Archive for March, 2006

Back at the Mothership

It’s just like going back to high school.

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Well, sort of. Today I drove down to Adobe HQ in San Jose (above), the office that I worked out of until January when the powers that be were kind enough to let me move up to the Adobe San Francisco (formerly Macromedia) office, which is just a 5 minute bike ride from my house, as opposed to a 1-hour drive or train ride (notice the above photo taken through my windshield). Some run-on sentence there, eh?

One of the cool things about Adobe HQ is that there are no cubicles — everybody gets their own office. Adobe SF is the complete opposite — very open and as a result a bit more social. Both offices are great. Walking the halls in San Jose today, I ran into several colleagues, and got some skinny on some of the new stuff we’re cooking up for the next release. Sorry I can’t tell you about it, because if I did”I’d Have To Kill You” (cue canned laughter & comments like “oh, I never heard that one before!”). That’s one of the cool things at HQ (death threats aside) it’s the epicenter of all things Adobe.

I’ll be driving back down there on Friday for a very special 5-minute meeting (you got that right, 2 hours of road time for 5 minutes of meeting). Actually, the meeting is much longer but my presentation is 5 minutes. Sorry I can’t tell you about it (again with the “I’d have to kill you — har har– good one” bit), but it’s gonna be way worth it.

On another note, the Brazil Production Studio Launch Seminar is confirmed for Monday, April 3 in Sao Paulo. I will most definitely be there (and just when I thought it was safe to be back home in SF).

Blatant Commercial Message (albeit non-profit & non-political)

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I’m going to be sitting in with some of these bands at this show — It’ll my first time on a NYC stage since May, 2005. It’s a benefit show for a very good cause, one very close to me (if interested, read on . . .).

The headlining band, Booga Sugar, is fronted by Tim Cloherty (lead singer of my former band The Rake’s Progress), and Pete Klinger from Rakes is the drummer. Tim comes from a large family (6 siblings), and they were always a major presence at the NYC Rakes shows (I’ll never forget this one cousin of Tim’s who was the size & shape of a large refrigerator — he would always stand out even in an audience of 1,000 people).

Anyhow, the sad news is that Tim’s older brother Tom died a very sudden and tragic death 2 months ago, while jogging near his home in coastal Maine. He suffered a heart attack during his jog, and even though he was an incredibly strong and healthy young guy of 37 he did not survive.

He left behind a wife and 4 kids, and the proceeds from this concert will go to the kids’ education fund. It’s a very worthy cause, to say the least, and I personally know all the bands on this bill and they all kick @ss!

So, those of you in the NYC area, I really hope to see you. Anne-Lise & I bought our tix yesterday. Click here for details and to buy tix.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Killer Advanced After Effects Training

In an earlier post, I wrote that Dean Velez (a multiple Emmy Award winning broadcast designer & former Adobe SE) has a new After Effects training DVD (from Total Training, where he’s now the Creative Director). Upon arriving back to my office today, I was delighted to find a copy of it in my mailbox — “Total Training for Advanced Adobe After Effects 7 Pro – Broadcast Design Secrets“. Dean is one of the rare talents that can start with absolutely nothing, create some artwork in Photoshop, animate it in After Effects, and come out with an incredibly deep, dynamic motion design piece. I guess it comes from all those years he spent in TV News, having to create graphics packages with an average deadline of 1/2 hour (!).

I just watched the first part — creating a News Bumper — which uses the Fractal Noise effect to great effect (sorry) in creating the animated clouds. Fractal Noise is one of those effects that you should always turn to when creating animated backgrounds as the possibilities are virtually endless. Here’s a screencap from the training.

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Anybody involved in Broadcast Design should have a copy of this disc.

The Ghost of Jack Kennedy

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Hello, my friend. How are you today? You are looking wonderful!

Oh — you are looking at my office. Well, I must explain. You see, I am working today with our partner company Intel. VERY important partner. They make hardware that makes our Video & Audio software run FAST. I am sitting here with the bleeding edge of laptop PC technology — the HP Compaq NX 9420, which has the new Intel Centrino dual-core processor. Production Studio smokes on this thing. I got to sit here and do press briefings all day, right in front of the bed that John F. Kennedy & Marlyn Monroe allegedly hooked up in. According to hotel staff, the President was enjoying some private time in that bed with Ms. Monroe one afternoon when the First Lady returned early from her shopping trip, forcing Marilyn to hide on the roof until it was safe to make an escape.

Urban legends aside, this was a fun event, held in the penthouse of the Farimont hotel in San Francisco’s posh Nob Hill area. Intel always throws unique events, and this was no exception — the room I had my “bedside office” in was also populated by other Intel partners such as Skype, a telephone-over-IP service.

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There’s the room looking in from outside, and here’s a shot on the balcony with the crew from Intel.

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Today was fun, but I’m looking forward to a few days in the office for a change.

Sweet Home California

Finally back home. I slept like a rock last night, but it was from 8pm-4am.

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Here’s the view from the upstairs of my house. It’s one of those great San Francisco weather days — nice & fresh. Obviously it’s not the fog season — many times of the year that skyline is completely socked in.

Looking forward to training some of the Adobe SE’s (Sales Engineers) next week in San Jose. I’ll be doing a press event with Intel on Monday here in SF, and it looks like I’ll be off to Brazil for a Production Studio Launch Seminar & press junket in early April.

Help Wanted for NAB

We’re looking for a few good men & women to present their work at our main theater stage @ NAB 2006 (April 24-27 in Las Vegas). If you have experience presenting to large crowds, and cool, noteworthy stuff you’ve done with Adobe tools that you’d like to share, please e-mail me.

The Only Way To Fly

Writing this entry at 36000 feet over the Pacific Ocean in a business class seat that converts to a flat bed. They’re serving drinks now.

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Some airline cabin, huh? I wasn’t kidding when I wrote that Cathay Pacific is one of the best – – actually probably THE best airline I’ve ever flown (and I’ve flown ‘em all). Aside from the seat-bed the flight attendants are incredibly gracious, call you by name, and look after you so well that you never have to ask for anything, somehow they manage to stay 1 step ahead. I’ve never seen anything like it before — even on Singapore Airlines, which I flew on the first leg of the tour, which is reputed to be the best airline in the world (they are also excellent, but as Mark Phibbs put it so succinctly — “Singapore Airlines is the girl in high school who knows she’s pretty, and Cathay is prettier but doesn’t know it”).

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There’s Mark at the end-of-tour dinner at Wildfire restaurant in Sydney.

So the AsiaPac Production Studio Launch Tour doesn’t end with my return home — no sirree! Singapore-based Marianne Young Ledesma, the Applications Engineer for Adobe AsiaPac, carries the show onward to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, & The Phillipines.

Marianne was one of the great people we got to work with in Singapore — big thanks to Wee Ling Tan & team for putting together a really super event at one of the nicest hotels in Singapore (a city with some of the most de-luxe hotels in the universe), the Intercontinental.

No more planes for me until the March 16 trip to NYC. I’ll be sitting in at a benefit concert on Saturday March 18 at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC. It’s for my freind Tim’s nieces & nephews who lost their dad Tom Cloherty 2 months ago to a tragic heart attack. Tommy was only 39 years old and left behind a wife and 4 kids. Tim was the singer in The Rake’s Progress (the band I was in for 10 years) and his band Booga Sugar will be headlining with a bunch of other great bands. The ticket proceeds to to the education fund for Tom’s kids. If you’re in the NYC area please come out and hear some great music — there might be a Rake’s Progress reunion song or 2 . . .

Stick A Fork In Us, We’re Done.

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After nearly 2 weeks of hopping on and off planes, checking into and out of hotels, and presenting to the greatest users in the world (Adobe users), we’re finally finished with the 2006 Adobe Production Studio AsiaPac Launch Tour. We met so many fantastic people, got treated like royalty by the local Adobe staff, and somehow managed to suffer not a single injury nor fatality during this jaunt through an incrediby huge and diverse region.

Hart & I enjoyed a fantastic day off in Sydney today (obligatory tourist photo above), and I’ve got to get up in 5 hours to fly back to my newly adopted home town, San Francisco California, on Cathay Pacific Airlines (one of the best airlines I’ve ever flown). This involves a connecting flight in Hong Kong, with a 1.5 hour layover, so I guess I can make that a total of 17.5 hours in Hong Kong on this trip.

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Me taking a picture of Hart taking a picture of himself. Sleep deprivation does this kind of thing to you . . .

Thanks to all of you who came out to see us present the most important release of Adobe’s Video & Audio Products in the Company’s history.

Sourdough and Anchor Steam, here I come ! ! !