23/12/2004

Darn, possible White Christmas in UK!

Well that's crap isn't it? So many years we've not had a white Christmas, then, just a few weeks before we head off there, UK ends up having one. Now I'll have to hope it will still be around come late January.

I've been sooooo busy, its unbelievable. I have so many things in my head, but no time to let them out. I would have thought having a laptop, it would be easier to do it, but no.

In the months since my last post, I've become a web and print master, now responsible for website production and bimonthly newsletters. The latter is a killer for me and the team! I insisted on getting hold of Adobe Creative Suite, and boy, was it worth it! The VersionCue system is just excellent for print production like ours (many many many revisions, some newsletter pages had over 50 versions, all backed up nicely thanks to VC).

More recently, I have been getting to grips with Flash Video. One of the best things of 2004, was the widening acceptance of Flash Video. Many big sites are using it, because it's so simple to implement, and it will work on almost any computer with Flash Player installed. Thats over 95% of Windows-based PCs. Add to that all the other delivery platforms, and you have a real killer-app here.

The initial sticking point for Flash Video was encoding it - you had to have Flash MX 2004 or Sorenson Squeeze to produce the videos. Although I have the former, I still find Flash a steep learning curve, and was put off from using it. All that changed, with Riva FLV Encoder. This is a free Flash Video Encoder. I've used it for MPEG1 videos successfully, although I have to pass them through TMPGEnc first, because sometimes the headers are missing, which messes up the encoding.

But the process is sheer joy. Combined with uvault's Flash Video Hosting Service, it's an excellent way of getting product videos etc online in the easiest way possible. No big plugins, no video player downloads. For a minority, it's a simple matter of updating the Flash player, and at only a few hundred kilobytes, there's no excuse for anyone not to be able to view them.

Gosh, now I'm emptying too much of my head, I'll need to do some articles on this I think, and perhaps start to embrace CSS for 2005 in my website.

My favorite browser now is Firefox. It's amazing, I've not come across any sites which trip it over, display capability is near flawless. And it's much better at saving webpages locally than the other browsers. If you ever get it on your platform, install it!

I'll sign off now, and wish you all a very Merry Christmas!