Thursday, August 09, 2007

Vancouver RIA/Flex Camp

The Vancouver RIA Camp is filling up. We have now added a code camp to the schedule. Here is a video of a similar event in San Francisco (above). The schedule is below.

Last day to pre-register for MAX 2007

Anyone interested in going should note that tomorrow is the last day for early bird registration for MAX 2007. You can still register for the discounted price of $1095. Prices increase to $1295 Friday night at midnight PT.

I'm not trying to sell you anything, just save you money if you are going.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Adobe MAX 2008

Adobe MAX 2007 has not yet happened but it will on Sept 30-Oct 3. So why a blog post about Adobe MAX 2008? Simple - I am interested in your opinions on what we should be thinking about now for this event. Here are some questions for MAX 2008:

1. What should we add that is not present for Adobe MAX 2007?

2. Which speakers/sessions would you like to see more of at MAX 2008? (Choices = technical, marketing, demos, roadmaps, other....)

3. What venue would you like to see MAX at in North America (Examples - San Francisco, Whistler, New York)?

4. What types of parties, extracurricular activities would you like to see more of? (For example - a side ski trip if in Whistler)?

Please also ping me by email dnickull at adobe dot com to let me know of any other ideas you have for MAX 2008.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Adobe MAX 2007 gets Ryan Stewart

Ryan Stewart has just become another one of our evangelist team members to speak at MAX 2007 in Chicago. Ryan will be tackling a cool subject of manipulating PDF within Adobe AIR (formerly Apollo) applications. The abstract is:

Leveraging PDF within Adobe AIR Applications
Skill: Intermediate

Adobe AIR is a cross-OS runtime that allows developers to leverage their existing web development skills (Flash, Flex, HTML,PDF, JavaScript, Ajax, etc.) to build rich Internet applications that can be deployed to the desktop. This session will examine how Adobe AIR applications can utilize PDF content alongside HTML and Flash. We will explore how PDF content can be interacted with using Adobe AIR functionality, integration, and scripting.

At Adobe MAX 2007, there are so many cool additions now that it is hard to track all of them. Be sure to catch the latest breaking news by subscribing to the MAX list. See you there!

Silverlight on Mac OS X? It truly sucks!

Today I had my second experience with Microsoft's Silverlight on a Macintosh. The first experience resulted in a hung app which is okay given it was billed as early alpha. This time I decided to be a bit more picky as this version of Silverlight is billed as a Release Candidate. For the record, this is a MacBook Pro (latest edition) with 2.4 GHz processors (Intel Core 2 Duo) with 4 GB of RAM. I was looking at some old email and found some spam inviting me to a MS doo here in Vancouver. It invited me to go to a certain URL.

"Look forward to seeing you there – to RVSP, simply reply to this email or visit the Event page at the Experience Expression homepage"

Upon reaching the URL, I was asked to enter and given a choice of a Silverlight site or non-Silverlight. I wanted to really see Silverlight in action so I chose the Silverlight option. When I tried to reach the site, the first warning I got was this:

I figured that the "OK" button was safe to hit but upon hitting it, the alert disappeared along with all the content behind the page. I guess I was supposed to remember it from just looking or something??? The page now looked like this:

Even reloading the page did not return me to a place where I could get the URL. Luckily, I had made a copy of the screen because I was going to document a different problem I had experienced on another Mac in my house. I hit the URL and was redirected to a page at After a few guesses I found the page to download their Release Candidate 1 (RC).

The install went well and reported success:

When I went back to the page to view the invitation to the event, I was redirected to the page saying I needed to install Microsoft Silverlight -- despite the fact I had just installed it.

Okay. Starting to get annoyed. Now I want to point out that I work for Adobe, largely viewed as the company owning the biggest rival to Silverlight (called Flash). Some people have wrongly compared Adobe AIR to Silverlight (Silverlight is akin to Flash but does not really have anywhere near the advanced capabilities of AIR). Despite my employment, I like to think I can be pragmatic and appreciate good software. After all, I do use Entourage, Word, and PowerPoint regularly. My counterparts at Microsoft also use PDF, Acrobat, and Photoshop. Anyways, read on and try the links yourself if you want to make your own judgment.

I clicked on the "Get Silverlight" button to try again and was directed to another page with a really bad graphic (presumably Silverlight-based). If this is an example of Silverlight's graphics, I am sticking with Flash and Flex.

Cautiously, I reloaded the page and this time it recognized that I had installed Silverlight. There was even a link to get back to previous page.

Now this seems reasonable yet a bit weird. If you can recognize the Silverlight player is installed, why send the user running around? I clicked on "Return to the previous page" only to find a page that tells me I need to install Silverlight to view it. Further attempts to view the content result in getting redirected to this page:

Okay - time to give up. I am trying hard to be balanced about this and to not push a "pick Adobe Flash vs. Microsoft Silverlight" battle, but the inescapable conclusion is that my experience was suboptimal. I hope someone from Microsoft reads this and can maybe offer some help as to what happened and a way to work around it.

After two attempts, the score is Silverlight 2, Me 0. I actually do really want to see it. Does that mean I have to go back to (cough) Win-D'ohs?

Anyone else have luck with the URLs?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Web 2.0 - time for social networks to grow up, open up

Slashdot is having yet another raving discussion/permathread about social networking's lack of openness. This is a topic I have strong feelings about. The rise of microformats has made this type of thing possible but perhaps it is time for a more formal standards process to build interfaces between places such as Facebook, MySpace, Mix2r, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.

What advantages would such a standard have?

First, it would allow any new social network startup to get enough information to seed their idea based on opt-in choices being made by those who own their data.

Second, an API would allow people who use the networks to quickly change their profile across multiple networks, instead of having to manually change things as is done today. An example of this is MySpace and Mix2r. When you put out a new mix of music, you have to manually upload it to both sites. If there was a standardized API for updating audio that could syndicate out to all control points, it would ease the maintenance of social networks.

Third, it would help with the synchronized web pattern. If a site is out of sync, it would be able to detect the error and notify the data owner to ask if they want it updated to reflect changes on other sites.

These are just a few examples of the architectural advantages of being open. Yes - owners of walled gardens do not often want to build gates, but they really need to get over themselves and start looking at what the community wants.