Archives for : December2012

2012: Three Things

I usually don’t have much use for year-ender type pieces — not sure if I’ve ever done one on this blog — but I’ve got an accumulated bunch of thoughts that I might as well just work out in one big brain-dump. With luck, some of it will actually tie together.

Gonna talk about three things:

  1. No politics
  2. iOS Development
  3. Anime

It’s about 4,000 words. Grab a pop/coffee/beer if you need to.

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2013 CocoaConf Tutorial Survey

Earlier this year, I wondered aloud about the habit of tech conferences to have a beginner-oriented all-day tutorial, and whether it would make sense to also have something for intermediate-to-advanced developers. Among the benefits of this approach would be to prevent a bifurcation of the attendees, where the beginners have started to know each other after the first day when suddenly “everyone else” arrives (and they all know one another anyways). Plus, it’s good for the conference and the hotel to sell an extra night of rooms. So, in the spirit of that, we did an all-day Core Audio tutorial at CocoaConf in Columbus, Portland, and Raleigh.

The first two were well attended, particularly Portland, where we had one attendee who’d come all the way from Denmark to attend. Raleigh was much smaller, possibly for any or all of the following reasons:

  • Overall turnout for CocoaConf Raleigh was lower than the other 2012 CocoaConfs
  • Competition for advanced developers from Bill Dudney’s Core Graphics all-day tutorial
  • Exhaustion of the small pool of developers seriously interested in Core Audio development

If it’s mostly the first two, then it may be worth doing Core Audio again in the early 2013 CocoaConfs, for the benefit of those who missed it this time. On the other hand, if the demand has already been sated, then maybe it’s time to put the Core Audio tutorial away and try something else.

But what else? As an iOS media programming guy, AV Foundation seems like an obvious choice. The downside is that I haven’t used AVF in anger (ie, for a paying client), so my depth of knowledge is basically what I’ve learned to do sessions on the topic and write some experimental code of my own. I got dinged on a CocoaConf Raleigh feedback form in 2011 for sounding like I was mostly repeating the developer documentation, and that’s not entirely unfair (and I hate the thought of just repeating the official line on a technology… why bother?). Now what I do bring to AVF is an understanding of the problem domain, expertise in encoding and production and stuff, and a deep knowledge of the QuickTime concepts that have carried over to AVF. In fact, I think what I don’t like about AVF are the places where it’s more limiting and less imaginative than the wild-and-wooly QuickTime. Put another way, void*‘s actually make me happy in a media API — because they’re placeholders for future functionality — and AVF doesn’t have as many of them.

What else could I pitch? The client work I’ve done for the last two years instead of AVF is all about iPad productivity, something I’ve wanted to try to push in 2013, as I think we’ve lost the thread of “iPad as creative device” a little bit. So, documents, files, inter-app communication, copy/paste, undo/redo… good useful stuff there, though none of it is necessarily stuff you couldn’t figure out yourself (ie, it’s not a problem domain like media where there’s knowledge you have to master outside of the APIs).

And of course, I’m on this livestreaming kick now, so maybe an all-day tutorial on livestream production, which would be part programming, part video production tutorial: competent lighting and sound, compression and bandwidth concerns, production software, server-side strategies, business concerns, client playback APIs, etc. About half of it would be like my grad school days, TA’ing the introductory video production class. So that would be very different and probably very nichey, but also probably crazy fun.

So those are the ideas I’m kicking around now. What I need is some idea of which of these — or something else — would sell enough seats to be worth my time and CocoaConf’s. What would the readership of this blog and Twitter/ADN feed be interested in? Let’s find out:

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Streaming the Streaming Talk (CocoaConf Raleigh, Dec. 2012)

Since Jeff Kelley demanded it, here’s a dump of the setup I used to livestream my CocoaConf Raleigh session about HTTP Live Streaming (and the Core Audio session before it). Attendees of these talks are welcome to skip to the bottom of this blog for promised links to code and slides.

First off, links to the recorded livestreams on UStream:

  • Core Audio in iOS 6 – stream
  • Mobile Movies with HTTP Live Streaming – stream pt. 1, pt. 2

The second talk is split in two parts because Wirecast crashed partway through the session, breaking the stream and forcing me to start the broadcast anew. And that speaks volumes about what a seat-of-the-pants operation this was.

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