Had a pretty good day of seminars today. Everything kicked off at 8am with the conference opening up the exhibit hall which resulted in the “t-shirt gold rush” that conferences typically turn into. I came away with 4. Not bad. I was a little rusty, but I made out better than the co-workers. Apparently that was only the first part of the exhibitors and the rest will open tomorrow, which will probably result in a repeat of this morning.

Besides the typical shwag grab, there are of course the classes we all came there for. I started out in “Photoshop CS4 Extended Advanced” with Russell Brown. It was actually pretty interesting. He detailed most of the more advanced features of the new Photoshop CS4 including the 3D features, the ability of make 3-D (as in the red and blue glasses variety) images from layered files, some advanced HDR merging and blending techniques as well as some general “tips and tricks”. I really enjoyed that one. It also didn’t hurt that they had a Versi-laser set up in the corner engraving things. I almost got my cell phone engraved but just settled for metal dog tag they were giving away.

After that we took a break for lunch, had some Mongolian BBQ, then got back to the second session.

That, however, wasn’t that great. We took “A Splash of Flash” which I had hoped would be more of a “these are all the cool things Flash can do these days”. It was, instead, a “here’s Flash 101 followed by every boring action script feature ever”. I really dislike Flash, with a huge passion, and this only cemented the fact that it’s tottally and completely useless. I sincerely hope that Flash, by this time next year, is a DEAD technology. Especially with the HTML 5 specs coming, I really hope Flash dies, hard.

Honestly, I just don’t see the point of it. The instructor gave no real world, actual examples of anything Flash could do to actually make a web experience better or more productive. The example he did give however, was laughable. He created an empty square with a stroke around it and linked it to some action script that would grab a defined JPG and add it to the frame. That was it. He then created an HTML page with dozens of these flash frames embeded. He previewed it in the browser and the called JPGs faded into the frames, then remained static.

…Congrats moron. You just required your sites visitors to install a plugin just to view a couple static images. What the hell was the point of that? You could have just used the actual images in the first place. The flash files just added to the loading time of the page. The plugin is a non-standard. You had to take the time to crop and size the images in the first place, so it’s not like it’s saving any time. A very pointless example. He certainly didn’t win me over with that one.

After that, we headed back to the hotel, relaxed a little bit, then regrouped and headed out for Austin’s historic 6th Street. He started off at R.D.O’Brians, a cool little Irish pub. After some food and drinks we headed down to the Jackalope for some kick butt Blues guitar and a few more drinks.

That’s about it for day one. I decided to leave the MBP here at the hotel, which turned out to be a good move. There weren’t any power outlet anywhere and a 4 hour session with a 3 hour battery just wasn’t going to fly. Oh well.

Anyway, I’m tired as hell, so I’m heading off to bed. Gotta get up early