The idea is pretty simple but could come in handy: when your OS's windows are moved off-screen, their essentials UI elements (think: buttons) stay at reach, sticking to the screen's limit. Go ahead and play with the demo, you'll get it!
When I moved in I bought an IKEA Ramvik table and while travelling this summer I had an idea (don't ask why): decorate its top with Lego bricks used as pixels. Here are the steps I went through. If you don't care about those steps and want to see a nice time-lapse video, scroll to the end of the article!
First things first. What are the Lego brick sizes and colors available? Oddly enough this question is not that easily answered. Probably because Lego's site is crappy, or because nobody really cares... I eventually found Brickipedia which happens to be a much richer resource than the official ones. Everything I was looking for was there: the Lego "unit" is 8 millimeters and the color palette is pretty simple.
Knowing my table size I had various options, depending on the "pixel size" I'd choose. Of course the number of bricks (and the price) would also vary. So I created a dynamic spreadsheet on Google Docs that'd do the calculations for me... Here it is, with all the options possible (French, sorry).
I chose the 4x4 option, quite cheap and still offering a cool number of pixels.
36x16 pixels of freedom, that's it. I tried lots of different designs, from lo-fi photos to pixel-art drawings. I decided to go for a Heavy Oblique Futura.
The Lego palette
I set my type to white, on a black background. The anti-aliasing process creates gray-scale pixels to smooth the curves, which is great, but Lego bricks aren't available in all colors! To have a realistic preview of what it would look like I had to create a Photoshop Color Table matching Lego's gray-scales (if you're interested, just ping me [UPDATE: here they are]). Here's a comparison between Photoshop's default gray-scales (left) and Lego's palette (right):
You may notice that Lego's black is a little bit light and the grays are yellowish.
Time to order bricks!
Already? Nope, not that fast. Before ordering I had to know exactly what to order, that means counting the pixels. Well, I'm not this kind of guy. I'm a developer; I hate repetitive chores, you know.
So I fired up Flash Builder and came up with PaletteCounter a simple, OpenSource, app to count pixels of each color. I also added some kind of "assembly instructions generator" to help us build it. Handy.
Time to order!
Really? Yup. I placed an order on lego.com's Pick A Brick and received it a couple of weeks later. Yay!
Let's do this
I'm not going to describe the process (that happened this saturday), just have a look at this time-lapse vid. 1020 pics shot in about an hour, yummy. Thanks to Céline and Julie for helping out!
Meet Dok, my latest and nicest AIR app to this day!
Always looking for help when writing AS3 for Flash, Flex and AIR? Think Adobe's reference is rich but browsing it sucks? Well, I did too. So I wrote this little thingy that loads, parses and caches help pages and then presents them in a slick and quick UI!
Since this app is only intended for devs and therefore may not be very interesting to others, I decided it should look good. So I tried my best and worked hard on those pixels and styles (colors and textures inspired by that sweet clock)... Jump to the project page for life-size screenshot!
This project is absolutely OpenSource, from top to bottom. AS3 classes, MXML, Illustrator and Photoshop files, PNGs and so on... Help yourself.