Archive for the 'General' Category

Drinking from the Fire Hose

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
Flash General

A good friend of mine, Branden Hall, uses a startling metaphor to describe what it’s like when scheduling has gone insane, when too many projects are due at once, and when, in general, “overwhelmed” isn’t a strong enough adjective.  He aptly calls this feeling “drinking from the fire hose,” which fairly describes how I felt while writing my books last year.  Somehow, the image always makes me chuckle.

It’s been about six months since I last wrote an entry here, and that’s much too long!  A handful of regular readers have even checked in to ask what’s going on, which I appreciate.  The simple truth is that I’ve been catching up on things other than Flash (and work in general), and it has honestly taken this much time.  In fact, I’m still not as caught up as I’d like.  (For example, I have nearly two hundred comments to get to from this blog!  I feel awful about the delay — some messages are easily a year old — but I keep chipping away at them and do intend to eventually work my way through.)  Keep reading »

Sent to the Printer!  The ActionScript 3.0 Quick Reference Guide

Friday, October 10th, 2008
ActionScript 3.0 Flash General

Back in March, I made a quick blog post (“New O’Reilly Title, Coming Soon!”) about a book I had just finished co-authoring.  My eleven chapters were done, and I was happy with my portion of the book (the other chapters were not yet completed).  This one aims to help folks migrate their existing skill set from ActionScript 2.0 to ActionScript 3.0.  Which folks in particular?  Not the hardcore programmers.  There’s a whole community of advanced developers, most of whom are now using Flex, that doesn’t need this book  This reference is for people who have a decent understanding of timeline coding, who may have begun writing custom classes in AS2, but do most of their programming in the Actions panel and are bewildered by the changes in ActionScript 3.0.  From a standpoint of tone and encouragement, I like to think this book has a lot in common with Colin Moock’s article “ActionScript 3.0:  Is it Hard or Not?,” which I’m quick to recommend on various forums as a confidence booster.  You can read a few chapter excerpts from the links below.  Keep reading »

Flash CS4 Video Tutorials from Layers Magazine

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008
Flash General

Adobe has announced the CS4 lineup!

Hop around to your usual favorite Adobe-focused blogs, and you’ll find quite a few sites demonstrating new features (and there are tons of new features in all of these apps!).  Chris Georgenes, for example, spells out a number of Flash UI improvements at his site.  Colin Smith demonstrates some slick new Photoshop features at

And me?  I created four Flash CS4 video tutorials at the companion website for Layers magazine,  Check ’em out!  If any of you are curious what I sound like, now you’ll know.  ;)   I’ve enjoyed working with the Layers folks very much, and will be happy to do so again, so this might just be the beginning!  Quick note:  I did include sample files with some of those videos, but until Adobe makes Flash CS4 available for purchase or trial download, you wouldn’t be able to use them (they’re saved as CS4 files, which means they don’t open in CS3 — you can actually save CS4 files as CS3 files, but naturally the new features disappear when you do).  I’m assuming Layers will update those pages when the time comes.  If not, I’ll pester them, and/or you can email me for the sample files.  Keep reading »

Back to Basics

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008
Flash General

Flashforward 2008 Speaker Slam

Last night, at the stroke of midnight (I kid you not), I finished the very last exercise for the very last chapter on my plate for a new book for friends of ED.  When I lifted my hands from the keyboard, I was beaming.  Why?  Because it’s been a long time since I’ve had a normal work week.  This is all about to change, and wowzers, am I looking forward to it!

The main reason I’m happy is that I’m about to get more time with my family—time where I’m not bleary-eyed and half asleep.  ;)   Another part of my happiness, though, honestly, is that I’m about to get more time to spend on this blog, on forums, and on tardy email replies.  I’ve added a special folder to Outlook just for blog comments.  I really do read every single question, and I do my best to answer them.  If you’re still waiting to hear from me, please keep hangin’ on!  I’ve been behind on replies for months (that Outlook folder has 62 items as I write this) … but that’s about to change too.  Keep reading »

New O’Reilly Title, Coming Soon!

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008
ActionScript 2.0 ActionScript 3.0 Flash General

I just finished the last of my eleven chapters for a new O’Reilly title, ActionScript 3.0:  The Quick Answer Guide for Flash Professionals, last Wednesday.  This was shortly after lunch, 12:30 on the dot, and a neat thing happened almost as I lifted my hands from the keyboard (more on that in a sec).  The rest of the book is still being written, and it’s shaping up nicely.  I’m pretty excited about this project already!  :)   The aim of this reference is to help developers, even keyframe coders, get up to speed with AS3, so keep your eyes peeled in June!

I took a wild tumble off the grid while I was researching and writing for the past five or six weeks, so I apologize for my late replies to blog comments and email.  I’ve been catching up on my inbox since last Wednesday and plan to reply to everyone as soon as I can.  Thanks, so much, to my friends for all the encouragement!  (Go,!)

I’ll be going over author reviews in the coming weeks, but the heavy lifting is behind me.  The neat thing that happened, on day I finished, is this:  I went downstairs to gaze out the window for a few moments, and right as I did, UPS brought a package to the door.  I opened the box, and inside was a huge tin of Turkish coffee (over a pound!), imported from Turkey, sent by reader Çağatay.  What a way to commemorate the milestone!  Thanks, Çağatay!  This coffee is a real treat!

Chance to Win a Free Copy of Moock’s Essential ActionScript 3.0

Thursday, October 25th, 2007
ActionScript 3.0 General

Note:  This contest has now ended, with results posted here.  Thanks for the post cards, everybody!

I’m an admirer of the clarity, thoroughness, and encouraging tone of Colin Moock’s books.  To that end, I pre-ordered his Essential ActionScript 3.0 (O’Reilly) long before it was available and was delighted when it arrived on my doorstep several months later.  Flash forward (pun) from that moment to just over a month ago, when I arrived in Boston for a terrific Flashforward conference.  Kevin Lynch, Adobe Chief Software Architect and keynote speaker, arranged to have a copy of Essential ActionScript 3.0 for every attendee, which was a fantastic and generous gift.  What that means is that I have a mint condition extra copy of Moock’s latest, and I’m happy to give it away.  I’ll pay shipping to anywhere in the world.

If you send me a post card and it gets here between now and November 15, 2007, I’ll have my three-year-old daughter, Meridian, choose randomly from the pile on that date.  I’m hoping three weeks gives everyone a fair chance, whether or not you’re in the US.  I’d love to hear about how this blog has helped you, if it has, but most importantly, I will of course need your return address, email address, or some other handy way to get your shipping address.

Send post cards to:

David Stiller
1700 Gray Slate Court
Virginia Beach, VA  23456

Foundation Flash CS3 Gets a Second Print Run

Friday, October 19th, 2007
Flash General

Only three months after release, Foundation Flash CS3 for Designers has gone to the printer for a second print run.  Cool!  The publisher approached Tom and me for corrections, so the new batch should have the current handful of issues resolved.  Of course, copies from the first print are still in stores, so we’ll continue to leave up the Corrections page.  Response has been great on Amazon so far — thanks, reviewers!

Canton Gives Foundation Flash CS3 for Designers a Thumbs Up

Friday, August 31st, 2007
Flash General

Satori Canton, of Satori Interactive and part of the crew, recently wrote a wonderfully supportive review of Foundation Flash CS3 for Designers, in which he describes Tom’s and my book as “required reading for anyone considering getting into Flash development,” and a “Rosetta Stone” in guiding newcomers through the often overwhelming sense of where to begin.  This is rewarding praise from someone like Satori, who’s been playing with Flash since the early days (thanks, man!).

My aim in the Adobe forums, here on this blog, and in my other writing outlets, is to be as helpful and encouraging as I can.  I remember what it was like being new to Flash, and it always meant a lot to me when someone took the time to go into detail when replying to my questions.  I’m always pleased to hear when my own writing returns the favor.

Suit the Action to the Word

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Here’s the fourth of my Notes on Design guest blog entries. to-the-word/

Foundation Flash CS3 for Designers Samples Files Posted

Thursday, July 26th, 2007
Flash General

Quick FYI:  Foundation Flash CS3 for Designers sample files are now available on the book’s friends of ED website page.  The downloads were just a tad late, so Tom and I have been fielding a few emails.  Hope you enjoy ’em!