Tom Ortega II

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

On Being Special

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2016 at 9:55 am

This describes me in high school & college. I used to be obsessively creative. I often wrote several poems a day or several short stories a week or labored over a drawing for hours on end for days and days. I would listen to people talk at school noting how many topics were covered and what the sentences were that switched the topics. I’d put headphones on with no music so I could get really close to strangers and listen to the cadence of their conversations, to note how the were blunt or dancing around a topic, and their word choice. I remember having this huge capacity to love and since no girl wanted me to love them, I directed all that emotion and energy into creative works.

Traveling soon replaced creative energy. Seeing how other people lived around the world became a past time for me. I still love to watch people when I travel. I love to pick out the tourists from the natives as I depart a plane and walk around a city.

I guess I’ve always felt connected to the world without actually being connected to it.

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My first iPhone app – A Flex app port naturally! :)

In Uncategorized on August 5, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Fair readers of this blog may recall my Tic-Tac-Toe posts from awhile back.  The gist of the posts was this: I wanted to learn game dev, so I built a Tic-Tac-Toe game in Flex.  The plan was to start with really poorly written mxml files and then gradually improve them to more advanced AS3 files.  You can play the finished game here.  Now it was a lot of hardcoded logic, poor design, etc, but the point was to get something working pronto.

I pulled that game up the other day because my son and I like to play Tic-Tac-Toe on paper.  After a few minutes of playing online, my 5-year old threw down the gauntlet, “Dad, can I play this on the iPod [touch]?”  Never to be one to step away from a challenge, I said, “Not this one.  I’ll have to make a new one just for the iPod.”  To which he replied, “Okay, let me know when it’s done.”

That’s the thing about kids.  They don’t know, nor do they care, about how hard something is.  They just want to know when the final product is done, whether that be a baby brother or an iPod Touch game. Read the rest of this entry »

Bloggers vs News Agencies: -1 for News Agencies

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2009 at 9:27 pm

This one will be short. Over the years, bloggers have received grief about not being professional enough. This grief has come from big news agencies. I’ll agree, at times, bloggers do have a more lax feel to their posts. They may not have editors like news firms have, but their passion more than makes up for it.

HOWEVER, big news agencies are now losing credence in my mind these days. The drivel that is coming from them is frustrating.  I’m not talking about content either.  I’m talking about grammar.  It’s the one area where “professional” journalism is supposed to shine.  Sadly, more and more, it is not.  Here are three examples from the Reuters News Agency:

#1 Berkshire net sinks; Buffett says economy in shambles:

“Though the path has not been smooth, our economic system has worked extraordinarily well over time,” [Buffet] said. “It has unleashed human potential as no other system has, and it will continue to do so. America’s best days lie ahead.

Berkshire generates about half its results from insurance, including auto insurer Geico Corp, but operates more than 70 businesses that offer such things as carpeting, ice cream, paint, real estate services and underwear.

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Leaving the Valley, Geeks and Workday for the Desert, Family and my Startup

In 360Conferences, 360Flex, Business, Community, eBay, flex training, Kids, Silicon Valley Living, silvafug, Uncategorized on January 9, 2009 at 10:58 am

Yup, you read that right.  It’s been a wonderful 3+ years in Silicon Valley, but it’s time to head to the desert of Queen Creek, Arizona.  I jump started my career here.  It’s funny to say that because I moved here when I was 30!  But these past 3 years did more for my professional life than my previous 12 years of working in Southern California.

There are two reasons I’m moving.  One is sappy and is detailed on this post over on my spiritual blog.

The other is related to my day-to-day activities.  In these tough economic times, I feel lucky and sad at the same time.  Some out there do not have a job or are stuck in a deadend job.  I, on the other hand, have two great opportunities in my life.

The first is my employer for the past year and a half, Workday.  Many people come to the Valley in search of that great startup to join.  Workday definitely fits the bill.  The people are incredibly talented and the work is some of the most challenging out there.  My team is one of the best I’ve ever worked for.  (If you want to join the Workday UI team, drop me a note and your resume/cv at 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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Secret Matrix Footage Reveals the Truth about AIR

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2007 at 10:16 am

I get a phone call late last night. The voice sounds distant. I hear talk of Zion and of Neo. I try to ask what they are talking about, but the voice just says. “Visit the site. See the truth.”

I quickly run to my computer and pull it up. My eyes are open. I can see now. We must share the message with the world. We must let the truth be known.

See for yourself. Spread the word. Freedom is in the AIR.

< Sorry, you get the blue pill (i.e. the vid was pulled) />

The software-formerly-known-as-FDS has gone open source!

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2007 at 8:00 am

In case you haven’t heard, the server side messaging component of Flex is also going open source.

The Computerworld article:

From internet news:

CNET’s coverage:

Bravo, Adobe!

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.

Free Flex Training

In Uncategorized on November 1, 2006 at 8:55 am

That’s right. Your eyes ain’t deceiving ya. This is bonafide, real-deal training on Adobe’s Flex Product line. The training will be performed by me, so take it with a grain of salt, cuz it ain’t my day job. However, it’s absolutely and completely free! Stay for the meeting afterwards and you’ll even get free pizza and drinks to boot! How sweet is that?

I’m very excited to be able to provide this to the community. My employer, eBay, has given me their support and Adobe has volunteered to help any way they can. Lastly, roundpeg is going to be there to pick up the training where I leave off. If you’re curious about Flex and serious about learning it, then you need to be there. More details can be found at .

I know that some of the local boys (eBay, Yahoo, Google) are jumping on the Flex bandwagon. If you work there, be sure to post the flier (found at ) around the office and take advantage of this opportunity.

See you there!