Videos from Adobe Max 2008 General Session Day 2

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The beginning skit for Tuesday’s general session. The theme was a spoof of Bond, with Tim Buntel, Sr Product Manager of Flex Builder as Agent Double O B. Here they get into Adobe AIR with an app that talks to electrical appliances like lights and the thermostat.



This is the first half of the Flash Catalyst (formerly codenamed Thermo) walkthrough. Flash Catalyst allows designers to take a Photoshop comp and quickly turn it into a working prototype by converting Photoshop layers and assets into working buttons, textfields and scrollbar and wire up interaction.


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Adobe Max 2008 Session: Playful Design

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This talk is about the science of play and why it’s good to have play at work from a developer’s perspective. The state of play is a distinct mental state. Some of the effects of this play state is higher intelligence, more creativity, and more risk aversity. The problem with trying to push for having play at work, or “playful work” is that there is a stigma attached to the word play when it comes to the workplace. Work is supposed to be hard, and not fun. Play is seen as useless or not productive.

However if we look in the animal kingdom for example, play is how animals learn essential survival skills. Also, when in the play state, time tends to fly, the task seems to “flow”, and you are not easily distracted. One can see how inducing the play state for a work related task is a beneficial thing.

Here are some ways we can encourage play during work:

  • Sharing – by sharing and having other people look at your work you could get new ideas and insights
  • Break stuff – this is contrary to how we’ve been taught to think. We are told to make stuff work, but by breaking things down we might be able to reassemble them in new and different ways – much like Legos.
  • Experiment & Explore

For more info: go to http://hci.standford.edu/research

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Adobe Max 2008: Unconference Flex + Papervision

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The Flex + Papervision Unconference talk was given by Vic Cekvenich CEO of PointCast Network. His company provides software solutions based on opensource packages but also provides services and additional libraries to facilitate development.

His talk was an intro to Papervision, so I won’t cover some of the material that’s pretty much all over the web. What I found interesting was that he uses FlashDevelop to do Flex development. His opinion is that it’s smaller, leaner, and much faster. He just has the Flex 4 SDK installed and when he builds, he targets the Flash Player 10 runtime, and that’s pretty much all he needs.

His talk was also geared towards people who want to build great experiences online that rival consumer apps like what you see on CNN, or the Xbox360 interface. His argument is that web experiences fall short of other experiences even though the PC is a much more powerful medium because developers are too lazy. His other focus was Papervision for online game development.

One insightful comment that he had was that people have this silly notion that you build great applications, then some magic happens, and then you become rich. The web world has convoluted that second step, that magic step. People think they out to give things away for free, and somehow they’ll get rich. He says charge for the damn thing. For the Flash games that he develops, he provides a free version with limited options, and if you want to use better guns, or have better clothes for your avatar, you pony up cash. Magic.

The other thing I learned from the talk which I will be trying out soon is adding lighting to my Papervision scene. Basically you use a Phong Shader which you apply to your material and specify lights for it, and voila – lighted objects. Look for a tutorial in the near future.

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Adobe Max 2008 Session: Flex Tips & Tricks

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This was probably the MOST useful session I’ve ever attended in a while. The guy knew his Flex Builder IDE inside and out. Here are some very useful tips to getting the most out of the Flex IDE:

  • Configure your Flex Builder startup parameters. Update the JVM to the latest version, and make Flex Builder use that one – it will compile much faster. Use the -vm flag
  • Configure the flexbuilder.ini file to have Flex use more memory. This will also result in a performance gain.
  • Use the Rename variable shortcut when refactoring. Don’t use the Edit/Replace because it could have adverse consequences of renaming other variables that have that string inside it. The Rename function won’t do that.
  • Use Manage Webservices to automatigically generate all the necessary webservices code. All you need to do is feed it the wsdl.
  • If you have your Flex IDE all pimped out to your liking, use the Export Preferences to save those settings so you won’t have to reconfigure it for other machines.
  • When editing the visual properties of components, use the Convert to CSS to be able to edit all those properties in Designer Mode and have the CSS generalized to apply to all the components of that type, not just that instance.
  • Cntrl + tab and Alt + tab to shift between project files.
  • Cntrl + Shift + P to jump between matching braces.
  • Cntrl + M to maximize or restore IDE panels
  • Cntrl + Alt to duplicate selected lines
  • In the Preferences, just type what you are searching for, it’s got type-ahead functionality
  • Using Build Framework Linkage, you’ll be able to shave the size of your swf down while refactoring out the Flex built in components into a separate swf file which will be cached.

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Adobe Max 2008 Session: Lazy Innovation

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This was a Designer track session – whoooohh, I already feel the creative vibe. Lazy innovation is about innovation that comes from people not wanting to have to do redundant tasks or inefficient tasks. Laziness in this sense is not about idle laziness. A great quote I got out of this talk:

When faced with a difficult task, give it to someone lazy, they’ll find an easier way to do it.

Takes from this talk:

  • understand people’s lazy behavior
  • look for clues of lazy behavior
  • respond to the lazy behavior

Lazy Behavior

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