Saturday, October 25, 2008

Head Conference Wrap Up: Day 2

You can find Day 1's wrap-up here.

Day 2 was very interesting to say the least. How many people can say they viewed a talk in which the speaker was sitting in a car in Manhattan while stealing internet connection on her laptop? I missed why Aleks Krotoski was stuck in this position, but it was very entertaining to watch to say the least.

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I started my day by watching a great presentation from Joshua Hirsch, the Minister of Technology at Big Spaceship. He warned that people may think he is just promoting his company, which of course he is doing in part, but he is also giving some great insight into how a very prestigious creative firm works. His presentation struck close to home since The Basement is going through some similar situations that Big Spaceship faced roughly six years ago. He hammered home the importance of staying small, working close together, and focusing on producing quality work instead of making money (money will follow).

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From there I took a break and then attended Keith Peter's presentation. Out of all the presentations, I have been looking forward to Keith's the most. His Bit-101 lab was one of my main inspirations when I first learned how to code. Unfortunately, the "curse of Room 3" got the best of Keith and he was not able to have audio or video for more than 10 seconds at a time. Soooo, it quickly become an QA chat session and he promised to post his presentation online at a later date. Everyone seemed to take it well and were good sports about it.
We still were able to get a few nuggets from the QA session:
- His next book is coming out early 09.
- In CS4 IK Bones are mainly used on the design side and are barely references in the AS API. (of course you can make your own IK system).
- Infrared5 is wrapping up the following site.

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The final presentation I attended was Chris Allen's talk on Red5. Luckily for Chris he was not in the dreaded Room 3 so his audio and video did work. Unluckily for Chris, Adobe Connect used some of the same ports that his Red5 server did and therefore he ran into some troubles. Taken out of context some of his quotes where quite hilarious... "Red5 is impossible to install." and "Red5 application does nothing". This was of course being said while drinking a Hoegarden on being heckled in the background by Keith and the rest of the Red5 crew. Needless to say it was a very entertaining speech... unfortunately I did not take away much from it due to the distractions. I did like the fact that they are making it so you can program server side code in AS3 (everything gets translated into Java). I also enjoyed hearing that Red5 will be a plugin for Eclipse (if it isn't already). And I found it interesting that in contrast to Big Spaceship (where all 45 employees work in house), infrared has 7 in house and 7 working remotely.

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My favorite part of the HEAD Conference so far is how easy it is to interact throughout the session and during QA. Everyone acted very polite and mature and any heckling was does in good nature and only added humor instead of distracting from the conference. It was very easy to throw out a question and presenters were able to answer them almost immediately. I was very impressed at how "interactive" and "engaging" an online conference could be.

It may not have the networking that other conferences offer. But I was happy to run into a few familiar names. Hopefully I will "see" more of you tomorrow.

2 comments:

chris said...

Hey nice review of the conference. Glad that you liked my session, and I'm sorry that you didn't follow too much because of the distractions. Anyway, it's interesting that you mention Big Spaceship and Infrared5 and the way our teams are different. I talk to Josh often about having everybody in house versus remote workers. We agree to disagree on that one all the time. ;) I think what works for one company may not for another, and that's it's most important to just have a process in place that gets the job done. Of course we are always learning what works best, and adjusting as we go.

Anyway, hopefully I will see you in some of the rooms tomorrow. Take care!

Ickydime said...

Hey Chris, thanks for the feedback. And hopefully my summary did not come across negatively. I really did enjoy your session and definitely will be looking into red5 in the future. We (the basement) already compared Nonoba, ElectroServer, and Red5 earlier this year, but then the project was scaled back and a server was not needed. But I am sure similar projects will be in the pipeline.

The remote vs in-house is an interesting discussion. I've been on projects with both. For the most part I lean towards in house since being able to show each other your screen, sketch things out, and just read facial reactions can be much easier than e-mails/chat/phone/etc. But I agree with you in regards to your comment that it depends on the company. With your all-star cast's experience I am sure it is much easier than most.

I found it interesting that during Carlos Ulloa's presentation he made it clear that the Designer/Developer needed to work closely together and then during the QA session he basically said that if you have a good prototype then working together remotely should be easy for the designer and developer. I guess closely does not mean proximity. He is on your side on this one.