My Last Week at Adobe

A little more than six years ago I was working at Fujitsu as well as contracting with Macromedia doing work on the DRKs and other Macromedia projects with my brother Josh. I was then made an offer I couldn’t refuse (thanks to Mike): to move out to San Francisco and join the Macromedia Central team and kick off six amazing years of ‘work.’

What I thought might last a year or two, has ended up being one of the greatest experiences of my life. And as you can probably tell by the tone, it will be coming to an end very soon. I recently submitted my resignation to Adobe and this will be my last week at the company.

I have worked for what I believe is one of the most amazing and innovative groups of engineers, product managers and management in the world. I have worked on great projects; some that have been immensely successful, some not so much. I have had the privilege of working on projects with some of the largest and most influential companies in the valley such as AOL, Yahoo! and Facebook, as well as many other smaller ones. By bus, train, or airplane, I have travelled hundreds of thousands of miles to more countries, cities and conferences than I care to count visiting with thousands upon thousands of developers, customers and partners. All of my closest friends are people I have met while fulfilling my role as evangelist while at Adobe or Adobe employees themselves. I seriously have my dream job. All of this made the decision to leave that much more difficult.

But recently I was presented with the opportunity to help start a new company here in Dallas that will be focused on creating both hardware and software for large interactive multi-touch and mixed reality display systems. I will be running day-to-day operations for the company, along with two other partners and a team of stellar engineers and developers. We are going to be pushing the envelope of what is possible in Flash on some cutting edge hardware, so I won’t be leaving the community to far behind.

This was an opportunity that my time at Adobe has adequately prepared me for. Adobe has afforded me the opportunities and freedom to fill many different roles and have provided all the support necessary. So I would just like to publicly say ‘thank you’ to the company for bringing me to this point and opening so many doors for me.

But more importantly I want to thank the community. It is the Flash community that made my job so enjoyable and made me so successful. We have the most amazing and open community. We have our spats now and then, but we all seem to be able to sit down and have drink together and put that behind us. How cool is that? And while I won’t be an ‘official’ Adobe representative any more, I look forward to seeing you at conferences and events in the future in my new role and showing off some of the cool projects we will be working on.

PS. While my Adobe email address will not work after this week, you can still reach me at

Adobe: A Family Business

While this may be slightly off topic, I figured this was a good post since most of you that know me, also know my brother Josh. (Is it just me or has his blog been even more quiet than mine!) Anyways, he just announced on Twitter (here, here, and here) that he is leaving Blockdot, the adver-gaming company he has been at for a while, to take a position with Adobe. Ill leave it to him to give more of the details. But suffice it to say, I think Adobe made a great choice.

To close, here is a little fact which you may or may not find interesting. It was Josh who introduced me to Flash! It was back in 2000 I believe. While I had toyed a very little with Flash 3 and Flash 4, Josh really encouraged me to try it out again in the Flash 4 and 5 days. Needless to say, I got hooked 🙂 A year or so later I started a blog, I then joined the Macromedia Central team which both Josh and I had been contracting with at the time, and the rest is history.

So, now that there are two Duras at Adobe, what should we do with our new found power? (insert evil laugh here)

The Ribbit $100,000 Killer App Challenge

I know that all the talk of the weakening economy has you down, but guess what? There is a way to pocket a ton of cash by doing what you probably already do well: building an application using Flash, Flex, or AIR that uses the Ribbit platform. Ribbit has announced the $100,000 Killer App Challenge. This contest will award $100k in prize money to developers in five categories who submit applications that use Ribbit technology.

Ribbit allows you to very easily build voice enabled Flash applications, so even if you don’t sign up for the contest, this is some very cool technology to play with. But come on, if $100k in prize money doesn’t give you an incentive to try it out and build an app, I don’t know what will!

I am also happy to announce [in a slightly evil and sarcastic tone] that along with Lee Brimelow and Matt Chotin, I will be one of the three judges for the contest. There is a little less than three months left in the contest, so you better hurry and sign up, and get working on your app! And just as a note, this contest is open to US AND non-US residents.

I Got My Wings!

While I usually keep this blog strictly ‘work related’ I am going to get a little personal. Yesterday evening I became an official FAA certified pilot. After a year and a half of training, almost 90 hours of flight time, passing an FAA knowledge test, and three hours with an authorized examiner, I was officially handed my temporary pilot certificate. (The real fancy one comes in the mail in a few weeks!)

I was bitten by the flying bug as a child, like many pilots, and no matter what I did it never seemed to go away. It was a horrible nagging feeling that just wouldn’t subside. Every time I saw a plane I would imagine flying it myself. About two years ago I thought to myself, “why haven’t I done anything about this!?” I went online, did some research, found an instructor, joined the flying club, and started my training. Many hours later (and unfortunately many dollars later) I finally got my pilot certificate.

Honestly, I couldn’t have done it without people like Vance Cochrane, my instructor, the advice of many other great instructors at West Valley Flying Club here in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Sherry Diamond, a very professional and fair examiner. I feel lucky to have done many things in my life, but nothing really comes close to the feeling of accomplishment I have right now. While there are many more ratings ahead of me and many more check rides, I am sure nothing will compare to this feeling.

So, my suggestion to you: if you have that same bug, that itching feeling to go flying when you see a plane fly over, do something about it! While it is a lot of work, it is also very rewarding. And quite honestly, would you rather be sitting at home this weekend watching TV, or be thousands of feet up in the air zooming across the country side? I’ve made my choice.

A New Look for My Site

Can you believe it has been three years since I started this weblog? I can’t say that I have been the most prolific poster, but the site has always been somewhat cathartic for me. It has allowed me to share my thoughts and experience in this field, especially in relation to Flash Platform technologies.

So, to celebrate this moment, I have released a redesign that has long been in the works. It took many nights to come up with the concept, and even more to make sure the CSS was working correctly. I feel like this new site will enable me to share even more with you going forward. Here are a few of the highlights of the new facelift:

*Tags:* I have moved away from categories and now implemented a tag based system. This is a little bit of an experiment. I have implemented an AJAX based page that allows you to browse articles that have been tagged. Hopefully you should better be able to find the information you are looking for.

*Projects:* This are will list the projects I have worked on in the past, projects I am currently working on, and projects that I release for you to download on this site. My goal this year is to share more code with you. This is where you will be able to find it.

*Community News:* In the bottom of the main page you will find this section. It will provide a list of links to articles, news items, other weblog entries that I find interesting in my day to day browsing. These will mostly be related to Flash technologies, but may include the random link that I feel may interest you.

*Where I Can be Found:* If you ever wonder which conference I will be at next, now you will know! I will also be back dating this section and adding in past conferences and associated presentation information and materials.

Those are a few of the new additions. I hope to add even more and make this a more productive year for my weblog. My current interests are driving me to do some Flash Lite development, so I am sure you will see that reflected here. If you have any comments about what you would like to see, please feel free to send me feedback. Also, a big thanks to my brother Josh for helping out by giving great feedback throughout the development of this site. He kept encouraging me to stick with it even though the programmer inside me wanted to make everything look like some antiquated ASCII terminal. Here’s to another great year of blogging.

My Past Life as a Rock Star

OK, so I wasn’t exactly a rock star, but I did play bass for a number of years. I mainly played Jazz, focusing on Big Band and Swing. I also ventured into the Rock world every now and then, covering the latest and greatest of the time with a few different fly by night bands (my personal favorite group to cover is Smashing Pumpkins). In college I even studied music education. But alas, the technophile inside took over, and here I am today. Needless to say though, I am still intrigued by music, and especially when technology and music intersect. Gizmodo just featured a really cool device I thought you might find interesting. It is a guitar tuner that uses light to allow you to precisely tune your strings. If you understand the basic principles of sound and string physics, you will realize what a simple principle this is based on. I love it when technology takes these ideas and enhances our lives. Now, where was this when I was trying to tune using harmonics on a loud darkened stage?

Read more about the Strobopick here.

The Holidays Begin

Well, currently my wife and I are passing through Reno on our way to Salt Lake for Thanksgiving. I am making this post in the car on my Sidekick II (I LOVE this thing.) I actually will be making a post tomorrow with some updates. I have a new Flex app that I have built that I wan’t everyone to check out (hint: if you like Halo, you will want to check it out). Anyways, other than that, I will pretty much be offline. So, have a happy Thanksgiving!