Fireworks for wireframing

I saw a friend asking about wireframing on Twitter. I of course suggested Fireworks as my preferred wireframing tool. So I took a bit of time to come up with some resources. Here is my list. Thought it was decent enough start. I’ll keep adding to it as I go.

My total training video for Fireworks. (this entire post is great and *filled* with wireframing extras)

(my wireframing with Fireworks session at NCDevCon)

Adobe Community Professional status

Having the Adobe Community Professional as a part of my email sig, bio etc. is something that people often wonder what it means. My whole entire signature is actually pretty funny with all the Adobe stuff I have in there. User Group Manager, Certified Instructor, Adobe Professional (we do demos for Adobe), and Community Professional. So what is it all about?

I have been a part of the program for several years now. What most people don’t know is that we have to reapply to be in the program every 6 months. Well that was the case at least in the beginning. You are judged by Product Managers and Evangelists inside Adobe on your past accomplishments. It has done a lot for me over the years to push myself and strive to do and be that much more than I would have otherwise. In what way you ask?

Being an Instructor has always been a huge part of who I am. I can’t tell you how much I love seeing the light bulb go off when someone finally gets how to do something that saves them time in their day. So, a natural extension of that was doing the videos for Total Training for instance. I was horrible at it in the beginning but really enjoy it now. One wouldn’t think it’d be that much different than actually training, but it is; lots different. It took up most of my time the first half of 2010. I got pretty familiar with New York in the process. ūüôā

I’ve written articles, and spoken at a ton of conferences. For the Professional program, I already do demos for CS4 and now CS5, so I love speaking. Spreading the workflow word when and wherever I can. Which lead to the D2W conference last year. We had a fantastic time, and are doing it again this year. Bigger and better of course with a bigger list of rock stars. Lots of great stuff going on for sure.

Each time I reapply I kind of hold my breath to see if I’ll get back in. The community means a lot to me. These are a lot of people I consider my extended family. People I can’t wait to see at the next conference. Funny, but I have hardly anyone in my town I hang out with. It is my fellow community members I’d rather talk to online. That is because these are the cream of the crop. I learn something new every day from these folks. People who are just as ambitious and driven, and most importantly, passionate as I am. You wouldn’t think so, but that is hard to find. I call it the 80/20 rule in motion. Maybe more like the 90/10 rule now. These are the top 10% in their field. Why *wouldn’t* I want to hang with these folks.

So I hope I am making it clearer why it means so much to me to be included in this Community program. I am just as honored today to be included as the day I was added to the program. I am sure I’d still do the majority of what I do without it. But, just like going to the gym at the same time every day where you get to know people, and know they’d notice if you weren’t there, being in the program makes me want to do more.

Thanks to the Community team, for allowing me in again, and congratulations to all the new folks. I am thrilled to be an Adobe Community Professional again for 2011. Lets see what we can accomplish this year.

360|Flex conference: speaking

I know the organizers of 360|Flex, and somehow I’ve never submitted a topic for them before. Oh, I’ve thought about it, but never actually took the time. Last year I believe it was about 7 conferences I spoke at, I went to 9 the year before, so I have been a little busy. Besides, last year I put my own conference, D2W. So when the call for speakers went up this year, I decided why not. I have a fairly new job and needed to not go to as many conferences, so I looked at what I knew was coming up, and made the choice to submit to 360|Flex.

I was super excited to find out recently that I am accepted. My session is Logical Design for Developers – Design isn’t a four letter word on day 3 of the conference. I’ve heard how amazing these were before, and since it is in Denver this year I am doubly excited. Think I might stay an extra day or so just to see some sights. Workflow and getting designers and developers to work together has been a passion of mine for some time. I am excited they chose my session with so many great topics already on the schedule.

For me, it is always nice to see my fellow geeks, which is one reason I go to as many conferences as I do. I plan on seeing as many sessions as possible though. Here are some I plan to see. Sim Bateman-Put some Javascript in your backend; MichelleYaiser-A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…; Garth Braithwaite-Good UX; maybe this one Dan Orlando & Adnaan Ahmad- Optimizing the Designer-Developer workflow with Flash Catalyst CS5 & Flash Builder 4 (I quite often speak on Flash Catalyst, but I am no hard core developer so this will be good). Looking forward to seeing, John Wilker (organizer), Michelle Yaiser, Sim Bateman, Ryan Stewart, Jeff Tapper, Rob Rusher, Jeffry Houser, Ben Stucki, Tom Ortega and Antonio Holguin.

Lots of great sessions to see. Go get your tickets now before it is too late and you miss out on the fun.

See you there!

Year 2 for D2W conference

I put on my first conference this year. It almost didn’t happen. I had a lot of people against me, although not sure why. Aren’t you suppose to be happy for and support your friends? It was also people like Hallmark, and Garmin who didn’t want to send their people to a first year conference. Their loss, for sure. I could still almost cry remembering how amazing the content was for the conference. I have a lot of amazing friends, but the combination of designer and developer at the conference was incredible. I beam every time I see the speakers talking to each other on twitter. Designers and developers talking… who knew I’d be so emotional at that. Every session seemed to compliment each other. The attendees were in rapt attention and followed the speakers out of the room. Have rarely seen that at conferences.

So we are doing it again this year. We had 3 tracks this year, designer, developer and hybrid. Instead of hybrid for D2W v2, we’ll be changing it to mobile. I work for Sprint now, so it seemed only fitting to add mobile to the line up. It is still about workflow, and that will continue to be the unifying factor for the entire conference. Doug Winnie, James Polanco and Aaron Pedersen wrote a book about workflow called¬†Adobe Flash Platform from Start to Finish. Doug and I had been of the same mind about workflow when I first met him at a Community Summit. Then I introduced myself to him again at Adobe MAX 3 years ago. Luckily Scott Fegette was there to solidify I wasn’t a stalker, and Doug and I became friends. Now the 4 of us put on D2WPodcast together and they all spoke at the first D2W with Doug as the keynote speaker. It certainly wasn’t a coincidence Doug was the keynote speaker with workflow being his passion.

This year we already have a great lineup of speakers. As today is the last day for submissions, I expect things to change a bit but here is a¬†sampling. Returning speakers: Doug Winnie, James Polanco, Aaron Pedersen, JP Revel, ¬†Andy Matthews, Paul Trani, Vince Vaughan (no not the actor), Tom Green, ¬†Chad Udell, Ben Stucki, Chris Griffith, Kevin Stohlmeyer, Rob Huddleston, John Farrar. New speakers to D2W:¬†David Ortinau, Jim Babbage, Rob Rusher, Kai Koenig (who is coming the furthest, New Zealand), Michele Yaiser, Justin Seeley, Dave Hogue, Steve Withington, Sean Schroeder (with our sponsor¬†MuraCMS), Elad Elrom and more to come. I have accepted a few more, but haven’t added them to the Lanyard site yet. I am hoping for a return of Pariah Burke but haven’t solidified the detail of that yet. If he does return, he’ll be doing a day long class.

Which brings me to what we are doing different this year. We will be doing pre-conference hands-on classes. The thing about workflow is it is hard to talk about it in 60 minutes. So we have also extended our sessions to 90 minutes, and have added another room. We’ve got such great content, that we’ll be doing some sessions online only also. We’ll still have the sessions live and recorded for the normal sessions, but adding more as well.

Now, we are still looking for sponsors. For me, that is probably my most difficult task. I am not good at asking for money, but I really want it to be mutually¬†beneficial for both of us.¬†I need sponsors, but sponsors that the attendees will want to visit and be interested in their product. O’Reilly and Peachpit always come though. Balsamiq gave us several licenses of their wireframing product and that is the perfect example of something attendees would be excited about. What would a workflow conference be with wireframing tools.

The cost has been increased a bit more also. Well, we have that much more going on, so I had to increase the cost to offset the increase in cost to put it on. It is still cheaper than most conferences, and where else do you get this kind of content… no where. I am really looking forward to 2011 and D2W version 2.

Podcasting and branding

I wanted to brand my conference D2W, a bit more so I started a podcast with 3 of my favorite geek friends, James Polanco, Aaron Pedersen and Doug Winnie. I picked Doug not by chance because he was just as much into workflow as I was and was Product Manager of Workflow at Adobe. He also wrote a book on workflow with Aaron and James called,  Adobe Flash Platform from Start to Finish. Aaron and James have a business called Development Arc, and James use to be at Adobe on various things including being a QA for Director. Not to mention they were all speakers at D2W this year.

James had the most experience amongst us, having a professional long term podcast in the past. Aaron and I were newer to this and Doug had a bunch of experience presenting for Adobe TV, and teaching. It is true that I’ve done a few training videos, and I am an instructor, UG manager etc., but somehow a podcast and getting recorded seems new and different. All I can say is thank goodness for editing.

The logistics of getting a good recording of 4 people isn’t easy. The first podcast I recorded the entire thing with Wiretap Studio through Skype. Wiretap lets me add other sources besides myself and it was pretty easy. The problem was I didn’t have the highest quality setting turned on, and it already had some compression. So it ended up being a huge file. So huge in fact I had to add some storage for the place where the podcast is hosted. The sound wasn’t fantastic and having everyone on the same track editing, was tricky and it took me forever. I used both Wiretap and Soundbooth. Soundbooth kept crashing on me and drove me a little batty.

We aren’t using the same equipment either, so there is an issue with that as well. Of the 5 podcasts we have done so far, I used my sound booth 2 times, and work 2 times, and you could absolutely tell I was at work once. I have 2 mics, a Yetti and a Snowball, both by BLUE mics. Doug also uses a Yetti and James and Aaron have headsets. James always sounds fantastic. Doug and I vary depending on where we are at, but we often hear Doug typing. He does tend to bang on the keys a bit though. ūüôā Aaron is the one who we need to get a new mic soon. His always sounds the worse.

After the failure of the first, we decided to each record the podcast separately. I believe most of us use SoundBooth, although I’ve used Garage Band once, and Wiretap as well, sometimes at the same time just to see how different it sounds. James edited the other podcasts with a much more¬†sophisticated¬†piece of software; Ableton live. I am in the middle of editing the last one, and have only an inkling of how OCD James became editing the others. He certainly made us sound better. I am using the beta release of Audition 3, which I can tell you is already more stable than the release version of SoundBooth. I will say I like SB for its ease of use. I knew nothing the first time I used it and managed to edit the first podcast. My issue with it is the crashing. The constant crashing. Audition 3 hasn’t crashed yet, but I am only getting started editing.

We have the podcasts on Lysbin and on iTunes. I have added the conference to Lanyard and anywhere else I could think of. I spend more time on Twitter than anywhere else, and could probably use help getting the word out for both the conference and the podcast. Branding correctly is an art. An art I need to look into and practice a bit more. Our conference this year could have had more people attend. We had an amazing line-up of speakers this year, and again we have a great start to next years line-up of topics and speakers.

This year I did interviews and put them on the website. Next year I am using my podcasting skills and adding also interviews as audio files. I love listening to podcasts while working out and while driving more than half an hour somewhere. I hope others will find our podcast worth doing the same.

I can say that I plan on going all out to brand D2W. I already have 1 sponsor and going to work hard at getting more. Not just a sponsor to shell out money, but one that we can both benefit from their sponsorship. I am passionate about education, about sharing, about networking and the community. I hope our podcast will be beneficial to folks, and in the end expand the brand for D2W as well as stand on its own for Doug, Aaron and James.

Podcasting certainly has been an interesting experience and a lot harder than I thought.

Adobe MAX 2010

Yet another MAX. Phew. Exhausting, but SO much fun. It seems like it was harder to recover this year, than previous years, but it was worth it.

I made a mistake in when I was coming out to MAX this year, and seems someone else did also. I was able to remedy my error by planning a trip to Sequoia National Park/Forest with a friend, which is way better hanging out in downtown LA for a few days. We both got there on the 21st and drove to Bakersfield since it was about half way between. We spent the night and drove up to Sequoia bright and early the next morning. From the moment we got into the park, we could see the fog up higher and was hoping it might burn off. Still, the scenery was amazing and I was already taking dozens of pictures before we had really even set much of a foot into the area. Thank goodness for digital.

My favorite part of a trip like that where we ended up going all the way up to 8200 feet, was how much the terrain changes along the way. So cool. Literally cool as well at 8200 feet. heh. The fog didn’t let up at all unfortunately. It was a mixed blessing really. Both my friend and myself are a bit afraid of heights, so you couldn’t see a thing other than a surreal, otherworldly mist that would often waft across the road in a very Stephen King-ish way.

Eventually we got to where the Sequoias were. More mist and very, very large trees later, we were both disappointed that our day was ending. We took a crazy amount of pictures of large trees it got to be funny. Without something beside them, it was hard to see the sheer scale of how extra large they are. Anyway, here are my pics on Flickr.

After a very long, wrong way decent from the mountains, we settled in for the evening to finish up our materials for our sessions. Couldn’t be done early, nope, couldn’t happen. When we retured to LA, that night we had a Community dinner. Last year we had about 15, so this year I planned early and had an invitation up online. We ended up with 34 people all together. It was a blast, but hard to visit with everyone. Nothing I love more than my community of Adobe peeps. To quote a¬†commercial, priceless.

We had a horrible mix up with the rooms that still isn’t fixed, so I won’t go into that at the moment.

The conference itself was riddled with devices. Everyone received 2 free devices, and some of us got some more at a BlackBerry/RIM event. Mobile this, and mobile that. Tablet this, and tablet that. So many cool things going on it was crazy.

From the keynotes, to the Unconfrences, I’d say this was by far the best MAX I’ve attended. As usual, I was a TA, starting with Doug Winnie’s full day Actionscript 1:1 class. The Community Summit was going on at the same time, so I had to run down as often as I could. I hated missing most of the Summit. Nothing is more important than Community for me, but I had promised I’d help TA that class.

The evening event was ok. I am not a fan of that bowling alley as it is loud enough that it is hard to talk to everyone. I left early that night as I was presenting the next day, and had more work to do on my presentation. I was also a TA for, well, the entire conference, so I doubt I ever got more than 4-5 hours sleep the entire week.

I also spoke at the unconference for 360|Flex, on wireframing for RIA. Whoever was the speaker after me, was super rude. Not nice person at all. Wireframing never gets much love, and while the conference organizers keep choosing that, not that many people ever show up to listen. Maybe I need to change the title of the presentation to something else to get more people listening.

My sessions were ok, but of course could have gone better. I’ll write more about this topic later. For now, I am exhausted and not feeling that great, so more on this in another post.

St. Louis Flash Camp

I had the honor to be asked back to the St. Louis Flash Camp as speaker this year. Last year it was 1 room for a full day, this year it was 2 rooms for a full day. I did just 1 session this time, on yes, you guessed it, Flash Catalyst. About 3 people in the room even knew what it was. Sad, but that has been my experience lately. ¬†I’ve done 3 demos on CS5 for the AIGA in different parts of the country lately, and I have found no one seems to even know what Flash Catalyst is, amazing.

There was a keynote by Paul Trani, Matthew Wallace presented, David Ortinau, Ben Stucki and many others. It was held as usual at the City Museum, which was a blast as Paul, Myra and myself explored after we presented. I even went up to the top to slide down the 10 story slide. There was no way however I was going all the way to the top for the Ferris Wheel. No way.

Anyway, both the conference and the time spent shopping and hanging out in St. Louis was fantastic. A great trip. Thanks to J.P. Revel (who also spoke at my conference) for inviting me yet again for such a wonderful experience.