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Archive for June, 2007

Chumby Posts Launch Plans and Features

Chumby posted launch plans and final product features on their corporate blog yesterday, complete with an announcement that the device will be the first device to run Flash Lite 3.

The device will cost $180 fully-delivered, no fees or extra subscriptions, which I think is brilliant. Similar devices, such as the Nabaztag/tag Rabbit cost about the same, but require a $7/month service fee to do anything custom.

If anyone from Chumby reads this -- I'd love to be on the list mentioned in your blog for those who will get a chance to buy the initial release!

List of Animation Packages for AS3

Ryan Christensen has posted a great write-up and review of several AS3 animation packages on his blog, draw.logic. Ryan does a great job of noting the pros and cons of each one, so if you are just getting into AS3 or are looking for a Fuse Kit replacement in AS3 while waiting for Fuse to update, this is a great place to start.

Pricing Showdown: Flashforward vs Flash on the Beach

Every year I try to attend at least one large Flash conference, and today I was trying to decide which conference I wanted to attend this year: Flashforward or Flash on the Beach.

Both conferences will no doubt be worth attending -- last year's Flashforward was a great experience for me, and although I didn't attend, FOTB was touted as the best conference of the year in the Flash community. Both will have a very similar list of speakers and cover similar topics, offer plenty of time for networking, and undoubtedly offer the yearly recharge of interactive development passion. In fact, there are only two considerable differences: location and price. And when you are trying to convince your employer to pay, it all comes down to pricing.

I originally assumed, like most Americans would considering the strength of the British Pound to the Dollar, that a trip to Brighton for FOTB would be considerably more costly. But, as it turns out, it is $664 _cheaper_ to attend FOTB in the UK then it is to attend Flashforward in Boston. This amazed me, and I'm writing this post in hopes that Flashforward (and Lynda.com, the producers) will take notice at the discrepancy.

I calculated the $664 difference by factoring in the only sure costs in each location -- the conference pass, airfare, and hotel accommodations. Here is the breakdown:

Flashforward
Conference Pass: $1099
Airfare (Portland to Boston, continental.com): $600
Hotel (Conference Rate): $249/night x 5 = $1245
Total: $2944

Flash on the Beach
Conference Pass: $400
Airfare (Portland to London, continental.com): $880
Hotel (Hotels.com): $200/night x 5 = $1000
Total: $2280

$2944 - $2280 = $664

Now, obviously this isn't scientific as there are still costs like taxi fares, meals, incidentals and entertainment, but these costs would generally be the same no matter which conference you attend. I realize that the Dollar to British Pound conversion rate would skew things a bit due to the locations of the two conferences, but even if that skew was equal to $664, it still costs me the same to attend FOTB and get a free vacation to the UK.

FOTB can produce a conference equal to Flashforward's and still price their passes at less than half. Same speakers, same topics, similar community, and half the price. With conferences like FITC, Flashbelt and 360Flex all pricing themselves _way_ below Flashforward, and OSFlash offering conferences online for free, how long can they continue to charge $1100 to just get in the door?

[Update: The official FOTB blog has just picked up this post. See you at the conference next month!]

Did You Know 2.0 Video Presentation Released

Today, after a few months of Flash and video editing, custom sound design, and a lot of fact checking, we have released "Did You Know 2.0" to YouTube and Google Video.

I had previously posted about working with Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod on this project at XPLANE, and I'm very excited about the new version. In fact, Scott has already previewed the video at several large lectures to rave reviews.

As this video is meant to be a launching point for more discussions on the topics within, I suggest you visit http://shifthappens.wikispaces.com and join the conversation. Scott McLeod has posted more information on his blog, Karl Fisch has his thoughts on his blog, and Dave Gray (founder of XPLANE) is also looking for feedback on his blog.

[Update: After the first two days the video has already been viewed over 5000 times!]
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/pMcfrLYDm2U" height="350" width="425" /]

Moock’s Essential AS3 Book Now Shipping in Late August

Essential ActionScript 3.0 CoverToday I woke up to an email from Amazon.com informing me that Colin Moock's new book "Essential ActionScript 3.0" was going to be delayed until August 24th. The book is still listed on their site as available for pre-order without an estimated shipping date, and after checking Powell's Books (Portland's famous bookstore) and Borders' website, I have found that neither of them list an available date.

So if you are like me and have been waiting for this book to come out for months now... it looks like the wait will continue. Sadly, I have a feeling that due to Moock's overwhelming success with his prior books, many developers are waiting for the release to learn AS3. Because of this, I can't help but think that the delay in releasing this book has the potential to slow the overall adoption rate of AS3 in the interactive community.

WordPress Data and Flash Through PHP and XML

Tim Wilson has just posted PressConnect, a "PHP script which interigates a WordPress database and returns posts, pages, and creates menus in an XML format."

Tim's site/blog runs a completely Flash front-end using WordPress as the content management system, so he has some experience making Flash and WordPress work together. You can even see the normal WP install at this URL.

On his PressConnect page he explains the necessary process of retrieving the data from the WP database and using PHP to format it as XML. This concept isn't exactly new, but Tim has done everyone researching the topic a favor by explaining the process in detail, creating a diagram, and posting some of the PHP code which interfaces with WP. Just another example of the Flash community giving back.

For other takes on the same idea see Arpit's blog Code Zen and Brendan Dawes' wp-xml file (link to the file is at the very end of the post).

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