State of the Web Site Address 2007

July 24, 2007. 11:50 PM Eastern Time.

Good morning, day, afternoon and evening to Albino Blacksheep developers, members, subscribers, artists and viewers. I want to let you know what I am working on for the Albino Blacksheep Web site.

I have a lot of work to do. To clean up old sections, and to add new sections and new features to the site. The plan is for me to make two passes through every directory before the end of the Summer.

Audio section

The audio section was one of the original sections of Albino Blacksheep. It started with a media player that played a random MIDI file. I even wrote MIDI files myself using a program called Noteworthy Composer for $35 on Windows 3.1.

A couple years into the site, I'd get some feedback from visitors asking if I could send them the MP3 of the file they just heard playing in the latest Flash movie. I spent many hours emailing MP3s on request. Then, finally, I used the audio section to a greater potential and posted audio pages for each of the MP3s along with links to the Flash file or video they were featured in, as well as the lyrics and the artist's Myspace page. Keep in mind I am not publishing MP3s that are RIAA protected. I am posting what the musicians already give away for free on their blogs and Myspace sites.

Last month I added some meta data to the audio pages, which I will get into more detail later on what this will be used for. The meta data contains the album name, album cover art, and the year of the song's release.

The list of audio pages were getting quite long, so I started to group them by artist. Songs To Wear Pants To and Lemon Demon were obvious choices.

Just last night I added a feature very similar to coverflow, making use of all the album cover art. You can scroll through all the album covers in a Flash interface, and double click the album to take you to the related audio page. They don't seem to scroll fast enough in Internet Explorer, but other browsers on Windows work smoothly.

I am constantly adding new songs to the audio section. Keep an eye out for new files in the list or new album covers.

Weather section

I probably spent more time on this than I should have, but I wanted to make the best weather tool on the Internet - no joke. The television weather networks already have updated weather on the Internet, but they are full of extra information, advertisements, pop-ups and non-specific locations. Not everyone lives at the airport.

My weather page can save your location, and you can choose between Celsius and Fahrenheit units on the fly, and this is saved too automagically. The current conditions and 10-day forecast (no slacker 5-day forecast) are all on one page. Checking the weather should only take a couple seconds, and you shouldn't have to click around once your city is set.

Most of the time spent was to create an entry for each and every weather centre in the world. I still have yet to add Antartica and some odd islands, but it's on the to-do list. Instead of a list for each US town, just add your zip code. I really hope people appreciate this weather addition to ABS.

Sports section

Right after I posted the Weather section on ABS Forums as a beta, and it kinda still is, someone requested a sports scores section. I thought it was a joke, but since I was already working on posting updated data, this would be simple.

It didn't take long to create a sports section in comparison to the weather section. I got some consulting on this for logos, thinking I would need a database of every team's logo, but ended up only using 6 or so league logos rather than 100s of team logos originally planned.

So you can go to the sports page and check the latest scores for all different sports, or pick a specific page for just the sport you like. It's kind of empty now with most leagues in their off-season.

I'm getting requests to add golf scores and sports from British and European leagues. I can probably add this in the future, but for now, US and Canada.

There's not much else to say about the Sports section at the moment on ABS, but my idea to add a star beside the winning team seems to be immediately duplicated by other sites that also run scores. I guess I started a trend.

I'm undecided on whether or not to syndicate news specific to each team. It may be overkill, as ABS Forums has only one area dedicated to sports, and focus for ABS should be on multimedia.

ABS and Apple iPhone

Oh boy. Golly gee. Another device to design ABS for, and I am not being sarcastic.

At first I created an Apple iPhone directory specifically designed for the iPhone, but now all of (the newest parts of) ABS is (/are) iPhone compatible. I added two iPhone StyleSheets that you can choose from in the Customize section. If you are browsing ABS from an iPhone, you will automatically be using this mini-sized version of the site, and an iPhone specific meta tag is added too that lets the iPhone know the site is already tiny-sized and does not need any zooming.

The iPhone does not yet support Flash. It is rumoured that this will be added in a few months, just like it took a while for the Sony PSP to introduce Flash compatibility. The audio section is perfect for the iPhone since the iPhone and MP3s love each other. Image and Tutorial sections are also compatible. Is that all? No, and here's where I did something fun.

I made iPhone versions of the previously mentioned Weather and Sports sections. Took a while, but didn't take too long. I'm getting quite a bit of attention from this too. My iPhone Weather and Sports applications are becoming very popular. I am getting requests to make more iPhone tools in the same style. We'll see, we'll see. I'd prefer if people submitted their applications to me to host instead, as I'd like to focus my attention on the rest of the site at the moment.

Flash section

The Flash section is definitely one of the most important sections on ABS. It's been neglected. The sub-directories should be up the date, listing all the files related to that category. I will spend the Summer doing just that, and creating new sub-directories when needed since Music Video and Miscellaneous are overly large. I even had to create a "Page 2" for these sections.

There are two new Flash directories: Too Much Spare Time that features Andrew Kepple's animations and Epic that features epic animations. More Flash sections are planned.

I'm updating some of the thumbnails, so that they are all the same size. I made a switch to widescreen thumbnails starting in January 2006, so now I must go back and make new thumbnails for the Flash files and made before then.

Flash expand/zoom feature

I added a new feature to the (new) regular flash animations. (Not interactive Flash animations nor games due to a Firefox bug yet to be solved.) This feature took 11 and a half hours for me to work on due to different browsers behaving differently. I figure everything works and I made the feature public. A couple days later I find it messes up the page in Internet Explorer 7 - a browser I do not have. I spend even more hours changing around some of the HTML code just for Internet Explorer 7, and now I believe it works for everyone.

The feature, by the way, is Flash resize AKA zoom AKA expand. You can click the "More" (formerly "Share") menu at the bottom left of any regular (new) animation, and you'll be given the option to make the flash file dynamically display larger. Each click on the expand icon makes the file a bit larger, or you can return to the original size. I made this expand icon to portray expanding size as best as I could. I hope it makes sense. I figured a zoom icon like a magnify glass would be confused with the search feature.

Enjoy watching the your favourite files on your large resolution screens. Keep in mind that Flash player can not always keep up with files that have high framerates or filters if they are stretched too large. Please use this new feature with caution.


Flash iframe feature

You can now iframe flash movies from ABS. Just click the "More" menu at the bottom side of most Flash animations.

I don't think Myspace is currently compatible with iframes, so you'll have to use embed codes here that I have only enabled for smaller games:

ABS Chat has moved

There is a blacklist that ISPs decided to create and share for what it believes to be bad IRC networks. LCIRC (Legally Challeneged Internet Relay Chat) has been added to the list by Verizon and AOL Time Warner. This has made it impossible for certain people to connect to LCIRC where the admins Ganja51, Bishop and Axel have, for approximately the last 6 years, genrously hosted the #albinoblacksheep channel for chatting.

Unfortunately, we had to make another copy of the #albinoblacksheep channel for those who cannot connect. There are competing networks that some of the chatters own, but it seems the channel may be moving to neutral territory: the Rizon IRC network. It is temporarily there until a decision is made.

Many will be pleased to know that one of the moderators, Killjoy, will not be moderating in the new channel, as the reason stated for many people quitting LCIRC's version of #albinoblacksheep was, simply, "Killjoy". No offense to him, but his moderating style was determined as being too strict by a majority of the channel members. For those who would prefer a Killjoyless experience, feel free to chat at the new location listed on the Chat page.

ABS and Facebook

Facebook is huge in my city. I have made Albino Blacksheep compatible with a lot of Facebook features. Here's where the metadata comes into play.

You can share pages from Albino Blacksheep on Facebook. The audio pages will upload the MP3 to your Facebook profile as well as album cover art and other info about the music. Just click the "Facebook it" link on any audio page, and this is done automagically. It displays cleanly and beautifully in Facebook - unlike adding MP3s on Myspace.

You can do the same for videos and Flash, but at this moment only some videos will be embedded. For most files, you will still get a screenshot added when you share a link. Just click Facebook in the "More" menu at the bottom left of a Flash file or the "Facebook it" link to the right of a video file.

Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to mention the Albino Blacksheep Facebook group again. Hopefully it stay active. There are forums, image uploading, comments and site news.

ABS and Nintendo Wii

Finally, Missile Game 3D is fully compatible with the Nintendo Wii browser. You can browse this whole site and view any Flash file on here encoded in version 7 and lower.

ABS and Sony PSP

The ABS has a mini-design specifically made for the Sony PSP. This has been true for a while, but some people do not know about it. The PSP design on ABS is larger than both the iPhone design and handheld design, but much smaller than the main design.

Most Flash files play on the PSP and all audio files should work on it as well.

ABS T-Shirts

Every week, once a week, ABS T-Shirts are mailed out. A loss is even taken to send them internationally sometimes.

Please buy an Albino Blacksheep T-Shirt. Especially if you want everyone you walk by to ask you about the sheep logo in the front.

"Oh this? That's the Albino Blacksheep logo for a Web Site I visit sometimes."
"What kind of Web site?"
"Well, it's got some games and Flash files like Evil Strawberry and End of the World."
"You mean the one where they are like, 'Aaaaaah motherland!'?"
"Yup, that's the one."
"I love that stuff!"
"Me too!"
"Let's have sex."

The T-Shirts are heavy cotton, so the quality is great. They are in limited supply. It's true, you don't need to make an impulse buy, but please don't be that guy that wants to buy one after they have sold out. Don't be that guy! Saying, "please, please, please" won't make them come back after they have been sold out.

Download section

I'd like to add tons of new free software to this site and re-review new versions of old software. I'm not sure if I will have this done by this Summer, but hopefully during the Fall. No promises, but downloads are definitely something ABS will get back into.

ABS and Cybernations

Unclebob is recruiting for our great nation. I'll just pretend I understand what this is.

Text section

It's badly out of date. Badly neglected. I must do something about it. I'm too embarrassed to link to it right now.

Video section

This is also something I need to go through and update. The new files aren't even listed, and I could add so many more - not to mention different directories. So expect a much larger video section this Fall - Facebook integrated, of course.


I'm not ending off with a bang. Here is the most boring site news possible. Probably not worth mentioning, but it was one of the first things I did when starting to fix up the site this Summer.

If your default language is set to one of the other translations available on ABS, an option for your particular language will be shown to you on the side column of the site. If your default is English, you'll see no change.

Exciting, isn't it?


Tell me what you think.