Geeky baby announcments

A couple of years ago, we announced the impending arrival of small ginger #3.  My Mrs, however, is the shy type and didn’t want me to broadcast it on social media.  I made a deal with her that I could do it if I wrote it in code.  I was just surfing through my Facebook timeline and found it again and thought I’d share since it made me laugh. Written in AS3, for my sins. :-/
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So long, and thanks for all the flash

fotb 2011

fotb 2011

I’ve attended every one of the 6 Flash on the Beach conferences. It has been a yearly fix of inspiration, connection to an industry which I’m often isolated from in the corporate environment and straight up good fun. This reached it’s zenith in 2009 where I came out of the Brighton Dome hypnotised and dizzy with the possibilities of the medium. I’ve often equated it to the first time I encountered the web in 1994 which fueled a passion for the creative opportunities for technology that I carry with me now. That was an incredibly important event for me and it also marked the point at which Flash on the Beach had ceased to become purely a technically-focussed exchange of techniques and practices in Flash development, and instead became a creative propagator – a shot in the arm for a jaded developer.

Fast forward to 2011 and it’s very obvious that, a: we’ve come a long way baby and b: that FLASH on the beach is a definite misnomer. For instance, Flex is notable for it’s absence (I don’t think there’s a single session on it in fact) and the talk of RIA’s and the Flash Platform which were in vogue until the Jobsian witch hunt kicked in is not to be found. Flash is talked about only in terms of enhancing web content, and gaming, which is clearly the technology’s stronghold. HTML5, design principles, type, motion graphics, filmmaking, Processing, ofx all merit focus and one gets the impression that showrunner John Davey has been steering towards this point all along. It’s of no surprise to me then when he announces at the end of the conference that this will be the last event under that title.

I did make extensive live notes which I publish here in full (strictly only for the very curious and more for my own record than as a public-facing document), but here are some highlights, links and salient points.
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A generative christmas card

Christmas Card

This was something I built for the internal team christmas card, along with designer Leigh Furby.  It was built in a couple of rainy afternoons in 2009, mostly in response to some research I had been doing with the Adobe Kuler API for some project work (building photoshop panels for the Sky News design team).

The best kind of experimental work, I find, comes from trying one very simple thing, and then iterating and adding features until you have something cool.  Weirdly, I found the Kuler manipulations and the patterning quite straightforward…for some reason it was the bitmap file output (i.e. saving the image) that proved the toughest nut to crack.

Have a play…

MAAP player

It’s been a while in the making, but I can finally publish the v1.0 of the MAAP player that I’ve been working on for a while.

maap player

Maap player

The Multiple Artist Ambient Project is something I came across a few months ago and immediately fell in love with, partially because the community based aspect of it was right up my street, but mostly because the music was truly beautiful. I found myself sitting on the page for long periods of time, randomly moving sliders around. The presentation layer annoyed me a little though – just a bunch of inline media players, and I felt it needed something more experiential.

This has gone through a number of iterations and still has work to do on it. Features to be added include:

  • “autoplay” feature where the orbs move around themselves
  • real time visualisation of the sound
  • dynamic playlisting of all the MAAP tracks
  • potentially a change of physics engine for ease of optimisation

I’m indebted to a couple of things in this build – designer Leigh Furby who helped me conceptualise the interface (and didn’t complain when I reduced all his beautiful work to a basic circle, fisixengine for the, er, physics engine (which is amazing and easy to implement but sadly seems to have ceased development – even the docs are only half written), and the MAAP project for being such a great inspiration.