Flash addXMLPath example

I was recently working on an application in Flash which required the use of Flash’s Locale class. It didn’t take long before I was consulting the documentation for some of the methods and I ran across the addXMLPath method. Adobe (Macromedia at the time) was nice enough to include an example of how to use Locale.addXMLPath, however the example provided doesn’t even use addXMLPath()! The example provides no extra help whatsoever. I’ve created this small article to give an example on how to use Locale.addXMLPath().

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Celebrating Canada Day with new floors

Bamboo Flooring

What a long “long weekend” that was. While most people were outside celebrating Canada’s 140th birthday, I was at home installing new bamboo flooring in our dining room and kitchen.

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Today my name is Unicode

To celebrate International Unicode Screen Name Day, I have changed my IM screen names for the day. International Unicode Screen Name Day was dreamed up by Justin and Robert and it falls on every Friday the 13th, (not just April the 13th).

To find out more information on International Unicode Screen Name Day, or how you can create your own unicode screen name, visit one of their blogs.

CSS Naked Day

If you’re looking at my blog right now (and if the date is still April 5 when you read this), you may be wondering where my design has gone. It’s CSS Naked Day 2007! There’s not a whole lot to explain, other than I’ve disabled my styles for one day, April 5, to show how awesome well-designed web sites can be. The only change that I’ve made to my blog is to add an HTML comment around my style tag. Everything else has remained exactly the same.

I actually like to remove the CSS from my sites as I design them as well. By removing styles, you get to see how visitors would view your site using a browser that does not support CSS. Many cell phones and portable devices would see web sites like this every day. I believe CSS Naked Day is a great way to promote good markup and style design.

If you’d like to find out more information on CSS Naked Day, visit the CSS Naked Day official web site.

Pre-approved accounts using OpenID

I recently read Simon Willison’s article called Six cool things you can build with OpenID and became very interested in the concept of “pre-approving” user accounts by using OpenID.

For those not familiar with OpenID, I will give a short introduction, although it’s explained in slightly more detail on the OpenID How-it-works page. OpenID is a way of indentifying yourself by using a unique URI, similar to how web sites have unique URIs that you can visit. As an example, I could make my OpenID “www.chrisinch.com”. Then, if your blog was OpenID-enabled, and I wanted to leave a comment for you, I would simply enter my OpenID URI “www.chrisinch.com” into your form. I would then go through some steps to confirm that I was the owner of my OpenID, and once I had done so, I would be allowed to post comments on your blog, without having to register with you. I can use my OpenID on any OpenID-enabled site in exactly the same way.

Traditionally, web applications require you to register for an account before you can begin performing actions using your account. When you create a new account, you typically have to validate your account by email, and once approved, a database entry is created and your account can be used. An example will make this concept clearer:

Let’s say I own a photo gallery, where I like to upload photos from events I attend. Recently I travelled with some friends to somewhere hot (wouldn’t that be nice?) and lots of people were taking photos while on vacation. Now that I’m back at home, I would like to allow the people I travelled with to upload photos to my photo gallery. Prior to OpenID, the best I could do was ask each of them to register for an account at my site and once registered (and a user row created in my database) I could then give each user permission to upload their photos to my gallery. Even if I know that Bob usually chooses the username “bob” when registering at web sites, there are several reasons why I can’t create that account for him ahead of time. What if there is someone already registered with that name, or what if Bob doesn’t want people to know his real name?

If my site is OpenID-enabled, and I happen to know Bob’s OpenID, “openid.bob.com”, then I am able to create and preapprove his user account before he even visits my gallery site giving him permission to upload photos right away. I can do this because I know that no one else can log in as “openid.bob.com”. I can pre-approve Bob for an account on my site and begin performing actions on his account all before he logs in for the first time. Perhaps I want to write him a custom welcome message or tag him in photos I’ve uploaded. It’s all possible thanks to pre-approval using OpenID.

This concept of creating user accounts before the users actually visit your site has plenty of uses. It has obvious uses for social networking. I believe that viral marketing will thrive with this concept. My friends will feel more pressure to start using a web site if I have already added information to their account. Is this a good thing or bad?

Another idea that I will present in closing: If more sites embrace OpenID, then perhaps we will also start seeing data shared between sites. Two sites that I frequent are Amazon.ca and HomeDepot.ca. Maybe one day, the two sites will share information about me (with my permission of course) and Amazon will suggest books on the subject of my recent purchase at Home Depot.

A tip from Inch’s bathroom #2

There is only one person who doesn’t replace the toilet paper roll after using the last square. His name is Apathy.

5 things you didn’t know about me

While I was rebuilding my blog, I was memetagged by Robert. So here’s 5 things you never knew about me:

  1. When I was about 10, I borrowed my older brother’s bicycle that was much too big for me. I was driving down the walkway of a strip-mall when I lost control of the bike and drove it through the glass door of variety store. The glass shattered all over the place. Lucky for me, I wasn’t hurt and the store clerk saw that it was an accident, so she let me go. I just wish someone had got it on tape.
  2. I had a brief life as a TV star and made appearances on both Romper Room and Brownstone Kids when I was younger.
  3. I was suspended for half a day of highschool for performing a headspin in the middle of my school hallway. I had been warned two or three times prior to this incident. It was the most perfect headspin ever.
  4. In grade 8, I spent weeks designing and sewing together a Sub Zero costume which I wore on Halloween. I think I have pictures somewhere.
  5. In both grade 10 and grade 11, I was failing Math after midterms but managed to pull my marks up by the time the semesters were over, just enough to pass. I now have a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo. I have never failed a course in my life.

The hardest part of this task is coming up with five people that I can tag as well. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Heather – Love you babe.
  • Darryl – It’s been almost a year since you posted something lazybones
  • Geoff – I’ll wait till you have your blog done before posting your link
  • Jesse – Maybe you could use something to write about
  • Zeldman – This is just wishful thinking, hehe.