Flash On The Beach: day one

The first day of Brighton’s very own Flash conference covered quite a wide range of subjects.

I skipped the keynote. That’s partly because I thought it would be a product pitch from Adobe but mostly because I had a late night at Aral’s party. By all accounts, it was actually a very good presentation.

The first presentation I saw was from Craig Swann. It was great! He reminded me a lot of Matt Webb with his talk of unusual sensory input devices. Craig was was like a mad scientist, pulling out wires and sensors to build engaging works of art. It made me want to go out and subscribe to Make magazine.

I went out for lunch with Pete who introduced me to two of my Flash heroes, Todd Purgason and Brendan Dawes, gentlemen both. After we all filled up on pies, I went back to the conference to listen to Branden Hall talk about Actionscript 3, which doubles up as a preview of JavaScript 2.

Branden was a very entertaining presenter but he had a tough crowd to work with. Maybe it’s because the venue isn’t packed out and people are sitting apart but there’s a constant feeling of being on the edge of the audience no matter where you sit.

Aral was up next and he was his usual ebullient self. He talked about agile development and user-centred design. For a while there, he was channelling Jason Fried. I was just waiting for him to start talking about “getting real.”

There wasn’t much that was specifically Flash-related in Aral’s talk, which made its appeal even broader: this is a presentation that would fit equally well at a non-Flash conference.

Finally, Eric Natzke showed off some of his amazing work and explained the process behind it. The presentation is online. You could lose hours looking through his hypnotic creations.

All in all, it was a diverse day of talks: art, code and business. Tomorrow I’ll be giving my controversially-titled presentation. There is a very real possibility that it will go down like a lead balloon, but fingers crossed…

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