FITC Amsterdam Retrospective

Phlash 5 Fitc Amsterdam Concert

It was a tiring but fun three days in Amsterdam last week.

Following a five-hour band rehearsal with Phlash5 that ended at midnight, I presented a morning session titled Beyond the Buttons on the first day of the conference that was really well received. In the evening, there was the Influxis-sponsored after-party where we performed an hour-long set. It was heaps of fun and everyone, band and audience alike, had a great time!

I also got the chance to watch some great sessions.

Of note, Tali Krakowsky presented a lively session on the first day on the "architecture of play" where she spoke about the creation of personalized experiences through storytelling via interactive architecture.

I was way too busy preparing for and presenting my own session and then preparing for the Phlash5 gig to really pay attention to the other talks on the first day. Amid the rush, Stephanie and I did manage to take some time out and grab a lovely Dutch pancake dinner.

In the evening, we performed an hour-long set with our band, Phlash5, and it rocked! If you're a band with members dispersed around the globe and you've only had two prior rehearsals ever, the last thing you should probably do in your third rehearsal before your second gig is to write a new song. So that's what we did and Photoshop (Is Not a Verb) was born as our second geek-rock song after Papervision.

Performing with Phlash5 is so much fun. We've all very much into improvisation and we never do a song the same way twice. I do hope we'll get to do at least one more performance this year, if not two. Maybe Multi-Mania and Flash on the Beach? You listening, Koen, John? :)

On the second day, Koen De Weggheleire of Multi-Mania fame kicked things off with a very enjoyable session on bitmap manipulation in Flash. It's no easy feat to make matrix transformations easily understandable and Koen did a great job of it. He brought the session to a conclusion with a couple of fun webcam-based demos that the audience loved.

Next, I saw Circle with Jared Tarbell. If it sounds like I'm talking about a movie, it's because Jared's talks always feel like cinema presentations. His talks, like everything else he does, are works of art and this was no different. In about an hour, Jared took us on a fantastic journey into the world of the common circle. A true artist and a lovely person, if you get the chance to see a session by Jared, don't miss it.

Finally, Robert L. Peters whetted my appetite just before lunch with an inspiring (and, perhaps even more importantly, a very humanitarian) session. In Do The Right Thing. Do The Thing Right, Robert took us on an informative and humorous journey through his well-crafted design philosophy and commented on how design (and designers) can change the world for the better. I wish Robert could take his message to every conference out there; it's a very important one.

A long lunch meant that I missed the first of the afternoon sessions and didn't get to see Joshua Hirsch present.

I did managed to get back in time to catch a bit of GMUNK's humorously presented portfolio review. I also popped into Jon Ruppel's relaxed exploration of adaptable user interfaces. These were both presentations that I had previously enjoyed at other conferences and both presenters were in top form at FITC. As I was session-zapping, I managed to also pop into Ralph Hauwert's session on Flash 2D & 3D effects in time to see his jaw-dropping demo of Earthmine. I could describe it for you but a screencast is worth a 1000 pictures.

Next, James Paterson had me in stitches in Modulating A Lot. A lovely presentation from a unique individual.

At this point, the trip had really begun to take its toll on me so I skipped Erik's session (which I'd seen several times before) and drifted through Mark Doherty's and Marco Casario's sessions before heading back to the hotel.

That evening, Shawn treated us to a wonderful speaker's dinner (the food at Club Rain is very yummy). This being Amsterdam, the parties featured curiosities like Influxis-branded joints and speaker hash-cakes courtesy of FITC -- you don't get that at many other conferences! (Knowing all too well that I'm a featherweight when it comes to such things, I wisely decided to forego those two particular experiences.) Needless to say, we were a happy bunch! :)