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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    Dreidel! Dreidel! Dreidel!

    I made this maze originally as a holiday card back in 2002. Many of my puzzles are based on some bit of tradition, history, or trivia, so for Hanukkah I picked one of the most recognizable symbols of the holiday: the dreidel!

    Every year I forget the exact rules of the dreidel game so I’m recording them here for the sake of my failing memory as well as for my gentile readers.

    A dreidel (sevivon in Hebrew which means “to turn”) is a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side. The letters are: נ (Nun), ג (Gimmel), ה (Hay) and ש (Shin), which stand for the phrase Nes Gadol Haya Sham which means “A great miracle happened there” (there being Israel).

    Any number of people can play. At the beginning of the game each player is given an equal number of Hanukkah gelt (usually chocolate coins wrapped in gold tin foil but anything can be used).

    At the beginning of each round, every player puts one piece into the center pot. They then take turns spinning the dreidel, with the following meanings assigned to each of the Hebrew letters:

    • Nun or “nichts” which means “nothing” in Yiddish. If the dreidel lands with a nun facing up the spinner does nothing.
    • Gimmel or “ganz” which is means “everything.” If the dreidel lands with the gimmel facing up the spinner gets everything in the pot.
    • Hey or “halb” which means “half”. If the dreidel lands with a hey facing up the spinner gets half of the pot.
    • Shin or “shtel” which means “put in.” If the dreidel lands with a shin facing up the player adds a game piece to the pot.

    If a player runs out of gelt they are out.

    Happy Hanukkah!

    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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    Happy Halloween 2011

    Anytime you’re looking for inspiration, the immensely talented artists that inhabit deviantART never fail to deliver. This piece is called Samantha and the Anatomy of Halloween by Grelin Machin from Montreal.

    Happy Halloween!

    Supply Chain Advocates

    Launched new WordPress CMS website for Supply Chain Advocates, a consultancy that helps match small and mid-sized businesses with supply chain experts in a wide-range of industries.

    In celebration of their 25th Anniversary, the wholesale division of Metro Business Systems (leading  refurbisher of computer equipment and consumer electronics) wanted a site of their own that could be easily managed by the sales team. Built upon the Umbraco content management system, we created a configurable login based on “client type” so account managers only access the clients they are responsible for.