2012-09-27

Rendering Flash in Mobile Browsers

Introduction

Rendering any Flash (Adobe) file in a mobile browser is problematic to say the least.

It is important to remember that current (2012-09) 'smart' phones and 'tablets' are not computers in the accepted sense, but still, we expect them to be.

So, is there a solution, other than converting your Flash files to HTML5, or some other format?

The crux of the matter

Well, let's reiterate the problem...

"Flash assets do not render in a mobile device's browser."

The main protagonists are 'Flash' 'Mobile' and 'Browser' (I think we can agree that 'Mobile' is beyond our influence).

Possible action

We can change 'Flash' (lots of time, planning, staff, MONEY)...

OR

We can change 'Browser' (probably free, easy to install, available to everyone via the web, the device owner solves the problem not the Flash asset owner).

You can see where this is going, can't you?

Solutions (free)

Accessibility

The Nomensa Accessible Media Player 2.0 does exactly what it reads on the tin and also runs on iDevices.

Android and Mac

Puffin Browser 2 is a candidate for your iPhone/iPad or Android device.

Android only

Dolphin Browser will even run Articulate courses (tested on Samsung Tab 10.4)

Your contribution

If you know of other solutions, please share your insights here. Thanks. Take care.

2012-09-21

Twitter Widget is Off Line

If you use the Twitter Widget on your web site, you will know that sometimes the widget server goes off-line then your widget disappears.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could detect when the server was off-line and display an image of your widget with a status message, such as the one on the right.

Well, if your site runs on PHP, here is the code that will do just that. You will need to create your own 'widget off-line' image, but you can do that with Paint, or The Gimp (it's free).

Note: twitter_off_line.png is the name of the twitter image. 'media' is the directory that holds the image.

START OF CODE

//Check if twitter widget site is on-line. If not, display off-line image. The off-line image is a 'print screen' of the widget display. Ajust in-line style as required.
$headers=(@get_headers('http://widgets.twimg.com', 1));
if(!$headers)
{
    print '
    <IMG SRC="media/twitter_off_line.png" WIDTH="250" HEIGHT="200"     ALT="The Twitter widget is currently off-line." />';
}
else
{
    foreach($headers as $key=>$value)
    {
        if($key==0 && $value=='HTTP/1.1 200 OK')
        {
    print '
THE TWITTER WIDGET CODE GOES HERE';
        }
        else
        {
    print '
    <IMG SRC="media/twitter_off_line.png" WIDTH="250" HEIGHT="200" ALT="The Twitter widget is currently off-line." />';
        }
    break;
    }
}

END OF CODE

2012-09-01

Agile Manifesto and E-learning Development

Agile is an approach designed for the development of software.

I have duplicated the Agile values and manifesto below. The only change I have made is to replace the word 'software' with 'e-learning'.

The Agile approach values:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
  2. Working e-learning over comprehensive documentation;
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation;
  4. Responding to change over following a plan.

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, the items on the left are valued more.


Principles Behind the Agile Manifesto

  • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer
    through early and continuous delivery
    of valuable e-learning;
  • Welcome changing requirements, even late in
    development. Agile processes harness change for
    the customer's competitive advantage;
  • Deliver working software frequently, from a
    couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a
    preference to the shorter timescale;
  • Business people and developers must work
    together daily throughout the project;
  • Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done;
  • The most efficient and effective method of
    conveying information to and within a development
    team is face-to-face conversation;
  • Working e-learning is the primary measure of progress;
  • Agile processes promote sustainable development;
  • The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely;
  • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility;
  • Simplicity, the art of maximizing the amount of work not done, is essential;
  • The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams;
  • At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.

If you are interested, you can learn more.

I certainly recognise well established learning models encompassed in the descriptions above.

Do you think this approach has merit within e-learning?

Perhaps you are already using it. How has it worked for you?