ChaseTV – Making family happy with Flash

Within 24 hours of his birth, my newborn son Chase was a star. Using my 2-year-old Inflxuis account running Flash Media Server, I was able to stream video of my beautiful baby, LIVE from our hospital room to friends and family back in Boston. 

Yes, the hospital (O’Connor in San Jose) has Wifi in the rooms. And yes, I’ve actually had this real-time chatting app with amazing Flash Media Server service from Influxis pretty much collecting dust for nearly 2 years. With all the movement and excitement over new and stellar technologies from Adobe like Flex and Apollo, it’s easy to forget how awesome good ole Flash really is. 

It was about 2 years ago that I was working at Xplana in Boston. Sam Robbins turned me on to Influxis, then and now one of the only quality FMS (then Flash Communication Server) virtual hosting companies around. After researching a bit, Influxis looked like it had it all. High performance, great support and ready-to-run FCS components that let me build a real-time chatting tool in minutes. One of the neatest features was that I could host my asc file (ActionScript Communication File, for those of you who still speak Flash 7) on their server, and pretty much offer the app off my own domain. Smart, considering most folks interested in the service likely already have their own domain/blog setup. 

ChaseTV
ChaseTV – Real time Video Chatting App powered by Influxis and FMS

The components were a breeze (Michael Scott pun) to use, and they even had a sample app to get up and running with. What floored me, and still does to this day, is that the service often streams video ACROSS THE COUNTRY with little to no latency. This means that the foreign film delay effect you usually get while video chatting with your typical IM doesn’t happen. Another great thing is that none of my family and friends needed to be on any IM client. They can just go to the URL (which, due to the pay-as-you stream pricing structure, I am not giving out) and join the video chatting session.?

The original app I built hasn’t really been dormant forever. When my friends Matt and Michelle had their baby Maia, I quickly shipped a web cam to them and urged them on this video app. We got to see their beautiful baby live online months before we were able to travel back East to meet her. When Jamie and I found out we were officially pregnant, I invited Matt online again, this time showing him the ultrasound photo and seeing the happy reaction on his face. 

We in the Flash community know what exciting times we live in. I am writing this post equidistant calendar-wise between an incredibly successful 360Flex conference (where I was scheduled to speak) and the much-awaited ApolloCamp (where I will be speaking). And while most of us are wicked busy building apps for our employers, clients, books, conferences, portfolios, prereleases, etc., it is a great feeling to be able to use this super technology for ourselves once and a while. You may even get a “ahhh, so that’s what you do” out of one of your relatives.