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Flash on the Beach 09 / Day 0 / iPhone Development Workshop

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After spending a few days pre-conference in London, I've arrived in Brighton for Flash on the Beach 2009 and the first day of workshops. I chose to attend the iPhone App Development For Flash Developers workshop taught by Julian Dolce today.

While I certainly didn't grow any fonder of Objective-C today, I did learn quite a lot. During the eight hour session we covered a pretty wide range of topics and tasks. First Julian gave us a few hour Objective-C overview before we all took the virtual pet example from Colin Moock's Essential ActionScript 3.0 book and coverted it to Objective-C. This was a great task since everyone in the room knew AS3 and was more than likely familiar with the virtual pet example.

After a break for lunch we all jumped into some quick equivalents of ActionScript 3 code in Objective-C, and then used those examples to build a sample application with some animated images, touch events (taps and dragging), audio. Lastly Julian gave an overview of Interface Builder and then went over some general tips and tricks.

Julian will be posting his slides, sample code and some recommended additional reading on the page he setup on his website: http://deleteaso.com/iphone-workshop/

Hopefully I'll find a way to learn to like Objective-C as much as I do AS3 since developing for the iPhone, as I learned today, can certainly be a fun experience.

Thanks, Julian!

Flash on the Beach’s 3 Minute Wonders

Flash on the Beach - Brighton - 2009

I'm excited to be heading over to Brighton, UK once again this year to attend Flash on the Beach 2009. Besides all of the wonderful speakers and catching up with everyone, I'm equally excited for a new addition this year: The Elevator Pitch.

The conference website describes it as "...exactly what the title suggests - 20 'newbies' / 'oldies' / whatever you want to call them, get 3 minutes to show their best work, a new idea, live coding, live drawing, whatever."

This is great for two reasons. First, for the past two years the most well attended sessions were the 'filler' sessions where several speakers got up and free-formed it for five minutes each to fill an hour long session left blank by a speaker who had to cancel last minute. This always leads to exciting presentations about small projects these guys are working on, rather than some topic that takes an hour to present. Second, one of my favorite events in Portland is Ignite, where presenters have only 20 slides that automatically rotate every 15 seconds to get their point across. When you are forced to distill a topic down to only a couple of key points, it often ends up being a much better presentation.

I also think it is great to be giving some up-and-coming talent a chance to speak. Most people (myself included) find it difficult to put together a presentation on a topic that would fill a whole hour. You either end up having way too much content or way too little content. And the prep time pre-conference can be a time consuming nightmare. But if you only need to prep for a three minute talk, there are no excuses.

You can see a full list of the topics that will be covered by Flash on the Beach's 3 Minute Wonders at the conference website, but I'm really looking forward to topics such as "I can't draw, but I can program", "ActionScript to Objective-C (and everything in between)" and "Beta, my arse!".

Flash on the Beach Miami Cancelled

I thought I would post a quick note here since I mention Flash on the Beach often -- it was announced today that Flash on the Beach Miami will be cancelled this year. An email sent out to those who had purchased passes included the following statement:

It is with huge regret that we have taken the decision to cancel FOTB Miami. Our intention was to bring FOTB with its awesome speaker line up, fantastic networking opportunities and of course terrific FOTB vibe to the USA, but low registration numbers have meant that we would not be able to deliver the high calibre event that Flash on the Beach has become well known for.

Looks like even conferences are having problems with the down economy, which in reality, makes sense. I was excited about the conference coming to the States, so I am obviously disappointed to hear the news.

One thing did pick up my spirits a bit, however: John Davey decided to not only refund everyone's registration fees, but also provided a free pass to FOTB Brighton 2009.

Looks like I will be going to Brighton this year, after all!

FOTB Miami passes only $99 for the next 48 hours

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For the next 48 hours you can get a full three day conference pass for Flash On The Beach Miami for only $99 (as opposed to the regular cost of $359)!

When you purchase your ticket use promo code RSKNUTS1 and you'll get the discounted price. I bought my tickets at the "super early bird" discounted price and paid more than this - so $99 is truly a great deal.

Note that this promotion only lasts 48 hours and is endingĀ at midnight PST on Wednesday 14th January.

Flash and Flex Conference Price Comparison, 2009 Edition

As the New Year is upon us and we start to budget for conferences in 2009, it is time for the annual Flash conference price comparison post. This year the comparison is a little more in depth because it has more significance with the world's (and especially US) economy hitting some hard times. As a refresher, you can see my posts on this subject from 2007 and 2008.

I was prompted to start looking at conference prices for 2009 when I heard that Flash On The Beach Miami's Super Early Bird pricing has been extended through Christmas. John Davey, the conference organizer, sent me a short email stating, "I think everyone is worried about the economy, and although it is worrying me too, I think a show of 'giving back' will be appreciated." I agree, John. And, thanks!

So, without further delay, here is a breakdown of pricing comparing some of the 'major' Flash/Flex conferences:

FOTB
(Miami)
FlashForward FITC
(Toronto)
360|Flex
Super Early Bird First 100 tickets
Regular $299 n/a $458 USD $360
Student $149 $230
Flex Pass $449 $542
Early Bird Next 200 tickets
Regular $429 $899 $542 $480
Student $319 $271
Flex Pass $559 $625
Standard Last 100 tickets
Regular $499 $999 $625 $550
Student $249 $313
Flex Pass $629 $709
Door Price
Regular $599 $1099 $709
Student $299 $355
Flex Pass $719 $793

When looking at the table, you'll no doubt notice a few things right off. First, FlashForward continues to be the most expensive conference of the bunch at about a whopping 50% more expensive than FOTB or 306|Flex for the standard ticket price. I should mention that FlashForward has not posted their prices for 2009 and the table includes their 2008 pricing. Since the conference just changed hands last year (it was purchased by Beau Ambur of Metaliq) and they dropped the prices at that time, it is most likely safe to assume that they will keep the prices as-is this year.

Another item to consider is that with a new edition to be held in Miami, Flash on the Beach no longer requires international travel. My prior comparisons all had to take into account a flight to London and the very lopsided exchange rate for US Dollar to British Pound. With that no longer being necessary, FOTB is now even a better bargin for those of us in the States. Especially when you realize that all of the headlining speakers from the Brighton edition have also committed to speaking in Miami.

360|Flex has always had some of the lowest prices for a conference. They started out with all tickets priced at $360, but had since risen the price to $480. For their next conference they are taking a new approach of tiered pricing. As you can see above, the first 100 tickets are at the old $360 rate, the next 200 are at the standard $480 rate, and the last are at a premium rate of $550 (which is still about half of the cost of FlashForward).

Of course there is always the extra costs that go along with conferences like flight and hotel. Those certainly add to the cost, but for the most part are the same across the board (except in the case of international travel and/or exchange rates as mentioned previously), so I don't take those into consideration here.

What are your thoughts on the price of conferences in 2009? Am I missing any conferences that you would like to see added?

Flash on the Beach ’09 Miami Tickets Now on Sale

If you haven't been to a Flash on the Beach conference yet because you had a hard time justifying the cost of travel to Brighton, your chance to experience the best Flash-centric conference has arrived stateside! Tickets for FOTB Miami to be held April 6th-8th, 2009 are now on sale. And, the first 199 people to buy tickets will get them at the unbelievable price of $299.

On that note, I've been adding up some numbers for my annual conference pricing comparison post - so check back soon for all the details on which conference is the best deal of 2009.

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