Working in Flash, yet again

I have been building my skills in flash throughout this semester.  And the opportunity to use Flash in another production class came about, most everyone else was quick to use after effects for the (Motion Typography) assignment.   However since I have spent so much time watching Lynda videos for Flash I decided to use it for the assignment.

There were some conceptual bumps along the road, but ultimately I was happy with the final product.  I was also happy with the fact that every time I work with Flash I learn something new, which is always a gratifying feeling.  To date I feel the most comfortable with the Flash interface and I feel that I have become fairly good at troubleshooting it.  If I encounter a problem, I have noticed, that I am usually able to fix whatever is wrong without having a freakout.  Which is a nice change of pace from the beginning of the semester.

I do still want to know other programs as well as I know Flash, but I am glad to have this asset on my side.  After a semester of work I am glad to be so comfortable with a program that was initially so foreign to me.  I hope to expand my knowledge as the year progresses and I am looking forward to seeing where I am at at the end of the year.


Week 14 questions

Is there concrete research about how our minds have changed with the advent of the internet and the accessibility of information?

If there has been, what are the results for those who have always had the internet around, as opposed to those who have witnessed its rise? Are those who are exposed at an earlier age more likely to skim articles and pilfer through content quickly?

Augmented Reality: Robotvision

Robotvision is a great concept and I was initially excited to spend ninety-nine of my cents on it. However upon my initial use of it I was disappointed with the overall functionality and interface. It was difficult to determine how to actually get anything to show up in the viewfinder.  It became increasingly frustrating to move through the interface, adjusting the different available options, and yet not being able to see the different features that are available on this app.

The screenshots within the app store were laughing at me as I stared at them in an attempt to figure out how to make the app function.  The main problem with this app was that there were no instructions and the interface is not intuitive in that it does not give the user to have a clear idea of how to use the app.

Upon getting the app to function properly it was great to use.  It is basically looking at the view the phone camera would give you, but as the user rotates their position different business names come into view.  So if there is a particular restaurant that is to the west of the user when the user faces west a box pops up with the name of the restaurant as well as the distance from the users location.  Upon tapping the box the user is provided with the address and phone number of the desired business.  There are other features within the box once it is tapped, including a direct link to a  map, as well as a link to Bing that will redirect the user to a search of that particular business.

The directional feature of this app is what, I think, connects the user in that they can be standing anywhere and be able to see what is around them without really seeing it.  This would be a great thing for a large city where the user might not be totally familiar with their surroundings.  Being able to see what is around oneself in real time is much more intuitive than using a two dimensional map.  I think that this type of navigation is much easier to understand quickly than a map because the app is responsive to the movement of the user.  It gives the user a really good sense of location and surroundings.

Overall this is a good app (rated 3/5 stars in the app store by users) the ability to locate and connect with businesses quickly is great and the responsiveness to the movement of the user furthers its usefulness.  There are however drawbacks, the initial use of this app was confusing, there was no explanation as to how to use the app, and it was not working for me at first because I was in an area that did not have many businesses that registered.  It seems that the user needs to be in a populated area in order for the app to work at its best.  Ideally this app would be used in a big city, I think that is where the user would get the most use out of it.

After seeing the AR demos everyone in the class produced I was thinking that it would be a really cool improvement if AR apps like this one somehow incorporated a 3-D shape(s) into the interface.  Not that it would improve the usability of the app in any way, I think it would just be neat.  There was much fiero from producing a 3-D object from a 2-D source.

Augmented Reality iPhone App: Robotvision

For the blog post this week I will be reviewing the augmented reality iPhone app ‘Robotvision’.  This app allows the user to look through the camera on their phone to see attractions such as bars, restaurants, movie theaters, etc. around them.  It also connects with Twitter to allow the user to see updates that have come from other users in the area.  This app is also connected to Flickr, and allows the user to see snapshots of the attractions posted by other users.

Gratification that comes from working with Flash

At this point in the semester I can confidently say that the program I am the most comfortable with is Adobe Flash CS5.5.  After watching countless Lynda videos and spending hours trying to make projects as perfect as I could, I feel good about my current skill level.  I find myself wanting to learn more about how to make things work in Flash, and I am disappointing when I hear the naysayers talking about the death of Flash.

I have heard both opinions about the life and death of Flash.  I do not know what to believe when this topic comes up.  I do not know how the technological community could allow a program that has so many unique features to go by the wayside.  But with the recent announcement from Adobe about Flash Mobile coming to an end, it seems more feasible that Flash will begin to take on different roles.

When I began the iMedia program I did not think that I would have a favorable opinion of Flash, I credit my liking of the program to the constant assignments forcing us to learn more and to push ourselves as well as my new best friend  I am hoping that I will be able to continue working with it in the future.  I want to get more in depth training and learn more about it, even if people say that it is not going to stay around.  It is a great interactive tool that has a ridiculous amount of possibilities.

I do not think Flash is doomed to go away forever, I think that it will simply have to adapt to a different environment.  In order for Flash to adapt to these recent changes Flash developers will need to think of new ways to present Flash to the user and to keep the user interested.  I am looking forward to seeing how Flash will grow and change as HTML5 becomes more prevalent, I do not think it will be going away anytime soon.

Adobe says goodbye to Flash Mobile

Recently Adobe came out saying that Flash mobile is no longer viable.  People have been all over Twitter talking about it, needless to say anger has ensued.  This frustrates me because so many great things can come from Flash, and also I have spent countless hours trying to wrap my mind around a program that seems to be going by the wayside (at least for mobile devices).

Mobile devices are now being limited for the duration, at least until a suitable Flash replacement comes out that will run on mobile devices.  I have been waiting for Flash to be available on my iPhone for so long (I know it was always a pipe dream).  I am frustrated because limiting the availability of Flash is going to force users to spend more money, which is good for iTunes and other app companies, but bad for the user.

Not to mention the fact that the number of Flash websites that will continue to be unavailable to mobile devices.  It seems as if the move to keep flash out of mobile devices will be the beginning of the end.  Especially with the advent of the iPad and other tablets that do not support Flash.  It will begin to be pushed into a purely animation role, and web browsing on devices other than computers will be null and void.

Flash being pushed out of the mobile realm is going to force designers and web developers to use it less and begin to use HTML5.  This change has been driven by Apple’s refusal to support Flash on its mobile devices.   As we all know whatever Apple is doing will be copied by other companies, so the death of mobile Flash was inevitable.

As disappointing as this may be we can now look to HTML5 to fill the void on mobile devices.  Even though Flash will not be available for mobile devices it still has a use for desktop and laptop computers, as well as for other types of animation.  So the moral of the story is embrace HTML5 and learn to use Flash in other ways and adapt it to a changing technological cimate.

Massive Multiplayer Online Games, MMOGs

There is an enormous draw to MMOGs, people are willing to immerse themselves in these worlds and spend large amounts of time devoted to learning about them.  The virtual worlds that people are participating in are complex and yet participants are compelled to learn how to operate within them.  Even though the first perception of online games of this sort (at least in our class) is that they are frivolous, yet there is much more to see than the superficial first impressions of these games.

The way we are communicating is changing, and we will not know exactly how our communication has changed until more research on the topic comes out.  Within the realm of computer mediated communication we cannot rely on the nonverbal cues of the other communicator, and it may not seem very different superficially but when you think about it there is a lot that is different, not all human communication can be translated through a computer. Whether we like it or not technology is taking over, and it is going to be used as a communication device in the future.

The way we communicate over computers is different than how we communicate face to face.  Not all of our emotions and thoughts are conveyed as we would like them to be over a computer.  For instance sarcasm does not translate well at all through a technological medium.  Not to say that communicating through such a medium is invalid, we just need to adapt to it and perhaps change the way we convey emotions. If we can overcome the challenges that come from computer mediated communication, the possibilities for furthering communication are endless.

Not only are MMOGs shaping online communication, but they are also producing a new way to learn.  Users are willing to come into a complex virtual world and to learn as they go.  If this kind of learning can be applied to other platforms, such as education.  This goes back to McGonigal, in that MMOGs have more potential than just for game play.

The important thing to take away from the success of these MMOGs are the things that can come out of the furthering of technology.  I am not sure if a great number of  businesses will prescribe to meeting online, at least right now.  In the future there will certainly be more options for businesses to connect at far distances.  There are also things to come from the learning process in MMOGs. It may seem from the outside that MMOGs are not important, but many good things can come from observing how people use them.