Flashforward 2004 – A Retrospective

I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to post this since I’m writing it on the plane on the way back from Flashforward 2004 in San Francisco, but I’ll try to get it live as soon after I land as possible. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, and in particular, hanging out with the Flash community. Here are some arbitrary thoughts and observations from last week:

  • JSLF is much cooler than I thought. Thanks to Guy Watson, I got a good solid introduction.
  • Eric Natzke’s work is unreal. I already knew that, but I was reminded once again. Very inspirational. No wonder they save his session for last.
  • Macromedia has a new MXML authoring tool to look forward to codenamed “Brady”. Sounds like an essential companion to Flex.
  • Just in case you haven’t heard yet, we have a Flash update to look forward to. Look for component enhancements and more documentation.
  • Central is being actively developed, and developed for. Look for Flash Player 7 support as well as support for the AIM and ICQ networks (as soon as this spring). Very cool stuff!
  • Kevin Lynch showed Flash running on Linux. Surprisingly responsive, too. I would really like to see this gain momentum. All I would need to switch permanently is iTunes.
  • Phillip Kerman’s and Drew Falkman’s cattle auction application can apparently handle millions of dollars in transactions in just a couple of hours. I guess cows are expensive. Very cool use of Flash Communication Server. The application won best Flash application in the film festival, as well.
  • Lucian Beebe is one dedicated product manager. I was very impressed by how well he integrated himself at the conference, and how much feedback he tirelessly solicited. I was also very impressed with the hot pepper he ate at Eric’s restaurant on Thursday night. Last time I saw him, he had not yet fully recovered.
  • How many Flash developers does it take to get a Playstation 2 to work on a giant projector and two plasma screens simultaneously? I think it was about four. Chafic of rewindlife.com has pictures, but thankfully, they aren’t posted yet.
  • Apparently, Macromedia employees actually can win prizes on the last day of Flashforward. We were starting to wonder when Vera Fleischer won a stack of O’Reilly books. I was glad to see the prize go to someone who lives in San Francisco rather than someone who would have to buy an extra seat on their plane to get them home.
  • I think I’ve gotten better Chinese food in San Francisco than anywhere I’ve ever been, including Japan. We found the Girl Scout Cookies in San Francisco to be very good, too, but not much different than the ones I get at home.
  • Danny Dura sure loves Mongolian Beef. I think that’s why he has decided to move to San Francisco. He does not, however, like playing me in Tiger Woods 2004. :)
  • WARNING: walking up steep hills in San Francisco can cause painful muscle cramps which friends sometimes think are funny (sorry, Mike).
  • It was great meeting and hanging out with people I previously knew only through email, lists, or just pure reputation. Hope to see you all (and many more!) in New York this summer!