Why I pre-ordered Adobe Creative Suite 5.5. Yes, pre-ordered.

I’ve never pre-ordered software before in my life. In fact, I’ve always given software a wide berth upon release, hoping for that eventual “0.01 update” that gets those inevitable kinks out of before I install it and jump in. So I guess I’ve always been a little conservative with regards to that type of stuff.

Not this time.

Take some time and watch Greg Rewis walk through the creation of an HTML5/CSS3 based workflow using Dreamweaver CS5.5. Watch how he creates documents for multiple screens. Watch how he uses Dreamweaver’s built-in webkit browser. Marvel in amazement.

I’m getting this sight unseen.

From Adobe TV:

Explore all of the new workflows for creating for the web and mobile devices. See how Creative Suite Web Premium 5.5 allow you to create and deliver standards-based websites apps and immersive digital experiences across desktops, smartphones, tablets, and televisions. Author content with HTML5, CSS3, and the JQuery mobile framework; target multiple platforms including Android™ operating systems, iOS, Blackberry RIM and Adobe AIR. 

“I hate that place”

I hear that so often these days. From friends, from co-workers, from Twitter followers. Seems like everyone hates Facebook.

So why are so many people still using it?

I don’t post pictures there. I don’t upload video there. My only participation is to use it as a broadcast medium to point to the place where I control the universe. Here. I might share a link or two, but they’re also shared here as well. I don’t want Facebook to actually have any of my content. It’s mine. Not theirs. They don’t have any right to my family photos, my videos, my thoughts, my ideas. They make money off my stuff. If all of a sudden everyone stopped giving Facebook all their shit, Facebook would be completely value-less. Facebook’s whole value is wrapped up in your eyeballs. Increasingly, they’re becoming a walled garden. I saw a post the other day comparing them to AOL, and I thought, “that’s perfect”. AOL used to be a lot of people’s “internet experience”. You’d sign on to their world, play around in their playground, interact with their users, then log off. Once you started sniffing around outside their walls, they were essentially done. People went, “waitaminute, you mean there’s all THIS out there? Why didn’t you tell me?”. Then it was all over for AOL.

Seems like the same thing’s happening with Facebook.

It’s the end of the year. Time for people to start writing those “retrospective” posts looking back on “the year that was” and a lot of them seem to be themed around the idea of “moving on from Facebook”. People seem to be coming around to the idea that there’s life beyond 500 million users. That juggernauts can be stopped cold in their tracks. That there will be a “next big thing” and they’re already starting. That can’t bode well for Facebook, but it could be good for users.

See, I think, as an idea, Facebook’s great. Share shit with your friends and family. As a platform, it’s been great as what I would call, “the first iteration” of that idea. Sort of a “here’s how you do it and make it easy for people”. What I think it’s failed at miserably though, is the obvious obsession with monetizing the idea. In an effort to somehow get money out of an idea that’s inherently NOT a money making idea, they’ve had to open the “social graph” to people who weren’t part of your conversation in the first place.

I was talking with my friends and family. Who invited Coca-Cola and Toyota?

Then there’s the whole notion of Facebook making money off of my life. Seriously? You take my photos, my videos, my thoughts, my ideas… and you monetize them so YOU make money? And you don’t offer me a cut? How does that work?

Turns out it doesn’t. At least not very well. In order for Facebook to make that money, they’ve got to run completely counter to their idea. They have to open what was originally a very closed idea. I liked it when the idea was closed. I liked it when I had friends, I could share, they could share, and that was our world. Now, this whole, open platform environment runs counter to my comfort level and the comfort level of most users. You think I want all my friends to see my activity on Huffington Post? Do I want everyone I’m friends with on Facebook, business Friends, personal friends, family, to see what I like on Buzzfeed? You think that’s appropriate? I don’t. It’s also not the deal we signed up for.

So what happens now? Well, it’s anybody’s guess, but judging from some of the conversations out there, we won’t have to wait long to find out. There are a lot of really smart people out there who see this coming and are already working on solutions to “the Facebook problem”. I’m confident they’re smarter than Zuckerberg, too. Here’s the best part, you don’t have to “train” a new audience what the idea of Facebook is now. All you have to do is be the one who comes up with the next, “It’s Facebook, but better”.

Hey, here’s a question…

…and I genuinely don’t know the answer.

I recently attended the Adobe Max conference and was one of about two thousand lucky recipients of a new Google TV. The unit, a Logitech Revue, arrived last Thursday, and I blogged about my initial reaction on Friday. Since then, I spent the weekend playing around with it more, customizing the UI a little, adding my own bookmarks, deleting some that I won’t use, moving some stuff around, and generally playing around on it, and I have to admit, it’s not bad. Combined with a nice little, entry-level HDTV (40″ LCD, 60Hz, HDMI) it’s a pleasant experience, and I stand by my initial reaction. It’s not bad, in fact, once I realized that I could watch Lynda.com videos on my TV over the weekend, my appreciation of it skyrocketed. I don’t have an HD converter box in my back room, so it’s just straight cable, and as a result, I’m not using the box to its fullest (no DVR functionality, no “Live TV”). I also still stand behind my sort of “consumer confusion empathy” point of view as well. I see the potential, but I don’t know if the mainstream consumer walking into a Best Buy is going to think, “oh, I need that” and move to spend $299 on a device that, at least in my mind, competes for Xbox, Playstation, Macbook AIR, and iPad eyeballs. Each makes a compelling argument. If I’m going to spend $299, why not just spend another $200 to get a dedicated little portable tablet that can browse the web, view video, and has the added benefit of being portable?, etc.

So it got me thinking. Google just reportedly offered $6 billion for Groupon. That’s a lot of money. Why couldn’t Google spend a portion of that subsidizing the shit out of Google TV? Why is it $299? Why not $49? Why not offer every television, DVD, Blu-Ray, game-box, manufacturer subsidized versions of Google TV as well? Why not offer every set manufacturer a $500 incentive to pass along to the customer? Imagine you walked into a Best Buy or Target to buy an HDTV and there were two models, both 42″ or 50″, whatever. One was $1500 and the other was $1000? Or more realistically, one was $1000 and another was $500, then on sale it was, say, $399? The only difference being the cheaper one had Google TV built in? Or even better, what if, for every HDTV you bought, Wal-Mart offered you a free GoogleTV? Imagine the ancillary sales for Logitech for cameras, Harmony remotes, etc?

Part of my frustration was the lack of content and apps when I powered mine up. Now early adopters are used to that. I had an Android phone for months before there was even one compelling app to download from the marketplace. I played Rainbow Six online with the same dozen or so complete strangers for months before anyone else I knew was on Xbox Live, so I’m used to being in virtual deserts, but how compelling would it be, from a developer standpoint to know that after this holiday season, everyone who bought a television was going to be a Google TV user on December 26th? Six billion (with a “b”) is a lot of fucking money. I think it’s technically a shit-load. One sixth of that is still more money than I can fathom, and I can fathom quite a bit. If you’ve got 6 billion to drop on something as ridiculous as Groupon, don’t you think you could put a little of that cheddar behind something you actually own and developed in an effort to see it gain traction?

What am I missing here?

Logitech Revue with Google TV: First thoughts.

Okay, so my Logitech Revue arrived yesterday and I set it up in the back room on a 40-inch Toshiba 1080p LCD HDTV.

Quick thoughts, then I’ll spend some time with it this weekend and maybe discuss it in a little more depth over the holidays.

The setup was stupid painless. I’ve seen postings online about how long and arduous the setup is, and I think these must be some seriously jaded people. There was nothing in the setup that felt overcomplicated, or unnecessary. You’re hooking up a pretty damn complicated device that has a lot of moving parts in terms of technical touchpoints. Do you have an HD converter box? Do you have cable or satellite? Do you have an AV receiver? Do you want to use the keyboard as a remote? Unfortunately, it’s inherently a little “more” than an AppleTV and as a result is going to suffer from a bit more of a setup process. Not to mention, it’s not an Apple product designed to talk to other Apple products, so there won’t be that sort of Fisher-Price Apple setup as a result. It just simply is a little bit more or a device.

The keyboard is cool. Period. It’s got a lot of features beyond a keyboard, and I loved how it immediately set up as a remote to the TV. It took me a couple of times playing with it to figure out how to switch Video sources from TV to Wii to GoogleTV, but it’s all good. That could be frustrating to people who aren’t natural tinkerers.

It immediately saw our NetGear Stora on the network, and within minutes we were selecting from hundred of movies, thousands of pictures, and an endless supply of MP3s that we’ve archived over the years. All of our family movies, taken on our FlipHD and stored on the NAS were available, streamed flawlessly, and looked brilliant on the TV. To me, this is THE feature I was most looking forward to. We literally have the entire Disney library on the Stora, and having access to that outside of Xbox was a Godsend.

Netflix Streaming, again, perfect. I understand the frustration with it using the older API which doesn’t allow for searching. That has become the number one feature over on the Xbox, but my wife remarked, “well can’t we just go to netflix using the browser and edit/add/delete from our Queue?”. Now you know why I love the woman. She’s right. We don’t miss it. It looks great, and again, we’ll use the shit out of it in the back room of the house (while some of us play Fallout in the front of the house…).

Flash? Okay, well that kinda sucked. We went to Cartoon Network, because I had already spilled the beans to my daughter that she’d be able to play Finn and Jake on the HDTV in the back room on a MUCH bigger screen than her laptop (4 years old and she’s all over Cartoon Network with her laptop) and she was all over that. Sadly however, when we went to Cartoon Network and headed over to the Adventure Time page, the animation was so slow and gruesome that my daughter said, “Daddy, can you close that because it’s going so slow that it’s not fun when it does that…”. How sad, a 4 year old child already knows what to do when, “your Flash is slow”.

Web browsing and YouTube? Again, pretty sweet, but that shit’s all pretty much WebTV. I don’t really see using it much beyond maybe looking up something you need quickly on Google, or checking weather… I’m much more inclined to reach for the iPad for quick browsing. Likewise, I don’t think either of us will be checking email on the TV. We just won’t. That experience I think is much more “personal” than feels comfortable doing on TV.

Overall? I think I’d have to give it about an 8 out of 10. If I had an HD converter box in the back, and set it up as a DVR, then I’d probably bump it up to about a 9.

But here’s the thing. It’s $300. If I’m about to drop $300 on something, I’m MUCH more inclined to start looking over at iPads. I just don’t “see it” as something people are looking at and considering buying. But I’m likewise on AppleTV. I have no desire, even at $99 to go out and buy an AppleTV. I don’t care how much it integrates with my “iTunes whatever”.

Also, the lack of content is noticeable. No Hulu (actually, it’s blocked. You go there with the Chrome browser, and you get a nice note, “Hey there, we notice you’re using a Google TV. Unfortunately, fuck you and the horse you rode in on…”) and none of the other video content providers outside of social/shared video services like youtube and vimeo, which I suppose are okay, but certainly not content I give two shits about watching.

So it’s cool. I think it’s pretty sweet overall, but I absolutely see why people are hesitant to get it, why it just seems like it doesn’t fit into any sort of “consumer experience process” and why it’s going to be quite the uphill battle going forward. If developers figure it out and deliver some compelling apps for it, you might see it start to catch on. People are warming up to the “mini OS / App experience” on devices I think and this could easily be the first of a trend that heads over to Television. I already see an opportunity for an app that I might consider working on over the holidays that might plug what I think is a hole in the experience with shared/networked media. That’s why I thought I’d spend a little more time with it over the holidays and perhaps blog a little more about it later.

Since you made it all the way down here to the bottom, I thought you deserved a little prize. Enjoy.

“The Best Laid Plans…” and what my gut told me.

I had actually planned to write a lot this weekend. I felt like I had a lot of pent up blogging inside me. Like I had things to say and there was some underlying emotion bubbling through me that would somehow be cathartically released if I wrote about it. I mean, I can’t explain it. Ever have one of those feelings like, things are just over the horizon, and you can’t quite see them yet? They’re just not in focus, or not completely visible? That’s how I’ve felt for about the last couple of weeks. I think a lot of it has to do with Adobe Max this year. I’m struggling with the “all over the map” feeling that this year’s Max Conference has left me with. Oh, not in a bad way. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I feel as if there are dozens of opportunities out there for me to apply a little talent, a little skill, a little elbow grease, and wind up on the other side of a hugely rewarding experience. So I thought maybe meditating on it, spending a little time writing about it, and talking to some friends this weekend would help me sort things out in my brain-container.

Then Fallout: New Vegas arrived. Then I got a new iPhone.

I mean, seriously, could I have had two bigger distractions fall into my lap? First off, don’t even get me started on Fallout. I wrote about it a while back on my other blog. The previous version was my number one game of 2010 and the damn thing was released in 2009. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you how many hours I spent playing Fallout 3, but I will cop to it being in the hundreds. And don’t think I’m the only one. My wife not only loved Fallout 3, but she’s got a book she checked out from the library that’s a 14-day checkout (that’s already overdue), and on about three separate occasions this weekend she stopped what she was doing and sat next to me watching me fight dehydration (of course I’m playing it on hardcore mode, silly), fend of radscorpions, and work with “Fantastic” to squeeze more efficiency out of a solar panel array in the nuclear wasteland formerly known as “The Nevada Desert”. Quite simply, the game is magnificent. Oh sure, it’s basically an add-on pack to Fallout 3… but I don’t care. It’s more wasteland, more post-apocalyptic carnage & mayhem, and more piled on top of more. So here I sit, Monday morning, with barely any sleep on a weekend where I actually got an extra hour built into the weekend, having accomplished nothing more than learning how to tan golden gecko hides in the desert with some roots and turpentine. Oh, and I shot some ghouls into space. That was pretty cool.

The iPhone? I dunno. Jury’s still out on that one. I played with it a little. Wasn’t “blown away” but wasn’t disappointed either. Apple is Apple, and everything they touch they think through to such extreme that it’s almost annoying how perfectly everything works together. UI isn’t so alarming after owning an iPad for six months, but I have to tell you, if I didn’t own the iPad, jumping from 2 years on an Android phone to the iPhone would’ve been a lot more jarring experience. Having a Droid 2 and an iPhone simultaneously should be an interesting experience that I hope to spend a little more time exploring. Initial thoughts however, are a resounding, “meh”. It was, however, nice to have a new iPod. I will admit to spending an inordinate amount of time this weekend loading the shit out of it with Video/Movies/TV shows and music. Somehow Band of Horses just sounds better on a new iPod/iPhone. I can’t explain that… something about how shiny it is, I think.

But you know what? I don’t regret a minute of it. I think my gut was telling me to relax. I spent a week in Los Angeles on sensory overload and it actually felt nice to curl up on the sofa all weekend, enjoy time with the family and decompress a little. I cooked dinner for my mom, went grocery shopping, and helped my daughter go on a “wildlife safari”. Taking occasional time outs to shoot the arms off of legionnaires who don’t like me because of my tremendously good karma (the idolize me in Novac!) was just the icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned.

Adobe Max: My Conference Photo Gallery

Click on any photo to launch the gallery view, and when you’re done, just click on a photo to end the gallery view. This is kind of my own little “highlight reel” of my experience at this week’s Max Conference.

no images were found

Adobe Max Day Three. I’m exhausted… but today’s going to be awesome!

7: 18 PM
Wow. What a couple of days (three for me, including pre-conference sessions) and I’m starting to feel it. I don’t have a lot of time to write a lot this morning, today begins the day that I’ve been waiting for. Today I get to code in a couple of “Bring Your Own Laptop” lab sessions. These are hands-on coding sessions where you actually create software. This morning we’re going to create an Android App from scratch, and in the afternoon, I’ve got a four hour “Adobe AIR Code Camp”. This is going to be basically an Adobe AIR Boot Camp. You must have the software installed (In my case, the Android 2.2 SDK, Flash Catalyst, Flash Builder, and AIR) and you work on your own machine.

In between those two sessions is “Designing with Fireworks”. This also represents one that I’m really looking forward to, but for much different reasons. This session will be “me out of my comfort zone”. I’m a developer, not a designer. As a developer, I need to have what I call, “Designer Empathy”. So I’m going to put on my “designer hat” and do some learning “as a designer”. Should be fun, and I’m hopeful it’ll give me some great stuff to take back to my creative department that can facilitate the “design to development” workflow. Fingers crossed!

So I’m off. My sessions are long, so I might not blog as much today, but since it’s the last day, I’ll try to wind up this post with a Photo Gallery tonight. I’ve been taking a lot of pictures over the last three days, and it’d be fun to put them into a fun little gallery and blog ’em. So I’ll make up for not blogging as much by posting some more visual, fun things.

9:23 AM

Sometimes it’s great to be able to make an informed decision. For instance, I don’t think I’ll do any AIR for Android development. I’m going to stick with this, all the way through the end. I promise I’m not going to bail on this one. I just… well… I just don’t see it. My first thought was, “Do I really want a runtime layer on top of my cellphone or device?”. Superficially it seems cool, and I admit, if I had a client that needed a branded app for Android, this would certainly be a way to rapidly deliver something for a reasonable price… but it feels a little… I dunno… “dirty”? I mean, these little computers are pushing it to be able to deliver the experience they’re delivering. A lot of the most brilliant apps and experiences come at the cost of squeezing every bit of performance out of these tiny little processors, and adding a runtime layer to that just feels like it runs counter to everything you learn in college computer science classes. You remember those? Back when discussions were centered around clock cycles, memory management, and efficiency? Right. Those.

Let me be clear. This is just my initial reaction. I haven’t dug any deeper than an initial gut-reaction to what I’m sitting here doing. If I played with this a little more, I’m sure I’d become a little more comfortable… but that’s the problem. Do I want to become a little more comfortable using this as a mobile development process? I mean, if I’ve got a certain amount of time in a day to learn new things… why wouldn’t I just learn how to do all of this natively? Objective C for iOS? Java for Android?

I’m just saying. This is my sort of… initial reaction. My gut, so to speak. Like I said, I would love to give all of this the benefit of the doubt, and I certainly will… but for now, if I were to make a list of “skills I’d like to learn more about and become better at”, “making AIR Apps for Android Phones” isn’t really in my top 5 right now.

3:51 PM
The “Design with Fireworks” session was great. I mean, every time I do something or learn something new about that program, the more I’m convinced it’s just THE way to create and move graphics from the design process into the web/interactive production execution process.  I understand why Photoshop is still used. I just don’t necessarily agree with it. If I were working on CMYK, high resolution images going to print, it would be all over my workflow. But I’m not. If I were to start any interactive project right now from scratch, I’d basically only need Fireworks and Dreamweaver. I could prototype, design, create, and execute using just those two tools and I would need nothing else. However… old dogs are old, and new tricks are new… and well, a cliche becomes a cliche because it happens enough.

That being said, I’ll just end with, “I love Fireworks” and this last session I attended on designing with it, was preaching to the choir.

I think I’m gonna end the evening with a trip over to Hollywood and hunt for some authentic mexican. I’ll let you know how that works out, but first, I really gotta lay down. The last four days have completely wiped me out and I’m not even sure I’ve got the energy to walk downstairs… Way too much nerd-action over the last four days.

Adobe Max: Day Two – CSS3, Web Fonts, and The Future of Advertising.

7:24 AM
Today should be a really good day. We’ve got another Keynote, the always great “Sneak Peeks” session later this evening, and of course, tonight’s the “Max Event”. Tonight we’re getting a concert and a party featuring “The Bravery“. I can’t wait for that, love the album and I love, love, love “Time Won’t Let Me Go”, so I’m really looking forward to tonight. So it’s going to be a long day/night. Today’s Keynote will also be available live at max.adobe.com/online, so you can watch along. I’ve heard that today’s Keynote is going to be pretty big, and there was an obvious absence (at least for me) of developer content. No Ben Forta, No ColdFusion, No Flex, and only a brief mention of codename “Edge”. So I’m hopeful that today will have more code, less Martha Stewart (don’t get me wrong, Martha’s not all bad, but I’m not into grouse). My sessions today are going to be really terrific and I’m especially looking forward to the one titled, “The Future of Advertising”. I mean, with a title like that, how could you not be curious?

Well, my first session begins in about an hour, and I’ve got a nice walk ahead of me, so I’m gonna go get ready and head downstairs. More coming!

8:23 AM
Whoa. Why didn’t anyone tell me Starbucks’ “Perfect Oatmeal” was so… well… perfect? They give you a little pack of brown sugar (more than I would ever use), a great little pack of dried fruit (they even tell you how many calories… I love that!), it’s a perfect portion, and dammit, it’s delicious! I’ve been getting beaten over the head and robbed at the hotel just to get a bowl of oatmeal. To hell with that, I’m eating Starbucks from now on.

Sitting in “Using Web Fonts Now” eating my oatmeal. Here’s the description from my schedule:

Discover how you can finally use real fonts on the web. Broad browser support for CSS with @font-face brings a new era of web typography, but that’s only the beginning. New technical hurdles, new font formats, and new licensing restrictions need to be considered. Come learn about the latest tools and techniques for navigating this landscape and for using web fonts to their fullest potential in your design and development projects.

I know, sounds cool, right? Well, we’re getting ready to begin, so I’ll fill you in when I’m done.

Keynote Day 2
I love the music they're playing. Any Keynote that starts with Jay-Z and Kanye is instantly a great Keynote.

10:02 AM
Keynote Day 2. The Music is MUCH better today. There’s buzz about today, but I don’t know what the buzz is about. I’m hoping today is more “developer-centric”. Yesterday was great. Set the tone for the conference, broadly focused, and very positive. I’d like today’s Keynote to drill down a little bit more and go into a little more detail about Adobe’s roadmap. As I sit here typing this, I suddenly realized I haven’t heard the word, “ColdFusion” mentioned by anyone at the conference since I got here. That’s not really hyperbole, that’s just a pretty straightforward observation. I’m not sure how that leaves me feeling, but I’m hoping they do more than talk about it over the next hour or so.

As an aside, the web-fonts session I just left was great. I still feel like a lot of what we’re talking about, design-wise, isn’t quite there yet in terms of audience (CSS3, HTML5, Webfonts and compatible browsers) but we’re getting there, and I feel like it’s a great time to be a developer-designer. There are a lot of tools out there enabling a much richer experience and they’re rapidly gaining traction in ways I haven’t seen in years. It’s a great time to be a… well… whatever I am.

1:30 PM
Well, the day two Keynote was pretty interesting. We started off talking about Adobe Customer Service. Apparently it’s bad. Lots of talk about “Flash and HTML being friends” and how we can all share. There was even a Sesame Street Muppet Spoof featuring “Flash” and “HTML” as puppets who fought (but were really good friends). It was kind of to be expected. I mean the assault on the senses the last few months have definitely put Adobe on the defensive, and… well… it showed a little. A little overcompensation, a little bit defensive… but all worthwhile. It really is a big world, with a lot of screens and a lot of places to put your stamp on an experience. Adobe is well positioned for content creators, creative development, and overall development. It doesn’t have to be Flash, and it’s obvious Adobe sees that.

4:30 PM
“The Future of Advertising” was good if only for the fact that hearing other people reinforce your ideas and philosophies is always nice. Lots of talk about collaboration, flattening the structure of your agency, partnering with the client, etc. If you’ve been in advertising for even 30 minutes, you’re already keenly aware of the “change or die” mantra in advertising that’s permeating all levels of the discourse. Agencies are in the midst of a serious revolution. A revolution in process, a revolution in execution, a revolution in accountability… all the while trying to eek out billing and revenues. It’s a scary time for some, and exciting time for others. I’m glad I sat in on it. I did walk out thinking to myself, “okay, that’s good, we’re on the right track…”.

6:30 PM
Okay, I can’t make it to the sneaks session. Yeah, yeah, I know, Spock is there… etc. But over the years, I’ve kinda grown tired of the Sneak Peeks. I realize it’s a peek into new, cutting edge technologies, but my head can’t go there. I’ve got enough “cutting edge” right here, thankyouverymuch.  I think instead I’m going to rest here at the hotel, go downstairs and get something to eat right here without walking around or going anywhere, then come back upstairs and relax before I head over to the Bash. I’m old. I can’t go, go, go with the energy of a teenager anymore, so I’m not even gonna try…lol.

Adobe Max: Well it’s officially day one. Let’s LiveBlog this bad boy.

Starbuck's African Kitamu
Great coffee. I called down to the front desk and had them bring up a couple more of these things.I'm drinking them like they're going out of style.

6:58 AM
Lots going on today. Have I mentioned how much I love this coffee? They have Starbucks “African Kitamu” for the little single-cup coffee maker here in the room. I’m drinking the crap out of this stuff. I’m gonna head downstairs, get some breakfast and walk down to the Convention Center. According to Google Maps, I’m about a mile away from the Convention Center and they say it’ll take about 13 minutes to walk there. I don’t really feel like sitting on a shuttle this morning, and I wanna move my legs, so I’m gonna walk it. It’s a nice walk, actually, I’ve walked it both nights I’ve been here.

By the way, today’s Keynote Address can be viewed online. Visit max.adobe.com/online for more details. I’ll be blogging thoughts as they come to me (if they come to me) so I’ll try to add some editorial commentary to what I see live.

The view from the walk in this morning. Great walk. Excellent weather. The perfect temperature.
Why anyone would ride a bus/shuttle around here is beyond me. The walk is fantastic. Best mile you've ever walked. Perfect temperature.

9:06 AM
Okay, we’re inside the Nokia Theater. Pretty much a mob scene. The place is completely packed and the whole center-front of the theater is reserved for “Press”. I don’t recall so much space being held for “Press/Analyst” before, so my curiosity is definitely aroused. I don’t know if this is just natural curiosity on the part of the press given recently developments in the “Apple vs. Adobe” skirmish over Flash, or if it’s because of some impending “announcement”. I suppose we’ll find out soon enough though. Lots of talk about Flash, Flash’s future, Android, Apple, iPhone and the Mobile-slash-Tablet space. The ground is definitely shifting beneath a lot of people’s feet, and that’s a pretty uncomfortable place to be for a lot of developers to be.

9:12 AM
Okay, I gotta admit, starting off the Keynote with a DJ playing live dance music while a guy onstage writes code projected onto the main stage screen is… um… interesting. Didn’t ZeFrank do something like this in 2003?

9:22 AM
Oh, I see what you did there. There’s a live DJ creating music using AudioTool, Natzke creating live artwork and Joa Ebert live coding some sort of 3D sound visualization display thingy. Now you’ve hooked all three of them up and there’s this sort of live-3D-Flash-Art-Trance-DJ-German-Bitmap-Visual-Performance-Code thing happening… with a giant multi-touch screen. This is the sort of thing my friend Marty Hardin would mess his pants up seeing… However, it’s the sort of thing that causes me to have a Grand Mal seizure and bleed from the eyes.

9:36 AM
Kevin Lynch onstage now. Processing power is driving the whole revolution. Power per weight and battery power have enabled the mobile revolution. Cool slides. Lots of logarithmic growth charts.

Not the "Gadget Lab"
No, no, no... it's not the *Gadget* Lab... it's the *Device* Lab.

1:36 PM
Okay, so the Keynote is over, I’ve gotten my free Motorola Droid 2 phone (CDMA, and I’m on T-Mobile, so it’s basically just a Wi-Fi enabled Development/Testing device) and I’ve spent the last couple of hours in the Max Pavilion. I spent about 45 minutes or so wandering around various booths and checking out the vendors (effectiveUI is top of my list so far. UI testing, User research, Interface research services… I’m all over that one) and about 45 minutes playing in what I’ve been calling “The Gadget Lab”. Apparently it’s “The Device Lab”. You say “tomato”… But seriously. Google TV looks awesome, and I have to admit, Adobe AIR for TV looks, well… it just looks cool. If enough set manufacturers support it (Samsung is first!) then I could see it gaining significant traction. Personally, I’d love to develop apps for HDTVs. That would be cool, daddy-o. SDKs are everywhere. Every group inside Adobe is pimping their SDK and I’ve already got a hella collection of discs. I’m doing the whole “Bring Your Own Laptop” labs this time, and I’m probably going to install the Android 2.2 SDK and Flex for Android SDK tonight after I get back to the hotel.My sessions start in about 15 minutes. First up is “Dreamweaver and HTML5 & Javascript based Widgets”.
Here’s the description:

“Join Scott Richards for a guided tour of the latest features in Dreamweaver that enable you to harness the power of HTML5 and CSS3 in your site. See how you can use the Widget Browser to easily add Javascript based Widgets to your pages. As your web sites rely more and more on CSS and Javascript make sure you are taking advantage of the tools in Dreamweaver to help you quickly navigate to the css controlling your web pages and help you troubleshoot problems.”

After that one, I’ve got “From Design to CSS and HTML with Fireworks and Dreamweaver”:

“Learn how to take a finished web design and turn it into CSS and HTML using Adobe Fireworks to optimize the images and generate the initial CSS and HTML pages, and then use Adobe Dreamweaver to refine and optimize the code. We’ll cover essential techniques to control the page layout in the CSS, as well as hints and tips such as how to save time by generating CSS styles directly from the design and how to use placeholders for interactive elements and dynamic content.”

Then I finish the day with, “Creating Interactive Rich Media Advertising Campaigns with Video”:

“In this session you’ll learn how video can be one of the most engaging components in Rich Media Advertising. We’ll discuss how: use multiple videos in standard or HD format leveraging Dynamic Streaming; record your own video with a webcam and send it to email or a smartphone; post videos on Facebook; play a 3D multiplayer game using Papervision and Flash Media Interactive Server; and go mobile with your campaigns. We’ll show examples of real rich media campaigns from top advertisers, discuss the technologies powering the creative, and try to dispel all the myths around the limitations of video ads.”

So the next three hours or so should be really really fun. On to the first session!

7:30 PM
So, as you can see… long day. Exhausted. Drained. Stuffed with horrible food (not badly prepared, or bad tasting. Actually really, really, really delicious food… just bad for you) and getting ready to buy Adobe Creative Suite CS5 Web Premium. Again, I don’t really know what to think about all the Flash stuff. With everything going on between Apple, Android, Adobe and Flash, it’s tough to make a call right now. AIR for TV looks really cool, and there are arguably a LOT of devices out there besides the iPad and the iPhone. I know because I actually spent a great deal of time today touching a lot of them. Then there’s blackberry. Say what you want about RIM, there are a TON of people using Blackberries, and the audience is out there. The Playbook looks really good. I can’t speak for the UI or touchscreen, because the single Playbook they had on display was behind glass, but the damn thing sure as hell exists, and it looks nice.

So while I can’t speak for the rest of the world, I do know that for a long time people lived and did business without Apple hardware, and there’s an entrenched community that simply isn’t going to vanish overnight. The Samsung people seem committed to Android and Flash/AIR, and I personally talked with representatives from a lot of companies, from TV to print manufacturers (have you seen the Lexmark printers with built in apps and CCD scanner/printers? They’re hot… seriously cool) and they’re sinking millions of dollars into products that integrate with Flash and Adobe AIR. There are literally hundreds of screens out there beyond the iOS world, and honestly, Flash is viable on pretty much all of them. That’s my take-away today. All I know is, the next time someone says, “Flash is dead”, I’m not going to be so quick to agree with them… that’s all.

The other thing that I took away today was this: I’m a died in the wool Dreamweaver user. You’re going to have to pry my Dreamweaver from my cold, dead fingers. The things I saw today with HTML5/CSS3 integrating Fireworks and Dreamweaver and Photoshop for a robust development and design workflow leave me absolutely convinced that if you’re a creative professional, and you’re creating online interactive solutions for your clients, you owe it to both yourself and your clients to check out the production workflow that these products represent.

Okay. That’s all for today. I’m exhausted. I’m going to go use my Max discount and grab my copy of CS5. I’m hopeful that the bandwidth here at the hotel will accommodate me. I’ve got some “Bring your own laptop” (BYOL) sessions tomorrow, and the requirement for a couple of them are several of the CS5 Web Premium products (Flash Catalyst, Flash Builder) as well as the Android 2.2 SDK, and I’ve got to take some time tonight and make sure they’re all installed before I go back tomorrow.

More liveblogging tomorrow. Another Keynote, probably more big news (if the rumors I’m hearing are true, it’s going to be another big day), and I’ll have plenty more to write about.

See you tomorrow!

Adobe Max: post-pre-conference reflections.

Well, today’s over. It’s kinda late, but not really. I mean, it’s late back home but it’s somewhat early here. My body’s still on eastern time, so I’m struggling to stay awake. I wanted to get today’s thoughts down though, so I’m gonna soldier through a post and try to put some things down. My class in preconference was fairly straightforward and pretty awesome. Earlier, I had written that I was looking for insight into CS5 interoperability and I got it. We touched on every application in the Creative Suite Web Premium family, and some great stuff came out of it. For design-to-development iteration, I can think of no powerful tool than Creative Suite 5. Designing in Illustrator, Photoshop, and Fireworks, enabling “Creative” to work in an environment that they’re already comfortable with. From exporting concepts & proofs as interactive demos complete with clickable links and mockups of pages to creating fully immersive PDFs straight from Fireworks (complete with all the benefits of providing PDFs, taking advantage of Acrobat features like annotations and comments). The speed and flexibility of being able to rapidly revise pages before writing a single line of code means significant savings of effort, time and energy on the part of all involved while maintaining almost limitless flexibility during the design process. It’s quite simply amazing.

So I was pleased with what I played with today. Well… almost.

I’m really struggling with the Flash question. (I mean really, really struggling) I’ll probably need a little more time to wrap my head around how to both think about it and what I’ll say. But today was a good start. I definitely see reasons to immediately upgrade to CS5.

I’m just not sure how much of it I’ll actually use… right now.