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“Did You Know” Presentation Sequel at XPLANE

At XPLANE one of the projects we're currently working on is a new version of the popular "Did You Know" video from Karl Fisch (read Karl's post on the upcoming sequel) and Scott McLeod (...and Scott's post on the sequel). If you haven't heard about this video, the gist is that it provides you with some extremely provoking thoughts on the world economy, education, and general globalization. The original has been viewed over 2 million times on various video postings around the web, including YouTube.

We're taking what was a PowerPoint presentation (turned video), updating the content with new stats and thoughts as provided by Karl and Scott with some consulting help from us, and then redoing the graphics/design. Instead of limiting ourselves with PowerPoint we're designing in Illustrator, animating in Flash, then exporting to QuickTime. That said, I'm excited to have a project that will allow me to try out several parts of the new CS3 workflow so quickly.

I believe the original video has been accepted to a film festival in Telluride, Colorado, and the organizers will be taking a look at the new one once completed and possibly presenting it. So keep your eyes peeled to Karl and Scott's blog, YouTube, and of course here for more information as we wrap up this sequel.

This is an exciting project, and I'm glad to be a part of it!

Illustrator CS3 Video Tour

Real World Illustrator Podcast

Mordy Golding, a former Product Manager for Illustrator during the CS and CS2 revs, has posted a new video tour podcast of Illustrator CS3 over on his blog Real World Illustrator. The video does a great job of explaining the new features in a way that even makes sense to non-expert Illustrator users such as myself.

At XPLANE our designers and concept developers use Illustrator almost exclusively, so I've had to become a lot more familiar with the program. With the current CS2 version getting artwork from Illustrator to Flash is a pain, and I spend roughly 15-20% of my time just manhandling graphics before I can even begin to think about ActionScripting.

I can't explain how happy I am to have pre-ordered my copy of the CS3 suite so I can spend my time doing what I do best: code. Flash Developers, we owe Adobe big for this release.

[podcast link found via John Nack's blog]

Flash CS3 Released

Flash CS3 BoxAlong with the rest of the CS3 bundle, Flash CS3 was released today. Most of the features had already been announced at various conferences, but nonetheless this is very exciting. I personally am especially excited about the native Illustrator importing -- we use Illustrator on about 90% of our projects at XPLANE, and not having to deal with the pain of importing those files will be a huge help.

Mike Downey has more information and a quick-and-dirty feature listing on his website:

http://weblogs.macromedia.com/md/archives/2007/03/announcing_flas.cfm

XPLANE Culture Map

XPLANE | Culture Map

We try to eat our own dog food at XPLANE as often as possible, and thus a visual map of our culture was created for internal use. Not only does the map describe all the core values of the company in a clear and concise manner, but by making it visual it is also remembered with ease.

More information is available on Dave Gray's blog (Dave is the CEO and founder of XPLANE):
http://communicationnation.blogspot.com/2007/01/xplane-culture-map.html

and a marked up and larger version with Dave's notes is available here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/davegray/355002597/

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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