Lucid Design Group Uses the Flash Platform to Help Save the World One Dashboard at a Time

With global warming on the rise, Lucid Design Group, a privately held cleantech software company, wanted to create something that would educate and inspire people to change their daily habits to help reduce consumption in their homes and offices (like turning off lights and unplugging appliances). Lucid developed Building Dashboard, a data visualization and communication application that monitors the use of electricity, water, natural gas and heating, and encourages social networking around the topic of resource conservation. It’s available via the Web, kiosks and mobile devices using the Adobe Flash Platform and Adobe Creative Suite Design Premium. With Building Dashboard (a MAX 2010 award finalist) in place, Fortune 500 companies, universities and residential customers saw consistent energy reductions up to 20 percent.

Coined “the first social network for buildings,” Building Dashboard employed the Flash Platform to help develop and deliver widgets, apps, maps and flow lists to encourage users of all technical backgrounds to save resources and understand their resource consumption levels. Currently, nearly 100 U.S. colleges and universities are using Building Dashboard to support key sustainability initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions across campus.

To streamline the developmental process behind Building Dashboard, Lucid used a variety of Adobe products including Flash Catalyst, Flash Player, Flex, Flash Professional, Photoshop and Flash Builder. The advantage of working with various Adobe products is seamless integration. For example, Adobe Flash Builder helped improve the Flex development process while Adobe Flash Catalyst and Adobe Flash Builder expedited design/developer workflow, ultimately reducing design and development time by one third. By adding Adobe Flash Player to the mix, Lucid developers could run their product across different platforms, devices and operating systems, while cutting testing time in half.

To learn more about how Lucid worked with Adobe technologies and to see how New York-based Hamilton College uses Building Dashboard, read their story here.

Adobe continues to advance Flash.

Adobe teams have been working hard to innovate around new tools for HTML5 and the Flash Platform. We truly believe that it’s important for the web to have a driving force for innovation and consistent playback of rich content across platforms and browsers regardless of what codecs are used – H.264, VP8, VP6, Sorensen, AAC or others.

We see several key opportunities for the Flash Platform that are not fully enabled by standards and other formats available today:  Rich, casual games; premium video with content protection and video enhancements like overlays and other effects; rich Internet applications in enterprises and on the web with data-driven features; and digital publishing.

Following the release of AIR 2.6 for Android and last week’s Incubator release of the new “Molehill” 3D GPU accelerated APIs at the Game Developer Conference, Adobe today released a beta version of Flash Player 10.3 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Flash Player 10.3 provides key features to developers, content publishers and end-users. And we expect to bring them to mobile devices in the future.   Try them out and let us know what you think.

  • Media Measurement – Measuring video just got easier. With Flash Player 10.3 and Adobe® SiteCatalyst®, developers can implement video analytics with as little as two lines of code for the first time.  Web analytics solutions can use a new set of open APIs to easily implement consistent video analytics irrespective of implementation or delivery protocol.  Media Measurement for Flash allows companies to get real-time, aggregated reporting of channels driving viewers to videos, what the audience reach is, and how much video is played.
  • Acoustic Echo Cancellation – Flash Player 10.3 enables developers to create real-time online collaboration experiences with high-quality audio, such as telephony, in-game voice chat, and group conferencing applications. Developers can take advantage of acoustic echo cancellation, noise suppression, voice activity detection, and automatic compensation for various microphone input levels. End users will be able to experience higher quality audio facilitating smoother conversation flow, without using a headset.
  • Integration with browser privacy controls for managing local storage – Users will have a simpler way to clear local storage from the browser settings interface – similar to how users clear their browser cookies today. Flash Player 10.3 integrates control of local storage with the browser’s privacy settings in Mozilla Firefox 4, Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 and higher, and future releases of Apple Safari and Google Chrome. Also see a related post by Emmy Huang in January.
  • Native Control Panel – Flash Player 10.3 provides users with streamlined controls for managing their Flash Player privacy, security and storage settings. Windows, Mac, and Linux users can access the Flash Player Settings Manager directly from the Control Panels or System Preferences on their computers.
  • Auto-Update Notification for Mac OS – Flash Player 10.3 supports automatic notification of software updates on Mac OS, making it easier for Mac users to stay current with new capabilities in the latest version of Flash Player.

To download the beta release of Flash Player 10.3, visit Adobe Labs. We look forward to hearing your feedback, which will help us make Flash Player better for you.

P.S. For a preview release of Flash Player with 64-bit support, please check out Adobe Flash Player “Square” for developers on Adobe Labs.

On Improving Privacy: Managing Local Storage in Flash Player

Adobe Flash Player delivers some of the most compelling, interactive experiences on the web. The team works hard to add new features and push Flash Player capabilities so designers and developers can make the richest content available. We’re also committed to continuously improving Flash Player in less conspicuous areas, such as privacy. Privacy is a hot topic, and there are good reasons it’s on many people’s minds, so we wanted to share some of the work we’re doing to help you protect your privacy.

Some of the Flash Player team’s privacy efforts are happening around a feature of Flash Player called “local storage” (often called local shared objects or LSOs, and sometimes incorrectly referred to as “Flash cookies”). Local storage is required functionality to provide the quality web experience you expect from today’s rich Internet applications (RIAs). It is used by a number of Web technologies, including Flash Player and similar plugin technologies, as well as browsers that support HTML5.

Why is local storage helpful for web apps? Using local storage means information doesn’t need to be stored on a website’s servers. Instead, small amounts of information are stored locally, on the user’s computer. For Flash Player, the default amount of disk storage space is minimal – the LSO is at most three-hundredths the size of a typical MP3. Local storage can be used to allow you to save your website or app login details, site history, or form information so that you can avoid retyping data the next time you visit. Local storage allows you to store work in progress from a photo editor or productivity app, for example. Local storage is also the feature that helps your computer or device remember that you like the volume turned down when you watch videos of your favorite TV show on YouTube, or a video website can show you your most recently viewed playlist without requiring a user account or login. This kind of helpful productivity data is saved on your computer, and Flash Player protects this information so that only the exact website that saved that information can access it.

Since local storage allows sites and apps to remember information, there are concerns about the use of local storage to store tracking information – or of greater concern, to restore tracking information to a browser cookie that a user has intentionally deleted. This use of local data storage has raised questions about privacy. So we’re continually working to make sure that users have better control over the local data stored by applications running in Flash Player.

Most recently, we’ve been collaborating with browser vendors to integrate LSO management with the browser UI. The first capability, one that we believe will have the greatest immediate impact, is to allow users to clear LSOs (and any local storage, such as that of HTML5 and other plugin technologies) from the browser settings interface—similar to how users can clear their browser cookies today. Representatives from several key companies, including Adobe, Mozilla and Google have been working together to define a new browser API (NPAPI ClearSiteData) for clearing local data, which was approved for implementation on January 5, 2011. Any browser that implements the API will be able to clear local storage for any plugin that also implements the API.

Keep your eye on the Google Chrome dev channel to see this feature show up in the coming weeks.

We expect other vendors to be rolling out support for this capability in the near future, and we will continue to work on additional capabilities to improve user privacy in partnership with browser vendors.

The ability to clear local storage from the browser extends the work we did in Flash Player 10.1, which launched with a new private browsing feature integrated with the private browsing mode in major browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and Apple’s Safari. When you are in a private browsing mode session in your browser, Flash Player will automatically delete any local storage that was written by websites during that browser session once the browser is closed. This ensures that Flash Player can’t be used to store any history or other information from your private session. In striving to ensure a great user experience, we’ve made this seamless and automatic for the user.

Finally, you will soon see improvements to the Flash Player Settings Manager. Since local storage functionality was first introduced, users have been able to fully control their local storage settings using the online version of the Flash Player Settings Manager. By right-clicking on any content that is written for Flash Player, and selecting “Global Settings…” (or by visiting the Flash Player Settings Manager directly), you can customize which sites, if any, are allowed to use local storage. You can even turn local storage off entirely, if you don’t feel you need the functionality for things such as saving game data or your preferences on websites. If you’d like to turn it off just click on “Global Storage Settings panel,” drag the storage amount slider to “None” and select “Never Ask Again.”

Still, we know the Flash Player Settings Manager could be easier to use, and we’re working on a redesign coming in a future release of Flash Player, which will bring together feedback from our users and external privacy advocates. Focused on usability, this redesign will make it simpler for users to understand and manage their Flash Player settings and privacy preferences. In addition, we’ll enable you to access the Flash Player Settings Manager directly from your computer’s Control Panels or System Preferences on Windows, Mac and Linux, so that they’re even easier to locate and use. We expect users will see these enhancements in the first half of the year and we look forward to getting feedback as we continue to improve the Flash Player Settings Manager.

These local storage improvements will give you better control over the information stored on your computer and are part of our ongoing efforts to help you manage your privacy.

Emmy Huang
Group Product Manager, Flash Player

Flash Player 10.1 on Samsung Galaxy Tab

At a big launch event in NYC, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Tab to the U.S. market today. With support for Flash Player 10.1, the tablet allows users to experience thousands of sites with rich Flash based applications and content including games, animations, visualizations, ecommerce, video, music and more. Watching tech news on CNET.com, playing games on Kongregate, checking the interactive finance chart of your stocks on Google Finance or listen to BBC news, it’s easy and seamless on the Galaxy Tab. The device is one of the first Android based tablets that will ship with full Flash support. Have a look at a brief demo video with one of our evangelists:

We are seeing many more tablets and smartphones going through our certification progress, so stay tuned for more great things to be unveiled over the next weeks and months including more developer news at MAX, our worldwide developer conference, on Oct 25. Exciting times!


Screen Sharing Feature In Flash Now Available For Everyone!

I can’t even say how much I was looking forward to this blog post. It’s here! This feature of Flash Player and special screensharing add-in, which you might know from Adobe Connect Pro or Adobe ConnectNow is now available for every single Flash Platform developer through LiveCycle Collaboration Service. This is THE KILLER FEATURE […]

New Flash Player release enables h.264 GPU decoding on MacOSX

We’ve just released a new version of Flash Player: 10.1.82.76 which includes support for H.264 video GPU decoding. This was previously available in a beta released code-named Gala.On top of this new cool feature, there were a number of bug fixes, so definitely you should install it as soon as possible.
You can get the installers […]

New Flash Player with H.264 GPU Decoding for Mac

Thibault Imbert just blogged about the release of Flash Player 10.1.82.76 which includes support for H.264 GPU Decoding on the Mac.

You should notice now a nice difference when playing H.264 content on your Mac in terms of CPU usage. We rarely enable new features in security releases but we really wanted to enable such a cool feature. For more details about it, Tinic already posted about this.

Some of you may remember talk of a Flash Player “Gala” that was put out as a beta right before Flash Player 10.1 was released. The GPU decoding didn’t make it into the 10.1 release so we had to wait for a security release to add it. That security release is here and it should make quite a bit of difference for Mac users who are playing H.264 video through the Flash Player.

H.264 GPU Decoding in Flash Player on Mac OS X is live [ by Thibault Imbert ]

We just pushed a few minutes ago a new version of the Flash Player 10.1.82.76 containing a nice feature that was in beta until now called “Gala”. Yes, H.264 GPU decoding in Mac OSX is now officially enabled in the Flash Player. You should notice now a nice difference when playing H.264 content on your […]