Archive for July, 2004

Flugtag and Flash Video – Tomorrow!

Interested in watching home-made, human-powered flying machines launching themselves off a short ramp into the sky (or more often- the water)? If so, this is the event for you. (And if not, it’s probably still worth watching.)
Red Bull has agreed to broadcast their Saturday, July 31 (1 PM PST) Flugtag event in Portland, Oregon live using Flash Video and the all-new FVSS Live streaming service from VitalStream. You’ll be able to switch between three live camera angles during the event, as well as watch clips on “aircraft” construction- and the teams who are competing.

So- if you’re even remotely interested tomorrow- just click the link above and enjoy watching crazy inventors and homespun aviators attempt to fly- while the Wright Brothers are undoubtedly rolling in their graves. (Note: in case you can’t view the event live, it will reportedly be archived for later viewing.)

PHP RSS Reader – DW Extension

Just stumbled across a rather nice PHP RSS reader extension for Dreamweaver by Andres Cayon of Tecnorama, that could be just the call for inserting external feeds into your PHP-based site quickly. The extension focuses more on integration with DW’s design view than existing code-based solutions. Requirements are simply a PHP server with XML support and the current version of DW- and at first launch it appears to work exactly as stated for me. If you’re already comfortable working with recordsets in DW, getting started with this extension should be a no-brainer. Nice job, Andres!

OT- 2 Email Utilities

In this digital world, email flows quite freely and can pile up equally as fast. As such, I wanted to highlight one free/donationware utility for Mac, one commercial utility for Windows- both for dealing with email, something I do an increasing amount of day-to-day. I’ve been trying to avoid OT blog posts lately, but will succumb to internal demons just this once…

First up, X1 Search, a $99 utility for Windows (I really wish this was available for Macs, too- alas, if only LaunchBar indexed email messages this way). What justifies the $99? X1 lets you very quickly search through email messages, file attachments and/or contacts. I was very skeptical, until Alexandru and Bogdan from InterAKT gave me a live demo in a local SF eatery. The discussion had started around Dreamweaver APIs, but once we started trying to refer to earlier discussions, the topic quickly morphed into how difficult it can be to quickly locate random conversations out of our HUGE volumes of archived email. In the next 2 minutes I became an X1 convert. X1 Search runs reasonably silent (a systray icon belies it’s presence) and can be put in ‘auto-hide’ mode across the top of your screen to quickly access it- and in so doing, your years-worth of archived email. X2 supports Outlook, OE, Eudora and Netscape Mail on Windows. If you use any of these clients on Windows and are frequently trying to locate that ‘one specific email or file’ that’s been eluding you- this may be right up your alley. It’s become indispensable to me in just a few weeks- check out the demo if you’re remotely interested.

Next up, Mail.appetizer for Mac OS 10.3+. One of the most initially-pointless but eventually-handy features of Windows Outlook 2003 for me was the little semi-transparent ‘alert’ window that popped up whenever I got new email in my Inbox. Mail.appetizer essentially allows you to get similar features in Apple Mail – a somewhat configurable, transparent alert shows up in your location of choosing whenever you get new mail – showing the subject, sender, time and an excerpt of the message itself. Less functionally-handy than X1 by leaps and bounds, but tres cool if you’re often nose-down and want a quick glimpse of what’s flying into your inbox without switching apps ad nauseum. Mail.appetizer is free- but donations are accepted.

Hope you find these two utilities interesting- I’ve become a bit hooked on both.

Contribute 3/WPS Preview

Last week the Contribute 3 Preview was released, and the downloads have been flying out ever since. Have you tried it out yet, and if so, have you also tried the integrated Web Publishing System? The WPS adds far richer workflow and integrated group publishing than would be possible with Contribute alone. Further, it also centralizes both connections and access permissions- integrating with existing LDAP and Active Directory user directories – and features a plush, web service-based notification API that lets you trigger interactions with external applications and systems as a document passes through its workflow- making for a very flexible publishing solution that plays nicely with existing infrastructures. Check it out if you haven’t- and drop a comment here if you have, as I’m really interested in hearing some on-the-ground feedback… thx!

Flash 7.2 Updater

That’s right- the Ellipsis (Flash 7.2) updater has been sighted, and is now publicly available from the Macromedia web site. You can get it while it’s hot right here. While you’re downloading the updater, be sure to read through Mike Chambers’ article on the significance of Ellipsis, which contains a plethora of information on the updater itself. There’s even more articles available to support the Ellipsis release, including a piece by Erick Vera on how documentation updates (in particular) were approached for Ellipsis, based on overwhelming user feedback- and an article by Team Macromedia member Chafic Kazoun on Skinning Flash MX 2004 Components- a rather frequently-asked question, IMHO. All these articles and more are available from the Developers Center- enjoy!

T-Mobile & Flash Lite

In a recent Developer Center update – T-Mobile reports launching the first Flash Lite 1.1-powered mobile service in Europe. Available for both 2.5G and 3G devices, the new “News Express” service delivers twice-daily reports to Flash Lite 1.1-enabled phones (based on Symbian OS’es- both Series 60 handsets and UIQ devices), which can be browsed both on and offline. Check it out, and if able- please post a comment so those of us outside the EU can hear a first-person review… ;-)

Linux and your workflow

A rather open-ended question to pose for those reading- are you using Linux as part of your regular workflow today (either server or desktop), and how do you currently use it in conjunction with Macromedia’s Studio products? What are the pitfalls, what works well? I’m particularly interested in thoughts from any developers using open IDEs such as Eclipse or Mac/Windows-based designers who interact regularly with Linux-based developers, and how you currently interact between your toolsets. Thoughts? Please post a comment and share your experiences!

MM.com Feedback

In case you hadn’t noticed already, Christian Cantrell has been soliciting feedback on both the Macromedia Forums, and on the macromedia.com website in general. This will really help our web team out – so make sure to drop by and post your thoughts!

Streamingmedia.com Breeze Review

An interesting review of Breeze 4.1 was published yesterday by Streamingmedia.com. A snippet:

“If you’re looking for an online meeting tool with powerful features and extensibility, you should give Breeze a try. It’s not perfect by any means, but it provides a host of features you won’t find in similar tools, and for a very reasonable price.”

Note that the review is heavily centered on the PowerPoint integration features- which although indeed quite slick- are not the most ‘sexy’ features of Breeze in my opinion. The audio/video presentation features and customizable workspaces are what resonate the most with me after a few months of heavy use- but to be fair, the reviewer does admit to only scratching the surface. Check it out!

Webforum update 4

Just a quickie update- I’ve received a few emails asking when Search will return to the forums, and the short answer I’ve heard is ‘soon’. However, I should note that Forums Search isn’t entirely AWOL either- only the Advanced Search page. You can still enter terms in the text entry fields in the basic Search form (the single textarea box in the header of any forum listing/detail view) and search thru the last 90 days of postings via the basic interface. More details as I get ‘em…