I started my career as a print designer. I was able to get some great jobs doing some award-winning design, but after a time, I wanted more flexibility in terms of design — once it was on paper, that was it.
Our agency acquired a small video production company, and that alone changed my life. Doug Freeman, Jeff Fyda and I spent the better part of two years without sleep learning how to technically achieve whatever we could dream up.
We wouldn’t leave the office until around 4AM during the week. We came into the office on the weekends to code, video edit, create 3D animations, learn and relate things we learned. It was an electric time. The skills we picked up on our own those years have become invaluable.
We were churning out more and more impressive interactive work: CDRs for Ford Motors, promotional website/CD packages along with print (I still remembered how to design and prep print files). Our Lingo was tight, our 3D was becoming more and more impressive. We started producing original musical scores with real musicians. We were outgrowing the agency we were working for in Pittsburgh.
An agency in Boston flew me in a few times to interview me for an interactive designer position, and I ended up taking the job. The Pittsburgh market was fun, but very small. I was now working on the 128 Technology Corridor, driving by tech powerhouses on my way to work every day and was inspiring. The bigger and more creative jobs pushed me to keep working on my coding skills as well as my graphic design.
The bigger and more creative jobs pushed me to keep working on my coding skills as well as my graphic design.
Exposure to these hi-tech companies expanded my overall understanding of the big picture and how I could become a player in it. I was able to interact directly with players at Macromedia and with Jeremy Allaire himself.
I attended advisory board meetings at the mothership (then Macromedia) in San Francisco.
Macromedia fed my lifestyle by providing tools to create applications and experiences both on the web and standalone.
I started writing books about Flash – the first being a co-author on Macromedia Flash Super Samurai [Pearson Education; Bk&CD-Rom edition (November 16, 2001)]. To be honest, it was a kick-ass book back in and its still pretty decent. After that I helped author/tech-edit/contribute on several more books.
I won international interactive awards, I received a lot of contractual freelance work with influential ad agencies located in downtown Boston, I had several articles published in magazines, as well as tutorial files placed on various training CDs. I was recognized by my peers at Flash conferences. I have won the Macromedia Site of the Day twice.
Once for a Flashforward NYC Guide application that ran on Pocket PC, and included XML data store and online connectivity with a database for rating sessions. The other was won for producing a Central Application for Macromedia’s MAX Conference. One of the features was blast data and the ability to graphically display room locations on a two-floor map. It had an RSS reader too, among other things.
To make a long story short, I now work at Bose, in the R&D Design Center. I am coding simulations, prototypes, custom components, interfacing with hardware and other software, and generally having a most excellent time.
I was playing with AS3, AIR, Flex Builder 3, HTML 5, PHP, Spry, Dojo, SVN, Eclipse, MTASC, and all the other fun stuff that goes with it. I still do some AS2 development (components, mvc stuff, experiments, prototypes, UI design, usability study, etc.) I am interfacing with databases, using sockets paired with Python to do some interesting stuff, and a lot more. Good times™.
I have moved on to use Objective-C for iOS and Mac OS X. I am also more heavily relied upon to make sound user experience and user interface decisions and designs for R&D and actual product projects. I’ll be adding native Android development to my toolbox too. I tried it in the past and it left a poor taste in my mouth, but I’ll give it another try since it’s important to be flexible. I won’t personally own an Android device though, that would be taking things too far. I’m a user experience guy, remember?
I’ve been chewing on the Python pie recently – and while I didn’t enjoy it at first, I do like it a lot more now. The lack of braces at first scared me, but after a while I will admit that it looks cleaner.
I’m taking a look at Apple’s new Swift scripting language and it’s pretty cool. A little too soon to replace Objective-C in my mind, but that day is coming.
Update: I am now playing with Arduino and it’s components, a soldering iron, and the Arduino IDE in order to further make things come to life here at work. It’s really a lot of fun.
Awards and Achievements
- Macromedia Site of the Day: November 19, 2003: Macromedia MAX 2003 Conference Central Application
- Macromedia Site of the Day: June 22, 2002, FlashForward 2002 New York City Event Guide for Pocket PC and Flash 5
- Co-author Macromedia Flash Super Samurai – PeachPit Press: November, 2001
- Co-author Macromedia Flash Super Samurai – Helion/PeachPit Press: September, 2002 : Polish Translation
- Co-author Flash MX Audio Magic – New Riders Publishing: July 25, 2002
- Co-author Flash MX Dynamic Applications – PeachPit Press: October, 2002
- Contributor Flash MX Gaming Demystified – PeachPit Press: August 2002
- Technical Editor on Flash MX Communication Server – New Riders Publishing: December 2002
- MX Developer’s Journal, TagCloud (Flash&XML) Tutorial
- Centennial Media Arts and Macromedia, Flash 5 Action Scripting Training CDROM: September 2001
- Computer Arts UK Magazine: Flash Special Edition: July 200
- Create Online Magazine (UK) Chapter 14 from Flash MX Audio Magic included on CDROM