Archive for November, 2010

BlackBerry Tablet OS — Addressing Developers the Right Way

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

The BlackBerry PlayBook looks hot.  Naturally few have seen one but it does appear to really be coming. Plus, the low level integration of Adobe AIR is VERY attractive.  The device looks very high performance.   But more than all that, what’s interesting is RIM’s approach to attract developers.  (See my “heart choice” poster from days gone by.)

Namely, they’re practically GIVING AWAY PLAYBOOKS.  No, they ARE giving away PlayBooks!  They have a free offer.  Basically,  you register as a developer, develop an AIR app and get it “approved” prior to the PlayBook launch and you get a PlayBook.  It sounds very legit. As a developer it sure would be easier to develop with the device in hand–but still, it’s a nice offer.  Also, they have a simulator which I’ve heard works really well.  There are some workarounds if you’re on 64 bit (see this link and this link).  Ultimately, however and probably even more important than free stuff is the fact they have some great documentation and they’re offering webcasts to educate devs (see links below).   If the best new technology came out and there was no information to build on it, it would have a really difficult time taking off.

Here’s the links:

Finally, because I attended Adobe MAX 2010 I have devices coming out the wazoo.  I was packing and an Android was sticking out of my suitcase–I pushed it back in and ANOTHER one popped out the other end!  Seriously, it ultimately is not about the free stuff.  It’s about cool technology and opportunities.  I’m very bullish on Android and the PlayBook–however when you start to look at “revenue” opportunities I pretty much tune out.  I’ve got a few ideas for products… but my background has always been in services.  Even still, all this stuff looks really really cool… and offers MY CLIENTS lots of opportunities–even (or especially) if their plan is not to “make an app that makes a million” (as, personally, I don’t see that gold mine).

Finally, one huge thing that’s extra attractive about the PlayBook is that the AIR integration means there are more system level APIs (over Android)…. like native dialogs just to name one.  I haven’t fully ramped up yet–and honestly–if I just stopped what I was doing and followed every new cool thing that came out I’d be running around in circles.  Having said that, I’ll repeat: it looks hot and it looks like fun.

A Product’s Lifespan: Google TV

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

link to image

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.