I was on a Boat – RIAdventure

Imagine for a moment being stuck on a boat for 6 days with a bunch of geeks. Then imagine you’ve brought your wife (or husband) into it. There is no escape (except for excursions). What do you think the result would be? That’s what I was asking myself before RIAdventure. I have to admit I was a little nervous but I had faith that because it was the Flex community it would be a great time. I was dead wrong. It was a FANTASTIC time and I got to know a lot of people really well, saw some great presentations, and my wife and I even came away with some “couple friends”. It was the ultimate blend of great community, friendly people, geeking out, and personal friendships.

riadventure_shot

My favorite talks of the conference were by Doug McCune and Greg Burch. Doug talked about his work on data visualization and took us through the history of “datvislashun” (inside joke) that he’s researched because of the Spatial Key project. It was a perfect high-level, thought provoking talk. I also learned a lot about “Slider” the Flex Mobile framework from Greg Burch. It’s amazing what you can learn about your own products when you hang out with the person who’s the lead on internal projects.

But the best part was the socializing. We saw some great (and some terrible) karaoke, hung out on the beach with Flex people, and got to know some new members of the community. One of the most interesting parts to me was that a good chunk of the RIAdventure attendees were “new” to the Flex/Flash community and this was one of their first conferences. It’s kind of a hardcore way to jump in so hopefully we didn’t scare them off.

Thanks to everyone who made it fun. For those that weren’t there, I highly suggest you go next year. Bonding with the community, getting to know spouses, and geeking out on some cool topics was a great way to spend the week. It was just a completely different kind of experience for getting to know people in our world and I’m really glad I went. Of course the next best thing is 360|Flex in March. Be sure to register!

You have to come to Flash Camp Brasil

In about a month and a half I will be traveling to beautiful Maceió for Flash Camp Brasil. This is shaping up to be a great event with an impressive group of speakers. In addition to many local speakers there are several international speakers coming including myself, Joshua Hirsch from Big Spaceship, and fellow evangelist Danny Dura. Oh and did I mention that Maceió is a tropical paradise with crystal clear water and beaches?

My session is entitled Desenvolvimento para Mobile e para Desktop com Flash e AIR 2.0, which I’m pretty sure is Portuguese for Developing for Mobile and Desktop with Flash and AIR. My session will cover all of the new stuff surrounding iPhone development, smart phones with Flash Player 10.1, as well as the new features in Adobe AIR 2.0. Of course I will be giving away some software as well.

Danny will be doing a session on the new multi-touch features that are a part of Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe AIR 2.0. He was one developers who built an awesome multi-touch Twitter application for the Adobe MAX conference in LA. Josh will be doing a session on the inner workings of Big Spaceship, which in my opinion is the most cutting edge interactive agency around. I have seen this talk twice and it is an amazing insider’s guide to how they generate creative ideas.

In addition to the geeky Flash stuff there will also be a lot of extra-curricular activities as well. I will be doing a dead drop during the conference, which will be the first one ever in South America. There will also be plenty of drinking and other shenanigans going as well. You get all this for less than $25 US dollars or $40,00 Reais. There is no excuse not to come so go and register now.

Lee

Webinar: using PHP and Flash for developing Rich Internet Applications

On December 2nd, together with Roy Ganor from Zend Company, I will host an e-seminar about PHP and Flash Platform. We will show you how you can create a Rich Internet Application using the Flex framework, Illustrator, Flash Catalyst, and Flash Builder 4. Then we will show you how to connect the Flex application to [...]

Latin Flash Tour Retrospective

Well the Latin Flash Tour is finally over and after taking a few days to rest, I want to share some of my experiences from this amazing trip. Overall this tour heavily reinforced my belief that the Latin American Flash community is one of the strongest we have, not only in terms of enthusiasm, but also in skill level. I only needed to be home for a few days before I started missing all of the new friends I made over the last few weeks. What follows is a very rough recap of the trip. Things got quite loco in some countries so this has been sanitized for public consumption. There were also far too many people and things to talk about so I’m sorry if I leave something out.

Santiago, Chile
I had about a 9-hour flight from Dallas to Santiago, which was very smooth. In the morning I awoke as we flying over the snow-capped Andes. This was very beautiful and also made remember the movie Alive where a plane crashed in those mountains and the survivors were forced to eat the dead. I looked at the guy next to me to see how much nourishment he would provide in the event of a crash.

Santiago is an extremely beautiful city. I was staying in the swanky part of town at the new W Hotel. I met up with the user group managers Luis Felipe and Rodrigo Duarte for the dinner the night before. We had possibly the worst waitress in the world but still had a nice time nonetheless. I also got to meet Lifaros, who is one of favorite old-school ActionScript experimenters.

The event in Santiago took place in religious building on a Saturday and we had a great turnout of around 150 people. Despite being warned about the lack of English language skills, everything I presented seemed to be understood with ease. I had a lot of great questions, which is always a good sign when presenting.

After the event we went out for some traditional empanadas. I think I’m still full after that meal. I really wish I had another day in Santiago to see more of the city.

Buenos Aires, Argentina
After a short and smooth flight I arrived in Buenos Aires to meet up with the rest of the Latin Flash Tour crew. Grant “Grande Leche” Garrett was already at the Sofitel hotel getting settled in. That night we met up with Maximiliano Firtman and Mariano Carrizo for dinner. They said it would be a short walk to the restaurant. I guess short means something else in Argentina :) .

The next morning Enrique Duvos arrived and the crew was complete. The event that night was great with again around 150 designers and developers. This crowd was very lively and weren’t shy about asking us some tough questions. We received a great gift of Havana cakes. These things are like having a circus in your mouth.

That night we took a bunch of the attendees to a pizza place where we consumed a large amount of Quillmes beer, which we later started calling KillMe’s.

Lima, Peru
The flight from Buenos Aires to Lima was amazing. Customer service in Latin America is so much better than what you get in the US or Europe. We arrived at the JW Marriott, which was an amazing place right on the water. We met up with the local crew consisting of Erik Porroa, Fernando Florez, Hugo Campodónico, and Marco Ordoñez. We had a great lunch of cervices and pasta as well as a very strong Pisco Sour.

The nightlife in Peru was a lot of fun and I will just leave it at that. The next day at the event the turnout was quite as large as we expected, topping around a 100 people. Fernando and Hugo each gave a session before we started. The microphone would give you a shock if you touched it and your laptop at the same time. Our presentations went well and then it was out on the town.

After a nice dinner me, Grant, Erik, and Marco went out and had a awesome night in Lima. Oh what a loco time. Sorry for bruise Marco :) .

Bogota, Colombia
This was my second time in Bogota and it just reinforced my love for the country of Colombia. There is just something about it that I like. OK there are actually many reasons why I love it. First the community is absolutely enormous thanks to the hard work and dedication of Martin Montenegro and Ivan Sosa. These guys know how to run a user group and we had over 500 people attend the event. No other city came close to matching those numbers.

We stayed at the Sofitel, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite hotels. It is in the trendy part of Bogota with plenty of shopping malls and coffee shops. I could easily see myself living in this area. The people are incredibly nice and there are a lot of beautiful things to look at.

We were joined at night by Rafael Ochoa, who is a great Flash developer who came down from Venezuela for the event. There is some epic footage of us doing drunken jiu-jitsu outside a club in Bogota. Not sure if that footage will ever see the light of day but it is pretty damn funny.

We had two of the youngest Flash developers I have ever met at the event in Bogota. Both were around 10 years old and one of them actually won Master Collection CS4! These kids are going to be a force when they get older.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Grande leche had to head home after Bogota so it was just Enrique and I in Costa Rica. The flight from Bogota was bumpy as hell as there was bad weather in both places. The weather in Costa Rica is very interesting. It basically rains a little everyday and is very humid. That night for dinner we had the local dish of Gallo Pinto. This is basically eggs, rice, beans, meat, and more all mixed together on a plate. Very yummy and hearty food.

The event the next day was actually a full-day conference organized by Javier Cerdas called TechCamp Costa Rica. It included sessions from our friends at Microsoft. The MS guys were actually really nice although their session was extremely tedious to sit through. Their presence at the event only served to highlight the differences between our two companies. Enrique and I gave some of our best sessions at this event as they were filled with a quite a bit of humor. We even had the MILF hunter sitting in the front row. We were also interviewed by the good folks over at Geek Nation. Be sure to check out their video podcast!

After the event we went out for some Jamaican food and local beer, which was great. This was one of the lightest nights as far as drinking which was great, as we needed a break.

Mexico City, Mexico
We arrived at the W Hotel in Mexico City in the evening but had time to meet with the new arrivals to the tour: Mike Chambers, Jerry Chabolla, and Sam Agesilas. We also met with local user group managers and had some cervezas and food.

The next day started with some the craziest traffic I have seen. The event took place at a hip university on the other side of town. It was a full day of sessions and we also got to see some awesome local Flash work during the showcases. Sam showed off some of his awesome Orchid framework and Mike did a whole session on iPhone development with Flash CS5. I met so many cool people during my time in Mexico that naming them would be impossible.

That night we all went out to Mexican food. This included a large amount of cervezas, chopped up crickets, and a local liquor similar to tequila whose name escapes me at the moment. I took on the challenge of eating a whole habenero pepper but this was nothing compared to the rococo that I had in Peru. Sergio Brito, aka YacaFX, also ate one and he was out of it for a few minutes. At one point we began to wrestle and accidentally knocked Mike into a couple’s table, breaking glasses and spilling drinks everywhere. Mike how could you be so rude? :)

Thanks to Influxis
I just want to again give a big thank you to the guys over at Influxis who were the ones who made this tour possible. They didn’t hesitate when I asked them to sponsor this and you should reward them with your business if you ever need Flash Media Server hosting. We are already talking about next year!

Maté un ladron!
During my presentations I would always recite a line of Spanish from a movie. This movie was Clear and Present Danger starring Harrison Ford. Below is a video clip of that scene.

<!–

Get Adobe Flash player

<!–

Oh my god. As I write this I am remembering another 20 things I should write about. But if I don’t publish this now I never will. Before leaving I want to thank Enrique for being the ultimate traveling companion and for bailing me out several times with his Spanish. Next year will be ever bigger!

Lee

My Upcoming Flex Presentations: Dallas SOA UG, TexFlex, Flex Camp Wall Street, Web 2.0, and Dreamforce

Here are some upcoming Flex presentations I’ll be giving:

Thursday November 12 in Dallas – Java and Flex
Friday November 13 in Plano, TX – Flex and the Cloud @ TexFlex09
Monday November 16 at Flex Camp Wall Street (New York) – Flex Stuff I’m Excited About
Monday November 16 at the Web 2.0 Expo (New York) – Connecting [...]

PHP and Flex Webinars

Last week I visited Zend headquarter and I have an interesting talk over there. One effect of this meeting is this: we will start to do webinars together with Zend.
If you want to find more about Zend Studio and other products related to PHP from the Zend Company, or about the integration between the Flash [...]

The Latin Flash Tour is only 2 weeks away!

I can’t believe that in two weeks I will be back in Latin America and I’m so excited about it. If you live anywhere in South America and are even remotely interested in Flash then you have to attend. It is not often that Adobe gets to come down to see you, although I’m hoping this is the start of a new trend. One thing that is really important is that these events are a huge success. This way I can come home and tell my bosses how enthusiastic the community is down there. So please make every effort to attend and also please help me spread the word via Twitter, blogs, etc. If you mention it on Twitter please use the #latinflashtour hashtag so we can all follow it.

The official site will be up in a couple of days at http://www.latinflashtour.com. This site will aggregate the tour’s Twitter, Flickr, and blog posts happening during the tour.

I am having 5000 tour stickers made so everyone attending will be able to get one. The good folks over at Influxis are also creating some limited edition tour shirts that will be raffled off in each city. In addition to the prizes that will be given away by the local user groups, I will also be giving away two copies of Master Collection CS4 in each city as well.

Below are the registration websites for each of the tour stops. Get registered before space fills up!

Santiago, Chile Nov 7thhttp://www.mmug.cl/index2.php
Buenos Aires, Argentina Nov 9thhttp://adobetourargentina.eventbrite.com
Lima, Peru Nov 11thhttp://www.garageflash.com/el-flash-latin-tour-llega-al-peru
Bogotá, Colombia Nov 13thhttp://latinflashtour.eventbrite.com
San Jose, Costa Rica Nov 16thhttp://www.techcampcostarica.com
Mexico City, Mexico – Wed Nov 18thhttp://latinflashtourmx.eventbrite.com

Please come out and support the community and learn about all of the latest Adobe technologies that we are currently working on.

Lee

FITC Edmonton recap and dead drop

FITC Edmonton is now over and it was a really cool event. These smaller events are great because you feel like you get to know almost all of the attendees. During my stay I gave a full-day workshop on Flash CS4 in addition to a regular one hour session on the same subject. Based on the feedback I received, people really seemed to enjoy them and learn a lot. It’s funny because my evangelism actually starts to convince me. After the workshop I thought, damn Flash CS4 does have some great features.

I decided to do a mini dead drop and announced over Twitter that I would be embedding some clues in my presentation slides. Each slide had a little symbol on it which was actually from the Webdings font. If you translated them it gave you the code of balloonboy. Later, when I demoed Flash CS5, I had a custom panel with a URL in it which was also in the Webdings font. After going to the website and entering the code you were taken to a page with the GPS coordinates along with a photo of a rat. The dead drop coin was inside of a hollowed out fake rat that I procured from the largest mall in North America, the West Edmonton mall. The winning team was a group of developers from XGenStudios. They took the photo below after retrieving the winning rodent.

I missed the first day of the conference because I was trapped in my hotel room working on my slides and watching coverage of the Balloon Boy. I did manage to watch all of the sessions on the second day and they were great. I finally got to see Ralph Hauwert’s realtime graphics session and it blew me away. Most of us in the audience didn’t understand most of what he was talking about but you really didn’t have to. I especially liked the section of tessellation where he showed how to take a simple 3D object and continuously divide it into a much more complex mesh. After Ralph was James Patterson who I have seen speak before and is always a great time. He showed his progression from pornographic stick figures to VH1 ads to amazing 3D tool creations. His Rotten Fruit Tardis is one of the coolest Flash pieces I have ever seen. Go over and try it to see for yourself.

When I arrived at the Edmonton airport for my flight home I ran into Erik, Toby, Ralph, and Andy. They were trying to figure out whether or not the girl sitting across from them was Hilary Duff. They offered me $5 to go up and ask her. I did and it was indeed the Duff. She was wearing thick black glasses in an attempt to disguise herself. She didn’t seem exactly thrilled to be identified. But she hasn’t been a hit movie in a while so she should enjoy the attention.

Lee