The Myriad Blog

Author: Peter Schultheiss

12
Nov
2008

Spanish Characters in Flash via XML

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on November 12th, 2008 at 03:29 pm

We've been populating dynamic content in Flash for a few years now. The other day, I was faced with the task of populating Spanish text into a Flash movie via XML. The underlying code is the same, but when I published my movie and viewed it online I noticed that the special characters didn't show up. What went wrong? After spending several hours reading through forum posts and tech notes, I found the solution. Here's what you need to do:

1. Embed Special Characters in Flash
For starters, we need to make sure that all of the special characters (i.e. á, é, í, ó, ú, etc.) are embedded in our flash movie. You also have to make sure those characters are available for the font you're using. The "Character Map" application in Windows will be a big help. If you're not familiar withCharacter Map, you can find it here: Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map

2. Use UTF-8 Encoding
Next, make sure that your XML document uses UTF-8 encoding. To endcode the XML as UTF-8, make sure the first line of your XML file looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

3. Save as UTF-8
Almost all text editors default to ANSI encoding. When saving your XML file, be sure to select "UTF-8" from the "encoding" drop down menu.

4. Upload as Binary
When uploading, it's important to note that your XML document should be transferred as a binary file. Most FTP programs will auto-detect this, but if you're having problems set the transfer type to binary before you upload the file.

¡Buena suerte!

11
Nov
2008

Myriad Gets Burglarized for the Second Time!

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on November 11th, 2008 at 07:33 pm

Upon arriving to work this morning I noticed some broken glass and a large hole in one of our office windows. On the other side of that hole was a vacant space where one of our computers should have been! Great way to start the day.

We lost a nice piece of hardware, but we were greatly relieved that absolutely no project or client data was lost. The machine was last used by our summer intern and was wiped clean in September. In a way, we got lucky...if one of our other machines were stolen, we'd be spending the remainder of the day changing passwords and writing apologetic letters to our clients.

Client data and security is something that we take very seriously and this experience had led me to do some research on security software. Here are two products worth mentioning:

Computrace LoJack for Laptops
Computrace LoJack for Laptops is part of a full suite of security solutions that protects your data and secures your computers. It's built in to the BIOS or firmware from major computer manufacturers to prevent removal by unauthorized users...and it's backed by a theft recovery team.
http://www.lojackforlaptops.com/

LocatePC
LocatePC is free software that runs unobtrusively on your computer. In the event that your computer is stolen, LocatePC will send a secret email to you containing the details that you need to track your hardware. Obviously, your computer must be hooked up to the Internet for this feature to work.
http://www.iconico.com/locatePC/

All of our laptops already have LoJack for Laptops installed. Looks like it's time to protect our towers as well.

10
Nov
2008

Free FTP Solutions

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on November 10th, 2008 at 11:19 am

I have been using an FTP client almost daily since I started working as a web developer in 2001. For me, it's absolutely essential to my job function and something that I couldn't imagine living without.

At Myriad Interactive, we use CuteFTP Professional for file transfers and remote text editing. Its interface is very intuitive and the lockstep folder navigation (which keeps local and remote folders syncronized) is a must for developers. The built-in text editor is also outstanding. HTML files are color-coded and you can perform find-and-replace operations across multiple open files. The only downside to CuteFTP Professional is the $59.99 (per user) price tag.

While my endorsement obviously goes to CuteFTP Professional, not everybody needs a fully featured FTP client, they just need a way to upload large files or to make a backup of their website. If you fall into this group of users, the following programs should do the trick...and they're free.

CoffeeCup Free FTP
http://www.coffeecup.com/free-ftp/

FileZilla
http://filezilla-project.org/

10
Nov
2008

What is Twitter?

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on November 10th, 2008 at 08:55 am

While still relatively new, Twitter seems to be the new thing these days with a very loyal following. For those of you who haven't heard of Twitter yet, it's quite simply a series of short status messages (or "tweets") posted by users. Tweets are limited to 140 characters and help people follow the lives of their friends and family members. Here's a sample tweet:

What are you doing right now?
Writing a blog entry about Twitter.

Now anybody who follows my Twitter account will know what I'm doing at this very moment. Pretty simple right? That's the genius behind Twitter...it's extremely easy to create an account and updates can be sent and received both online and via mobile devices. It's a highly effective communications tool and just one more marketing channel for web savvy businesses. It's estimated that (at the time of this post) over 10 million poeple are using Twitter, so it's safe to assume that many of your customers are on there too.

So, will Twitter will replace blogging? No way, blogging is still the best outlet for talented writers and reviewers who have something meaningful to contribute to world (or their niche audience). Twitter can be thought of as a micro blog that keeps people in touch. For businesses, it's a great way to generate buzz and to provide product or service information to your loyal customers.

01
Nov
2008

Eat Well Be Well Launches New Website

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on November 1st, 2008 at 10:02 am

Eat Well Be Well

Bobby B. Well and friends have been given a fresh a new look. The recently launched Eat Well Be Well website sports a new design and operational enhancements.

21
Oct
2008

Clipboard Access in Internet Explorer 7

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on October 21st, 2008 at 12:38 pm

Many people copy and paste text into their content management systems. I know I do. Thanks to security features in IE7, I receive the following prompt every time I paste content into editors like FCKeditor or TinyMCE:

"Do you want to allow this webpage to access your Clipboard?"

Luckily, this security feature can be disabled. Here's how:

  1. Go to Tools > Internet Options
  2. Click on the "Security" tab
  3. Click on the "Custom level…” button
  4. Scroll down to the "Scripting" section and locate the "Allow Programmatic clipboard access" sub section
  5. Click on the radio button next to "Enable" and you will no longer be prompted.

That's all there is to it.

27
Sep
2008

Maracay Homes Launches Updated Website

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on September 27th, 2008 at 08:40 am

Maracay Homes

We're pleased to announce that Maracay Homes launched it's new website today. This is the second website that Myriad has created for Maracay Homes, and while are still proud of our first effort, we feel that this site trumps it in many ways.

The new site is wider than the first, catering to a lowest common denominator of 1024 x 768. This increase in screen real estate has made it easier for us to present content.

We also worked closely with Moses Anshell to ensure that the website and print collateral share a similar look and feel to reinforce the company's brand.

10
Sep
2008

Lendability.com Takes Flight

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on September 10th, 2008 at 05:14 am

Lendability.com

For the past three months we've been working closely with former Ditech.com executives to create a new online lending website. Lendability.com launched on September 1st and promises to be the leader in both cost and transparency for a variety of mortgage-related products.

Design impact and the overall customer experience was very important. Lendability.com offers numerous resources to their customers (inlcuding mortgage calculators and a custom "Lendability" scoring system) so it was a challenge for us to design a site that was fully featured, but not intimidating.

In addition to the website, Myriad also launched AbilityBlog.com and produced 3 banner ad concepts which have run on major websites such ad Yahoo! and Bankrate.com.

Take a look at the site and leave us your comments!

01
Sep
2008

Bestop Introduces Bestop UTV

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on September 1st, 2008 at 03:32 pm

Bestop UTV

Bestop® is a premier manufacturer of soft tops, hard tops and accessories for the enthusiast Jeep and truck owner. They recently expended their product line to tap into the growing UTV (Utility Terrain Vehicle) market and asked us to help them create their consumer website at www.bestoputv.com.

Users can browse the website for the latest applications, product additions, installation guides, updates and tips for the ever-growing line-up of Bestop® UTV accessories. The site is well-designed and extremely easy to use...we encourage you to take a look.

01
Aug
2008

Magento E-Commerce

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on August 1st, 2008 at 08:39 am

We're very excited about the relatively new, open-source e-commerce project called Magento. The project was created by Varien and is built upon the Zend Framework. Looks promising.

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