A journal that focuses on Flash Platform development, and a little bit about what I am up to on any given day.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Teknision Hiring

Teknision is looking to add two new members to the team. We are looking for a developer and designer that are willing to relocate to the city of Ottawa.

More details can be found here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

UpdateHollywood gets FWA!

The first channel UpdateHollywood that has been built using the PermissionTV publishing platform has won "Site of the Day" from the Favourite Website Awards.

Congrats to all of the team that has worked with us on the project, including all the people from NetCableTV and Tim and Dan from Northcode for all the hard work on making the desktop player a reality.

Our part of the project has been the development of the "White Label UI" driven by CSS as well as the mark up language used to create interactive video content.

For more on PermissionTV see my previous post.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Apollo and Web Services

I noticed earlier this week that Mike Chambers, had put out feature requests or Apollo. This would most likely be a difficult task for most as the actual vision behind the Apollo project is blurry to most people.

I am going to assume (from what I have seen) that this vision is actually the evolution of Macromedia Central, mixed with AJAX and PDF.

Great, so what we are talking about here is a client (browser) built for housing Rich Internet Applications, allowing them to interact, and allowing untethering.

Now one feature I would see as important, would actually be a feature per se, but more a change in the way we have been approaching Web Services.

Web Services are the core driver of the new Web 2.0 movement, and a platform built to drive this movement has to make the consumption, and management of Web Services it's main concern.

Again I want to point people to Dick Hardt's presentation on Identity 2.0. Watch this before you read any further.

The important idea that I think Apollo needs to focus on is identity management. Adobe has the oppourtunity to really do something innovative here, because Apollo's sucess might be dependent on it.

Think about mashups for a moment. I have popped out a few of my own over the last few months. Mashups that leverage Flickr, and Eventful mainly.

Now if you had a client that was emploring you to build applications based on Web Services, and mash things up, you are quickly going to run into a problem.

If I build a Teknision image editor, that leverages Flickr, and a user of my application want to use it edit images in their Flickr account, am I doing the right thing when I ask the user for their authentication information in my application?

The answer is certainly not. I have no right to have direct access to any user's log in information to any service, so I can either breach their privacy, and they can hope I don't abuse it, or I can limit the functionality I provide in my app based on the fact that I don't want to breach their privacy.

So, what I believe is that Web Servies, and the management of them in Apollo, should be done at a base level underneath our actual applications. When my application is installed into Apollo, it would notify the end user that I will be leveraging the Flickr API and give the user the ability to set the appropriate credentials for that service.

More than that, if an application already uses it, then all that is important is that Apollo somehow notifies the user that I am using the service as well.

Now it would be crucial that actual user account information would never be exposed to our actual applications. It is truly not relevant as long as authentication has occured at the platform level.

So my feature request is a low level identity management layer for Web Services. I want to leverage them in my application, but I want the user to be in control of their data.

This is actually a pretty tall order considering there is no real standard for Authentication with Web Services, they all do it differently. But this is absolutely crucial, to the development of the Web 2.0 concept.

Maybe Apollo could be the trailblazer for standards in the arena.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Teknision Podcast - OCRI Presentation

Branded Applications

Last Thursday, Gabor Vida, the president of Teknision did a presentation to members of OCRI. The presentation was about Rich Internet Application development and Experience design. Most of the audience were marketers in Ottawa's technology sector.

Gab is a great speaker, and the presentation was awesome.

The above link will allow you to view it as Flash video in the browser, but if you would rather download it as a podcast in both audio and/or video format then subscribe to this url in ITunes:


A sneak preview of PermissionTV

A few times referred to a project I have been working on called PermissionTV . It is a pretty neat project, and we are starting to get to the point where we can show off some of it's capability.

Update Hollywood

In a nutshell, it is a Rich Internet Application designed to deliver Video content. It is similar to the concept of MTV Overdrive.

Working with NetcableTV, what we wanted to do was deliver a system where any content owner could create their own channel, serve it off their website and have people subscribe.

We have been working on ways to integrate with ad serving networks so that there is an option to provide content for free with ads, or paid, without ads.

More than that, PermissionTV is both a web and desktop application. The desktop application is currently very similar to the web application except you can actually download content, and view it offline, more than that it supports a huge range of video formats, and can play high definition video.( As an aside, the bonus is that the web and desktop version use the exact same binaries).

So, why is this cool? I mean there are alot of people out there in the market like Apple and Google that are building out video solutions for the masses.

PermissionTV is a platform for building an On-Demand channel from your website. More than that, it is totally Flash based, and is extensible. It is designed for content owners to be able to deliver their content in a way that keeps branding in the forefront as opposed to the video wholesale approach of Apple or Google.

All content is marked up using an XML markup language we have created called NCVML. It is a language that allows you to build interactive shows or episodes of video, that can cross reference other video, similar to how HTML works in web browsers.

The interface for PermissionTV leverages CSS along with NCVML to allow an enormous level of UI customization. More than that, there is an Actionscript development kit, that allows you to build custom content panels for the PermissionTV Browser, and Widgets for the PermissionTV Player.

The extensibility actually goes so deep that anyone could develop their own interface template for it if they wanted to do so.

So to get right down to business here, NetCableTV is starting to preview one of the early channels they have designed on the platform. If you are interested in checking it out here is the link:

Update Hollywood

Keep in mind that this is a preview release, we are still working hard on it. Feedback is greatly appreciated, feel free to leave a comment.

It is likely that most people won't understand the scope of the platform when looking at this first channel. When you see other channels that have been created with this, you will be amazed to see just how customizable this thing is right out of the box.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Tony, bring down the "D"

We took a day off from the usual stuff yesterday at Teknision, and focused on some team building. We have new faces joining the team, and as any team gets bigger it gets more important for the team to be able to communicate well to be effective.

We had a guy come into the office and work with us all. His name is: Ray Brule from Thruhim consulting. He had all the members of our team do DISC profiles and we spent the whole day analyzing the results and disussing ways that we can all communicate better with each other.

Earlier in the week, Paolo at our office sent the profile survey around to all of us. I must admit that when I recieved it I commented "Ah man, what is this stupid form!?"

Anyways, I am an idiot. The profiles generated by the DISC system are absolutely astounding. All ten members of our team found that when we recieved our personal reports, that the details were bang on the money in explaining how we actually behave.

We shared all of our profiles with each other, which is pretty important if you want to make any team progress. The DISC system suggests ways that one behavioual type can communicate with another in ways that are productive because many times the strengths of one type can be very much in opposition to another.

For example, here is my DISC Profile chart:

This chart suggests that my behaviour at work leans heavily on Dominance and Influence. That makes total sense for the role that I am in at work.

However, other members of our team may be very different, and in order for them to be effective I need to know when to assert my "I" or "D" but sometimes I have to pull them back, as I may overpower people that are more "S" or "C".

Right now I am talking very general, but the details in this system are amazing, and spending a day doing this with a team is very much worth it. Almost everyone on the team felt empowered, and more comfortable due to the fact that they now have new common language to use in the work enviornment with each other.

I would highly recommend that any team working closely together for any extended period of time, should go through this process. Ray provides DISC training locally here in Ottawa, but there are people almost anywhere trained to give these sessions.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Me and the Bitch, feel free to drop in.

Stacey Mulcahy (BitchWhoCodes) and myself are going to be doing a presentation over Breeze Live tonight to the Kansas City ColdFusion usergroup.

We are going to be talking about Flash and Flex, but this won't be a chat that is focused on code, instead it will be focused on how we have used Flash and how it led us to Flex and the amazing applications you can build on this platform. We are going to show the SNL Merger Model, and our internal Timetracker application, and the challenges we faced building them.

You can join us here at 7:30 PM EST:


Feel free to drop in if you are interested.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Teknision speaking events coming up

This week a few of us here at Teknision are going to be doing a little public speaking:

Wednesday, March 8th:

Stacey Mulcahy and I will be doing a presentation on RIA development with Flash and Flex to the Kansas ColdFusion user group. We are going to talk a bit about our TimeTracking Application as well as the SNL Merger Model.

Thursday March 9th:

Gabor Vida, our president will be speaking for OCRI about Rich Internet Applications in a Web 2.0 world, and how marketers can get involved.