Tag Archives: adobe-air

What Adobe Air Apps Are You Using?

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This week, Marques is talking about Adobe Air and some of the great desktop apps that run on it. HongKiat has a list of more than sixty different apps which will run on Android, Windows and Mac OS X.

Adobe AIR was first introduced on 19 March 2007 with the name of Apollo and designed as a cross-operating system runtime that enables web developers to use their existing web development skills, code and tools to build and deploy rich web applications and content to the desktop.

Many of the apps are centered around productivity, including an entire section of apps created for Google. There are categories for photo and video apps, including things to help manage your Flickr account.

There are apps built for design, including one to create icons yourself. It’s a simple little program that helps you make a neat little favicon for your website, among other things.

If you are using anything built on Adobe Air that wasn’t included in the article, let us know about them. We’ll be happy to take a look at them.

What is the Best Twitter Client?

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Marques has created another screencast for us. This time, he is showing off an Adobe Air Twitter client called DestroyTwitter.

This client has an unbelievably light footprint. The installer is under 1mb in size, and the memory usage can run as low as 25mb. That’s nearly unheard of, especially for something that packs in so many features.

One cool thing that I really like about DestroyTwitter is the filtering options. If you’re sick of seeing those checkins, why not filter out everything coming from Foursquare or Gowalla? If a friend is attending an event you really don’t want to hear about, filter out the hashtag or event name to remove them from the stream while still seeing everything else your friend has to say.

DestroyTwitter is a Twitter client, not an every-social-network-in-the-world client. Because of this, the UI is focused—not cluttered with unwanted services.

I like that! If I wanted to see every other social network, I’d get a client for that. There are many times, though, that I only want to see Twitter. There are many people, also, who always only want to see Twitter.

There are several nice features built into DestroyTwitter to give you an overall better user experience. Change the font size or icons. Choose between six different notification sounds – or turn them off completely. Read up to 200 tweets every thirty seconds. (If you can do that – color me impressed!)

Another excellent feature is the username auto-complete. You don’t have to memorize everyone’s Twitter handle – just the first few letters. How cool is that?

Thanks, Marques, for another excellent screencast.

What is the best desktop Twitter client out there?

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Will Adobe CS5 be Great – or Should You Wait?

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I haven’t yet had a chance to use Adobe CS5 myself. However, I do know that it’s a powerful – albeit expensive – program. There are free or open-source alternatives I can use. Most of the photo editing I do these days can be done inside of Picasa. However, there is one feature inside of CS5 that is absolutely killer.

You know how you can use the clone tool in a photo editing program? Most of the time, it’s a difficult process. You can take a screenshot of what’s going on with my live stream. If you wanted to crop out the iPad in the front, you’d need to painstakingly replace it with part of the curtains to block it out. However, CS5 makes this a seamless and beautiful process. It’s almost magical to watch.

Adobe products work well, even if they’re a little advanced for most people’s needs. However, the price tag on many of them (including CS5) rules out the software for most of us.

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iReverse Runs on Multiple Platforms (Including the iPad)

The iPad is not the only thing that people are buzzing about on the Web today. Adobe product manager Christian Cantrell has been busy making headlines of his own. Christian has created a Reversi game which can be played on the iPad.

That doesn’t sound like very big news, does it? It’s not an Earth-shattering announcement – until you realize that the same exact game also works on OS X, Windows, Linux, an iPod Touch and a Droid. Most apps and games are geared to work on one platform or another. They won’t work on different devices and systems without a lot of modification to the code. Usually, apps are written for various devices in different languages. iPhone developers use Objective-C, while BlackBerry and Android devs create their programs in Java. This is why Cantrell’s game is so groundbreaking.

According to Christian himself: ““There isn’t a single line of code I had to change to get this app to run on all these different operating systems and devices.” The exact same code base is used to build different versions for multiple environments. Every one of these versions is running on Adobe AIR technology. It’s unheard of to have one application be able to DO this. There’s simply no other platform in the world that has this level of flexibility.

It’s going to be interesting to see how many others will step up to the plate and begin taking advantage of AIR and what it can do for them. Who are we going to see breaking ground next?

Resize Photos With Shrink O’Matic

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BWOne has done several screencasts for us in the past, with great success. He’s been busy uploading CES videos to his own channel lately, but took a break to create another screencast for all of you. Today, Bowman is going to show you how to easily reduce the size of your pictures using Adobe Air’s Shrink O’Matic!

Shrink O’Matic is an AIR application to easily (batch) resize (shrink) images. It handles JPGs, GIFs and PNGs. Simply drag and drop images and they’ll be resized as you wish! Options allow you to choose the output sizes, names and formats. Make sure you specify the output folder (and format), or else it will save over your original by default.

The program allows you to define the pixel length and width, compression ratio, how to name your new file, and the new format. You don’t have to resize photos one at a time anymore, either. Shrink O’Matic allows you to run a batch of several pictures all at once!

Shrink O’Matic works on both Mac and Windows. Even though it only has a limited number of formats it can work with, it should be perfect for most user’s needs!

Thanks, Bowman, for another excellent tutorial!

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How to Use Icon Generator

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Marques has now done several screencasts for us, all of which have been fantastic! This time, he’s going to show you how to make use of a free Adobe Air app. Icon Generator allows you to generate a CS3 or Web 2.0 style icon, in only 3 steps! Choose your color, the character types and then save it in four different sizes! Being an Adobe Air app means that this will work on any platform! It’s free, it’s easy to use, and it’s fun!

Icon Generator is an easy download, and the installation is self-explanatory. Once you open the application for the first time, you’ll see that the interface is quite simple, even though it’s a very powerful application. Over on the right, you have the icon generator itself. You’ll need to choose between creating a CS3 (square-shaped) or Web 2.0 (starburst-shaped) icon.

Choose your name, and then your background color. You will be given a preview as you are editing. Click “Create Icon”, and choose where you want your files exported to. All four sizes will automatically be created for you. This is handy because of the fact that certain websites only allow very small-sized icons.

If you’re looking for a classy new logo for yourself or your brand, look no further than the Icon Generator!

Thanks, Marques, for another excellent tutorial!

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How to Create and Browse Lifestreams

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How many people do you keep track of online? And how many different sites do you have to log into in order to do so? It can take a lot of time to accomplish this if you aren’t using the proper vehicle to help you. You’d have to log into each of what seems to be a hundreds sites and check up on what everyone is up to. Who has the time to do that these days?

I’m lucky in that I can have my own lifestream running right from within my blog. The WicketPixie WordPress theme has been developed by some of our community members, and is updated often. It includes a feature that allows you to have things ported right to your site, such as your latest tweets, status, and uploads.

What do you do, though, if you don’t have the necessary platform to run something like WicketPixie? Are you stuck logging into all of these sites one-by-one in order to keep up? The answer is no! There’s a piece of software that is cross-platform, running off of Adobe Air, that can make this task an easy and much faster one.

nomee is, quite simply, social media made simple. Once you register for your own account, you can start following other people you are interested in. For instance, let’s say you follow iJustine and want to see what she’s been up to recently. Click on her name or icon in your list of people you’re following. It will then take you to a page of all of the websites and services she has listed under her own profile. You can see at a glance what she’s updated recently. Clicking on the icon for that particular updated site takes you right to it… such as her Flickr page, or her Twitter account.

When signing yourself up on nomee, you control what others see. Choose which sites you want to have nomee keep tabs on, and that others are allowed to access. Let nomee help you make your social life much easier.

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What is Google Wave?

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I ran into Ben from Mashable recently, and asked him for his thoughts on Google Wave. Google Wave is a new tool for communication and collaboration on the web, coming later this year.

Ben says that Google Wave is a “very, very interesting project”, and that it could be the next big form of communication. His favorite feature is Windows – style editing. Say you have a group of friends and want to plan a party. Instead of sending a bajillion emails back and forth, you can just edit the original email in the bottom “pane”. You can edit messages at any point, and see everyone’s conversation at once. It’s a completely new way to communicate, and more effective.

With Gmail and Exchange… it’s just different. For attachments, you would have to click, add the attachment, download the attachment… blah! With Google Wave, you simply drag and drop whatever you need to share among the group. You can embed your own Wave into things like YouTube, your blog, and more. It can replace a normal commenting system! There’s even an iPhone App being released along with Wave.

Google Wave is open-source, so you can build anything you want with it. Create desktop apps, web apps, an Adobe Air app… or make it work for your Exchange account (like I rely on!). This is definitely going to be something to watch unfold, and sounds like it’s going to be an absolutely amazing service.

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The Best Free Desktop News Ticker

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I don’t really watch the news anymore, unless someone sends me a clip of something. I snack on news headlines, and dive deeper into whatever interests me. I like to just get a taste of what’s going on. I don’t know how you digest your news. One suggestion is to use a news aggregator. I also have another suggestion to make, potentially something that can augment your ability to digest the news as it comes in through RSS feeds.

This solution is cross-platform, and runs on Adobe Air. Snackr is an RSS ticker that pulls random items from your feeds and scrolls them across your desktop. When you see a title that looks interesting, you can click on it to pop up the item in a window. Currently it checks all feeds on startup, and after that it waits at least 45 minutes between checks of a given feed. This way, you aren’t overwhelmed with items every couple of minutes! You have time to snack on them in between having new ones brought to you.

Snackr sits on any edge of your screen (top, bottom or sides). It scrolls the latest headlines across your screen, much like any news or stock ticker. It tells you how long ago they were published, and where. It also comes with a default set of feeds. You can, however, easily configure it. Remove ones that are there you may not want, and add whatever it is you DO want.

The exciting part is watching the headlines as they scroll by. It only takes a moment to do, and you can then dive deeper into anything you may need or want to know more about. It’s easy, and it’s free! Add to that how configurable it is, and you have something excellent to add to your desktop – and your day!

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How to Create an Animated GIF: Webcam2GIF

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I was moving my lips, but I wasn’t saying anything. It’s not a movie, it’s an animated .GIF. It’s a single file with a series of frames spliced together – set to loop forever. I made this in less than a minute! This was done with nothing more than my webcam, and an Adobe Air app called WebCam to GIF.

WebCam to GIF is a tool that lets you to create animated GIF images using your webcam. You can use this to create an animated avatar for forums, social sites and more. If you don’t already have the Air platform installed, you’ll want to do it. There are a ton of great apps available for it. The best thing is that it is cross-platform, and works on even Linux!!

This isn’t the first animated GIF I’ve ever made. I’ve been doing them for years – starting way back when all hyperlinks on the Web were blue. Yeah, I know, I’m getting “old”. GIFs are a lot of fun to play with, and are just another way you can enhance your photos and make them fun.

When looking at the program, you have the live preview on the webcam showing on the left side. On the right side, you have the way to browse the images you’ve taken in the series. You can choose how many times it will loop, and decide the quality and size of your creation. When you start snapping captures, you can move around and change the frames (or even delete frames from the series).

It’s easy to do, and it’s fun. Remember that it’s not a video… it’s a GIF! Take your series of photos, mash them together, and loop them forever! Have a GIF of yourself doing almost anything! Download and play with it, make your own GIFs, and come share them with the rest of us.

Which one is the real me?

Blah blah blah blah

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Too Much RSS to Digest? Snack on It with Snackr!

I don’t know about you, but I follow a lot of different things. Reading your plethora of RSS feeds can be extremely time consuming if any of them are even remotely active. I’ve found a solution, and it can work in conjunction with Google Reader, or another reader you may use – it’s called Snackr.

Snackr is an Adobe AIR application, so it is designed by nature to work cross-platform. It’s an RSS ticker that will randomly pull content from your all of your feeds and display it. If you see something interesting you can click it once and get a preview popup, or click it twice to view that article in a browser window.

Snackr also tells you where the article came from and how old it is. You can set your ticker preferences to show you feed articles up to 30 days old, with the lowest setting being one day. For those of you who need up-to-the-minute news and information, Snackr could be the just right application for you to keep up.

Snackr is very easy to install. All you need to do is go to http://snackr.net and download the free application. There are special instructions for Linux users to follow, but they say the application may be a bit buggy because of previous AIR problems.

Once installed, the program will welcome you and tell you to get some feeds. It will ask you to start with a sample feed set, import a feed list from another feed reader, or add feeds manually (and tells you how). If you choose the sample feed set, you’ll start getting articles right away, ticking across the bottom of your screen. You’ll be given articles from Adobe, the Dictionary.com Word of the Day, Astronomy pictures, CNET News, and a variety of others. Want to use your own instead? Choose the import or manual option and then you can tell Snackr to open your saved OPML file.

You can dock Snackr on any of the four sides of your screen. To move it, all you need to do is click and drag it to another area of the screen and it will dock to the closest position.

If you are brave, you can download the test builds available at Google Code. You also have the opportunity to sign up for their public beta. Don’t forget, you can also follow Snackr on Twitter.

Do you know of other great RSS applications? What are YOUR opinions about Snackr?

Linux and Adobe AIR – Can They Work Together?

Adobe AIR is a great way for developers to make desktop applications full of rich content that can be depoyed cross platform. However, up until today those who tried to run AIR applications on Linux had a rough time. The runtime and Software Development Kit (SDK) for AIR was originally released only for the Mac and Windows. Linux users required their own SDK; a public beta was pushed out earlier this year, and as beta testing goes, it had issues. Through a lot of feedback given by developers, Adobe was able to determine the problems with the software and the needs of the Linux community – just like how any other beta test works.

Yesterday Adobe proudly announced that they have released the AIR 1.5 runtime and SDK for Linux. However, with this comes a few small problems:

  1. Only three distributions of Linux are supported, all open: Ubuntu, Fedora and openSUSE. There are specific versions supported as well, so you will need to check the details.
  2. The 64-bit Linux distributions are not natively supported. Adobe has posted some information regarding the Flash Player 10 pre-release and a work-around to get AIR onto 64-bit Linux.

The good news?

You are now able to run all the wonderful applications your friends that use a Mac or a PC can! Applications like TweetDeck and Twhirl are now available, including countless others. You can check out the Adobe AIR Marketplace for more applications to download.

Are you an AIR developer? How does this change affect how you are developing your application? Don’t forget to leave your comments!

What are the Best Free Adobe AIR Apps

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Adobe AIR is Adobe’s entry into the field of widgets. It’s a better idea than just something on your desktop. Developers are able to create a potentially rich experience, and have it run cross-platform. Even though I think the whole Adobe AIR platform is quite ready yet, some of the apps that are available are truly getting there. I found a few of them that I think are pretty good, and I now have on my own computer.

  1. FotoBooth is an application built for fun where you can quickly snap pictures using your webcam. It offers a dozen different filters to distort your images and also integrates with flickr for one click uploads to your flickr account..
  2. iSpy uses your web cam to take a quick snap shot and save it to your local disk whenever it senses motion. If there is a level of motion that exceeds the sensitivity level, it will either take a quick snap shot and display on screen or if “Save pics to disk” is checked it will also save a copy to the user’s picture/iSpy directory.
  3. ReadAIR is an OSX Themed Desktop Client for Mac or Windows.
  4. PandoraBoy allows you to control your music with global hotkeys or your apple remote. Additionally, it supports growl notifications so that you always know what you’re listening to.
  5. ShrinkOMatic lets you resize photos easily. You can set size and ratio limits, change the output format, and then drag and drop your pictures.
  6. WebKut allows you to feed it a URL and you can snapshot it. It will save the page out as a .PDF file with just a couple of clicks of your mouse.
  7. Clevr is a seriously easy way of creating and sharing panoramic photos. It not only helps you create stunning panoramas, but it also lets you turn them into interactive images that you can move around and navigate.
  8. CL Desktop is a user friendly way to browse Craigslist. Setup just the right searches to find what your looking for, and save them for instant access anytime you need. CL Desktop is an application that runs on your desktop to bring you a better view of Craigslist postings.

So those are just a few of the applications available for Adobe AIR that you might want to check out if you haven’t already. What other AIR apps do you use and enjoy? I’d like to hear about them.

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What is Adobe Air?

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – A few of my friends joined me on Skype last night to discuss some of today’s hot Tech topics. This video covers the release of the second beta of Adobe Air.

Four of my friends joined me for this discussion: Kat, SC_Thor, Wirelesspacket, and last but certainly not least… Datalore.

In this video, we discussed the newest beta release of Adobe Air. Adobe Integrated Runtime is a cross-OS runtime environment for building Rich Internet Applications, using Flash, Flex, HTML and Ajax, that can be deployed as a desktop application.

Users interact with AIR applications in the same way that they interact with native desktop applications. The runtime is installed once on the user’s computer, and then AIR applications are installed and run just like any other desktop application.

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