Archive for the ‘Storytelling’ Category

This blog has moved…

June 17, 2010 Comments off

I’ve returned my blog to its original URL:

Thanks for following!

Adam Kinney

18,230 miles, 8 events, 1 vacation and 25 pictures later…

April 14, 2010 3 comments

Starting with MIX10, I’ve been on a bit of an odyssey the last month. My itinerary looked something like this:

I’ve posted a few of my favorite photos on Flickr of London, Dublin, and Washington DC.

Thanks to all of those who acted as hosts for the events, attended the events and hung out in proper English or Irish pubs (and the occasional Vegas casino bar) afterwards. I had a great time discussing all of the great news about Windows Phone, Blend 4 and IE9 from MIX10.

And now to return this week with Visual Studio 2010 and Silverlight 4 releasing along with the announcement of the KIN, there is a ton of fun to be had and work to be done.

Now, back to work…

Favorite Photos from PDC09

November 22, 2009 5 comments


Ch9Live in process This Week on Ch9 Live at PDC09 Steve Marx is waiting for you in the Expo Hall


A Photosynth of Neil Gaiman’s Library

November 3, 2009 2 comments

A well composed Photosynth can offer an interesting way to explore 3D space. Even better when the content is as interesting as the method of exploration. Above is a distorted view captured from the Neil Gaiman’s Library Photosynth which allows you to explore the personal collection of the author.

Normally I would enjoy just browsing the shelves, but I also enjoyed the timeliness of the discovery. Tonight I was discussing Coraline with my daughter who mentioned “Coraline kind of got lucky in the end. Without the help of the talking cat she would have been in trouble.”

The nosy voyeur and the father are happy, now on to the Silverlight side. I only found about all this from a single tweet by Mr. @neilhimself.

You can follow through the reply links to find that Neil was discussing that the Photosynth was running via Silverlight and that @damonbuxton was not happy about it.

As a “Silverlight guy”, it felt good to see one of my favorite authors choose not to discriminate against the technology for the sake of it being something you have to download, if you don’t already have it.

And now I want to go to the store and pick up The Graveyard Book

A fresh start for

September 19, 2009 Comments off

For the last four years, I’ve been hosting my own blog software or a permutation of some sort. Although this endeavor has been fun and educational, I’ve always used my own or experimental code resulting in a lot of time maintaining the system. I’ve decided to take a break and transfer that energy spent on the content engine and apply it to the actual content.

I now have three hosted main outputs on the web:

  • My Blog – Technical posts mainly focused on Silverlight and Expression. I’m current spending my time creating content for Designers and UI Developers, along with speaking engagements and community news.
  • My Posterous – I’m calling this “Adam Kinney Unfiltered” because I use it to post almost daily instances of graphics, video, audio, music and animation that catches my eye.
  • My Twitter – This is where I update my status, share links and follow along with the rest of the world.

So nooowwww, I should have more time to create and publish all of the content that’s been bouncing around in my head.

Very excited am I.

A Silverlight 3 FireStarter event narrative

August 12, 2009 2 comments

Silverlight FireStarter

Minimal event description:

FREE Silverlight and Expression Training on Sep. 17 in Redmond and online presented by Microsoft product team members and evangelists.

Flavorful description:

When you wake on Sept. 17th the year of 2009 you have a smile on your face. Not only did you get the day of for “training”, but the “training” is actually something you’re very interested in.  Maybe you haven’t had the chance yet, or you’re looking for additional guidance; but today you’re going on a tour of Silverlight 3, Expression Blend, SketchFlow, the Silverlight Toolkit, RIA Services and XAML Power toys.

  • Mithun Dhar starts the day off with a welcome and logisitics.You notice his navy blazer, wondering if he’s warm or not.
  • The crowd cheers  and waits expectantly for disco moves as Scott Guthrie presents the keynote, explaining how Silverlight is awesome in so many ways.
  • Tim Heuer enters next with a smile on his face and a load of scenarios where Silverlight is a smart choice. As he mentions your specific scenario, you’re convinced training was a good idea today.
  • Break time – you run to the bathroom, too much coffee this morning.
  • Adam Kinney welcomes you back from the break, actually you specifically as you were the last one back in. You begin to blush but Adam dives into Expression Blend. You can tell he enjoys the tool and the joy starts to spread among the audience.
  • Lunch! – free food! free drinks! cool.  You find the one or two people you know there and find a place to sit down. Conversation ranges from the weather to Silverlight to something caught in between your teeth.
  • After lunch and returning to your seat, Janete Perez keeps you from taking your after-lunch nap by building prototypes in SketchFlow very quickly.  You’re intrigued.
  • Justin Angel and Shawn Oster take the stage.  You’re distracted by the fact Justin is wearing sunglasses inside, but your reverie is broken when they begin racing through all of the available Silverlight Controls. What a full framework.
  • Brad “no microphone needed” Abrams takes the stage and shows you the RIA Services framework. First the multitude of controls and now line of business application building blocks out the wazoo.  You’re set and can’t wait to try this when you get home. Or maybe just tomorrow morning at work.
  • Break time – 52 different types of free drinks are available in the sliding door refrigerator.  You counted.
  • One of the first ones to return to your seat this time, Karl Shifflett shows off XAML Power Toys. You know this is cool stuff, you’ll want to look at again, but you are completely lost in the palm trees on Karl’s Hawaiian shirt.
  • All of the speakers come back to the stage for a Q & A Panel. Discussion is lively and casual, you’re happy to be here in person.
  • The conference officially ends, and you find your favorite speakers and listen to them answer a few questions from the circle around them.
  • Ready for dinner and some Silverlight time you head out and twitter: FINALLY building something in Silverlight 3….mwa ha haaa…


Register to attend in person (Microsoft Campus Redmond, WA).

Register to attend online.

Presenting Expression for Developers on a European ReMix Tour

August 10, 2009 3 comments

The next few months will be full of conference visits and presentations. I’m excited to say that during the last week of September into October I will be on the Western European ReMix Tour presenting an Expression for Developers session.  The tour includes stops in Brussels, Helsinki, Vienna and Lisbon.  I’ll be presenting during the day and flying at night to the next location. Although very quick, and certainly not enough time to explore the cities, I’m really looking forward to it.

Others on the tour also include Brad Abrams (CLR, .NET RIA Services rockstar) and Arturo Toledo (Expression Studio rockstar) And these are free events, so sign up now before they run out of seats!

Due to the timing of the tour, I will not be returning to Seattle right away. Instead, I’ll spend a few days down in Los Angeles for the Adobe MAX conference.  It should be interesting to check out the new bigger and better LA-edition of the event.

Then in November, the big party – PDC 2009!

Registrations are open and the early bird discount is $500 off.  They’ve also posted the Sessions and Speakers list. If you have a chance, attend the Getting the most out of Silverlight 3 with the Griffs workshop. Sounds like a fun and informative time.

That’s it for the busy fall schedule.  If you’re at one of these events, feel free to say “hi”. I’m always happy to meet one of my “tens” of readers 🙂

Expression Studio Resources – now including myself, Adam Kinney

August 6, 2009 13 comments
Adam Kinney holding a pretend Expression Blend mug

Before MIX09, I was completely prepared for the new features in Silverlight 3 that we demoed for the first time in public. It was my job to know and I was excited to see the features released.

What I wasn’t prepared for though, was Expression Blend 3 + SketchFlow, and the overall level of awesomeness the team had achieved under my nose.  I was blown away and very interested in using the tools, much more than I had in the past.

Today I am happy to say that knowing and sharing that knowledge with others is now my new job. In the past my focus as a member of the Client Platform Evangelism team was on WPF, Silverlight and the Community. I am still on the same team, but my role has happily shifted to Expression Studio with a strong on focus on using Blend to create Silverlight applications.  I am an Expression Evangelist.

One of my first tasks was to create a list of resources involved in the world of Expression.  I’ve collected the names of different team members, community members, agencies and sites and my goal is to share what I’ve found with you. This will be an ongoing project and I’m ready to post the first edition.

So without further ado, I present:

Expression Studio Resources

The title isn’t very sexy I agree, but its utilitarian and explicit.

On the page you find a list of people in the Expression community and links to their blogs, portfolios and twitter accounts. Along with pointing you to the people in the middle of it all, I will be adding more showcase samples and training resources.

I will also be working on plenty of my own training content which you’ll find posted here along with a few other sites.

If you have suggestions for content, questions, samples to share or feedback on Expression Studio feel free to contect me via twitter, facebook, friendfeed and yes, even email.

Using ChangePropertyAction to fade in loaded Images

July 29, 2009 2 comments

When your application loads images from a remote server, due to file size or lack of bandwidth, the images may not instantly be displayed.  And when they do show up, they pop into place in a random way decided by download order.  This is especially noticeable when you are displaying a collection of images, for example a photo gallery or a list of screenshots.

In the application I’m currently working on, I wanted to improve the loading experience of the screenshots. I thought a simple Fade In style transition would help make it less startling for the user.

The Image control in Silverlight has an ImageOpened event which fires when the source has been downloaded and is perfect for what I am trying to accomplish. The traditional way for me to handle this event would be to attach an EventHandler, so that when the event fires I could kickoff an animation to Fade In the Image.

This method is effective but it involves coding and is more complicated when dealing with dynamically generated images, like a list of screenshots.

WHAT else could I possibly do?

Bring in help from Blend 3 Behaviors, Actions and Triggers.

Essentially I’m looking to change the Opacity property of my Image when the ImageOpened event Triggers.  To accomplish this I open the Assets Panel, navigate to the Behaviors section and drag a copy of the ChangePropertyAction onto my image.  Once that’s done I am presented with the Properties panel pictured to the right.

  • SourceName – the name of the element, in this case my imageControl
  • EventName – a dropdown of the events available for that control
  • TargetName – name of the element to change, notice I could affect another element
  • PropertyName – a dropdown of properties based on the target element
  • Value – the value you want the property to change to, here its smart enough to know Opacity can be represented by a percentage
  • Duration – time taken to change the property, the default is Automatic which results in no time, but you can specify the time by using regular media format (hh:mm:ss)
  • Ease – here you can use the built in easing methods, which are like the familiar Penner equations.

And that’s it.

Once those Properties are set, the Image control will now Fade In when downloaded. No code needed and it works very well with DataTemplates for dynamically generated lists.

Pictured below the Properties Panel you can see a screenshot to the right of a very basic sample demonstrating how to use the ChangePropertyAction.  Click the Rectangle below and you will see the large image of the El Capitan Theatre curtain Fade In using the method described above.

The more I build with Blend and Silverlight 3, the more I keep thinking in my head:

“There’s a behavior for that.”

See the ChangePropertyAction sample in action

Download Source

Using a Border for a Glow Effect in Silverlight 3

July 23, 2009 1 comment

GlowEffect Kodama

One of the greatest new graphic features in Silverlight 3 is support for Pixel Shaders. The framework includes two common shaders DropShadow and Blur, but you can also build your own custom shaders. For a custom shader walkthrough, check out Andy Beaulieu’s GrayScale Shader tutorial.

Now the trick here is that although you can write your own, you can’t yet write custom multi-pass shaders, like DropShadow and Blur. And this need comes up when people are looking for other common effects like Glow.

Luckily, you can workaround this using the following two methods.

In the below sample, I’ve demonstrated a workaround using a Border behind the element you wish to make Glow.  This works by manipulating a Linear Gradient Brush to have transparent endpoints and then applying an Opacity Mask with transparent endpoints on the opposite axis of the Brush.

This works just fine for rectangular shapes and provides a lot of flexibility in designing the Glow effect.

For irregular shapes and simplicity, you can also use the DropShadow effect by setting the Direction and ShadowDepth to 0, BlurRadius to 100 and changing the color to one that contrasts appropriately with the background.

While I was working on the sample, I was reminded of those kooky forest spirits from Princess Mononoke, so I whipped one of those out as the irregular shape test. Enjoy the Shake and rattle!

See the GlowEffect sample in action

Download Source – (completely written in Blend using Behaviors)