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Episode 17 - Interview with James Ward of Adobe Systems on Flex

If anyone has been listening since our very first Podcast, we covered flex way back in February with our own Peter Paugh.  But when we had an opportunity to talk to James Ward of Adobe, a Flex evangelist and someone passionate about Flex as well as Java development, we jumped at the chance.

James was a great interview, a fantastic source of information, and will be a good listen.  We talk about Flex, Flex Builder, the open sourcing of various technologies, the Open Screen project, why Java developers should care, and many more topics.

Helpful links and resources:

  1. The Census Benchmark App - James has been working on this for a while.  It is a benchmarking application comparing various RIA / AJAX technologies and speed of operations like sorting, table management, etc...  An interesting way to see relative performance metrics.
  2. Flex Home - the main Flex developer site.
  3. Adobe Open Source - James mentioned this site a lot.  This is where Adobe places all of its' open-sourced technologies.
  4. The Flex SDK Download Page - The open source, freely available SDK
  5. The Shockwave File Format - Adobe has fully documented the SWF file format.
  6. The Open Screen Project - a consortium including Adobe that wants to push Flash onto mobile devices by opening up the standards and exposing the flash player.  More info at the FAQ
  7. Gnash - an open-source flash movie player mentioned in the show
  8. AMF - (pdf download) the ActionScript Message Format - Read up on this, as Flex supports AMF for fast transfer of data between client and server.
  9. BlazeDS - A server-side Java remoting technology using AMF.
  10. LiveCycle ES - A commercial, J2EE-based server platform for Flex development from Adobe.
  11. FXStruts - the FXStruts Library allows Struts developers to expose java objects within a Struts application using AMF

James Ward's blog and useful information is located at   The Flex Show episode 50 is also a good listen...

Direct download: James_Ward_Podcast_Interview.mp3
Category:techcast -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Episode 16 - Ken Interviews DreamIt startup TapInko

In this third interview about startups and technology, Ken interviews two of the founders of TapInko, a marketplace for buying and selling ads.  Ken spoke to Nicolas Warren and John Newell, who architected their application in Microsoft .NET. 

What we find interesting about these three ventures is the differences in approach.  One team focused on getting ideas out quickly, another focused on application development using a combination of PHP and Python, and this team focused on .NET and building out an application framework first.  Listen to this team's approach, as we start in the middle of a conversation about building software out of nothing.  (I need to credit that quote to Dave Thomas of the Pragmatic Programmer...)

Correction: I had originally mentioned that John Valentine was an interviewee, but it was, in fact, John Newell. My apologies.

Direct download: Dreamit-Startup-Tapinko.mp3
Category:bizcast -- posted at: 7:28am EST

Episode 15 - DreamIt Startup PhrazIt talks about their startup with Ken

This is the second in a three part series on technologies and startup companies.  Ken sat down with the founders of PhrazIt, a social web site focused on short reviews of 30 characters or less.  The team originally started, and will continue, a concept called Study Buddy, which would allow college students to find like-minded study mates.

The three founders, David Kosslyn, Ryan Schoen and Shankar Ramaswamy, are college sophomores at MIT and Harvard. 

Direct download: Dreamit-Startup-PhrazIt.mp3
Category:bizcast -- posted at: 7:23am EST

Episode 14 - Ken talks to DreamIt startup venture Snack Feed

This is the first in a three-part series of interviews we did at DreamIt, a startup incubator located at Drexel University's science center.  DreamIt sponsors 11 different startups, houses them in the incubator, and gives them some nominal funding and education on the startup process.

Snack Feed uses the social web to share videos between users.  The team members built a FireFox plugin that you can use to publish content to four major vendors at the same time, and also uses PHP and is beginning to work with Google App Engine for some of its' technology.

Ken spoke to Founders Jason Cyril Laan, Christopher (CC) Laan, and Mika Ohiorhenuan.

Direct download: Dreamit-Startup-SnackFeed.mp3
Category:bizcast -- posted at: 7:16am EST

Episode 13 - Toby DiPasquale on Google, Map-Reduce, Hadoop, Amazon EC2 and more

This week we feature an interview with Toby DiPasquale of Invite Media.  Toby and I discuss the Map-Reduce algorithm, which is the engine that powers Google's indexing and data processing systems.  We start off by discussing how Google started indexing pages, using traditional methods such as C/C++ routines.  Quickly this became unmanageable, as the amount of data to index outstripped the processing power and traditional data transformation paradigms.

Toby and I then go into discussing Map Reduce, which was originally posited as a thesis and then published as a seminal paper in the community.  Map Reduce has been implemented by Google, and as we'll see in the podcast, others followed suit and created the Hadoop engine, a Java-based Map Reduce solution. 

We talk about Hadoop and it's various subprojects, and then get into a discussion on Amazon EC2 and the Cloud Computing movement, including why it is valuable to organizations who want to scale from one to potentially dozens of CPUs.

I'll post the show notes early next week at  Until then, enjoy the show and comments are always welcome.

Note:  the podcast audio got a bit distorted on Toby's side, but I don't think it distracts too much.  Rather than re-record the interview I'm presenting it as-is.

Direct download: TechCast-2008-08-01-TobyDipasquale.mp3
Category:techcast -- posted at: 8:10am EST

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