FOTB 2010 – Day 1 in Review

Been awhile since any worthwhile posts, yet here I am, once again in Brighton for the always inspirational Flash on the Beach conference and thought that, like last year, I’d recap a few of the local goings on and shenanigans.

This year the shindig opened with a few off color remarks regarding blow jobs by event coordinator, John Davey, which drew a bit of twitter heat from the more prude at heart of the bunch then moved into a very funny little Xfactor skit from Disturb Media where even Steve Jobs made an appearance dressed as The Flash. Wish I would’ve recorded that, but I’m sure a copy will be up somewhere soon.

We then moved on to the keynote presentation by four Adobe product managers, Richard Galvan, Thibault Imbert, Andrew Shorten and Doug Winnie. They showed a great video of the Samsung Galaxy Tab running unoptimized (at least for mobile) Flash websites and applications. They also demonstrated a new feature of the next Flash Player which will be capable of reducing CPU taxation while running video (and video with overlayed content) a whopping 50 or more percent. Also got to see a new feature of the upcoming Flash Pro which will allow you to not only cache vector items in the library as bitmaps, but to actually export the items as bitmaps (cutting down on the performance of actually performing the cache at runtime rather than compile time). There will also be some great incremental compilation which reduces consecutive compilation times down to nearly nil.

Next up was Grant Skinner. One thing new about this year is the auditorium was kept in movie theater style darkness making it impossible to take any notes, so I’m trying to type this up from memory, but sure to leave something good out. The one thing I remembered to take away from Grant’s presentation though was the concept of “Passionate Procrastination”. When working on a rather tiresome commercial project that’s just about to wreck your head, one way to avoid boredom and keep interest is to break off into a small but related and much more interesting side project. His example was, when testing the performance of a new api that required repeatedly adding and removing circles on the screen, he went one step further and turned it into a very nice and exciting sound visualizer. Another bit of wisdom: create opportunity. Creative personal work can become commercial in the blink of an eye – never miss that possible opportunity. And some words to remember: “Nature’s using my code!”

After that, I had to check out the Andre Michele preso. Great examples of code and music  (and this time physics) as always. The man is a supergenius when it comes to Flash sound production.

Then came Mario Klingemann’s last public talk for the next year. A wonderful look at photo manipulation with pixelbender and bitmapdata then a first parter on getting Flash to actually solve a puzzle! (way to leave us hanging for a year…). Mario never fails to engage the audience with his obvious passion and enthusiasm for what he loves to do.

Next on stage was Hoss Gifford with a long series on what he’s learned over the years. Some of the more notables (again, I couldn’t write these down unfortunately). Never discount a client’s first project – you’ll never get full pay out of them in the future. FDT beats Flash Builder hands down. Never ask a woman when her child is due unless you actually see it starting to emerge from her body. Words to live by…

Finally came an awe inspiring look at code and nature from Flight404 front man, Robert Hodgin. Extremely inspirational talk with a lot of ideas to explore.

And now I end this rather abruptly as it’s time to run out the door to go see Stefan Sagmeister (who was kind enough to autograph a book for my wife earlier today).

So far a great start to a great conference…