Archive for August, 2007

Basic Flash Detection using Javascript

August 16, 2007

Every now and then I have found myself on the hunt for some “simple” yet robust flash detection. This can be pretty easy to rip off from other sites but there seems to be quite afew different ways to deal with this and ofcourse the whole cross compatibility issues involved. I also really wanted one which didnt use the VBscript tags to try and create objects so after spending time on the hunt and finding nothign that really fitted what i wanted, i thought I’ll hack together a function which would. It incroperates quite a few bits from other sources but really just manguling together bits and tiding them up to fit my purpose.

The end result is a small and clean function that should work in both IE, firefox / mozilla browsers.

Javascript function is below:

function HasFlash(MM_contentVersion){
     var MM_FlashCanPlay = false;
     var plugin = (navigator.mimeTypes && navigator.mimeTypes[“application/x-shockwave-flash”]) ? navigator.mimeTypes[“application/x-shockwave-flash”].enabledPlugin : 0;
if ( plugin ) {
          var words = navigator.plugins[“Shockwave Flash”].description.split(” “);
          for (var i = 0; i < words.length; ++i){
               if (isNaN(parseInt(words[i]))) {
               var MM_PluginVersion = words[i];
          MM_FlashCanPlay = MM_PluginVersion >= MM_contentVersion;
     else if (navigator.userAgent && navigator.userAgent.indexOf(“MSIE”)>=0&& (navigator.appVersion.indexOf(“Win”) != -1)) {
          try {
               var flash = new ActiveXObject(“ShockwaveFlash.ShockwaveFlash.”+MM_contentVersion);
               MM_FlashCanPlay =
          catch (err){
               MM_FlashCanPlay = false;
     return MM_FlashCanPlay;


Tech Ed New Zealand 2007

August 15, 2007

Well its been a real busy 3 days up in Auckland’s Tech Ed.There were 18 intergenites all up and as work had it, we all showed up in bright yellow cammo army style gear which after the original shock, really looked impressive. We did manage to really enforce our presence there as you could amagine, 18 guys (and girls) dressed up in bright yellow army style pants would do. It was also very impressive seeing the social aspect/effect of this when walking out side of tech Ed and seeing the people of auckland taking double looks at us :-).

Moving on, there were some real highlights to Tech Ed (outside of the Tech fest party of course), they where

key note The key note was largely delivered by Lou Carbone, unfortunately I wasnt taking any notes as this was really worthy of it. Lou Carbone talked heaps about user experience, emphesising, you can have ultimetely crap service (or product) but still walk away with a great experience.One example (out of the many great examples he gave) was around him getting his hair cut during a trip to Canada. Story goes along the lines of this great looking barber shop that he went to to get his hair cut. He used strong visual words and pictures to describe the triditional nature of this shop, having native wood, fragerences etc. The barber himself was dressed in a white outfit as opposed to the more common jeans and t-shirt. So he goes in for a hair cut, gets the whole treatment, shampoo / conditioner, the massaging of his hair as this is all happening, soothing music playing in the background and gentel smell of aftershave. Infact, he was so happy from this that he also got his beard trimmed. As an added bonus, he also got his ear lobes genetly massaged (and how great that was). So when he looked into the mirror after the cut, he was supprised to see a less then average cut. Anyway, based on his experience there, he just couldnt help but keep going back, infact he started planning his hair cuts around his trips to Canada. Anyway, I really cant express this in such powerful words as he could but the underlying idea is around the experience and not always the quality (though I wouldnt think this is a good excuse for crap software, there really must be a point where the quality impacts the actual experience???).

Another example to this was based around staying at a dark motel where you might be too afraid to close your eyes at night vs a 5star hotel where the toilet paper gets folded in triangles to indicate the room has been cleaned and where your bath towels are foled into shapes, pockets or even swans.

One other important aspect to the experience puzzle is the wording, it is too easy to get the wrong message accross with small changes in words and the flip side is that it is also easy to get the right message accross using good words

I think this relates directly to the software industry as Its virtually impossible to create bug free software, however, if customers feel listened to and that the software provider understands their business / goals and believes in the support they are getting, chances are, they will keep coming back.

Software + services: microsoft’s vision for SOA, Saas and Web 2.0 (Michael Platt)

This session was a great introduction into some of the movements in the software industry and what is driving web 2.0.

The main drivers mentioned being mainly Business drivers (Mentioning both Google using the advertising model and amazon using virtual marketing with the focus on specilist books) and social drivers (myspace, beebo and facebook being prime examples). One interesting spin off to this was the fact that different “brands” of social networks had very different uptake levels from country to country. Another interesting point that he had mentioned and that has been in the spot light is the protection of peoples tention data (privacy and identitys over these social networks). He mentions Tim’s Blog article “7 rules of identity” for further readings.

Out side of this, He makes comparasons between Service Oriented Architecture(SOA) and Software as a Service, with strong emphesis on their charastics and the audience which ends up using them (SOA = loosely coupled, mainly used by enterprise, SaaS being picked up / targetted at Independent Software Vendor ).

His talk on the general web 2.0 aspect covered the strong uptake on mashup systems, user experience, architecture consideration and again, the security concerns.

Building rich Web experiences Using Silverlight and Javascript for developers (Joe Stegman)

This Session went through some of the basics steps around setting up a basic silverlight Project. It introduces silverlight as a kind of flash alternative (even though I dont think i ever heard flash mentioned). A few things mentioned which lead to this conclusion but yet for the life of me, I cant think of any one strong case which lead me down thgis path . There was also a lot around hooking up events to selverlight and alot of demos around the actual javascript involved. There was also afair bit of talk about the actual XAML. All and all, even though I dont thhink it was as techkie for the many c# developers, It was a great introduction to silverlight from a high level and it also highlighted many features to look out for with silverlight 1.1 (all demos were based on the current 1.0 release).

Fronde Debate – Agile? just another word for hacking!

Nothing to do at lunch time? why not show up to a light hearted debate on agile vs waterfull developement? This debate was a very humours debate, most of teh debate was focus more on personality and personal aspects of the actual debaters, however there were quite afew very good points that were brought out from both sides that at one point I was almost (i do emphesise the ALMOST) convinbced that the waterfall methology coukd work in quite afew situations, mainly, smaller applications that for what ever reasons, the application must be delivered within a short time frame that changes just can not happen… Anyway, It was a good debate and the debater from Mainfareight? did manage to put some good arguments through in favor of waterfull ( without too many personal attacks). The agile team did win in the end by audience vote but i think (as did the presenter), the Waterfall team did put a beter argument though. The ending few words came from the mainfreight debater who did confess that he was a agile man at heart and that they do infact work using agile techniques.