Adobe's recent decision to retire support for their Flash Player on mobile devices attracted a lot of attention and maybe there is a risk that they might become better known for what they are not doing in the mobile space rather than what they are doing. This would be a shame as recently Adobe released a whole suite of apps for Android tablets (with support for Apple's alternative, the iPad, coming in 2012). What makes these apps so interesting is that they challenge the idea that tablets are only useful for the consumption of content. Instead these apps are targeted at people who want to be creative on their tablets including professional creatives such as web designers.
The Open University here in the UK regularly coproduces educational programming in partnership with the BBC. Some of these programmes are for a wide audience such as Coast, and other programmes are for more specialist audiences such as The Story of Maths. To catch these programmes you don't have to necessarily stay in and make sure that you are sat on your sofa in front of the TV at a scheduled time, instead you can catch the repeats on BBC iPlayer (sorry - UK, IoM & Channel Islands only). My colleague Tony Hirst recently created a mash up to find the OU programmes from the last seven days posted to iPlayer using feeds from Twitter, iPlayer and a Yahoo Pipe, he then presented the results in a web page. When looking at his blog post on this it struck me that it would be really nice if this could be presented in a way more suitable for a media centre PC connected to a TV, so this would mean nice big fonts, an attractive interactive-TV type interface and ease of use from a remote control, and then I thought it would be even better to feed this into MythTV, integrating seven days of OU programming alongside the rest of your entertainment.
If you own an Asus EEE PC or another machine running Ubuntu and a camera which is only supported under Video4Linux 2 (V4L2) you will have noticed that it not possible to get your camera to work under Flash. This will hopefully change soon, with V4L2 support in Flash 10. However, as Flash 10 is still a release candidate you might find that you still have problems when using a V4L2 camera.
Having Flash 10 on your EEE PC opens up some interesting possibilities. One of these is the use of Seesmic, a website currently in beta that is designed to allow people to have conversations via video. The idea of this is that people can just use the built in webcam of their computer to record a short dialogue, this can be much quicker for somebody to do than composing a written comment and possibly could speed up the flow of a web-based discussion. The problem for EEE users is that this site just isn't designed for this type of machine. Hopefully the rise of netbooks means that we will see less and less sites being developed that do not work on them (that would be sensible after all) and let's hope that Seesmic will be able to correct this problem once they are out of beta. The way that the site is currently set up means that it is not possible to use it with an EEE. However, this is not the end of the story, open source has a habit of providing amazing flexibility, and we can put this to good use to make this site work for us. You mileage may vary with what is written here, but I have had seesmic working on an Ubuntu-powered EEE. If you get this to work with a standard EEE let me know.
It's been a long journey to get full Adobe Flash player functionality on Linux machines, but now it looks like that journey is drawing to a close. I've just been playing with a release candidate of Flash Player 10 on my Asus EEE PC and am very happy with the results.
If you've been trying to watch YouTube videos or use the BBC's iPlayer site on your Asus EEE PC you might have noticed that it it is not possible to use these services in full screen mode. YouTube videos just play in a bigger window when you try to activate full screen. Trying to watch the videos when embedded on their webpages can be a little frustrating as it wastes available screen space (on what is quite a small screen anyway). Fortunately, this is quite easy to fix.
I've got the new Kubuntu 8.04 KDE4 Remix running now on my laptop and it is looking really good. I really like the new visual design and it is great that the Kubuntu project team made a release featuring KDE4 available on top of everything else they have had to do to get the main release of Kubuntu out. Up to now I have been running KDE3 and experimenting a bit with KDE4 on a virtual machine, but now I'm making the move full time.
The EEE does lots more fancy multimedia stuff. One great program that is on board already is Amarok (although it has been renamed Music Manager here). This has got to be one of the greats of the open source world. Through this application you can listen to your music collection, listen to internet radio, subscribe to podcasts and it integrates with last.fm (so you can listen to streams and scrobble tracks).