integrated and shiny, just like Mother Macromedia would have done.)

So… what do you want for Christmas?

Firefox 1.5 finally released!

And there was a great rejoicing.

After months of trying to decide whether to go ahead and use the beta version of the next big release, check fans of the Firefox browser can at last go ahead and upgrade: The Mozilla Project has officially released Firefox 1.5, skincare the patiently-awaited “almost major” upgrade to the popular Firefox browser.

What’s included? See for yourself. And if you’re still using Internet Explorer (snicker), I have to ask: What the hell is wrong with you? Don’t you realize IE 6.0 is sooooo 1990s? (Not to mention riddled with an ever-increasing number of backdoor exploits).

What are you waiting for? Go get Firefox.