Dec 30, 2006

Do You Speak My Language?

Minor update for the company website, and this was born out of boredom. Wrote a quick javascript to detect the ISO Language of the browser and redirect according to language settings. Nothing phenomenal, and truth be told, the translated versions of the site are nothing more than Systran translation (machine translation).

So it is more than likely that the site in other languages is just shy of gibberish. But it's better than nothing, really. With the company website being accessed by countries around the world (yes we have seen visitors coming in from Japan, China, Australia, and France) then a machine translated version of the website will at least give them a very basic idea of what we are trying to say.

Either that or try to sell them used underwear... But... umm.. still better than nothing.

It's something I've wanted to do for a long time anyway. So here's to multi-lingual VR5!

In Other News

Menus...yes we've all seen them in the MacOSX or Windows Operating system... but in Active Worlds? Yep, another midnight building binge led me to resurrect an old concept - building a Button Menu in Active Worlds with elaborate visible off, name=, etc in order to control a media device (namely a stereo).

In layman's terms: Consolidated alot of visible buttons into a visible on demand menu system. Looks better and doesn't have alot of buttons floating around detracting from the build. Also allows me to control the volume of the stereo while it is playing, as well as switch stations, and turn the stereo off.

Very useful for implementation in future builds, and I have saved the menu configuration for later use in other areas.

Well.. I guess that is it for my update. I'll try to get another one of these blog entries in after the New Year.

Selling Used Underwear in Japan - Darian Knight

Dec 19, 2006


I apologize for not posting in awhile... we've been bogged down with a lot of things lately.

Where to begin... Recently redesigned the website (yay) and immediately had to go back and "fix" it because Internet Explorer has no idea what the term "Web Standards Compliant" means. Seriously, Microsoft needs somebody working for them who's soul purpose in life is to point out the obvious to their designers and programmers - "So, this browser doesn't stay with standards online?"

In other news... finally got around to updating the site (yes I just said that, but there is more) and made use of the MP3 Player widget available from Capri Graphic Arts (its free) as a demo on our site. Some nifty music (creative commons, permission from the bands or free download).

Finally decided to just give up and use PNG images on our website. I tried so hard to stay with GIF because it is more widely accepted online, but 256 colors just wasn't doing it anymore and to make JPG images that sorta mimicked a transparent background and anti-aliasing for the transparent edges would have been design suicide.

So the website uses PNG images... Firefox 2 and IE7 more or less display them well enough (but the transparency sometimes renders wrong or glitched depending on the computer). The lesson learned? PNG is a superior format for the web, and was designed specifically to replace GIF as the standard - so for the love of god people... make a browser that can actually handle it - ok? There is no excuse anymore, the makers of the PNG format have given every reason to do this... follow suit already... it's almost 2007.

So yeah.. umm.. I redesigned the website :)

What else since last post... ummm... (you can tell this stuff isn't professionally written and run past a PR department, can't you?)

Working on various projects here and there... custom Corvette model by Wes is coming along very well... near photo realistic. Redesigned my old apartment in the world (also got a new neighbor Justin Eyres). Getting toward the end of the project time line for LIN Systems - and yeah... very little has yet to be accomplished by no fault of us.

Seriously... As media designers, we understand the client's needs to actively participate in the design and implementation of your website or media project, but we'll let you in on a secret: If you have no material ready to put on a website, please save your money until you do. We don't pull stuff out of thin air, and we don't expect you to either. But if your project runs past an initial 2 months without completion (no content from the client to use), we reserve the right to start billing a monthly retainer (which is about $500 per month with or without work).

I've seen some really inflated prices for web design as well, so don't dare say we are charging too much. Some places have the audacity to charge $95 an hour with a 1 hour minimum. We don't charge that high, and a monthly retainer of $500 is dirt cheap for professional designers (5 hours a month by normal pricing).

Now, this is why having your materials ready will save you money. When we quote $1,000 for a custom website with all the trimmings, we mean "Done in a reasonable amount of time" not "Done over the course of 12 - 18 months with additional changes throughout to the design and four redesigns".

Do the math - $1,000 and finished in about a month (or less) with your materials ready, or 12 - 18 months at a retainer fee of $500 a month. Honestly, we don't mind taking your money... but it's in your best interest to be prepared before contracting us. Could have even done the entire website yourself for about $60 if you went with our affiliate Design2U which allows you to build your entire website online.

Ok, mild rant finished for the month. Also, The Holiday is upon us. Depending on what religion you are, these holidays mean different things. Little secret for the year, Christmas is a pagan tradition, as is a Yule log, Mistletoe, Santa Clause, New Years, and many others.

Does this mean you should stop celebrating? I wouldn't. There is nothing inherently wrong with multicultural traditions, and if Pagans can celebrate peace and the exchange of good will - maybe Christians could learn a thing or two from them? Celebrate simply to do so... you never needed a reason.

As yet another side note, I would like to say Hello to Harmony Clark - creator of the HARU OMFG comic. Been on this kick where I am promoting her for the sake of doing so. She's a good artist, and getting better, and for the most part I would say she deserves some exposure. So here it is again - go buy her stuff! (I know this will prolly piss her off too, lol)

Well.. I guess thats the update for (looks at the calender)... jeez... what lazy person is in charge of this blog anyway!?... oh.. umm... that would be me.. hehe.

Ok.. I'll try to post more often... maybe...

Being Lazy During the Holidays - Darian Knight