If you haven’t seen flOw, you’ve got to go take a look! It’s an insanely addictive Flash-based game centered on psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s notion of “flow”, wherein the participant achieves “the feeling of complete and energized focus in an activity, with a high level of enjoyment and fulfillment”.


flOw was developed as a part of Jenova Chen’s MFA thesis.

Adobe Digital Editions Beta – almost, but not quite?

Adobe labs has made the beta of Adobe Digital Editions available.

Adobe Digital Editions Beta screenshot

This looks to be a promising product, having yet another lash at the ebook space. To my mind, ebooks have been cruelled by a number of factors over the several years different vendors have been trying to get in on this idea:

  • the inconvenience of reading on screen (I still have to deliberately choose not to print before reading)
  • the non-tactile nature of ebooks (people like the feel of a book in their hands)
  • multi-platform compatibility (desktop/notebook/handheld and their various OSes)

I don’t think Adobe has these completely solved yet:

  • the tactile nature and convenience of books remains
  • Linux and OS X versions are yet to come
  • Digital Editions is cross-platform, being based on Flash and Flex (and a sweet example of this technology is certainly is)

While I have a great deal of respect for everyone I know at Adobe (they are all very smart folks), I don’t think Bill McCoy, General Manager of the ePublishing Business Unit at Adobe, has it quite right when he says ebook reading is reaching a tipping point (hey, I’ve just read the book) quite yet. That said, I’d be glad to talk with Bill and get his view directly; I’m open to being convinced.

JD has some coverage also.

Installing Flash in Portable Firefox with no installer

Dear Lazyweb,

Is there some way of getting the latest version of Flash Player installed into a portable (USB key-based) version of Firefox without having to run the installer .exe? I want Flash Player 9 on my Firefox Portable.

I’m on a WinXP system that requires Administrator access to run installers, and there is no up to date Flash player (I think ver. 7 is installed on the IE instance on the machine). So, what I really need, I guess, is the Flash .dll. But I have no way of obtaining it.

Ideas? Solutions?

Heavy-handed Macromedia?

Hey, Macromedia! What’s up with the Flash EULA?

Perhaps after the party celebrating the approval of the Adobe-Macromedia merger, some three-quarters smashed legal intern got their hands on the EULA draft and played around. On first glance it seems that:

  • you can’t install the Flash Player software on a portable computer (s 2(a))
  • you agree implicitly to allow Macromedia to audit your computer and slug you with a bill if they’re unhappy about the way you choose to use Flash Player (s 2(b))

These are probably liberal misinterpretations, but even so, they show that whoever was responsible for the EULA didn’t do their homework, and certainly didn’t pass the draft over enough sets of eyes before publication. Some of these statements are just dumb. Others, well… It would seem, reading the commentary at Slashdot (which at times is astoundingly unreliable, and at others, spot on), that at the very least, the EULA requires users to surrender rights which are not surrenderable under European/UK law. At best, Macromedia are guilty of inadequate research and incomplete due diligence. At worst, it appears that consumer- and user-base-friendly Macromedia is trying to become the new EULA playground bully.

Since when can’t I install Flash Player on my notebook PC (it is, and it’s staying there, and be buggered if Macromedia are going to audit anything!)?

Another case of a software company getting too big for its boots? I’ve met and talked with enough Macromedia staffers to know this isn’t their intent, but I’d be interested to hear from the proverbial horse’s mouth just what the story is.

Over to you, Macromedia…