Apr
27

A few weeks ago I started using Chrome on Mac OS X as my main Web browser. I had grown tired of Safari 4 chewing up nearly a gig of RAM after leaving it open for a week or more. Don't get me wrong, Safari is a fantastic browser and I wasn't happy about switching. But I can't have any browser chew through a gig of memory even if it takes it a week to do so. Chrome is nearly as fast as Safari (for me) and I've left it open for two weeks without any tab hogging memory. Each opened tab spawns its own process allowing a single tab to fail without affecting other tabs. In general I've found each tab occupies 25 MB to 40 MB of RAM. If you do that math you'll realize I can open around 25-40 tabs before Chrome takes up a gig of RAM.

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Apr
6

I'm three days late blogging about this, but if you haven't seen Christian Cantrell's blog post of the same title you need to check it out. He shows an application he wrote that runs on five screens including Mac, Windows, Linux, iPhone, and Android. I'd argue it's more like seven screens given the different device operating systems. Christian says he wrote the application code once and different wrappers for each operating system. I know this is supposed to be possible given the Flash Player runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux and Flash Professional CS5 can compile a Flash app to native iPhone code. This would get his app onto iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. But Christian says his app is able to run on all the devices because it's built with AIR. Ok, cool. I want to see /how/ though.

Christian promised to release his code as open source so inquisitive developers like me can learn more about this.

Feb
24

The Adobe Connect team has announced the availability of Acrobat Connect Pro Mobile. I just downloaded (iTunes link) and installed the app and it's pretty cool. For me, it's cool because it was built using betas of CS5 and the new compile to native iPhone app functionality. But, it is hard for me to see how the app will be used to attend presentations. I created a new room using the Nashville ColdFusion User Group Connect Pro account and then logged into the meeting with my iPhone 3GS. When I shared my screen from my MacBook Pro I was able to see the screen on my iPhone but there was no detail and the resolution was so small I could barely see what was going on. As I moved windows around on my desktop it took a good 10-15 seconds before the change showed up on my iPhone. Admittedly, this delay could be due to the poor Internet connection I was connected to. In short, the app works but I'm not sure how practical it is. Hit the link below to continue reading what the Adobe Connect team has to say about this new application. Or, you can click here to watch a quick demo video of the application in use on iPhone.

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Jan
18

A few hours ago Liz Frederick, manager of the Adobe Community Expert program, announced the program name has been changed to Adobe Community Professionals. The history behind the original name and why it has been changed might not be interesting to you, but I'm proud that I was part of the process to help choose a new name. In fact, the entire Adobe Community Experts group was responsible with coming up with candidate program names that were ultimately submitted to Adobe for final approval. I'm quite happy with the new name as I believe it reflects more on what we are tasked to do. Which is...

The Adobe Community Experts Professionals Program is a community based program made up of Adobe customers who share their product expertise with the world-wide Adobe community. The Adobe Community Experts' Professional mission is to provide high caliber peer-to-peer communication educating and improving the product skills of Adobe customers worldwide.

Being an expert in anything is immensely tough to do. In fact, I often argue that there aren't any experts, there are simply people at different stages of understanding and learning. At the moment you consider yourself an expert you're likely to stop working hard, stop investigating, learning, and growing in your field, and ultimately stop being an expert. Being an Adobe Community Professional on the other hand still means you work hard at what you do, you serve as a leader in your online community, and you help others learn and become more skilled by sharing your expertise.

I welcome the switch from expert to professional and am extremely happy to report that my request to stay with the program in 2010 has been accepted. This marks my eighth consecutive year in a program that has gone from Team Macromedia, to Adobe Community Experts, to Adobe Community Professionals. A big "shout out" and thanks to Liz Frederick (Adobe Community Professional Manager), Adam Lehman (ColdFusion Product Manager), Rachel Luxemburg, and the entire ColdFusion team for allowing me to serve the ColdFusion, Flash, and Flex communities yet again.

I also want to send out a hearty welcome to new members of the program! I went through Liz's list and picked out names I a) recognized and b) were new to the program.

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Dec
28

Are you a programmer? Do you ever work as a consultant? If you answered yes to both of these questions I highly encourage you to read Jesse Warden's latest consulting chronicles blog post. Jesse provides some nice insights on how to be successful at your new consulting gig, how to build trust with other team members and managers, and how to solve difficult problems with good tools and a positive attitude. It's really a great read. If you're busy, e-mail this link to yourself. Otherwise, click over to Jesse's blog now.

Oct
6

Adobe Keynote Day 2

Posted by Aaron West at 12:39 PM in ColdFusion, Adobe MAX 2009, Flex, Flash

Ben Forta is now on stage talking about how incredible yesterday was (I agree). He's asking how cool people thought the different parts of the keynote were. The Flash announcements seemed to get the most applause.

Ben is now demo-ing an iPhone application that is going to allow him to control parts of the stage/screens.

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May
10

Did you know any member of an Adobe user group can get 20% off all products sold in the Adobe store? This promotion has been running for a little while and has been extended through May 31, 2009. If you are a member of a user group and want to make use of this offer simply contact your user group manager for details. Or, you can also contact me using the Contact Blog Owner link in the footer. The 20% discount will be applied to one online order and can only be used one time per member. Thanks to Adobe for making this offer available!

May
9

New Dealerskins Web Site Launched

Posted by Aaron West at 10:00 AM in Dealerskins, Flash

We've launched a new dealerskins.com Web site and I'm curious what you think! The new site has been live for about two weeks after a few select folks in the office slaved over building it for a month or so. Personally, I really like the new site. During my four and half years at Dealerskins I've seen five different versions of our site (four of which are shown below). It's always difficult to get the right mix of marketing, content, and design that demonstrates the skills of our staff. The latest iteration of our site does a good job communicating our message and detailing features of our product offering. Kudos to our marketing team, designers and developers who put together the best Dealerskins site yet! Check it out and leave a comment letting me know what you think.

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Mar
16

RIAdventure 2009 has been over for a few weeks now and I'm missing the sun and relaxation already. It was great to get away from the office and shut off the phone and laptops for a full five days. I enjoyed hanging out with those that came along and I want to give HUGE props to Joshua Cyr for arranging the trip. He was like a travel guide making sure everyone knew what was going on, where we were supposed to meet to not miss the shuttle ride to the ship and as always was a joy to hang out with. I'm definitely looking forward to the possibility of a second RIAdventure in 2010 but in the meantime I have some photos to help make the weight a little more bearable.

For those curious what RIAdventure was all about you can view all the Flickr group photos here. I've also posted my photos to Flickr as well as three videos (of a super awesome Segway tour!) in my RIAdventure Cruise 2009 set.

Here's a slideshow for those that don't want to manually click through photos on Flickr.

Mar
16

I've blogged before about embedding fonts in Flex applications by first creating an embedded font in a Flash movie. The process is pretty simple and works well with one large caveat, your final SWF is larger based on the file size of any embedded fonts. Why is this bad? If you've embedded four of your favorite fonts and your app is one big Flash movie or Flex application your overall app size is increased to include the font resources.

Wouldn't it be better if you could load the fonts at runtime only when they're needed? Well, you can! Lee Brimelow recorded a fifteen minute tutorial showing you how to use Flash CS4 and Flex SDK metadata to create runtime loaded fonts. He walks through the entire process including selecting a font, writing the ActionScript 3 code to embed a font, restricting the font to certain glyphs, and then embedding the external font movie into a new, separate movie at runtime.

As Lee points out towards the end of the tutorial, using runtime loaded fonts should be considered a best practice if you're using Flash CS4. You can do what we've always been able to do and embed a font directly in the Flash CS4 library, but why tax your entire application this way and why include all the glyphs if you don't need them?

Mar
3

Shrinkadoo AIR Application

Posted by Aaron West at 12:42 PM in ColdFusion, Adobe AIR, Ajax, Flash

A co-worker of mine, Andy Matthews, has released a new AIR application I think everyone should check out. Shrinkadoo, an HTML/Ajax/ColdFusion powered AIR application integrates with a slew of URL shortening services to bring the functionality to your desktop. Andy's app is super small and lightweight and makes it really easy to quickly shorten those nasty URLs you want to put in e-mail, blogposts, or on Twitter. Other than the URL shortening itself my favorite features so far are the integrated feedback form and the auto application updates. Andy has a ton of ideas on where he wants to take the application but be sure and let him know what you think after you install it. Simply hover over the minimize/close buttons to see a slide out menu of extra features (nice!). Press the envelope icon, type up your comments and press submit!

Mar
2

From time to time folks contact me about job openings wondering if I know anyone looking for work. Given todays economy I'm surprised I don't know more folks who are looking! I received another job opening today and wanted to blog it since I don't know of anyone who's immediately available. If you are interested in this senior designer / developer job that requires skills in planning, conceptualizing, and creating interactive projects please contact Chris Spintzyk at cspintzyk [AT] everestusa [DOT] com. In the interest of full disclosure, Everest is a recruiting firm and other than phone calls here and there I have no direct experience with them.

Basic information about this opportunity:

  • Flash and Web site design skills are necessary
  • A strong eye and skill for design for the Web is a plus
  • A high level of object-oriented ActionScripting, HTML, CSS, XML
  • Experience in design implementation into interactive projects with an eye for detail.
  • Looking for a real problem solver, nothing is impossible attitude.
  • Any additional technical skills will be a major consideration for this job role.
  • Key Performance Areas include ActionScript, Flash IDE, HTML, CSS, Client satisfaction, commercial procedures

Feb
2

This time next week my wife and I will be somewhere in the North Atlantic on our way to the Bahamas. It's been a couple of years since our last cruise so we're pretty excited for the chance to hit the seas again. The particular cruise we're going on is part of the RIAdventure social/tech gathering. I've always enjoyed hanging out with other programmers and tech folks at conferences, but the conference always occupies most of our time. This cruise is all about the social aspects but I'm sure there will be loads of conversations on ColdFusion, Flex, AIR, and rich Internet applications in general. When you get a bunch of geeks together you can be there will be lots of tech talk.

I believe there are upwards of 30 people going including Joshua Cyr, Dan Skaggs, Dan Wilson, Yancy Wharton, Jared Rypka-Hauer, and Todd Sharp. Since I'll be arriving a day before the ship sets sail, I thought it'd be nice to have dinner with anyone else that's already in Miami. If you're going to be in Miami on Sunday the 8th and you want to have dinner, give me a ring (just press the "Call Me" button in the right margin). Or, you can always leave a comment on this post or e-mail me.

Jan
28

Mike Chambers has created his first iPhone application and it's been approved by Apple. If you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch and you write ActionScript 3 for Flash CS3 or Flex 3, you need to cruise on over to iTunes and download (iTunes link) his ActionScript 3 API reference guide!! It includes documentation on AS3 for Flash Player 10, Flex 3.2 and AIR 1.5.

Thanks for putting this together Mike.

Jan
5

I was reading through the latest blog posts aggregated by ColdFusion Bloggers and noticed someone writing about the oldest file they had in their home directory. I switch laptops every three years, but thought it'd be an interesting exercise even if I don't typically respond to memes.

I thought it would be pretty easy to determine my oldest file using OS X's Spotlight. After a minute or two I realized Spotlight wasn't going to be much help so I dipped into my ninja command-line skills and attempted to use *nix's find, and ls commands. I was able to make some headway but wasn't too sure of my results so I followed links from Jehiah's post to Craig Rhodes' blog. Craig provides a Python script that seemed to do the trick (code and instructions on how to do this yourself are below). The absolute oldest file on my Macbook Pro is a font called Optim which was created on June 25, 1987. Yikes! Scrolling through the list of files (ordered by oldest first) there were tons of fonts which have probably been forgotten for ages.

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