Adobe Developer Day – Bucharest

April 29th, 2009 Comments off

Next to my desk sits a crazy lady named Magda. A few months ago Ben Forta, the “father” of all evangelists at Adobe, told us he would like to pay us a visit. So the crazy lady I mentioned thought: “If Ben is coming to Bucharest why not have him speak with the local Flex community? And if he speaks with the local Flex community, why not have all the evangelists speak with them? That might attract some people. And if these people come, maybe we can move the AIR team to leave their coding for a day and also talk with them. And if there are so many interesting people there maybe not only the Flex and AIR community will show up but also other people that are interested in our technologies. … and if … what the heck let’s just make a BIG Event and invite everyone!”

So she did that! And it’s going to take place on 19 May at Hotel Intercontinental. Here is the schedule (it might change a little but not too much):

  Main room Speaker
9:30-10:00 Registration  
10:00-10:15 Introduction – Agenda Alexandru Costin
10:15-11:15 Adobe and RIA Ben Forta
11:15-11:45 Making of Adobe Romania Digby Horner
11:45-12:00 Coffee break  
12:00-13:30 Flex for Enterprise Cornel Creanga
13:30-14:30 Lunch  
14:30-15:30 Flex 4 SDK and Flash Catalyst Mihai Pricope
15:30-16:00 Intro to ColdFusion for Enterprise Ben Forta
16:00-16:45 InContextEditing – First Adobe Romania Product Lucian Cozma
16:45-17:30 Mobile Mpackager Mihai Pricope
17:30-18:00 Flash Player 10 – FMS Cornel Creanga
18:00-18:30 Closing session  

Oh … and there’s more. We have some bootcamps (you can call them hands on seminars if you like) also:

Bootcamp room Speaker
11:30-12:00 Open Doors Alexandru Costin + Upper Management
12:00-13:30 Pixel Bender Skinning Bootcamp

Dragos Dascalita
14:00-14:30 Open Doors Dragos Georgita+ AIR team
14:30-16:30 BlazeDS + LCDS Bootcamp Advanced Mihai Corlan + Cornel Creanga
16:30-18:30 Introduction to Flex and AIR Bootcamp Mihai Corlan

Ah … still more, Digby Horner, the man who was behind the InterAKT acquisition and the opening of the Romanian campus will be there too. And also some guys from management, they call themselves “upper management”. And they are open for questions about our campus too.

I hope you are convinced by now to book 19 May for Adobe Developer Day.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Can Flash Player help your research project?

March 23rd, 2009 Comments off

Last autumn I gave a talk at RoCHI (http://rochi2008.utcluj.ro/) a Romanian academic conference about human computer interaction. I wasn’t very excited to attend the talks there since I didn’t have very high expectation about the research activities in Romania. Well, I was very wrong. About half of the subjects and presentations there left me “mouth open’” .I also  had the pleasure to meet Mr. Sabin Buraga who I can say is a true Teacher 2.0 :) and who was one of the main responsible for putting together that inspiring conference.

But there is one subject in particular that I want to talk about: Augmented Reality. Because at that little conference I had the pleasure of staring at some extremely cool augmented reality demos. They were based, I think, on some versions of ARToolKit, also a joint research effort from multiple universities. And I was thinking: How can this technology be put to use on some real projects? How can it be evangelized?

Then I forgot about it until a colleague of mine showed me this demo. It was made with a Flash port of ARToolKit called FLARToolKit by Saqoosha. How cool was that, augmented reality in Flash!

And then the creative agencies got them and now it seems to be a fad:

http://ge.ecomagination.com/smartgrid/#/augmented_reality

http://www.topps.com/

and I think that BMW is preparing one for Mini.

I realized that once the ARToolKit algorithms got to run in Flash Player and thus reach 98% web audience and some creative agencies figured out they could do something with them, the technology just got free advertising worldwide. I am thinking that if you are working on the next graphical or visualization algorithms you might really want to consider them running on Flash Player. Just for the sake of a cooooool demo that can be seen by everybody. Not to mention that with Alchemy you can still have all or part of your algorithms written in C or C++ and compile them to run on Flash Player.

Categories: alchemy, Flash Player 10, thinking Tags:

ODE (Open Dynamic Engine) for Flash

February 23rd, 2009 7 comments

I’ve took Alchemy for a test and decided to compile ODE (Open Dynamic Engine). Just to add yet another physics engine to the Flash World. It was a hell of a ride but I finally got to produce some bouncing balls :) . For a still unknown reason some as 3d libraries have been very slow to render 6 translucent walls and 2 balls. Papervision3D seems to move quite decent.

You can download the ode sources from here. To recompile them do (you need to have the Alchemy  environment turned on):

./configure

make clean

cd OPCODE

make

cd ../ode/src

make

cd ../swc

make

And here are the bouncing balls:

Update:

The Source view for the bouncing balls seems to be broken. So if you want to see the source for my little test project here it is.

Categories: alchemy, flex Tags:

Speaking at Digital Marketing Forum

February 19th, 2009 Comments off

micro-dmf-2 Next week I’ll be speaking at Digital Marketing Forum. It will be a 15 minute talk. This short talks I find the hardest thing to do. Before you start warming up … the show is over. You don’t have too much time for details. Only one idea! So I asked myself, what idea is worth saying? … and HOW?Well I think I found one that is deep, philosophical, practical and inspiring altogether and I will manage it to deliver it in a funny way. Do you think I am exaggerating?  Well I might be… but I might not! The only way to really find out is to experience it yourself. Let me tell you that I’ve planned crazy talks, crazy gesture and crazy demos. Even my marketing manager was impressed :)

Categories: conferences Tags:

PixelBender Photo Booth for Valentine’s Day

February 10th, 2009 2 comments

This is gonna be a cheese post :) . So I’ve took a my last PixelBender stuff and I’ve made a little Photo Booth for Valentine’s day.

Here’s a lovely picture with me and Mihai.

myPict

Make your own picture here. You can download the sources here.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Obama and Video on Internet

February 2nd, 2009 1 comment

As you probably have read by now, the US House passed Obama’s $819 billion stimulus package. Now I am not a very big fan of US politics but reading through the news I’ve found out that some of this money will be going in infrastructure spending. From that, 6 billion will go to expand broadband Internet access. Through its “Digital Britain” program, the UK is looking to put high-speed Internet all around the country. As far as the media covers other rich states are directing part of their stimulus packages to the same area.

Reading all these reports, I was struck by an all too obvious fact. If all this money will make broadband more prevalent in the next few years, this means that video (one of the Internet media formats most limited by current broadband penetration) will have a lot of new technical space to expand. Isn’t it cool that more than 80% of Internet video is delivered through Flash Player?

That being said I imagine that DRM will be a hot topic in the next year since big media companies will not want to release their most precious bits unprotected. Currently only AIR has DRM so I can’t but urge the Player team to get that into Flash Player as well.

So … Stay tuned!

Categories: thinking, video Tags:

Words are not enough – On how experience changes the way we use the Internet

January 26th, 2009 2 comments

Every once in a while I think we all go into this ‘future prediction’ mode. So I’ve philosophized a little over the weekend about … well about the future of the Internet and how this will shape our society. If you remember back in the 90s when the Internet craze began a lot of voices predicted that printed stuff would go away. Well, not only did the book industry not go away but book sales reportedly grew year over year both by volume and in value. It was not stellar growth, around 10%, but it was definitely not a retraction. It’s true that lately daily newspapers have started feeling squeezed by electronic news delivery but glossy magazines are still by far our reading preference when sitting in our ‘private moments’. However it is also true that the amount of words delivered in the electronic format has grown at an impossible pace. In only 20-30 years this has transformed us from information hungry into information overloaded (by the way, we still have problems adapting our brains to this).

But not only the information is now easily available, an increase in computing power helped us make better models and thus solve more complex problems. And with solution to these complex problems, guess what, even more complex problems emerged and a new level of complexity came into our life. But hey, we had the Internet so we started to use it not only to deliver information but to deliver applications. Now people not only exchange information using email but also use shared calendars over the web to plan and keep track of group activities (and these are only two of the most common examples).

As information exchange and complexity grow well over our brains’ capacity to deal with, we built applications that help us manage that. But of course, for these applications to be helpful, they need to require less effort to learn and use than to manage the underlying complexity directly. In other words they need to be intuitive. Or better, they need to match our expectation. But what if these expectations are not coded into words? What if these expectations are about how the computer behaves? Up until now, the engineering of information (the driver of the Internet) was a very … engineering occupation. We’ve known for ages how to codify information with words, also from ages we codified the words into writing. Now we digitized everything and spread it using Internet. We are very good with words and almost all the experience we had now with information and information management was mostly word-related (with a little help from the typography). But now a new beast come into play. With the new runtimes like the DHTML engine in browsers (people call it AJAX), Flash, or Silverlight we activate a new set of awareness and thus create a new kind of expectation: the cinematic expectation.

As humanity we have a long history and lots of experience with words and how to codify information in words. We also know how to codify spatial information although is a harder task: architecture and graphics are really hard but we have a lot of experience here also. But the democratization of the application will demand yet another skill: cinematic. And this is one of the newest skill and more difficult to get right: theatrical experience is hard and making movies is even harder.

One of the difficulties that architecture and movies share in common is the difficulty of codifying their language. This comes from the fact that a lot of their language can’t be expressed in words. That’s why they’re called arts, no?

Now spatial representation, sounds, and cinematic presentation is starting to get mainstream as applications get into our everyday life. Suddenly the computing industry, where a bunch of engineers like me where dealing with problems that had a decent formalism to be communicated (words, mathematical language, etc.), are faced now with problems that require more and more artistic stuff. And the more you (well it’s usually a team) get all these right the more efficient the application will be. What we generically call usability is now a melange of words, script, cinematic … even sound. And this is going mainstream. And we don’t have a decent codification for a lot of this stuff. Smells like making Rich Internet Application is becoming more an art than an science. And because good applications have proved valuable in this highly complex world this means that businesses will need to adapt to create and consume this kind of art. 

Just as books and a lot of printed press have not been wiped away by the Internet, I think the new use of the Internet to deliver applications will not challenge the current way we use it: to distribute information or ‘The Know What’. I can however state that we will now start to use the Internet to distribute one of the most difficult piece of knowledge to distribute so far: The Know How.  We clearly see the benefit in this but we have barely glimpsed the challenges that lie ahead.

So I say to myself: What a wonderful world … for a good  Information Architect or a good Interactive Designer !

Categories: ria, thinking Tags:

EU University Tour

January 22nd, 2009 Comments off

p>This year I am planning to take an University Tour all over Europe and Middle Est. The main talking points will be around Flash, Air and Flex and the main objective is to present our Technology Platform to students and teachers with the prospect of them being relevant to their work. Flash and Air have evolved into mature runtimes and RIA start changing how we see Internet computing. So I believe that it might be interesting technology to be considered both by researcher and students as a practical support for their work.

So if you are interested to include your university in this tour drop me a message and I will be more than happy to work out the details for a possible presentation.

Categories: events Tags:

Flex and Ajax

January 14th, 2009 3 comments

They made me a movie star. ADC had the guts to release some of my videos. If you can get along with my spectacular stammering and pass the feeling of pity or convulsive laughing this might be a good starting tutorial for using Flex and Ajax together.

 

Update:

Sorry for taking me so long. Here is a link to the archived project file. To import this project you should right click in the Flex Navigator, choose Import… -> Flex Project and then choose the zip file and follow the import wizard steps.

Categories: ajax, flex Tags:

Adding Desktop functionality to Web Applications (My MAX Milan DW + AIR sample)

December 10th, 2008 Comments off

One of my MAX Milan session was on how you develop AIR applications using Dreamweaver CS4. During this talk I’ve took a web application (actually I copy paste a sample of using the MSN Messenger JavaScript API) and add it some Desktop capabilities. So the little sample AIR MSN messenger now display notification when your friends will change their status message. The notification library I used is as3notificationlib done by Christian Cantrell so you can see how easy is to call Flash code from JavaScript inside the AIR runtime.

You can also test the msg.html (sandbox/msg.html) file inside a browser (doesn’t seems to work on Mozilla, or on my Mozilla). The code that pushes the notification in AIR is located at line 204 and is the only modification that I’ve done to the original MSN Messenger sample.

You can download the code from here.

Categories: air, ajax, tips & tricks Tags: