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Speaking at Flash PDX UG Meeting on FDT

I'll be speaking this coming Thursday, October 15th with a couple of fellow Flashers here in Portland about FDT.

The general topics slated to be covered are:

  • Getting Started (Intro, project types, pros/cons, comparison to other editors)
  • Shortcuts ('QuickFix' code generation, refactoring, searching, etc.)
  • Integration with Eclipse (SVN, ANT, XML, and other helpful plug-ins)

I will speaking on the third item, Integration with Eclipse, presenting an introduction to simple ANT integration and workflows, along with some of the Eclipse plug-ins I use on a regular basis.

Here are all of the details from the flashpdx.org site:

David Knape, Jon MacDonald and Matt Gitchell will show how they use the FDT development environment in their daily work.

When: Thursday 10/15 11:30 - 1:00pm
Where: Second Story 714 N Fremont St #200

Pizza will be provided, seating is limited to 25.

Please RSVP with shane {at} secondstory {dot} com

PowerFlasher, the makers of FDT, have generously donated a copy of FDT Pure edition for a raffle, and will send discount codes to anyone who provides an e-mail address for the raffle.

(Don’t know what FDT is? In short, FDT is a professional code editor for ActionScript. More info on FDT at http://www.fdt.powerflasher.com. )

Writing SWX Chapter for The Essential Guide to Open Source Flash Development

About a month ago Aral Balkan mentioned he wasn't finding the time to write a chapter on SWX for an upcoming Friends of Ed book, so I offered to step in to write the chapter for The Essential Guide to Open Source Flash Development on SWX for Flash and Flash Lite.

It is an honor to be a part of this book with such open source Flash community members as Chris Allen, John Grden, Wade Arnold, Carlos Ulloa, Moses Gunesch and others. You can read bios of all the authors on the book's bio page.

I am wrapping up the last round of review this weekend, and the book should be published and available in July. You can pre-order the book on Amazon.com today for about $31.

I got my Nabaztagtag

tags lightTonight the UPS delivery man dropped off two Nabaztagtag wifi-enabled smart rabbits and an extra set of ears! Ever since I read Aral's post on his, I have been waiting for my order to arrive. If you haven't heard of these amazing devices, I highly suggest you check out their website to see all the cool features this little device can handle. Basically, the Nabaztagtag can play internet radio, send and receive messages to other 'tags, complete voice activated commands, tell you the weather, act as your alarm clock, and a whole world of other internet-enabled services.

I've only had a few hours to play with my new rabbit, but I have to say, this thing is at one of the highest levels of usability I have seen in awhile. The developers (Violet, out of France) went to great lengths to make sure the thing just works. Their website is extremely easy to use, and setup was a breeze once I found a small note with a bug fix for those with Apple's Airport wireless routers.

tags darkThe best use I have found, however, is why I purchased two of the devices: you can "marry" two 'tags and then whenever you move the ears on one device, the ears will move in the exact same position on the second device. So the rabbit in the photos with the pink ears is for my girlfriend who is moving out of town this week. I thought the rabbits might be a cool way to keep in touch over the long distance, and "marrying" and sending messages between the two rabbits will allow for just that.

One other quick thing I should note is that there is a very large developer community surrounding these 'tags. There is a public API that is fairly well documented, and developers have made a ton of cool services available including NabAIR, an Adobe AIR application that allows you to control your (or someone else's) 'tag through a simple desktop application.

New Portfolio Website Launched

After three years of minimal updates to the old portfolio site, it was about time to clean house, update and redesign. That said, I'm happy to announce that the new version of jonnymac.com is now live.

I'm interested to hear feedback, so please leave your thoughts in the comments!

Laser Engraving My MacBook Pro

Yesterday I got my 17" MacBook Pro laser engraved, and I'm extremely excited about the results:

Engraving Finished

Overall the process is actually fairly simple - the artwork gets loaded into CorelDraw (oh how we were missing Illustrator) and then you print the design just like any other document. The printer driver allows you to select the settings for the laser engraver such as power, resolution, and dithering modes. After a test run on paper to ensure everything was lined up properly, we etched directly onto the laptop.

Engraving Close-Up

The hardest part was picking out and customizing the artwork. It is permanent, and as such the task of choosing artwork made me feel like I was getting a tattoo. Because I earn my living as a Flash Developer and I spend much of my day working on my laptop, the design had to be something I was sure would stand the test of time. For that reason I decided to choose something that had a retro feel, but also a bit organic and edgy. I think that was accomplished with this design, and once the process was finished I felt I had chosen correctly.

Engraving Close-Up 2

A big thanks to Joe at Engrave here in Portland, Oregon for spending a few hours helping me get everything perfect. Joe posted a few photos we took (including the two above) to his Flickr account last night, and the design is already getting some great feedback.

Update: Here's a short video I shot with my small Canon Powershot last night of the laser in action:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.jonnymac.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/engraving_video.swf" height="340" width="400" /]

Update 2: Looks like someone posted this to Digg! Also, I've gotten a few emails asking about the artwork. It is an illustration I found on iStockPhoto, which I then put a few hours into customizing. So yes, it is unique, but you can find a similar illustration on iStockPhoto.

XPLANE

XPLANE the Function

Some of you may already know, but in early October I switched jobs and started working full-time with XPLANE as their Senior Flash Developer. While XPLANE has been in existence for over thirteen years, the interactive arm of the company is fairly new. Because of this, the Portland office still has that start-up, new company atmosphere and feeling. In fact, besides the amazing potential, it was probably the major reason I decided to join the team.

So why hadn't I posted about switching companies earlier? Well, the corporate website was very dated and didn't clearly state what we do. Funny considering we are all about clarity in communications, right? :) But as of Christmas eve, a new website (in Flash!) has gone live at http://www.xplane.com.

The best feature (from a Flash developer's perspective) is the usage of SWFAddress. I had posted about SWFAddress's ability to allow deep-linking and bookmarking of Flash sites a few months back, and this was the first project to use it. I have to say, it was very easy to use and the developer was very responsive to my bug reports and helped me to resolve them in a very timely fashion. And, it's open source to boot.

So go check out the new site. I'm interested in hearing your comments!

Update [2007.01.02]: Looks like the new design is being very well received. Word is spreading as bloggers have found the site and the internet linking engine has taken effect. In the first week the site was live the number of visitors has just about tripled!

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