Data Visualization, Maps, SpatialKey

Take the Tangent – Video of my 360|Flex Keynote

I was honored to be asked to give a keynote presentation at 360|Flex in DC last month. All the sessions were recorded, and John Wilker was gracious enough to let me post the full video of my keynote.

This keynote was a bit different. I went out on a limb a bit and talked about the experimental projects that I’ve been working on, and my belief in the importance of pursuing fun experiments to stay invigorated and passionate about our work. It covers a number of mapping and data visualization projects I’ve been playing with, but the point was really that we all need to pursue what we’re passionate about. For me that happens to be maps right now, but everyone has their own unique areas of interest.

If you’re interested in mapping work then the projects I talk about should be right up your alley. But even if you’re not a map geek, I think the presentation is still interesting and (I hope!) inspirational.

You can also see the slide deck on its own, but I think the video gives much better context to the slides.


Nate Beck’s Birthday Surprise at 360|Flex

Payback’s a Queen!

Nate got a special surprise in the middle of his session at 360|Flex. This should teach you a) don’t fuck with me and b) don’t do a presentation on your birthday.

Happy birthday Nate!

P.S. Apologies for the shaky camera work, there were plenty of other video cameras in the room recording (including the official tripod camera), so there will be a bunch of copies of this video up soon I assume.


Reflections on the first 360|Flex

The next 360|Flex conference is coming up in March in San Jose. I got to thinking about my history with 360|Flex and wanted to reflect on how important the conference has been for me. This post is about the very first 360|Flex conference that was in March 2007. It’s self-indulgent, but I hope it doesn’t come off as egotistical. My goal is to explain my personal experience and my path, not to brag about how cool I am.

I attended the first 360|Flex conference in San Jose simply as an attendee. I barely knew anyone (at least personally) in the Flex world. I had been attending the Flex user group meetings in San Francisco for just a bit before this conference and so I had met a few people very briefly like Tom Ortega (conference organizer) and Ted Patrick (Adobe evangelist). I had been blogging for literally only 3 months. I was still very inexperienced (even if I tried to mask that) and I wasn’t at all confident in myself (I really tried to mask that).

Opportunity #1:

The night before the first keynote of 360|Flex I got an email from Mark Anders from Adobe (who I had never met) telling me he was going to be showing a demo app of mine during the keynote. In the email he said:

“Make sure you attend the keynote, because I’m going to feature your RSS reader in it as a demo!  I hope that’s ok! 🙂  I’ll also be asking you to stand up and take a bow, so make sure you look great!  See you tomorrow!”

anders_rss_reader_360flexHope it’s OK? Fuck yeah, it’s awesome. Completely unexpected. I had butterflies in my stomach all night until the next morning, I was like a little schoolgirl. I got there early the next day, I wore a black sweater that I thought looked kind of professional in a dorky tech way, sort of Steve Jobs inspired. I realize now that I probably looked like a tool, but hey, it worked alright for me. Keynote came, the demo was shown, people seemed impressed and clapped and I did a little stand up wave kind of awkward thing. Super nervous, totally weird, but people saw my face. And after the keynote I met Mark and chatted with him and some fellow Adobe employees a bit (at the time I was seriously considering trying to get a job at Adobe, so I was sucking up pretty big time I think).

Opportunity #2:

On the second day of the conference Ted Patrick approached me and asked if I could put together a demo of FlexLib components to be shown at the keynote on the last day of the conference. I think this was in the afternoon and he was going to show it the next morning. I proceeded to go sit in the back of the last session of the day and crank out a little demo explorer app to showcase some of the components. To spice things up I threw in an extra water eyecandy effect that I was in the middle or working on. I threw the demo together fairly quickly and got it over to him for the next day. The demo was just a small part of his keynote, but during it he did get my name in there and point me out in the crowd, and people seemed to dig the water effect nonsense 🙂

So with a whole lot of luck I had managed to get my name mentioned in both the keynotes of 360|Flex. I’m grateful for these opportunities, they felt like they came out of nowhere and suddenly people were coming up to me to talk (as opposed to me sheepishly approaching people in the awkward tech-dork way).

Opportunity #3:

I remember sitting in the back of some session (can’t for the life of me remember anything about the session) and I happened to be sitting next to Tom Link and Brett Cortese from Universal Mind. I wasn’t at all tapped into the Flex consulting scene at that time, so I didn’t know the name Universal Mind. But I was sitting there in the back and Tom was reviewing some app that UM was working on. It was a sort of business dashboard app that had a slick UI that let you customize various charts. I can’t remember the exact conversation, but I remember looking over his shoulder and being impressed with the app and chatting about it a bit. He mentioned Darron Schall’s name at some point. I had been collaborating with Darron a bit on FlexLib and so I got online and started asking him about UM. Turns out he had only good things to say (and he apparently said good things about me to UM as well). After 360|Flex I left Tom with one of my ridiculous business cards. We ended up getting in touch shortly after and following up and the rest is history. I just passed my two year anniversary working for UM and I’ve had a hell of a good time.

Swing and miss

At the conference Ted Patrick introduced me to a guy from Yahoo. He was interested in hiring a Flex contractor for an internal project. If I recall correctly the basic plan was to have this Flex app that let Yahoo employees create different layouts and combinations of various Yahoo widgets, which would eventually turn into Yahoo web pages. It was sort of a prototyping tool for internal use. I had never done Flex consulting work before. I had never done any independent consulting whatsoever. I didn’t have the utmost confidence in my own abilities and I certainly didn’t feel comfortable asking for a lot of money. But I figured, fuck it, what’s the worst that can happen?

So with no prior consulting experience I quoted him $125 an hour. Pulled straight out of my ass. My logic was that I didn’t actually need the work yet (I was happily unemployed) but that if it came through and I was making over a hundred dollars an hour I’d would dive in head first (and be scared shitless in the process). I was far more scared of actually getting the gig than not, since then I’d have to actually be worth what I saw as such a ridiculous rate. I ended the email like this (parentheses are my thoughts, not in the actual email): “I’m happy to discuss the project further. I find the concept very interesting (I didn’t really), so even if I’m not involved in the development I’d be more than happy to give my opinions on the project (this was true, since I had no experience whatsoever I figured that any involvement would help me). Let me know how you want to proceed, and regardless let’s keep in touch about work that Yahoo is doing with Flex (having contacts inside companies like Yahoo can never hurt).” Send. And then I never even got a response. Ego bruised, but not badly.

The Jesse Warden validation

warden_thumbThis is funny because it’s a story I’ve never told Jesse (or anyone for that matter) and it showcases just how insecure I was at the time. I had been talking to Tom from UM about consulting and he had mentioned that Jesse Warden had been doing a bit of consulting for them as well, and that I should talk to him to see what UM was like. Jesse (who I had never met) was sitting against some wall working on a laptop and I walked over and said some awkward introduction like “Hey Jesse, it’s nice to meet you, I’m Doug McCune.” After being caught completely off guard with Jesse’s caffinated million-word-a-minute style of speech we got to talking a bit and then he said something like, “Where the hell did you come from? Like all the sudden here’s this Doug McCune guy coming out of nowhere making our computers blow up with this crazy fire and shit.” (I had recently released a fire effect demo). It’s funny how that interaction sticks so vividly in my mind. I probably laughed it off and said some kind of thanks, but inside I was beaming with pride. Jesse fucking Warden knew who I was and thought my shit was cool. That’s actually the exact moment that I knew that I was on some kind of path here, that this was actually going to work out.

This conference was huge for me

I had no expectations going into the conference, I figured I’d attend like I had attended various conferences before, sit in the back of sessions, take notes and write down links, and hopefully learn good material. I had no idea I’d get the kind of exposure in the keynotes that I ended up getting, or that I’d make the connections that I did. I ended up meeting Jesse, Deepa, Ben Stucki, Renaun Erickson, Mark Anders, Ely Greenfield, and countless other people. And these people that I met actually knew who I was. I couldn’t fucking believe it. My head was literally spinning at the end of it all.


Let’s go on a cruise! RIAdventure is going to be sweet

RIAdventure speaker badgeTom Ortega and John Wilker, who organize the kick ass 360|Flex conference, are teaming of with Joshua Cyr, who organized the first RIAdventure cruise. They’re planning a new event that will be a 7-day cruise that features a 2-day conference. The cruise, called RIAdventure 360, is going to leave from New Orleans and hit Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize.

The conference will take place December 6-13, 2009.

Only new, forward-looking content

The speakers are required to prepare new content specifically for RIAdventure 360. That means no canned presentations that you saw 5 times already at past MAX conferences. The content has to be fresh, it has to be cutting edge, and it has to be made specifically for this event. This requirement is awesome. I think that all presenters at all conferences should prepare fresh content every time. Sure, it’s more work, but if you can’t prepare fresh shit for a conference then you should present less often. But of course that’s just a personal opinion with no disrespect meant to anyone on the speaker circuit 🙂

The speakers for this fine event will be: Ted Patrick, Ryan Stewart, Faisal Abid, Samuel Rivello, and… me!

Focus on the future of RIA

This is a conference about the future, not the present. I’ve been formulating some ideas about what I’d like to present, but I haven’t quite solidified my plan yet (hell, if the conference is about the future I can’t plan it too far ahead, everything will change!). I’m currently playing with some ideas about the future of data visualization in application development. We’re reaching the point where data storage and bandwidth have reached levels capable of transmitting massive data sets, but we haven’t yet understood the implications this has for application developers. What if you had access to the location data of all the cell phones in the country? Or your entire genome? Or the record of every dollar ever spent by the government? The data is coming soon (much of it is here already), but if we, as RIA developers, don’t have the skills necessary to make sense of it all we’ll miss the opportunities to truly innovate and impact the world.

One big party!

And of course this is a cruise after all! We’re going to be partying it up like it’s nobody’s business. The conference also includes dinner discussions about our industry, which I think roughly translates to getting Ryan and Ted drunk enough to spill some Adobe secrets.

Get a free 360|Flex ticket!

And if all that wasn’t enough Tom and John are also throwing in a 2-for-1 deal. If you sign up for RIAdventure you also get a free ticket to the next 360|Flex in February. So if you want to have a hell of a good time while geeking out, go sign up for the RIAdventure cruise.


Slides, code, and links from my “Cool Shit” presentation at 360|Flex Indy

Another 360|Flex has come and gone and I’ve returned home with my liver and dignity partially intact. This post contains the slides from my presentation as well as all the code for the examples that I showed during the presentation. The slides are embedded below or you can download a PDF of them here.

The problem with these slides, however, is that if you read them out of context a lot of it probably won’t make that much sense (and some of it may very well be misunderstood completely). So I’m planning on doing a follow up post shortly after this that will try to put my slides in context by providing some notes about what I was talking about when I was showing each slide. So don’t look at the slides like the one that says “Fuck Flex” and jump to any conclusions. I’m not ditching Flex development, I wasn’t angry, and I wasn’t just trying to shock people with swear words on slides. If you saw my presentation then I hope it all made sense and I hope some of it resonated with you. If you didn’t make it to my session then I’ll be posting a few followup posts about the main topics that I covered. I’ll be doing some posts that go into detail about steganography, head tracking (including detailing some of the optimizations I came up with), and augmented reality (hopefully with some good video).


UPDATE: Turns out SlideShare’s embeddable player is throwing errors, so you can view the presentation slides directly on SlideShare here.

Or download the PDF of the slides.


Here’s all the code of all the examples that I showed.

  • STEGAsaurus
    This is an AIR app that hides secret data (either text or files) in PNG images. It uses the PNGEncoder class in the Flex framework and the PNGDecoder class written by Heriet. When you run the app it allows you to drag and drop an image file to either encode secret stuff or to decode secret stuff that has already been encoded in the image (it can only decode PNGs created with the app itself).
    Download the AIR installer | Download the source
  • Modified Marilena head tracking library
    The Marilena library is part of the libspark project and it is a port of a facial detection algorithm from OpenCV that uses a technique called Haar Cascades. I used an optimized version by Mario Klingemann as the base that I started with, and then I made further optimizations from there. The main optimizations that I made have to do with not having to rescan the entire image every pass (since we’re concerned with live webcam tracking) and also checking for different rotations of the face to allow the user to turn his or her face at an angle.
    Download the source
  • Head Tracking Targets
    This was a simple demo that uses Flash Player 10 3D stuff (no PaperVision or 3D library used). I was trying to recreate the fantastic demo that Johnny Lee did that uses the Wiimote to detect head movement. This demo should detect your face and move the targets as you move your head around.
    Run the demo | View the source
  • Crappy Top Gun game (controlled with your head)
    This is another demo that uses head tracking. This one is a little Flash game that recreates part of the original Top Gun NES game. You control the plane by moving your head in the direction you want to fly and the objective is to avoid getting hit by rockets. It’s a really crappy game and isn’t very fun to play, but it was intended to just be a proof of concept.
    Run the demo | Download the source
  • Safe Sexting
    This is another head tracking demo that can automatically blur out your face. It’s sort of a Photo Booth type of application that lets you take pictures of yourself. The general concept is that it’s for all those young teenagers out there who are getting in trouble for sexting. Being the good citizen that I am, I wanted to come to their aid. This app will let you take dirty pictures while concealing your identity!
    Run the demo | View the source
  • Augmented reality demo with fake chests (male and female)
    And for the finale of the presentation I pulled off my shirt to expose an augmented reality marker on my chest. I then “augmented” myself with a 3D muscular male chest that made me look like a bodybuilder, and then to top it off I threw some fake 3D breasts on my chest (all while simultaneously blurring my face with the Safe Sexting app). If you want to try the augmented reality stuff out you’ll need to print out this marker and hold it up the the camera (or tape it to your chest for the full effect).
    Run the demo | View the source

So that’s all the slides and code. I’ll be putting together a series of blog posts that go over each of the individual topics I covered in much more detail. And like I mentioned, I’ll be doing a post that puts the slides in context for those of you who didn’t get to see the presentation live. I think there might also be some video floating around of most of the presentation, so if I can get my hands on that then I’ll be sure to post it.


In addition to the slides, here are the direct links to all the videos or demos that I referenced in my slides:

Were you there?

I’d love to get some feedback on how you thought the session went. Was it engaging? Was the technical content good? Too technical/not technical enough? Let me know in the comments or feel free to shoot me an email:


I got punk’d at 360|Flex (in my own session!)

So there I was at 360|Flex giving my presentation. I guess when you call your session “Cool Shit” you’re just asking for people to fuck with you 🙂 So I’m going through some example applications and I’m near the end of the session and I get to the grand finale. The demo I was about to show was an augmented reality demo, combined with some head tracking stuff too. And I figured since it’s called “augmented” reality I’d do a demo that really captures that word, so while standing there in front of a packed room of developers I take off my shirt to reveal an augmented reality marker on my chest. When I step in front of the webcam the video detects the marker and shows a big muscular chest instead of my wimpy geek body. As I was doing body builder poses and taking silly pictures, suddenly *whack* – I get hit in the face with a flying object. Not quite sure what the fuck just happened, so I keep going on with the presentation like normal (for some reason the fact that someone threw something that hit me in my face didn’t seem all that abnormal). Then suddenly there’s a massive barrage of projectiles raining down on me. It takes me a while to figure out what’s going on, and then finally I understand: the audience is pelting me with little bouncy balls. What the fuck?

This video of part of my session has been floating around a bit, and if you don’t know this back story you probably have no idea what the hell is going on. But check out the video, and when you see me posing with my muscles and then suddenly recoiling in pain, and then you hear everyone laugh, that’s when I start getting hit with a shitload of bouncy balls.

So it turns out that some devious developers (I believe led by Nate Beck) were out drinking at some place where you play games and get tickets that you can redeem for prizes (aren’t you boys a bit old to be at Chuck E Cheese?). So they get a bunch of tickets and what do they decide to cash in for? Bouncy balls. All bouncy balls. Then the next day they come in to my session, and I have no idea how they pulled this off without me noticing, but they hand out these little bouncy balls to everyone in the first few rows of the room. Apparently the instructions were: when Doug takes off his shirt, let the balls fly. Awesome. I guess word had gotten out enough that I was doing something that involved getting partially naked (either from my tweet or just from me spilling some details when I was out drinking). And you gotta admire the guy who threw the first one (and hit me right in the face no less), that takes balls (pun obviously intended).

So that’s the story behind that video for anyone who saw that and had no idea what the hell was going on. Nate, I admire your creativity, you got me good. But you better watch your back, I’m going to be sure to be in the front row of any presentation you might be doing 🙂

P.S. I’m working on posting all my slides and code from my session, hopefully I’ll get all that up tomorrow.


My 360|Flex Itinerary

360FlexI’m leaving for the 360|Flex conference in Indianapolis tomorrow, so as I was getting ready I was looking over the schedule to get a feel for the sessions that I might attend. This list below is my tentative itinerary. It sort of represents the stuff that I personally find most interesting, but it certainly shouldn’t be thought of as a ranking or judgment or anything like that. 360|Flex is sweet because there’s usually a few sessions occurring at the same time that are all interesting, so I tend to jump around a lot. And of course I also tend to just hang out with people instead of going to any sessions at all, so we’ll see how many I actually attend. I’ll be presenting my session, “Cool Shit”, on Wednesday at 10:00 am, so be sure to at least come to that one!

10:00 – Michael Labriola – assertYourself
Michael Labriola is always one of the best speakers at 360|Flex (you hear that Labriola? you got a serious reputation to live up to now). In the past he’s given top-notch presentations that go into crazy amounts of uber-technical detail, and somehow people always walk out of the sessions entertained. Unit testing is a huge weakness of mine, something that I know I need to do and do better. So if Labriola brings his game like usual then this session should be entertaining as well as useful.

1:00 – Leonard Souza – Get Phidgety with Phidgets
I’m really excited for this session. Phidgets are little physical devices that you can connect to your computer and control. Simple things like RFID readers, or little sensors of various kinds, or small motors. You can talk to them from your Flex apps and make them do your bidding. The integration with physical devices is something that has fascinated me for a long time, and I’m really looking forward to seeing some cool stuff.

2:30 – Sean Hess – Creating a Realtime Multiplayer Game with AFCS
I was toying with the idea of using some of Adobe’s realtime services (either AFCS or RTMFP) for some gaming ideas. I haven’t had the time to try out any of my ideas, but maybe this session will reinvigorate me. And I figure I might as well stay on top of whatever Adobe is offering with Cocomo just so I’m aware of what the options are.

4:00 – Joe Berkovitz – Dynamic Audio Synthesis on the Flash/Flex Platform
The audio capabilities of Flash Player 10 are something I really haven’t dug into, but I’d like to get a good grasp of what the possibilities are. I’m torn between trying to go see Labriola’s (second) session in this same time slot, but if I see him present in the morning then I can’t be caught in his other session otherwise I’ll seem like a stalker 🙂

8:30 – Joe Johnston – FLEXperience – Putting the Flex in UX
Honestly, I doubt I’ll make it out this early. I’ve been to enough 360|Flex conferences to know that the chances of getting up early for the second day are almost none (to all the presenters in the morning: I feel for you). But if I can get out of bed, I’ll be checking out Joe Johnston’s preso on User Experience. Joe’s a fellow Universal Mind guy, does some sweet work, and I’ve never seen him present.

10:00 – Ben Stucki or Tom Gonzalez
So here I’m really torn. Ben is a good friend of mine (and former coworker on SpatialKey) and he’s been working on an audio startup for a while now. He’ll be presenting the progress he’s made on his startup, AudioSpike, and I’m sure he’ll be covering some cool Flash Player 10 audio stuff. But at the same time Tom Gonzales (who I’ve also had the pleasure of working with on SpatialKey) will be presenting Axiis, which is a new data visualization library he’s been working on with Michael VanDaniker. I’m big into data vis stuff, so seeing what he’s cooked up would definitely be interesting and probably more useful in everyday life, so I really don’t know which session I’ll end up in (maybe hopping between both).

1:00 – Francisco Inchauste – RIA Mojo – Making Your Flex Application Stand Out with Great UX
Francisco is yet another fellow UM employee and also a member of the SpatialKey team. Universal Mind has really been focusing on building a fantastic UX team over the past year and I’ve had the pleasure of working with Francisco before, so I know he does fantastic work. This session (along with Joe Johnston’s) will sort of give me an additional look behind the curtain at their UX process.

2:30 – Jeremy Saenz – Shedding Skins – Programmatic Skinning of Flex
So I don’t really care all that much about programmatic skinning (not that it’s not a worthwhile topic), but Jeremy is the dude who did the Flex Gangsta video, so I’m looking forward to seeing him present. Half the reason for going to sessions at these conferences for me is to check out how other people present, see how they interact with the audience, etc. I’m hoping Jeremy busts some geeky badass-ness.

4:00 – Laura Arguello – Breaking Down Your Applications with Mate Framework
I’ve heard great things about Laura presenting on Mate. Developers seemed to gush all over Mate the instant it was released, and yet somehow I still haven’t built an app using it. So it’s about time I get a good handle on what they did with the framework and start playing around.

10:00 – Doug McCune – Cool Shit
This session is going to be the bomb! I can’t wait! 🙂 In all seriousness, my session should be a hell of a lot of fun. I’ve got a few fun tricks up my sleeve and as long as I don’t get banned from the hotel by the end of the session we should all have a good time. I’ll be writing a little preview blog post to give some details about what I’ll be covering, but until then you’ll just have to trust that you’ll be entertained. It will be super dorky, hopefully inspirational, and maybe a bit scandalous.

After this I’ll probably pass out for a few hours before my flight out later Wednesday evening. But if I actually make it to any sessions afterward, this is what they’ll be:

1:00 – Paul Robertson or Jun Heider
Again, torn between two sessions. I’ve heard Jun gives a really good presentation (which I’ve never had a chance to see), but I could probably also use the information about AIR encrypted databases and security that Paul will be covering. I’ll probably walk back and forth poking my head into a few sessions during this slot.

2:30 – Ryan Campbell or Adam Flater
I’ll probably duck into both these sessions because I’m curious what kind of examples Ryan is going to show that use OpenFlux, but I’d also like to get the lowdown on Merapi (and heckle Adam from the back of the room). So we’ll see what I end up doing. Will be jumping around again for these sessions.

4:00 – Ryan Phelan – Bending and Flexing
Last slot of the conference, that’s a tough one. God bless you all for holding it up at the end, someone has to do it. I’d love to check out the presentation on Pixel Bender (is this really the only presentation about Pixel Bender??). My flight out of Indianapolis leaves at 6pm, so I assume I’ll have to miss this session, which is a shame because I could really use some Pixel Bender knowledge. I wonder if any of the other sessions will be mentioning Pixel Bender…

So that’s my initial list. Like I said, this is just the stuff that I’m interested in, not an endorsement or ranking or anything like that. If I didn’t put your session down you can feel free to come punch me in the face at the conference.

If you’re going to be at 360|Flex definitely come to my session or stop me walking around and say hi. I will definitely be at any of the parties or bars, so come share a beer 🙂


Get me on the 360|Flex speaker list!

[UPDATE: apologies if this showed up as new in your feed readers when it isn’t, I had a database problem and had to restore two old posts. Also, the voting has now been closed, so no need to go and vote, thanks to everyone who voted!]

John Wilker just posted all the speaker session submissions that they received for 360|Flex and he’s letting the community weigh in on what they want to see at the conference. The sessions don’t list the speaker names, although with a little reading I could figure out some of them (my money’s on Labriola for the “Kicking Ass and Taking Names” session. [update] I was wrong on that one, looks like Joseph Balderson submitted the kicking ass session). My session’s title is Cool Shit: Inspiring Creation and Creating Inspiration. The fact that I drop the s-bomb in the title and my description includes the phrase “holy shit, that’s fucking amazing” might give away the fact that it’s mine 🙂

Here’s the description I submitted, which should sum up the kind of presentation I want to give:

By the end of 2008 I had burned out. Flex development had become a job – a real job, a normal job – and I wasn’t experimenting and playing with the technology like I used to. So I decided to go on a quest of rediscovery. I was determined to find the magic again, that spark of “holy shit, that’s fucking amazing!” that comes when you’re so inspired by someone’s work that you stay up until 4 in the morning trying to create something as cool.

This session will include examples of Flex and Flash projects and experiments that have re-inspired me. I’ll talk about why I fell in dorky love with each example, and then dive into what that inspiration led me to create. Inspiration is a cycle, and I hope that by sharing my own inspiration and my own creations I can provoke others to do the same. We’re all in this together, and there’s so much cool shit to explore.

This is sort of a self-therapy session for me. Over the next few months I’m going to be focusing my effort on playing again, like I used to when this technology was new to me. I want to bring back that intoxication with the technology that I first had when I started learning Flex.

So if you think the session idea sounds good, go and vote for it! Make sure to vote for all the other ones you want to see too, the list of sessions is really long (126!) so it takes some time to read through them all.


I’m sponsoring 360|Flex

360flex_sanjose_badge200.gifI’m an official sponsor of the 360|Flex conference! I think I am the first and only “just a normal guy” (not a company or independent contractor) to be a sponsor. I’m not looking for clients, I’m not looking for work… I’m just a dude who likes the conference. I like it so much that I was really sad about not being able to speak at the next 360|Flex in San Jose in August. So since I can’t be there, I figured out how to get my face in front of y’all anyway 🙂 I’m sponsoring the official 360|Flex shirt that all attendees will get and all you suckas have to wear my silly face on your sleeve.

screenshot057.jpgCheck out all the sponsor logos on the 360|Flex site (screenshot on the right). You see that dumbass-looking face with the thumbs? That’s me!

Why the hell?
I owe a lot to 360|Flex. At the first one in San Jose back in March 2007 I made a ton of contacts that have helped me professionally. I happened to sit next to Tom Link and Brett Cortese from Universal Mind in the back of some session and we started talking. Now I’m a full-time employee with Universal Mind doing sweet Flex work. I got some of my work shown off in the keynote of that conference too, and people started hearing my name and wondering who I was.

Then at the second 360|Flex I did my first-ever conference presentation (on custom Flex component development). Suddenly I was somehow an authoritative Flex developer, and the main reason I actually spoke at that conference was because Tom Ortega asked me to in one of our local Flex user group meetings (in addition to planning 360|Flex, Tom also runs SilVaFug). I made a lot of friends at that conference and felt like I really became a part of the Flex community. And then I had a blast at the last 360|Flex in Atlanta, where I spoke again.

I make damn good money as a Flex developer, and I owe a lot of that to the fame and connections I made at the 360|Flex conferences. So this is my little way of paying some of that back. So thank you Tom and John for all your hard work!


Upcoming conferences (where I’ll be, where I won’t)

This is a quick post to about a few of the conferences I’m either speaking at, going to, or regretting not being able to attend.

When: August 18-20, 2008
Where: San Jose, CA

I can’t go! Nooo! I’ll be in Sweden. I might make it back in time to come and hang out with people at one of the last parties, we’ll see. Tom tried to convince me to fly from Sweden to Cali and give a presentation the next day and that just sounded like a horrible idea, so sadly I won’t be presenting at this 360|Flex. I really wanted to, I think 360|Flex is one of the best conferences, and it’s certainly where I’ve had the most fun. I’ve attended the first three 360|Flex conferences (all the ones in North America) and I spoke at the last two. And since I love the conference so much (but can’t present a session this time), I’ve made sure I’ll still make my mark on all attendees (more on that in a post tomorrow).

speakerbadge_200_120_e.gifFlash on the Beach
When: September 28-October 1, 2008
Where: Brighton, UK

I’m presenting! w00t! I’m looking forward to this one, I get to fly over and kick it in England and present cool Flex shit to a bunch of Flashers. I’ll write a full post about FOTB shortly…

screenshot001.jpgAdobe MAX
When: November 16-19, 2008
Where: San Francisco, CA

I’ll be attending MAX, but not presenting. I thought about submitting a session topic, seeing as MAX is literally in my backyard this year. But I’ve heard some horror stories about multiple required submissions months and months ahead of time, and that’s not really how I roll. I’ve been pretty overwhelmed with writing Flex for Dummies, so the MAX session topic submission just sort of felt like an additional ordeal I didn’t want to deal with. That said, I’ll definitely be there and we’re going to rock the shit out of San Francisco, so come and play.