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Playfolly Logo
In my time as a freelance iOS programmer I've come across two trends, true for both iPad and iPhone projects. Firstly there is a lot of contract work for apps that are preparing to look for funding and do not necessarily go into Apple's App Store at the end of the development cycle. Secondly there is a lot of contract work rescuing projects that begun life outsourced to off shore developers. Although Playfolly, a video social network mobile app, eventually has made it to the Appstore both of these are true for the work I did for them (see last year's Two Factor Authentication iOS Consulting for another example).

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Prior to 2012 I had never considered one of the types of projects a programmer could contribute to is the creation of interactive exhibition stand software. As is turns out if you do not have a digital element to your stand in many exhibitions these days you won't be standing out in a space where everyone is competing for delegates' attention.

Early this year I ended up being asked to program two such real life interaction experiences. Both were rich media experiences comprising of video, audio, animation and user interaction. This is exactly the type of project that Adobe Air was created for although while progamming the second I pushed up against some of its limitations and a combination of Javascript and HTML 5 stepped in to save the day.

Interactive Exhibition Stand

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Adobe Air Runtime
We've all been in this situation. You have developed a mobile app, or desktop application. It has been accepted to the Android Marketplace / Apple's App Store, or you have uploaded it onto your website or intranet for distribution. People have installed it and are using it.

It's time for version 2 and you make the inevitable changes to the database. You have to write code, in the model of your MVC pattern usually, that copes both with a upgrading the database from version 1 and creating a database from scratch for a user who is using your application for the first time at version 2.

And so the pattern continues, and the problem grows, for each version. In version 3 you have to write code that handles people upgrading from version 2 to version 3, version 1 to version 3 and people installing the app for the first time.

What a pain! Not anymore.

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Ubuntu Logo
Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, one of the world's most popular Linux distributions, has teamed up with Dell to make roads in to the Chinese personal computer market, which has recently become the largest market in this sector in the world.

Ubuntu's latest version 11.10 will be available pre installed on a range of Dell machines and Canonical has planned a number of strategies to convince consumers that Ubuntu is as good as any operating system they can choose from.

In addition to the operating system a number of applications are preinstalled on the machines to immediately meet the needs of people taking them home. Two of these applications I am proud to say were developed by myself using Adobe Air.

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Flex Framework
Recently I needed to make changes to two desktop Air applications I have been working on for a major Operating System (more details when I am allowed). The task was to change the TextField datatypes (flash.text.Textfield) to Spark Label (spark.components.Label) and a couple of Spark RichText (spark.components.RichText) components and I thought I would record what I learned to help other developers. I have also included some information about the handy RichEditableText (spark.components.RichEditableText) component.

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ActionScript 3 Frame Buffer03 February 2011

Flash Platform
All AS3 programmers have had to cope with situations where what they can see on the screen is different to what their code is telling them. Within Air, Flex and Flash applications the two main contributors to this are; the Flash Player is single threaded, apart from a few exceptions in Air, and internally is based around a frame rate.

Have you ever tried to measure something you have just added to the Display List and even though you can see it on the screen your measurement, something like width or height, is coming back as 0? How about when you are preloading, does your preloader get stuck at 10% and then jump to 100% at the end?

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Nokia Company Logo
Nokia is the worlds largest manufacturer of mobile phones, selling about a third of the world's handsets in 2010.

Like other mobile phone companies they appreciate the benefit of a store for customers to visit and this is especially true of the markets in Russia and Asia. Upon arriving at a Nokia store customers experience funky and cool interior design and of course access to all of the latest Nokia devices. To help enhance the experience through digital technology Nokia turned to the London branch of R/GA, Digital Agency of the Decade.

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Renault Company Logo
The new Renault Wind is a snazzy looking coupé-roadster. When you feel like letting the sunshine in the top comes down, folds away and the whole trick is completed in 12 seconds.

To promote the new car Renault held a competition to win one based around this theme and the 12 Second Strip was born.

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London's City Hall
A recent trend within the UK government is one of providing access to the data sets they hold to the public. It appears to me at least that the thinking behind this is that transparency is promoted, the public may well come up with ways of using the data that are useful to everyone, and after all the public has paid for the creation of these data sets and so it seems correct that they should have access to it.

Not too long ago I attended a meeting at London's amazing city hall which focused on the Greater London Authority's contribution to this movement, The London Datastore. For someone like myself who develops compelling rich interactive digital media for a living it was obvious that here is a rich source of potential to tell a story using this data and Flash / Flex.

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You did read correctly. That does say "Hack" and "The Government" in one sentence.

People often misuse the word hack. It originally meant "to solve a problem" and a group of developers, designers and statisticians got together in London over the weekend to solve the "What cool things can you build with publicly accessible government data?" question.

Being a Flash and Flex programmer naturally I thought it might be good idea to do an interactive data visualisation of some sort.


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