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Issue 12   |   June 2000   |   Updated 6-8-00

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 we go (again)
It was something of a shock to type "Issue 12" and realize that it's been a year since Interactive Design Forum took its first tentative step onto the Web. It seems premature for a "Greatest Hits" issue, but we are going to revisit a couple of topics in this issue.

Every month I look for themes or ideas that seem to be circulating around the Web/design/education community—at least the part I'm aware of. This month's themes are related to ones we've discussed in the past few months. So here we go (again).

Cancer on the Web?
I wouldn't put it that bluntly, but I do have concerns about the abundance of meaningless Flash animations sprouting like dandelions all over the Web. In fact, Flash (vector-based animation software from Macromedia) is a marvelous tool for creating Web content. The problem is designers who use it to show off rather than to add meaning & enjoyment to the Web.

Of course one person's enjoyment is another's annoyance. Discussions have been bouncing around the AIGA-Advance list lately, some prompted by A Cancer on the Web called Flash, an editorial at, a website devoted to Flash & related work. Read the article for a no-holds-barred critique.

For a more positive approach, try the guidelines proposed in Using Flash and DHTML for Good not Evil at

My opinions can be found in the March issue's Comment. Vote in our online poll about Flash, too.

Someone please tell me why you've gotten interested in Barcelona again. I'm not complaining, I'm just curious. You see, last September I put a photo online of one of Gaudi's marvelous Barcelona buildings. For most of the year it went unvisited until last month when all of a sudden people rediscovered it and made it one of the most-visited URLs at this site.

So I don't know why, but you've encouraged me to add more photos and a recording of wonderful music we heard when visiting Barcelona last August. Hope you enjoy them.

CD-ROMs finding their niche
While the Web has become the 900-pound gorilla of electronic media, there are still good uses for CD-ROMs. In a strange confluence of events, two CDs documenting American tragedies were released in May.

The first is The Day the War Came Home, an interactive CD that documents the May 4, 1970 shootings on the Kent campus with photos, maps, and video interviews. The CD and companion issue of the student magazine The Burr are available at Also, see the online May 4 Special Issue. See also our comment and other resources related to the 30th anniversary of the shootings.

Another grim reminder of our need to understand (I hope it's that and not just voyeurism) such events is the investigation of the Columbine High School massacre, documented on CD-ROM by the Jefferson County (CO) Sheriff's office.

Might be heavenly
Two students put together a far-better-than-average electronic portfolio that starts with an animated conversation between them. They call it Purgatory, which may refer to the suffering they had to endure in creating this enjoyable and beautifully-produced piece. For more information, contact Heath ( or Andrew (

Your card, please
An interesting new format is the business-card CD-ROM, a CD-ROM trimmed down to about 2 x 3 inches. It will hold 40Mb of whatever you want to put on it: audio, video, Director or Flash movies, websites, etc. These small disks will play in any tray-type CD player (so it won't work in your car or a newer iMac).

Prices get as low as $1.50 each in larger quantities, making this a viable alternative for multimedia artists who need to promote their work. Other shapes/sizes are available that hold up to 250Mb of data. One supplier that looks promising (I haven't ordered from any of them yet) is DiscMakers at You can find others with a web search.

Erie Sirens
This month's cover image is based on a photo of a beautiful sand sculpture at Cleveland's Edgewater Park created by artist Scott Radke. This particular sculpture was created for a performance called Erie Sirens, but Scott's done many others. Take a closer look.

Continue this conversation
I'm pleased to announce that I'll be teaching a week-long workshop at Kent State University, July 10-14, 2000. During this Kent/Blossom New Digital Media Computer Workshop we'll use Director 7 software as a tool for creating interactive conversations via the computer.

As of 6/7/00 there are still a few openings left, so sign up (use link above) if you'd like to explore these ideas. A similar workshop in 1994 changed my life. I can't promise you that, but we can try.

                                                              - Al Wasco 6/8/00


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Kent State remembered... AIGA-Advance... Interactive Indiana
[May 2000]

myopia... Lab survey... Student web projects...
[Apr. 2000]

Flash animation: devil or angel?... Mexican graffiti...
[Mar. 2000]

Web usability... Mexican graveyards... online Valentine cards...
[Feb. 2000]

Yahoo!... CoolStop Award... Multimedia, the Web & CD-ROM...
[Jan. 2000]

Our new look... Goodbye, AOL... Ideas for critiques...
[Dec. 1999]

What I know about you... Teaching computer-based media... Nudes in Parma
[Nov. 1999]

Graffiti & hip-hop... Better critiques... Photoshop 5.5 vs. Fireworks 2
[Oct. 1999]

Swiss Design Quiz... Barcelona... AIGA / NASAD briefing paper...
[Sept. 1999]

Upgrade junkies,
Part 1.

[Aug. 1999]

Report from International Design Conference at Aspen
[July 1999]

"Interactive Design" or "New Media?"
[July 1999]

If no author name is show, article is written by Al Wasco, author of this website.
©1999, 2000

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