Finally: Atari Museum Atari History Book Is On The Way!

By Jeff Fulton

We've been politely pestering Marty Goldberg and Curt Vendel from The Atari history Museum to finish their book on Atari history for at least 5 years now.

Well, it looks like the day might arrive soon. Today Curt announced a new web site dedicated to the upcoming history tome: http://www.atarimuseum.com/book/ Curt and Marty have collected 1000's of pages of internal Atari documents and have interviewed dozens of Atari employees over the past couple decades.   Their book should prove to be the definitive history of the world's greatest video game company.

We will update you when we know more.





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Who Cares! Well, actually, Producto Studios and The Who Do!

who cares

who cares!

8bitrocket in conjunction Producto Studios is proud to be a small part to a big cause. Roger Daltrey, Robert Plant, and Dave Grohl rocked an amazing fundraiser to benefit the UCLA Daltrey/Townshend Teen Cancer Program and Producto rocked the website design. Long time “bandmate” of Producto’s Simon Hinchliffe designed the site and print collateral. http://www.uclahealth.org/site.cfm?id=535 .

Over $2M was raised for the UCLA Daltrey/Townshend Teen Cancer Programs, UCLA's Early Childhood Program for Autism (ECPHP) and K9 connection!

Big thank you to Jordan Kaplan at Douglas Emmett , Rebecca Rothstein, Tina Choe at Jet Blue and Becky Mancuso at UCLA for letting us contribute our skills.

The Who Cares. And Producto does too.


Happy Thanksgiving From 8bitrocket.com


(turkey image borrowed from here, turned into ASCII here)




The Kinect : Only The Illusion Of "Fun"

So I've been branded a "Kinect" lover by some people, and for the past year that has been a fairly accurate statement.  Before that, I was a Wii lover.  In both cases, I truly believed in the idea of "motion gaming".  Ever since my family played hooky from work/school in November 2006 to play with our new Wii all day, I've felt that the Wii (and by extension) the Kinect would be the future of fun and gaming in our house.  Over the past 5 years, I have pushed the Wii and the Kinect very hard on my kids.  I've bought dozens of games, jumped around the living room, and generally tried to lead the family into a blissful world of motion gaming.  I thought the benefits would be worthwhile: we would spend time together, get a bit of exercise, and I would get to play video games.  Sure, they would not necessarily be the type of games I really wanted to play, but at least it would be something, right?   However, I've noticed that my kids don't ask to play the Wii or the Kinect at all (with the exception of Fruit Ninja).   My older daughter loves Dragon Age and complex RPGs.  My younger kids like web games and iPad games.    When they are not playing games computer and video games, they are playing other things...inside.

We live on a very small plot of land in a concrete jungle, so there are very few opportunities to go "outside" and play anything more than very simple games.  The end result is that the kids rarely go outside.  I've only facilitated this behavior by trying to bring "the outside inside" with Kinect and the Wii.  Since we have very little room outside, the virtual worlds of the Wii and Kinect appear to offer limitless space to play things like tennis, soccer, volleyball and ping pong...as long as the living room is clear, the Wii motes don't break (or at the very least the tether doesn't slap us in the face), and the Kinect recognizes who is standing in front of it.

This weekend my wife saw a cheap $5.00 kit at Target that could turn a regular table into a ping-pong table and suggested we buy it.  I thought it was an absurd idea, but I bought it anyway and "installed" it on the "art table" we have for the girls on the back patio.  The reaction from my family was immediate,  wild, and unexpected.  Even though it is just a makeshift, mini ping-pong table, it appears to be the greatest gift we have ever bought for our kids.  We played all weekend, and when the girls were not playing ping pong, they were exploring our small garden, and even building sand-castles in the sand-table (which usually sits unused 363 days out of the year).

Furthermore, it was raining here, and we NEVER go out side when it is raining.  This weekend was an exception.  This is when I had my "duh, aha" moment that many of you had a long time ago: "motion gaming" is just an illusion of "activity".  Duh. Yeah, you knew it already, but I could not see it.  Motion gaming attempts  to replicate things that can be done better as pure video games or pure outside activities.   It lives someplace in the middle:  a location where I have, for the past few years, lived in blissful denial.  I've been trying to replace a perceived "missing joy" from my kids childhood (my own perception of the house we live in compared to the house I grew-up in, not based on their feelings or perceptions) with sub-par technology and shovelware video games. I was blinded by the idea that technology could replace the irreplaceable.   In reality,  a $149.99 Kinect with a $49.99 Kinect Sports (and it's Ping Pong Game) could not generate even 10% of the enthusiasm and joy that a cheap $5.00 ping pong set from Target could generate.

Am I done with motion-gaming?  Probably not, but then I won't buy every title that comes out either.   At the very least I'm going to try to stop using it as replacement for real-world activities, and simply open the back door and get outside the damned house for a while.




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R.I.P. Gary Garcia of "Pac Man Fever" Fame : Now It’s time For Hollywood To Make A Movie About "Pac Man Fever"

By Jeff Fulton

"To create a song that has mass appeal is among the most difficult things you'll ever do."

-Jerry Buckner


According to Gamasutra, Gary Garcia, 1/2 of Buckner and Garcia died yesterday.   Back in February we contacted Jerry Buckner about he 30th Anniversary of  Pac-Man and Buckner And Garcia's song, "Pac Man Fever".   At the time we thought it would be cool for Hollyqood to make a movie about their story.  Today, we think it is essential!  Come on Hollywood producers, "the 80's" are hot right now, and what what could be better than a "rise and fall" fable about music and video games combined?

Below is the original story from earlier this year:


Adobe Donates Flex To Open Source Foundation

Not much else to say here except to link to this:
Adobe donates Flex to foundation in community-friendly exit strategy.

A good move to keep Flex viable for developers for the foreseeable future.

(Thanks to R.J. Lormier for the heads-up)


Press Release: 8bitrocket.com’s Jeff Fulton and Steve Fulton to Discuss the Emerging Role of Canvas Development At DevCon5 in Santa Clara, Dec. 7-8, 2011

8bitrocket.com’s Jeff Fulton and Steve Fulton to
Discuss the Emerging Role of the Canvas Development Environment    

At DevCon5 in Santa Clara, California, December 7-8, 2011

Norwalk, CT, November 10, 2011— TMC and Crossfire Media announced that Steve Fulton and Jeff Fulton, co-founders of 8bitrocket.com and authors of the best-selling “HTML5 Canvas” book - will be speaking at DevCon5—HTML5 Developers and Designers  Conference, taking place December 7-8 at the Network Meeting Center in Santa Clara, California.

Published by O’Reilly Media, Steve and Jeff Fulton’s book discusses how Canvas facilitates the dynamic rendering of shapes, images, and audio.  In their session at DevCon5, Steve and Jeff will describe how Canvas is augmenting, and in some cases replacing, Flash as the preferred platform for bringing animation, video and interactivity to games and web pages.

“Canvas will continue to grow in significance because future versions of the Apple Operating System – as well as Window’s-8 will not allow Flash, and our sessions at DevCon5 will teach developers everything they need to know about replacing Flash with Canvas,” Steve Fulton.  “These sessions will also discuss how HTML5 is solving application issues across multiple platforms, and evolving into a replacement for application plug-ins on the web.”

Steve and Jeff Fulton are scheduled to speak on Wednesday, December 7, as follows:

  • Introduction to Canvas at 2:00 PM
  • The Power of Canvas at 3:30 PM

“HTML5 is creating a world of new opportunities for developers, and the DevCon5 event is the one place that web developers; software architects; graphic artists; and business executives can learn everything they need to know about HTML5,” noted event producer Carl Ford of Crossfire Media.

Visit www.devconfive.com to access the complete Conference Agenda.

Registration for DevCon5 is now open. Members of the media can reserve media credentials by contacting Todd Keefe at todd@firpr.com at For Immediate Release PR. Become a DevCon5 Exhibitor and Sponsor—contact Joe Fabiano at jfabiano@tmcnet.com/203-852-6800 x132. Partner with DevCon5—contact Jennifer Terentiuk at jterentiuk@tmcnet.com/203-852-6800 x125.

About Crossfire Media:

Crossfire Media is an integrated marketing company with a core focus on future trends in technology. We service communities of interest with conferences, tradeshows, webinars, and newsletters and provide community websites with the latest information in our industries.

About TMC:

TMC is a global, integrated media company that helps clients build communities in print, in person, and online.  TMC publishes the Customer Interaction Solutions, INTERNET TELEPHONY, Next Gen Mobility, InfoTECH Spotlight and Cloud Computing magazines.  TMC is the producer of ITEXPO, the world’s leading B2B communications event.  TMCnet.com, which is read by two million unique visitors each month, is the leading source of news and articles for the communications and technology industries.  In addition, TMC runs multiple industry events: 4G Wireless Evolution; M2M Evolution; Cloud Communications Expo; SIP Tutorial 2.0:Bringing SIP to the Web; Business Video Expo; Regulatory 2.0 Workshop; DevCon5; HTML5 Summit; CVx; AstriCon; StartupCamp; MSPAlliance MSPWorld and more. Visit TMC Events for a complete listing and further information.

TMC Contact:

Todd Keefe

For immediate Release PR

617-262-1968 x 101



More Fuel For The HTML5 Fire: Adobe Admits That The Long Term Viability Of The Flex SDK In Doubt

In the "Your Questions About Flex Blog" on blogs.adobe.com, Adobe appears to be putting the future of Flex in doubt:

Does Adobe recommend we use Flex or HTML5 for our enterprise application development?

In the long-term, we believe HTML5 will be the best technology for enterprise application development. We also know that, currently, Flex has clear benefits for large-scale client projects typically associated with desktop application profiles.

Given our experiences innovating on Flex, we are extremely well positioned to positively contribute to the advancement of HTML5 development, starting with mobile applications. In fact, many of the engineers and product managers who worked on Flex SDK will be moving to work on our HTML efforts. We will continue making significant contributions to open web technologies like WebKit & jQuery, advance the development of PhoneGap and create new tools that solve the challenges developers face when building applications with HTML5.

So what does this mean?  It means that Adobe just took more days off the life of the .SWF format (we said 1000 days last week, now we say about their are about 500 days left. Someone needs to create a SWF Death Countdown Clock...not in a gleeful way mind you....more like a Wake).

Why would Adobe do this?  It's very simple: the bottom line. It make sense from a business perspective for Adobe.  HTML5 is "free", but the tools to build HTML5 Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuck (especially when compared to the Flash IDE).  Adobe can build tools for HTML5 (hopefully better than Adobe Edge), leverage their investment in Phonegap and JQuery and sell them as a package as the "new Flash".

The Flex SDK is free too, but since the world never accepted Flex as a true "open source" software, and since the .SWF is a slowly dying format (because Adobe just shot it in the stomach), there is no incentive to support it (within Adobe anyway).  Instead, Adobe will beef-up the Flash IDE, and sell the crap out of the Air exporter to create apps.    This may not be a logical decision for loyal Flash developers, but it's good for the bottom line of Adobe and for Adobe's stockholders.  Adobe can make money from tools, and retreat from "open source" and "open screen" Flex and AS3, because, as we now know, their heart was never really there anyway...or at least their heart would have been there, if Steve Jobs had not done the service of tearing it out it out for them.

(thanks to Ken Railey for the head's up on this)


Now Don't Get Cocky "Web Standards" Dudes, HTML5 Still Has A Looooooooong Way To Go.

Two days ago Adobe announced that were were ceasing development of the Flash player for the mobile web, in favor of HTML5.   They  will focus on the air packagers and PC/Mac browser plugins.  Technologically speaking, nothing has really changed, as Adobe already had an issue with Flash not being supported on  iOS browsers.  So what has changed? The perception of Flash: the fact that  Fortune 500 CIOs think they can now ONLY use HTML5 for web sites, or they will look like Luddites. While this certainly is a boon to HTML5, and has probably numbered the days for the .SWF format (from infinity to about 1000), the successor, HTML5 has a few things to answer for before it can swoop in and push Flash off the cliff.

1. Audio Playback : HTML5 Audio in the PC browser is awful.  HTML5 Audio on mobile is atrocious.  Audio issues that Macromedia solved in Flash 10 years ago plague HTML5 and don't look to get better an time soon.   Zynga recently released Jukebox to help with this problem, but it falls back to...Flash.  That is not gonna work now, is it?  Until this is fixed,  the web is going sounds pretty much like it did back in 1998 when we all tried to play audio with Java applets!

2. Media Formats:  Flash ingests disparate audio and video media formats and spits out a single format to be played across multiple platforms.  Essentially, this ability is what created Youtube.com, allowed for audio streaming inside firewalls, and spurred and the Web 2.0 personal media revolution.  HTML5 audio and video is stuck in a war over which formats to support, making developers do the same work multiple times to get similar (but not equal results).  This needs to be fixed immediately.   A the same time, Flash allows for secure, monetizable video streams that are currently not available in HTML5

3. Centering/Scaling:  Centering things on the screen should be simple, right?  Even with CSS 3.0 (not really HTML5, but married to it), centering a web site on the screen takes a massive effort filled with CSS kludges and black magic.  With Flash, all you had to do was center the SWF and you were done.  Furthermore, you could easily scale the Flash app to the size of the browser Window to create seamless web app surfaces.  These things are supported in HTML5, but are not standard and take browser specific JavaScript to pull off in reasonable manner.  This is not 2005. Centering is in, and left-justifying is out.  Fix it standards gurus, and give us an easy way to implement it in Javascript (not just with what amounts to CSS shims, even if they won't admit that's what they are)

4. Non-Standard Security Sandboxing : Security sandboxing among different browsers makes creating some web-site based HTML5 apps a real chore.    In some instances, code that works locally (to load video for instance) does not work from a web site in certain browsers because it breaks the security sandboxing rules.   Flash solved this problem by allowing the developer to set sandboxing rules that were followed across platforms and browsers.

5. Performance : HTML5 is sill slower than Flash running the same kind of application.  In certain browsers (iOs 5.0 Safari) this is getting better, and should prove to get better with Windows Metro, but it's still not good enough yet.

6. Sockets/Networking :  Socket and Networking programming (for multi-player games and other uses) is still very primitive in HTML5 and relies on POST requests for communication. (at least until Web Sockets arrives universally)  This is akin to the old "server-push" model from the late 90's  It works, but it has a long way to go to match what Flash can do.

7. Web-Cam/Microphone Support:  One great thing Flash does is standardize the interface to microphones and web-cams.  There are libraries for this is JavaScript such as the JQuery webcam plugin (http://www.xarg.org/project/jquery-webcam-plugin/)  but they require Flash! Oops.

8. Rich Javascript Game Libraries Are Just arriving. Want to make that Angry Birds clone your client desires on the HTML5 Canvas...try coding all of those physics yourself. While Box2dJS has arrived and Impact looks good, we have not had the chance to test them yet so we cannot comment on their speed or effectiveness on the Canvas.   Without full GPU support for the Canvas, the game screen updates are still probably going to be rather slow compared to Flash.

9. A Good Flash IDE-like tool for creating HTML5 content does NOT exist.  This has forced us and other HTML5 designers to use the FLASH IDE  (of all things) to create animations and interactivity, and then pray that the developers can replicate what they have designed with exported Sprite Sheets, png sequences, and rabbits pulled from hats.   Designers and programmers alike rely on masks, animation paths, tweens, video with alpha channels for blue-screening, and 100's of more features, tweeks, and tools in the Flash IDE that will need to be replicated in order to replace Flash.  It is now Adobe's job to create this tool, as they have taken on the burden.  God-Speed and good luck.

We do think that HTML5 is promising, and since Adobe is basically ceding it to the Web (at least for general web site uses), we have to make the best of it.  However, now that HTML5 is in the spotlight, it has to make good on its' promise.  The list of things here is just the tip of the iceberg.   There are probably dozens of other uses for Flash that cannot (yet) be replicated in HTML5.    If HTML5 truly is the future, it needs to catch-up to the present as fast as possible.


One Day After Adobe Retreats Flash From The Mobile Web: Our HTML5 Canvas Book Hits #1 On The Game Programming Chart At Amazon.com

Also, it has the lowest ranking it has ever achieved too.

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