...and I am an organic life form having an ongoing digital love affair.

The Beginning

After I graduated from 8″ superheros, or 2″ Star Wars figures — or the one year I got the entire 12″ set (and was able to play with them pre Christmas, expertly removing them from their wrapped boxes and returning them in such a way unseen by the naked eye) – my love affair began when the Atari 2600 was invited into our home. The time lost to Pong, to Superman, PacMan and Pitfall. Losing on purpose so my very competitive father wouldn’t get so mad. I was hooked to the sites and sounds of the big pixels of the day.

Following soon after was the Apple II+ that seduced my hours after school.. with her textured beige plastic, her sultry green screen and her ample 5 1/4″ floppy drives. Ah the hours I lost in Zork searching for a grue, or playing the parametric view of Zaxxon, flying hellicopters by Broderbund, or trying to herd Lemmings — I wanted to know this machine inside and out. I attempted to program sprites using hexidecimal (which at the time really didn’t show rgb as I now know it — especially on a green screen — but knowing hex certainly helped later in life with my Ensoniq Mirage sampler). I spent more time trawling bbs after purchasing the phone cradle. Now I was like NASA! And NASA, I’m sure, spent time writing routines like:

10 print ‘hi’
20 goto 10

Music Soothes the Savage Geek

It was then that I started to realize the worldy women I knew at age 12 might not see knowing what ‘JPEG’ stood for, or my 6 years of violin as the manly man I knew myself to be. A short experience with firecrackers in a bottle held in my hand took care of the violin practice for a time, and, after surgery to fix a severed tendon and the physical therapy that followed, helped me migrate toward stand up bass where the thicker strings wouldn’t get caught in the scars of my finger pads. Synthesizers soon followed and once again, my parents introduced new addictions into my life by buying me a JUNO 106. My first girlfriend bought me a small midi controller and I was well on my way of being the next Howard Jones or Thomas Dolby – complete with strange hair cuts, red shoes, and strange attire: the common post punk black and white striped stretchy shirt or purple parachute pants. I spent hours recording overdubs while playing one cassette and recording to another that I finally looked to get some professional equipment. My Fostex 1/4″ reel to reel allowed me to stripe one track with smpte time clock so that my new Roland MC500 could follow along with the bounced guitars or vocals on the other 7 tracks. I recorded myself, my band, and other bands for many years in my parents basement and only returned back to computers when I got my MacLC. Foregoing the Atari ST that many midi musicians used (my idols at the time, Skinny Puppy, being one) what power this pizza box contained. With Opcode Vision, Apple’s System 7’s and OMS in control of my Korg DSS, Ensoniq Mirage and Roland gear I was a new man with a plan.

Going Global

The early 90s brought the internet on it’s blazing 14.4k baud, it’s teasing textual bbs’ to my home and to my heart. Going to college first for art, switching to Television and Audio Production (but found it boring since I already had my own studio; reason would dictate I should’ve followed through, but why start now?) I finally settled on pursing a philosophy degree. While simultaneously trying to further my college studies (not so much) as well as the band I was singing in (much more), I continued to write and record many bands in lowfi strength with Radio Shack microphones on the drums, bouncing tracks to eek out as much sonic nonsense as possible. Now with a blazing MacLCII, Photoshop 3, coughing up the dough for Strata3d, tempted with Director 3. Forrays into digitizing my vhs camera work (kids these days don’t remember having not only a HUGE camera but a purselike recorder slung Indiana Jones style across their chest) in After Effects at 320×240 was taxing my later PowerMac 6200. I learned HTML from the HTML Manual of Style by Larry Aronson (who I would later work with as a board member of the WWWAC) and started putting up my own rudimentary webpages.

In the attempt to pimp myself to various record labels for a development deal, I sent a quasi resume to PolyGram, where the woman who answered the email (one person!), Cindy, forwarded my info to Peter Kelley, at Trademedia.Net — a Philips Media company whose 6 member crew was in charge of the PolyGram website then. Getting a call to come in for an interview, for some reason I thought I’d be working in some guy named Philip’s apartment as I walked down 9th Ave…

The BLINK Tag is Not A Design
Mee and Captain America

After the demise of TradeMedia.net – and *believe* me THAT story is QUITE interesting: we were taken over by a division of Philips Media called ‘Origin’ that was run by a woman named Ann Harrison-Mee, who not only conned her way into an executive position, she was also an ex-felon who had left prison along with her prison guard lesbian lover, conning her way into many high positions within companies time and time again including the BBC (more here) — I followed a number of my compadres (including Peter Kelley) to Marvel Comics, which was trying to really create an interactive experience for the web. We created weekly interactive comics — still using Director, but with Flash interface elements. Oh the time spent taking all the drawn pictures and converting them to ‘safe’ colors in Director, the joy of only using 4 channels of non-mp3-compressed audio.. that was quite the skill I had. Squeezing what I could from a soundfile while trying to crush it’s size — this was pre-mp3 codec still — I created soundscapes of same-bpm loops at even 5khz (or less!) to create the mood. Nothing like a little bitcrushing in the morning!

Macromedia was seeing a lot of shockwave sites, so they created shockwave.com to show the shock site of the day, and attempted to get on the online gaming bandwagon. So they started to make ShockMachine, which was an attempt to create a virtual gaming console where users could select a shockwave on the web, download and keep it to play on their desktop. Since Marvel Comics was a Macromedia Partner, they invited me out there to one of their conferences, and I began to get onto all the beta tests, including the beta test for Flash 4 and Director.

During this time I was also the voice of Captain America…

Macradobe Director3d-Swiffy Thing...

It was interesting to watch the changes being made between Director and Flash. As Director 3d was being touted — and the likes of pioneer Barry Swan’s billboard rect engine left behind — I became a Maxon Cinema4d beta tester to to put it’s Shockwave3d export through it’s paces. As I started to make my way through C4d, and other tools like ZBrush — I watched rising stars such as Phil Captain 3d McNally (and yes, ‘Captain 3d’ is his name). He’s gone on to bigger and better things such as Pixar and Monsters vs Aliens…. or but I digress. Director continued on (minus a lot of 3d usage) and I used it in ways Flash couldn’t be used: socket communication, or image manipulation. Video wasn’t even playing in Flash at that time, and Actionscript 2 was still painful. Though I remember creating the Compaq sponsored Sting website using a combination of Director and Flash talking to Flash Communication Server — I remember how it was never as powerful as the nearly unknown Director MultiUser Server that I would use quite a bit in upcoming jobs…

I worked for many different clients during this time – a number of crossplatform cdroms for TVT Records utilizing Beatnik remixing, Nickelodeon games, Playboy work (er..not *modeling*), a number of desktop applications for financial companies, security officer training, presentation software created in Director customized for Subaru and Mack Truck — cable modems were just beginning to feed into Joe User, and there was still a lot of cdrom work. Flash had it’s place online, mostly in the animation realm; or working within Director as UI elements…. but you could tell Flash was Macromedia’s newest and favorite son, whereas Director was loved but didn’t get all the newest toys.


I began working with a company called VideoSonic – actually I met both Glenn and Dennis in 2000 when we worked on the Times Square Toys R Us under Show And Tell. Toys R Us was an example of using Director for everything. It was a fantastic piece of software thought out by Dennis Flood to control 152 6 foot media scrollers that transition to new signage. Going old school in a new way. We even outdid Toys r Us when we did the Bumble and bumble University down in the meat district; 7 classrooms all linked together…and communicating through both socket servers and, yes, Director Multiuser Server — a Flash interface playing on laptops controlling screens, lighting, video playing off of G5s, 2 live cameras in each room, the audio system — all of this could be routed from any room to any room. We continued on using Director, then Flash as we mixed desktop with control systems – installations for Cooper Hewitt, a lot of touch screen designs and Crestron programming…. installing emergency systems on the Statue of Liberty, producing, editing and animating the videos playing within Lady Liberty herself that told her history. We did high end conference room systems for the Federal Reserve and Lifetime Television, and kiosks for the National Museum of the American Indian. A multi-video / multitrack surround sound Kamikaze installation for the Intrepid. It was an amazing and exciting time as we pushed the software on the bleeding edge — and sometimes.. sometimes the blood was from our hands *DUH duh DUuuuuhhh!* ….dramatic enough? But it definitely was the beginning of change — or perhaps a beginning of standards, and much less ‘from the hip’.

Ch Ch Ch Changes

A lot changed in 2006. Adobe bought Macromedia and for awhile, developers weren’t sure what love their apps were going to see from the new parents. It became clear though that Adobe Flash was the new messiah, and Director wouldn’t really see any updates for awhile. I myself started to turn my back on Director as Actionscript 3 showed Flash’s promise — but I *still* hated the IDE and sometimes pined away for Director’s ‘live object’ MessageWindow. In my opinion Director was sort of like a camel — or as they say, a horse designed by committee. I personally never had any jobs that utilized it’s 3d capabilites, and as I saw Tom Higgins leave as Director’s Developer liason for the beauty of Unity3d, so did I.

My disdain of coding in the Flash IDE was lifted when Adobe released Flex — still compiling to the flash player, now THIS was a great IDE to work with — and the free Flex framework could be coded on eclipse?! Fantastic! Flash as a platform soared, especially as all the things I utilized in Director were for the taking: bitmap control, socket communication — even desktop control via Adobe Air. Things really showed promise. I worked for SciMedMedia, a company creating cdroms for the pharmaceutical industry for less than a year but even during that time I think the company produced 16 cdroms. Next I started working with DLI / ScribeMedia / ScribeLabs, which was very media savvy and had a huge vision to try to direct.

Getting Flexible..

As Flex 4 has just been released — and soon the next slew of media tools from Adobe — and the waters have been choppier with the love/hate relationship of Apple and Adobe over all the mobile offerings, I’m looking back and amazed at how much has changed in only the past 16 or so years; to think that the desktop computers, the cpu speed, the cost of media, the operating systems and communications were what they once were — and that any iPhone or Android phone offers more in speed, information and experience is astounding to me.

More importantly, the changes in lifestyle. We are always wired, always on, always thinking, always connected. I can’t imagine going back, to be honest. I can’t remember what it was like to have to go the library for a piece of information; the amount of time that was used for something so simplistic, when now all I do is type in to a small field in the corner of Safari — it astounds me. I wonder as well, what we have lost… or what has been gained by these changes. As we get closer to the gargoyle in Stephenson’s Snow Crash I find myself almost as I was 16+ years ago: I’m not entirely sure what the future brings, but I’m excited to be in it..

Feel free to contact me if you’re so inclined…