Doug’s Blog

Handily dispensing information to .00000001% of the world’s population

Archive for March, 2008

FaceBook Applications

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

I’ve been developing some applications on FaceBook and like what they’ve built as their API framework. It’s a work in progress, but is growing and getting better. My FaceBook profile is here, and I’ve built the following applications so far:

Ujogo Poker
: This is a more condensed version of the official website, and allows the FB avatars to be shown, adding friends, seeing user’s profiles inside the app, and various alerts to users based on performance, etc. The backend code is done in J2EE using the Java API.

This is a game to let users create confessions that are put in front of their group of friends for judgement. The backend is done in PHP using the FaceBook PHP API.

The Driving Test
: A test-taking game where you can add your own questions into the database. The backend is in PHP. It is a good thing I have an approval process function for when people submit their own questions, some of the stuff people submit is crazy! Perhaps I’ll post some of it someday.

All the applications are Flash (SWF) developed in Flex, communicating with standard backend services.

DataGrid with Multiple Pulldowns

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Here is an example that illustrates how you need to add some additional logic when you add ItemRenderers into a DataGrid. The way I came across this problem is I noticed that when I had ItemRenderers doing things like checkboxes or pulldowns, the choices that they were set to on a row basis would CHANGE whenever I scrolled or sorted a column.

I struggled with finding a way, as I talk about in another posting, and found that using the dataChange event does the trick, and I always create the ItemRenderer as a separate component instead of trying to put all the logic in the main mxml. The component gets the initial setting of the value for that cell via “.data” and then you need to maintain and check it within the component. This can end up with the coder doing some hacking, and my example is only that — an example. I’m sure there are more elegant ways to achieve this. But that’s one of the things I think Flex shares with Perl — there are always multiple ways to get something done!

Take a look at the first flash example, where I DON’T use the dataChange — then see how it works nicely on the 2nd example.

First example (Try sorting columns and see it randomizes each time):

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Second example (Works!):

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Download my code sample here.

Flex2 -> Flex3 font size issue

Friday, March 21st, 2008

I switched to Flex3 the other day and found that the font sizing for the default font has changed! So on most of my applications where I
painstakingly sized buttons so that they exactly fit the text label, I now see the text does NOT FIT anymore and has “…” at the end!

The Flex folks have some good solutions, see more on Flexcoders.

Doesn’t seem like normal behaviour for DataGrid!

Friday, March 21st, 2008

I ran into a problem the other day trying to create a DataGrid that had voting buttons as an itemRenderer. When an action was taken in that cell, the buttons would change, i.e., gray out or light up to show a click occurred. The problem that would happen is that, when I scrolled the list up or down, that column would randomize!

I found posts that talked about solutions for very simple things like a checkbox in a column that did not have any elaborate actionscript behind it, but not to address a component that sat behind the itemRenderer. I figured it out though, and the answer is pretty simple.

I had to add a dataChange function call in the component’s main tag so it would force the cell to rethink it’s status when the grid would scroll.

The main mxml:

<mx:DataGrid id="userGrid" dataProvider="{userData}" sortableColumns="true"
    draggableColumns="false" width="100%" height="100%">
    <mx:DataGridColumn dataField="Topic" width="100" />
    <mx:DataGridColumn id="votecol" dataField="status" headerText="Vote" sortable="true"
        itemRenderer="castVote" width="120" />

The castVote component:

<mx:Canvas xmlns:mx="" xmlns="*" dataChange="gridMoved()"
    width="100%" height="100%">
        import mx.core.Application;

        private var myStatus:int = 0;

        private function gridMoved():void{
                if (data != null) {

        private function doShow(n:int):void {
                // 0 means already voted, 1 is for, 2 is against
                if (n==0) {
                        v1.visible = v2.visible = false;
                }else if (n==1) {
                        v1.visible=true; v2.visible=false;
                        myStatus = n;
                }else if (n==2) {
                        v2.visible=true; v1.visible=false;
                        myStatus = n;

        private function doClick(n:int):void {
                data.status = myStatus = n;


        <mx:Label id="v1" text="You voted FOR this resolution" visible="false" />
        <mx:Label id="v2" text="You voted AGAINST this resolution!" visible="false" />
        <mx:HBox id="buttons">
                <mx:Button label="YES" click="doClick(1);" />
                <mx:Button label="NO" click="doClick(2);" />


My iPhone

Monday, March 17th, 2008

I love my iPhone! Don’t you love yours? I was what you might call an early adopter however, since I got mine in 1996. That’s right, the original iPhone. Luxurious large touch screen, full keyboard, speakerphone, and … 14.4k modem!

Yep, this thing was around a while back, spawned from the labs at National Semiconductor, launched by a startup I worked for, and then sold to Cisco Systems before they kindly gave up the domain name for an undisclosed sum. That domain name used to be registered in my name — I rue the day I assigned it over to Cisco :)

WTF Voicemail

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

My friend Steve threw a party a few weeks back and one of his uninvited guests left him this voicemail the day after. Wait for the image below and click it to hear:

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Think you know what the hell this guy is saying? Feel free to comment.

Blog is up finally!

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

I’ve had what you might call a blog since 1998 when back then we just called it a “web page”. I’ve been planning to create an official blog for the past few years but always had better things to do. Since I hadn’t updated my old “blog” for a few years I figured it could wait!

 But wait no longer, here it is!