Tom Ortega II

Archive for February, 2007|Monthly archive page

Adobe Engage: It’s what I imagined the Valley would be

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2007 at 8:10 am

When I moved from the Los Angeles area to the Silicon Valley, I had nerdy delusions of grandeur. Just like those who do the reverse expect to see movie stars and red carpets everywhere they go, I too expected to see nerds and interesting conferences around every bend in the Valley. Suffice to say, for the most part, I was wrong, but yesterday Adobe helped make my delusions come true.

Adobe Engage is what I would think every company would want to do. Take a bunch of smart people, put them in a room, let ’em strut their stuff, talk tech, talk biz, and see what happens. I felt more like the fly on the wall instead of a major contributor to the conversation, only because I couldn’t believe that events like this really take place.

My notes are at the end of this post, but I have to say, “Mad props to Ryan Stewart.” How you can blog while taking in an event like this amazes me. I started out with high hopes of noting every speaker/discussion, but then I got distracted by following the event. My apologies if you feel I under covered the event in my notes. Go check Ryan’s rather prolific posts instead.

Dave had a good point that was refreshing to hear from the Sponsor. “The most interesting and best part of the day will probably be the evening reception when everyone gets to chat.” When I drank, I thought the whole network thing was overrated. “It’s a chance to drink, period.” Now that I don’t drink, it’s even more apparent how important it is to network, especially at an event like this. I did the whole biz card shuffle, but it’s neat to just talk to geeks (more on that thought in the next post).

All in all, it was a great event because of the people present and the discussions that did go down. Bravo, Adobe! I can’t wait for Engage Too (sic).

Here’s my notes:


David Mendels welcomes the group. Brings up a good point: “Put a bunch of smart people into a room, and good things will happen.” Crowd is purposefully diverse. The event is a catalyst for a conversation.

Round the room intros. I always like that. It’s always nice to put faces to names.

Kevin talks about what Adobe is doing to help people engage each other. Adobe is about engaging users across multiple forms. Print, Web, etc. Acrobat readers updates will be better (read: less painful) next year. PDF Reader will not bring Flash Player down. Designer/Developer Tools(Creative Suite, Studio, Flex Builder), clients (flash, pdf), servers (Flash Media Server, FlashCast, LiveCycle+Flex Data Services, ColdFusion) and Applications (Acrobat, Connect). Tim and Kevin chit chat on whether end users want a consistant experience across the board. Tim’s suggesting that Adobe teach companies how to better serve their customers by using the tools correctly. Kevin and Jeremy chatted back in the Macromedia days about the non-page paradigm that became Apollo, such as icons on your desktop, can’t raise notifications. Kevin pulls up a RIA Tech Trend chart. “It’s a little bit confusing, sorry.” platforms is the y series (windows -> cross-platform -> cross-Phone/Device) and technology is x series(web pages -> browser RIA -> desktop RIA -> native desktop app). Apollo 06 is starting (2 x 2) bottom-left and moving up and right in 07/08, MS is starting bottom right 1×1 (“not to scale”) and moving up-right in 07/08. Apollo is looking to do local file access, online/offline detection and events, drag-and-drop, clipboard access, background processing, multiple windows support, custom window chrome, etc. (Sorry, got wrapped up in the preso/discussion) Kevin shows eBay app.

Jeremy Allaire showed off Brightcove Aftermix. Poor Jeremy took a little beating on his nomenclature of “consumer” vs “creator”. Aftermix would be cool for people to create music videos with for their favorite songs.

InteliSea show’s its sweet little Yacht controlling app. We saw this at the “Meet the Flex Team” meeting. A very cool little app that unfortunately has a $27M price tag, but it comes with a yacht.

Acesis – Point-of-Care – Way to enter/track patient interview with minimum click and easily extendable forms

B-Line Medical – SimCube – for running medical simulations and coordinating

Adobe Kuler demo within Illustrator – very kule

Adobe Digital Editions demos Aboder Ligtweight Reader, Flex 2 interface

General theme is that Adobe has to be careful to keep the end users in mind, not just the content providers.

Interesting post-lunch – “Is Apollo Valid?” discussion

Sho chatting up flex. =) Show’s off Ely’s cool stuff like the anatomy book

There was more, but that’s all I got.

Eternal Optimism of Youth

In Business, Kids on February 28, 2007 at 7:03 am

Just a quick little entry on how great the minds of our youth are.

When you hear, “Almost there…” You likely imagine the last few steps, the light at the end of the tunnel, the last few days of a year long project.

My little boy, TJ, and I were at the playground the other day. He was playing on the “big boy” playset. There was a climbing portion that was meant for kids much bigger and older. He was brave enough to try it though. I started telling him, “You’re almost there,” as he neared the top. By the third or fourth time, he put one foot on the first step and muttered, “Almost there.”

It just sorta struck me as a nice philosophy. Rather than, “I still have so far to go…” next time just say “Almost there” and repeat it to yourself with every step.

eBay/PayPal SecurityKey – Bye, Bye, Phishers/Scammers!

In Business, eBay, Technology and Software on February 19, 2007 at 10:57 am

I just wanted to drop a quick little note. Everyone needs to sign up for this and pronto. is eBay’s newest way to battle Phishers and Scammers. It’s a little token that gives you a code to sign into your eBay and PayPal accounts.

Think of it as an always changing PIN for your accounts. Without that key, there’s no way for the scammers to get access to your account, even if you get tricked by a fake website. If you forget the key, eBay will call your cell phone and give you a temp number to login with! PayPal makes you answer your secret questions. In other words, it’s really, really hard for someone to steal your account.

It’s the best $5 you’ll ever spend. Trust me.

(Yes, I work for eBay but even if I didn’t, I’d be telling you to get this!)

John Wilker’s available for work…hire him! Here’s why.

In 360Flex, Flash*Flex*AS, Programming, Technology and Software on February 4, 2007 at 10:13 pm

This is in reference to John’s post at about being available for work.

I work at eBay and, if you see my earlier post, I love it. There’s only one thing that could make life better at eBay, that’s if John was there. I’ve been in and out of corporate life for 10+ years now. I’ve worked for the likes of Bank of America, The Walt Disney Company, eBay and Ameriquest Mortgage. In all those years and all those work sites, I’ve only met one person like John.

John and I met at Ameriquest. He tried to leave, but I hunted him down and hounded him until he came back. That’s how much fun he is to work with. How many of your co-workers, who left a company, have you tracked down and did everything you could to get that person back? Me…only one, John.

John has technical skills: ColdFusion, Flex, Databases, yada-yada. Every one in has those skills. John has two things most people in do not have: organization and personality.

In the organization department, John’s topnotch. From the moment your project starts, his organization skillset kicks in. If you let him run with it, you’ll have folders, communications, mailing groups, project sites, time tracking, etc. He’ll make sure you know how to track progress on everything and will ride your bootie when you start to fall behind on the deliverables. He’ll be harsh on that too, but that’s a good thing for you, because that’ll help deliver a better product.

Personality, though, now that’s where he’ll shine. If you have a 1 month project, you’ll see some of it, but not all of it. You need to keep him onboard more long term to fully experience it. When I first met him, we passed each other many, many times for a month or so. We finally started chatting one day, and not a weekday has gone by since in the 5 or so years that we haven’t chatted. Wilker is one of the funniest guys around. He’s not an insulting kind of funny, but one of those calls it as he sees it kind of funny. It’s those views that are funny.

John and I are similar in some things, but total opposites in others. It’s for that reason that he’s been on my short list of possible business partners. He’ll agrue til he’s blue in the face for things that I can’t see at the time. Usually, as the weeks go by, I find myself saying, “Hey, you were right about that thing.” He never makes me feel bad when I do that too, when he could totally rub my face in it if he wanted.

John is 1/3 of the 360Flex Conference committee. When the conference is over and everybody’s yammering about how great it was, it will be because of John. If they leave complaining about something missing/gone awry, I’ll most likely be typing over IM to John, “Ya know, I guess you were right about that one thing.”

One more thing, if you wonder if he knows a particular skill for your project, just ask him. He’ll tell you the truth. If the answer is no, don’t worry, hire him anyway. Tech skills are learnable by buying a book, but personality…like MasterCard says, “Some things, money can’t buy.”