Apollo Camp, a free event held a few weeks back in San Fran, was a real disappointment to miss but a guys gotta feed his family. But Mike Chambers has been nice enough to post some great videos of several of the sessions as well as sessions from 360Flex here on this site. Almost as good as being there.

Some other good news is that there have been some rumblings according to Chuck Freedman and others that a Fall edition of 360Flex may happen in Boston! Short commute for me, hope it happens.


Instant Messaging to Myself


I’ve been dabbling with Twitter lately and I have to admit it’s pretty cool. Though I haven’t experienced the obsession that some folk have experienced in whimsically updating moments of my life, a couple of things come to mind in trying it out.

First is who am I sending this message to? You can argue that it isn’t a messaging platform, but since there is a friends view where you can track your pals postings, it becomes one by itself. I’ve seen people reacting to each other post by starting with an @ (@mypal) with thir posts. Kind of like real short email, or semi-instant messaging since you don’t know when your friend will see your message and respond.

Second if you aren’t sending a message here and are instead treating this like a mini-blog post, are you writing messages to yourself? I find that boring missives don’t have any place in my actual blog but Twitter kind of lends itself to this function. I routinely see posts like “Eating breakfast” and “Work”. What’s the point in that? If anything I try to at least make what I post in twitter (and here) semi-interesting. After all, my friends are reading it.

Still it’s cool, it’s just interesting to see where this fits in with the ever-growing amount of avenues one can take with self-expression and social networking on the web. It comes complete with an API so you can manipulate and customize through Flex, Flash, Apollo, etc… ways you can report you and your friends postings to your hearts desire. You can check out my Twitter badge to the right.

So now I’ll go to Twitter and simply post “Blogging”.

Apollo Alpha Available


Adobe has been teasing us with the promise of an alpha release for months now and today they finally made good on it. The alpha is posted on labs and can be downloaded (verrrry slowly, I guess they are getting a lot of requests on the first day) at this page. Can’t wait to play with it and see where I can fit some uses in to my job…

Going to Business School


Sorry that mum’s been the word as of late… I’ll be posting a bunch of updates to get current in the next week.

First on the list is that I’ve been accepted to and am enrolling in Suffolk University’s Sawyer School of Business as MBA candidate. Appyling to b-school’s this Spring was not very fun. The GMAT test, essay questions, and interviews took a lot of time and deciding which school was going to fit my needs the best was not easy. But I am excited about what this program has to offer and how if will help in my career development going forward.

So before you ask me why I didn’t go for a computer-science degree, let me explain. I never went to school for any of this. I am 100% self-taught in both programming and design and I kind of want to keep it that way. I think that my non-traditional approach to design and coding is what has helped me in my career. That’s not to say that I would not have benefited greatly by studying these, but after I’ve seen the way that process items can kill your progress, especially in the prototyping phase, my “devil may care” approach has allowed me to stand out where I work.

Also, while I fully expect to remain very hands-on for the rest of my career in terms of actually “doing” the work, I’m very interested in business management and practice. What I really hope to gain is a broader perspective of what makes a business run and how it should be managed so maybe one day even I can be the boss. 🙂

I’ll probably be griping here on the fact that my heads going underwater with the workload in a few weeks, but for now I look forward to my first class this Summer.

Joost just might be the future of IPTV


I was fortunate enough to be hooked up by a fellow blogger, Casey Carpenter, with a much sought after Joost invite. My collegue Keith Peters got an invite a few weeks ago and was immediately innundated with requests for an invite. It turns Joost has been pretty stingy with their Beta tokens which has lead to them even being sold on eBay! So yes I lucked out big time! Thanks Casey!

I downloaded for the Intel Mac, (it’s not available for Mac PPC models) and the installation was a cinch. First off, the app is hot. It’s slick and clean and fits well into Apple’s IPTV approach with a very Front Row-ish feel. Usability was obvoiusly a focus, I had no trouble finding all the buttons to leverage the assortment of videos they had to offer. There are also several widgets within the beta, offering features like chat. The chat feature follows the programming and allows users to talk specifically to what they are watching, and it lives in a transparent window in front of your program, so you can watch as you chat. This reminds me of all the times I see my brother-in-law (who’s in college) constantly chatting with his pals on his Mac while watching TV. Putting both these items in one spot makes a lot of sense and allows for further interaction possibilities. I’m not sure of this, but I believe Joost will also be open to third-party widgets, which can make for some cool mash-ups of features and media.

The codec they are using suprises me a little. Joost uses the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC digital video codec standard as implemented by CoreCodec’s CoreAVC. If Joost as a vehicle is only going to support these particular streams, I suppose this makes sense. But the video quality of the offerings they had in the beta falls a little short (little grainy and blurry). Granted there is probably a lot of optimization that can be done to the source content, and I won’t go into the fact that because of rights issues the actual media available right now is kind of lame (unless you like Mr. Magoo). But I can see past that. One thing that would be nice is support for other streaming protocols, like wmv, and flv. It would be nice to have a universal player some day.

Another thing that was a little odd was their approach with ads. I was watching a documentary about the Bismark, an ill-fated German battleship during WWII, and was starting to get engrossed when suddenly a Maybeline ad popped into the player, eliminating the UI so I could not fast forward or option out. I had to watch this thing. Don’t get me wrong, I know ads are going to be a necessary evil in any commercial content delivery system, but there was something jarring about it. With most programming you get a sense of when a commercial is coming, like a build-up that screams of “we’re going to commercial”. Not with Joost. Commercials are placed at some sort of interval. Could be at a particular time in the programming, could be something else.

In terms of technology, Joost could be what IPTV is for computers as what the iPhone might be for mobile. There is virtually an endless amount of feature-sets you could build into an app like this that can be community driven. And from a business standpoint there are endless different revenue generating schemes that could be leveraged as well, from subscription rates, to consumer directed ad revenue, you name it. If you can think it up they should be able to build it in while retaining the positive user experience the app’s foundation already emodies.

So while I’m not ready to give up my Miglia Tv MiniHD in place of Joost just yet, it won’t be long before this software based solution will render my hardware based one obsolete in the future. If you lucky enough to get an invite, go check it out.