Monday, April 25, 2011

Playing Flash on iPad - New Solutions Based on Transcoding

There's a lot of Flash content out there, and iPad users are yearning to use it - but unfortunately, Apple won't support Flash on iPad. Is there a way out?

Consider iSWiFTER, a solution that has been around for over six months now. According to their own description, iSWiFTER is the industry's first cloud-based Flash streaming service specifically built for mobile devices including smart phones and tablets, spanning mobile platforms such as Apple's iOS and Android.

How does iSWiFTER play Flash on iPad? It seems their servers in the cloud run abstraction software that converts browser-based Flash content to a form that is optimized for individual mobile devices, complete with multi-touch gesture support for interaction, and accommodating different screen sizes.

ISWiFTER's free client app connects to their  servers in the cloud to download streaming content live to the mobile device.

When I tried it, it worked pretty well for some of the SiteJazzer, YawnBuster and Raptivity interactions that are Flash-based. Of course, the HTML versions run smoother on iPad. Little wonder, since the differences in user interactions with laptops vs tablets (think mouse drag-drop and multi-touch, for instance) make it nearly impossible to replicate the flash experience on iPad without rewriting code at some level.

So, HTML5 is here to stay if you want to replicate the interactive experiences. Other than that, ISWiFTER's Flash video transcoding is the closest thing to having real Flash software on your device.

I was also wondering if Apple would have had some issues with approving the app - it does not drain the battery for sure, but the loading time can compromise user experience, something Apple is fanatic about.

Anybody tried Skyfire?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Hundred Ideas to Make Your Presentations Sizzle

I am preparing for a press conference scheduled for tomorrow. I'm nervous. No, it is not about what I am going to say. It is about how I am going to say it. I meet this group of journalists - mostly business reporters from local bureaus of national newspapers - quite regularly. They are familiar with my style of presentation - yet I worry about making my slide deck interesting, attention-worthy and entertaining.

All of us have had this experience of butterflies at one time or another. What do most of us do about it? Nothing much. Sometimes we stop by at a bookshop and buy a book on better presenting. Won't it be nice to take some time out and discover the latest in tools and methods of presenting?

A good starting point is a free e-book titled 100 Resources for Presenters. This e-book, brought to you by Raptivity Presenter, is nothing short of a treasure for anyone interested in better presenting. New interactive platforms are deeply impacting the ways of preparing and disseminating presentations.  You can build presentations better and faster using templates, make them interactive, present them online and leave them online for review, discussion and feedback. Leading gurus and thought leaders continue to blog and write articles about new tools and techniques that advance the art of presenting a notch every now and then. All of this is captured in this e-book.

Here is what the e-book gives you.
  • 15 Great ways to share presentations online
  • 15 Useful blogger websites on PowerPoint Presentations
  • 15 Useful tips on effective use of Raptivity Presenter to make presentations interactive
  • 15 Well known PowerPoint‐ Microsoft Valued Professionals
  • 10 Highly useful presentation tools for sales & marketing
  • 10 Websites for PowerPoint templates 
  • 5 Great articles on how to make presentations interactive
  • 5 Popular presentation conferences & events worldwide  
  • 5 Reasons for webinar marketing
  • 5 Well known communities & forums for presentation resources
You can download the e-book free by clicking here. Good luck for your next presentation.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Kinect - Microsoft Promises a Platform Shift from GUI to NUI

In November 2010, Microsoft unveiled Kinect, a new type of user interface device for the the Xbox gaming console. Unlike traditional graphical user interface (GUI), Kinect relies on facial expressions, voice and hand gestures of the users - thereby making it a natural user interface (NUI), according to Microsoft. Earlier this year I had seen a Kinect commercial demonstrating how users 'talk' to their Xbox using body language, if you will. It looked very impressive. At a recent meeting at its Redmond campus event, Microsoft revealed that they plan to provide a SDK API for developers to build applications using Kinect. They went on to suggest that there will be ways for developers to build and sell programs based on Kinect through some sort of an application exchange.

In the interactivity space, we see Apple taking a lead and dominating in several categories including media players (iPod product line), tablets (iPad) and smart phones (iPhone). This of course is in addition to the Apple TV and the Macintosh line of computers. Gaming consoles is one area where we don't see Apple yet, and Microsoft has its position there with XBOX.

According to Microsoft, a large number of XBOX sales included the $150 Kinect since its announcement, and the company may see the two bought together a lot in the future.

The parallels between Xbox - Kinect combination and Windows-Office juggernaut of the last century are hard to miss. Microsoft has excelled in creating platforms, building a select number of critical applications and attracting developers to build the rest.

After several forays with mixed results in the spaces dominated by others (think Zune and Kin - for example), will Kinect prove to be a game-changing new introduction for Microsoft? If that happens, we will have another innovation in interactivity to celebrate. Developers will have another platform with fundamentally new interface capabilities to build interactive applications with.

Anybody wants to share insights which way Kinect is going? What kinds of applications can you think of?