This site showcases the (mostly) digital work of Andrew DiFiore from both Virtual Arts Studios and answerYES Interactive as well as random thoughts and experimental projects too volatile to be contained anywhere else.

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    The Return of Akumi

    I had discovered the beautifully violent, sexually-charged sci-fi animated series Akumi some time ago. I got hooked and couldn’t wait for the next installment. But there was no next installment. All the videos got pulled from YouTube and the parent website eventually shut down. I just assumed Disney tapped the animators to do a Miltonius retelling of Dumbo.

    For no particular reason, I decided to Google “Akumi” and learned that Akumi is a district in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. But then I learned the team has been busy working on AdventureQuest Worlds, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Moreover, the team (now calling themselves Miltonius Arts) is planning to resume work on Akumi (but judging from their drunken podcast, it could still be awhile). If you’re not familiar, here is a taste.

    Happy Armistice Day!

    It was on November 11, 1918, that a cease-fire was signed between Allied forces and Germany, officially ending World War I on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” For the next 36 years, America remembered November 11 as Armistice Day. But after another World War and the Korean War, the word “Armistice” no longer seemed appropriate and so Congress voted to change the holiday to Veterans Day. Many Americans still observe a moment of silence at 11am on this day in honor of all veterans. And this year Veterans Day falls on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year!

    Happy Armistice Day! Happy Veterans Day! And thank you to all the men and women who serve in our armed forces to protect our freedom!

    As a Web developer, I’ve built many a Flash-based websites (or hybrid sites) and I “was” a fairly active contributor to the Flash community at large. I became an avid fan of the application shortly after Macromedia acquired FutureSplash  (circa 1996). I considered ActionScript among my top three programming language proficiencies.

    But, alas, can’t say I have much cause to work in Flash lately. Clients that may not know much about technology, know enough to say no Flash.

    Just a few short years ago, Flash was a rock star. It was the preferred platform for video. If you wanted your site to be cinematic then Flash was the only way to go (it still is).

    The turn of fortune began with the rise of search engine optimization (SEO). Flash sites can be built to have good SEO but it takes more effort and Adobe failed to educate and encourage developers on best practices (at best their attitude was lackadaisical and at worst, arrogant). But, no doubt, the final nail in the coffin was the Apple iPad. It is hard to ignore a market share of nearly 75% (Apple sold 11.1 million iPads in the September quarter alone).

    Apparently, Adobe agrees it is time to throw in the towel, opting out of Flash for mobile, stating they will now aggressively contribute to HTML5.

    I suppose this is good news. Web Standards are the right way to go and HTML5 works within the DOM architecture of the Web, not outside it.

    In the coming year, the next generation of sites will feature impressive performance while rendering effects that are both beautiful and user-friendly. HTML5 may not do the more complex animations that Flash enables but for most applications (outside of movie and video game sites) it is more than adequate.

    Still, can’t help but feel a little sad, like saying farewell to an old friend for the last time. Such is the way of the warrior coder.

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    Claiming Your Blog on Technorati

    For those of you who are new to blogging there are a few rather esoteric steps you should take before completing your apprenticeship into the blogosphere. One is to make sure your site is verified by Google. Another is claiming your blog on Technorati. Why? Well, Technorati is recognized by the world over as the leading blog search engine and directory that tracks the authority and influence of blogs. Being on it means targeted traffic. Well worth the few minutes it takes to claim your blog. So, here is what to do:

    1. Create a Technorati Profile.
    2. Submit your blog URL in the Start a blog claim field.
    3. You will receive an email or a message on your Profile page that will look something like this:Technorati will need to verify that you are an author of the blog by looking for a unique code. Please put the following short code JBAZXKXYEVQT within a new blog post and publish it. This code must appear in the published post and it must also appear in your corresponding RSS feed once published. Once it is published, use the “Verify Claim Token” button on this page to tell Technorati your blog is ready for Technorati to verify the claim token and proceed to final review.
    4. Publish a temporary post on your blog that include your short code. Doing so should automatically update your RSS feed.
    5. Back on Technorati, click Verify Claim Token button.

    That’s it! It may take a little time for Technorati to complete their evaluation but for your part, you can go back to what you love to do the most: blogging.

    Billions and Billions

    On October 31, 2011, the 7th billionth person was born (give or take six months according to United Nations demographer Gerhard Heilig). It seems like it was just 1999 when we were a mere 6 billion.

    Arriving amidst global recessions, this news may sound a bit scary (apropos for Halloween) but it doesn’t have to be. Hint: It is not about the volume. Watch this video by National Geographic and when you’re done check out the United Nations Population Fund’s 7 Billion Actions for inspiration from individuals and organizations around the world.