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Personal blog for technologist Noel Billig

Last Build Date: Mon, 03 Oct 2011 15:16:00 +0000


PlayaroundNYC. A Visualization of Playground Access in New York City

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 18:08:27 +0000

I’ve recently submitted an entry to the NYC BigApps contest. My entry is called PlayaroundNYC and it is a visualization of how well supported New Yorkers are by public playgrounds as determined by walking distance and quality. You can read about how the map works on the How It Works page. To summarize, pink areas […]

Pixie Dust. A Particle Experiment in Actionscript

Wed, 08 Jul 2009 05:11:07 +0000

One of the nice things about being a parent is getting to revisit movies you haven’t seen since you were a child. We’ve been on a classic Disney movie binge at my home and I’ve been really enjoying the movies from the 50s and early 60s. Figure 1. Tinkerbell in Disney’s Peter Pan (1953). Peter […]

Basic Flocking

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 20:59:26 +0000

The principles behind flocking behaviors were first demonstrated in a computer simulation in 1986 by Craig Reynolds. Flocking is an example of emergent behavior, which I touched on briefly in an ealier post about Conway’s Game of Life. Flocking behaviors are a lot of fun to play with, but simulating them can be fairly processor […]

Proximity Grid

Thu, 04 Sep 2008 19:40:20 +0000

This experiment is a byproduct of another project I’m working on which involves flocking behaviors. I was trying to maximize performance by eliminating the use of arrays and replacing them with a linked list structure. Generally speaking, direct pointers should be much quicker in Actionscript than accessing data through an array. In practice, I didn’t […]

Kicks Creator. Nike Launches a Flash 3D Shoe Designer

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 19:53:24 +0000

Nike has launched the “Nike Dunk: Kicks Creator”. The Kicks Creator allows Nike fans to design their own shoes by coloring and painting directly onto a 3D model of a Nike Dunk in Flash. The Kicks Creator goes beyond simply choosing colors, it allows Dunk fans access to an assortment of materials, design patterns, and […]

GraphicsUtil. A Utility Class for Drawing Arrows

Thu, 17 Jul 2008 05:07:15 +0000

I recently had need of an arrow drawing function in Flash which I wanted to use to annotate diagrams. I was unable to find one through Google that suited my needs, so I decided to roll my own Actionscript class for drawing arrows. I tried to keep the arrow drawing interface easy to use but […]

BrowserCanvas. The World’s Easiest Way to Dynamically Resize Flash

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 23:51:47 +0000

There are some challenges in Flash that are addressed with such regularity that it can be surprising that no uniform way of accomplishing these tasks has emerged. One of these challenges is dynamic flash movie resizing through JavaScript. While websites have been doing this for years and the techniques involved are simple, there are enough […]

Adobe AIR Impressions

Mon, 21 Apr 2008 18:59:05 +0000

This weekend I had some time to work with Adobe AIR and I’ve walked away with a different impression of it than I thought I would. While I wouldn’t say my opinion of it has improved, I would say it’s a different product than I thought it was. When AIR was initially announced I was […]

Curious Robots

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 15:48:12 +0000

When I was working on the current redesign of this site, I toyed with the idea of integrating a robot character into the site’s identity. With a site name like “doesnotcompute”, it seemed like the logical thing to do. I was unhappy with the results I came up with and abandoned the idea. Out of […]

Pestilence. Stylizing Conway’s Game of Life

Thu, 10 Apr 2008 14:50:34 +0000

Way back in 1999, I went to an exhibit on emergent behaviors at the now defunct Boston Computer Museum. While I had seen Conway’s Game of Life demonstrated before, I enjoyed it a lot more after seeing it in the context of this exhibit. Figure 1. A screenshot of Pestilence. Red is newly created life, […]