did you know?

Web Pages on your Desktop Background

In Windows, you can embed resizable web pages to your desktop background by following this procedure:

  1. Right-click on your desktop and select Properties.
  2. Click on the Desktop tab.
  3. Press the Customize Desktop button.
  4. Click the Web tab.
  5. Press the New button.
  6. Enter a web page address to the location textbox.
tree frog

Tree Frog Gadget Update

I’m releasing an update to the tree frog gadget this weekend. This update will allow users to change the color of the tree frog’s body, hands/feet, eyes and the background. You will also be able to change the size of his belly. Here are a few pictures to show you how you might modify him:

tree frog
tree frog
tree frog
tree frog
tree frog
tree frog
tree frog

Tree Frog Color

I’ve been spending some time on the tree frog lately and plan on making an update with in a week or two which will allow users to customize the way he looks. Here is one way he could look after being customized:

disc drop

Disc Drop

I recently finished my latest module, Disc Drop. It is a Plinko-like flash game written in actionscript and compiled with MTASC. I have made it compatible with several start pages: Google, Netvibes, Pageflakes, Protopage. It should be available for Webwag users within a few days. If you want to add it your personal website or to a site like MySpace you can use the Add to Webpage link.

Oh yeah, and my high score so far is 185!


Actionscript 2.0 Code Browsing in jEdit

  1. Download the Code Browser plugin and place the jar file in jedit’s jars folder.
  2. Install Exuberant Ctags. On Ubunutu Linux this can be done by typing:sudo apt-get install exuberant-ctags
  3. Place this .ctags file, which describes actionscript 2, in your home directory.
  4. Start Jedit and go to Plugins -> Plugin Options -> Code Browser and enter the path to exuberant ctags. On Ubuntu it is /usr/bin/ctags-exuberant.
  5. Go to Utilities -> Global Options -> Docking and then select where you want to dock the Code Browser from the dropdown.

Open Source Flash Example Project

I’ve prepared a simple project that shows how I use MTASC, Alcon, Ant, Mozilla, on Linux to create flash movies. You could just as well run this on Windows or Mac.

Before you attempt to run the ant build.xml script, take a look at it and modify the variables to match your current setup. Also, move the Alcon.htm I’ve included in the project to your Alcon folder. This should be the same folder that contains the Alcon.swf and Alcon.cfg files.

Run the ant script by typing “ant run”. The project should compile and then load the swf in Mozilla on the Alcon.htm page. The console will be on the main page and the project in a popup window above it. Once it has loaded in Mozilla, you can recompile the project quickly just by typing ant without the run parameter. Then you can refresh the popup or the main page to see the changes you’ve made.

Notice how you can easily call the trace function for debugging without having to import the debug class package on each of the pages. Check out this page to see the directions I followed for setting up Alcon with MTASC.

I also found this page to be a good resource for learning how to use the Object.registerClass function.


Open Source Flash Development

Over the past few months I have been experimenting with creating flash animations using completely free software for Linux and Windows. Here is what I’ve been using:

You’ll need Java installed before you can install Jedit or Ant. I set up Java and jedit according to my last two posts. To install Ant on Ubuntu Linux type this in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install ant

or you can download it from their site. If you download it, you should make sure your PATH system variable includes the ant bin directory, you have an ANT_HOME variable set to the folder ant was installed to, and a JAVA_HOME variable set to the folder java was installed to.

There are precompiled binaries of MTASC available for Windows, MAC, and Linux.

Swfmill only has binaries for Windows and Mac, so you’ll have to compile it yourself on Linux. On Ubuntu you’ll first need to install build-essential, libxml2-dev, libxslt1-dev, libfreetype6-dev, libpng12-dev, checkinstall. You can do this by typing:

 sudo apt-get install build-essential libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev libfreetype6-dev libpng12-dev checkinstall

Extract the swfmill-0.2.11.tar.gz file with this command:

tar -zxvf swfmill-0.2.11.tar.gz

Then navigate to the src folder and type:

sudo checkinstall -D make install

This will create and install a debian package of swfmill.

To use Alcon you have to import the Debug class into your actionscript project then you’ll be able to send messages to the swf console with the Debug.trace() command. I’ve created a webpage embedded with alcon that loads the swf files I’m debugging in a popup window.

In my next post I will describe how to create a simple test swf using this software.


Install and configure jEdit

  1. Download the java-based installer from
  2. In a terminal, cd to the directory you downloaded jedit to and enter the command:
    java -jar jedit43pre3install.jar

    Linux users might want to run the installer as the root user so that it’s installed for all users.

  3. You should be able to start jedit by typing jedit in a terminal. If your system doesn’t recognize the command, you might have to add the directory the jedit executable is located in to your PATH environmental variable.
  4. Here are a few of my favorite jEdit plugins. Download these to the jars folder or install them through the download manager.


  5. Create a file called jedit.props that contains the following text and save it to the properties folder.

    This will dock the plugins we just installed, and enable line numbering and code folding by default for all users.