Posted Tuesday, September 19, 2006 9:35:20 PM by David Stiller
Note: I started this entry on the actual fourth day of Flashforward. Clearly, several days have passed since then — still catching up! — but I’ll leave my wording as is.
Back to Phil Heinz for another Flex Builder 2 session. Today’s was a follow-up on his intro to Flex from yesterday, this time delving deeper into socket connections for real time applications. Honestly, the workflow efficiency of Flex Builder 2, as compared with Flash — for this sort of application; that is, “programs” rather than intros, games, and relatively “lighter” content — really is phenomenal. I’m excited to see where RIA development will lead in the coming years, now that the Flex SDK (with compiler) is free and the Flex Builder 2 IDE is priced comparably to Flash.
I caught the tail end of Julian Dolce’s presentation on JSFL and was pleased to see that it had a decent turn-out. This session, and talks with Scott McClurg — as well as planned Extension content for the companion CD to Chris Georgenes’ upcoming book — has inspired me out of a lull in my own JSFL work. I had forgotten how much I love it! (In a nutshell, JSFL allows you to programmatically accomplish practically anything doable in the IDE itself — like Photoshop Actions, but much more powerful.)
During the beginning of Julian’s session, I spent an hour or so with Branden Hall in the speaker lounge, checking out his Flow project under the hood. Really, this is some very cool stuff. I hope he and I can do some work together.
Next, David Castillo and Jennifer Benavides, who demonstrated a Flash app to help people improve their timing while learning salsa dancing. This was the only session where audience members got on their feet! ;)
I finished my day, and the conference in general, with a follow-up to Seb Lee-Delisle’s 3D work from yesterday; this one was on particle generators in AS2. And finally, a cool look at Flash Player internals (the bytecode that ActionScript becomes) by Edwin van Rijkom.
Went to another fantastic restaurant — this time, I don’t even remember the name of it — and had an incredible, huge, rare Texas steak. To put words to it would be to dishonor its memory. Let’s just say it was a phenomenal meal. :) I loved it … and appreciated the company that night, which included Scott McClurg; Chris Georgenes; Silvia Pompei, who worked on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Simpsons, and other cool projects; Todd Sanders, and his lovely girlfriend. Todd paid for the whole table, which was a completely unexpected treat. It was a great way to conclude a terrific week.
Todd Sanders and me
While looking for an Amy I had helped on the Adobe forums, I ran into another Amy altogether. It was funny, because when we first met, something told me this might just be the Amy from the forums. After we had been talking for a while, I plumb asked her, “You wouldn’t happen to be Amy, would you?” We were both surprised when she said she was. We ran into each other at a bar later and had a great talk about Flash and also family. Then I met the original Amy, too, which made me happy, because it’s always nice to put a face with the name. I hope to keep in touch with both of them.
Surreal Twist Ending
I had to wake up early (3:30am) to get to the airport in time for my return flight. Chris said I should wake him up to say goodbye, but I just didn’t have the heart. Dude was snoring out some much needed sleep, which I envied, and I snuck out as quietly as I could. ;)
My flight went from Austin to Newark, then Newark to Norfolk International — and I purposefully skipped the final leg to join Dawn and Meridian in New Jersey for a friend’s first birthday party.
While I finally crashed to catch up on my own lost sleep (you’ll see a pun in a moment), Dawn ran some errands with our friends and failed to yield on a left turn. We’re still waiting for an official assessment, but the minivan may be totaled. The right rear wheel was ripped off, the bumper missing … bad story. But no one got hurt, not in our vehicle or the other, which is all that matters. Kind of bizarre, because that worn tire on my plane coming in had to be replaced from Newark.
We talked Meridian through the experience a number of times. She recounted the same events in German and English, so she clearly understands what happened, and knows that we’re all okay. Mommy’s car is broken, and some men in New Jersey are going to try to fix it — or we’ll buy a new one.
So the whole trip has had its ups and downs. Life never ceases to amaze. I’m glad to be here. :) Now I’m working through business cards and hoping to keep up contact.
Posted Thursday, September 14, 2006 9:27:55 AM by David Stiller
Today was another good one. I’m glad I budgeted for this conference, because the sessions are good — and on paper, that’s the reason folks come — but in addition to that, Flashforward is a great opportunity to meet people of like mind.
I started the day with Scott McClurg’s “My first ACCESSIBLE Flash Movie,” in which Scott went into a number of basics on how to use the Accessibility features in Flash. I enjoyed his session, and we bumped into each other afterward more than once. He’s a cool guy and very talented with Swift 3D, besides having a passion to make SWFs viewable by as many people as possible.
Next, I saw a number of ways to maximize the interaction between Flash and the browser, as presented by Robert Taylor and Tyler Wright. I saw Seb Lee-Delisle break down his company’s simulated 3D soccer environment. Phil Heinz presented “Flex Builder 2 for Flash Programmers,” which was a great intro to Flex. I found myself nodding in agreement several times, which was encouraging, because it means I’ve managed to grope forward somewhat in my own understanding of Flex Builder 2.
Finally, I saw and shook hands with Grant Skinner, who presented his views on potential pitfalls with the new garbage collection mechanism in Flash Player 9 (specifically, that of the ActionScript 3.0 virtual machine). I have so much to sink my teeth into! Really, Flash always keeps one step ahead of me, which is little like playing chess with someone who lets you catch up, then goes back to beating you 86% of the time: that’s your best opponent, because the experience improves your game. ;)
Todd introduced Chris and me to the Iron Works Barbeque for lunch. The food was simply incredible … we each got the sample platter, which consists of a mountain-high pile of slow cooked meats. I don’t remember when I’ve had such good food.
In the evening, I enjoyed the Flashforward Film Festival — lots of terrific entries, as usual — followed by an after party at Buffalo Billiards, again with plenty of free food and drinks. I ran into Branden Hall at the bar and we got to talking about Lego Mindstorms and abstract strategy games such as mancala, Connect Four, Pente, Abalone, and the like. It was fun, because I’ve admired Branden’s work for years, and he invited me to give him a call about his Flow project and maybe writing “patches” for his system.
Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2006 10:47:33 AM by David Stiller
I made it!
Caught the last half of the keynote address. Saw some cool quick glimpses of an in-house Flash 9 beta that happened so quickly, I barely remember what blipped in front of my eyes — but I’ll say this: there were nifty thin vertical toolbars, somewhat like the Tools panel, whose icons seemed to slide open traditional panels like the Timeline, then slide them away again, maximizing Stage real estate (much cleaner than collapsible panels, which nonetheless take up space while collapsed). I downed two cups of coffee while watching, so my observation faculties only kicked in after the projection screens went idle. ;)
The coffee was a welcome relief. I’d set my alarm for 5:00am in Houston, awoke, but fell right back asleep until 6:35. Shuttles left every thirty minutes, and I had to be at the airport at 7:00. Fortunately, that was my last small “lemon” event among my tales of woe. The “lemonade” was that, amazingly, I woke up with zero bed head; literally, perfect hair. So I was able to throw on my clothes (the same clothes) and walk right out the door to a cab. Showers are for wimps, right?
Immediately after the keynote, I ran into Scott Fegette. We had a great fifteen minute (or so) chat about all things Adobe, noting especially how well the Macromedia acquisition has gone. I ran into Todd Sanders, too, who was originally going to let me crash at his house last night — that changed when Continental put me up at a Clarion in Houston, but the offer is very much appreciated. Thanks again, bro!
Session choices can be tough, because the presenters I want to see are often scheduled concurrently. I attended a general Q/A roundtable with Mike Downey; saw an interesting prototyping app by Branden Hall, called Flow; saw Chafic Kazoun illuminate Component development for Flex; and rounded out the afternoon with a session on sound design by David Schroeder (great stuff!). It was a nice mix, and of course my head is swimming with ideas, sparks, and possibilities.
The roundtable with Mike Downey reminded me what a “hidden” gem JSFL really is. It’s not hidden, of course, but I’m surprised it isn’t more popular with developers. A number of people had questions and feature requests for Flash that could be handled even today without too much effort in JSFL — mostly automation and asset management stuff.
In the evening, it was free food and drinks at a ten-year Flash anniversary party. I hung out with Chris Georgenes, a good friend I only met face-to-face for the first time tonight, Scott, Todd, and a number of new faces. I saw Chafic and thanked him for his Ultrashock tutorial on Flash MX 2004 Components. Got into some brief discussion about Flex, which is great, because he may be able to answer some of my questions for an Adobe article in the works. I’m glad to be here!
Colin Smith, Scott Fegette, David Stiller, Chris Georgenes
Posted Tuesday, September 12, 2006 2:06:15 AM by David Stiller
Shortly after I finished that last upbeat post, I boarded the plane to Houston; from there, it would be a short hop to Austin. I shuffled my way to seat 15A and found a gentleman sitting in my seat. He showed me his ticket — his also indicated 15A. ;) I moved a couple spots behind him, to an empty seat. Soon thereafter, the fellow whose spot that was asked if I’d mind. I moved again, settled in, still smiling.
Open Wide, More Lemons
The captain’s voice broke the gentle hubbub. He informed us a technician had found that one of the plane’s tires was worn and might need to be replaced. A few minutes later, that “might” turned into a “will.” The odd thing to me was that the new tire, and the mechanic to install it, had to be flown in from Newark (that’s all the way from New Jersey to Virginia). Bye-bye 5:38 flight!
We got into the air at 8:30pm. I’m currently in a hotel, paid for by Continental (Clarion; not bad) and have a voucher for free breakfast. If all goes well, I’ll catch the morning’s first flight to Austin and arrive fifteen minutes into Kevin Lynch’s Adobe Keynote address. I can live with that.
This is beginning to remind me of The Muppet Movie, where Kermit and pals refuse to give up hope: they will make it to Hollywood.
Four hours of sleep, baby! I’m going to opt for the stack of pancakes. And coffee.
Posted Monday, September 11, 2006 4:20:13 PM by David Stiller
lol Well, you may have heard the expression, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” That’s good advice, especially when things seem to go wrong all at once.
Quick Lemons Recap
My flight was scheduled for 11:52 this morning. I needed to get to the airport (where I’m typing now) an hour before that. As we were preparing to leave, the doctor’s office called to say they were packed today and could squeeze in Meridian’s cast appointment (see “Broken Bones”) twenty minutes from that moment. That meant Dawn had to leave immediately and I’d have to find a ride (my truck died last week; I haven’t needed it because I’m working from home, so it’s just sitting in the driveway for now). I had been talking up the airport experience for Meridian — “Papi fliegt heute auf einer Flugzeug” [“Papi is flying in an airplane today”] — but now she wouldn’t be able to see me off.
I called my sister Suzanne, who was happy to drive me. Sweet.
Watching Dawn and Meridian leave, I noticed some flowers on the porch outside our house. They had fallen from the hanging plant, which served as a nest for a pigeon and her two babies that Meridian and I had been watching for days. Dawn had spotted a cat on our porch railing last night and shooed it away — but clearly, the feline had returned. I hopped up on the railing. No babies. The mother pigeon was pacing back and forth in the grass, not twenty feet away.
Suzanne drove me to the airport. I checked in to pick up my e-ticket. Unfortunately, no e-ticket was listed for me. The lady behind the counter was great — tried all sorts of alternative avenues to find my info — but nothing turned up. I found an empty bench, fired up the wi-fi, and logged into Travelocity. No e-ticket. Dawn had researched an itinerary and found a terrific price, but hadn’t actually made the purchase. :-p (To her credit, Dawn has apologized profusely and repeatedly. Ah, life. Just gotta roll with it.) The cheapest ticket today, on the spot, cost twice as much, but them’s the brakes. I’m leaving much later and consequently arriving much later this evening. On top of that, my return flight on Friday leaves at 6:30 in the morning! (It had previously been a comfortable 10:40am.)
In spite of this hassle, I’m still heading for Flashforward! How cool is that!?
I get the chance to go through my bags one last time and make quadrupley sure I didn’t forget anything. ;)
Oh, and Meridian was able to see me off. And I got to see her cast. It‘s purple.
Posted Tuesday, September 05, 2006 1:37:48 PM by Stephanie
I usually keep the personal stuff out of here. But since this rant relates to Zabasearch, a web site, I'm going to spout off for a minute. Please bear with me.
Zabasearch is touted as "The #1 Free People Search and Public Information Search Engine." And whether it's number one or not, I can't say, but without a doubt, it is thorough. In fact, I'd say it could very well turn into the number one tool for stalkers and identity theives. It takes a small amount of initial information on a person to pull a whole myriad of info. They've obviously pulled together a large number of databases -- yes, some would argue that those are available other places already -- but I greatly dislike the fact that they've made it so easy for people to find it all in one place. I can't really think of a good, upstanding use for this tool. (Don't say to find long-lost classmates 'cause there's already a site for that!)
Go ahead -- enter your name (you may or may not need the state). You'll find your birthdate (month/year), phone number and street address (with the date that particular address was recorded which makes it simple to tell which is your current address), county and zip all in the initial results. In fact, if you've moved much at all, you'll likely find a good many, if not all, of your addresses. Then, all you have to do is click to "map it." That gives you a great map (thanks to Google Maps) and you can see the neighborhood by satellite as well. The other links will take you to a Google search for that name, and some other paid services like:
- background check
- property check
- advanced people search
- an instant background report (which includes bankruptcies and liens, small claims & judgments, criminal check, sex offender check, address history, relatives, friends and neighbors, alias names, AND much more!)
- business listings
- income and home value
- unlisted phone number information
- you can also "leave a message" for the person
How to Submit Records, Edit Records or BLOCK records FROM APPEARING IN ZABASEARCH
Individuals wishing to have records created, edited or blocked from appearing in ZabaSearch, can use ZabaTools. Click the ZabaTools link below.
Only there is no link for ZabaTools anywhere that I could find. It seems to have been removed. Leave me a note if you find it. I want out of there.