After a long wait, I finally got my invite to a.viary. One word… WOW! This is RIA the way it was meant to be. Absolutely easy to use UI design, great user feedback, fast responsive interaction and tons of fun. These flex apps that I have tried out, Peacock and Phoenix are the tools I currently have access to. Phoenix is a Photoshop clone built in Flex and Peacock is a node based pattern generator built in Flex. Unbelievable! I have had a ton of fun with them already and can’t wait to see what comes out of this site. Great work by the Worth1000 team.
I have already given out my 5 invites, but hope to get some more soon. If you are interested in playing, direct message me on Twitter and send me your email… If I get more invites, you’ll be on my list. Until then, check out these images I created using Peacock… so fun!
If you are familiar with Actionscript 3 and XML/XHTML/CSS learning Flex should come pretty naturally to you, that said, the Adobe Flex Development team has put together a series of videos that look to aid that considerably. Not only would training like this typically cost at least a couple hundred dollars if purchased from a company like Total Training, you would also need to play them on DVDs or pop them in your computer. These videos play nicely in a BrightCove player and can be gone through at your own pace. For my students reading this… Go through these tutorials! You’ll need it for building mashups!
This seems like a recurring topic for me. The lament of the modern Flash Designer/Developer. The quandary is a deep one with no easy answer. Has Adobe’s near completion of Macromedia’s vision for Flash as a modern, powerful virtual machine robust enough for application development left the designer in the dust? Where is the missing wrench in the Flash designer’s toolbox?
Most all of you may be aware of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program. Well, we have some good news. The place I work at, The Iona Group (we have a new website up, by the way), is donating 5 XO-1 laptops to a low income child care facility in a neighboring community. Very cool indeed. Here the details from the press release:
The community service project Intersection (www.oneintersection.com) and Morton-based creative design firm, The Iona Group (www.ionagroup.com) are donating 5 XO-1 Laptops (a part of the One Laptop Per Child campaign, www.laptop.org) to the low-income daycare center, Bloomington Day Care.
The laptops will be given Thursday, July 17 at 10:30am at Bloomington Day Care in Bloomington (located at 309 E. Wood Street in Bloomington).
The Iona Group purchased 10 XO-1 laptops, 5 were sent to Africa to needy villages and the other 5 delivered to them to gift to children in need in the Central Illinois area. Intersection is a local community service project that longs to bring neighborhoods and people together to find commonality. Intersection recently partnered with Bloomington Day Care to put in a new playground and bike paths this past April and also partnered with the day care center in 2007 by updating playgrounds and facilities. Together, the two organizations will donate the 5 laptops to the daycare center that has very little technology to help children begin to learn the skills of a compute.
The XO-1 Laptop has been called ‚ÄúA unique machine with features created specifically for children of the emerging world.‚Äù Both organizations representatives will be at the day care center this Thursday to answer any questions and show the staff and children the new laptops.
I am really happy to be working for an organization that does such great work for its clients and also, thanks to efforts like this, its community.
A great song and a fabulous video. Check this out:
On top of the video being just really cool, the information on how it was made is also pretty engaging. It’s available at code.google.com, and you can actually get some of the source, too. Though it appears that the actual visualization used in the video was made using Processing, the point cloud data has also been used to make a 3D data visualization app built in Flash that allows you to rotate the nodes that comprise Thom Yorke’s visage around on the stage. Very cool stuff in general. Procedural animation FTW! Definitely worth reading up on.
I bought an iPhone days after the launch last year. I think I had to. I’m pretty much a Apple devotee. I loved it. I had some problems activating it, but I got over it. I jailbroke it pretty much immediately, putting games, twitter, and tons of ringtones, etc on it. I anxiously awaited the 2.0 software update and grabbed it as soon as Gizmodo posted it.
I have been playing with it, and I have to say, it’s pretty freakin’ sweet. The appstore works well. The selection of apps is good. Overall, I’m pretty happy with it. However, a few minor things…
Still no way without a jailbroken phone to set your BG color behind your app icons?
Still no configurable sounds for system events, etc?
No Google Analytics app? Adsense reporting?
Twitteriffic is okay, but I preferred the old jailbroken app “MobileTwitter”… less app chrome.
Not enough app demos on the app store… If I am going to drop $20, I need to know the app is good.
No way to force new browser windows to be opened with hyperlinks (maybe a click, hover release interaction would work for this?)
Speaker still too quiet for most settings to make the speakerphone usable
Give me some fun features (Maybe my callers could listen to a predefined ipod song while the phone is ringing or while they are on hold)
How about you? Have you upgraded? Bought a 3G phone? Had issues with activation? I’d love to hear your experiences or find out any cool apps you might know about.
About a week ago, I sent out a tweet asking for ideas on new APIs that might be worth checking out. You see, I am teaching a mashup course this fall and I need some new source material. I’ve played with Kuler, ColourLovers, Delicious, Yahoo Pipes, Technorati and a couple others (mostly unpublished and just experimental), but I just feel like I was missing something. I needed to check some other things out. Of course the new AS3 APIs for Google maps are out, so those are absolutely on my list, but I wanted some more “content rich” APIs. I spent some time on programmableweb.com (a great source for mashups and APIs) but only found a couple that struck my fancy enough to think about spending what is virtually my nonexistant free time on building a toy.
Rachael Rubin (wildhoney on twitter) was kind enough to point me to the newly revised Last.FM API and I think I will definitely use it at some point, but without a a proper link to the streaming music in their library, building a non playing audio based mashup seems a little less fun that it should be. It seems as though they intentionally make accessing the streams a little difficult to discourage bandwidth abuse.
All that changed today when I came across Govtrack.us on programmableweb. Wow. What a useful API. Fun? Not really… it’s an interface to the mountains of data generated by our Congressional representatives day to day business. Deep stuff. With the ever growing need for governmental transparency in this somewhat crazy time, it’s a fantastic resource to have. Generate clean XML based on what your reps are voting on, meeting about and talking over. Combine this with Google maps or perhaps any number of other rich data sources and you have some amazing potential to bring visibility to a very opaque world. Providing a new or easier to use interface to the insurmountable volumes of legislation might uncover some realizations that may have gone unnoticed otherwise.
I’m definitely going to give this one a spin. Shall we find something out from all of this? It remains to be seen, I guess. I have a few ideas on things I might like to track… how about you?
Two days ago, Adobe released Beta 2 of Flash Player 10. With it came a number of enhancements, bug fixes and new features. Linux users got a much more even playing field. But the one that I think will have the most impact on my day to day Flash work with Flash Player 10:
unloadAndStop ‚Äî This new ActionScript 3.0 API adds unload functionality similar to the unload behavior in ActionScript 2.0.¬† After calling unloadAndStop on loaded content it will be immediately removed stopping all audio, removing eventListeners, and becoming inaccessible through ActionScript.
This sounds to me like a fix for this massive bug/issue noted in this great post by Grant Skinner. That bug prevents clean unloading and garbage collection of unloaded/unused movieclips or sprites. Very excellent news for everyone who builds, buys or consumes Flash content. I am also excited to have limited fullscreen keyboard access, but fixing this major issue will definitely help me not need to put kludgey workarounds in or avoid AS3 based Flash content any longer.
Build, steal, buy, or borrow… These would be the four basic ways you can make your applications a reality, pretty much regardless of the language you develop in. Flash and Flex development is no different in this regard.
Building will get you what you want, provided you have the skills to do it, but could take a load of time. Time obviously equals money. Stealing source code is of course unethical and I would never endorse it, for the obvious immediate moral implications. But furthermore, it is simply not a commercial option when developing work for clients due to long term legal issues. Buying code or components is often a great way to rapidly make progress that would otherwise take a long time to build. Borrowing code or the closest parallel I could think of, using open or free libraries, components, frameworks or APIs, is often the smartest thing to do when building an application of scale or one that requires a short timeline to deployment. (more…)