a stroke of luck

Error installing plugins in Eclipse on OSX

I’ve run into this problem twice in the last couple of days while downloading and installing new versions of Eclipse and trying out different packages for PHP editing (PDT and Aptana Studio). First time I googled around I couldn’t find a solution and so had to figure it out myself. Second time I thought that maybe I should make a note of my solution as other people might run into it as well.

The problem shows itself with the following error message:

An internal error occurred during: "Computing size".
Incompatible profile file name. Expected format is {timestamp}.profile but was ._1248736262197.profile.

This happens when trying to install a new plugin through the “Check for updates” or “Install New Software” dialog. The problem is because of the hidden ._* files which are created by OS X inside the Eclipse directory. The solution is pretty easy – open up a terminal and:

cd /path/to/your/eclipse/folder
find . -iname '._*' -exec rm -rf {} \;

WARNING – running commands like this on your computer can cause problems. I have run exactly the command above on my machine with no problem but if you manage to break your computer following the above instructions then I take no responsibility! That said, as long as you correctly cd into the Eclipse directory and type/ copy the command correctly then nothing should go wrong!

Hope that helps someone else who runs into the problem!

Hello Adobe feeds!

I’ve just found out that my blog is now aggregated on Adobe Feeds. So I thought I would do a quick post to say hello (hello!) and to link to some of my popular or interesting old content:

  • The launch of Sharify – a service to allow developers to easily add shareware features to their AIR applications so that they can sell them
  • jScrollPane - my plugin to allow you to create cross browser custom scrollbars on any HTML element.
  • Some audio programming experiments in Flash Player 10.
  • Some experimental javascript – playing with jQuery and Raphael JS to use javascript for fun and experimentation rather than serious “work”.
  • My jQuery datepicker plugin.
  • My experiments with tweetcoding – seeing what can be made in 140 characters of actionscript.
  • Some experiments with Papervision.
  • Flashr – my old as2 wrapper for the Flickr API.

I hope some of that is interesting to people. Moving forwards, I hope to be making many more posts about Flash, Flex, Javascript, AIR and more. Recently I’ve been programming quite a lot of c sharp .net too and I’ll to write up some of my thoughts about that from the point of view of someone coming from languages like actionscript and javascript. Plus I want to finish the bunch of half done papervision and audio experiments I have sitting around!

Interviewed on

Last week I received an email Pablo Parrado of
We’re trying to make a community portal that explores that social aspect of the Flash community and get to know the people behind the names.
He went on to ask me to take part in a series of interviews he is doing. I was honored to be asked and to add my thoughts to those of some leading lights of the flash world (42 in total at the moment). So I completed the interview and yesterday it went live. If you want to read my rambling thoughts about the past and future of flash then please head on over to my interview with actionscript hero. Thanks Pablo!

Flash CS3 trial breaks Juniper Network Connect

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here because I have been crazily busy working on a massive flex site with a great team over at Tribal DDB London. Hopefully it will go live at the start of next year so I can talk more about it. In the meantime, here is a quick tip for anyone having trouble connecting to a VPN powered by Juniper software’s Network Connect after installing the trial version of Flash CS3.

After installing a trial of Flash CS3 I noticed that I became unable to connect to the VPN. Network Connect would connect briefly and then pop up an alert saying “The Network Connect session terminated. Do you want to reconnect? (”

After a bit of googling I found out that there were complaints about the early betas of CS3 and the Bonjour service that they installed affecting networking. And this is what was causing my problem. If you press Ctrl-Alt-Del and look at your processes then you will find a “mDNSResponder.exe” service running after installing Flash CS3. Ending this process allows you to connect through Network Connect.

You will have to do this every time you have restarted your computer as the process is automatically started with the system. Alternatively you can stop the service which starts the mDNSResponder process.

Go to Start Menu > Run and type in “services.msc” to open the services configuration panel. Look for a service with a name something like “##Id_String1.6844F930_1628_4223_B5CC_5BB94B879762##” (I think the bit after the dot will change on each computer). To confirm it’s the correct service double click on it and look at the “Path to executable” – it should be “C:\Program Files\Bonjour\mDNSResponder.exe”. If it is then change the “Startup type” to “disabled” and press the “Stop” button. You should now be able to connect to your VPN.

As far as I can tell, neither of these solutions have had a detrimental effect on my trial install of Flash so I think that they are safe changes to make but no guarantees! Hopefully the information will save someone the time it took me to find the answer.

BarCamp London 2!

I’m just back from BarCamp London 2. It was really good, lots of interesting talks and a chance to meet some cool people. It was great meeting Carlos (creator of the amazing PaperVision 3D project), Ricardo (creator of loads of cool PaperVision3D demos), Aral Balkan (founder of OSFlash), Graham King, Janette Girod, Niqui Merret, Dan Webb and all of the other great people whose names and URLs I’ve forgotten!

Two of the talks were particularly inspiring for me. The first was Carlos’ PaperVision 3D one (unfortunately it seemed like it clashed with another really popular presentation so not that many people came). I’ve been watching the project closely and haven’t managed to find time to play around with it yet but am constantly amazed by how cool it is and it was great to get some insight into the Maya > Collada > .swf workflow that Carlos has made so easy.

The other especially inspiring talk was by Rhys Jones about web2os. Web2os is a really clever solution to the problem of offline access to web apps. Necessity is the mother of invention and web2os was developed because of Rhys’ long train journeys between Wales and London. Basically a proxy sits on your computer between your browser and the internet and can be instructed to cache requests and results while you are online. Once you go offline it detects this and simulates the server’s response while storing any changes you have made in a local SQL Lite database. When it goes online again it can synchronise your changes. Rhys demonstrated this working perfectly with Google Calendar.

The advantage over other possible solutions (like Apollo, the Dojo offline toolkit and Firefox 3) is that it doesn’t require re-engineering of the website itself (in this case Google Calendar). Instead a little web2os script is written for each website you want it to work with… These scripts end up being surprisingly simple. Also, because the proxy can inject HTML and JS code into the rendered page it also introduces the concept of local mashups. Anyway – definitely a project to keep an eye on – you can check out Rhys’ presentation on slideshare.

I gave a little talk about Flashr. I just gave a quick introduction to the project and then went through the code for a sample application I built in the middle of last night. Then I gave some examples of some of the cool things people have built with Flashr. The slides from the presentation are available on SlideShare and the sourcecode of the “application” from the above URL.

All in all, it was a great weekend and I’m looking forward to BarCamp Brighton in the summer and the potential “FlashCamp” Aral was talking about organising :)