Armor Games Makes the Front Page of GamePro

A little self promotion never hurt anybody, right?

We play and play, but we rarely pause to ask ourselves about the humans behind the games that liven up our lunch hour and the hours beyond. But if you’ve ever given up a chunk of your time to conquering Crush the Castle, fighting for your “life” as a zombie in Sonny, or battling through the dirt and blood of Warfare 1917, you’re already made a connection with the staff and community at Armor Games–as have millions of players before you.

The Story of Armor Games, Feature Story from GamePro.

An Entertaining Behind-the-Scenes Look at Modern Casual Game Artists

A Sub-Select of the Armor Games Team

Left to right: Daniel McNeely, Joey Betz, web developer Larry Root,
John Cooney and intern Danny Yaroslavski

The developers here make perfect, self-contained little game experiences that are addicting for a few minutes, but not all-consuming. For now.

A fun article by Megan Brescini of OC Weekly that exposes a few of the individual motivations within Armor Games.

Full Disclosure: It should be known that I am responsible for the upkeep of the “Submit Game” button referred to in this article.

Article: Little Games Are Big Business at Armor Games – OC Weekly by Megan Brescini

Non-Flash Users Get No Respect

Why is it that users who do not use flash are subjected to the most disrespectful experiences. Here it is again, Disney and their Toy Story website essentially gives the middle finger to those who visit their web site without flash.

Disney Toy Store Website (with & without flash)

Top: with flash, Bottom: without flash

Its been over 13 years since Flash was introduce. To assume that users who visit a web site without flash have somehow forgotten to enable the plug-in is simply naive. Users who visit a site without flash have most likely done so purposefully. They have either chosen to disable flash or are not able to use flash because of some other limitation. Providing absolutely no useful experience to these vistors says a lot out your site, your brand and your respect for your users.

CloudApp 15 Second How To (Video)

How to use CloudApp for the Mac in under 15 seconds.

Link: Checkout CloudApp

New to Cassandra? Check out “WTF is a SuperColumn”

This post by Arin Sarkissian was very helpful in getting me up to speed on the data structure used in Cassandra. You can checkout his post, download the pdf or view the scribd doc below…

WTF is a Super Column

The IE7 compatibility tag – Force IE8 to use the IE7 rendering mode

If your site is not rendering properly in IE8, you can force IE8 to use the IE7 rendering mode with the following meta tag:
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIE7">

You also transmit this information in the header of the web page response. One way to do that quickly is via a .htaccess file with the following line:
Header set X-UA-Compatible IE=EmulateIE7

You can read more information about IE8 and IE7 compatibility over on MSDN.

Techniques to easily disable flash in Firefox and IE

I get asked quite often about how to temporarily disable flash in Firefox and IE. Although there are Firefox Add-ons like Adblock and Flashblock, these don’t actually deactivate the plugin. They simply replace flash elements with static elements. For testing purposes its important to understand exactly what users without flash will see. With that in mind, here are two techniques I use to quickly disable the flash plugin in Firefox 3 and IE 7.

Firefox 3: Disable flash plugin

Disable Flash in Firefox 3

Firefox makes it very easy to disable any browser plugin. Simply go to Tools->Add-ons->Plugins. Select “Shockwave Flash” from the list of plugins and click the disable button. Thats it. No need to restart. When your ready to activate flash again simply follow the same steps. Screenshot not good enough for you?

Internet Explorer 7: Toggle Flash

Toggle Flash

Toggle Flash is a toolbar button that executes a script to temporarily disable flash in the browser. Again, no need to restart. Click the button and flash is disabled. When your ready to re-enable flash just click the button again. There is one quirk in that it dosent have any sort of visual feedback on whether flash is enabled or disabled. You sort of have to just remember. Regardless its a simple and very useful tool.

Toggle Flash Toolbar Button

Rietveld Code Review Tool

GoogleGuido van Rossum, a Google App Engine developer, has released into open source the Rietveld Code Review Tool at This web application ties into a subversion repository to create a work flow for the review and commenting of newly submitted code.

This tool was born from an Google internal tool that Guido developed called Mondrian. Guido gave a Google TechTalk on the Mondrian tool called Mondrian Code Review On The Web (YouTube link). This TechTalk provides insight into how the work flow operates and how helpful a tool like this can be. Perhaps something to play with on your next project…


Overview of Rietveld Code Review Tool

Rietveld Code Review Tool online Demo


Source code

Mondrian Code Review on the Web (Google TechTalk Video)

Say Hi to Aptana Cloud

Aptana Cloud

Aptana, the creators of one of the best web development IDE’s on the planet, has been broadening its product offering. One of them is the Aptana Cloud, its answer to providing an elastic web application platform.

So what makes Aptana Cloud different? From the looks of it they are offering an very specific LAMP based architecture stack that has tight integration with the Aptana IDE. They Offer developers synchronization and deployment management tools as well as an “integrated service management console”. Aptana Cloud offers administrators management tools, dashboards & stats, Google analytics integration, status tools and backup options. They offer development teams the ability to manage access to projects through Roles and Rights.

The interesting difference is that Aptana is partnering with Joyent to implement the Aptana Cloud solution on Joyents virtulatization platform. Aptana expects that in the future developers can select from a list of virtulatization providers including Amazon and Google.

From the sound of it Aptana is really looking to place their IDE at the center of web application development and give developers all they features they need to implement, deploy and manage web applications with one tool. The service is currently in closed beta but you can request early access (I signed up several weeks ago and no word yet).


Aptana Cloud

Web Development add-ons in Firefox 3

I have personally just cut over to Firefox 3 as my default browser. I was finally able to gather the core add-ons I needed to make the switch. Some of the add-ons are still in beta, but are at least compatible with Firefox 3 so most of he functionality is there.

Firebug (use the 1.1 beta) – Install Now
Firecookie (use the beta) – Install Now
Greasemonkey (supports up to FF3.0b5) – Install Now
Web Developer (current version supports FF3) – Install Now
Operator (current version supports FF3) – Install Now
PageDiff (current version supports FF3) – Install Now
Uppity (current version supports FF3) – Install Now
IE Tab (current version supports FF3) – Install Now

Not development related but add-ons I find very handy

Better Gmail 2 (current version supports FF3) – Install Now
Download Statusbar (current version supports FF3) – Install Now
Foxmarks (current version supports FF3) – Install Now
Foxyproxy (current version supports FF3) – Install Now

If anybody else has add-ons that they find useful along with information on how to get them working in the Firefox 3 please share in the comments.