Flash in ze Pan

Saviour of ze universe!

Ja, ze stompink soundtrack by Qveen vas correct; Flash is indeed ze saviour of ze universe. Or at least of ze Vorld Vide Veb. Vizout Flash, vat vould ze Veb be but a barren vasteland of vords, pictures und sounds? Ze audience of today is more demandink: zey demand vords, pictures und sounds combined into vun file vich takes a long time to download. Und for zis, Flash ist ideal.

But vot is Flash, you may ask.

Vell, go on. Ask.

Vy are you vaitink? Ask, damnen zie!

Zat ist better. Flash ist ein proprietry format. Zis means zat I should be using ze trademark™ symbols™ every time I mention ze vord. To use it, you must trade some marks (alzough nowadays you must trade euros, vich strictly speaking vould be T€). So from now on I vill use zis symbol alvays. Flash™! Aaaaaaaa-ch®!

As ein proprietry format, Flash™ ist beyond ze understanding of mere mortals like you und ich. Vell, you. Its secrets are locked up inside binary code, vich can only be understood by very klever people like Doktor Komputor und very dumbkopf machines like ein actual komputor. Here ist ein example of binary code:


Ha! Ha! Ist hilarious, ja? I particularly like ze punchline. 1010010101000... ist ein krack-up.

Every Flash™ file looks like zis, und cannot be read by ze naked ein or ze basic browser. If you try to open ze Flash™ in ze basic browser, you vill see zis:

Das Plug-In

Vot zis means is, a piece of ze mysterious puzzle zat is your komputor is missink. Ist your job to find it. You must look everyvere! You look in your system folder; ist nicht zere. You look in your recycle bin; ist full of vacky GIFs your freunde hast sent. You look on ze Vorld Vide Veb—und miraculously, ist zere, on ze veb site of Macromedia ze Merciless.

Vot you have found ist ein Plug-In. Zese are so called because your komputor vill not vork unless it is plugged in. But be careful! If you install ze wrong plug-in, it vill be like plugging in ze wrong plug, und your komputor vill go flash. Und not ze kind of Flash™ ve are vanting.

Ven you have downloaded ze Plug-In und registered under ze false name of Otto von Bismarck, 1 Brandenburger Tor, Berlin, you vill find zat ze next time you visit ze puzzling veb pages, ze mystery vill be solved. Now you vill see zis:

All Your Base Are Belong to Cats

Vy? Because every Flash™ file must contain drei things:

  • A reference to a video game from ze 1980s vich no-vun remembers playink but vith vords amusinkly translated from ze original Japonisches;
  • Pictures of fluffy kittens vearink Viking helmets; und
  • Music vich is old enough to be out of kopyricht, so from 1985 or earlier. (Ist older zan ze creators of most Flash™ files, so must be out of kopyricht, ja?)

Ist so rife vith creative possibilities zat I can tell zat you vant to try makink vun yourself. But ist difficult, ja? Nein! Ist easy. To make ze Flash™ files, all you need is ein special program called, confusinkly, Flash™. Ze Plug-In to see ze Flash™ files is called Flash™ also. Zis ist more flashes zan at ze fütball match, ja?

Vunce you have traded ze marks (or euros) for ze copy of Flash™, you can start making ze Flash™ of your own to vatch later vith ze Flash™. But first, you must collect ze pictures und musiks to use in ze makink.

Fortunately, pictures und musiks are everyver on ze Vorld Vide Veb, und easy to find. Zeir owners vill not mind if you use zem. Information vants to be frei! Inasmuch as ze pure concept can be said to possess human emotions like "vanting", und barring certain contractual difficulties. Anthropomorphism und kopyricht lawyers vant to be frei!

To get ze pictures, use ein special trick called "screen capture". Zis requires ze use of function keys, high-powered rifles und tranqvilizer darts. Ze screens can be found grazing on ze savannahs of Afrika, so can be difficult to capture, as not every browser can reach zem. Fortunately, zere is now vun vich can.

Ven you have ze screens safely captured in ze holding pens of your hard disk, skin und gut zem und crop down to only ze part you vant, leavink ze rottink hides for ze vultures. Ze result vill look something like zis:

Ze Fluffy Kitten

Ist certainly fluffy, ja? Und vith some clever Photoshoppink, ve can transform zis fluffy kitten into das genuine Bavarian fighting cat:

Ze Fighting Cat

Vunderbar! Now ve need ze 1980s videogame reference. I recommend Donkey Kong, as vas produced by ein small company vich nobody had ever heard of vich vill never sue. Also, it too used information vich vanted to be free, in ze form of marks traded by ein obscure Hollyvood film studio.

So, ve need also ze picture of ein donkey:

Ein Donkey

Vich ve zen turn into ze picture of ein Viet Kong:

Ein Viet Kong


Ze final step ist to find some old musiks to accompany ze Flash™. Sound qvality ist very important here. Too little, und your Flash™ file vill be unexcitink und flat. For zat reason I cannot recommend ze MP3s or ze Oggs. On mein stonkin' Bose® stereo zey sound like members of Scorpion wrestling in lava. (Nein, sorry, ist mein special collection of private DVDs. Never mind.)

Ze best option is to go for ein pure sound format zat uses no compression vatsoever. Ze answer ist obvious: MIDI. Ist so named because ist ideal for ze middle-of-ze-road musik, or "muzak". Und zis is vot ve vill be usink.

Unfortunately, ze MIDI format does not vork mit Flash™, so ve must first convert to AIFF or VAV. Zis involves some increase in file size: eintausendfold increase, to be exact. Mein example file, for mein example, is 36K in MIDI und 31.4MB in AIFF. Ist kein problem if you have at least 31 floppy disks for storink.

Open ze Flash™ und Import ze sound files und ze pictures of fighting cats und Donkey Kongs. You may have to bribe some customs officials to escape ze vatchful eyes of ze RIAA vile importink; several millionen US dollars to your nearest member of Kongress should do ze trick.

Now, follow ze helpful instruktions in ze Help file to make ze pictures dance around to ze happy musiks. Dance! Dance, you fools! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ist most amusink.

Finally, Export your Flash™ file to any country except Irak, Kuba, Syria, Afghanistan or Norvay. Upload to ze Veb server und ist ready to be viewed by anyvun mit ze Plug-In. "Put ze plug in und avoid ze brain drain", as ve Flash™ developers say. I am not sure vy.

Here is ze final result.

Now zat you know how ze Flash™ is made, you can use it to replace everything else on your vebsite: HTMLs, PDFs, MP3s und B52s. After all, ein pikture says ein tausend vords—especially if zose vords are "lions and donkeys dancing around to cheesy old jingles". Best of all, you vill be guaranteed to get ze links from high-traffik vebsites every Friday vich vill bring your pitiful GeoCities site to its knees, und zat is vunderbar.

Das ist all, Volks!

21 March 2003

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