There were two things that I learned about the elevator pitches as a pitcher myself that I hadn’t appreciated from sitting in the audience the previous year. Firstly, I really don’t have a clue what most of the other pitches were about. When you aren’t on stage, you are sat in a line behind the thick heavy black curtain at the back of the stage, thinking about your own pitch. So we are all waiting for the online videos to appear so we can see what we missed! The other point is that behind the scenes, three of the lifeguards (the FOTB volunteers that help make the event run so smoothly) plus the Dome’s Audio-Visual technical guys are frantically organising everyone, ensuring we are all “miked up”, laptops at the ready, for each of our individual moments of glory. Those folk also were in at 7:45, and had stayed until 7pm the previous evening, to help us rehearse. So I want to say a really big thank you to the lifeguards: Andy Lewis, Chris Kelly and Tal Woolf, plus Rich, Neil and the rest of the technical crew for helping make my moment on stage such an awesome experience.
Where in the world? Intercontinental Ballistic Flash
The next session of the day for me was by Jon Howard, who did an elevator pitch last year and was back doing a full session this year. The session promised a lot of maps and a little on games. It was a really good session, but for me it had too little on the maps and too much on playing about blowing things up (the games). I put that down to me not knowing anything about Jon though and having unrealistic expectations. He did show us one really clever trick for controlling a camera as it zooms into a map and it involved Excel! Jon’s technique was to create a few rows of data of say an x value against an angle. These points were then plotted on a scatter graph and a best fit curve applied. Excel can then show the formula it used to create the best fit line. This formula is then used in the code to control the camera. Genius!
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Joa Ebert was next. Last year, the guy got a standing ovation at the end of his session and so he was really nervous in the run up to his session this year as he had massive expectations to live up to. He needn’t have worried though as he showed us the great features of the completely rewritten Apparat, along with demonstrations of just how fast JITB is. For those that don’t know, JITB is a JVM-based flash player that he has written. He takes the ABC bytecodes of a SWF file and recompiles them to JVM bytecodes. By then using the hardware accelerated OpenGL graphics library, his flash player can run super fast 3D imagery that leaves the current Adobe Flash Player looking decidedly lame.
What the Flux!?
After lunch, it was off to watch Seb Lee-Delisle’s session. I was expecting great things from Seb and wasn’t disappointed. His session looked back on the Apple versus Flash debarcle. It was a really well structured and well balanced talk, interspersed with interviews with Andy Budd, Jeremy Keith, Remy Sharp, Jer Thorp, Brendan Dawes and Branden Hall. There was a hilarious section in which Seb attempted to present the results of a survey he carried out in the form of the Family Fortunes game show. Unfortunately, five of the six contestants had never heard of it and it descended into light-hearted chaos. Seb offered the suggestion that Steve Job’s wrote his “Thoughts on Flash” article to try and remove the advantage Apple’s competitors have in offering Flash on mobile when Apple do not.
Adobe Agency Drinks and Debate at Flash on the Beach
Seb’s session was the end of the day for me as far as the main conference went. I took time out from sessions to catch up on real work and the the like. In the evening though, I took advantage of the invitation I received to Adobe’s debate at the Seattle hotel. We were taken by bus and treated to a truly bizarre tour talk. The event itself was great: free beer, a lively debate on apps versus the “mobile web” and a nice meal to round things off. If you get the chance to go to next year’s event, I’d recommend it.
One thing that did surprise me about the event though was the lack of topic knowledge that certain members of the “expert panel” had as they clearly did not understand the difference between the internet and the web. At least this gives me a topic to cover in a near-future piece here though!
So ended the best FOTB day for me ever. I’ll round off therefore with a huge thank you to John Davey for allowing me to take part in the elevator pitch.