Adobe Flash Graveyard

Ok so the silly graphic I made for this post is not entirely accurate. Adobe Flash did not die … but for all intents and purposes it did back in 2010 when Steve Jobs wrote his infamous letter about it. While Adobe made some smart moves since then to stay in the game it definitely was somewhat forced to move on from being the primary, most popular platform for creating slick animation and interactive experiences on the web.

While I do enjoy the new frontiers of design and development my job and hobbies involve that, sadly, have little to nothing to do with Flash, I have to say it’s a lot more work to produce stuff as shiny and fun w/the new, non-Flash tools we use today. That may just be a reflection of my skill/experience levels not being what they should be … but I also think it’s just a fact that nothing has come around yet that allows designers and animators the ability to create stuff as quickly, as creative and as polished than Adobe Flash did.

Much of my early career invovled a lot of Flash work but as the years go by it becomes harder to keep track of them – let alone keep them online somewhere where eveyone can still access them since no Apple phones/tablets can view them anymore.

Anyhow … I know this whole topic is years old but recently I decided I would create some screencast movies of some of them for safe(r) keeping and to provide a more convenient way to share them w/a world that has for the most part moved on from the “Flash Plugin” days. Anyhow … see below for the Flash things I’ve archived so far. I may/may not add to the list. If you’re bored feel free to play one or two of the below … make sure to click the HD and fullscreen buttons! 🙂

My Portfolio: 1998-2008

What’s It Going to Be 2008

What’s It Going to Be 2006

Baby Announcement (Lincoln)

Super Golf

Guitar Chord Tutor

Think or Swim (Wheel of Fortune)

A Day to Remember

My 1999 Website (so old and cheesy!)

Introspective: Born Into Different Situations

This painting has been on my iPad for quite some time but in my head much longer. I think the concept deserves a much better artist’s rendering but I wanted to do it irregardless of how much I may or may not loathe the execution.

I don’t think this one needs much explanation. I will say that I think about the vast differences between my life and the lives of men in generations before me quite a lot. There’s not really a word that sums up the mind-boggling amounts of unfairness, misfortune, and despair that so many experienced in the past.
I realize there is plenty of suffering and unfairness in the modern world – as I also realize there are likely much worse historical events that could be depicted here than the three I chose. This painting is just meant to start the thought/converstation – I’ll leave it up to the viewer what other dark periods of our history he/she wants to reflect on.

Job Change #4

As some of you know by now, today was my last day at what was my full time job for the past 2 years. I won’t get into details or company names here but suffice it to say that I felt it was time to re-align my career with a job that A.) utilized more of my talents and B.) involved work that I could (at least sometimes) be passionate about. I realize that’s a pretty tall (picky) order to make in the current times we live in (just having a job is hard enough for many people). Honestly that mentality is a large reason why I stayed there for 2 years. I figured I’d shut up and be thankful to have a job, and find a way to make it work over time. Unfortunately that approach didn’t pan out and my family can attest to the fact that cramming that square peg in the circle for 2 years took it’s toll on me/us. For the record – a few of the key things that motivated me to get up and do something about it were the books “Delivering Happiness“, “Rework” and of course my recent finding of Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford address.

Anyhow – this will be the 4th time I’ve “changed” jobs now since my 1st job out of college. I know that’s pretty common these days but I still think it’s weird. I wish life was like it was when my grandfather was working – where you got a job and worked it for 30+ years and then you retired happily ever after (more or less).  I really want to find a job I can stay at for the long haul so I don’t end up moving through 20 jobs with nothing to show for it by the time I retire. Naturally I’m hoping my next job (starting in a week) will be just that.

In any case – with this latest job change I’m setting a new rule for myself which is that I will always try to make sure my job is something I’m proud and passionate about – and that I won’t hesitate to change jobs again if that stops being the case. Easier to say than do of course  – here’s hoping I can stick to it.

PS: Special thanks to my long-time friend/colleague Marc who gave me this parting gift – as well as the developers who gave me a very warm send-off. I plan on staying in touch w/all you guys.

My New Year Resolutions for 2011

Are you allowed to talk about new year’s resolutions before Jan 1st? December 28th is close enough right? In any case here I go. But before talking about next year I’ll review how I did in 2010. As some of you might recall, I set two resolutions for 2010: “Save My Fingers” and to do a “365/Sketch-a-Day Project“…

2010 Resolutions Review

2010 Resolution #1: Save My Fingers | Grade: F-

Sadly I failed miserably on this one.  I did OK for the first couple months -I  even had one trip to get a manicure – which was weird, surreal and fascinating.  But around March I started to realize that to truly accomplish the goal I’d set for this would actually take up a decent amount of $ due to all the various nail/hand products needed for the daily “care” involved. I guess I should have expected that – but I didn’t think of that at the outset so I opted to save the $ and let this resolution go – probably ending this year in the same (bad) shape as last year.

Oh well! Maybe I’ll find some frugal finger care blog somewhere to encourage me to try again.  If nothing else – this was worth the attempt for the manicure experience alone. I hope Jane the manicure girl is doing well. 🙂

2010 Resolution #2: 365 Project: Sketch-a-Day | Grade: A+

Fortunately I succeeded with my second resolution of 2010. At first it was a bit hard to get my brain to squeeze out even a 2 minute sketch of anything at the end of the day – but I eventually got in a habit and found ways to keep the ideas going. One of the more helpful things was that Lincoln and Corgan would often draw a “picture of the day” themselves next to me – which made it a fun group thing a lot of the time. Plus when I had artist’s block – Linc would always have an idea for a sketch topic… “Hey Linc… what should I draw tonight?”.

Here’s a link to all sketches for the year – the numbering may be confusing but there should be 365 in there (after the 31st).

2011 Resolutions!

2011 Resolution #1: 365 Project: iPhone-Painting-a-Day…(or Week!)

Most of you know I really love doing paintings on my iPhone so this one seems like a natural evolution of the “sketch” project. Of course, pretty much all iPhone paintings I’ve done to date have been 5+ hours each so doing something in 5-10 minutes every day may turn out to be quite a challenge – so I’m reserving the right to downgrade this resolution to an iPhone-Painting-a-Week if the first couple weeks go badly.  I have no idea what kind of art styles/techniques this will lead to – we’ll find out I guess. Will be interesting to see if I miss the pencil/paper from 2010…

2011 Resolution #2: Submit an app or game to the Apple App Store

Gulp.

Here is the big one – the one that will take actual focus and hard work.  This will make doing a silly 5-10 minute iPhone painting a day/week seems like cakewalk. Make sure to note the wording of this one though – my goal here is to submit an app or game to the App Store. Whether it gets accepted/listed or not is not part of the deal! It’s ambitious enough to aim to get something in a state that’s worth submitting to the App Store – so as long as I submit the app or game by December 31st, 2010 I will consider this one a success.

As some of you may/may-not know – there are companies you can “sell” you idea to who will handle the actual development of the app/game for you – my goal (at least at this point) is to NOT use a service like this! I want to build the whole thing myself! (ask me that in 6 months though…)
I have a couple ideas for what I might do here but I’ll give that a month or two before committing. Of course if any of you have ideas (for an app or game) by all means chime in!

Ok that’s it. I’m sure I could come up with 5 more resolutions to aim for – but I think 2 is a nice manageable number for me. I have other goals for the year – but they’re not year-spanning in scope so they’re not going to be listed here.

I just noticed… both my resolutions are completely connected to my iPhone – funny. Just goes to show that it is STILL the best money I ever spent on an electronic device and my most precious possession…after my kids, wife, my health, life – you know… the small stuff!

Chime in if any of you have set resolutions for yourselves!

3 > 1

Just in case anyone was thinking my love for iPhone painting has already started to fade – I am working on a new one! In fact, the reason its taken so long to get a new one done is because I’ve actually been working on *3* instead of just 1. As soon as I really got into the 1st one, I thought of another idea, and then it happened again… so here I am.

I’m not sure which will be done first, but one should be done soon – I know, the world is on the edge of it’s seat. Stay tuned and try to hold on.

Truly “great” movies

Mp-thelaststation-2010I just finished watching the movie “The Last Station” – and it was one of those movies that was so good I had to watch the entire ending credits.

The movie was a time period piece on the last year(s) of Leo Tolstoy’s life. That may not sound very inviting, but everything about the movie was well done (IMO): the music, the cinematography, the acting etc – so even with a storyline as grim-sounding as this you couldn’t take your eyes off it (at least I couldn’t!)

I wonder if people working on a film like this know they’re creating something special – or if it’s “just another job”.

Anyhow – this movie officially goes down in my list of truly “great” movies – along with “Into the Wild”, “Saving Private Ryan”, “The Edge” etc. Only thing I would have changed would have been to have watched it at the movie theater with Holly (instead of by myself). But kids, schedules, etc make finding “shared” magic movie moments like this near impossible to find these days. 🙁

From Hogs to Blogs

When I was a kid my Dad had a Harley Davidson motorcycle. I can’t remember how often he rode it but when he wasn’t carting me or one of my brothers around in the back seat I bet it was probably a pretty cool way to disconnect, relax and recharge himself from the day job and the general “challenges” of fatherhood.

Sadly I don’t have a motorcycle or anything half as cool so my options for ‘recharging’ are much more limited at the moment. So until I come up with something more manly/non-electronic I’ll use this blog as my space to disconnect every so often and remind myself that I am more than just a Dad and that “I am not my job“… even if both roles do take up 98% of my time!
Don’t get me wrong – I love my kids to pieces (work – not so much) – I’m just trying to be proactive to maintain fractions of my individuality while still being as good a Dad as possible… if that makes any sense.

So – I’ll post random thoughts/notes here from time to time – swing by every so often to see if I have anything interesting (or not) to say. As always – all family-related stuff will continue to be posted on our family blog…

Chris discovers minimalism

Most people who know me know I’m a huge pack rat… of things both physical and digital. However last week I stumbled on to a blog post about “minimalism* Specifically a maintaining a minimalist home and/or lifestyle and ironically it really caught my interest! One of the key things about the article that got my attention was the fact that it was pairing up concepts like “getting more done by doing less”, “surround yourself with only stuff that matters” and other normally lame cliché phrases with tactical instructions on how to actually achieve those things. So – in standard OCD fashion I proceeded to devour as many “minimalism” guides/articles I could find and by the weekend I had read enough to know I wanted to try it out.

Most “minimalism” guides I’ve read so far recommend starting small by picking 1 room of the house to start on vs. trying to tackle whole house at once… so I decided to attack our 3rd floor* my home office/TV room. Here’s what I was dealing with “before”…

Before

After spending every minute of my (scarce) weekend free time I made some decent progress. My efforts had produced ~7 full hefty trash bags of stuff, an impressive stack of broken-down cardboard boxes and various junk computer equipment (dead printer, empty computer case, old sound cards etc). I even got rid of %30 of what was in the storage closets too!

So what filled up all those bags of trash? Well – it was quite a varied list of things

  • Stacks old sound/video cards
  • Useless computer cables/peripherals
  • Stacks of obsolete software CDs
  • Misc college junk
  • Sega Dreamcast & Peripherals* More on this later
  • Empty electronics boxes
  • … and much more!

Here are a couple “after” photos

After!

These photos are just of my desk but I “minimalized” the entire attic – so now there is nothing just “lying around” anymore – everything is tucked away in an appropriate drawer, shelf etc now.

Another big moment during all this was the act of packing up all my beloved “nick nacks” and other “collectible” items – one of the biggest being my mountain of [World of Warcraft] stuff. I’ve been away from the game for a few months now – and don’t rule out a possible future return – but according to the minimalism rules I couldn’t leave this pile of stuff lying around.

Photos or it didn’t happen…

Packing my WoW stuff up like this was a big deal – almost felt like I was putting all my WoW friends in a bag and sending them away forever. Of course I didn’t throw this stuff away! It’s lovingly tucked away in an attic storage closet now – hopefully there is enough air in there for them to breathe.

Being a self-admitting OCD-prone person I realize this could all just be a “kick” that I could possibly abandon one day – but it’s hard to imagine that now because I am really enjoying the feeling/concept of it. Another good sign is that I’ve already taken my zeal down a floor and attacked my wardrobe closet and my side of the master bathroom. I tossed ~50% of the clothes in my closet* Half was trash, half I'll donate and did the same with my side of the bathroom! My bathroom sink counter now only has a bar of soap on top! Crazy – and awesome.

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Bathroom and Closet (After)

On the surface I know this looks like I’ve just done some spring cleaning – but the twist to it that has me semi-addicted is this notion of “throwing away the junk you don’t need”. Plus, I find the minimalism concept of keeping most flat surfaces clear (“decluttering”) fascinating as well. Who knows – maybe this is me having a nervous breakdown – but all I can think about right now is… what room do I attack next! (garage, kitchen, ?).

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