Flash Forward 2006

Well, it was a long 4 days, but for those who don’t know I was at Flash Forward in Austin this past week. I gleaned quite a bit of knowledge from the sessions/people there and came across a lot of interesting links in the process. It was a bit like trying to drink out of a fire hose, and there is so much I was exposed to I want to learn about, but didn’t have the time get into it all. I have a good couple months of information I want to learn/check out online :-)…so, I apologize in advance if you have seen some of these before, but here are some of the speakers I was able to see.

Rich Shupe, FMA
Rich taught some fundamentals in Flash, a lot of review for me, but he did cover some interesting things like alpha masks, Flash’s Drawing API & the Bitmap Data class & filters (Convolution, Displacement, and Perlin Noise). Examples of some of these things in action(and more!) can be seen at

http://lab.andre-michelle.com/ – (*you’ll need the Flash 9 player to see his other cool examples)

Robert Taylor & Tyler Wright
These guys are doing some phenominal things with Flash. They gave a talk on how to optimize your Flash content so it can be picked up by search engines (the main ones anyway). No more SEO problems with Flash content…maybe. Anyway, you can find out more about them and what they do here…

RT – http://www.flashextensions.com/blog/
TW – http://www.mediarain.com/musicrain/http://www.mediarain.com/musicrain/

Caleb Haye, Yahoo
Caleb’s sole purpose at yahoo appears to innovate. Which on the outside, sounds like a fantastic place to be :-). I am sure there are lots of things he wishes could be better, but this idea was further confirmed when I saw some of the exciting things they are working on. Honestly, I don’t think they get enough credit for the what they’re doing. Caleb gave a really great rundown on how some of the API’s in their developer network can be easily (well, relatively anyway) ported and used in the Flash environment with AS3. While you won’t find a ‘Flash’ topic to see what Yahoo’s doing (he promised one soon), you will see Flash incorporated into many of the Yahoo technologies there.

http://www.caleb.org – Caleb’s blog, gives us a lot of nice source code and access to any classes you might need to start developing.
http://developer.yahoo.com – The right column “Featured Applications” has some nice examples
http://www.angieandderek.com/videos – A really cool app that integrates yahoo’s maps and video’s related to the area…all Flash!

Jared Ficklin, Sound Visualization
I’d say I had the most fun at Jared’s session. Jared works for Frog, and he’s been experimenting with sound and Flash for the past 10 years and has some really cool/interesting pieces that take sound data, and visualize it through Flash. Again, with AS3 this is possible and to an even higher degree than before and we are already seeing some really cool sound-based Flash animation/visualization. Oh, did I mention Jared was on Texas Ranch House?…yes, that’s really him 😛 Anyway, here’s some cool examples from theflashblog.com, which held a contest related to the exact things Jared talked about. (Flash 9 player required)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpovwbPGEoo – Jared showing us that we can see the effects of sound in real life, and visualize it!

Grant Skinner, gskinner.com
Grant is an amazingly smart individual from what I gathered in his session. He has some great plug-ins for Flash, and gave a really convincing argument about some of the potential pitfalls with Adobe’s ‘Garbage Collection’ process in AS3. He’s provided some good solutions/methods (create a janitor class that should help). Anyway, he’s graciously provided his notes for all, so rather than mess up what he said, I’ll leave it to him.


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