(11 replies, posted in Shoot the Breeze)

DOOOOOOOD!  Twiiter is SO osam! I am tweting about writing you right now.

Just kidding.

Possible Advantages of twitters
- allows you to send a message out to several people very quickly
- allows you to know what's going on in a group of people
- a communication form somewhere inbetween email and instant messaging

Possible Disadvantages
- the feeling of being constantly connected is sometimes hard to turn off
- the temptation toward narcissism (i.e. being obsessed with yourself, sounding cool)
- alternate forms of communication may be more helpful (and perhaps more loving)

One other advantage
- Twitter is constantly down/buggy. When it's off, it's a fun way to see how dependent on various technologies we can become. Imagine if email were only available 60% of the time!

Oh yeah, regarding schools, if you do look at Dallas, I'd be happy to recommend some areas where the public schools are better or some good christian private schools. College Station is also good in this area, but I don't know the other city's school systems very well...

Other than growing up in San Antonio, my main claim to fame is that I helped Nathan find a Realtor when he moved down to Dallas smile

I would say Houston is the least appealing city in Texas. It's big, smoggy, cramped, hot, and humid. It's one main advantage is that it's pretty close to the ocean and beach.

As Nathan said, Dallas is a pretty nice place. My wife and I find that people are pretty friendly and things don't cost as much as other areas of the country. We have a nice community and great friends here. That said, it is a gigantic concrete city and it's pretty flat if you're used to trees or mountains. My wife is from Oregon (with family in Boise) and misses the beauty there, but she does pretty well since we like our house, friends, and church.

San Antonio and Austin are a bit smaller than Dallas and Houston and they have more charm to them. Dallas and Houston are large business centers, but Austin and SA have more culture and music as well as natural beauty with hills and trees.

One last place to consider: College Station is a city about an hour NW of Houston (and 3 hours from Dallas and 3 from SA) which is really nice. It has all the modern amenities and major stores, but it's a smaller college town (Texas A&M) so it feels very youthful and fun with a lot of bright kids and professors. I went to A&M and although I'm not a die-hard Aggie like some people, I often think it'd be fun to still live there since the city is fun and only around 100,000 people (including its sister city, Bryan).

Hope that helps!

Jason, we use SwfObject, but instead of replacing a dummy area, we replace a list of the announcements. That way, users without flash still get the announcements, and then users with flash get the wizbang factor... see www.dts.edu


The problem is when you float a DIV in IE6 and also add a margin, IE sadly doubles the margin. Here's a whole website devoted to the problem:
  http://www.positioniseverything.net/exp … argin.html


If any great designers located in DFW would are looking for a full-time (or part-time) web designer job, Dallas Seminary is hiring. If you're interested in Seminary there is also tuition benefits. Shoot me an email if you're interested.


(6 replies, posted in Theology Discussion)

I just read a book that discusses how technology affects the practice and understanding of Christianity. It's called "The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media Shapes Faith, the Gospel, and the Church"
I would highly recommend it for anyone who works in the field of technology...

I think the best solution is SwfObject (used to be called FlashObject): http://blog.deconcept.com/swfobject/

Basically, you create a [div] tag and put your gif in it. Then you use SwfObject to insert your flash in the [div]. If the user has Flash, SwfObject will replace the gif with the swf. If the user doesn't have flash (you can even specify the version of flash), then the gif will remain.

I use this on our home page at http://www.dts.edu/ for the graphic rotator.


(5 replies, posted in Ajax + JavaScript)

What you're looking for is commonly referred to as an "Accordion" (at least I think that's the part of the page you're looking for).

There are a lot of JavaScript animation frameworks which have this. The best summary I've seen is at http://tutorialblog.org/10-javascript-a … n-scripts/ which lists 10 different options.


For a class on "Theology and Society" this spring, I was assigned Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends editing by Kevin J. Vanhoozer (prof at Fuller). It does a good job of outlining ways to look at things in our culture (proms, blogging, Eminem lyrics, etc.) and understand the message they communicate (explicitly or implicitly). If you're interested in theology and culture, I'd highly recommend it.

Here's a file that will work called "passthrough.ashx"

<%@ WebHandler Language="VB" Class="PassThrough" %>

Imports System
Imports System.Web
Imports System.Xml

Public Class PassThrough : Implements IHttpHandler
	Public Sub ProcessRequest(ByVal context As HttpContext) Implements IHttpHandler.ProcessRequest
		Dim output As String = ""
		Dim url As String = context.Request.QueryString("url").ToString()
		If url <> "" Then
			Dim xmlDocument As New XmlDocument()
			output = xmlDocument.InnerXml
			output = "error"
		End If

		context.Response.ContentType = "text/xml"
	End Sub
	Public ReadOnly Property IsReusable() As Boolean Implements IHttpHandler.IsReusable
			Return False
		End Get
	End Property

End Class

No, Amazon can't stream. You must have Flash Media Server (FMS) to stream. You can do progressive download just fine with Amazon though.


PS. There is an open source Flash streaming system called Red5 (on osflash.org) but it might be more trouble than it's worth to set it up and use it.

What is the eventual goal of this code? It looks like you're pulling an URL from the querystring and then streaming it in to do something with it. That's not too hard to do, but it matters what you're going to do with it next... What is $thefeed doing?

Are you looking for ASP or ASP.NET? If ASP.NET, C# or VB?

We use a combination of Amazon S3 and Akamai for our stuff at http://www.dts.edu/media/

We use Akamai when someone plays an audio or video from the site so that they get the streaming experience where you can skip to any point in the timeline. If you don't use streaming, a use has to wait until the FLV is downloaded to play listen or watch a later part. Since we have sermons that are long (some even over an hour - yikes!) this is really helpful. But streaming is expensive, so it's not available for every ministry.

We use Amazon S3 for downloads - both downloads directly from the site and downloads via the podcast/rss feed. We look at a few other options, but Amazon seems to have the best price for storage. It's a little harder to use since it doesn't use FTP and you have to set permissions on files, but once we worked out the kinks its been pretty easy.

Regarding a flash player for the site, we built our own so we could allow users to embed content in their blogs and such. But Jeoron's player is great and that should work well for you.

Also, we run our RSS feed through feeburner for stats. It's also really helpful for getting the feed ready for iTunes.

Hope that helps. If that's not exactly what you're looking for, let me know ...


(17 replies, posted in .NET Discussion)

yes sir!

I know you're already done, but I can't resist recommending Cropper (http://blogs.geekdojo.net/brian/articles/Cropper.aspx). It is absolutely awesome for grabbing sections of your screen.



(1 replies, posted in ActionScript + Flash)

I created a Coverflow knockoff in Flash. I posted the source at:
  http://johndyer.name/post/2007/11/Yet-A … ision.aspx

It pulls data from an RSS feed to fill the content, so it should be pretty easy to adapt for other uses. We're considering using it somewhere on the Dallas Seminary media site (www.dts.edu/media) ...


I usually recommend Advanced Ministry: http://www.advancedministry.com/


(3 replies, posted in Shoot the Breeze)

Deborah, I posted about using CrazyEgg a year or so ago:
http://johndyer.name/post/2006/09/Makin … ggcom.aspx

I really liked it at the time, but now I just use google analytics since it does basically the same thing. CrazyEgg is more developed by more costly and I'm not sure I will normally need their extra stuff.

It's probably the PNGfix script that's causing the problem. You might not be able to use those two together at the same time. Or at least not use SwfObject inside a div with the PNGfix applied...


(5 replies, posted in Shoot the Breeze)

I'm on Vista. It's a nice fun upgrade from XP.

To answer your question: No, the standalone IEs that work in XP (from evolt) will not work in Vista. To do browser testing you'll need to have some kdin of virtualization. I personally use VMWare images of XP, OSX, and Ubuntu for browser testing. I did this when I used XP, so I the move to Vista wasn't really much of a change.

For Microsoft's part, they did release free Virtual PC images with XP/IE6 for testing (http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2006/1 … chine.aspx). But VMWare player is free as well and there are lost of great images out there pre-built.

Hope that helps!



(12 replies, posted in Accessibility Concerns)

It is farely easy to test multuple versions of PC/IE. It is possible to download "standalone" versions of IE that will allow you to run multiple versions of IE at the same time on the same machine.
- Background info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_E … t_Explorer
- Download site: http://browsers.evolt.org/?ie/32bit/standalone
- easy installer (IE 3,4,5,5.5,6) http://tredosoft.com/Multiple_IE
- run IE7 without installing: http://tredosoft.com/IE7_standalone

Hope that helps!


This morning I wrote a post about using CrazyEgg.com's mouse-click system for making design decisions on Dallas Seminary's website. I thought it might be helpful to see a real-world example of how visual mouse-click data can help in making design decisions that would be difficult to justify with analytics style tabular data.  Hope it's helpful!


Here is the official job posting:

Job Description: This successful applicant with design and develop web pages for the DTS website (www.dts.edu), the book Center website (bookcenter.dts.edu) and other DTS web projects.

Job Duties:

    * Design and Layout web pages using Photoshop and other graphic design tools.
    * Write standards-based HTML and CSS web pages.
    * Build HTML forms for websites using ASP.NET.
    * Design user interfaces for administrative sites.
    * Maintain SQL databases for websites.

Job Requirements: The successful applicant will have excellent design and technical skills and be able to work within a team environment. Must have previous experience with ASP.NET and standards-based design. Needs to be a self-starter and have a positive personality.