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Long time and no post

I just thought to post an update about me, yeah shameless stuff :-)

I am busy doing some interesting flash/flex and web projects. I have been playing with PureMVC, flex parser/compiler code and other stuff. A part of schedule goes in streamlining processes (development, recruitment, HR, etc) in a company, which my brother and I co-founded some years back though it's known as different name but seed is the same :-)

Whatever time is left goes in building new office space for our team. We would be moving to new office in couple of days. I hope, our team finds this new office relatively better. I hope, we would be more productive and have fun.

You can check out my flickr-stream to see how it looks, photographs are little old. Some more pics from my brother's photo-stream.

It's done using limited budget and customized furniture, not modular workstations; unfortunately, we couldn't figure out a local vendor, for modular workstations, who can do it in our budget. When we do well in coming months, we might put some good modular workstations/cubicles.

Things are not easy in this part, Uttar Pradesh, of country. It seems, government is not really interested to support businesses/entrepreneurs. Corruption seems to be at it's peak in various government departments, which makes it harder to do things right way (without bribe or favours). Bribing seems like to be an integral part of the system here, but if you are determined and know laws, you can get work done without it, though things might take longer (sometimes very) to get done.

I believe, we are fortunate enough to be in an industry (Software, Internet, Web - in general, IT), where location of business doesn't matter as long as we have three things - electricity, internet and talent pool. I might be missing something in the list.

We have managed to take care of electricity by having good electricity-generator, though it costs a lot per day, considering we have to pay minimum electricity bill to government even when consistent power supply (around 5-6 hours power cut everyday + random power cuts). Internet is not a problem here, BSNL is doing good job and I find, it's only goverment department that is relatively better than others.

The last one "talent pool" is something missing here in this city "Kanpur", or rather entire state "Uttar Pradesh"? I guess, there are not many companies here which can attract and retain good talent. Another thing is temptation to move to better cities like Bangalore, Pune and Delhi for better jobs or life? I think, it's good idea to do and get more exposure - one must do, it makes you better and allows to see the world outside of the city.

So it's challenge for us to attract good talent or create talented people. I believe, recruitment of smart people (freshers or experienced) and training are going to be the key. I have stopped expecting to get any experienced person, so I am going to fall back on hiring people with passion, integrity and aptitude. Training is going to be the one of the important things in this company.

I believe, we would be able to build a good, if not great, culture in coming months. I don't talk about compensation, it might not be the main factor for passionate people but such people should be appreciated in all possible ways (recognition, great work, great compensation and any other thing). We do pay the best in the city, AFAIK, we would keep doing that.

I am learning a lot of things and life is full of challenges now - I feel I am more motivated now than ever. It's a journey, that's going to be exciting.
Wait a second, did I tell you what we are doing and plan to do?

We are into graphics-design and development services (RIA/Web-app development and design - logo, identity, user-interfaces, illustrations, web-layouts, promos, flash-animation, etc) right now, but I am personally more interested into products, hence we are going to have a part of budget for R&D activities, where we would encourage people to create reusable libraries (be it code or design), internal-tools, experimental/fun projects using upcoming/existing technologies, etc - these can be used in our service projects. I believe, we would be able to turn some of our R&D activities into products in coming future.

That's it for now - if you have read this far, thanks for doing that. Please leave your suggestion, those would really help me in this new journey of mine.

IDE Factory - Extend your FlexBuilder

I heard about IDE Factory via AXNA a couple of weeks back. I managed to check it out today and I must say it rocks.

If you have done Java development using Eclipse IDE, you are going to love IDE Factory. IDE Factory brings a lot of features to Flex development. Following is the list of features (brought by IDE Factory in FB3), I think would be super useful:-

  • Package Explorer, I love the SWC and Flex/Flash framework stuff
  • E4X Expression Builder
  • Format Flex Source Files - Yup, it can format all source files in the project
  • Extended Wizards for creating ActionScript class/interface and MXML components
  • Cairngorm support

Apart from these, there are some other stuff like asdoc generation, flex-unit tests generation, UML generation, etc.
I am sure, it's going to evolve to be super useful and would become must-have tool for Flex application development.

It would be great, if they can add support for other Flex frameworks (PureMVC, etc).

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Adobe online store issues - Unable to buy Flexbuilder

As you know, it's impossible to buy Adobe's software from India, I mean using their website. I have raised this issue couples of times in past. Actually, there is no India store and you can't even change your country to India in Adobe account details.

Anyway, this time, I wanted to buy Adobe Flexbuilder 3 upgrade for one of my team member, I don't need it because I am very happy with VIM + Flex/AIR SDK.

I requested a friend of mine, who is in USA, to buy Flexbuilder upgrade for me, he tried many times to buy the same using his all cards and what not, no success.

This time problem is with Adobe US store application, which is done in Flex, it throws weird errors as you can see below:

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Survey for Web designers/developers

I got to know (via Manish) about A List Apart's survey 2008 for people who make websites.

I took the survey, so should you

There are some interesting questions, I would wait for survey results.

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Flex SEO Contest

I just read Ryan's post on Flex SEO contest.

My entry for the contest is done in ten minutes. I have not used any SEO optimization technique in HTML, let's see if it gets crawled by Google or other search-engines.

Fleximagically Searchable App

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Which are your favourite features in Flash Player 10?

Just curious:
Which are your favourite features in Flash Player 10?

I find new Text engine very useful in most of the application-development. Text layout engine is powerful enough to solve various use-cases, true bidirectional text support is being one of those.

I like other features too. Hopefully, I would post my views on those as well as text-layout-engine later.

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Available for consultancy, training and development

I am available for consultancy, training and development services. Following is the rough list of things, I can provide consultancy, training or development services for:-

  • ActionScript 1.0, 2.0, 3.0
  • Adobe Flash/Flex
  • Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR)
  • Training on Adobe RIA technologies
  • Architecture for RIA
  • Web Application Development
  • Design and Architecture
  • Development for LAMP
  • Integration Services for Flex/AIR with existing Web Apps
  • Development Setup for small teams
    • Subversion Version Control
    • Bug Tracking System (Trac, Wiki)
    • Training on Development Life Cycle
    • Backup Strategies
    • Development Sandbox Setup for RIA development

    JFYI! You can check out my linkedin profile to know more about me. I am based in India and have around ten (10) years of experience, during this period I have worked for Macromedia/Adobe, Yahoo!, Mixercast and TIS and worked as independent-consultant, freelancer, trainer and co-founder. I have been working on various technologies/platforms (some listed above).

    I am a programmer who enjoys solving users' problems whatever it takes (technology is no constrain). Having said that, I am passionate about ActionScript/Flash/Flex/AIR and Web (in general) which happen to be my core competencies.

    PS: Do you think, this is a shameless sales pitch :-)

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    Mixercast fires people from it's team in India

    I have heard that Mixercast has fired a major part of team in it's development center based in Pune, India.
    I can not confirm this news, however, I can say it is from close source.

    This is not unusual, I have seen some start-ups seem to be doing this. They bootstrap with a team in India, once they get funded, they start expanding in USA. Expansion is good thing but please don't disrespect the existing team by firing or not giving due credit because you got a team in USA.
    That's unfair and it shows, how such start-ups treat people. Equity/rewards are at far end, I see, people are not even treated with respect. From my experience at Mixercast, perhaps this was one of things I felt and that made me move on.

    I am not writing this post because of my stock-options issue, though let me take this opportunity to express my feeling, I deserved some credit and respect for what I have done at Mixercast. They couldn't reconsider my case here as I know, they allowed someone else to exercise, even when they guy was fired before vesting period.

    Anyway, I don't like, if someone is not treated with respect, specially engineers from India. I know, not all of us are doing as expected but we are learning and getting better day by day. We must consider, India is huge country and thousands of engineers/developers start their career every year, I would say it's companies who need to make sure of quality and make individuals learn what is good and bad during early years of their career. Unfortunately, not all companies think that day, perhaps achieving sales target is the only thing they look at?

    I am sure everyone from Mixercast Pune development center would do good, I know them personally and I can say they all are rockstars. Mixercast had 0% attrition rate for first year or more, very rare to see in India.

    I am sure none of these events would make them feel low. I wish them all the best.

    Update (July 2, 2008): I am not sure whether Mixercast allowed someone to exercise the options before vesting, I was wrong and I should have not posted that particular line without confirmation. I have heard it from very close and reliable source within company, however, I am not sure. I didn't mean to offend anyone hence I have struck that line (sentence) and please accept my apologies for that, hope I don't repeat it. BTW! As someone pointed, I should have proof while ranting, he is right, please accept my apologies again and I didn't mean to offend. My mistake.

    Another source says, people are not exactly fired, they have been asked to find a new job because there is not much of work left for them. All these people would get everything (options, etc) - That's great.

    l10n and i18n with Yahoo! R3 project

    I came to know about Yahoo! R3 project (tools), which helps building localized and internationalized websites. The templating system used in R3 is not run-time, it's rather static (compile-time) which means pages for different locale and intls are generated during build process.
    It's simple to install using PEAR and requires PHP5+. I like the command-line interface of R3, though it's easier to use it's web-based GUI, as shown in documentation. I couldn't get R3 GUI running, but it seems sometime is wrong, I am not able to get it running on my Mac OSX (Leopard) with Apache HTTP 2.2.x.
    Something similar is used with-in Yahoo!, I would not go in detail rather let you explore R3, which is indeed an exciting project. I am, hopefully, going to use in some project, if I do that, I would post more about my experience with R3.
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