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Posts Tagged ‘Flapping Crane’


Friday, August 26th, 2011

On the subject of Apple and Steve Jobs…

We did several skits related to Apple:

The original script for iTape was a bit different. I had written it as an anti-DRM thing. I still like the final result better (Cunties! Cool!), but here’s the original, for posterity:

Closeup of guy with white earbuds, rockin out. Rock music is playing.

VO – “Watch out RIAA! There’s a new kid on the block, and it’s gonna revolutionize the way people listen to and share music!”

Pan down. He’s holding an ancient portable tape recorder.

VO – “That’s right! It’s the iTape!”

Cut to iPod-style silhouette of guy dancing with iTape.

VO – “With the iTape you can ‘time-shift’ your favorite songs from the radio…”

Cut to guy holding an iTape to a crappy-looking radio.

VO – “… Records…”

Cut to guy holding an iTape up to a turntable.

VO – “… Even from the television!”

Cut to guy holding up an iTape to a television. An Ashley Simpson video is on.

Closeup of finger pressing record. Cut to medium shot, guy gives a thumbs-up to the camera.

VO – “But that’s not all! You can share your collection with friends!”

Two guys with iTapes, standing close, pressing them next to each other. One is playing, the other recording.

VO – “The iTape is revolutionary technology, with state of the art audio quality!”

Closeup of an iTape on a table. A finger presses play. All other sound stops as a horribly dubbed version of “Hungry Like The Wolf” starts playing. It’s warbly and distorted, with lots of hiss, and you can hear people talking in the background.

Music lowers in volume; VO – “The iTape has new random-access ‘counter’ technology that allows you to keep track of your favorite songs! Just write down the number of the position where the song starts, and you can find the song in 5 minutes or less!”

Cut to guy fast forwarding, rewinding, checking paper with numbers on it, fast forwarding, rewinding.

Cut to spinning iTape silhouette. “nu ni nu ni nu ni nu ni”

VO – “The new iTape! Stick it to the man!”

Quiet VO, spoken quickly – “iTape requires 4 C batteries for 20 minutes of use. Required audio cassettes sold separately.”

I forget what “nu ni nu ni nu ni” means. I think it was a momentary inside joke.

Ultra Update 2010

Monday, October 25th, 2010

I’ve been really slacking on Flapping Crane skits. It’s really all my fault. I’ll try to turn that around this week. We have a bunch of good ones queued up. And by good, I mean awesome. And by awesome, I mean kinda gross.

The last few months have been fairly trying. Two friends of mine have killed themselves since July. One was a partner in Flapping Crane, and the other was a childhood friend I haven’t talked to for a very long time. I went to Eric’s funeral. Couldn’t bring myself to go to Nick’s.

My dad sometimes tells stories about friends who killed themselves. It always seemed so alien to me before. I guess as you get older and meet more people, the chances of someone you know killing themselves goes up. Those are just the odds. That doesn’t make it easier to deal with. But it does help explain it, sort of.

There’s been some other crap that’s made life a bit stressful, but I won’t talk about it here, because I like being mysterious, like a squirrel with a cape. Why does he have that cape? Does he realize how badass it makes him look? Squirrels are nuts, yo.

I’m currently mulling wiring my house with Cat 6. Probably going to do it through air ducts, with a wiring closet in the basement. Seems like a nice way to avoid some of the more confusing pitfalls of wireless.

This Thursday, the wife and I are going to a live(ish) Riff Trax show, which should be a blast. Friday night, my dad and I are going to enter a poker tournament. I fully expect to last at least 15 minutes, though I’m possibly being overly optimistic.

It’s raining outside now. Dig that sound.

Toofies 3

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Toofies 3Two skits in one week! I forgot to announce the first one here on Sunday: Old Spice Commercial #1.

Today’s is Toofies 3 (yes, I know it says “toofies4” in the URL — don’t ask). This was actually the first thing we had shot in a very long time. Probably 2 years. So yes, the new skits are fairly short and sweet. We’re getting back in the swing of it.

But this one really makes me laugh. It took some serious concentration for me not to crack up while shooting it.

The outtakes are kind of funny too. I might put them up after we launch the new site. Whenever that will be.


Thursday, August 19th, 2010

I’ve been making plenty of use of localStorage in javascript apps lately.  It’s a very simple way of storing data in the browser that can persist across sessions.  If you want to learn more about it, check out the Local Storage chapter in the excellent Dive into HTML5 web site / future book.

Anyway, I’m using it on a new version of flappingcrane.com to get around the downside to a recent security fix in Safari.  I wanted to have the icons for skits that have already been watched by the user to be translucent.  That’s normally a very easy thing to do using CSS:

.skitIcon a:visited {
opacity: 0.5;
-moz-opacity: 0.5;

However, there’s kind of a clever security problem with this.  In a nutshell, I can list a bunch of links on a page and give some CSS property to visited links.  Then if you visit the page, a script can examine those links and see which ones have those properties, thus telling me which of those sites you have visited.

A recent version of Safari disabled styling on the :visited pseudo-element for this very reason.

Anyway, this is less of a concern on something like Flapping Crane.  We can track what skits you watch, how much of them you watch, how often you pause them, etc.  While that might creep some people out (we only track hits or plays, but I’m sure many, many video sites track a lot more), there’s no serious security issue with that.  I can tell that you’ve watched “Bugles” 145 times (weirdo), but I can’t tell what other creepy web sites you visit.

So, while we can keep track of what client IP has watched what, there are a variety of reasons why I really don’t want to do that in order to style a few links.  One, I like to keep DB interactions to a minimum (hah).  Two, it makes for some clunky, ugly interactions that seem like overkill for a little opacity effect.

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

When you watch a skit (again, on the new site I’m working on), if your browser supports localStorage, it’ll record that you’ve watched it.  Since it’s stored in your browser, there’s no need for querying the database.  Then, when listing out the skit icons, ones that have been viewed get a “watched” class.  Any CSS I want can be applied to that.

This is nothing that couldn’t be accomplished by a variety of other means, but it is nice to have such a remarkably simple way of doing it.  I haven’t decided if I’m going to put in a way to do it with cookies, which have more limitations.

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