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It took me a couple weeks to come up for air to recap, but I finally got a chance to write today. I learned a lot and found several usefully new tools and resources. Here’s the highlights!

1. Camera Raw Rocks My World.
I vow to never again edit my photos as just straight JPEGs…unless I REALLY have now choice. For my own photos, I’m a new convert to Raw.

2. Photoshop.com instead of Flickr?
I didn’t know that you can post photos and make slideshows and fun still like that on this cool new hosted space. Plus the PS people also released their new Photoshop App for the iPhone.

3. Greenscreen is Fun!
We had the chance to use the greenscreen for editing a really cool samurai poster. I even took a stab at being in front of the camera to use for my own poster and actually made it into a few other people’s posters. Check it out: http://www.russellbrown.com/max_gallery_2009/

4. 2 Billion Downloads to date, 80  Downloads/sec.
That’s the jawdropping figure that I heard from Walter Luh and Carlos Icaza’s presentation about Ansca Corona and iPhone application development for designers. They’ve developed a cool new product for the rapid development of iPhone apps (my next project 🙂 ) for those of us (ahem, designers) who don’t know how to write code for the iPhone SDK. During the conference, they literally developed and continued developed the fun “Samurai Kitchen” app that let us customize our own graphics. Looking forward to the GUI that they’re working on next to make it even easier.

5. You Too Can Distribute iPhone Apps Without the App Store.
Chris Converse from codifydesign created a custom app for us to view our finished posters on our iPhones. What was so interesting was that all we had to do was browse to a regular URL from Safari from our phones, follow the 2-step instructions, and then “poof” instant app installed. Here’s the app: http://www.russellbrown.com/iphone/max2009/. Now I DEFINITELY have to learn how to do that. Sure you’ll miss the mass market eyes browsing the App Store, but if you can distribute another way, how cool is that?

6. WordPress – More Than Just for Bloggers.
With it’s great looking CMS, it’s an awesome fit for small business websites. And now there are some integration features built into Dreamweaver that make it easier to create custom designs and styling, without all the code.

7. Just Say No to Pushing Pixels – Do the 4-Step Tango. From Jack Davis, Photoshop preset guru, I learned to think “efficiency” for processing and color correcting images, and the importance of using some key steps in Camera Raw to optimize photos using sliders instead of pushing pixels. I’ll write another post just about the 4-step Tango to see if I can replicate the process to share. Since I’m not a hardcore Photoshop pro or super-user (yet), this was a very powerful technique to learn. More neat stuff from Jack here.

8. Content Management Systems Are Getting Better, and Better Looking. I discovered 3 new ways to manage content for websites which I’m currently exploring and testing to see how easy they are to use compared to what I’m used to using now: Adobe InContext Editing, Business Catalyst, and Konductor.  Most interesting pattern I noticed was integration with Dreamweaver. Slick interfaces, very straightforward design definitely made me look twice. Visually, my favorite was Konductor with its very “designer-y” AIR app version, followed by Adobe ICE.

9. Use Google to Help You Get Googled Easier. In the SEO for Flash talk with Duane Nickull, I heard a really neat tip that could potentially help you get your site, even your Flash site indexed better. Instead of telling people to find you by typing in your exact URL, tell them to look you up on Google. Don’t give them any direction, just challenge them to search for you. The mere fact that someone, maybe many someones, are looking for you, using some keywords, from many unique IP addresses and places on the planet,could increase your rankings. All those unique legitimate searches help increase your value in Google’s algorithm.

10. Social Media Could Help Index Your Flash Content. Learned lots of other neat techniques to try to get your Flash content visible too, including, just having other people talk about your content for you. For example: Duane talked about how an entirely Flash video he was in turned up in searches, with his name, simply because so many viewers had seen and discussed that it featured him and pointed to the video. Now nothing is truly a “sure-thing” as far as his SEO tips were concerned because, well, he doesn’t work at Google, but still, so many of the tips great ways to rethink the idea of SEO.