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Macromedia Keynote

Thursday, July 11, 2002

The keynote was awesome. To quote Lynda Weinman, “This was the best keynote ever”.

It started off with Kevin Lynch talking about the Macromedia MX launch, the most significant and aggressive launch in the history of Macromedia.

Kevin then spent some time discussing usability in Flash, pointing out some of the books that have been written on the topic (skip intro, flash 99% good), and some of the people who have been pushing usability in Flash, such as Chris MacGregor of Flazoom.com, and more recently Jacob Nielsen. Kevin then talked about the importance of engaging in a discussion about Flash usability, especially with those who are critical, in order to learn from some of their arguments.

Kevin then discussed Macromedia Flash and Advertising, and pointed the incredible growth of the use of Flash in online advertising, and its successes. In august of last year, there were 100 million Flash advertising impressions a week. Today there are 1 billion impressions a week.

We then showed a Mike’s hard lemonade Flash movie, that was created from a television commercial.

Kevin then invited me up on the stage, and we created a simple application using Flash MX, ColdFusion MX and Flash Remoting. Of course, I had some typos in my code, but after those were fixed, we created an app that used a new DataGrid component that we have been working on to display the results of a data base query that shows all of the FlashForward Session information.

Kevin then talked about some of the pioneering work done in computers in the 50’;s and 60’s, and introduced a clip of a presentation by Doug Engelbart, and his famous 1968 video of distributed collaboration and real-time video in a graphical computer.

It is really hard to describe the excitement and electricity in the audience while viewing the clips. You will have to use the link above to view them. We showed the introduction to the presentation, and doug typing on the screen, and then a clip where he was collaborating with someone remotely (using text and video!).

Kevin then opened up a Flash Communication Server application, which linked him and Flash Forward to Palo Alto, California and Doug Engelbart. When he came through on the video, the audience gave the loudest and longest applause of the morning.

Doug talked about how after he got engaged, he realized he didn’t have any long term goals. He decided that he should dedicate himself to making a positive difference to humankind, and that one way to do that would be to figure out a way to make communication and collaboration easier. Doug, who has actually used director in the past, said that he would like to see applications that make it simple to connect users via video, and then archive and search that video (as easy as searching and indexing text on the web).

After another long round of applause, Kevin asked Chris Hock from the Flash Communication Server team to come onstage, and build a Flash based communication application. Using the Flash Communication Server components (kevin noted they would be available soon), he built an application that had video windows, login element, a list of everyone connected, and a status light. He wrote no ActionScript at all. He published, and then some Macromedia people in the audience also connected via their webcams.

After that, the audience was invited to go to the computers, and ask questions via the app that was just built.

I spoke with a lot of people after the keynote, and everyone was really excited about the presentation and the communication server. This was definitely the best keynote that i have ever seen us present.

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