Get Chris to the DevCon conference

My rant about the poor way Macromedia is treating the speakers at their 1000 dollar DevCon conference received a lot of attention. Especially the call to boycott the event, and my complaints about Jakob charging extra for his session. Well, as you may all have seen, I didn’t have all the facts straight. Jakob is having his own mini-conference before the event. I should have checked my facts a little better before ranting – and for that I apologize.

I feel the focus was shifted from what I felt was the most important part of the rant. And that is Chris MacGregor’s that has to beg for donations to be able to get to the event. Here we have a Flash community member that I feel have done a lot for Macromedia and the Flash community, having to BEG to be able to attend the event. So far his donations have reached $225. Not bad, but still far away from the 1250 dollars he needs for travel and hotel accommodations.

While I think that the only way to make Macromedia understand the error of their ways is to boycott the event, Chris don’t want us to stay away. Out of respect for him, I would like to withdraw my call for a boycott of the event.

Let me quote his comment to my original rant:

Please do not boycott the conference. I am working hard and asking for donation so that I can present my talk, which I have been hard at work on. If no one shows up at the conference two things will happen. First, I’ll be speaking three time to an empty room, and that is going to suck. Second, I’ll probably get ‘the evil eye’ from other speakers for this boycott thing.

I’d like to make it clear that Macromedia is not at fault for my situation. I should have paid more attention to the speaker invite in the first place. I appreciate all the donations that have been coming in (up to $225 in less than 36 hours) but dogging Macromedia is a bit misplaced. They’ve done a great job bringing this conference together, and I want no part of a boycott (so I’d better see you there Jarle!).

Jarle, I really appreciate your support. More than you know my friend. I can not tell you how thankful I am to the support of the Flash developer community. If I can make it to the conference then it will be a testament to the support of every Flash developer who has ever read a tutorial or downloaded an open source FLA. And frankly, the developers are the people that I publish flazoom.com for. Thanks.

Again, I would like to say that Chris has a big heart for the Flash community. And while I respect Chris a lot, I have to disagree with him about Macromedia. I don’t think the way they are treating the speakers at the event is worth any praise. They should be taking better care of the people that spends a lot of their time and energy on helping them make their products better.

Flash player 6 Linux Beta signup

Macromedia has started their signup for the Flash 6 player beta for Linux. Mike writes that they are looking for people that are going to bang on the player and find any issues. If you are a Linux person interested in Flash, send them an e-mail to let them know you are interested.

No date for the release of the beta of final version of the player, but it seems like it should be just around the corner.

[Via: Mike Chambers]

Pay to speak at DevCon?

I am blown away by the great program at Macromedia DevCon this year. The conference isn’t cheap, and is held at a rather expensive area in Florida – but I was still seriously working on getting there. Now I have changed my mind and will boycott the event, and I think you should too.

Why? Because Macromedia is treating their speakers for the event bad. And they are treating the Flash developer community equally bad in letting some of the speakers actually charge extra for attending their speech. Jakob Nielsen who not too long ago asked for the help of the Flash developer community for his research (and most likely got a lot of good help) has decided to charge $500 for the access to “his” research. I would love to know if Macromedia in this way has footed some of the expense of its research over on us. Turns out the research was for his upcoming book, and the $500 is for his own mini conference the day before the Macromedia Devcon (see Mike’s comments at the bottom of this post)

I am sure Jakob is paid nicely and gets a free ride and stay at the hotel. (Apperantly he doesn’t get any special treatment, could anyone confirm if he gets the same amount for his speech as everyone else? I kind of doubt he does..) And I wouldn’t expect anything less for any of the speakers. But for the “regular” speakers it appears that they will have to foot the bill for the travel to and hotel bill for attending the conference themselves. Taking the whole conference from an event for the speakers to make a little bit of money, to something they will actually have to pay to attend. Seems fair to you? Remember, Macromedia charges just over a thousand dollars per head for entrance to the conference. And still they can’t afford to compensate their speakers right.

I feel bad for the speakers. And I know that I wouldn’t have been interested in that kind of a deal myself. But it seems there are Flash developers with so much love for the Flash community that they will go really far to be able to be there – One such person is Chris MacGregor. Instead of feeling insulted and telling Macromedia to stuff the whole thing, he has decided to try to gather money himself to be able to attend the conference (alas, in reality pay to be a speaker at the conference). He has set up a special donation for this very purpose, and you can check out his plea on his Flazoom.com site: Flazoom.com: Request for assistance…

Chris is the guy that wrote the white paper on Usability for Macromedia, and he has done a lot of great usability work for the Flash community and Macromedia. User Interface Engineering had this to say about him in their latest newsletter:

I’d have to say our interest really piqued last year. We’d been reading a lot about the great work that Chris MacGregor (http://www.flazoom.com) and other Flash developers had been doing to improve the usability of Flash-based implementations. We decided to conduct one of our most extensive research projects ever to examine the strengths of Flash.

I know Macromedia must be grateful for all the great work Chris has put into a field that they feel is important for the future of Flash, but still they are too cheap to be able to do the decent thing and pay for his ticket and hotel.

Macromedia, as a company you really owe it to the community to show more heart in these kind of circumstances. And you owe it to the people working their asses off to make sure that they at least are compensated fairly for their work. Keep this up, and you will loose a lot of the positive vibe that has been a trademark of the whole Flash extravaganza.

A little message to the Macromedia community people: You really need to kick some ass inside of Macromedia and make the company start showing appreciation for the work the people in the Flash community does for you. This latest news about how you treat your speakers at one of the more important community events really shows bad form. And I am sure it affects a lot more people than Chris.

Mike Chambers has given this information:

Actually, i just checked on this, and we are not paying jacob’s expenses. JDB, i would appreciate it if you corrected your post.

i am not really sure what jacbo nielsen has to do with this issue anyways. He is being treated just like the other speakers.

Also, someone posted on flazoom that you have to pay to go to his devcon session, that is also incorrect. He is holding his own mini one-day conference before devcon, but his devcon session is free to all attendees, just like the other sessions.

Flash video bonanza

Interesting to see Sorenson (Squeeze) and Wildform (Flix) release their new Flash MX video tools at the same time.

Sorenson’s big news is the stitching feature that will allow you to use Flash to do really big video files. As many of you might know, Flash relies on all of its content having to be loaded into RAM, which has made it rather uniftted for large video files – until now. The new version/revision of Squeeze also includes AVI file support.

Wildform’s Flix 3 has as its biggest news the ability to generate everything necessary to make video play in Flash, including making a custom player automatically.

RSS 1.0 Blog Reader and web services

Jeffrey Hill of Flash-db.com is busy making cool Flash front-ends for web services. One of them are the RSS 1.0 Blog Reader

I’ll share his very interesting e-mail with you all:

it does add a new twist to other RSS news readers as it’s based off of a web service. The service (remotely hosted) returns an array – so there’s no need to parse any XML in Flash. The service should also work well with Flash remoting, as you can load the array directly into flash with remoting. However the current client for the service uses php instead.

The Client (Click view example for Demo):

The Service Listing and info

The directory contains quite a few web service listings, similar to xMethods.com, with the exception that all of the clients are Flash Based. It’s my hope that more companies start using Flash as an interface for web services so I’m trying to promote them as much as possible. The directory is also all set up for people to buy and sell web services and clients/custom components for those services…

The best part of the directory is the Flash WSDL parser which parses and displays any WSDL file in an easy to read Flash interface.

I’ve got some next level services coming out in the next 2 weeks that I can’t mention the details on, but they involve using Ming. And won’t be

free.

I know I will check out the Web Services Directory at Flash-db. Lots of interesting projects there. And I can’t wait to see the commercial project Jeffrey is working on :-)

But I am in doubt, is Flash MX really a useful front-end for web services, with its rather rigid security? Please share what you know and think with me.

Open Source RSS Viewer

Nice to see another Flash RSS Viewer come along, this time with the source all available. It looks like a nice job done by the people at Erational.org.

The RSS Viewer is released under the GPL Open Source license, and the PHP source files, as well as the FLA is available for download from the site.

They have also made a Flash RSS banner, which looks pretty nifty.

Check out the info page at Erational.org for more information about the rssViewer, on the info page you will also find the rssBanner.

The only improvement I could think of that they could do, would be to include my newsfeed ;-) As luck would have it, the rssViewer allows you to add your own favorite RSS feeds to the viewer.

[Via SwfNews]