What you need to know to flash

Flash content is an important part of the overall mix of web content and has a steeper learning curve than most other kinds of web content creation. Unfortunately, Macromedia and now Adobe have changed the flash creation process/interface so often that if you once learned flash it’s like you’re starting all over again if you pick up a newer version of Adobe Flash.  I first learned flash in 1999-2000 creating some audio slideshows and calculators, but I had to learn it again 2003 for a couple of prjects and after that I just gave up because I didn’t want to go through the process of teaching myself flash again.

Mindy McAdams author of admittedly outdated textbook, Flash Journalism: How to Create Multimedia News Packages, now recommends learning flash using Adobe Flash CS4 Professional Classroom in a Book. In fact she has even created a nice little guide to everything you should know to create great flash content outlining the six things she thinks you need to know (and the chapter’s they’re covered in the Adobe book) and two common misconceptions about flash.

Her six items you need to know are

  1. Buttons
  2. Loading external content
  3. Optimizing images
  4. Loading and controlling audio
  5. Loading and controlling video
  6. Actionscript 3 and XML
  7. Bandwidth profiling

Now, I have to decide if I really want to tackle Flash again.

Will broadband and media innovation sustain democracy?

The free flow of information “is as vital to the healthy functioning of communities as clean air, safe streets, good schools and public health.” That’s what the Knight Commission on Information Needs of a Democracy concluded in their report on Sustaining Democracy in a Digital Age.  The 145 page report urges the nation to making sure all Americans have broadband access just as the emphasized ground transportation in building an interstate highway system a half-century ago.

The commission also examined issued the media is facing recommending:

  • Direct media policy toward innovation, competition, and support for business models that provide marketplace incentives for quality journalism.
  • Increase the role of higher education,community and nonprofit institutions as hubs of journalistic activity and other information-sharing for local communities.

Maybe your video can be a little longer

When it comes to web video length , I’ve always said the shorter the better with a sweet spot being around 60 to 90 seconds. Video 2 Zero has taken an interesting look at  how long people will watch web video analyzing audience attention span coming to the conclusion that ideal run-time for web video 2.5 – 4 minutes. I know that will be a relief to any video producers out there, because it is rare to find a producer (and I used to be one pre-web) who can say anything in less than 90 seconds.

Attention Span for web video

For their analysis six top video sites (excluding YouTube) let Video 2 Zero  have access to their statistics for two weeks giving them 188,055 videos, totaling 22,724,606 streams to break down.

Copyright like it should work

Today, January 1, 2009, Popeye the Sailor falls into public domain in Britian 70 years after it’s creators death because of an EU law that restricts the rights of authors to 70 years after their death. Falling into the public domain means anyone can print and sell posters, T-shirts and even create new comic strips, without the need for permission or to make royalty payments.

In the US Congress keeps extending copyright law primarily under the influence of Disney to keep Mickey Mouse out of the public domain by extending copyright protection eleven times in the last forty-five years.  Lawrence Lessig, Internet law guru argues that the expiration of copyright (and the start of public domain) creates a culture where people could take and build upon what went before, but our current copyright law prevents innovation throught the restriction of derivative works.