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Flash free resources Software

Good free, online video utilities

Even though we use all the high-dollar professional video editors and encoders at my work, for personal stuff and recommendations I always try to watch for what’s out there free, keeping track of them in my Google Notebook. A recent article on this subject on Lifehacker reminded me of some of these, and the comments on the article added some more good links. When my wife wanted to download some videos from YouTube (non-copyrighted, of course) and edit them in iMovie, here’s some of the things we used:

Desktop FLV Players

For anyone who works with Flash video, the annoying lack of a proper Adobe FLV desktop player has not been relieved by the Adobe Media Player. AMP is more of a sell-TV-show software than a simple FLV player. The VideoLAN VLC Media Player is a good, simple FLV desktop video player. For Mac users, even better, installing the Perian QuickTime component lets you open and view FLVs, and a bunch of other formats, directly in QuickTime Player.

Format converters

We tried vixy.net’s Online FLV Converter first, but the server was always busy. So we used the excellent free desktop video format converter, and alternative to the $30 QuickTime Pro, MPEG Streamclip for Mac and Windows. This does all kind of quick and dirty conversions, including converting FLVs back to MOV and other formats too. We found that using the inpoint/outpoint keyboard shortcuts (I and O) made it simple to convert just the clips we wanted to bring into the editing software without having to convert entire long videos.

Downloading from YouTube

For downloading FLVs from YouTube etc., there’s a bunch of ways, but I’m liking viddownloader.com, a simple online tool done in Flash.

ASF to MOV

A while ago we impulse-bought a $99 video camera. It’s amazingly good for the price in every way but one—it shoots in ASF, an old Windows streaming format. Still keeping an eye out for a simple, free way to convert these into an editable format.

Categories
ActionScript Flash free resources links online training

Learning Flash/ActionScript

We had some discussion at the last meeting re. Flash and its scripting language, ActionScript. Flash started as an animation program, using a keyframe/timeline model, and it can still be used this way. But to achieve the full power of the modern Flash, you’ll want to learn some ActionScript.

ActionScript is now at version 3.0, which came out about two years ago. I still use AS v.2 but will move to v.3 as soon as practical, project-wise (the only Flash project I’m working on now is an extension of a two-year old AS2 project). I’ve also delayed because I’m careful about forcing users to upgrade Flash Player versions (AS3 requires FP9, now almost two years old) unless really required.

I’ve recently read some discussion of the ‘difficulty’ of learning AS3 as compared to previous versions. What’s the difference between v.2 and v.3? Short description heard at last fall’s Adobe MAX conference in a session titled Intro to ActionScript 3: “AS3 is harder to learn at first but easier to work with once you do.” So, check the links in this post and dive in to one or the other.

Categories
BVAUG meeting notes free resources

Ubuntu LAMP Server Installation: thanks Karsten!

At the April meeting, Karsten Pearce walked us through the steps for an Ubuntu LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) installation. Here are the notes he used for this presentation, which he compiled from various online sources: LAMP Setup (PDF).

One thing he recommended is, that if you’re planning to do a dual-boot setup with Windows, to install Windows first. This is my situation since I have a PC with a wiped hard drive I’m planning to try this on.

Thank you Karsten!

Categories
BVAUG meeting notes free resources Industry info Software training conferences

MAX 2007 Report

Thanks to everyone who came to the meeting last week for the MAX 2007 Report. Here’s the presentation file: MAX 2007 Report PowerPoint. This file is a summary of my conference notes. Here’s the discussion outline/intro screen:

  • Intro
  • Keynotes/General Sessions
  • Selected Sessions
  • Special Interest
  • Conclusions
  • Questions/Comments
Here’s the conclusions/summary screen:
  • AIR is the current Big Thing
  • ‘The web, your way’
  • Mobile technology still being stressed…
  • Adobe/Apple tenseness (under the surface)
  • Less overt ColdFusion promotion, but the ‘How to Promote CF’ Birds-of-a-Feather session was a hot topic on the UGM forum
Since these are just speaking points, email me if you have specific questions.

Categories
free resources links Software training conferences upcoming BVAUG meetings

Notes from MAX

I’m at the Adobe MAX convention this week and will give a report on the Adobe announcements etc. at our October meeting. In the meantime, here are the notes I’m taking in a public Google Notebook. The sections show up in reverse chronological order (newest first). I’ll continue to add to it through Wednesday.

Hope to see you all on the 19th. ‘course, we’re drawing for the software, whatever Adobe package the winner chooses up to $2100 in value. We’ll be doing this every six months while Adobe continues it.

Categories
BVAUG meeting notes free resources Software training conferences upcoming BVAUG meetings

Adobe Community Summit report

The following is an HTML version of the the PowerPoint file from today’s presentation. These are talking points only; if you have questions email me or check the Adobe site.

What’s in it for you?

  • Make professional plans based on what’s coming up in the future
  • Download beta apps sooner to evaluate, and perhaps influence
  • Free stuff for community members and leaders NOTE (added 7-4-07): not gloating here; rather, inviting my replacement. If you’re interested in the substantial perks of being BVAUG manager (e.g., this year, AUG managers receive the full CS3 Master Collection etc.) that come with the relatively easy and enjoyable responsibilities involved, please ask me about it.
  • labs.adobe.com/community – forums etc…

Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR)

  • Beta at labs.adobe.com
  • What is it?
    • creates desktop aps using HTML/CSS/JS or Flash/Flex
    • unlike web apps (though Flash apps have a sandbox/temp file access), allows access to files on the hard drive/network (like Director’s FileIO Xtra)
  • Desktop version of web apps needed? Google must think so (Google Gears)
  • Includes SQLite
  • Comparison with Director
  • Comparison with RIAs; plugins
  • How do you get and use an AIR app?
  • How do you make an AIR app?
    • coders can do it for free
    • best (easiest) way: Flex Builder 3; beta available
    • DW extension to develop HTML-based AIR aps

Other software (other than CS3)

Flex 3 / Flex Builder 3

  • Flash for making great experiences, Flex for creating applications
  • Watch a Flex app being built (12 minute video)
  • Leverages UI elements called components
  • Components now much easier to customize
  • Will be made open source
  • Examples: Yahoo Maps, Harley Davidson, NTSE Marketrac, various customize your car sites… showcase page

ColdFusion 8

  • Beta available now
  • Adobe store is a CF app: 30% performance gain by upgrading to CF8, even before any further integration
  • Ajax integration
  • CF goal: make backend/frontend integration as easy as possible.
  • Skinnable forms, using CSS
  • Adobe will list ‘gotcha’s’ (quote from attendee question )
  • binding syntax modeled on Flex
  • CF integration with Exchange calendar; with read and write
  • local DB integration being looked at, will not be in CF8
  • pdf forms processing—dynamically building custom PDFs on the fly
  • now CF can prefill PDF forms; on the server side
  • handles concurrent user record modifications

CS3 Applications

  • Tool palette improvements throughout—much easier for a laptop or single monitor
  • Bridge: a little faster, a lot cooler, intended to be a hub for all CS3
  • Improved cross-application file compatibility (e.g., import layered .psds into Flash; copy/paste into DW)
  • Feature overload issue: now ‘trying to make it smarter for what people are already using it for’
  • (unspoken: costs what it costs)

Observations / Trend Chasing / Forum Fending

  • Adobe is addressing the trend toward the social aspects of video. Flash Media Encoder is impressive.
  • Adobe has been consistent in maintaining and growing Macromedia’s commitment to mobile technologies. If they’re big-time successful in this, they’ll have earned it.
  • And they keep saying there’s a lot of money for developers who get into developing for this market.
  • Open sourcing (Flex 3)
  • Getting apps to users sooner (labs site)
  • Adobe really wants our feedback.

Discussion Topics

Categories
free resources upcoming BVAUG meetings

Great free stuff—how should we choose who gets what?

Some great giveaways coming up, to be topped off with one fortunate person receiving any Adobe software package up to $2,100 in value. Very cool. Adobe will give this away once every six months, suggesting “the best method for awarding the software is to hold a contest for members that runs for the duration of the software period.” So, any thoughts on how the contest might work? I was thinking to weigh in favor of people for attendance, but I’m open to all suggestions.

Other worthwhile giveaways upcoming:

I just received a box of door prizes from Adobe for the next six meetings. Some decent stuff: AUG T-shirts, Adobe travel mugs, miniature USB mice, etc. Oddly, there’s a red Apollo shirt that would fit a very small person only; maybe someone with a daughter in elementary school might like this.

Also, the people who put on CFUnited are offering AUGs some materials they give to their conference attendees. I requested this for the BVAUG and they’re sending us a box. Anyone who uses or is interested in ColdFusion is welcome to it; once it arrives I’ll let you know and see who’s interested.

Categories
free resources training conferences

AccessU report additions

I’d forgotten to transfer some notes I took on my PDA at one of the AccessU lunch presentations. I’ve now put them in the public Google notebook; I’ll put them here as well:

  • make accessibility for your site(s) a part of the editorial process, a performance measure
  • formal plan for conversion to accessibility: WebAIM 8-Step Implementation Plan
  • Gez Lemon: accessible CMS review @ juicystudio.com
  • Fangs Firefox extension: an alternative to reviewing sites with JAWS. From the link: ‘creates a textual representation of a web page similar to how the page would be read by a screen reader’ (interesting site title: ‘standards-schmandards.com — a pragmatic approach to to web accessibility’)

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free resources online training training conferences upcoming BVAUG meetings

AccessU report

Here are my AccessU notes as a public Google notebook*. Just the stuff in the named section is specific to the conference.

My AccessU Powerpoint presentation for the May 15 meeting.

Overall, an excellent conference. I’ll report on the accessibility subjects covered there at the May 15 meeting. A few things new to me:

btw, if you use Google notebook extensively like I do, *back up important stuff there from time to time. I inexplicably lost a whole subsection after I made this notebook public, even without granting anyone edit capability.

NOTE 5-14: A kind and patient individual suggested the supposedly lost data may be accidentally deleted, in my ‘Trash’. Indeed, that was the case; it is now properly restored. Thank you!!!

Categories
free resources

ActionScript 3 Class Diagram and Flex Framework Diagram Posters Available

For anyone interested in Actionscript 3/Flash 9 or Flex 2, I have some free 4 x 3 posters sent to our group by Adobe. Here are PDFs so you can see what they are:

ActionScript 3 Class Diagram (PDF)

Flex Framework Diagram (PDF)

I’m in 233 Gilchrist out by the Bush School; we have no-tag-required 30-minute parking so you could just come by and get some (email or call 862-3737 first to make sure I’m here), or I can bring them to a meeting for you to pick up there. Just let me know.