Monthly Archives: October 2008

Washington Post Cartoon Contest – Bitstripped!

While there’s 5 days left before the Presidential Election, you can vote RIGHT NOW on something almost as important – the Cartoon Contest at Michael Cavna’s Comic Riffs blog on washingtonpost.com!

Recently Michael started this contest to gather the best election strips from around the web – and of course, the Bitstrips community stepped up to the challenge – so much so, that ALL of the finalists are… Bitstrips!

We’d like to thank our community for their clever insight, creative powers and all-around moxie for taking over this contest.  And big thanks to Michael Cavna too, for showcasing our talented authors and giving props to Bitstrips.

Now – go to the Comic Riffs blog and VOTE for the winner – which will be posted next week once the dust settles.  Voting is open until election day!

Way to go Bitstrippers!

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New Beta: Buddy's Hidden Shame

My Fellow Bitstrippers, we felt it was time to reveal one of Buddy’s darkest secrets from his sordid past. In Grade 3, Buddy failed Mrs. Burkes English class. The horror! Buddy has been struggling with logophobia ever since.

Buddy's Hidden Shame

It has only been through great personal determination that Buddy has been able to bring you his Editorials – the pain and sacrifices he’s made to properly form his messages to you have taken their toll. That’s why we’re happy to announce a new beta version – BS 2008-10-17! We’ve continued to iron out several text-bubble bugs, as well as one major new feature – spell checking.

The keen observer will notice the red squiggles in the picture above. When typing in a textbubble, misspelled words will be highlighted and suggestions provided when you right-click (or on a mac, ctrl-click) on them.

We’re looking for feedback on this latest beta – when you submit a bug on a beta builder, add “BETA” to the bug form, or when you send us an email, be sure to mention you’re using the beta builder.

Once this beta has been well tested we’ll move it out so that everyone can take advatange of it. We’re loking forwerd to ceeing the best speled comiks in the wurld!

We’d also like to thank gskinner.com for writing a great bit of code – Spelling Plus Library. It’s what we’re using to bring you spell checking and we couldn’t believe how easy it was to set up. Grant, you guys rock!

Thursday Update: New Beta Builders and Ads

My Fellow Bitstrippers, in my last post I briefly talked about the new Beta Builders option on the site. Today we’ve pushed an update to the tools and you can now test them out! Here’s how:

On your account page, make sure Beta Builders is checked

Beta Builder Option

Beta Builder Option

Now when you launch one of the builders, you’ll be loading the latest beta version. Here’s how you check what version you’re running. Right click (or for you Macs, ctrl-click) on the comic and a popup will display what version you’re using.

If it displays “BS 2008-10-16”, you know you’ve got today’s beta builder running.

Version Information

Version Information

So… what’s new in BS 2008-10-16? We’ve fixed a few regressions around text bubble handling – for those that submitted bug reports about not being able to select text, those issues should now be fixed. We’ve also started using a great piece of code to handle loading artwork – BulkLoader.

This should help with in situations where characters will appear “stuck” once you’ve put it in a comic. Behind the scenes, when you drop a character in to a comic we start by placing a bitmap thumbnail of the character until we’ve loaded all the bits of art we need to properly display them. Unfortunately sometimes those bits of art don’t load, and you’re stuck with a dimmed dude who doesn’t do anything. BulkLoader helps by retrying to get the bits of failed art several times before giving up. Great stuff!

We’ve also included one new spot which will display ads on the site. We created Bitstrips because we love comics and we wanted to create a tool that would allow anyone to communicate and express themselves in threw cartoons and comics, even if they couldn’t draw. The few ads you see help us recoup a portion of the costs we have in running the site, as well as giving us the opportunity to continue improving the Bitstrips experience.

Election08 + Updates

My fellow Bitstrippers, what an exciting time to be making comics! Let me tell you about a few of the updates we have just released.

Election08 Art

We wanted to make it as easy as possible to release your inner political cartoonist. In the Comic Builder, look for the “Election08” collection to quickly access the latest political characters and scenes.

Series Re-Ordering

This has been a popular request since we launched. Have you always wanted to switch the order between episode #5 and episode #4 in one of your series? Now you can! Go to your series homepage and click Reorder Series to switch it up.

New Builders

Over the past two months we’ve been transitioning from Flash to Flex Builder for all our tools. While things won’t seem much different at this point, there have already been substantial changes occurring internally within the latest builders. We’re now able to quickly add new features and test them out in ways we never could before.

The Comic Builder/Scene Builder will now load up significantly faster, as well as using less memory overall. The Art Library also received some UI improvements, making it even easier to find the characters, props and effects that you’re looking for.

Beta Builders

Help test out the latest and greatest builders before we release them to everyone. On your account page, look for the “Beta Builders” option. More details on this soon.

Stale Data

Nobody likes stale bread, so why would you like stale data? We’ve fixed several areas where your views/ratings wouldn’t necessarily update as they should.