MandalaTV
Personal and Professional Blog of Rich Hauck

The Bus Ride to Detroit

by: Rich Hauck

Being a football fan is a funny thing. I soak up the television screen for three hours as if the fate of the world depended on it, and then afterwards proceed to ESPN.com as if only to reinforce what live television has already told me. Then there’s the unwritten requirement that as a Steelers fan I must automatically dislike the Eagles. Granted, these two franchises are vastly different, but to watch the games in Harrisburg is like being on the front lines of a war. My in-laws are dedicated to the Steel City, whereas my poker buddies are dressed for St. Patty’s day.

In the end, what can I say? Pennsylvania is a strange place for sports. Polamalu was robbed, but Indy turned out to be Steelers country after all. Only two more stops to go; here’s to hoping that Bettis takes it home.


Categories:General

A Decent Wine Blog Anybody?

by: Rich Hauck

Champagne is easily my favorite wine. Given no budget, I’d have an exhaustive supply of Moet, Mumms, and Bollinger on my racks. Since I am still a poor college graduate, this isn’t the case just yet 🙂
Yesterday, I went with my wife to a BYOB fondue restaurant. I subscribe to the European philosophy of always having a glass of wine with a meal, so I popped into a Edgewater wine store and picked up their only available sparkling split–Gruet out of New Mexico. Given the inexpensive price, I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was (granted, it was a brut, and I prefer extra dry–which is drier than brut–but it wasn’t some soda-pop sweetener like Asti). Hoping to strike gold twice, today I brought home Michel Freres‘s sparkler from Burgundy for about $13.

I’m too cheap to be a connoisseur, I do know that smaller bubbles usually mean better wine, that Champagne can only be called such by law, and that magnums are always better 🙂 Unfortunately, though, I have yet to find a decent site that reviews wines. I go to DP Review to check out cameras, CNET to read up on electronics, Amazon to catch reviews on books…but wine, well, no good source yet.

Since there’s a trend that people start with sweet wines and evolve to dry, I doubt wine could be so subjective that reviews are totally meaningless. On the other hand, technology in vinification may have come to a point where everything is decent (provided wines come from a certain geographic range–let’s face it, Ohio or Pennsylvania just don’t offer the right climate). I gave up on asking liquor store managers, so I guess I’ll send this out into the void–anyone know of a good site?


Categories:General

Hardware Upgrade.

by: Rich Hauck

I might as well have ordered one already. Rosetta scares me a little, I must admit, but I’ll probably upgrade anyway. Those complaining about upgrading too soon, well, they should have known better.

I think it’s funny that Apple‘s stock jumped 6 percent during the keynote. Of course, we can now expect every PC laptop to have a built-in camera.


Categories:General

Writing Actionscript with Eclipse (FAME)

by: Rich Hauck

I’ve been slowly migrating over to Actionscript 2.0, and as I’ve mentioned earlier I’ve been frustrated with trying to write and compile multiple Actionscript class files within Flash 8’s very basic program window. Searching files is difficult and debugging is a pain. No more. After attending a FlashCodersNY meeting, I discovered how [somewhat] easy it is to get Actionscript coding set up on Eclipse.

As per request, here’s what I went through to get everything running on Mac OS X. This is known as the FAME (Flashout, ASDT, MTASC, Eclipse) setup. Keep in mind that Flashout is free, but not open-source. At the time of this writing, I haven’t had the chance to check out AMES, the open-source equivalent, but plan to soon.

  1. Download and install Eclipse. Eclipse is an open-source editor traditionally used for writing Java, but serves very well as an Actionscript editor.
  2. Download and install MTASC (Motion-Twin Actionscript 2 Compiler). This open-source program is what compiles, or publishes the SWF.
  3. With Eclipse installed, you will need to install ASDT (Actionscript Development Tool). This is a plugin for Eclipse to create color highlighting, syntax checking, content assist, etc. You will install ASDT through the Eclipse program; follow the instructions on the ASDT Downloads page.
  4. Manually install Flashout by following the “How install” instructions on the page. Flashout creates a preview pane to view your swf file within Eclipse.
  5. OPTIONAL STEP – skip to #6 if you don’t have this problem–If the Flashout tab under Eclipse’s preferences is giving you an error, it’s because Eclipse’s configuration is not accepting the manual plugin placement described in the Flashout instructions. How to fix this: Mac OS X 10.4 defaults the CurrentJDK to Java 1.4.2. This needs to be set to Java 1.5.0, which may or may not be installed on your system. This took me awhile to figure out, but just follow these instructions to change Mac OS X’s CurrentJDK.
  6. Finally, I just followed the ASDT tutorials on OSFlash.org.

I’m happy to discover that Eclipse’s Actionscript plug-in is free (which is what originally held me back), but really wish there was a better resource for AS1.0 developers and Flash designers to make the transition to 2.0. If one doesn’t show up, I’ll probably create one once I’m happy with a workflow.

I also discovered that OSFlash has all of these steps outlined on its site, but the fact that I couldn’t find them while I was struggling makes me hope that this blog post helps to get the word out.


Categories:Flash webdesign

Proper Branding

by: Rich Hauck

I popped into The Hershey Store in Times Square to take care of a chocolate fix (after an unofficial ITP outing to the Pixar exhibit at the MoMA) and was happy try out their acquisition’s product, a Scharffen Berger dark chocolate bar. Hershey’s purchased the Berkley, CA-based gourmet chocolate maker last summer to join the growing market of gourmet chocolate makers.

Hershey’s will naturally maintain the Scharffen Berger name since brand identity is notoriously impossible to modify. It makes me wonder, though, if Hershey’s is really selling chocolate or a sample of luxury to the everyday person. After all, Milton Hershey’s original vision was to make something available to those who couldn’t normally afford it. If the chocolate maker is lucky, they won’t find themselves behind their competitors and suffering from an identity crisis like Kodak did during the “digital revolution.”


Categories:advertising

Harry Potter and the Unlikely Reader

by: Rich Hauck

So in my free time I’ve been reading the Harry Potter books. Every adult I’ve met that’s read them has nothing but praise for the series. I must admit it felt a little silly carrying a children’s book on my trip to the MoMA PS1 last week; fortunately, I was only reading the second book, and unlike the some of the 800+ behemoths that follow, I was able to fit it into my jacket pocket.

My interest in reading the books first sparked upon hearing how much was cut from The Prisoner of Azkaban (the one film of the lot I really didn’t care for). I’m about to start that one, but am impressed with how well-written the books are, as well as how faithful the films appear to be. Of course, part of the fun is that I’ve forgotten most of the stories since being in the theater, however, Harry doesn’t come across so much as a know-it-all in the book versions.

I’m averaging a book about every week, which isn’t good. At this rate, I’ll be in line with the rest of the muggles when the last one comes out.


Categories:General

Avenue Q…on Las Vegas Boulevard

by: Rich Hauck

I used to go to quite a few Broadway plays in New York before I moved up here. I saw The Iceman Cometh with Kevin Spacey. I saw The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui with Al Pacino. I saw The Producers with its opening cast in its opening season. Thanks to either budget constraints or lack of time, I’ve yet to see a show in the Theater District since I’ve moved up here. Last week I got the chance to see Avenue Q, but instead of Broadway I saw it at the Wynn Casino in Las Vegas.

Somehow, my wife doesn’t think the Vegas crowd understood the NYC inside jokes (Flushing is a place?!), but then again, what non-New Yorker can fully appreciate Seinfeld or the other hundreds of sitcom jokes that are based on the Big Apple?

As for me, the show was okay, but I was surprised at how built-up it was by the press. It had some funny jokes, but I couldn’t get over the distraction of seeing the puppets next to the puppeteers. I guess I should have checked out the Avenue Q Web site first.


Categories:General NYC

CodeTree Blog

by: Rich Hauck

CodeTree Blog

It seems like everyone has a blog these days. Heck, even Tim Berners-Lee, father of the WWW, finally got one. So how do I one-up that? Well, I can’t, but I now have two blogs.

Since CodeTree is an ongoing project, I created a blog specifically for content updates. This way, I’m not boring people who might actually read this one, plus, I thought it’d be cool to get user feedback on the project’s updates.


Categories:ITP socialnetworks

Open Source and the Flash Platform

by: Rich Hauck

After attending the FlashCoders meeting tonight I was exposed to a really good link at Sys-Con that describes the current state of the Flash Platform. I’ve become a bit upset at Macromedia (or should I say Adobe) because I feel they’ve left designers-turned-developers like me in the cold. I’m slowly migrating from AS1.0 to AS2.0, and it’s a painful process thanks to the lack of documentation (fortunately, the jump to AS3.o looks to be easier). I just looked at the latest Macromedia Press Flash 8 books and am disappointed that they only scratch the surface of class creation. Furthermore, the Flash IDE is leagues behind the ease of use that Java users receive with Eclipse.

Design patterns are nothing new; we’ve been solving the same problems for at least 25 years now. Unfortunately, some of the best books are written for other languages (Blame my laziness for not converting the code over from C++ or Java). Ask any developer what resources to use for learning AS2.0, and everyone points to Moock’s book. It’s become the definitive guide, but it’s unfortunate that no other examples of design patterns in Flash exist on paper.

I was recently referred a teaching job for Flash but turned it down because of the hours (I’m not a morning person unless you count all-nighters) and the fact that I wouldn’t know where to begin teaching Flash. Could I instruct others on using the timeline when I myself am refraining from it? Is it practical to create graphics in the IDE or to just use the drawing API? Fortunately, Adobe is moving in the right direction by following Macromedia’s footsteps and gathering user input, but I’m still waiting for the dust to settle.


Categories:Flash webdesign

Taliesin West and Lens Correction

by: Rich Hauck

Taliesin West Original
Whoa! Mad Curves!

During my trip out west I stopped in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale to visit Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and fellowship in the desert.

After visiting Fallingwater (a pic I took of Fallingwater), I was expecting the foundation to prohibit photographs, but was surprised to find that they allowed us to shoot away.

I pretty much shot completely with a wide angle lens throughout the trip so that I could capture the complete landscape. It wasn’t until I saw the pictures I took of Taliesin West that I realized just how much distortion the lens creates. Photoshop’s Lens Correction Filter (filters>distort>lens correction) became my new best friend.

Taliesin West Fixed
Corrected Version. Notice the pool is much more of its actual triangular shape.


Categories:General photography

About Rich Hauck

Rich Hauck

I'm a creative technologist at Hauck Interactive, Inc. and an adjunct instructor at HACC. I live in Harrisburg, Pa. with my wife and three boys. I enjoy good coffee, Trappist beers, Orioles baseball, and good design.


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