Tom Ortega II

Archive for the ‘Flash*Flex*AS’ Category

Thoughts on Adobe vs Apple from a guy standing between them both

In Adobe, AIR, Apple, Business, C++, Flash*Flex*AS, Kindle, Mobile Platforms, Playstation3, Programming, Technology and Software, Video Games on April 29, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I’m a developer.  I’m an entrepreneur. No company is responsible for my success or my downfall.  I am responsible for seeing the industry and (re)acting accordingly. As a developer, I know the pains of learning new technologies. As an entrepreneur, I know the pains of someone trying to tell me how to run my business.

Apple won the RIA War without ever joining the battle

Just about a year ago, I was chatting on the phone with Steve Weiss of O’Reilly Media.  I made a statement to him then and, sadly, never made any noise about it.  I think I held back the noise because I have a long relationship of working with Adobe and their products. I didn’t want to admit that I was probably right, so I said the statement, felt the pain of its truthfulness and tried to forget it.  The statement was simple:

“Adobe and Microsoft are trying to push this RIA term.  They’re trying to convince the world that this is a technology they want and need. They’re each trying to instill their own vision of that world: Adobe with Flash/AIR and Microsoft with Silverlight. The one thing that everyone’s missing is this: Apple has already won. iPhone apps are THE most widely used Rich Internet Apps.  Apple has silently won the war and no one’s even noticed. All they have to do is enable iPhone apps to run via Safari (for cross-platform support) and they’ll have crushed both Adobe and Microsoft’s dreams.” That last bit I was off.  Rather than upgrading the iPhone apps to the Mac, they upgraded the size of iPhone OS device and created the iPad.

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Points of Future via MAX keynote

In Adobe, Business, Flash*Flex*AS, Ideas, MAX, Mobile Platforms, Technology and Software on October 5, 2009 at 3:40 pm

There are many ideas being presented today.  I’ll try to highlight a few and also add some personal thoughts.

The youth of today are important.  It’s important to provide them the tools they need to express themselves, or else they’ll find other ways.  To kick off the show with some of today’s creative youth was awesome.

Content is no longer one sided.  One point hinted out early on is that content is no longer the domain of one group.  Today’s web users are just as excited to create content as they are to consume it.  You need to plan for that fact.

It’s important to not just build great websites or ads, but to also know how your customers think and behave.  I know that I would like sites to be smarter about me.  I’m tired having to re-explain myself to each website/company.

The next point is that full version Flash is coming everywhere: desktops, netbooks, smartphones and TVs.  The biggest problem was RAM usage.  It’s a true dilemma for Adobe and device manufactures.  I, as a techie, realize that devices and computers aren’t equal in power and ram.  However, my mom doesn’t understand that.  Most of the public just assume that a machine is a machine.

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Helping Developers Bridge the Gap

In Community, Flash*Flex*AS, flex training, Ideas, Programming on September 16, 2009 at 8:30 am

In yesterday’s post, I talked about finding your niche.  Today, I share more about my niche and my plans to get back into it.

I used to run Silvafug, the Silicon Valley Flex Users Group.  During my tenure, the group accomplished a lot. (Heck even without me, the group is still doing a lot.) However, one goal eluded me, despite having a great need to be attained.  I think it’s time to revisit that goal.  What is it?

Helping Flex developers bridge the gap from beginner-to-mid and/or mid-to-advance level.

It’s an ambitious goal, but hey, why aim small, right?  I sorta started down the path with a “hit” series of mine, “Graduating from Hack to Architected Development” (available on 360|Whisperings and Adobe’s Flex Developer Center)  Adobe said that was one of their most successful pieces at the time, though I’m sure many have surpassed it now.
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Finding Your Niche Via What Makes You Happy

In 360Conferences, 360Flex, eBay, Flash*Flex*AS, flex training, Programming, silvafug, Tech Writing, Workday on September 15, 2009 at 8:00 am

I’m amazed by people who have a singular passion. In addition, I’m in awe with those that have many passions, but the will power to focus on just one to the point of major success.  I fit in neither of those two categories.

My curse is I work hard to be just “good enough” in one passion, then move on to another.  By “good enough”, I mean good enough for me.  I’ll take a rare indulgence here (take a picture, it’ll last longer) and say that my “good enough” is better than some people’s “best”.  I take this odd (for me) stance for a good reason, and it’s not just to stroke my ego.

Mankind has a strange habit of staying with something that is comfortable, regardless of passion or happiness.  I know people (myself included) who stayed at a job because it was easy and comfortable, long after the passion and happiness were gone.  These people are giving their “best” but without passion or happiness.  Therefore, when I enter the same space with passion and happiness, I can attain more in a shorter time merely because the passion will help push me further. Read the rest of this entry »

Flex code (read: my Tic-Tac-Toe game) on my Playstation 3!

In Flash*Flex*AS, Playstation3, Programming, Technology and Software, Uncategorized, Video Games on December 3, 2008 at 10:08 am

You fair readers of my blog may remember a post from waaaaaay back in the day entitled Playstation 3.  In it, I talk about being excited to run Flex Apps on my PS3.  Sadly, my pretty HD console only ran Flash Player 7, so Flex was not an option.  At MAX, I saw a big fat PS3 image and was hoping that Kevin Lynch would say, “Flash Player 9 is now on the Playstation 3!”  He didn’t so I assumed it wasn’t yet.  Then Renaun posted this!  Adobe has issues about making noise sometimes.  How did the blogosphere not light up on this news?  Well, maybe it did, but I somehow missed it.

Naturally, I went and did what the PS3 was meant to do: Play a game!  In this case, it was my very own Tic-Tac-Toe game.  Check it out!

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Building Games with Flex: Tic-Tac-Toe V1 Code Explained Pt 2

In Flash*Flex*AS, Game Programming, Programming, Technology and Software, Video Games on October 3, 2008 at 8:24 am

In my last post, I explained my logic/thinking behind 2 of the 3 files that make up Tic-Tac-Toe V1: Main.mxml and GamePiece.mxmlClick here to play the game (right click to view/download the source).  In this post, I’ll breakdown the remaining piece.

GameBoard.mxml
This piece is the real workhorse of the game.  It houses not only the board where the pieces are laid out, but also the game logic itself.

Was that the best decision?

Probably not.  If I wanted to swap out the game rules but keep the same pieces, I couldn’t do that.  It’s not so common with Tic-Tac-Toe, but think of a card game.  One deck of 52 cards can play an almost infinite number of games.  Would it make much sense to put the Solitaire logic right inside the CardDeck class file?  Nope, it surely wouldn’t.  I was in a hurry though so I did. Read the rest of this entry »

Building Games with Flex: Tic-Tac-Toe V1 Code Explained Pt 1

In Flash*Flex*AS, Game Programming, Programming, Technology and Software, Video Games on September 30, 2008 at 8:37 am

Part of my goals with these posts is teaching Flex for those just getting started.  What better way to learn Flex than by building a game of Tic-Tac-Toe.  Code is code and lessons can be learned/shared despite the final output.  You’ll (hopefully) learn tricks and methodologies for helping you code non-game projects via the code that I share and explain in this series.

There are  3 files that make up the complete game (right click to view/download the source) :

  1. Main.mxml – This has the Application tag
  2. GamePiece.mxml – This is the X/O game piece
  3. GameBoard.mxml – This is the tic-tac-toe gameboard

I’ll go over the 3 files, explaining logic on why/what from both the Flex and gaming perspective. Read the rest of this entry »

Building Games with Flex: Tic-Tac-Toe Version 1

In Flash*Flex*AS, Game Programming, Programming, Technology and Software, Video Games on September 25, 2008 at 9:16 am

Getting Started

Note,  while this isn’t anything like PlayCrafter, it is my small step into the huge world that is game making.  To get into gaming, I figured it would be best to start with the language I use day in and out: Adobe Flex.  To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I coded just for fun with Flex.  Most non-Workday Flex code I’ve built on my own time has been for 360Conferences, for some technical training/presentation or for my articles on Adobe’s sites.  I forgot just how fun programming can be.

I set out late Friday night/early Saturday morning with one goal:  Exit the weekend with a working version of a game.  I didn’t want to put much game theory in.  I didn’t want to OOP the heck out of the code.  I just wanted to build something that I could play and post on the net to share. Read the rest of this entry »

Gaming: Playing both sides

In Business, Cell, Flash*Flex*AS, Playstation3, Programming, Technology and Software, Video Games on September 24, 2008 at 6:37 am

Being an OG – Original Gamer

For as long as I can remember, I’ve gamed (specifically the video kind).  Before I got married, I spent almost every birthday I can remember at Chuck E. Cheese’s (even my 21st!)  To me, birthday equated to gaming.  In addition to those special days, I have a lot of memories in life associated with gaming:

  • When I was 6 or 7,  I remember me and my dad going to our frequent hangout, an arcade down the street.  It was actually a miniature golf course, but we never did anything but game.  We’d play Vanguard together.  As you can see by this image, it had this unique setup.  It was one of the first games I can remember that had multiple buttons.  My dad would drive (use the control stick) while I sat shotgun (took control of the 4 direction shoot buttons).  Oddly, I think this contributed to my sense of it being okay to take the back seat for the greater good.  As long as the team wins, it doesn’t matter which position you play.
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Help me teach you Flex!

In 360Conferences, 360Flex, Business, Community, Flash*Flex*AS, flex training, Programming, silvafug, Technology and Software on July 28, 2008 at 11:14 am

John posed a question to me the other day: What’s important to you?  I’ll leave out the obvious answers: wife, two kids, and church.  He was asking more in relation to business and in particular, our business: 360|Conferences.  So I was noodling on an answer for him.

Saturday morning, I finally caught up on a thread on an internal Flex list.  The list was about a fairly common problem we have in the Flex world.  There seems to be a nefarious void that people learning Flex tend to fall into.  One where they’re beyond “This is a file.  This a tag, made up of brackets and text in between them.” and below “I just rewrote the AdvancedDataGrid component to run 50% faster.”  I have feelings in regards to how to help folks cross that void, so I started noodling a response to the thread.

Then it dawned on me, my two noodles were of the same type: helping folks grow and learn. Read the rest of this entry »