Archive for the ‘self-employment’ Category

Advice Column at

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Adobe MAX 2010 review

Monday, November 15th, 2010

I’m forcing myself to do this “post-Adobe MAX 2010″ post. It’s been nearly a month so I think I can safely judge history. Here’s the summary of what you’ll find below:

  • Adobe really did get their act together and come up with a clear message… basically “the truth will prevail; we have some cool shit that solves real-world problems”
  • The social aspect of the conference was great despite a less than ideal venue (it’s not BAD) and un-arguably, the worst MAX Bash ever. Let’s hope 2011 is the LAST time it’s in LA (or at least at this venue).

I’ve broken things down into: content, format, and fun.
The day 1 keynote (traditionally more general audience and investor focused) was super clear. It basically was Adobe saying: Look, we have the shit. You want to print industry to survive—we can do it. You want high performance 3D stuff (and don’t want to do it today with Unity3D or that other 3D thing we had in 1999 called Director—though they didn’t mention either) we have it coming in Flash Player. You want to see some cool stuff on phones? It’s here now. And, wow, you want AIR at a low level… check out Blackberry Playbook (that is NEAT!!!). It was a nice mix of what’s coming (which I always take with a grain of salt) and what’s here and now. And, like I say, it was clear. No vague references to stuff that they think will change—just a super clear message: multi-screen. Or, as us programmers see it—both an opportunity and a total pain to do layout stuff. Still, there’s lots of opportunities—both now and coming soon.
The day 2 keynote was great. I heard a lot of people griping that it was a lot of fluff and not enough content. True: if they had just showed a PowerPoint presentation they could have covered all the same details. But instead, the Adobe folks exercised their creativity… they invested in the creative industries to which they sell… and they really focused on showing developers how they could make MONEY. I think they’ve always tried this in very indirect ways. Now it’s like “see, do this and that and I think we’ll all make money!” The whole Adobe app store (called something else but I tuned it out) was the weakest offering. Basically the pitch was “you know how there’s sooo many app stores? What can you do? Hey, we know… use OUR app store aggregator thingy.” Yeah, my favorite part of all that was that you can sign up today… then next year (when I imagine they’ll modify it to become whatever it will become… because it sure ain’t ready now) you can get a FREE account for 1 year. To what? I’m not saying the thing (whatever it is) isn’t going to be awesome but, man, make it clear or wait till it’s ready.
The only criticism I’d have for the day 2 keynote is they could have made it more clear what things are possible now… which are new things… and which are “coming soon”. My biggest fear is someone will listen too much to those complaining about the format and next year they won’t be nearly as creative.
Finally, free stuff. It’s not like it was my idea or that I’m super bright (though I did create this poster months ago). I do wonder if the givers of devices might have been better off to just say “if you want one, ask us” vs. “you’re getting one, take it”. But still, I know for me it has influenced one real project and at least one personal project.

The venue was better than the venue for MAX 2007 in Chicago… that was just nuts (so big and spread out). But, still, I can’t stand this LA venue. I hadn’t even realized there was a hotel right on site (I swear it wasn’t there last year). I don’t really mind the bus ride THAT much (seeing how I got to practice my Handbills Delivered act)… but still, it’s lame. Ultimately, that venue is still too spread out. Compare it to the Moscone South—basically just two hallways. Personally, I go to MAX for social reasons and LA is just too spread out. The pavilion was ok though. And, really, I liked the conference as a whole—so I’m just pointing out what could be improved.

As always, MAX was a load of fun.
I didn’t bother with any pranks this year—see 2008. This year I had a performance “Handbills Delivered” (see my earlier post containing a video). Perhaps most amusing was my interactions with security guards—such as this one with the hotel security: hotel_security.mp3 (I was just practicing at this point and the audience was told ahead of time what I was doing—they agreed etc.) What’s amazing is that apparently I’m just so convincing… even at this point when I was not very good at it!
Anyway, I did learn to become aware of my surroundings and ask/warn in advance of doing my thing. Warning to those in various large cities around the world: In 2011 I’ll be appearing several times…on the street etc. Watch for details.
As previously mentioned the party was really lame. They had some band that is popular with the kids—but it was on a PARKING GARAGE! Compare this to the location of past years’ parties:
– Salt Lake Olympics skating rink
–Disney’s California Adventure
–Universal Studios
–de Young Museum AND the science museum (wow, try to top that party!)
I don’t mean to complain—I mean the “LA Live” thing last year wasn’t terrible… but standing around on a parking garage just wasn’t great.

ActionScript Hero interview of my at Flash and the City

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Includes hints for @phillip’s Puzzle Page:

@phillip’s Puzzle Page is printed!

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

For well over a decade I’ve been producing printed handbills.  Starting with years of the all text, very dense, “The Phillip Newsletter”.  It would have hidden puzzles once in a while but it was very dry overall.  I produced a Wanted Poster a couple years ago as my first venture in graphic color printing.  That was followed by the old timey style true handbill.

Naturally, there’s a good chance you have one or more of these artifacts!

Anyway, that last handbill was never mailed or stacked for people to pick up, but always handed by me personally.  Well, nearly 100% of the 3000 I estimate I handed out.

My latest printed item is the @phillip’s Puzzle Page where you have a chance to win CS5 Master Collection.  (Because of past behaviors I now need to clarify that, in fact, this is a real contest and you really can win your choice of CS5 for mac or windows…. totally legit.)

So, anyway, you can TRY to do the puzzle page from the soft version below.  I really have to be clear that I don’t believe it’s very easy to solve all the questions without having a properly printed version.  However, I will also say the puzzles aren’t terribly difficult and they are all very do-able.  They’re not arbitrary.  And, now that I’ve handed out about 300 I can safely say there’s nothing of significance that I’ve discovered that make these puzzles unclear or unfair. I’m not changing anything if I have to print more.

By the way, thanks to Influxis and for sponsoring my handbill!

>>>> Here’s a PDF if you missed the link above: @phillip’s Puzzle Page

…and, a printing sample:

@phillip's puzzle page print sample

@phillip's puzzle page print sample

mr. Monk and the Dead Drop

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Amazing how fast something as seemingly innocuous as Lee Brimelow’s “Dead Drop” can get so out of hand:

Naturally, this video is not an entry into the #whymax contest.

Make a Video, Win a free pass to Adobe MAX!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

This is awesome… in addition to making a few videos of my own, I get to manage and judge a contest where you can win a FREE conference pass to the Adobe MAX 2009 conference (~$1300).  Plus the grand prize winner gets preferred seating at the keynotes.  In addition, 10 runners-up will be selected to receive just the preferred seating (they have to get their own pass to the conference).  The preferred seating is more valuable than it might seem–I know several Adobe employees who are going to try to win this contest for just those seats!

Anyway, here are the official rules (subject to change if I made a glowing error… though I had this stuff checked out by several people… and it’s official):


Make a video that answers the question “is Adobe MAX for developers or designers?” or somehow relates to the upcoming Adobe MAX conference.


There will be 11 winners! 

There will be one grand prize winner.  They get one free full conference pass to Adobe MAX 2009 plus preferred seating at the keynotes.  If you’ve already registered for the conference, Adobe will refund the base price (that is, exactly what you paid for the conference–not any extras such as pre-conference sessions or hotel) .

There will be 10 runners-up.  They will receive preferred seating at the keynotes.  Runners-up must already be attending MAX to take advantage of the preferred seating–that is, you must have your own conference pass. (See for conference details.) 

Winners will be announced on as well as  If you’re following me on twitter I’ll attempt to also make send a direct message. The grand-prize winner will have 5 days to reply.  If no reply is received I will attempt to award the grand prize to one of the runners-up. 


To qualify for the grand prize (the conference pass) your video must be posted no later than September 15th 2009 at midnight Pacific time (GMT -7:00).    The runners up (preferred keynote seating) will be awarded on the days that follow the 15th until all are awarded–approximately one per day.  This means, you can still post videos after the 15th and have a chance to win the preferred keynote seating (until all the runners-up prizes have been awarded).


All videos are subjectively judged by Phillip Kerman from LLC using the criteria listed below.


Void where prohibited by law.  Adobe employees may participate but can only win a runners-up prize (preferred keynote seating).  The main requirement is that you post a video (no longer than 200 seconds) on and that you tag it with: #whymax.  Also, please post an update to with a link and include the same tag “#whymax”.  Ideally, you also follow me on twitter ( to make it easier for me to contact you if you win.

Judging Criteria:

30% Originality and sincerity.  Try to exploit your own personal voice.  You’re welcome to leverage familiar themes, but try to be original as possible.

30% Message quality.  Your video should make a point and as clearly and effectively as possible.

15% Clarity and conciseness. Respect your audience’s time and invest the work necessary to make your message concise. Also, strongly consider editing your video. Note, videos longer than 200 seconds will be disqualified unless they’re so captivating I can’t not watch them.

15% Technical: Audio and video quality and technical ability with tools.

10% Accuracy and timeliness. Try to make something contemporary to what’s hot now.

Humor is not required, but I’ll probably be more impressed if you use humor effectively.  In addition, entries may be disqualified out of hand if they contain blatantly offensive or objectionable content such as racism or pornography.  Also, all entries should relate to MAX, Adobe, and developers and designers who use Adobe products.  Sincere and honest criticisms of Adobe products are acceptable but not required.  Overly patronizing and blatant brown nosing is also not required.


Feel free to contact me via with questions or comment below.  Also, check out my videos at


Boss Letter

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Yes, you too can use Adobe’s “Convince Your Boss” form letter ( ).  Just like Jenkins here did:

The “Ted Call”

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Adobe hired me to write and produce a few scripts for their Adobe MAX conference.  But, things aren’t going as planned.

Adobe CS3 on Snow Leopard, or how I learned to love flip on chrome

Friday, August 28th, 2009

If your internet connection seemed a tiny bit slower yesterday, it was no-doubt caused by the whole CS3 on Snow Leopard… thing (start here if you want).  At first I thought the whole thing was handled wrong… and then it exploded on twitter (perhaps not even peaking yet see search) … but then I took another 2 seconds to really ponder and study the event and I am just fascinated in what everyone could maybe learn.  If I explained how everyone SHOULD have behaved I’d be doing it now–in retrospect… with all the benefits hindsight provides.  After “Hoss-gate” and “that dude at TED showing Papervision and AR-gate” I guess it’s unlikely things will change real soon.  Anyway, I had to add SOME fuel to the fire… hopefully the analogous satire is understandable:

Beavis and Butthead go to MAX

Friday, August 28th, 2009

The first of several videos related to the upcoming Adobe MAX conference.  If you visit then click the pause button (which remains invisible until you wave your cursor over the self-starting with-audio video piece)… then click Brett Rampata (which is the 4th from the last) you can hear him discussing an AIR app he worked on for the Jackass TV show.  Watch his little interview first for the complete context but this Beavis and Butthead parody was truly inspired by Brett.