Archive for November, 2004

Cool Tool Alert – Delicious Library

Okay, yes- Christian has been doing his own ‘Cool Tool Friday’ for a while now, so I’d been laying off the off-topic blogs. But I’m forced to make exception today for this Mac OSX gem. If you, like myself, have astronomically-large CD/DVD/book/videogame collections and haven’t taken the plunge to try and catalogue them by hand, Delicious Library is your answer. A native OS 10.3.x application, Delicious Library can use your iSight (or other webcam) to scan barcodes off your media, automatically grabs the associated product data/cover art from Amazon’s web service, and provides a VERY fast (and elegant) way to catalog your entire media collection. But that’s not all- it integrates with your Mac Address Book and iCal to allow you to loan items to contacts and set due dates/reminders for returns (something I’m horrible at tracking in analog), as well as to search for related items/suggestions at Amazon based on your currently-owned items.

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sIFR 2.0

I watched Team Macromedia member Danilo Celic demo sIFR 2.0 earlier today, and must admit I’m pretty impressed. sIFR (more information here) is an open-source implementation of Flash-based text replacement. Using cunning JS and CSS code, you can use custom fonts in SWF files to replace heading tags (h1, h2, h3, etc.) in your document with Flash text dynamically. And the best news- it degrades beautifully if you don’t have Flash installed.
sIFR is certainly worth an extended look if you’re image-setting your headings now to take advantage of custom/non-standard fonts, it’s very slick to be able to edit your headings directly in the HTML source and have sIFR do the heavy-lifting for those who can view a better alternative… just bang the link above, download a copy, and report back with your own opinion?

Security and VoD

Although I’m colloquially familiar with most of the current security/DRM issues facing widespread rollout of VoD and video streaming (not nearly as much as JD, however- but working on it), this excerpted chapter at from an upcoming Pearson Education book entitled ‘Video Security and On-Demand Video’ does a good job of summarizing things quickly (although the mock dialogues turned me off a bit). A great (and relatively quick) read for anyone just now diving into internet video.

Firefox Extensions

More an FYI for anyone enthusiastic about the Mozilla 1.0 release- a decent ’roundup’ article at ExtremeTech covering ten Firefox extensions that add all sorts of functionality to the popular open-source browser.

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Captivate 101 at CMX

If you’re just getting acquainted with Captivate (the product formerly known as RoboDemo) and are looking for a jumpstart, check out this most excellent free tutorial on creating a Captivate Movie by Team Macromedia (and CommunityMX) member Tom Green. Part 1 is now online at the link above- and there are 2 more coming in short order so keep posted…

State of Flash Video

A quick link to ‘blog- Creative Mac’s Charlie White interviews Macromedia’s Chris Hock and Jim Guerard on the state of Flash video– past, present and future.

MAX- Thursday recap

Today’s been spent mostly in sessions for me- first Chris Georgenes’ excellent presentation on advanced Flash animation techniques (I swear that guy is a bottomless pit of tips, tricks and time-saving techniques), and then Angela Buraglia’s Dreamweaver Killer Tips preso (another excellent grab-bag of techniques you can really use). We’re currently getting ready to forage for lunch, but I’ll probably hit the mobile sessions immediately afterwards.

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MAX – solution vs. product focus?

As a very community-facing guy here at Macromedia, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people this week about how they’re using MM products, and what they came to get out of the MAX sessions. Many of the sessions are specific to a given product/tool, and can be very specific in nature, but I’ve heard more than a few comments that workflows these days rarely include just one product, so cross-product workflows based on solutions would be much more valid. For example- using Flash and Dreamweaver to process and publish video, using Director and Flash to author interactive, internet-savvy CD-ROM or DVD content, etc. My question- do you find our site and/or conference content lacking in this respect, and if so, what solutions (and mixes of products) do you find yourself working with on a regular basis?

MAX- day one

Houston, we have cleared the tower- MAX 2004 is off and running. The keynote today was good (particularly for me as I’ve been out of the country and off the grid for the last 4 weeks). Stephen Elop (Macromedia COO) got things underway with the opening preso and remarks, including a great example of Blackstone’s SMS gateway in the form of a ‘on the spot’ presidential voting application. Everyone texted their presidential vote and the returns totalled in real-time as we watched- very cool.

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Pre-MAX Monday

So the first day of (pre)MAX is winding down for right now, and I’m hanging out in the Community Pit (just to the right of the main Exhibit Showcase, for those on their way). Today was, although closed to the general public, full of sessions for user group managers and Team Macromedia members, and I got the chance to meet a lot of great folks in person that I’ve previously only known via email addresses. If you’re on the way out, there’s a wealth of events and topics scheduled tomorrow- and the keynote looks to be a killer (no spoilers, tho). Tonight I’ll be heading over to ‘MiniMAX’, an offsite user group meeting being held by some of the locals (including Adam Bell and the NO Mac Users Group). Keep posted for more details from New Orleans…