Sunday, July 31, 2005

Still learning

It became clear to me recently that our company would have to rethink our web delivery strategy. Although we have positioned ourselves somewhat against Flash, I came to the conclusion that it would be the only platform that we knew of that could satisfy our requirements. Being the adventerous type that I am, I quitely started working on a Flash framework that could allow us to deliver our presentations over the web at a reasonable bandwidth while maintaining the functionality of our DVD based presentations. After about a month of trial and error I came up with what seems to be a working model. I have to say that I am very impressed with the Flash platform and its ActionScript coding language. Because of my C++ programming background I was able to pick up AS very easily. It is indeed a powerful platform and I can see why so many people are drawn to it. Hopefully I will soon be able to convert the family website I was working on in HTML to Flash and take advantage of all that ActionScript has to offer. I'm just sorry it took me so long to discover it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Quick Getaway

It's good to get away from the office sometimes and not think about work. Since I helped start "the company" I've had very few chances to really relax and focus on things other than work. Even on the weekends my mind often turns to work. Yesterday I had a chance to totally remove myself from the day-to-day. Much needed indeed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Deal with the Devil

Those that know me are aware that I am a huge proponent of open source software for a number of reasons. In particular, I have become enamored with the Mozilla Foundation and their flagship offerings-Firefox and Thunderbird. They are both great products. I have also detested Microsoft Outlook and it's susceptibility to viruses. It isn't Microsoft's fault necessarily, but the fact remains that people write viruses that affect the majority of users. Unfortunately for me, as our company has grown it has become difficult for all of us to stay in sync with regards to our schedules and keeping track of who has to do what. Outlook has somewhat of an answer for this problem. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that Thunderbird doesn't offer the same solution. In the best interests of the company I have decided to jump to Outlook as my primary business email/task/calendar/meeting management tool. It hasn't been as bad as I thought, but there are a number of things I'm already missing about Thunderbird-namely the junk mail handling. We'll see how long it lasts.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Holiday Spirit

Originally uploaded by spudnik187.
Guess it's never too early to celebrate our great country. This is my son in his 4th of July garb. By the way, he enjoyed his first fireworks show.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Humble Pie

It's always nice to see a piece of work that makes you remember how feeble your skills are. Keeps you hungry and always wanting to get better.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Nuevo Radio?

Within the last several days, Apple released a point update to its iTunes music jukebox software. Why then would it possibly be the beginning of the end of radio as we know it? Podcasts.

Before I begin, let me reiterate why I think Apple is possibly on of the greatest innovating entities of the modern era. They make complex technology easy before anyone else even attempts it. On to podcasting.

Podcasting, whose name is derived from iPod and broadcasting, has been around for some time now. Think of it as Tivo for radio. A show is produced (the term show is used very loosely, as technically any audio file could be a podcast) and converted to an MP3 or similar compressed audio file. Then, the file is uploaded to a server. That server then uses RSS (RSS is another discussion for another time if you don't know what it is) to "broadcast" the existence of the file over the internet. Once a listeners' RSS reader picks up the RSS feed it can download the file and the user can listen to it at his/her leisure. Seems simple enough from the end user's perspective. Why does it matter that Apple put support for podcasts in iTunes?

Up until this point, the process of getting a podcast from a 3rd party RSS aggregator to iTunes to the iPod has been cludgy at best. Finding podcasts were fairly simple, but most people didn't even know what podcasts were. Enter iTunes. To say that the iPod is the best and most popular portable music players in the market today would be an understatement. Naturally, most people who have iPods use iTunes to manage their music and sync it with their iPods. The iTunes Music Store is also the largest and most popular legal music download service in the market. People have become accustomed to purchasing and managing music with iTunes on Macs or Windows machines. Podcasts are now part of the iTunes Music Store and are very, very easy to subscribe to. One click and you're done. It's so easy it's literally fool proof.

So how is this the end of radio? First, podcats aren't subject to FCC rules and regulations. That alone has serious implications. Second, anyone with a computer and a microphone can have a podcast. Literally anyone can have a podcast about literally anything. With iTunes now providing a directory for podcasts in which normal people like you and I can submist our podcasts, literally millions of people can potentially subscribe to your podcast. Stop and think about that for a minute and you'll realize why the big corporations that run traditional radio are scared. Their cash cow is about to get slaughtered by the new "rebel radio" and there's nothing they, or anyone else, can do about it.