[TAG] .SWF files (Flash)
Benjamin A. Okopnik
ben at linuxgazette.net
Thu Feb 9 07:41:05 MSK 2006
On Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 04:11:52PM -0800, Mike Orr wrote:
> I looked at February's LG and saw the HelpDex cartoons are Flash
> movies. Is this the way of the future?
Why, I don't know, Mike. It could be the _wave_ of the future, perhaps.
If you look far, far back in history - like back in January - the
"collinge" cartoons were done as an SWF there as well.
Just for the record, exactly _one_ person complained last month. He's
currently researching to see if his complaint is actually a reasonable
one - since I've pointed out some Open Source alternatives to
Macromedia's products, and we spent some time discussing the Macromedia
license - and has promised to write an article on the subject as soon as
he has gathered more data.
> I'm not especially thrilled
> with content that requires users to install a proprietary plugin.
[shrug] I wasn't especially thrilled with the version that you had,
which required the viewers to download a huge file and showed it to them
as a tiny thumbnail (which "linked" to the full-sized file.) To each his
own, I suppose.
> never install Flash till I absolutely need it, so I'll have to go home
> before I can see what these cartoons are (and whether they really need
> to be animated).
It's not a question of animation. Flash is what Shane sends me; that's
the format he creates it in. Converting it to some other format seems to
be a very low-priority task for him - unsurprisingly so - and since Jon
Harsem seems to have stopped creating cartoons, and Javier Malonda's
output has gone down to very little (and much of that, according to a
note on his site, will be translated into English on an intermittent
basis), we don't have much to pick and choose from.
As I see it, my choices come down to a) not having any cartoons at all,
b) using that proprietary software you mentioned, and dinking around
with screen shots, etc., or c) letting everyone else make the choice of
what they want to do with it. Choice b), incidentally, produces fairly
lousy JPGs - but they're the only format which results in a reasonable
file size for these cartoons, although it _still_ had the detriment of
loading those large files and "cheat-thumbnailing" them. Fixing the
above would require me to rewrite that Python template _and_ your
script, which (of course) chokes on actual thumbnails placed in the
cartoon author's directory.
And, lest we forget, option b) just shifts the "burden" of using that
proprietary software to me instead of having everybody decide what to do
about it on their own. Um... not interested in that job, thanks.
Oh, and - Flash produces excellent image quality in a file size that's
about half the size of a very poor JPG image, as well as auto-sizing
itself to whatever the viewer's screen size is. Just a minor side note.
In short, using Flash requires me to do a lot less work, requires our
readers to download fewer kilobytes for the same amount of content and
much higher quality, does not require the author _or_ anyone else to
spend time to dink with a format that works well to begin with. On the
other hand, it does require the use of a free-but-proprietary viewer -
at least for now.
If you've got a suggestion that doesn't require me to waste a bunch of
time every month and results in an open-source-supported format, I'd be
glad to hear it.
> This is just a comment; it's Ben's decision whether
> to have Flash in LG. I'm just disappointed I can't see the cartoons.
> :( I'm still behind on my list mail so maybe there was a discussion
> about Flash. If not, can we have one now? Is everyone happy with
> Flash in LG?
I'm not all that excited by it, but see the choices above.
* Ben Okopnik * Editor-in-Chief, Linux Gazette * http://linuxgazette.net *
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