Getting Flash On The iPhone

Yesterday, Adobe chief executive Shantanu Narayen said Flash has been successfully run on an iPhone emulator. This news may raise the hopes that Flash will show itself on the iPhone at some point, maybe even this year. The full story can be read in this Apple Insider article.

My one complaint about working on a Mac has been its less than stellar Flash performance. This is a common complaint, and many of the working Flash guys I know run Windows XP. Apple has complained for some time about the poor OS X performance, and I don’t know if Adobe will change their position. Flash is not the only product that is inferior on the Mac. Acrobat has more functionality (LiveCycle Designer), and features (3D support) under Windows than on OS X. The recent release of Acrobat 9 only furthers this gap.

While the Intel Macs have helped boost Apple’s position in the computer market, I think the bottom line is that Adobe will focus on the platform that delivers more dollars through the door. Corporate customers are more likely to be on a Windows computer. That demographic is the one that relies on the feature set of Acrobat.

Flash leaves me puzzled. I’m seeing a lot more designer/programmer types on Macs, in fact whenever I attend an Adobe related event, the speakers are on Macs. Perhaps the low percentage of Macs in the 3D space has something to do with the lower numbers & Adobe interest. Will be throwing out that question and more while I visit with Adobe here in San Jose.

UPDATE – Found an excellent article regarding Flash & the iPhone via Chris Pirillo.

Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Soundbooth Betas Available

If you want to stay on top of Adobe’s vision for new media, the best place to go is the Adobe Labs. There you’ll find the latest innovations, and next creations from the engineers that make creatives squeal like giddy school girls.

The Lightroom 2.0 beta was recently made available for download, and now bleeding edge creatives can checkout the next releases of Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Soundbooth. These products, used for web development, web prototyping, and audio, allow you a sneak peek at the future of the Creative Suite, and a glimpse at the integration between products. Cross-media publishing should be on your brain, as new Adobe products continue to blur the lines between web & print products allowing a smoother exchange of files, and better workflow.

If the betas are any indication, the CS4 release looks to be the next stage in creative evolution.

Time Warner Cable To Meter Internet Access

It appears Time Warner Cable has decided to test the waters for metered Internet access. Starting in Beaumont, Texas, customers will be charged additional fees if they go over their monthly allotted bandwidth. The proposed rate is $1 for every gigabyte of bandwidth exceeded.

Time Warner spokesman Alex Dudley has stated that the new price plan reflects the impact of 5% of customers consuming a heavy amount of bandwidth. Michael Arrington from TechCrunch shoots back that metered access will stifle innovation.

I agree with the opinions that Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and other cable companies are simply extorting customers in areas where they are the only option for Internet access. It doesn’t surprise me that cable would make this shift given the availability and increasing use of media downloads via iTunes, Amazon, etc. The telecommunications industry has a better network to handle the bandwidth usage of its customers, and is not directly impacted by the consumer choosing to download an episode of Grey’s Anatomy from iTunes or versus watching it on cable.

I’m not sure how many customers will jump ship when hit with the new metered access plans. The unfortunate folks trapped with TWC or Comcast as their only option, will have to pay. For myself, I will quickly change providers.

I don’t see this proposal as a long term option in a competitive market. Hosting companies used to charge for the bandwidth usage on a metered basis, but many now have super-large plans or unlimited bandwidth. Same can be said for cell phones; competition recently spurred the new onslaught of unlimited plans.

Wii Be Not Fit

A hectic schedule, drinking, and poor diet habits, have led to a lifestyle that is a lot less fit than in my 20’s. While I wouldn’t consider myself obese, it wasn’t until a few months ago I realized just how much larger I had become. My friend Ricardo graciously offered to take some pics of Michelle & I just before Sydney was born. When Michelle & I reviewed the proofs, I was suddenly hit with the reality that I was heavier than I imagined (or not as skinny as saw myself daily). In fact, at 5ft 6in my weight hit a peak of 220lbs in January, but when I looked in the mirror I saw the beer belly that made me appear as pregnant as Michelle this past year. I didn’t notice how round my face had become or that I was slowly losing my chin as my neck had widened a great deal. The brutal truth had been revealed, and I could see what other people had been commenting on for over a year.

I had a chance to pickup the Wii Fit game released earlier this month, but had not set it up until this past week. I chose the Wii Fit mainly because the idea intrigued me, and I have already seen the benefits of playing Wii Sports. The game comes with with Wii Fit controller pad, which is a large floor unit roughly 18×9 inches. The unit is plastic, but felt solid and was fairly heavy. It’s powered by four AA batteries, which come in the package. Setup was a breeze, I simply inserted the Wii Fit game disc, and was walked through the process of creating my fitness profile.

In creating my fitness profile, I was asked to choose a Mii. This is the first game I have played where the Mii had hands & feet. That was not the only visual adjustment made to my Mii. After choosing the Mii you are put through a Body Test. You are asked questions about your height, age, and the weight of the clothes you are wearing. The test measure BMI, weight, and balance. The results of my first body test:

  • BMI 30.46 – Considered obese
  • Height – 5ft 6in
  • Weight – 196.5lbs
  • Balance – Poor (Afterwards, I realized the measurement is based on how quickly you find your balance)
  • Wii Fit Age – 42

Upon being told my Wii Fit age, my Mii character suddenly transformed into a heavier obese version. I was impressed and disgusted at the same time. Family & friends had chided me about my weight, but now the Wii Fit was piling on too. My results were certainly less impressive than when Ben Sanders jumped on his Wii Fit.

After completing the Body Test, I was asked to put a stamp on the Wii Fit calendar to mark my results. From there I had the option to go and try different workout routines. There are four main areas including Yoga, Strength Training, Balance, and Aerobic Conditioning. Keeping with the gaming theme, users are awarded Wii Fit points, which unlock various fitness games within the Wii Fit plaza. Being the first day, I simply went through a sample of each area.

I did well in the Yoga & Aerobic areas, but was weak again in Balance, which I attribute more to learning to master the floor controller, and my Strength was decent, but not great. You are led through the various routines by a virtual fitness instructor, and your overall fitness time is tracked to help create the graphs found in the Wii Fit plaza. I kept my first day pretty light, and worked out for about 45 minutes.

This morning was the second time I had used the Wii Fit, and upon entering the plaza I was told it had been 5 days since my last workout. The reminder can be encouraging or nagging depending on your mood when playing the game. I was asked to do another body test, and was surprised to see the following results:

  • BMI 30 – Still considered obese
  • Height – 5ft 6in
  • Weight – 193lbs
  • Balance – Good (Better since I understood how to take the test)
  • Wii Fit Age -31 (Yeah me! I’m 11yrs younger)
  • It was nice to see the progress graph after taking the body test.

Conclusion – My first impressions of the Wii Fit is that the game is well suited for anyone new to fitness. The instructions are clear, and the exercises are challenging, but not overly difficult. The gaming aspect is a nice touch to keep your workouts fresh & interesting. For someone who is active already, and in good shape, your opinion might be different. I think a fit person will initially enjoy the game, but soon become bored by the routines. However, I have not unlocked all the fitness routines, and I could be mistaken in that assumption.

I’m going to continue to use the Wii Fit to see if the routine can actually achieve some quality results. Not only am I trying to achieve good health for the sake of my family, but I was recently inspired by the CNN story on Muata Kamdibe who reduced his body fat percentage from 44% to 6.5%. His progress is documented on his blog “Mr. Low Body Fat.”

Update 6/6/2008Laura weighs in on the Wii Fit over at her blog.

Outlook vs Thunderbird vs Entourage

I shot a question off on Twitter last week simply asking for a decent Outlook replacement on the Mac. I received a few recommendations, mainly Entourage & Thunderbird. I thought it best to detail my needs in a blog post to solicit more detailed responses.

I have email correspondence dating back to 1988, when my messages were either on electronic bulletin boards, Prodigy, or Compuserve. My message archive has been copied into Word documents, converted to Compuserve mailboxes, and ultimately into Outlook PST files. It is my hope that at some point I can transcribe some of those messages into a memoir of some kind.

Given the GINORMOUS archive of messages, I have been slow to move away from Outlook, currently the only PC application I still use. I know I can run virtual Windows on my Mac, but I really don’t want to fire up Fusion just to check email. I also have pushed the limits of the program by including Notes & Categories in all my Contacts, while tagging messages & calendar information. Currently, I sync my Outlook calendar to my Google calendar which makes it easy to get my schedule to people who need to know. And there’s the little used Journal feature which helps me track billable time on projects (also tagged with Categories & associated to Contacts). Outlook also syncs with my phone so I have a 90 day snapshot of everything I need on the road. Chances are you could ask me what I have done on any given date in the past 20 years, and I could find it somewhere in Outlook.

Which leads us to my original question – what application (or group of apps) would best suit my information management needs?

I use Gmail which excels in terms of message searches. I do not have any folders setup for my Gmail account. I simply search for the thread I need, and it’s so much quicker than Outlook.

Thunderbird looks like a possible option, and it appears to have a calendar plugin, but what about contacts? I would want to use the Notes (& Categories if possible) from my existing Outlook contacts.

Entourage seems like a poor man’s Outlook. I’m not sure I want to exchange one single-file message system for another single-file message system. Also, I remember reading something about Spotlight searches were incapable of reading the Entourage data file. I would lose my Google calendar sync option with Entourage.

I might have to change my approach to this problem. I was hoping to move some of the current Outlook information into the new system I choose, but I may have to do a “clean slate” cutover. This would entail still using Outlook for message/calendar history, but that may be the front-runner solution.