A Little on Flash Video Cue Points.

So we’re working on a pretty big project (anyone who knows me knows this already, sorry for the duplication of stories), this project consists of nearly 200 video files strung together via a number of interactions and user paths.

These clips have to have cue points (between 2-10 cue points per video). Some of these cue points are needed to be jump points to move the playhead, and some of them trigger events onscreen… Flash Video accepts a couple different types of video cue points, “Navigation” and “Events”…

From the Flash docs:

  • Event cue points are used to trigger ActionScript methods when the cue point is reached, and let you synchronize the video playback to other events within the Flash presentation.
  • Navigation cue points are used for navigation and seeking, and to trigger ActionScript methods when the cue point is reached. Embedding a navigation cue point inserts a keyframe at that point in the video clip to enable viewers to seek to that place in the video.
  • NOTE   Adding additional keyframes can lower the overall quality of a video clip. For this reason, navigation cue points should only be used when users will need to seek to a particular place within the video. For more information on keyframes, and their effect on video playback, see Keyframes.

So, yeah, we know what they are and what they do, my main question is, beyond the metatdata aspect of being able to have some cue points be tagged as “navigation” and some as “events” are there any reasons to not simply just use navigation event types? You can successuly use “navigation” cue points to trigger actions, plus they also insert an additional cue point to allow for better cue point jumping… so what’s the downside? As long as you wouldn’t have a cue point every other frame or something, what’s the real downside to just using “navigation” type cue points in this case?

Yay… We’re hiring.

I’m happy to blog here, that the company I work at is looking for a talented developer. Of course, I’m biased, but we’re a great place to work… you should check it out if you are looking for something new. You can learn more here. From the description:

Job Description
The Iona Group, Inc., a growing interactive communications company, is seeking a Senior Multimedia Developer to define, design and develop interactive media solutions for our clients.

As the primary developer on web, intranet and interactive solutions, the ideal candidate will play a key role in designing client solutions and programming the resulting applications by applying industry standards and best practices using leading tools, skills and technologies.

Qualifications

て「 Strong knowledge of interactive media technology, design and development processes
て「 Detail oriented with strong organizational skills
て「 Creative problem solving skills
て「 Excellent time management
て「 Experience estimating effort required to produce the work
て「 Excellent communication skills
て「 Experience developing both experience sites and applications/RIAs
て「 2-3 Years of demonstrated experience in developing multimedia solutions and working in a client service environment.

Skills
て「 Strong skills in Flash Actionscript 2.0
て「 Experience developing Flash Video based solutions
て「 Relational Database design and SQL
て「 Experience with Server Side development languages (ASP.Net, Java, PHP)
て「 Experience with XML and webservices
て「 Flex Builder and Flash Lite Development experience a plus

Responsibilities
て「 Design, develop and deliver innovative, high quality multimedia solutions
て「 Manage workload and meet project parameters of scope, schedule and budget
て「 Identify potential problems and opportunities and develop creative solutions for addressing
て「 Review project deliverables for accuracy

Off to NYC

I leave this AM to go to New York to meet with our technology vendor/collaborator for a major site we have in production. Meetings this Thursday and Friday, with fun on Saturday, coming back early Sunday afternoon. This is my first time back to NYC in about 5 years, so, I’m looking forward to it.

It’ll be great to finally meet the others involved on this project. We have a lot of ground to cover in regards to specifications with media distribution and status of assets they’ll need to have delivered, etc. but everything thus far with them has been awesome. It’s always nice to work on a project with a company that gets it and knows what they need, and how to ask for it. Inter-agency collaborations can get a bit dicey when one of the teams is far less savvy than the other one,ャ or if there is a mismatch of goals on a project, but we haven’t encountered anything like that, as of yet (Knock on Wood).

I’ll be looking to do something touristy on Saturday… I have yet to do Ellis island in the couple other times I have been to New York, maybe something like that is in order. I know I want to go to the Apple Store, and look arond Soho, of course… Get a bite of something good to eat, etc… Should be lots of fun. I’m hooking up with my buddy Max for the weekend, so things should be a bit crazy.

Microsoft Entourage – I really hate you!

So, I did the archive and instal, and still no dice… I would think that my reinstall of the OS would have repaired whatever sort of damage I done to my Rosetta stuff using Monolingual, but no. MS Word, Excel,ャ Powerpoint all launch… Entourage will launch, but not using the identity I want to use – a 2.52GB database of 3-4 years worth of emails.

The database utility says that nothing is wrong with the database, it validates just fine… However, I tried using it on another Intel Mac I have and no dice. Tomorrow, I’m trying to load the identity on an old Power Mac G4 Tower, in the hopes that using a PowerPC based Mac will load the identity… A longshot, I know.

My choices after look to involve using EntourAid and just pulling all the emails out of it that I can… and then what? Use Entourage? I don’t feel so good about that. The thought of using VMWare just to check my email on Outlook seems kinda crazy, too… anyone out there doing this?

What’s the deal? Anyone out there using Entourage can shed some light on my situation?

What’s the chance of Office 2008 for the Mac going Community Technology Preview (aka Public Beta)? Just want to get this identity loaded and export my data.

Whimper.

Archive And Install In My Future.

I have been a Mac user for over a decade now. In that time I have had maybe 7 Macs. A 6400/180 Performa tower, a 7100/66 PowerMac, a Graphite iMac DVSE, a G4 Tower and now a MacBook at home and a MacBook Pro for work. In that time, I could probably count the time I have had to reinstall my OS because of problems on one hand (It’s been 4, I recall).
The most recent reinstall was due to the MX2004 software activation on a G4 Tower… I had upgraded the Machines’ hard drive, CPU, and video card all at once and the MX2004 suite simply didn’t know what to do, it thought it was on a different machine and so it silently failed launching again and again. After talking to numerous Macromedia support folks, I was issued hotfix afterャ hotfix, patch after patch. Nothing worked. Their recommendation… wipe the hard drive to zeros and reinstall everything. The OS, the apps, my drivers, etc. UGH! For an application.

Well, not quite as drastic as that one, but equally as frustrating, it looks like I will have to perform an Archive and Install in order to use the MS Office suite… My last post detailed how the entire suite was acting oddly (slow, unresponsive, etc.). I also mentioned that Entourage wasn’t launching. Well, now the entire suite is DOA.

All support posts I have seen aross newsgroups, forums etc point to the fact that because I used Monolingual to remove some “unused” fonts – (Cyrillic, Chinese, etc) I have damaged my system in a way that prohibits Office from working.

Bummer.

I guess I know what I am doing Monday.

Microsoft Office and Intel Macs = Painfully slow.

Yes, I just got my first work Intel Mac – A MacBook Pro (I had a MacBook at home already – it’s pretty much a home photo and web browser/email machine), and got all my apps on it… including MS Office 2004. Wow, now, I wasn’t expecting super snappy performance, but holy cow. Opening the apps take forever and get this て Entourage somehow got completely broken. Yes, won’t launch, just dies in the dock after two bounces. I’ll have to remove, reinstall, run all the updates so that my identity can be read by the app and then pray that my database isn’t corrupted. I know Office 2008 is in private beta, but man oh man, could they hurry up?

It’s bad enough, that now I open simple word docs in TextEdit and am seriously considering just temporarily moving to Google Docs and Spreadsheets until the new Universal Binary Office comes out. Since we recently set up a new Exchange server at work, too, I am considering trying to meld iCal and Apple mail into my workflow as opposed to using Entourage. I do hate that one database file of over 3GB is storing my last 4 years of correspondence, etc. I back the DB up nearly weekly, but even then, I have stacks of DVDs building up and it does take a few minutes of my time every work week. With Apple’s Mail and their Backup app, it’s all automated.

Ouch.

Anyone else out there experiencing such awful conditions imposed by Office on your Intel Mac?

Jumping Into My First project Started With Flash CS3 This Week.

Looking forward to it. We’re building some prototypes of a much larger experience site/application and then testing them for likability, etc. So this week will be all about using the import from PSD and AI files that everyone is talking about in the new CS3. Some of the mockups are Photoshop and some are Illustrator files. Since it’s just a prototype and we won’t be pushing this code live to the general public, I may do a little experimentation with AS3 and especially the XML animation stuff added in Flash CS3. I would have typically used Tweener but I may forgo that on this occasion.

Any other features or things in the new suite that I should be checking out, too? I have already worked with the video export and loved that, but I’d like to dip my toes in the rest of the way in this new toolset and a new project is always the best way to that IMHO.

What does Adobe’s acquisition of Scene7 mean to a Flash designer/developer?

Adobe announced they were buying Scene7 the other day and it seemed a bit like a head scratcher to me. I wasn’t aware that Adobe was in the practice of buying consulting/media development firms that use the Adobe Suite to produce solutions. Scene7 looks to be a company that primarily develops Flash and Flex solutions. Is Adobe planning on adding the staff of Scene7 to the Adobe consulting business unit?

Anyway, I came across this product that Scene7 has: Image Portal. Looks like a web based Extensis Portfolio or Canto Cumulus competitor. Built in Flex. Could be nice to package into/integrate with Bridge for company wide asset management. I know my small workgroup could definitely use something like that. We’re currently tossing around those two pieces of software I mentioned as well as Final Cut server as options to manage/search for assets on our ever growing storage array at work. With video, tons of office documents, PSDs, FLAs, XML and everything else you amass over the course of modern projects this is definitely something that is becoming necessary.

Scene7 also has a content publishing platform that looks kind of cool, could Adobe be interested in server side content management, too? Interesting, indeed: On-Demand Platform.

Anyone out there that can shed any light on the benefits that Scene7 brings to a typical Adobe user is welcome. Also, if you are using an asset management system out there and you have views/reviews you can share, please do.

Burying myself in Flex

I now have the Actionscript 3.0 Cookbook and the Flex Training from the Source book. I replaced the Mac OSX Beta of Flex Builder 2 with the 30 day limited trial on my Powerbook, and I am getting down to it. I plan on building myself a nice little FlexGrocery store (thats what the tutorials have you build over the course of the lessons), over the next week or two and really get this knocked out. By then I think I should be able to tackle my first Flex commercial projects.

Since AS2 and AS3 are a bit different, I’m learning Actionscript 3.0 and FlexBuilder simultaneously, so it’s a challenge, but fun. I have already gone through the tutorials shipped with the app, so I have a little bit of an idea of what I am getting into. I have also downloaded a few of Juan’s ScaleNine Themes and reskinned those original tutorial apps (so slick!), and a few of the components I have downloaded and messed around with from FlexBox… It was a snap. I think I’m totally hooked now.

I may have to lock myself in a door far away from the Wii and my friends. I will have to take some time out soon, as my wife is due any day with our second child. Who wants to work on RIAs when there is a new baby around?

As a sidenote away from Flex, I figure I have to get myelf up to speed with AS3 now, as when Flash 9/CS3 comes out, a huge majority of people will already have the player, and the design community is going to be all over those new features everyone is buzzing about. Add to that Apollo, my web design course I am teaching and a ton of products I have going on at work and things may just be getting a little crazy with my schedule in the next few weeks.

Wish me luck.

Dx3 Conference In May… Anyone Going?

This Lynda.com Event looks pretty interesting. A broad mix of people from Adobe, Microsoft and other web technology companies and technology advocates (Web Standards and AJAX). I think I’m leaning towards attending this instead of Flash Forward this year. If for no other reason than the broadness and platform agnosticism.

Though I doubt I’ll ever switch from the Flash Platform to developing WPE/WPF multimedia… I would like to get a good idea of what the technology is capable of to see if it takes care of some of my larger pet peeves with Flash player performance and capabilities. The fact that MS is giving away Expression Web Designer there seems like an interesting hook. Perhaps by then we’ll have Flash 9/CS3 and Dreamweaver 9/CS3 in our hands and we’ll definitely have a preview version of Apollo (By the way – I preordered the pocketguide preview book).

I’m really interested in the following sessions:

  1. Beyond Web 2.0Having trouble separating hype from reality? Where is the Web really headed? In this presentation, Jesse James Garrett looks at the deeper trends driving the latest innovations in Web development and considers the broader implications for the skill sets Web teams will need to invest in to successfully leverage emerging Web techniques and technologies.
  2. A Better Way: Agile Software Development - Agile software development aims to reintroduce sanity and common sense into the creation of software (be it software for the desktop, Web, devices, etc.). In this session you’ll learn about agile practices such as Extreme Programming and Scrum, and what agile can do for your organization, your employees, your products, and your clients. You’ll learn how agile can add value, improve communication, allow for rapid correction, and make software development fun again.
  3. Experience by DesignCreating a great experience doesn’t typically happen by accident. Learn some keys to communicating and working with complex technology in a fluid visual environment. A great idea is the best way to start a great project, but how do you transfer that vision through design, development and deployment with all the pitfalls and roadblocks to come? Focus on the strengths and understand the limitations of each phase of the process, and push the boundaries to ultimately deliver a compelling experience. The target will be rich interactive applications, that use both high design, and cutting edge technology.
  4. Designer-Developer Workflow - No description for this yet, but this is an issue I wrestle with all the time. I would like to see some other peoples perspectives on it.
  5. What’s New in Flash Always good to know what’s new on the scene.

With 40+ sessions I’m sure other things will bubble up, too. Really getting psyched for this… It takes place just after my teaching responsibilities at Bradley University end for the semester, too, so getting away will be great at that time of year!

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