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Comment Think of Flash as the tool, not the plug-in (Score 3, Interesting) 507

Flash may very well be on the way out as a browser plug-in (a distribution platform, if you like).

It will likely live on a long time as an artists' tool.

Flash as a platform, a plug-in, was a way to solve the problem of "I've made this cool animation in Flash, now how do I show it to people?"

Adobe has gotten with the times, and turned Flash into a vector animation tool with the level of features for professionals you'd expect (think Photoshop or Illustrator). Sure you can make a "Flash movie", but you can also import your artwork from better creation tools, easily animate it with tweens (etc) in Flash, then export to any number of video or animation formats, or more importantly to frames or sprite sheets. Those exported formats find their way into your game, program, etc. The old "Flash movie" has nothing to do with this workflow.

The plug-in is decreasingly useful every day. The tool is quite useful for the designer/artist and will live on. You just won't watch Flash-created content in a Flash platform plugin. You'll be watching Flash-animated content (likely created outside Flash) in some other platform and never know Flash was part of the picture.

You don't look at graphics in a Photoshop or GIMP plugin, or play iOS games inside XCode, but the tools still exist and are useful, separate from the obsolescence of the delivery platform.


Spectrum of Light Captured From Distant World 32

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Cosmos: "Astronomers have made the first direct capture of a spectrum of light from a planet outside the Solar System and are deciphering its composition. The light was snared from a giant planet that orbits a bright young star called HR 8799 about 130 light-years from Earth, said the European Southern Observatory (ESO). ... The find is important, because hidden within a light spectrum are clues about the relative amounts of different elements in the planet's atmosphere. 'The features observed in the spectrum are not compatible with current theoretical models,' said co-author Wolfgang Brandner. 'We need to take into account a more detailed description of the atmospheric dust clouds, or accept that the atmosphere has a different chemical composition from that previously assumed.' The result represents a milestone in the search for life elsewhere in the universe, said the ESO. Until now, astronomers have been able to get only an indirect light sample from an exoplanet, as worlds beyond our Solar System are called. They do this by measuring the spectrum of a star twice — while an orbiting exoplanet passes near to the front of it, and again while the planet is directly behind it. The planet's spectrum is thus calculated by subtracting one light sample from another."

Comment Re:If only.... (Score 1) 32

If only you could "bump" the side of your computer to make that "impossible" shot.

If memory serves at all, you could in fact do this with the original Bill Budge construction set.

In addition to flipper keys, it had a "bump left", "bump right", and "bump up" key, that simulated bumping the machine in those directions.

If you overused the bump feature, the machine would tilt.

Obviously, you couldn't control the force of the bump or the precise angle, but he did actually think to include that key feature of "real" pinball.

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"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer