Oct
17

The brand new Nashville ColdFusion User Group Web site has launched! Here's an excerpt from my official announcement...

I am completely, unbelievably, indubitably, fantastically excited to announce and SHOW you the brand-spanking new Nashville ColdFusion User Group Web site!!

Launching a new Web site has been "in the works" in one way or another for over two years. Not long after I took over the group from Tony Bradshaw (January 2005) we all decided it was time for a new Web site and thus started a journey that took much longer than anyone anticipated. In some ways it's embarrassing how we didn't buckle down and just get the job done. But when I think of all the things that have taken place over the last three years, from the babies, job changes, contract and consultant work many of us do etc., I'm not too surprised. And after spending most of my waking hours over the last week working on the new site with J.J., I'm even less surprised.

Read the full announcement here:
http://www.ncfug.com/go/newsdetail/newsID/07876921-9A0A-C748-B5F4C4D2771267BA/

Oct
15

Flash Player 10 Officially Released

Posted by Aaron West at 12:22 AM in Flash

As of 23 minutes ago Adobe has officially released Flash Player 10. It's great to see the new player finally get released after being available in one alpha/beta form or another for over a year. Go get it while it's hot and read more on the release while you're at it.

Jun
13

I was talking recently with Matt Wallace, the Nashville Flex User Group manager, about switching Flash Player versions in OS X. He had found Mike Chambers bash script but was having problems getting Mike's code to work. Matt eventually developed his own solution and while he did an excellent job his utility has a few annoyances that I don't want to deal with. I'm sure he'll get all these fixed but currently you must empty the trash to clear unwanted Flash Player files that appear every time you switch FP versions. You also have to edit his Automator script every time you want to add a new Flash Player to the switching ability.

So I dug into Mike's code to see why folks were having problems getting it running. I didn't have any issues but that's because I was able to figure out a few steps Mike left out. I also made his bash script a little better eliminating the need to create a linked file to get around bash's nuances with spaces in directory names.

What I came up with is not much different than what Mike originally created, it's just more refined. If you're interested in my version read on for download and installation instructions.

Continue Reading

May
15

Flash Player 10: Link Roundup

Posted by Aaron West at 4:41 PM in Flash

Earlier today Adobe announced a public beta release of Flash Player 10. Some of the new features include 3D visual effects, a new text rendering engine, and changes to how the player handles dynamic sound loaded at runtime. If you are interested in learning more about the significance of FP10, check out the current blog buzz by visiting the links below. I've trolled through the latest content and hand selected some of the most informative and interesting blog posts.

Flash Player 10 available on Adobe Labs
http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashplayer10/

Public Bugbase powered by JIRA
http://bugs.adobe.com/flashplayer/

Flash Player team member Tinic Uro takes us on a tour of the new features
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Wired magazine covers the release (by Scott Gilbertson)
http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2008/05/flash-player-10.html

FlashMagazine.com on FP10's new text engine
http://www.flashmagazine.com/news/detail/flash_player_10_feature_new_text_engine/

FlashMagazine.com on using FileReference to load and save files
http://www.flashmagazine.com/news/detail/flash_player_10_new_feature_load_and_save_files_using_filereference/

FlashMagazine.com on PixelBender (formerly known as "Hydra")
http://www.flashmagazine.com/news/detail/flash_player_10_feature_pixel_bender/

FlashMagazine.com on Dynamic Streaming in FP10
http://www.flashmagazine.com/News/detail/flash_player_10_feature_dynamic_streaming/

FlashMagazine.com on Dynamic Audio Generation
http://www.flashmagazine.com/News/detail/flash_player_10_feature_dynamic_audio_generation/

FlashMagazine.com on 3D support in FP10
http://www.flashmagazine.com/News/detail/flash_player_10_feature_3d_support/

Grant Skinner on building FP10 demos
http://www.gskinner.com/blog/archives/2008/05/building_the_fl.html

May
15

The first official day of the Adobe Community Summit was packed full of interesting talks from several key product players. This years summit is my third and every year it seems to get a bit better. The time spent with Adobe folks is invaluable and the information shared allows members of the Adobe community (Adobe Community Experts, User Group Managers, and Adobe Champions) to prepare for the future in ways not quite possible in the past.

The first person on the podium was Michele Turner, manager of the Adobe Technology Platform. She gave the keynote address discussing Adobe's general technology strategy. She also covered an overview of Adobe's 2 year technology roadmap. There are certainly some exciting things coming in the future.

Following Michele, was Scott Fegette, a long time Dreamweaver user, and video/audio production god. Scott talked about what we're likely to see in the next version of Dreamweaver. His talk was very well received as he is a dynamic speaker and always a crowd favorite.

Mike Chambers, another crowd favorite, took the stage next to walk through the current happenings with Adobe AIR. Most of what he covered is already public knowledge and just a recap what has occurred over the last 3 months since the launch of Flex 3 and AIR 1.0. He did share a few new tidbits indicating AIR has a bright future ahead.

After Mike's talk we broke for lunch. During lunch I had some great discussions with Peter Bell, Bernie Dolan, and David Harris on all things ColdFusion. Peter has walked through the fire of what is application generation and has an unbelievable amount of experience in this area. When he talks, I listen.

Kicking things off after lunch, Doug Winnie discussed how Adobe really has a strategy for reaching both the designer and developer and the workflows that integrate the two.

Next up was Steve Heintz who talked about Flex, both today and in the future. I couldn't remember if I had heard Steve speak before but he did a really nice job talking (conceptually) on what Adobe plans to do with Flex in the future.

One of the most impressive presentations was by Jen Taylor and Doug Benson who showed off some of the new features in the next version of the Flash Authoring tool. There were several jaw-dropping moments that caused me to "double-take" to be sure I wasn't seeing things. About all I can say, is Adobe has been busy on the Flash Authoring tool!

After we all wiped off the drool, Steve Heintz joined us again to talk about Thermo. Thermo's been a seemingly super secret tool with very little information about it shared with the community. That didn't change much with Steve's presentation, but he did give the impression Thermo has a clear focus and purpose which. It will be interesting to see how the community takes to Thermo as more information is shared in the future. I'm hoping this years MAX conference will bring more news on Thermo.

Mar
5

The proclamation from Steve Jobs that the iPhone will not support the Flash Player, either in it's full desktop player form or Flash Lite, has led many to examine the motivations behind Apple's stance.

Personally, I think this is all just saber-rattling. The most compelling argument I've seen thus far - on why Apple doesn't want Flash on the iPhone - has nothing to do with the security of the Flash player or it's robustness on a mobile platform. Apple wants to control and protect the development channels on the iPhone. They want a say in who builds applications and what those applications are. Furthermore, they have no interest in proliferating the Flash Player's reach within the mobile and devices space. That wouldn't help the advancement of Silverlight at all now would it?

For more on this topic see the links below (posted in no particular order).

CNN's coverage (w/ comment from Ryan Stewart):
http://tinyurl.com/2nxrap

Marketwatch's coverage:
http://tinyurl.com/2zhuwk

Robert Scoble on Apple/Job's declaration of no Flash on iPhone:
http://scobleizer.com/2008/03/05/apple-stabs-adobe-in-the-back/

John Gruber on this topic (more detail on Apple protecting the iPhone dev environment):
http://daringfireball.net/2008/02/flash_iphone_calculus

Ryan Stewart says the Flash Player is coming to iPhone (background info only):
http://blogs.zdnet.com/Stewart/?p=241

Larry Dignan on Apple vs. Adobe iPhone Spat (background info only):
http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=8061

Feb
26

Motorola Flash 3D/Video Site

Posted by Aaron West at 1:15 PM in Flash

Robert Hall pointed me to this site, which shows great use of Flash and video mixed together. It's a Motorola site demonstrating how their products can be used to to manage emergency situations in a big city. Not only is the site built with Flash and video, but there are 3D elements as well. It's all pretty amazing.

If you sit on the site for a while, the city begins to animate with traffic, clouds, and even a bit of industrial pollution (big wtf on that one). Check it out for yourself and see what you think.

http://business.motorola.com/publicsafety/secondnature/site.html

Feb
22

Why 30onAIR?

Posted by Aaron West at 9:19 PM in 30onAIR, ColdFusion, Adobe General, Adobe AIR, Flex, Flash
Jan
22

Flex 3/AIR Event This Week

Posted by Aaron West at 2:22 PM in User Groups, Adobe AIR, Flex, Flash

Ben Forta's Flex 3 / AIR pre-release tour has already begun and the Nashville stop on the US portion of the tour is this week. Any Flash, Flex, AIR, or ColdFusion developers are encouraged to come to the event and learn more about the next major release of Flex and the new Adobe Integrated Runtime product release.

Attendees are encouraged to register for the event so we can plan appropriately for the number of folks coming. Registering will also enter you into the drawings for Flex 3 (prize awarded when Flex 3 is launched), some cool Flex/AIR schwag, an iPod Nano, and 4 iPod Shuffles.

Subs, pizza, cokes and beer will be provided. All you have to do is show up! Considering the excellent speaker, fantastic product information, and free food and goodies, you'd be crazy to miss this event.

Jan
1

Seesmic.com and High CPU Utilization

Posted by Aaron West at 10:41 AM in Flash

This morning I sat down at my desk, opened up my MacBook Pro and started my day; with a cup of coffee mind you. After checking e-mail I decided to plug in my Iomega hard-drive in order to initiate a backup of my system using Apple's Time Machine. It hadn't been long since I backed up so Time Machine had very little to synchronize with the external hard-drive. During the 2-3 minute sync my CPU - a 2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo beast - sky-rocketed to 100% CPU utilization. In fact, when looking at Activity Monitor, Safari reported it was using over 110% of available CPU power. Huh? While sitting baffled, Time Machine finished its task and shut down. CPU remained pegged for another 2-3 minutes as I monitored Activity Monitor. The entire time I was watching the culprit was Safari. All other applications were either idle or using a very small amount of CPU.

Wondering what in the world Safari 3 could be doing to require so much juice I quickly strolled over to the Space (you use Spaces on Leopard right?) occupying the browser. The tab immediately visible was Seesmic.com. I created a Seesmic account yesterday after receiving an invite from Critter, and had been watching several recent user videos. On a whim, I closed the Seesmic tab, switched back to Activity Monitor and waited. About 6 seconds later CPU returned to normal.

The conclusion: Something on Seesmic caused my browser, as a client to the Web site, to need way more resources than normal. Given Seesmic is built very heavily on Flash technology and utilizes the Flash Player in the browser, I'm guessing my problem began in the player. The Flash Player, as awesome as it is, has a tendency to run away with the CPU on occasion. During my 7 years of developing software for the Flash player I've seen it happen dozens of times. In some cases it was programmer error; writing bad code (typically loops or errant Object/MovieClip creation). In other cases, the Flash Player seemed to leak memory on it's own until it was shut down (typically requiring an entire restart of the browser).

I don't know what caused the problem on Seesmic, and I guess there's a slight chance it had nothing to do with Seesmic. Nevertheless, their huge use of Flash video technology - and the amount of resources on the client needed to consume the video - could've been part of the problem. Who knows whether the issue could've been resolved by the Flash developers or whether it was just a problem with Flash Player 9. The site is still in very early alpha release, so I'm expecting things to get much more buttoned up.

Dec
28

What's In My Bag?

Posted by Aaron West at 8:00 AM in ColdFusion, Personal, Flex, Flash

Go bag, man sack, man purse, whatever you want to call it, I first got the idea to post what I carry around day-to-day from the Lifehacker site. That was several months ago, and now that I've received my new Flash on the Beach TimBuk2 bag (thanks Ted!), I decided to reveal the contents of my bag.

1. TimBuk2 "Flash on the Beach" speaker bag. I won this bag in a charity eBay auction by Ted Patrick (Adobe Flex Evangelist)
2. Halls cough drops (it's winter you know)
3. Giorgio Armani glasses case
4. Flask Andy Matthews gave me
5. 5th Generation iPod (Black iPod Video)
6. Truck keys (for my 2005 Nissan Titan)
7. MacBook Pro Front Row remote
8. Hacked Mont Blanc pen (see this for details)
9. SanDisk Cruzer Micro 2 GB USB drive
10. Head phone adapter for the Treo 700p
11. Treo 700p USB cable
12. Treo 700p Smartphone
13. Generic iPod headphones (backup pair)
14. Tommy Hilfiger business card wallet
15. Double headphone jack for 2 person listening
16. Extra Treo stylus (w/ built-in pen)
17. Logitech VX Revolution wireless mouse (best mouse ever)
18. Apple iPhone (best phone ever)
19. iPhone USB cable
20. VGA to DVI adapter for presenting from MacBook Pro's
21. Wi-Fi Spy wireless network detector
22. AT&T USB AIR card
23. Jawbone Bluetooth headset (best headset ever)
24. iPhone-specific headphones with pause and track advance button
25. Latest issue of Wired magazine
26. MacBook Pro with 2.6 GHz proc, 4 GB RAM (work computer)
27. MacBook Pro with 2.6 GHz proc, 4 GB RAM (personal computer)

Not pictured:
I typically carry a power adapter for my laptop, but with 2 laptops now I keep power adapters at work and at home.

Dec
4

Adobe announces the latest version of Flash Media Server today.

Adobe Systems Incorporated today announced the Adobe Flash Media Server 3 family of products, which offers streaming media and real-time communication capabilities to the broadest possible audience. With industry standard H.264 video capabilities and High Efficiency AAC (HE-AAC) audio support, Adobe Flash Media Server 3 provides content owners with increased protection for streaming high quality video and allows for the delivery of interactive media applications that work consistently across multiple browsers and operating systems. Adobe Flash Media Server 3 provides a more efficient instant-on video experience virtually anytime, anywhere - to the Web, the desktop with Adobe Media Player and to mobile devices with Adobe Flash Lite 3. With new pricing options, customers have a wide array of choices for the broadcasting of high quality streaming media experiences.

The full press release is here. For specific product related information, visit the Flash Media Server product page.

Aug
13

I just got word from Neil that Feed Squirrel just went live on ColdFusion 8. If you're not familiar with alternative (to MXNA) aggregators like Feed Squirrel, you should be. Why not give it a whirl?

http://feed-squirrel.com/

May
29

Adobe's New Media Player

Posted by Aaron West at 10:26 PM in Apollo, Flash

Adobe's been working on a desktop media player - code-named "Philo" - which is slated to be one of their first released Apollo applications. The media player will be free and is designed to bring online video content (FLV) to the desktop. How did I not know this was in the works? For consumers, the Adobe Media Player will bring video streaming and management for Internet TV and video podcasts. You'll be able to mark your favorites for automatic download, create playlists and tags for videos in your library, and rate your videos. Double-clicking Flash videos will cause them to play inside the media player.

For advertisers and content firms the Adobe Media Player brings content branding in the form of media player backgrounds and badges, banner ad delivery, usage statistics reporting, video usage protection, and syndication via media RSS - where FLV's are tagged as enclosures to RSS feeds.

The Adobe Media Player is not slated to release until sometime in 2007 after the official release of Apollo. However, you can read more about it and view a screenshot by clicking the link below.

http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/Media_Player

Mar
11

Trillian's Next Generation IM Tool

Posted by Aaron West at 10:45 AM in General, Flash

The folks at Cerulean Studios are working on the next release of Trillian, version 4, code-named Astra. But there's always new IM software being released, is Trillian Astra more fluff or the right stuff?

Continue Reading