Category Archives: Programming tips

A primer on NoSQL technologies

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I recently finished the course “Large Scale Databases for Social Networking Systems” and learned a great deal about Google’s BigTable, Amazon’s SimpleDB and Dynamo, Facebook’s Cassandra, Twitter’s HBase, LinkedIn’s Voldemort, and other open source technologies including Couchbase and MongoDB, among others. For the tech journalists out there, media companies are also utilizing NoSQL technology, including The Guardian and The New York Times, just to name a few. I think it’s extremely important to understand the basic strengths and weaknesses of this up-and-coming technology and when to choose one system over another. I never envision myself programming in them, but I do hope that one day I can make strategic decisions regarding a company’s NoSQL implementation. Regardless if you are a programmer or a manager, hopefully my high-level overview of NoSQL and the major players will be helpful.

Move over Dipity! AVE, a new interactive timeline editor to put on your radar

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All I can say is IT’S ABOUT TIME! I’m excited to introduce you to “AVE” (ABC Visualisation Editor). As I envision it, this may very well do for timelines what Soundslides did for audio slideshows. Read my interview with Sam Doust, Creative Director of Strategic Development at Australian Broadcasting Corporation, to learn more about this tool and when you can expect to test it out for yourself.

Hosting options for multimedia websites

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I thought it might be helpful to discuss technical considerations when deploying multimedia websites. In this post I will focus on hosting options for your site and next week I will discuss email marketing options to promote the site once you have it up and running. If there are other technical questions that you would like me to cover, please leave a comment and I’ll be more than happy to tackle them in the near future!

“Django 1.0 Template Development” book review

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Ultimately, buying Django 1.0 Template Development comes down to what kind of learner you are: Django’s official documentation, the Django Book, and the Django users Google Group, should give most Web developers and template authors enough to learn most of the template system, but the book can be a handy reference and walk-through that will hold your hand in a lot of sticky points. The examples in the book are bound to teach something to even the most seasoned Django developers.

How to Create a Multimedia Promo Widget

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After being inspired by the Globe and Mail’s promo embed for their latest package “Behind the Veil,” I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Knight Digital Media Center has an easy tutorial teaching users how to create a publication widget. While the Globe and Mail built a separate flash file with corresponding embed code, this tutorial will teach you how to use Widgetbox to make a customizable widget for a blog/twitter feed, photo/video gallery, and much more. So, while in the mood to learn a new trick, I followed the simple steps to make a widget for II.

Multimedia Advice: How to build map mashups

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As mashups become increasingly more popular in multimedia presentations, it is important that producers learn how to create them. Therefore, I asked Chris to explain how to get started building map mashups, with information on both the Google map API and UMapper.

FlashTip: Updated tips on SWFAddress

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Since October, I have been receiving at least one email a week on my deeplinking with SWFAddress tutorial. I thought that one in particular might be of use to others trying to master deeplinking, so I am posting it here with his approval.

Conforming multimedia packages to user standards

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We have all heard the saying, “Design sites for your user’s computer, not your own.” If you are fortunate enough to have the freedom to build projects free of prior size and display constraints, you then have to decide how to conform your design appropriately. I was lucky to get this opportunity at The Roanoke Times, where all of my interactives lived separate from So, let’s look at how I handled it, what I could have done better, and what the experts say.

Example files and tips for deeplinking with Flash SWF Address

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Back in October I wrote a tutorial on how to utilizing deep links in Flash files. This post has consistently been the most viewed page on the site and I have been receiving several emails asking for help fixing bugs. Although I am happy to help individual cases, I decided it might be best to provide my files as well as publish other II reader’s trials, tribulations and success stories to help everyone out there who is also working with SWF Address.

FlarToolkit introduces augmented reality using Flash

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My former classmate Jason Tucker passed along a fascinating concept that he discovered using FlarToolkit. In layman’s terms, he described it to me as a tool that “uses your webcam, tracks a shape and then uses that with PaperVision and Flash Player 10 to create an augmented reality.” He continued by saying that “you could potentially use it to track a person’s eyes and use their webcam to control a panoramic image as they rotate their head.” That got my attention!

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