Tuesday, May 25, 2010

From the Trenches: Apple vs Flash Part 3

Tuesday, May 25th 1547 hours

Just when it appeared Apple had Adobe Flash cornered, Google enters the fray.

Last week Google unveiled Google TV at their developer conference and joining Google's VP of Engineering, Vic Gundotra, on stage in support of the platform were some other tech heavy hitters:  Sony boss Sir Howard Stringer, Intel's Paul Otellini, Best Buy's Brian Dunn, and Adobe's chief executive, Shantanu Narayen.

That's right, Google is going full steam ahead with Flash on their mobile Android platform, their Chrome browser which just graduated from Beta, and now coming soon to a TV near you - Google TV.

Attempts at a blended TV/web interactive experience using your television are usually half-baked and clunky but Google aims to change that with the Intel Atom chip to deliver fluid browsing, content, apps and games - all from your remote.

It will also be interesting to see how Google incorporates the power of its powerful speech recognition software.

Our embedded operative and Android tester, Jim Bail, who watched some of the conference webcast, reports the Google gang stuck a big bullseye on Steve Jobs and Apple, calling out comparisons to Big Brother and warning of a Draconian future.

Now let me go search Google for images that include the terms "trench, war, and television."

Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

From the Trenches: Apple vs Flash Part 2

Thursday, May 20th 0956 hours

The big thing that everyone is missing in this Flash War is the fact that Flash is not just video.
Sure, it's the preferred platform of the moment because practically everyone has Flash and can run it in their browser the same as the next.
But if HTML5 or some other technology bumps Flash from its web video throne, Flash will still be the only competent authoring tool for interactivity and animation on the web.
Sure, we've all learned that big splashy Flash intros are bad.
And we all know that what most people want on the web is content and they want to get it quickly without jumping through hoops.
But do you really want to eat chicken every single day?
What about the one day out of the week when you want to change things up, to try something different? To use your imagination?
How else are we to achieve the seamless cinematic quality of a big beautiful Flash site produced in capable and creative hands?
Or a game?
Club Penguin anyone?
Do you think it can be done in HTML5?
Have you seen the amazing "look what I did in HTML5" animations floating around?
They stink.
According to a 2009 Quantcast study, mobile web is less than 1.5% of all web browsing in the US - and that includes the iPhone, iPod Touch and every other mobile device you can think of.
Mobile computing is clearly on the rise, and the iPad will likely add to Apple's mobile share but we're not talking total domination here - not by a long shot.
It's a safe bet that the remaining 98-point-something percent of web users will not abandon their Flash-enabled browsing experience anytime soon.
Flash is safe...for now.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

From the Trenches: Apple vs Flash Part 1

Tuesday, May 18th 1539 hours

It's true what they say, war really is hell.
I'm torn in this battle, like the kid in a divorce.
I grew up using Apple and Adobe products.
Once upon a time, before Adobe acquired Macromedia and a little web animation program called Flash, Apple and Adobe were like peanut butter and jelly for creatives–they just went together.
No more.
I love Apple, but make no mistake, Steve Jobs wants to control the web the same way he controls his products, because that's how he controls the user experience and that's how Apple makes money.
Adobe is no better, they've been charging ridiculous amounts of money for their software and forcing paid upgrades every year or so with seemingly little regard for their loyal customers.
Why? Because they can.
A quick check of the Adobe website, has the Creative Suite 5 Web Premium going for almost $2,000.
That's 2,000 bucks to get started with what is considered the essential, industry-standard software suite.
Instead of bickering, Adobe should step back and take a hard look at themselves and admit they've been riding the gravy train for too long.
They should seize this moment as an opportunity to improve their products, lower prices, connect with their customers and take advantage of their market position.
Everyone already has Flash.
It's much tougher to get people to change.
Make better, cheaper products and treat your customers with respect.
We'll all be happier in the end.
Or keep digging in your heels and wait for someone else to step in and do it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

New Turtle Pond VideoMaker Launches!

Now you can make a custom video mashup using video clips, text, and music, from the entire Turtle Pond library, featuring Owen and Mzee, Miza, and Winter!
Registered users can save their creations and share them with friends.
The new Videomaker is available at winterstail.com, miza.com and owenandmzee.com – just click on the VideoMaker icon and unleash your inner Kubrick.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hot Stuff - Safety Games For Kids

When the educational company we all used to work for finally went belly-up amid corporate downsizing and synergizing, we kind of thought learning through game play went with it. Not so, as it turns out.

We just finished a set of games for Weekly Reader on behalf of their client, the Home Safety Council. Forget those posters and washed out videos you had when you were a little kid – now Pre-K and K kids learn about home safety through the magic of games.

Two dalmatian puppies, Wiggle and Giggle, bring basic, important home safety tips to life in four animated games involving sorting, dress-ups, mazes and puzzles. Good fun, and good for you.