Just a quick announcement that the next meeting for the Philadelphia Flash Macromedia User Group has been scheduled for next week, December 2nd from 7-9pm. More details, location, topics, and info, can be found in the events section of the Philadelphia Flash Macromedia User Group site.
Archive for November, 2003
Yes, I sure took my sweet time in posting up this entry, and it looks like it could be my longest ever! Sorry, just been super busy, and my blog unfortunately is always the first thing to get knocked down to the bottom of my priority list. I’m going to be diversifying the content on my site in the near future, but for now, here is the lowdown on the new job:
Back in early August, I left my previous job and a few weeks later after tidying up some loose ends with them, I accepted an offer to become a Principal with another local firm doing some pretty unique and creative work. Before starting, I took some time off to take care of some details for my upcoming wedding, and other areas of my life I had been neglecting, then I dove headfirst into things around the middle of September with Talisman Interactive in Philadelphia, PA.
I have a wonderful group of guys as partners, all of them extremely talented, and together we make a fantastic team. We have delivered several large projects the past few months, and I’ll be posting up links to a few of the ones that are available online in the next few weeks.
Much of the work we do revolves around interactive and immersive experiences. Our current tagline that does a fair job of summing up our strengths is that we design, develop and deliver advanced exhibits, interactive systems and marketing materials to support the leading venues and experiential destinations of the world. This encompasses everything from kiosks, to websites, to full blown immersive movie theatre like experiences.
I’ve been so busy getting into the swing of things, getting projects out the door, and working with new clients, etc., that I simply had to lay low for the past few months to remain focused. As a Principal, I have been doing everything from video editing, to proposals, to kiosk installs, to developing company strategy and procedures, to you name it, and I am loving every minute of it! I get to be so much more creative and exercise more of my skills and knowledge base than I have been able to at just about any other job I have had in the past. Much of the work I have been involved in lately revolves around kiosks and interactive pieces that use Flash for the primary interface and presentation layer. Over the last few years, I have been involved in interfacing and connecting Flash to all sorts of exotic devices from banking systems, to ATM machines, to PDA’s, to coin counting mechanisms, and now the most unique device by far: a custom system that uses radar waves to quickly scan a human body in 3D and extrapolate out and report body measurements in near real time. One of our new clients Intellifit has created this sytem, and they have some very interesting products indeed. Some of the stuff they are doing is amazing.
I think it is especially cool, that Al Charpentier their CTO and Chairman, was the founder and President of Ensoniq Corporation, and later sold it to Creative Technology LTD (you might now them as the folks who make the ubiquitous SoundBlaster cards) and just as interesting, if not more, is that prior to founding Ensoniq and providing early investors 81 times their initial investments, is that Mr. Charpentier was Vice President of Engineering at Commodore Computers where he led the development team responsible for the Commodore 64 Computer. Even though I worked in the same building as Al for almost a year, and now having his company as a client, I still haven’t had a chance to ask him about leading the Commodore 64 team, although I plan on it sometime. Another odd bit of trivia, is that Ed Gribbin, Intellifit’s President and COO was at one point the President of Bendiger Brothers, a school uniform manufacturing firm, and yep you guessed it, back when I was attending a small private high school in Fort Lauderdale, FL., I wore a uniform supplied by Bendiger Brothers. Seems like fate doesn’t it?
I have also been busy testing out and working with a new development framework and custom set of components and classes written in ActionScript 2.0 that one of the other Principals at Talisman, James Flaherty, has written to enhance and speed up many aspects of our in house development and workflow. Really cool stuff. We are about to launch a few sites that utilize it, I’ll post up the links as soon as the are live. Overall, I am really enjoying things with Talisman Interactive including our cool location on Main Street in Manayunk, an artsy and creative area in Philadelphia. I’ll have to post up some photos of our studio when I get a chance, the number of awards hanging on the walls that the other Principals have amassed over the past few years is just crazy. I’ve also been enjoying a couple new toys of mine as well, despite my limited budget due to my impending nuptials, I splurged and picked up a new 15 inch 1.25mhz Aluminum Apple Powerbook, along with a 23 inch Apple Cinema display. I have to say that they are without a doubt the swankiest, and best performing monitor and laptop I have ever owned. I don’t know how I got along without either of them before, especially the laptop. Having the laptop with Bluetooth and 802.11a wireless access makes such a difference in how I work and get things done throughout the day.
Beyond that, I have also taken on the role as the manager of the local Philadelphia Flash Macromedia User Group. I am still in the process of nailing down some specifics for our next meeting place, but I am shooting for the first week of December to be the next meeting, I’ll post more info here and on the MMUG site once things have crystallized.
One final cool note: According to some press releases that Fujitsu recently released, it looks like my previous employer, mCom Financial Solutions is going to be demonstrating a version of the advanced ATM software that I spent the last three and a half years architecting and developing with the Fujitsu engineers (Hey Robel!), while I was employed by mCom as Chief Software Architect. It looks like they will be demonstrating it at Fujitsus booth at the BAI: Retail Delivery Show in New Orleans, from the 18-20th of this month. Best of luck guys!
It was code named Royale, well now it’s official, the product name is Flex. A whole new DevNet section is devoted to more info. Christophe Coenraets is the new Technical Evangelist for Flex. He has started up a new blog and has some good articles online about MXML, the markup language used to write applications for Flex. Macromedia also has a new WYSIWIG IDE editor in the pipeline based on Dreamweaver, code named Brady, that is specifically tailored for writing and visuallizing MXML documents.
Here are some highlighted details: Flex will run on top of: JRUN, IBM WebSphere, .BEA Weblogic, Apache Tomcat, JBOSS and in the future on top of a Microsoft .NET, (a well as all certified J2EE servers).
In a very simplified description, Flex is made up of a library of user interface components, MXML, and ActionScript. MXML is used to set up the user interface and other aspects of your application. ActionScript is used to control the logic of your application. you can even use CSS to control aspects of your layout. Similar to the way JSP’s are served, at client request time, data is married and compiled together based on your MXML and served as a .swf file. MXML can contain references to components and Actionscript 2.0 logic.
The White Papers in the Flex DevNet area contain a lot more information. There is also a Breeze presentation you can check out for futher info.
Sign up for the beta now. According to the Breeze Presentation, Royale and Brady should ship in the first half of 2004, with the .NET Extended tooling to follow sometime afterwords.
I wasn’t able to make it out to MAX this week, but as much as possible, I’ll try and post up some of the cool stuff coming out of MAX. I’m still settling into my new job, and have been swamped with new projects and clients, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel.
You can also get more info and postings aggreggated from around the web about MAX at Christian Cantrells MAXBloggers.