A few months ago I finally upgraded my cell phone and went for a Samsung Omnia from Verizon. Before I bought it I read some reviews on it and tinkered around with others in the store and it was one of those “lesser of two evils” things where I couldn’t find anything that was perfect so I picked something that sucked the least.
One of the things about the omnia that I didn’t like was it came with Flash Lite 2.1.. after 3.1 was released. Ah well. So I tinkered around some with packaging some little apps that I created and got 3.1 on it that way.. but it’s basically the “stand alone” player and not used for the browser. I don’t develop mobile apps for my day job, so this sub-par Flash support was more of a nuisance when I was browsing for fun and not something I really needed.
Well, last week I got around to looking at upgrading Opera and saw loads of articles hinting that the beta version would use Flash Lite 3.1.. I downloaded and installed it.. and it still had 2.1. oh well.. In the process of looking for info on the Opera beta I stumbled upon Skyfire. It gives me full Flash 10 (10,0,22,87) support on my little mobile phone. It has some pretty big quirks as far as UI (like entering text in Flash apps), but it’s nice to have another option.
So just for kicks I dug around and looked at some of my old performance tests and some other tests out there on the web.. and whoa.. I was shocked. My cell phone ran the tests faster than my old XP rig (which I was playing Half Life 2 on not long ago..). But on the graphics heavy tests it kind of freaked out.. an example is when I ran this test my little omnia was chugging along at 25fps and then sometimes it would jump to 30 or 35. It wasn’t smooth at all. When I added more objects for it to spin around things would get really exciting. The graphics would freeze up, then the Flash Player would rush to display everything. If I put 7 objects on there it would drop to 10fps for a few seconds, then zip up to 40fps, then stabilize at about 30fps for a few seconds, then drop back. But.. . . the ability to run Flash Player 10 on something I can fit in my pocket? Wow.
Now if the Omnia would just work a little better as a phone.. hehe.
While I was at FlashForward I had an interesting moment.. four of us sitting at a table were asked what one new feature we would wish for in some upcoming Flash Player. This isn't so unusual, but Tinic
was at my table. Umm.. so we kind of had an ace up our sleeve. Heh.
Macromedia and now Adobe have actually listened to a LOT of the requests from the Flash community (they've ignored a lot too, but we'll forgive them for now). So I gave it a few moments to sink in where I was, who I was with, etc...
My first response was "bi-directional text" .. which the others at the table quickly said "it's coming".. and I said.. yep, I've worked with it and I think it's going to be huge and thanks a ton
. That would be the one feature that imho will have the biggest impact on my day to day work for quite a while. It's a huge new feature. I asked for it for years and it's finally coming. I got to thank someone who was directly responsible for making it happen and that's a very rare and cool thing.
My second response was something that I'm sure has been heard a lot in the last couple of years. Flash is getting onto mobile devices at a rapid rate, and many of those mobile devices are GPS enabled. If Flash could provide an easy way for designers and developers to access GPS data then we would see some very cool location aware applications on mobile devices. Sure there are security and privacy risks to be dealt with. Sure it would mean extra weight for the Flash Player.. but it could lead to some fun stuff. And as we saw and heard at FlashForward.. it's all about having fun.
I know getting GPS into Flash (or AIR) is possible already but.. ummm.. here, go take a look at what Andrew Powell blogged about on Saturday
.. watch the video and you'll see what it took for him to get GPS data into AIR. It's very, very cool, but probably more than most Flash designers want to undertake. Bill Perry wrote an article a while back
about getting GPS data into Flash, but it involved saving the data out to a text file and a few other steps.. Even Mike Chambers had some fun with GPS and AIR
for the AIR bus tour.. and gave info about it under "Describe the project in which you have used the most advanced technology
". If it's advanced technology for him.. then it's probably something that could be made easier for us mere mortals.
On the way home from FlashForward I thought about the question a bit more. Is there anything else that I'd rather see? I have a long list of little things that I'd like to see fixed or added, but those have already been listed many times by others (and myself). My day to day work wouldn't really benefit from a location aware Flash Player but I still think it's a feature that could propel the Flash Player onto more devices... especially since Adobe opened up the licensing for custom devices
There is one other feature that I'd like even more, but I'll hold onto it until another day.
Looking at SWF metadata
Friday, April 04, 2008
I saw the recent post about the XSS vulnerability if a SWF was published from an old application (old news..).. here
.. and it reminded me that a while back I was looking for a way to read the SWF metadata from within the SWF. I can't go into why.. but at the time I couldn't find a way to do it. I'm sure it could be hacked pretty easily but didn't see a direct and easy way to do it.
So I looked at the docs
on metadata and it looked promising..
but the metaData returned from the document when I checked it from JSFL was: "XML Metadata is :<rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#"><rdf:Description rdf:about="" xmlns:dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/"><dc:title>my dinky little title</dc:title><dc:description>some super important description</rdf:Description>"
The examples in the docs also show CreateDate and CreatorTool.. hmm.
<xmp:CreatorTool>Flash Authoring WIN 8,0,0,215</xmp:CreatorTool>
which might be of interest.. hmm.. I might have to spend some time looking into reading the header of a SWF
again and see what turns up. Maybe somebody has already figured this one out and I just haven't searched around enough.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
The other day (when I was finally getting out of a month or so of fog..) I wrote kind of (heh..) a rambling post
and I got a couple of IMs from Phillip Kerman encouraging me to do "why" videos
for a little therapy.
lol.. yep. I'd looked at his "why" vids a while ago and laughed so hard I almost stomped on my dog (you know.. laughing, stomping feet, dog right at my feet.. ah.. nm) and so I listened to him. I don't think I have the time each day to devote to making the vids like he did, but I had a few minutes to go and watch his and laugh a bit and it made me feel better.
He's poking some pretty good fun at/with Adobe with things like .. Why is the old Captivate logo gone?
and Max Dates are set!
. He's ended his "why flash" focused videos (for the moment I bet..) and started to focus on some more serious content. Here, go take a look at his latest ones from yesterday: Why SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
and stock photography
He made me laugh.. and gave me something to blog about.. that's good therapy, yep. It ranks up there with watching sparks fly from grinding steel or maybe the smell of .. ah.. fresh Diesel.