Will The Convergation Please Rise

So all of a sudden, I’m inventing words. Long weeks can do this sort of thing to you, but in any case the whole “Media Convergence” thing has been on my mind lately. I attended my 8th NAB this year, and I can think back to the first one I went to in ’99 when everyone was saying TV was going to the internet. Major players in the industry bet the farm on that theory and most got visits from the repo guys soon thereafter.

Well, now we’re finally here. You can stream or download TV shows, video podcasts, baseball games (I’m addicted to my MLB.TV subscription), and all sorts of things that aren’t fit to mention in polite conversation. What’s more interesting is how all this video content is being pushed onto mobile devices as well. We’re not seeing it so much here in the USA today, but when I went to Seoul, Korea earlier this year, I was amazed to see people on the subway staring into their cellphones immersed in the TV News, a soccer match, and a game show in which a guy wearing a suit covered with fish was being lowered into a tank of live giant crabs.

So this leads me to the whole content authoring thing — we already know that Creative Professionals are gradually becoming a more generalist species. Print designers are learning web design, video editors are learning motion graphic design, and eventually we’ll all be learning to design stuff for mobile phones & the like. If you’re using Flash Professional 8, you might not know it, but the tools for authoring content are already in there, and the Flash Lite platform comes pre-installed on mobile phones & devices made by companies like Nokia & Sony-Ericsson

The best way to have a look at this feature, is to open a sample project that comes with Flash Professional 8 and test it in the Emulator.

flash_lite_emulator.jpg
The “Cafe Townsend” project in the Flash Lite emulator, showing a Nokia 6620.

First, you need to open the file named cafe_tutorial_complete.fla located in the /Samples and Tutorials/Tutorial Assets/Flash Lite/Cafe/ folder where you installed Flash Professional 8 (for example, C:/Program Files/Macromedia/Flash 8/Samples and Tutorials/Tutorial Assets/Flash Lite/Cafe/).

Next, select Control>Test Movie to load the project in the Emulator. Click on the buttons of the phone to navigate & select (it’s pretty intuitive), and you can use the pulldown menu in the upper-left corner of the Emulator to select different mobile phones & devices to test the application on.

When you’re ready to get started trying your hand at building a Flash Lite app for a mobile phone, select Help>Flash Help, and then scroll down to Getting Started with Flash Lite.

I’ll be using my “Crackberry” mobile device quite a bit next week when I’m in Vegas presenting at the HOW Design Conference. If you’re there, make sure to say “hi”.