Category Archives: EffectiveUI

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Looking Forward, Looking Back

It’s been an interesting year. More so than normal years. It’s also the end of a decade, so I’ve got some thoughts on that too. Fair warning. This is a longy.

Decade first:

in 2000 I worked for a company that was basically an IT Staffing firm that decided to get into software. I worked internally on a web app that would (in their terms) revolutionize staffing. I bailed, they failed, it was 2000, that happened a lot to a lot of people and companies.

I spent most of the 2000’s as a programmer, first doing ColdFusion, then moving to Flex. It never occurred to me to try out M$ tools, or any other. I liked Macromedia (Now Adobe) offerings and stuck with them.

I was my own boss several times as an Indie contractor, and was a cube monkey several times. Each (except one) was a good experience, a ton of fun, and formed lasting personal and business friendships.

I bought my first house in Perris CA, and my second in Riverside CA. Both were awesome in their own ways, despite being an hour or more from where I worked.

Most importantly, I met my wife Nicole.

We met thru a mutual friend whom I used to work with years past, and she was currently working with (Props to Scott Dunn for the intr0)

We moved to Denver. We were supposed to move a few months after meeting. Before I proposed, even. She had an opportunity to come out to Denver, and I had no major ties to CA. That opportunity dried up, and re-emerged 6 months later, and here we are.

We bought a house in Highlands Ranch, before we realized what Highlands Ranch was. 2 years after that, we moved to downtown Denver.

I started a conference that was supposed to be a one off, just for kicks event. It’s grown to be 3 distinct events, a few one off events around the world here and there, and my full time job (more in 2009)

2009

I’ve gone full time, totally dependent on 360|Conferences for income, lost a business partner, brought Nicole into the business, learned how to use Quickbooks, stopped writing code, just to name the big ones.

Going full time with the conference business wasn’t part of the plan, not in 2009 anyway. I was at EffectiveUI as the Community Evangelist, sadly a position, not enough of the company was on board with. When i left, I decided, well if the conferences are going to support me ever, they might as well start now. Since taking the job at EUI, i had stopped writing code, well I wrote a little, building small apps for internal/sales use, but by and large, i had stopped being a full time developer.

So I jumped. Eyes wide open.

All in all it’s been what I expected, stressful, awesome, a struggle, the best decision (Next to marrying Nicole) I’ve ever made.

Tom leaving was a shock in many ways, though I suspected we wouldn’t stay partners thru 2010, I just wasn’t sure how it would come down.

Our approaches to business are too different. When we’re “on”, we’re “ON” a totally creative innovative powerhouse. When we’re “off”, we’re “OFF” sadly we were off more than on.

After dealing with the shock and other feelings associated with going from partnership to “just me” basically, i had to learn to use quickbooks. That ain’t fun. I’m fairly comfortable with book keeping but quickbooks is a kludge IMHO. But oh well it’s what we’ve got. I’ve paid a book keeper to clean the books up, then I’ll take 100% ownership of that.

What am I looking at for 2010?

360|iDev will over take 360|Flex as my biggest event. Short of Adobe being more supportive of it’s third party developer eco system that is. If they figure out how to make third party developers thrive on their platforms, 360|Flex will grow. 360|Flex will and does rock, but there’s a distinct lack of love for third party tools built on and around Flex. That will be HUGE.

Apple may not give them love, but they at least don’t hinder their third parties.

360|Mobile, which was the ill-fated InsideMobile will grow and become it’s own thing. I’ll keep it small, but the non apple mobile space is hot, and quite frankly exciting, I can’t wait to see what’s going on there.

360|Whisperings will reach critical mass. Of the small amount of content on the site right now, it all sells monthly. A few purchased only, but something. The day I write checks to the authors, will be a huge day for me!

I’ll have a reliable, livable income coming from conferences/events. The business will reach an as yet unattained level of stability.

I’ll spend more time with Nicole, we’ll do more fun things, travel more, and enjoy life and each other’s company even more than we already do.

I really want to see The Flex Show grow. jeff and I love doing the show, and I want to see more the Flex Community get involved.

i’d like to do some more Denver community stuff. Ignite Denver is going strong, and I hope 2010 sees it grow and become a staple of the community. I really want to see something eventwise around literacy. A Festival of Books, something.

Denver Come quash Flex SDK Bugs!

EffectiveUI is hosting a group of people to get together and quash bugs with Adobe. Adobe is hosting the official effort in Seattle, and opening a connect room for developers all over to participate!

When you register make sure to sign up on the Bug Quash site to get the instructions on setting your computer up for SDK Development.

The bug quash is the 28th of this month! Starting at 10a and going to 5pm. You can RSVP here (it’s free)

Tom and I are buying pizza and soda to keep everyone caffenated and fueled up.

It’s gonna be fun, if you’re in Denver this coming Saturday, come hang out with some incredibly talented developers and help make the Flex SDK even better for all of us. Even if you don’t think you’re a bug quasher, come and hang out with us, and absorb some awesome info. You never know what you can contribute!

Hung out with 20 of Colorado’s most innovative companies yesterday.

I was at DEMOgala ’08 ALL day yesterday.

It was fun. Tiring but fun. It’s funny how I can do a 3-4 conference, set it up all that, and not be as beat as setting up a single booth, LOL. Man New respect for expo sponsors!

Our booth was pretty sweet! Check out my write up on that, over here.

I got to hang with my pals from Brightkite, which is always fun!

Rob from EventVue showed up, and we chatted some more about some cool changes they’re making over there, that will totally rock for event organizers!

The first among them, is that EventVue is free now. They used to charge by attendee, but decided that model wasn’t very good for them or organizers. The new model they’re working on will kick ass, and I can’t wait to get it going for 360|Flex, heck probably even Ignite Denver!

In the meantime, they’re free like the wind! So if you’re organizing an event, go check ’em out! Tell ’em John sent ya. It don’t do anything for either of us, but makes me feel important :D

They had about 1,000 people in attendance at DEMOgala which I believe was a new record. They also had a lot more Silicon Valley folks come in to chat.

I didn’t attend many sessions, but the two I did, were very good!

Giving the Individual a global voice – A panel with socialThing, BazaarVoice, The Funded, and Fuser. It was great to get their take on giving people a voice. It was also interesting to see two opposite models work. In online reviews, anonymity == less trust. However for thefunded, anonymity is the only way to get the truth, because of the possible repurcussions of speaking the truth. Very interesting. Bazaarvoice sounds very cool, if I sold something, I’d want them involved!

Did I mention there was a robot?

I think they were CO School of Mines, but there were some kids there with some really kick ass robots. One would zip around an pick up swim tubes and stuff. It trapped me in the bathroom hallway for a minute or so, but I won’t hold a grudge.

Over all I was very impressed with the DEMOgala event. It had a few rough spots, booths being moved the day of set up, stuff like that, but otherwise a kick ass event, that really showed off the cool tech Colorado has going for it!

I have a much bigger list of potential speakers and sponsors now for Ignite Denver :D

EffectiveUI Does Android change the game for Apple?

With Tmobile announcing the G1 yesterday, and Android SDK 1 hitting the streets as well. I’m wondering what Android means to Apple.

I’ll admit I wasn’t onboard with Android, and am still not sold, but I have to admit, watching the video, and reading some of the live blogs from the event yesterday, the G1 is compelling.

The UI might be a bit too unstructured, it looks like you can drop an icon any old place you choose, but I’m guessing you can auto arrange too. But the overall experience seems solid. Compass street view, push Gmail? Hotness!

There’s an app store too.

Based on the pics of the app market on Giz, I have to say, Blech.

I’m the first to jump on the apple-bash-wagon for their app store process. I think their choke hold is hurting the market. I think their ambiguous rules, and Refusal to allow any competition with existing Apple apps, will stifle innovation in the short and long run. There’s only so many flash light apps we need. Hopefully 11 is it.

I think the solution lies in the middle. Google has said, there’s NO restrictions, which means the number of CRapps, will be in the thousands. While I’m sure that those apps will be voted down over time, etc. The odds of fining an app that you want go down just as rapidly as CRapps are added.

While Apple shouldn’t be so black box, and draconian, google might want to implement even just a few basic controls, before the market is swamped.

From Giz:

There’s a good side to the open no-limits, no-approval nature of the system: developers can publish anything they want. No prohibitions and controls means that developers will be able to access any part of the hardware, allowing software that is not allowed in the iPhone App Store, like tethering. On the other side, this may also bring bad things to the user end, since it opens the door to potential problems and conflicts that may affect the stability of the Android cellphone.

Unfortunately that’s Apple’s stated reason for their draconian practices, Steve doesn’t think we should have the ability to crash or brick our phones with 3rd party apps. Supposedly Apple vets apps for this. Still, it also allows Apple to block the apps they simply don’t like. Booo

setting up WordPress on a mac, easy minus one lame small gotcha

I’m installing Word press locally on my work laptop so I have a test bed for something bigger that I’m doing. I found an old OS X 10.4.x blog post guide, which was really helpful, until it got to connecting Word Press to mySQL.

Then I lost all sense of self, and slowly went insane, for an hour.

I’m no dummy, but man, setting up PHP and Word Press on my mac was PAINFUL.

Getting PHP up and running, check.

MySQL. been there done that, check.

word press install, no check. kept getting “error connecting to database”

Googling revealed many posts on this topic, in the Word Press forums, the MySQL forums, and Apple. All talking about where the mysql.socket is kept, and how it should be in one place, but isn’t and many ways of working around that.

No joy.

Finally I did another search for Word Press on 10.5.x, which yeilded even more threads on the database error topic.

Then 6 months ago, on this thread, jonokane posted this gem,

Followup: After spending what seems like an absolutely ridiculous amount of time on this, I have figured out the embarrassingly simple issue.

localhost != Localhost

My Mac identifies itself as Localhost, NOT localhost! Learned something extremely obvious…. :)

So the config should look like this:

It certainly shoulda been obvious! I know the Mac is *nix, and capitalization is key, but it was just too close, too obvious. It was also the default, so it never occured to me to think on it.

So, lesson learned, and now, next time I do this. This blog post will light my way!

EffectiveUI R&D Project, Android Comic reader

I had no idea people were reading comics online! I knew Marvel had their eComic thing going on for the last year or so, but didn’t think anyone was using it. Or cared.

Who knew that there was another alternative, that’s existed for who knows how long, the CBZ and the CBR.

Essentially they’re zip and rar files with a different extension, that comic reader apps know how to unpack.

I got turned onto this scene at 360|Flex San Jose, and found an app for the mac called, Jomic. It’s not an easy experience but certainly interesting to read comics on my laptop on long flights.

So my point (other than wanting an excuse to post my Domo Halloween pic) was to say I heard about a really kick ass Android R&D project we’re working on here. With today’s Tmobile announcement, Android is officially leaving the vaporware space and hitting the mainstream.

Android has (or might have, or will have) some cool potential, and we’re making sure we’ve got that knowledge when the train leaves the station. We set up an R&D project, and the team on it, decided to create an android comic reader. It takes the comic archive files from an SD card (An emulated one at the moment) unpacks and handles all the images. Totally a proof of concept, and purely research, but how cool!

It allows navigation by touch screen, and nav buttons, so that no matter what kind of android phone it is, you can navigate it.

I asked josh, one of the developers working on this project, what his thoughts on Android were,

“Android dev for me so far has been a breath of fresh air after doing as3 for so long.  I’ve missed java.  The xml based layout is nice and has obvious similarities with mxml, but has a long ways to go until it
catches up with the quality and power of that present in flex.
However, the android team has done a lot to even improve that aspect during the beta.  I have also come to appreciate that Android is basically a mini version of linux, so that also makes a lot of the aspects of how the phone will operate fairly intuitive.”

I asked what the hardest part of developing this app has been so far,

“The hardest part so far with our application has been the relatively
small heap size restriction (16MB).  One high res image alone can
easily bring our app crashing up against that limit.  But it’s still
manageable for the most part, and we’re figuring out ways in which we
can optimize our data caching to work around that restriction.”

Gizmodo has a video demo of the G1, which looks like it’s running some things that aren’t currently in the SDK. Wonder if there will be ‘flavors’ of Android that are carrier specific?

The G1 becomes available October 22nd. The video shows some pretty compelling features, it’ll be interesting to see how Android changes/improves the iPhone market, assming Apple pays attention.

*Watchmen is a trademark of DC Comics

Wanna work on cool and compelling Android apps? iPhone apps? Let us know