AIR 2 and Flash Player 10.1 Betas

Today we made available the betas for Flash Player 10.1 (on the desktop) and AIR 2. While there’s a ton of features in both runtimes, one of the things that’s coolest to me is the shared work that’s gone in to the core of the “Flash runtime”. Across both runtimes, apps will use less memory and consume fewer CPU cycles just by the nature of the work that’s gone in to the runtime.

Since the cores are the same between Flash Player and AIR both runtimes benefit from the shared work. All this matters even more as we bring the Flash Platform to mobile devices (esp memory and CPU). Plus, features like the global exception handler (something the community has wanted for years, as I understand it) get exposed in the browser and in the desktop.

On the features side, I’m most excited about the support in Flash Player for hardware decoding of H.264 videos on Windows. The demo that our CTO showed at MAX had Hulu HD running on a netbook sipping CPU. On the AIR side it’s a tossup between the new networking features and the new native process APIs. My coworker, Rob, has a full write up at Logged In in the Adobe Developer Connection, so head there to learn more.

Needless to say, congrats to the teams and send us your feedback!

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Getting Hip(er) to Web 2.0

I admit it — I’m a very Web 1.0 participant on the intertubes. I spent most of my time on web sites like Yahoo Mail, New York Times, and the like. I read digg and am an avid Facebook user, but I’ve avoided some of the “cooler” and more interesting Web 2.0 companies.

Thus, I decided last week to get hip(er) with the times and plunge in to the world of and Recently I’ve become a fairly exclusive Mac user (one MacBook, one MacBook Pro with VMware, and a Windows Server 2k3) and a Firefox user (never use Safari, and I don’t use IE in Windows any more). The plugs in for in to Firefox and in to iTunes are awesome. They make the cloud experience seamless with my desktop experience.

A while back I switched from Meebo to Pidgin (and now Adium) since the web experience wasn’t yet as good as the desktop, and I think that’s a kernel of why I like these two Web 2.0 apps a lot: I can use the apps I know and like (Firefox & iTunes) but they add value in to the equation by leveraging social effect and the ability to roam information between computers. The latter is really important to me since I use one machine for work and another at home, I have the same bookmarks between them and my music is scrobbled on both systems. For the bookmarks case, I used to use FolderShare but the Mac client for it is unusable. I still do use FolderShare, but only in my VMware Windows XP machine and my server.

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While trying to convert some .3gp/.amr files that I recorded from my mobile phone, I struggled to find a way to convert the files to a regular more desktop format (such as .mp3). Enter YouConvertIt. The site is pretty cool. You upload a file, give it what you want the output format to be, and poof, it’ll email you the converted files. It’s a bit of a Swiss Army Knife and since it’s a web app you don’t need to install anything on your computer. Cool and useful site.

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Goodbye meebo, Hello Pidgin

For all accounts except for Windows Live Messenger, I’ve been using meebo as my primary IM client. It was convenient, useful and generally pretty fast, especially when I switched over to using Firefox as my primary browser. While generally a good product, my computer started to bog down with Firefox eating 500+ megs of memory regularly. Running Facebook, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, and meebo all at the same time just made Firefox consume resources like there was no end in sight, and meebo was the primary consumer (as far as I could tell).

Thus last night, I downloaded and installed Pidgin (aka GAIM). It’s the first time I’ve given this open source IM client a try since 2000, when it destroyed my AIM buddy last (I have yet to find all the screennames I lost from that fiasco). Now, seven years later, the product is pretty amazing. It works with all the major IM services (I’m connecting to Yahoo, Windows Live, Google, and AIM), the UI is clean and unobtrusive, it supports features like file transfer, status updates and email notifications and best of all, it’s fast and light (only 17 megs of memory consumed).

While I love some Web 2.0 replacements for my desktop applications (e.g. Yahoo Mail and Windows Live Mail vs Outlook/Thunderbird), I think they have a way to go until they reach the level that I don’t get frustrated. In this instance, the desktop application is quicker, faster, and lighter than the web app. Until the web apps bridge that void I think desktop apps have a long life yet.

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Facebook News Feed

I love the new feed. I heart it, with a lot of hearts. It solves a lot of problems in social networks, including problems I didn’t know existed before. But I’m frustrated with it. Why? Well, it shows me a lot of information from friends I don’t really care about (sorry guys). I know they filter stuff semi-intelligently but it seems like it doesn’t chose which friends to show more about super well.

The other, and more frustrating issue, is that things appear out of order on the feed and at random times. First example, status updates. On the right bar where the little status bar module is, I have to look there to see what my friends are statusing, since the news feed doesn’t always show them. Second example, if two friends are having a wall conversation I’ve seen it more than once put the older one higher in the feed than the old one and the conversation becomes unparsable.

The feed is incredibly useful. I just wish it made the leap to become indispensable.

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