Odds and Ends for Aug 17 2008

It's been a while since we did one of these. It's sort of like an entire tumblelog in one post. For what it's worth, many (though not all) of these come from the Twitter account.

Let's warm up with a visual definition of recursive. Okay then, moving on.


I'm not sure exactly what's going on here, but it looks like Processing.js is an implementation of the Processing visualization language for the canvas element in Safari and Firefox. Either way, the results are impressive (particularly this one).

Keith Lang, co-founder and interaction designer of Plasq (and now official CocoaHeads WWDC alum), has a new blog called UI and us. The focus is on user interaction, with interviews, news, and random thoughts. The first interview was with Wil Shipley. Looking forward to reading more. Stuffed bears FTW.

David McNerney — an NSCoder Night regular — has put together a screensaver called Moving Photos 3D, which similar to the "iTunes album art city" demo used for Core Animation. It got a staff pick at Apple downloads. Here's another variation on the photo screensaver concept, also by David.

Moving Photos Screensaver

Rucola is a framework for simplifying the creation of RubyCocoa apps. It allows you to do a lot of common Xcode-ish tasks using rake, and includes generators for common types of classes. I don't necessarily recommend this for Cocoa newbies because knowing Xcode is essential if you want to be an accomplished Mac programmer, but if you know what you're doing, have fun.

ActiveRecord ported to Objective-C. Haven't looked at the code yet, but the concept seems promising.

If you haven't seen it, PSMTabBarControl gives you ready-to-use window tab controls, complete with multiple appearances, badges, spinners, and so on. Again, I haven't looked at it in detail, but seems interesting.

GCDrawKit is stunning. It's effectively Illustrator as an open source Cocoa framework. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but it's an incredibly rich set of classes for implementing a vector drawing. As if that wasn't enough, an actual drawing program is available as a demo app — complete with layers, styles, booleans, transforms, text on a path, and so on. Also see the "mini demo" for something simpler. Ridiculous, amazing.


I've been playing around with Rails again, and so far really like APIdock for Rails/Ruby API reference and noobkit.com for succinct, clear examples. I also stumbled on an amazingly well-done interactive Ruby tutorial by why the lucky stiff.

Speaking of Rails, Phusion Passenger — which is maybe better known as mod_rails — is fantastic. This promises far easier deployment of Rails app by basically going the PHP route: use an Apache module.

Red Artisan has an interesting article on using Core Image from Rails to handle image uploads. I just skimmed it, but the gist is it might be easier to use stuff built into the OS X instead of using third-party libraries.

Johnny Lee on using the Wiimote to create a low-cost interactive whiteboard. Hard to explain, sorta need to see it in action.


The epic Optimus Prime versus Megatron battle from the animated Transformers movie, remade in 3D. Beyond excellent.

In Animator versus Animation, a character drawn in Flash does battle with the artist. Very well done.

A Thousand Words — an incredible short film for Pangea Day by Ted Chung. Zero dialog.

"Monty Oum" has a two-part short film at GameTrailers called Dead Fantasy (watch part two after) which matches up female characters from Dead or Alive and Final Fantasy in an all-out brawl. I'm not really into either series, but this some of the most stunningly-choreographed martial arts 3D animation I've ever seen, and somehow manages to keep up a frantic pace for minutes on end. Brilliant.

Barbara Walters interviews the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It's sort of funny by itself, but the thing I love about this clip is the improv feel of it — something that's impossible with animation.

Since we're on the topic, I have to mention the TMNT arcade game (watch in high quality). This game is perfect. Four player simultaneous cooperative play, each gets their own turtle. Imagine that, but played during somebody's birthday at Bullwinkle's/Chucky Cheese, where you only take a momentary break to go get a piece of pizza or get more tokens:

A video explanation of Time Dilation according to relativity. This stuff never seems less creepy.

Dan from Totally Rad Show trying to drink a cup of tea. Total win. Laugh so hard that the eyes water.

Since the first clip was two giant robots destroying each other, it seems appropriate to balance it out. I present to you Watch this and you will smile by Dustin Gardener. Fair warning: this is very touchy feely. I'm serious, it's sappy. Turn back now. Maybe you want to see a trailer for Gears of War 2?

You watched it anyway.
Design Element
Odds and Ends for Aug 17 2008
Posted Aug 17, 2008 — 5 comments below


Steven Degutis — Aug 17, 08 6253

I remember reading maybe a month ago that Adium had begun using PSMTabBarControl and actually modified it to include many advantages over the former. I was going to link it, but I just can't find the darn link to where it says that, to back me up! So, just throwing it out there in case anyone is interested.

Savvy — Aug 17, 08 6254


See "New Tabs via PSMTabBarControl"

Brad Larson — Aug 17, 08 6255

As a (minor) contributor to and user of DrawKit, I would like to second the recommendation that anyone interested in vector graphics on the Mac give it a look. It is powerful and flexible and with the right UI wrapper could indeed become a challenge to Illustrator on the Mac.

Right now, documentation is a bit lacking, but due to the self-documenting nature of Cocoa, DrawKit is not impossible to get into. In the short term, I'd recommend perusing the mailing list archives. The list has been quite active as of late, and many of your questions might be answered there. The author, Graham Cox, is very responsive and has a strong grasp on the mathematical and graphics fundamentals behind this. For example, in response to a question about drawing optimization he wrote two solutions to the Traveling Salesman Problem in a few days.

At SonoPlot, we based the CAD layout program for our robotic fluid dispensers on DrawKit. We're releasing the code for that application under the BSD license (source for a beta is available right now as well as a binary). Unfortunately, we do not yet have a support page up for this at our main site, so I'll have to refer you to the mailing list archives for more information. Even though this is an application-specific program, it should provide yet another example of the power of the framework.

Jason Barry — Aug 19, 08 6258

Wow... I used to play the TMNT game all the time. My other favorite was The Simpsons arcade game.

Scott Stevenson — Aug 20, 08 6264 Scotty the Leopard

@Jason Barry: Wow... I used to play the TMNT game all the time. My other favorite was The Simpsons arcade game.

Totally forgot about that one. TMNT was my favorite of that kind of game, but Simpsons was pretty good too.


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