Flash Developers: welcome to video.Maru

Dan Florio is a Flash developer who works up at Microsoft on the Xbox team. Forget where he works for a second because that really has no impact on what we’re talking about here.

He’s created a ton of custom Flash video interfaces which lead him to develop a tool for other Flash designers/developers to make their job easier called video.Maru.

He just released a major update of the tool and based on some of his testimonials I expect it’ll be a big hit for Flash developers.

He wrote me that the only thing he gets out of this is the notoriety for creating this and the “satisfaction of giving back to the Flash community which has helped me so much in my career.”

Photography sharing site CEO reviews of iPhones

Don MacAskill, CEO of SmugMug (a photo sharing service) writes “the iPhone is magic.”
Thomas Hawk, CEO of Zooomr (another photo sharing service) writes “it pretty much rocks.”

And yet the Nokia folks continue their attacks. I wonder why, if the Nokia N95 has a superior camera (it does) why CEOs of photo sharing sites (both avid photographers in their own rights too) would be so rabid about an iPhone (Thomas even had a LOT of activation problems over the weekend so has an extra excuse to hate the iPhone).

Dave Winer has something cool coming tomorrow

I’ve been playing with Dave Winer’s TwitterGram, which is coming tomorrow — as soon as it’s up I’ll link to it. It’s a cool way to record an audio message for your Twitter fans from your cell phone. This is going to be killer for me because I am driving so much between interviews. This way I can do a short report from my cell phone after doing an interview like the one I did with Kongregate’s founders this afternoon.

Nokia users hate me…

Ahh, go over to the Nokia forum. They are up in arms about how someone who HAS and USES a Nokia N95 could possibly swallow Steve Jobs’ hype and covet an iPhone.

I guess they missed my earlier blogs where I detailed all the ways the N95 was better than the iPhone. Let’s see again, GPS (yes, I’ve used it, it takes four minutes to get a lock most of the time), better camera (kudos, but the experience of using it absolutely sucks compared to the iPhone, but it does make MUCH better images), replaceable battery (my battery today was used for normal phone and some browsing starting at about 9 a.m. and it was dead by 7 p.m. so you damn well better get a replaceable battery), 3G (but not in the United States, only in Europe), video recording (one place where Apple screwed up), better developer platform (normal people don’t care), games included (Apple isn’t gonna leave that hole open for long).

Ahh, religion is a funny thing.

I can’t wait to see a serious iPhone competitor come from Nokia with the same kinds of features. It’ll be fun to go back to the religious types then.

These fans remind me of the geeks at San Jose State University who worked in the computer center back in 1991. They told me “who needs a mouse and menus? They are only needed by idiots.”

Anyway, if Nokia fans think this kind of “evangelism” is going to serve them, or the company they love, well, then hats off to you. You make the freakiest Apple fan seem pretty normal now and that’s hard to do. Congratulations!

Kongregate about to pass 1,000 games

The Greers, founders of Kongregate (they are brother and sister)

I was hanging out at Kongregate this afternoon getting a look at their video game distribution service and community. The two founders, a brother-and-sister team (Jim and Emily Greer) taught my camera a ton about the video game market. Kongregate caught my eye because of the very rapid growth it’s experiencing and because Jeff Clavier, one of the valley’s hottest early-stage investors, was ranting and raving about it when he came and visited me in line at the Apple store on Friday. In May 2007 they had about 300,000 unique visitors. A month later they had 750,000. Amazing growth so I wanted to see what was up with this hot company.

Easy, they have two of the hottest games on the Internet: Desktop Tower Defense and the Fancy Pants Adventures. Several of my friends told me “DO NOT TRY THESE.” Why not? Because I’d get addicted and never blog again.

Don’t just pay attention to the popular games, though, cause you’ll miss what’s really going on here. Kongregate is very close to going over 1,000 games. They were at about 990 this afternoon and are seeing 40 new games a week added to their site. How did they reach that milestone in less than a year? They provide a platform for games developers to distribute games and share in revenue.

They also have a Facebook add-in.

This reminded me of Electronic Arts’ Pogo.com, so I asked Jim about it (my brother-in-law who works on the Mac team at Apple is addicted to that site). Turns out Jim was one of the key guys on that site as well and left Pogo.com to start Kongregate.

Of course you know where this conversation went, don’t you? Any guesses?

What’s missing from a certain, um, mobile device released on Friday night?

Games! Games! Games!

Steve Jobs, are you listening? Why don’t you buy these guys before they get too expensive? Make a platform where you could sell casual games to all of the iCult members? I know I’d pay $10 to play Tower Defense on my iPhone when I get it (still haven’t gotten one yet).

I suspect I know why Apple hasn’t bought Kongregate yet: Apple is probably building a games distribution platform of its own into iTunes. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Jobs announce that before the end of the year. The hole left by no games on the iPhone is just too big to be left there for long.

But, for the rest of us we get to play some darn cool games thanks to Kongregate.

Oh, don’t go there. You WILL get addicted. You’ve been warned.

UPDATE: Louis Gray has a list of other addicting game sites. And more are coming, I just got invited to see another one coming soon.

A real-world troll story

Read my comments on my post yesterday.

The Nokia trolls are here. They are almost as annoying as Apple trolls back in the 1990s.

It’s always interesting behavior when you piss off someone’s “product religion.”

One thing that happened in the line on Thursday and Friday is that we all met two real-world trolls. There were two kids, who were about 14 years old. They were unbelieveably rude and there really was nothing anyone could do about them.

They’d come right in your face and taunt you. They were trying to get attention. They would interrupt conversations. I was talking with Dave Winer and they got right in between both of us and started trying to take over the conversation. I’d never met a person who trolled face-to-face before. I assumed that these people required anonymity to do their work. They don’t.

When Apple’s security guards kept them from coming into the store the entire crowd cheered. We had all been bothered by these kids. Where were their parents? They were allowed to stay on the street until 11 p.m. at night.

But, anyway, I am getting old. Remember, I don’t get it. But I learned some things in line. I found that the ONLY way to deal with real-world trolls is to band together. When we created a line that they couldn’t break through they got frustrated and went to another part of the line where their poison could still get them the attention they desired.

The problem is that online you can’t band together against trolling behavior. So, our other option is to ignore the trolls and not give them what they wanted. It was interesting watching these kids interact with people. Many people didn’t know they were trolls when they first came up, so would give them the attention they desired. But quickly the kids went over the line with each person and you could see the frustration levels rise. We had never met kids so rude.

Anyway, that’s my real-world troll story. Seems there’s a bunch of people who are unhappy with me for saying the iPhone is better than the Nokia N95. But it is. Sorry. And if that gets me called a “moron” like one troll just called me, so be it.

Have a good day! Ignore the trolls. 🙂

Too old for Facebook?

Fred Wilson of AVC blog notes that most users of Facebook are younger. Hmmm, why are the New York VC’s always hinting to us old fogeys that we’re too old to “get it?”

I’ve been on Facebook about a month now. I have just about 2,000 friends. Almost none of whom are “young enough to be in college.”

Do not miss what’s happening to Facebook. It is turning mainstream.

One trend that bloggers don’t want to talk about? A number of my blogging friends have seen their traffic go down lately. They assume that their readers are off in social networks. I think they are absolutely right.

Pownce, for instance, started less than a week ago. Already 400 people have friended me there.

But, what do I know? I’m too old to get it.