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FlashPitt Recap

FlashPitt felt like… wait, let me back up. Why did I attend FlashPitt? Well…

  • It was relatively close, at 3.5 hours driving time.
  • It was inexpensive for a Flash conference, under $200, only Athens-own Spring <br /> Conference is cheaper.
  • It had speakers I had seen and known were presentations worth attending, for example: Stacy Mulcahy, Craig Swann.

Wait, what aboot those two… they are Canadian. And there was at least one more Canadian somewhere in the speaker list. Where else would I see them both… hmmm…

Flipping through the conference program I came to the last page, which listed the conference organization Thank You’s. First on the list: Shawn Pucknell. As I had suspected, this conference had strong ties to FITC. It felt very much like a mini-FITC, which is pretty meaningless if you have never been to FITC, but I’ll just say FITC is a well-run, fun conference with great networking opportunities.

Through one attendee I gathered some great PaperVision3D example sites: dillerscofidio.com and mcbd.co.uk, as well as a great post on the performance differences between the leading 3D engines for Flash.

Julian Dolce gave what was my favorite presentation of the conference. I am not talking about in terms of content—though quite interesting in its own right—but I thought the structure of his presentation flowed exceptionally well. It was one of those rare presentation’s where code was explained and it didn’t take the whole presentation down a peg or two. Anyway, he covered physical computing, that is, interacting with a Flash SWF via externally connected electronic devices, and vice versa. Julian demonstrated using Phidgets, easy-to-use sensing components that connect via USB, and the Arduino (which he pronounced Ar-drEE-no) board, a circuit board for interfacing with the computer and Flash. As a getting started resource in physical computing he recommended the O’Reilly Media title Making Things Talk. A list of all his presentation links can be found on his blog. The demos he showed would be great and easy to build for kiosks.

Golan Levin (website: flong.com) began his presentation with the caveat: “None of what you will see in this presentation was made in Flash, but it could be.” I had a conversation at the after-party that reinforced this idea in my mind, that many of the graphically-rich experiments of the past 20 years are and can often be implemented in Flash with ever more ease as the power of the Flash player has increased substantially over the years. Flash player 10 and Pixel Bender Toolkit, will no doubt make this even more evident in the coming year.

This was the first year for FlashPitt, and I thought it went well. I didn’t walk away with any prizes, but you can’t win every time. I would probably attend again, but I hope they make it more than 2 tracks. (Shameless plug: The Spring <br /> Conference has 5 tracks and is a quarter of the cost!)