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Seattle Startup Weekend

Seattle Startup WeekendThere’s an event coming up that is already sold out but would be a blast to attend in the future. It’s called Startup Weekend. Essentially, you get together with a group of people and in 3 days, start up a company. Everyone of the “founders” gets stock in the startup.

I don’t know just how the ideas are generated or how they decide on what gets chosen or how it’s put into play (I’ve never been to one before) but it looks like a great time.

It takes place in other cities all over the country. Check it out, even if you’re not in Seattle and see if you can sign up before it sells out! It’s a great opportunity to be a part of something that could become big. Make your mark in the world!

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htmlText Editor 2008 now available!

I recently revisited the htmlText Editor I created a while back and found that in the shuffling of web hosting, etc. I lost availability to the old version. I decided to re-compile it using Flex Builder 3 beta 3. It’s now located here:

Not much has changed. It’s still the basic editor it always was. If you find bugs or ways to improve it, please tell me. I’ve had requests to make the filter panel hide-able so maybe I’ll look into that. It seems like a feature that wouldn’t get used much to me. I’ve also had requests to filter on the fly, instead of having to press the Filter Tags button. Let me know if you think this is a priority.


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Working hard to improve

Working hardI’ve been working with the user group manager of SeaFlex to improve the meeting content and reliability. We’ve been coming up with ways to revitalize the meetings through better participation from the group members, improving the website, and getting more involvement from the community. We’ve had a lot of success in getting donations from publishing companies to donate books to use for prizes and to review. We’re working on lining up some incredible speakers for 2008 meetings.

There’s the Flex 3/AIR pre-release user group tour which will be starting it’s tour of over 50 cities worldwide, here in Seattle. We’ll have some incredible prizes and hear some speakers talk about all the exciting new features in the upcoming releases of Flex and AIR. There will also be a surprise topic that will likely create a lot of buzz in the community.

I encourage any readers to comment this blog with topics they would like to see in the lineup of meetings for 2008. We’ll be making sure each and every meeting is worth attending. We admit that we haven’t been doing a stellar job of keeping meetings worthwhile in the past. We also have been inconsistent in holding meetings and canceling at the last minute. We hope this all changes.

To make all these great changes, we’ll need support from the community, especially here in Seattle. We need feedback on what you’d like to see and if you have a skill you’d like to share with others, let us know when you could present to the group. Usually, a presentation could last for 45 minutes or so. That may seem scary but once you’re up there, the time flies by, especially during Q&A.

One of my primary goals for 2008 is to strengthen the SeaFlex members. This means educating, networking, and empowering the members in the field of Flex development. Help me make sure that happens!

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AIR has it’s final logo

Adobe AIR logoAdobe has had a tough time coming up with the final logo for the AIR platform. Now they’ve settled on a logo design that looks great! You can read the details about it here. Notice on the blog that there might end up being some contests for coming up with great desktop backgrounds!

I want to encourage all of you out there to download the vector versions from that blog and make some killer backgrounds. Spread the word!

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Future of Flex Components?

Here’s some videos from MAX Barcelona of Ely Greenfield presenting some of the concepts the Flex team is considering for Flex 4. This stuff should make designers very pleased. I never cease to be impressed with how well the Flex team “get’s it”. The concept is to separate the model, view and controller (this may sound familiar) so that you can create a component with core concepts such as the data it holds, the pieces it has and the behaviors it will exhibit. Then, if the look needs to be changed you set styles on the pieces, and the rest of the code stays in tact and continues to be bug free. None of the items in the videos are guaranteed to be in Flex 4, but it’s clear that it’s the direction they want to move in.

Ely has always impressed me and I must say that besides being an incredible coder and designer, he is also a great presenter.

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Custom Flex folder icon

Flex folder iconIf you’re like me, you like to customize and tweak Windows XP to be all your own. I especially love icons. Since my Flex project folder is used so much, I made an icon to set as the folder icon.

To set a folder to the custom icon in XP, right-click on the folder and select Properties. Then choose the Customize tab. Click the Change Icon… button at the bottom and browse to select the Flex folder icon.


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Lists, how I love thee

Most of us love lists and use them everyday. I certainly do. The only problems I have with most listing applications is that you can’t reorganize easily and to set properties of tasks such as due date, there’s way to many clicks required. I think I have found an app that does it right. It’s actually an ajax application and can be used offline. It’s called Remember the Milk. There are keyboard shortcuts for everything. It can print a well formatted list for those that like to check off things with a pen or pencil. It has plenty of properties for each item, including location. It ties in with Google maps so you can set where something should occur.

If you want to get really high tech, you can also have it send reminders through a number of different methods, including Google talk. I found out about it because I was looking into Jott, another great service I’ll talk about some other time, and read how you can configure Jott to work with Remember the Milk.

Check it out, you might like it!

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Drupal, meet Flex

DrupalAt the last SeaFlex meeting, we combined with the Drupal user group and the Contribute user group. The highlight was the Showcase which uses Drupal for the content management and Flex for the front-end. It’s a pretty amazing site.

I’ve started playing with Drupal and am learning it’s power. I would have used it to run this blog but I decided on the simpler, WordPress instead. I know I need to do some major customizing (at the time of this entry) but the default is so pretty.

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Move over bacon

To start out with, I should say I love bacon. And, I love Google and all they have done to create great web apps that just work and look good. Google docs, Google talk, GMail, Picasa, Google Earth. You could pretty much go down the list and find that just about everything Google makes was well thought out and needed to be brought to the public. They deliver. But, Google docs now has some pretty stiff competition.

Enter buzzword. Created by a company called Virtual Ubiquity, buzzword is an online word processor that looks and feels more like a word processor than a webpage. It’s created with Flex, so the graphics and interface have that richness that we know and love from flash based web apps. Collaboration is a feature that was nicely implemented – users can upload an avatar that displays next to their name. It shows who is currently editing it, in real-time. Of course it auto-saves but it goes well beyond that. It has a sort of version history built in so you can roll back to a point if needed. The toolbar is organized with only one row, and the tools sections are organized into groups that expand to focus on the tools needed. That reduces clutter and is done in a way that you still can find the tools you need easily. Images placed in the text can be resized and positioned however you want. The text will flow around them very smoothly. I was impressed at how easily image placement was.

Their target will be people who need documents online, accessible from anywhere. People like students, who go from class to class and don’t want to bring a laptop everywhere because it could get stolen or broken. Or collaborators who want to easily share documents between others in a group and allow reviewing or authoring by multiple people.

Buzzword is still in “preview” which means it’s beta. They’re still working out the bugs. So far, it is proving to be a very impressive online app. Google has the advantage of being more and more of a one-stop-shop for e-mail, documents, web search, etc. but I see a strong advantage to Virtual Ubiquity in the usability and style aspects of online document creation that will get them some strong footing in the market.

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I have other interests

That’s right, I admit it. I’m not one of those guys that sits around all day and night coding actionscript 3 and building custom components. I do that here and there, but I have other interests as well. One of those took up my weekend before the 360Flex conference.

The 48 hour film project is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while and I was able to participate in it with a bunch of college friends in Portland. I gotta give a shout out to all those that helped out – it was such a great time getting together with old friends and making a few new ones!

Quick summary of what it is:
You get a team together of people who can use a camera, a digital editing system, act, script, etc. and register to participate. The friday that the competition starts, your team draws a genre (we got Sci-Fi) and then all the teams get certain elements that must be included in the film. You then have 48 hours to do everything from coming up with an idea to turning in the finished product on tape. All must be done in the 48 hours, ie. no stock video. The elements were the character Roy or Rachel Schwarz, Quality Control Expert, a balloon as a prop, and the line “do you smell what I smell?“.

Here’s what we came up with – it’s a film called Glitch in the Rose.

Enjoy, and post a comment with what you think of it, good or bad! We know it might not be the best 5 minutes of your life, after all, we only had 48 hours to create it!Oh, and here’s the pictures. What a blast we had!