Flash Forward Conference Notes From September of 2007

This was a great conference to go to–mostly because it had a lot more
future vision then any other conference I had been to. I really think
a number of the presenters were truly on the cutting edge of the web
and truly are shaping how people will use it in the near future.

There were a number of sessions on Web Video, one third of the sessions
were on Flash an video.

They really made me think about what the future will be like when bandwidth is no
longer an issue–the web has the potential to be all interactive flash video without
the need for a browser… or even a television at home… just use flash based
desktop applications… in some ways, it almost makes html based web sites have
the potential to become obselete. It was interesting to think about at the very least.

I attended three session on the topic, one focusing on web cams, another on
customizing video interfaces, and another on interactive video (which was
very cutting edge).

There was a simple session on making videos with flash, with a bit of an intro on
how to skin flash videos… which is now possible, although a bit complex. You can
create a simple custom skin fairly easily though without much coding… As soon as you
introduce more then one video to a movie is gets complicated fast.

There was another session basically on using flash for webcams which tied in nicely
with the most interesting session I went to by Craig Swann. Craig’s session showed
how he created flash videos on his computer that were intelligent… they could tell
he was there and interact with his video stream using actionscript. If he was wearing
green, the flash movie would recolor his clothes to be red. He could get the flash
movie to interact with him as he moved, all of which seemed very artistic. Basically,
it was as though computer was watching him and interacting with him–like his computer
had an eye… a little 1984ish or big brotherish, and still extremely fascinating
and cutting edge.

The emphasis on video was clear and it seems that Adobe really wants it to be the future
of the internet–interactive video.

Adobe Air:
There was a big focus on Adobe Air, a new application that allows you to
create desktop applications using flash that run in the background and allow
passive usage of the internet–i.e. content is brought to you while you do
other things. The possibilities are endless… One such application is called
finetune shown below… This application was created with adobe air and allows
people to share and mix playlists. It is an easy way to create a social networking
application that runs on the desktop or in facebook.

One thing about adobe air that is of importance is that it takes the emphasis off
of using the web browser… basically, with adobe air you can create new apps with
flash that allow people to interact with the internet without a browser.

Apparently, the HBS multimedia group is looking into using adobe air to take their
MBA Flash courseware used on the web and then package it up as a desktop app
that they can then sell through HBSP.

I went to another session on using sound in flash. The biggest take away from that
session was the concept that sound creates a mood and some people recognize and
are more open to hearing one sound over another. Using sound for navigation can
be extremely helpful in giving people cues about where to go.

Quark Interactive Designer:
Apparently, quark has created an application to work with quark that allows print
designers to turn their print designs into flash based web designs quite easily,
which might have some possible uses for our group.

New Ideas:
There were a number of ideas that also might be specifically useful for our group…

One person suggested making a help overlay… when help is on, an overlay shows up
on the page telling people what everything is… and when it is off, the overlay goes

One of the big take aways from the conference is the notion that an entire
generation of kids are spending most of their waking hours playing around on the
internet. Their whole way of interacting is changing completely because of facebook
and other sites. 2nd life has the potentional to be the future of business meetings.
Computer users will be extremely advanced in the near future, especially MBA students,
and they will be incredibly good at multitasking.

They will expect to receive their information in interactive video applications that
are essentially brought to them through aggregators–the new adobe media player is
one such application meant to support this need: it is an interactive video aggregator.

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