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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    eBay’s Minimalist Logo Redesign


    It is hard to believe it but eBay is turning 17.

    To help celebrate, the company is introducing a new logo design.

    A minimalist design… simple Univers Extended font type and fast-food color scheme (popular with companies in the 90s), not a radical departure but better than the old one. Settle down there e-b-a-y and act your age.

    The new logo will roll out to the website and advertising in October but eBay has produced a niffy one page website using HTML5 (clever parallax scrolling effect).

    Now if they did something about their main website. Ugh.

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    The Expressive Web

    HTML5 is the fifth generation of the hypertext markup language standard that is at the core of the World Wide Web. HTML5 combines and improves upon the features of HTML4 (standardized in 1997 by the W3C), XHTML (a “reformulation” of HTML4 and XML), and the DOM Level 2 HTML specifications. And as of this writing, it is still considered under development even as XHTML2 is in the works.

    The mission (perhaps the spirit) of HTML5 is to serve as a unifying multimedia language for both humans and machines.

    The Expressive Web is an HTML5 and CSS3 resource from Adobe that showcases some of the newest and coolest features in use today. Features pushed to the bleeding edge on sites like The Hunger Games’ The Capitol Tour and Project Prometheus Training Center. The fact that this site comes from Adobe (the people who bring you Flash), reinforces the company’s commitment to embracing web standards.

    Both sites mentioned above were a little choppy under Safari and Chrome on my iMac running Lion but both sites also strongly urged the use of Internet Explorer 9 for the best performance (alas, not an option for Mac users). This is due largely to IE9′s support of Canvas which these sites make heavy use of (probably). Despite reports to the contrary, the interactivity is not quite on par with Flash but it is getting impressively close.

    Want to keep abreast of the latest in HTML5 news? I recommend following Mashable’s HTML5 channel. Of course, developers should also check out HTML5 Rocks and  HTML5 Boilerplate (to name two).

    At Mashable’s Christine Erickson’s behest, I installed Blackline app on my iPad, a new satirical magazine that was done entirely in HTML5 (I think entirely, maybe it’s mostly). Besides the edgy wit found throughout (which reminded me of National Lampoon when National Lampoon was funny), the Maya Angelou’s Ice-Box magnetic poetry was a hoot and a perfect example of interactive HTML5 (be sure to listen to the intro by Maya herself).

    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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    Another Google Doodle Tribute

    This time the tribute is in celebration of Les Paul’s 96th birthday. By now you are at least aware that Google regularly changes it’s logo into a doodle that denotes some occasion like a holiday, birthday, or anniversary. Many are obvious choices but some celebrate pop culture icons like last year’s Pac-Man, which was actually a playable mini-game. Google’s Les Paul logo doodle (which is barely recognizable as a logo at all) is clearly an attempt to out do the Pac-Man doodle and I would say they have achieved that. The logo is not only playable but recordable, spawning a host of musical “prodigies” to capture their creations on YouTube.

    According to Google designer Alexander Chen, the doodle was made with a combination of JavaScript, HTML5 Canvas (to draw the guitar strings), CSS, Flash (for sound) and tools like the Google Font API, and App Engine.

    In case you were curious, Google has collected all their logo doodles in one place for your convenience.

    Getting Flashy with CSS3 and jQuery

    I recently stumbled upon this neat little web-based game LOLWUT by interactive developer Michael Anthony (with graphical help from Che McPherson) and was sufficiently impressed that I had to preserve the moment in this post.  The game is simple enough but what makes it impressive is while it may look like Flash, it is actually a clever combination of CSS3 tweens and jQuery. Is this the answer to Adobe Flash that Apple is hoping for? Maybe. But ironically, the game didn’t play well on my iPad. I know it serves my inner geek but I do love finding sites that push the envelope on emerging technologies in fun and interesting ways.

    Along the same vein, you can see a more practical application of similar effects at Think Green Meeting.