Quick Tip from Jerome – Dropbox

If you have a Flash or InDesign project that you are putting time into both at work and at home or just have files that you access and edit frequently from multiple machines, then Dropbox is a tool that you should look into. Dropbox is available for essentially all platforms, mobile, Mac, Windows, and even Linux. Once you have installed Dropbox and logged into your account, it creates a Dropbox folder in your home directory. Anything you put in that folder from then on is synchronized over the internet to any other devices on which you have Dropbox installed. For mobile devices you merely open the Dropbox app and you then have access to these files as well. Bear in mind that Dropbox is completely free for up to 2GB of storage, not a bad deal at all!

Now if you are feeling saucy and really want to take full advantage of this great tool, you can further its usefulness by using symbolic links or “symlinks”. What these symlinks do is to redirect anything you put into a folder into another folder. For example, if I created a symlink between my Documents folder and a folder on my Dropbox, then anything I put into my Documents folder will go right into my Dropbox. Pretty slick. Just know that it will remove the original folder from your system. In the case of our example, my Documents folder would disappear unless I removed the symlink. So be sure to back up. (It wouldn’t be a bad idea to know how to remove this symlink either.) Are any other ActionScript 3.0 developers salivating over this besides me? What this means is that you can have all your 3rd party or home brew libraries and classes stored in the ‘clouds’ and any updates you make on one machine goes to all. Now that’s better living through technology.

Need help with this symlink business? Here’s a link:
Symlink Tutorial

The battle behind the screens – Flash vs. Silverlight

It’s definitely a war–it’s just that it’s a Cold War.

Since Microsoft released Silverlight, (and by the way, watch what happens when you surf over there) their answer to Adobe Flash, in 2007, there’s been a (sort of) silent war going on behind the two software giants about who gets to play your movies.

When you go to a site like Youtube or Hulu to watch videos (and who among us does not, these days?), isn’t it awesome how fast it is? How clear? How the videos you watch don’t take up space on your hard disk or really even slow down what you’re doing in the background? That’s because when you go to those sites (and soon others like Vimeo and possibly Dailymotion), your browser loads a plugin to let you read the Flash Video that someone has posted and that the website has slightly reconfigured–and plays it right from the source, like you’re looking through your computer to where the video really is, somewhere else. This means that anyone, anywhere can see it, which is good news for video producers and marketers alike. Just as Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux can all (usually) read the same types of files, now we can all see almost any type of video–the trouble is that not everyone feels like they’re making enough money this way.

Any guesses who? (*coughSilverlightcough*)

Well, you’re mostly right, but it isn’t JUST Microsoft. There are plenty of people out to get Flash, now that it’s the standard for video playback on the web: Sun Microsystems (who makes Java), plenty of open-source proponents, and Apple have either resisted or worked around integrating Flash into their video products (iPhone, anyone?) but more than ever, Adobe is realizing that if they want their product to stay at the top, they’re going to have to get into some heretofore unexplored venues. To that end, the rumors are flying about new tools for developing iPhone apps using Flash, putative Flash support on the theoretical Apple Tablet (if it exists, right?), and more.

Microsoft is responding to this by leveraging their power toward pushing Flash out of certain areas; ever notice that the streaming function of Netflix is run on Silverlight instead of Flash?

So here’s the question: both Flash and Silverlight are proprietary software, and both are the big boys when it comes to video playback on the web–now whom would we prefer as the keeper of our vids? Because someones’s going to win this battle–and either way, it’s going to mean a lot about how we get (and what we can do with) our video.

What do you get for the phone who has everything?

iphone, rumors, questions, next

What to do next with the coolest phone Ever?

So ok–it’s going to be a while until we get Flash for the iPhone, but I think we can all agree that it’s still pretty cool. The question is: now that you can do almost everything on the iPhone, like getting GPS Driving directions, reading e-books with the Kindle App, checking your email, stock quotes, and weather forecasts, and watching movies…what’s next for this niftiest of devices? I know! NEW APPS for it!

When the iPhone came out in 2007, most users were impressed and pleased with the number of cool applications you could get for it; in fact it’s this that makes the iPhone more of a palmtop computer than strictly a phone–you can load new software and get upgrades just like you can with your laptop or desktop. That said, the idea of WRITING software for the iPhone was, and still is for many, a black box. What’s involved in writing an app for the iPhone? Do you have to learn a new language? Does it mean you have to HAVE a Mac computer…or even own an iPhone?

With the meteoric takeoff of Apple’s App Store, it’s become clear even to the comparative luddite that someone is creating all these apps, and with the iPhone gaining (still!) in popularity, it seems likely that more and more people will learn how–but how?

Well, as far as that goes, there are a couple of ways to get going, but the best we can think of is a class on iPhone Application Development – how to use Objective-C, how to upload and test the apps, and how to get the most out of what you create.

Since the much-touted PastryKit is only a theory at this point, and since it’s gotten even easier to market new Apps with all the upgrades to the App Store, we think now is a fantastic time to start learning to program for what is STILL the coolest phone out there…and what can only be made cooler by a new app…by You!

Adobe Labs: Keep Updated on Adobe New Technologies like Pixel Bender

adobe-labs- by Jori Curry

Adobe Labs is a fantastic arena to collaborate in the development process of Adobe. Users find pre-release access to software, hosted applications and more. Resources such as code samples and forums allow visitors to interact with like-minded Adobe developers.

The most current technology on Adobe Labs is Pixel Bender. Previously under the code-name Hydra, it first was supported by After Effects CS3 as an engine for image transformations and effects. It’s a way to create extensive effects in real time using the graphics card, not the processor. The Pixel Bender just-in- time (JIT) compiler allows developers to create real-time cinematic effects within Flash 10 Player, but Pixel Bender filters running inside are rendered via software, and not accelerated which could be a detraction.

“Pixel Bender always works with 32-bit floating point channels. No matter what data type is used with Pixel Bender, it will be converted into a 32-bit floating point and on output will be scaled back to the appropriate data size. It only appears to be 8-bit because all current examples of passing data to Pixel Bender so far have been bitmaps which use 8-bit channels.” Said  Justin Everett-Church, Senior Product Manager for Adobe Flash Player. 

In addition, we have Pixel Bender shaders to allow users to bypass the image effects that come with Flash and manipulate pixels in real time. In addition to graphics, shaders can be used for other CPU intensive processes in Flash. This could be a great leap forward for Flash, Flex, AIR and Photoshop in the coming months!

Check the Adobe Labs site often for the latest and greatest Adobe has to offer.

Facebook and Adobe Partner with Flash

- by Jori Curry…

Flash, FacebookAdobe and Facebook have proposed a marriage between Flash and Facebook to give developers a whole new set of tools with the Client Library, a free open source programming language. An announcement that comes after MySpace’s partnership with Microsoft’s Silverlight. Using Actionscript 3.0 Client Library, the new Facebook Connect will integrate the power of Facebook into individual websites using Flash, Flex and AIR. A good example is Red Bull that is engaging customers through Facebook Connect.

Adrian Ludwig of Adobe recently told MacWorld, “We are seeing that it’s becoming quite easy for traditional developers to start using Flash,” said Ludwig. “That’s quite a change from where it was five to eight years ago when Flash was focused on animation.”

This marriage is a library that provides Flash developers a much easier process without the Facebook platform. Many developers have built their own libraries using Ruby on Rails that tie into Facebook, but now will have a much easier time plugging into the Facebook platform through Flash. On the Adobe Developer Connection, there are pages dedicated to tutorials and videos to help get developers started.

“Combining social functionality with the Adobe Flash Platform gives the millions of Flash developers the tools to create Web experiences that are truly differentiated,” said Bryant Macy, Director of Platform Product Marketing for Adobe.

While Facebook Connect is available for the iPhone, we are still unsure if Flash will come to the iPhone anytime soon. One can hope that the recent Adobe Open Screen Project, which is designed to partner with companies to use Flash as the RIA platform is the first step in enabling Flash on the iPhone.

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iFrame Facebook application

iFrame Facebook application