Archive for March, 2006

SXSW day 1, morning adventures

Fighting off a fuzzy head from very little sleep, I headed over to the BarCampAustin site at 7am today to slap together an audio solution for the three ‘zones’ of the room. It’s always a challenge to wire up a room you haven’t seen before, but a few spliced cables later, I think they’re set up for the day! I’ll be headed back over in the afternoon to check in and hang out, but had to cut and head over to the main SXSW site for the first set of panels at 10am.

Coffee has sunk in, and I’m now in my first SXSW panel – “Traditional Design and New Technology” – chaired by AIGA’s Liz Danzico and featuring panelists like Mark Bolton (BBC), Toni Greaves (Razorfish), Khoi Vinh (New York Times Online), and the always-dangerous Jason Santa Maria (who recently supplied the logo/branding for social bookmark newcomer Ma.gnolia).

I’ve been out of the design world for quite a while on a personal level and find this panel very intriguing as a look into new media design from the perspective of ‘traditional designers’. Having worked in conjunction with traditional design/marketing groups I know I’ve had to take a ‘print design’ and graft it onto a site/online experience more times than I care to count. In the instant-gratification world of web design & development, it’s become all too common to multipurpose design like this to speed up delivery of online assets/experiences, but this ‘shortcut’ process doesn’t necessarily realize the potential of the interactive/online medium.

Mark Bolton summed it up well for me- we’re not necessarily engaging the emotional response and connection with a viewer by leveraging the potential of motion, audio and interactivity as core tenets of the design process as well as we should. It’s really interesting to hear varying opinions on this subject- great first session.

That being said, I’m going offline to listen more closely to what’s being said. Back a bit later…


On a day where the local San Francisco weather actually saw snow, I’m quite glad to be in 90+ degree Austin Texas for SXSW 2006. But today was not as much about SXSW as it was setting up for BarCampAustin, my favorite anti-conference, running in parallel Friday night (tonight) through Sunday. Although I’ll be spending most of my time at SXSW, I’ve been spending good chunks of my Friday helping whurley set up for the event at the Thistle Cafe (6th and Lavaca, if you’re in Austin), and expect to be going back and forth between the two quite a bit. Tonight kicks off the BarCampAustin pre-event party/meet-and-greet session, starting at 7pm.

Tomorrow the BarCamp ‘anti-con’ begins, with a wide variety of speakers all day in three(!) ‘zones’ of the club, each of which we’re going to be hooking up tomorrow morning with projector stations, wireless mikes, and (hopefully) Breeze simulcasts of the speakers from each zone. If you’re looking for a party to hit tonight in Austin make sure to swing by the Thistle Cafe after 7pm and say hello, given how much whurley’s Blackberry was ringing today I sense it’s going to come unglued. ;-)

More details and photos from the con(s) as the weekend progresses, of course…

Headed to SXSW Tomorrow

Can’t wait to get to Austin, Texas tomorrow for South by Southwest Interactive– it’s been YEARS since I’ve hit a SXSW (was a touring musician with a mop of waist-length hair the last time I was at SXSW, in fact). Along with the WaSP task force sessions and Web Awards (in which Adobe’s own Jen Taylor will be presenting the “Best in Show” award, no less!), I’m really looking forward to soaking in the experience, talking to as many people as possible, and hitting as many sessions as I can squeeze into a day without exploding.

If you’re going to be in Austin and want to meet up, either shoot me a message in the SXSW Directory application(for attendees only- requires login) or drop a comment here and I’ll try to meet up with you onsite!
(be sure to include your email address if doing the latter – it won’t be published in the public comments, FYI)

I’m not speaking/presenting this trip (refreshing!), and will probably be hanging out at the lounge/day stage cafe between 3-4pm on both Sunday and Monday for the Studio/Creative Suite presos, FYI (to answer questions/etc.). I’ll have my recording gear on hand, so if you have any particularly pointed questions/comments/suggestions for Adobe – or in general – track me down and get your opinions recorded. I’m all ears.

See you in Austin!

Ely Greenfield’s new blog

In the blogrush around the Flex/Ajax Bridge project, the fact that Flex developer Ely Greenfield has just kicked off his new weblog may have slipped past you in the chaos. Ely’s the evil genius behind the Flex/Ajax Bridge, and although he’s threatened to kick off a blog before now focusing on Flex-related topics, today he closed the deal.

So- make sure to check out and bookmark Ely’s blog ‘Quietly Scheming’ (great name!), and don’t forget add it to your favorite clientside aggregator – that is, if you’re not hopelessly addicted to MXNA like all the rest of us blog-trolling saps. ;-)

Flex/Ajax Bridge – now on Adobe Labs

Want to leverage the communications and rich-media capabilities of Flex alongside the rich, browser-centric goodness of AJaXian applications? Then check out the Flex AJAX Bridge project- now live on Adobe Labs for immediate download – (to quote developer Ely Greenfield) “a small, unobtrusive library of code that you can insert into a Flex application, a Flex component, or even an empty SWF file to expose it to scripting in the browser”. If you’ve been watching the Developer Center closely this afternoon, you may have already caught it slipping out.

In a nutshell, this is the Flash/Javascript Integration kit++.
(if you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here.)

Incredibly cool (and a bit of a surprise, even for myself)! So go get your mitts on the bits ASAP, and make sure to check out the sample application here to see examples of the Flex/AJAX Bridge in full effect (note- this sample app requires Flash Player 8.5, which you can also get from Adobe Labs – but you’ve already downloaded the Flex 2 Beta, haven’t you? ;-)

Flex 1.5 hot fix available for MSIE update

Both a hot fix and tech note for Flex 1.5 were issued today, addressing recent updates to the way active content is accessed in Microsoft Internet Explorer. An excerpt from the technote (links to the hot fix downloads can be found within the full technote, of course):

“Microsoft’s update to Internet Explorer was published on February 28, 2006. This update changes how Internet Explorer handles some web pages that use ActiveX controls. Certain web pages, including the default Flex wrapper page for Flash Player, may require users to manually activate ActiveX controls by clicking on the control or using the TAB key and ENTER key.

More information on this update can be obtained from Microsoft at:

My FFWD session slides – coming soon

Thanks to everyone who packed into the Adobe tech room at Flashforward Seattle for my session on optimizing Flash video this afternoon- it was a blast! As usual I ran a bit long on time, but not too long- but there’s so much to say on the subject of optimizing video I could have probably rambled on for another hour. Let me know what you want to hear about next, of course.

Since so many of you asked for them afterwards, I’ll do my best to convert and post the slide deck from my session at some point next week before I’m off again to South by Southwest in Austin- although the real guts of the preso is in my hyperactive babbling and After Effects hacking. In that respect, the slides may still be handy and useful to those who didn’t attend, but those who were attending today- you got the best parts of it in person and this should help supplement your note-taking well. Keep posted.

I’m currently dropping off all my optical gear at the hotel before heading back out to the Flashforward film festival, which should be a complete blast. I’ve only heard rumors, as this is my first Flashforward, but given how well the event’s been running so far I fully expect my expectations to be eclipsed. The only regret I have so far is that I mainly took video gear this time out, so I haven’t contributed yet to the FFWD Flickr group, slightly more embarrassing given the fact that my own photostream has been at a standstill for about a month. Promise I’ll get on that shortly, too.

I’ll be wandering around doing ‘pickup’ interviews of random attendees tomorrow (for a side-project I haven’t fully crystallized just yet – be sure to come over and say hello if you see me) and sitting in as many sessions as I can, but for tonight- I’m all eyes and ears. Blow me away, you Flashforward filmmakers!