ERA404 Relaunches


In 2005, Sharon Haskell contacted ERA404 to work with her on developing the portfolio site for Lorne Michaels‘ production company, Broadway Video. ERA404 previously worked with Ms. Haskell on the site for her motion, still-life and collage work, The site enjoyed four years of steady traffic until Broadway Video updated their branding and marketing campaign.

This is when Creative Director, Katherine Burke, returned to ERA404 to develop a new site that was in-line with the production facility’s new image. This morning, nearly four years to the day, the new site launched.

The site incorporates 80+ streaming videos in entirely dynamically loaded content, deep-linking through SWFAddress, daily news/press updates with advanced searching and RSS  feeds, archival footage and information about the production facility’s legacy over the last 35 years.


ERA404 Relaunches


Back in February of 2007,  I worked with Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe to create the introduction and site tour for the Official Site of tennis legend, Arthur Ashe (“Honoring Ashe”). Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of designing/developing her personal photography site, a promotional video for Barack Obama, and other work. But this Spring, Ms. Moutoussamy-Ashe returned to request we redesign the complete site (which was originally designed by Sean Lightner and the good folks at Merrill Lynch).

Take a look at the new site, here:

And our 2007 press release: ERA404 Hired to Design Site for Tennis Legend, Arthur Ashe:
“ERA404’s team is young and energetic. They were good listeners and had the ability to grasp the needs of the client,” said Moutoussamy-Ashe. “I had a very pleasant experience.”

Flash Filter Hotspot Interference


I wasted almost an entire day this week attempting to figure out why a link started pulsing when activated by a mouse. The link, a 0% alpha “hotspot” or “rollbox” (as it’s sometimes called) movieclip (mouse enabled) with a dynamic textbox (mouse disabled), was listening for onRollOver and onRollOut mouse events. OnRollOver, the link was expected to switch indexes to the front, grow to 3x the original size and then ColorTransform to an active color. The index switch was updated immediately, and the scaleX/scaleY and ColorTransform was a timed action handled by Tweener. With the exception of the re-indexing, these tweens were triggered onRollOut as well, though in reverse. There are obviously a million other ways to handle this, and numerous tweening engines that could be used instead of Tweener, but this was the method I’d used in the past and was most comfortable with.

Upon testing, I found that most of the menu items worked fine, but some “pulsed” or flickered between growing and shrinking, as well as changing color sharply. Moving the mouse over the words while the tween was occurring sometimes seemed to thwart the issue. And some links seemed unaffected by the bug. Also, I noticed that when the link hit the onComplete method of the tween (meaning, it had finished growing to 300% and colorTransforming to the active state), the pulsing stopped.

Read more

Flash Indexing with External Resource Loading

flashFrom Google’s Webmaster Central:
We just added external resource loading to our Flash indexing capabilities. This means that when a SWF file loads content from some other file—whether it’s text, HTML, XML, another SWF, etc.—we can index this external content too, and associate it with the parent SWF file and any documents that embed it.

This new capability improves search quality by allowing relevant content contained in external resources to appear in response to users’ queries. For example, this result currently comes up in response to the query [2002 VW Transporter 888]:

Read the entire story, here»

NBC Universal Milestones Timeline

Broadway Video Senior Designer, Katherine Burke, approached my company (ERA404) to develop the ActionScript 3 interface for NBC Universal‘s 5-Year Anniversary project, entitled “Milestones.” The site, designed by Ms. Burke, is hosted on and linked from, and The interface provides a timeline for users to chart NBC Universal’s major achievements over the past five years.


Stamen Design


I came across this site when Sean McDonald forwarded me a link to SF MOMA’s brilliant new site “SF MOMA ArtScope”. (Which, while, functionally, it takes a little while to figure out, the feature-packed design makes it an absolute pleasure to navigate and learn about the collection of modern art on the left coast).

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Flash Cookies

Ever want to be able to reference personalized information each time a user visits your Flash? Before Flash MX, you needed to use PHP cookies. But Macromedia/Adobe created Flash Cookies called SharedObjects to make this easier for you. I’m not kidding! It’s like two lines of code to save and retrieve locally-stored data each time a user browses the site.

Case and point, try entering your name and age to the Flash below. Then, click “Store” and either click the “Refresh” button, refresh your browser or hit F5.


This Flash movie cannot load. You are viewing this because:

1. You have no Flash Plug-In (Click here to download)

2. Your Flash Plug-in is older than the necessary version required to play this movie (Click here to reload the movie and click “Yes” when asked to upgrade your plug-in.)

That data is stored as a SharedObject in your Flash Plug-in directory on your local computer. Even if you close the browser and re-open it, that data remains for you. This is especially helpful if you’ve created a game or chat client or application that requires this basic data each time a user accesses the site. And while it’s mildy-invasive, it’s pretty similar to the same process most sites use for storing information locally through PHP.

By default, the player enables you to store 100kb of data for each domain. Should you try to store more than that, the Adobe Flash Player settings dialogue box will pop-up over your movie to ask the user to increase their information quota. They can also click a checkbox that denies Flash Cookies from saving anything to their computers. If this is the case, your Flash should present the standard fields for re-entering this data and storing it as variables inside the Flash, this way you can be sure your movie will run if it requires personalized data. In fact, I’d recommend not storing information to cookies that would disable your movie if not present even if you provide the aforementioned standard fields.

Here’s how it works. First, create a SharedObject on the first frame of your Flash:

var local_data:SharedObject = SharedObject.getLocal(“user_data”);

Then store whatever you want to it: = “Don”;

Then, optionally, you can force the Flash to store the data immediately, rather than waiting for the movie to be closed:


And, that’s it! Referencing the stored data is just as easy:

trace(; //Outputs: Don

Feedback and questions always welcome.

Download Flash Cookie Example (RAR)
 Flash FLA, Flash SWF, SWFObject
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