For some time now, I’ve been using Google Analytics for various personal websites including this weblog. Recently though, we’ve begun using it at my place of employment and have received a request to track user generated events from a live Flash Media Server stream. After poking around a bit and coming upon numerous dead ends, I was lucky enough to stumble upon Google Analytics for Flash (gaforflash).
Not only can you pass in “page views” to be reported just like HTML, but you can also craft custom events in a very customizable format:
trackEvent( FMS, Seek, rtmp://localhost/vod/mp4:test.m4v, 60 )
trackEvent( FMS, Pause, rtmp://localhost/vod/mp4:test.m4v, 8 )
trackEvent( FMS, Play, rtmp://localhost/vod/mp4:test.m4v, 8 )
trackEvent( FMS, Pause, rtmp://localhost/vod/mp4:test.m4v, 10 )
trackEvent( FMS, Play, rtmp://localhost/vod/mp4:test.m4v, 10 )
The “Event” view within Analytics itself is still in closed beta but you can request the UI to be enabled on a profile via this form.
You can also track events with a little cheat. Once logged in, just edit the address bar from “reporting/content” to “reporting/events”. You can even then add it to your Dashboard.
Nice. Adobe has apparently been working closely with Facebook and Jason Crist (original API dev.) to get a nice, solid API for Facebook apps ready for the Flash Platform. As a Flash Platform developer and Facebook user, this is nothing but good news. Very timely, too – as my department is looking to expand into the social media space. I look forward to integrating this into my day-to-day work and our overall codebase!
I recently picked up a DropBox invite from Richard Davies (thanks Richard!) and the service is an unbelievably nice experience. I’ve got it linked to a few of my machines and it makes file sync very, very easy.
If you are unaware of what DropBox is, I’d suggest having a quick look at their overview video. I have found it to be an excellent service and highly recommend it!
If anyone wants an invite- I have a few left so just leave a comment below!
Twitter is a really strange service. When I first caught wind of this, my immediate reaction was; do we really need to be pouring more ephemeral nonsense into an internet already smothering with useless information?
I have to say that after using Twitter myself for the past few weeks, and playing around with the ActionScript 3 API they provide, that this service does have a certain temporal beauty to it. This is a somewhat controlled experiment which does not allow for much abuse as something like a MySpace:
- A user is restricted to the number of characters that can be used- effectively cutting off anyone from saying too much…
- The native interface, while somewhat customizable, is not prone to so much abuse by heady 12 yr. olds.
- The data is, by nature, temporal- so, not much needs to be said. Right to the point- like small bursts of thought.
I cannot say how long I will be using the service, but for now it is an interesting and unique method of communication which does [in my mind] lend itself to a certain natural attraction.
Yesterday, I became so absolutely fed-up with the hosting provider I’ve had since 2002, PowWeb, that I decided to pack up and switch over to BlueHost. After a year of lousy customer service and even worse actual hosting services, it was time to call it quits. I still have some client sites with them, and will recommend they transfer as well once their contracts are up.
The primary reason for jumping ship was that, over the past few months, the database servers were slower than molasses during an arctic winter. This website is heavy on that end, of course, and at times it would take 30-60 seconds to load! That’s insane. On the new host it is instantaneous. I’ve noticed that static sites load a lot faster as well- even large photographs through Flash (FileReference) have a much higher delivery speed.
PowWeb was bought out by Endurance International last year and ever since then, things have been getting worse and worse. I feel a bit bad having to leave after so many years- but am very pleased with BlueHost so far. I heard lots of negative comments about the new owners during the takeover, but I like to be fair and give people the benefit of a doubt… bad choice, in this particular case.
Although the DNS propagation is ongoing, just about everything is in place. My ISP only has the updated DNS records for half of the domains- so I’m actually writing this update through VPN to my office machine.
Many thanks to those who recommended hosting providers after my initial rant. Very helpful information!