Star Wars soundboard

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The Star Wars soundboard is great fun: an Adobe Flash-based web application that allows you to choose from hundreds of Star Wars audio clips and sound effects to create your own two-channel soundboard.

Create your own dialog between Star Wars characters or mix yourself an electronic dance track, like this one that I put together one evening a few weeks ago, using “Maul’s face-kick” and the “Jawa ion gun” as percussion, overlaid with dialog and the odd R2-D2 screech.

Be warned, though. If you are a Star Wars fan you can waste hours on this.

Extension for creating sunburst effect in Fireworks

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For ages, I’ve been looking for an easy way to create a sunburst effect in Adobe Fireworks —because I’m lazy like that!

How delighted was I to come across this Adobe Extension recently called Sunburst by Aaron Beall:

This AutoShape creates radial sunburst patterns, with control over the inner/outer radius, the number of rays and the spacing between rays. You can add a single gradient fill and get a nice, feathered edge.

Google Chrome and Flash

On Monday I blogged about Shockwave Flash crashing in Google Chrome 10.

Reassuringly/disappointingly I wasn’t the only person to experience this annoyance. PC Pro published an article on Tuesday: Chrome update takes out Flash. The article highlighted a couple of things that I hadn’t realised:

  1. Google was now ‘sandboxing’ Flash; in other words, any issues experienced with a particular website that uses Flash (e.g. malware) doesn’t spread beyond the tab that is running it.
  2. The Adobe Flash plugin was crashing when there were multiple instances of Flash on a page.

The Google Chrome support forum has been a busy place of late, and I’ve been keeping a close eye on the thread entitled Chrome 10 – Flash Crashes.

Google Chrome channels

One piece of advise was to try the developer channel of Google Chrome.

Google run three release channels of Chrome:

  1. Stable
  2. Beta
  3. Developer

I generally run the Beta channel as it tends to receive the latest features a couple of weeks before Stable does.

And sure enough, now that I’m running the dev channel version of Chrome the issue with Flash has gone.

chrome-10.0.648.134

Above: Google Chrome 10.0.648.134 beta which I’ve been having problems with.

chrome-11.0.696.12-dev

Above: Google Chrome 11.0.696.12 dev which I’ve so far had no Flash crashes with.

I really love that the image on the About Google Chrome screen on the dev channel shows that it’s not quite as polished and shiny a version as beta. Nice touch.

Shockwave Flash crashing in Google Chrome 10

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Probably about a year ago I moved from using Mozilla Firefox as my number 1 browser to using Google Chrome.

I didn’t mean to switch from Firefox. I’d been a huge fan of Firefox since before version 1.0 was released. Hey! I even contributed financially to Mozilla’s appeal to raise money for the launch and my name was published with thousands of others in a full-page advert in the NYTimes in December 2004.

But Google Chrome was just so fast.

It started quickly (more quickly than Opera), it rendered Web pages quickly and being built on the WebKit engine it supported Web standards well and supported the latest HTML5 and CSS3 developments.

Chrome Chrash

But since upgrading to Google Chrome 10 (and 10 beta) I’ve had nothing but trouble with the Adobe Shockwave Flash plugin crashing every few websites.  Since Chrome 5 (released in June 2010) the Flash plugin now comes built-in to the browser, rather than relying on the separate plugin installation that Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer use.

It seems that I’m not the only person to experience this, which comes as something of a relief to me. There is currently a discussion on the Google Chrome help forum entitled ‘Chrome 10 – Flash Crashes’ which is making for an interesting read.

One suggested fix/workaround is this:

  1. Go to about:plugins
  2. Click on the [+] Details link (top right).
  3. You’ll see two listings for Shockwave Flash. I’ve got “10.2 r154” and “10.2.r152”.  The former is located in C:\Users, the later in C:\Windows\system.
  4. The advice is to disable the built-in version (the C:\Users version).

I’ve been running this workaround all evening and as yet haven’t experienced a crash.

I’ll be watching this issue very closely… who knows, I may be moving to Opera 11.1 for a while very shortly.

Update

Tuesday 15 March: that workaround didn’t last. Shockwave Flash has been crashing again this evening. So I’ve just re-enabled it, if that’s not going to do anything.

Update 2

Wednesday 16 March: I’ve now updated to the Dev channel as someone said that version 11.0.696.12 dev was working fine for him without Flash crashing.

Audio playing too fast

Here’s a weird thing. Ever since installing my new webcam (Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 with QuickCam v11.7 software) and after using it for a while, mostly with Seesmic my MP3s play at about 3x or 4x normal speed.  They should like a chipmunk band!

I’m still trying to work out what the issue is.  Could it be to do with the way that Adobe Flash Player is interacting with the webcam and audio input/output?

Strangely, normal service resumed as soon as I’d closed the Seesmic tab in Firefox and closed down Twhirl (Twitter client).

I’m also not sure what software/drivers I should have installed.  It came with QuickCam v11.7 but the download version (for XP) from the Logitech website is QuickCam v11.5.  Hmmm…

Update, pt.1

Saturday 21 June

I’ve just uninstalled Adobe Flash Player and reinstalled it.  Everything appears to be working as expected now, which is promising.  That may have been the issue … I’ll keep an eye on it.

Update, pt.2

Friday 27 June

The problem is still continuing, although not as much as previously.  It happened again this morning when I fired up WinAmp.  However, I’ve discoverd that if I exit from Last.fm that fixes the problem.  Not sure what’s going on.  Seems to have happened around the time when I upgraded to Firefox 3 and installed the Logitech webcam.

Investigations continue …

Update, pt.3

Wednesday 02 July

Having lived with this issue over the last couple of weeks, it certainly looks as though the main culprits are Flash player in Firefox 3.0 and Last.fm.  The audio in WinAmp just went ‘chipmunk’ again this morning and wasn’t resolved until I did the following:

  1. Stop WinAmp playing (not exit, just stop)
  2. Exit Last.fm for Windows 1.5.1.29527
  3. Start WinAmp playing again

Music returned to its normal tempo.  Very odd, rather annoying.

Update, pt.4

Monday 28 July

I’ve now not experienced the chipmunk audio effect for nearly two weeks now.  I found somewhere on the Adobe website that in order to run the Flash uninstaller fully it required a /clean switch:

  1. Download the Uninstaller
  2. Open the Windows Command Prompt ( Run > cmd ).
  3. Navigate to the directory where the uninstaller was downloaded.
  4. Run “Uninstall Adobe Flash Player.exe /clean.”

After that I reinstalled Adobe Flash Player 9.0.124.0 and all has been well again ever since.