With just a few days left of 2011, no better time than now to look back and get some perspective on what happened this last year and where things are going. There's been quite a few changes for me personally, one of which was the distinct lack of speaking engagements I took on this year. It turns out that I only presented at FFK "Beyond Tellerrand" - though if you had to pick one conference to participate in, that one would be very high on anyone's list.


I traveled to Graz, Austria for about a week to record a video training course on AIR mobile development using Flash and Flex with the wonderful people at video2brain. I'm really excited to have been able to work with Joseph Labrecque on this - he is without a doubt one of the most productive people I know and a pillar of the online community.

Our "HTML5 Solutions" book got published with Friends of ED / Apress and has been receiving excellent reviews, here again I've been very fortunate in being able to work with talented co-authors I can consider good friends.

A new job opportunity

By some bizarre coincidence I ended up being in London end of April when the royal wedding was taking place. Less than a handful of people knew what I was up to over there - no, I wasn't indulging my crush on Kate Middleton or plotting to overthrow the royal family - it was my onsite interview at Google. What I thought might very well turn into a "crash-and-burn scenario" went great and yesterday was in fact my six month Googleversary. Having the opportunity to work at a company like Google is a great catalyst for being productive - yes, there are great perks - but most of all its your talented colleagues and the projects you see coming out practically on a daily basis that give you the drive to do well.

I moved to London in June, now live in Lambeth on the South Bank with a postcard view of the Houses of Parliament across the river outside my apartment block. In all likelihood I will be moving in early 2012 to cut down on my rent and have a slightly easier commute to the new office at Central St Giles in the West End.

End of September I was given the opportunity to work for a week from the fantastic Google campus in Mountain View and meet my US colleagues there before heading to the Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles. I also worked from the San Francisco office for a couple of days, which has the most amazing views of the Bay Bridge you can imagine.

Adobe messing up and the road to recovery

The Adobe MAX conference was interesting, though in many respects somewhat underwhelming - not in the least because there was no hardware giveaway as most of us were hoping :) The conference is always a good time to meet up with old friends though and the community leader summit was a definite highlight for me, Rachel and the team did an outstanding job!

What annoyed me most looking back is how careless Adobe has been in communicating its Flash Platform roadmap - thousands of people paid a significant amount of money in good trust to attend the flagship conference and learn about Adobe's plans and subsequently invest in their technology strategy for at least the year to come. When you decide to completely overhaul your approach less than a month later you simply do not respect your most loyal customers and community.

Obviously mistakes were made repeatedly and PR and communication at Adobe are in a very sorry state - evidenced by the 9/11 (or 11/9 if you're in the US) press release where 750 layoffs are glossed over in the paragraph above announcing another record quarter for revenue. Some of the talented and passionate people that left the company this year include: Doug Winnie, Richard Galvan, John Koch, Duane Nickull,...

I do want to make it clear that while I have been quite harsh and outspoken about Adobe as a company and the lousy way it has handled their restructuring and new product focus - I did not aim to target my outrage at any Adobe employees individually. I think especially the community-facing teams deserve our appreciation for how well they dealt with a very difficult situation.

As you can probably tell from my recent blog posts, I'm now particularly excited about the future of Flex at the Apache Software Foundation. After all these years - despite Flex technically being open source for quite a while - we'll have a way to contribute and directly shape its future. There are some serious challenges but even greater opportunities ahead for the project.

What's coming up next year

This coming January I'll be speaking at gotoAndSki() in Switzerland about easy P2P networking with the Flash Platform. Most of my talk will be based on the CocoonP2P library I started and with the help of the Dirk Eismann evolved in something incredibly nice. I'm working on adding in a few new features that I'll hopefully be able to demo at the conference.

I would really like to pick up podcasting again, but will start small. The current thinking is to host a monthly news round up and find some guests to talk about their latest projects.

I've had a bit of exposure to Google App Engine at work and would like to explore that more and possibly do a couple of experiments. The same goes for Dart which seems like a very promising language and the perfect middle ground between traditional Javascript and the more object-oriented ActionScript 3.0 style programming I'm used to.

There are a couple of HTML5 book proposals that came my way - I doubt I'll find the time to work on it so will probably decline. I am considering self-publishing something this year without a strict deadline, the idea being of writing it in the open to get peer review and feedback as I work my way through it. I'll also be giving NaNoWriMo another go (probably not in November though) - my first attempt this year at writing a novel in a month was an epic fail, only reaching 10.000 words of the required 50.000 minimum.

I'd like to end by wishing everyone the very best in 2012 and thank you for the year that was and the role you played in it!

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I'm excited to finally be able to make the announcement... I've been offered a position at Google UK, working out of their London office as a Rich Media Flash Developer in Dynamic Ads, Media and Platforms Solutions. Few people knew this was on the table, so it may come as a bit of a surprise but – after close to a decade working freelance – I was happy to see a new challenge come my way, not in the least at an amazing company like Google.

I will be moving to London in a couple of weeks to start my job at the end of the month. The main focus of my work at Google will still be around Flash development and I'll certainly stay personally involved in the online community, so no change expected there.

For those wondering, Project Cocoon remains active and I trust it in the very capable hands of my colleague Nathalie. I hope to stay in touch with the many friends and colleagues in India who have been an important part of my life over the last few years.
Thanks to everyone for their support in making this possible - Ian, Peter and Nathalie in particular - and I look forward to many more good things to come!

CategoriesGoogle, Life
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With just a few days left in 2009, I wanted to post some moments this year that stuck with me:

The annual tradition of complaining about Adobe MAX not paying speaker expenses of non-Adobe employees can now be put to rest, flight and hotel accommodation were covered and it turned out to be a fantastic event. Looking forward to heading to Los Angeles again next year for more Adobe goodness (and no doubt another trip to Universal Studios Hollywood).

Its been a difficult year for many, another 600 layoffs at Adobe this November - we've sadly lost the wonderful Stacy Sison of the community programs, evangelist extraordinaire Rufus Deuchler and several others.

For me personally I spent half a year teaching first year Devine students at the Technical University College of West-Flanders, was invited to speak at 5 conferences, presented 3 Flex/ActionScript workshops, did technical review on 2 books, attended a TED conference and have set up Project Cocoon Multimedia in Pondicherry, India with two good friends and fellow freelancers.

This next year I'm planning to spend both in India and back home in Belgium. I'll be focusing on training and consultancy and building out our activities with Project Cocoon. You'll no doubt still see me around at various conferences but plan on cutting down on my speaking engagements.
Wishing you all a fantastic 2010!

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Its that time of year again and decided to contribute in my own little way to the "Music for Life" campaign and help in the battle against malaria in Africa. I've put up an eBay auction where you can bid to win the chance to determine what t-shirt I'll be wearing at my next speaking engagement which will be the fantastic "Flash and the City" in New York. Whether it is your company logo, blog URL, twitter name or anything else you want to share -- I'll be showing it off and will give you a plug in my presentation.

This is your opportunity to get your message seen by several hundred geeks and gain some good karma points!

Please bid generously ;)


Its an impossible task to adequately summarize all the ideas and inspiration of this last week at TEDIndia in Mysore. Here are ten quotes - in no particular order - from various talks (attributed where I remember who said it) that stuck in my mind and are worth sharing.
"Getting more, from less, for more" - R.A. Mashelkar

"Being a girl is so powerful that we've had to train everyone not to be that." - Eve Ensler

"Write your obituary. If you don't like the way it reads, change your life, now."

"If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space." - Lakshmi Pratury

"It's not charity. It is ourselves we are helping. It's ourselves we are healing." - Thulasiraj Ravilla

"We develop grand concepts of happiness, but there are little symbols of happiness in the breath we take." - His Holiness the Karmapa

"To understand different viewpoints, we have to understand the myths and stories that shape them." - Devdutt Pattanaik

"'I do not know' is the engine that powers the longing to know." - Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

"Minds on the margin are not marginal minds." - Anil Gupta

"We don't enter the future, we create it. And we create what we imagine." - Ramachandra Budihal
I'm sure there are several great quotes I've missed here, so feel free to leave them in the comments.

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Today was day 1 of the main TEDIndia event. I've been at the wonderful Infosys Mysore campus since Monday and have met some truly extraordinary people. I couldn't help but write a quick summary of todays sessions and what inspired me most.

Usha Uthup
Credit: TED / James Duncan Davidson

Usha Uthup, legendary Indian pop singer, opened with a beautiful rendition of "Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram" -- generally believed to have been Mahatma Gandhi's favorite song, there were quite a few other direct and indirect references to the "Father of the Nation" later in the day.

Hans Rosling
Credit: TED / James Duncan Davidson

The first speaker was the incomparable Hans Rosling, showing some very interesting graphs on Asia's past and future in terms of life expectancy and per capita income. He showed this against a historical context and predicted that it is possible for India - providing certain conditions are met - to reach the same average income as the United Kingdom by the year 2048 (July 27th, in the late afternoon to be precise).

First standing ovation of the day.

Devdutt Pattanaik
Credit: TED / James Duncan Davidson

Next up was Devdutt Pattanaik, talking about mythology and cultural perceptions. He started with the story of the race around the world between Ganesha and Karttikeya -- abstracting this down to subjective truth and personal context. He went on to discuss Alexander the Great and the gymnosophist, linear versus cyclical belief systems. I was most interested how he would be able to tie these ideas into the business world and he did manage to make some compelling arguments there.

Another well deserved standing ovation.

To round off the first session Usha Uthup again came on again to sing a medley from all around the world and got the crowd to stand up, clap, sing dance along. I don't think anyone expected that to spontaneously happen and is - as I am told - generally referred to as a "TED moment".

Dr. R.A. Mashelkar
Credit: TED / James Duncan Davidson

Jumping forward a bit the next speaker I would like to highlight is Dr. R.A. Mashelkar. Coming from an underprivileged background as a child, he grew up to become an eminent scientist. The mantra throughout his talk was: "Getting more, from less, for more" and the idea of "Gandhian Engineering". He makes a good point that when targeting people that can barely get by, its not enough to think about cost cutting, it needs to be about ultra-low cost solutions. He showed various examples, including a very impressive prosthetic leg that could very easily be fitted, allowed to run, jump, climb tries and cost well under 100 USD what would otherwise be 20.000 USD.

This talk to me reinforced the idea that "constraints are the best breeding ground for innovation".

Pranav Mistry
Credit: TED / James Duncan Davidson

Moving on to the last session of the day, one person you'll no doubt here a lot more from in the future is Pranav Mistry. The work he did on Sixth Sense technology, essentially bringing together the physical and digital world, was also featured at a previous TED by Patty Maes (a Belgian native) but he showed a number of interesting new applications. It was great to hear about some of his earlier experiments and more of the vision behind the project.

What I am most excited about here is that, in talking to Chris Anderson, after his talk he said he would like to open source the software and encourage different people to make their own implementations. While I could still see some teething problems with the technology I have no doubt a lot of us will be using this in some form or another within the next 3-5 years.

Credit: TED / James Duncan Davidson

Another fantastic talk that really resonated with me was one by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, an India mystic like no other. He shared his life story and explained what he called the "field of perception" which we put up in our mind, something that can be expanded to encompass the wider world around us. As such he says that the idea of empathy is built into our very systems. Sadhguru certainly is a profound and profoundly entertaining speaker including references to stolen sandals at temples, "divine versus dosa" and the hilarious punch line "hey woman, its your dream". Turns out he is a pretty good singer as well. Be sure to watch for that when the recording goes up on TED.com.

The last session of the day got closed by an impressive musical duo, Anil Srinivasan and Sikkil Gurucharan bringing a unique mixture of classical piano and carnatic singing. Its hard to imagine that combination of East and West would work well together but it makes for a unique sound. I've certainly become a big fan of their music.
I hope some of you have been able to follow along on the free livestream, they'll be doing the same for the last session of the conference on Saturday at 11am Indian Standard Time.

This has certainly been a memorable first day and can't wait for the rest of the conference!

CategoriesEvents, Life

The last two months have been hectic to say the least attending and speaking at conferences in Singapore, Brighton and Los Angeles and most recently giving some workshops in London. I'm looking forward to settling down in India to start a new chapter and get Project Cocoon off the ground. Before that though, one more conference, and one I've always wanted to attend: TED.

TED is coming to India this November and I am extremely excited. This should be an opportunity to meet some inspiring people and get renewed energy to work on a couple of personal projects I've been postponing for far too long. I thought it would be fun to share some of the people I'm most looking forward to hearing speak and perform.

Usha Uthup Devdutt Pattanaik Hans Rosling Anil Srinivasan and Sikkil Gurucharan Shekhar Kapur Shashi Tharoor His Holiness the 17th Karmapa

I'll be heading out to India end of the month and will be back for a few weeks over the holidays end of December. After TEDIndia I have a few days off in Bangalore, if anyone would like to meet up feel free to get in touch -- following that I'll be flying to Chennai and on to Pondicherry to meet up with the rest of the team.

CategoriesEvents, Life
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I just wrapped up a fascinating 6 months as a lecturer to first year "Digital Design and Media" students at the Technical University College of West-Flanders. If there's something I've recognized from my time there is that passion and commitment are determining factors for being successful in what you do. There certainly was no lack of that in my former colleagues and several students you'll no doubt soon hear about as up and coming talent. I wish them all the best and am always available to support them moving forward!

Over the last few years I've had numerous opportunities come my way, largely thanks to my involvement in the Flash community. This has allowed me to travel all over the world, author books and generally make a good living doing what I love.

Those of you that know me well, will no doubt know about my other passion, India.

After the upcoming conference season I'll be taking a step back and work on what we've tentatively called "Project Cocoon". For this I'll be joining forces with good friends and talented designers/developers/artists Nathalie Wormser and Ramakrishna Minnard in Pondicherry, South India where we'll be setting up shop.

Within this collaborative project we each have our own focus but a common goal, creating engaging user experiences through pushing beyond both our own limitations as the limits of the technology we use. As part of the project we plan to support and actively participate in various social and charitable initiatives.

Project Cocoon will be in its incubation period for a couple of months after which it will likely become my regular workplace in India for a good deal of the year.

Feel free to get in touch if you have any projects you'd like us to get involved with.
I'm equally excited about attending TEDIndia in Mysore, November 4-7th where I'll be representing the team. This will be a unique opportunity to network, get a perspective on the future of India from a wide variety of angles and most importantly -- get inspired.

To quote Lakshmi Pratury, co-host of TEDIndia, in a recent column --

"At TEDIndia this November, we want to explore this world to come. India—the largest democracy in the world with a population that includes three quarters of a billion people under the age of 35, speaking either one of 16 official languages or one of its hundreds of dialects, worshipping a million gods—provides the perfect setting for an exploration of the future. And TED, the legendary conference of great minds, is the perfect vehicle for bringing us together [...]

TEDIndia represents the confluence of cultures within me—and the recognition by the TED community of the importance of India and the Asian continent. Seven of the 10 most populous countries in the world are part of Asia; and India, with all its obstacles and opportunities, is a microcosm of that Asian future."


Its going to be an interesting journey and I'll be sure to keep you posted!

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