Category: Blog Archives

These are the archives of the personal tech blog I used to maintain. For more recent stuff, please visit

Two fullscreen native windows in two monitors with Adobe AIR

How to use two fullscreen windows in two monitors with Adobe AIR

In my physical computing classes, the need often arises to display content on more than one video output (monitors, projectors, etc.) from a single AIR application. While this is certainly possible, my students often have a hard time figuring it out. This is why I put together this little tutorial. Continue reading

Accurate Timing in ActionScript

I’m currently working on a music app for tablets and needed a metronome to synchronize musical events. Simple enough, right ? Well, it turns out that creating an accurate time-reference in ActionScript is not as easy as I initially thought it would be. If you are facing similar timing problems, I encourage you to read on… Continue reading

Adobe Flash Platform

Using the Flash Platform in Physical Computing Projects

The Flash Platform is an amazing environment to develop physical computing projects. It’s easy to learn, ubiquitous, well-supported and, this might be a shocker for some people, it can be completely free. In this article, I will tell you why the Flash Platform is my goto choice for physical computing projects. Continue reading

Using multiple Starling instances in multiple native windows

It might not be obvious at first but multiple Starling instances can be run concurrently. They can even be attached to the Stage reference of different NativeWindow objects. This is useful if you are developing an AIR application with multiple windows or if, like me, you need to independently control what’s showing up in two (or more) monitor screens for an interactive installation. Read on to know how to set it up. Continue reading

Nape Game Dynamics Logo

Using the Nape v2.0+ Physics Engine in ActionScript 3

Nape is a powerful 2D physics engine which compares favourably in many regards to the oft-used Box2DFlashAS3. It is free and, more importantly, simple and quite intuitive to use. With the release of version 2 in December 2012, some important changes to the API rendered my previous tutorial obsolete. This new version now fully works with Nape’s latest version. So, if you are ready to upgrade, read on! Continue reading


10 ActionScript Tips

With experience any developer will gather a bunch of useful tricks that are not easily found in books, sometimes undocumented and a bit cryptic or perhaps so obvious they’re easily overlooked. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could learn those tricks without having to go through the many painful hours it took to acquire them ? Well, here are 10 of those for my loyal readers. Continue reading

Linking .swc files in various IDEs

Linking .swc files in your ActionScript Editor

My students often ask me how to use .swc files within their physical computing projects. They know how to use external libraries in the form of class packages but are a bit stomped when the library is delivered in the form of a .swc file. For those of you with the same issue, here is the linking procedure for various ActionScript editors. Continue reading

Logic 9 MIDI Note Numbers

Logic Studio 9 MIDI note numbers

MIDI note numbers are the unique numbers assigned to each note in the MIDI system. The MIDI numbering scheme uses 7 bits to identify all the notes. This means there are 128 notes (27) that can be assigned in MIDI. However, knowing which note is which is not always straightforward. Let’s take a look at how Apple did it in Logic Studio 9. Continue reading

Announcing Jmulator : an ActionScript 3 library to work with keyboard emulators

This winter, I’m trying something new with my students. I am inviting them to use a keyboard emulator for my physical computing class. It should make it very easy for them to receive physical switch data within their authoring environment (Adobe Flash). And because I want them to focus on the interaction rather than the programming, I created Jmulator, an ActionScript 3 library to simplify even further the usage of keyboard emulators (also know as keyboard encoders) in Flash.

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Styling the ‘alt’ attribute of images

Why on earth would anybody want to style the alternative text that is used when images cannot be displayed ? Isn’t that text meant for visually-impaired users (who couldn’t possibly care less about the text’s style) or for text-only browsers like Links ?!? Well, not quite. Read on for a very common use-case where changing the style of ‘alt’ text could prove useful. Continue reading

Opening a local socket from an SWF file

Opening local sockets is by default prohibited in the Flash Player. This actually makes a lot of sense. You wouldn’t want any website you visit being able to open a socket on your machine. However, there are some times when you actually need this. Such as when you want to access a Wiimote through WiiFlash, when you want to access an Arduino through SerialProxy/TinkerProxy or when you want to send MIDI data through flosc (link down). How can we tell the Flash Player to relax instead of giving us the dreaded “SecurityError: Error #2010” or the evil “Security Sandbox Violation” ? Read on.

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Using a Widcomm-based Bluetooth receiver with a Wiimote on Windows XP

If, like me, you bought a Bluetooth USB key in order to connect a Wiimote to your Windows XP PC, you might have gotten stuck on the screen where the driver asks for a “passcode”. This is especially frustrating because the Wiimote has usually already been recognized. If that’s the case, read on I might have a solution for you.

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Apache 2 .htaccess Cheat Sheet

The Apache HTTP Server is a very highly customizable piece of software. So much that for newcomers, simply trying to customize a basic .htaccess file can be overwhelming. Therefore, when I was tasked with teaching the basics of the .htaccess file to my students, I figured it would be helpful to hand them out a nicely edited printable cheat sheet.

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Physical Computing Bookmarks

Do you keep losing your physical computing bookmarks ? Well, for some reason, I do. I lost them when I changed computer. I lost them when I reinstalled my OS. I lost them when I switched browser. I’m so hopeless that I’ve decided to write this blog post in the hope to put an end to this awful sequence. Worst case scenario they will at least be cached by Google…

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Fixing Garbled French Accented Characters in the Outlook Web Access Thunderbird Plugin

The OWA Thunderbird plugin (link down) is a life-saver. Especially for those of you who (like me) have an employer that’s not too keen on open standards. However – for a long time – I have been plagued by  a problem that garbled French accented characters in the messages I sent. Until I got a message from Alvaro…

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Dotted, double and dashed CSS border styles peculiarities

In a course on the CSS box model, a student of mine once asked me in which zones of an HTML element is the background color visible. The answer, so I then thought, was pretty simple : the background color is visible behind the content and in the padding zone but not in the margin which always has a transparent background. It turns out the answer is not quite as straightforward as I thought…

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