Archive for October, 2005

I’ve got a great new method for speeding up the transfer of Flash Lite .swf files to Bluetooth capable devices that I’d like to share, but first some history: A few months ago, I worked on some Applescripts in combination with some Mac OS X Folder Actions to automatically push Flash Lite .swf files to my handsets (a nokia 6600 and a Nokia 6680) whenever I published out a new Flash Lite .swf file for testing. This worked OK, and really got rid of a lot of repetitive monotonous steps. Here is the script if you would like to play with it. I’m not an AppleScript expert by any means, I had cobbled it together as an experiment and used bits and pieces from around the web that I found to get it working or partially working (your mileage may vary). It has a few bugs it looks like as it doesn’t always seem to work properly on subsequent publishes. I had been so busy the last few months working on other projects, that I kind of forgot about it. I had put out the source on a few private mailing lists to see if anyone might pick up the ball and run with it, but no such luck.

Last night, I decided to revisit it. This time I wanted to get it working 100% and to see if I could somehow leverage Apples Automator application, which comes with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Automator makes it very easy to create advanced automated workflows, scripts, plug-ins and Folder Actions to enhance what you could do with Applescript alone. A really great tool overall. As I was digging around, I found this great little Automator add-on called Bluetooth Object Push Automator Action by Marc Schlichte of Framework Labs which is being distributed under a Creative Commons 2.0 license. Perfect! I downloaded it and installed it and then created the following Automator workflow – Push2Device (see this screenshot for the workflow – also make sure you download and install Marc’s Bluetooth Object Push Automator Action before trying to use this).

I then saved this workflow as a Folder Actions plugin (see this screenshot for the save dialog) and bound it to a folder I keep on my desktop. Then, in my .fla file I set my publish location to the folder I bound the Folder Actions and this new workflow Push2Device. Now, whenever I publish out a new .swf file, it automatically gets renamed to have the current time in hours/minutes/seconds embedded in the filename so I have a way to keep track of versions, and then its automatically pushed to my bluetooth device. It couldnt be easier. If you have more than one device you can allow the Automator add-on to prompt you which device, or you could simply have it push to both devices. Having the file name change automatically before its sent to your device is great as its easy to forget which version was the most recent if all the filenames are the same, and its great for comparison being able to switch back and forth between versions rapidly. I’m going to look more into using Automator actions to help my production workflow on other tasks. Besides some simple backup and maintenance tasks I haven’t really tried to leverage Automator that much until last night, I think I’ve just started to get an idea for some very cool time saving things that can be done with it.

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I am pleased to announce that my wife Melissa, and I are expecting our first child right around May 15th of next year, which just happens to be our 2 year anniversary. Good timing eh? We heard our baby’s heartbeat for the first time on Tuesday via doppler – it was going so fast it reminded me of a hummingbird. Hence the picture of the Jamaican “Doctor Bird” (Trochilus polytmus) or Swallowtail hummingbird, which we saw a few of when we were in Jamaica for our honeymoon last year. We are both really excited, nervous and all the other emotions that come along with having your first child. To keep track of things for family and friends, I’ll be putting together an entirely seperate website for future baby related postings, I’ll post the URL up when its ready. Wish us luck!

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While at Macromedia MAX 2005 last week, I had an opportunity to sit down with Jeremy Gheelan from SYS-CON Media (the folks responsible for MX Developers Journal) for a quick video interview in the conference exhibit hall. It looks like there are a lot of videos that just got posted today of other interviews from MAX 2005, including one with Erik Bianchi who I finally got to meet and hang out with for a bit at MAX – whats up Erik!

I’m still really under the weather – caught quite a cold on the way back to Philly, so I am behind on emails and getting my additional resources for my preso online, but hope to be back in the swing of things by Wednesday.

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Made it here yesterday afternoon to Anaheim, although I’m still waiting for America West to deliver my bag with my clothes today at noon. The first time I check a bag when flying in like 2 years and it goes missing, ughh. I cant wait to put on some fresh clothes! I ran into LordAlex right away, he always seems to be the first person I spot at events lately. I was going to go to the LAFlashapalooza, but I ended up spending most of yesterday afternoon trying to take care of locating my luggage, and buying some toothpaste and other travel items I needed last night and this morning. After that I had a gigantic prime rib at JW’s the overpriced, but good steakhouse in the Mariott where I am staying, then went and passed out after practicing my presentation a bit and making some more notes. I do have a couple of photos to share that I took this morning after picking up my badge and the cool bag with goodies they are giving attendees and speakers. I went ahead and uploaded the photos to a service called Shutterbook. Its a great photo sharing service that improves every time I log into it or view a photo, they have recently added tags, and private albums, its catching up to Flickr pretty quickly for a small service. Most of the UI and controls are Flash based, and they recently added a bunch of new features and moved to requiring Flash 8 so they could use ome new features of the latest Flash 8 player. Take a look at my shutterbook gallery here. I’ll post some more photos here over the course of the conference. The venue looks really nice, I look right out my window and can see it, and its just a minute or two of walking distance – one of the best arrangement of any big conference I’ve ever been to including some massive megabuck banking conferences – looking forward to see how everything goes over the next few days.

UPDATE: 10/22/05 – I am a little under the weather from traveling and am trying to rest a bit before I record my breezo presentation of my session to put online. However, I just finished uploading a ton of photos from the trip to my Shutterbook account. It was the first week I had the new camera, so I was still trying to figure out the best settings for exposure, etc. in order to take photos in the keynotes, so some are blurry or under/over exposed. By the 2nd or third day I had the settings down but my hands were still a bit shaky – sorry. I broke the photos down into three categories, general / keynote sessions /sneak peaks, mobile and devices, and a couple of snapshots from the Disney party which was a blast. for now I’m going back to bed, but am aiming to have my extra resources for my session online by the first of this coming week.

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So I’m packing up all my gear and my clothes so I can fly out tomorrow to Anaheim for Macromedia MAX 2005. I’m nervous and excited about giving my presentation – Flash on Every Screen. My current hopes are that I make it through security screening with all my equipment, and especially the dangling wires and components from my MakingThings Teleo kit. Haven’t had to fly anywhere with that stuff yet, and I’m hoping that I dont get held up for any reason. I need to give Phil Torrone a call and ask him for some tips on this. 🙂

If you stop by one of my sessions, please introduce yourself afterwords. I’m looking forward to meeting as many people as I can and putting faces to some names that I have only seen online and in mailing lists. If you are an attendee, you can find me on the IntroNetwork application or drop me note via my contact form.

I also wanted to mention that I’ll be posting some additional resources and items for MAX attendees and non-attendees alike at the following URL: http://www.impossibilities.com/max_2005/ once I am back from MAX towards the end of next week. It’s just a placeholder right now (albeit a nice one), but don’t expect the additional content there until at least a day or so after the 21st of October.

I’m realling looking forward to sessions on ActionScript 3 and the new version of Flex and Flash Player 8.5 – all the recent announcements that have dominated the blogs and mailling lists, that I have simply been to busy preparing for my preso and other personal details to make any posts about. That will soon change!

Finally, I have one more announcement to make in that as of this week, I am now a free-agent, thats right I’m going solo. I’m going the independent contractor route totally on my own. I have a few remaining details to wrap up by the end of the month hopefully, but if you have any projects at all that you think I might be a good fit for, please don’t hesitate to drop me a note and let me know about it. You might also have noticed a few recent minor changes to my site, there are now links for a little mini-bio for me and my history with Flash here and a list of publications and other items I have contributed to over the years. Feel free to take a look. I am still working on ideas for a legitmate portfolio/projects area but a lot of the work I do is hard to represent in a traditional web portfolio format. I’m going to give it some thought as well as undertake an entire makeover of my site to pure XHTML/CSS with Flash widgets. More on this later – for now I’m off to pack! See you at MAX!

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I just received my new Kodak EasyShare One 4MP WiFi enabled digital camera today via DHL. It just started shipping yesterday. This camera has some very unique features, the most interesting to me is that the entire UI of the camera is controlled via a fold-out, touch-screen driven by a custom build of Macromedia Flash, ported specifically for this Kodak device. I’ll have some more details about the camera and a more in depth review of it and some other devices, during my session at Macromedia MAX 2005 – my session is titled Flash On Every Screen. I’ll be doing the session once each day so, try and stop by at least once if you are attending.

I haven’t spent much time with the camera just yet as I received it today after a long wait, and the batteries just finished charging. I also haven’t had a chance yet to test out the built in WiFi connection which alllows you to email and share photos directly over a 802.11b or 802.11g WiFi network via a tiny SDIO WiFi card that comes with the camera (if you plan on buying one – it does indeed ship with one – you do not need to order one seperately), but I will delve more into that later. For now I’m just going to share a couple blurry snapshots I took with my old trusty indestructable Canon Powershot Elph S200 that show the “About Box’ with the Macromedia Flash credit, and a couple blurry shots comparing the size of the camera to my Nokia 6680 phone. Its not much bigger height or width than the Nokia and its only about 1/2 an inch wider than my Canon – which is great. After I have had a chance to snap some good shots with it, I’ll post a couple samples up. For now I’ll summarize by stating that the UI is very compelling and easy to use. I can envision a point at which Macromedia Flash is the defacto standard for creating UI’s for consumer devices, especially as the level of complexity of consumer device UI’s increase in order to keep up with the available technology. We will probably begin to see some sort of a sibling to Moores law that applies or dictates the complexity of a given device based on the available computing power at that time, this is when the UI will weigh even more heavily on what we now consider standard consumer devices. I’ll have more info about the camera during my session at MAX. Hope to see you there!

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