getMicrophone() and the OPEN MIC initiative


It was a sunny winter day in Mountain View, CA. The season actually felt like early autumn to my New England-conditioned senses. Lee Brimelow showed up at the Ribbit offices, via an open invitation lingering almost 8 months, to do a video interview with us on Ribbit’s API for Flash and Flex. Lee ran some b-roll of the office, of me shooting my Nerf rocket launcher and others working. Lee interviewed me, through his massive fish eye lens, and what was recorded ended up being the very first interview for his now acclaimed, mind-blowingly good, yet currently stagnant video magazine “FlasherMag“.

At the end of the interview I asked Lee a question about tapping into the Flash microphone object for some demos and upcoming conference presentations I was planning. I casually expected the usual WINK it’s not published, but you can actually do this… /WINK response I’ve grown accustom to from Adobe higher ups and similar prestigious talents in the industry.

Lee’s response shocked me. “It can’t be done. Flash doesn’t allow it.” OK. Why? What? How do I get it done? Lee suggested going the route of one Mr. Andre Michelle, who after engaging the community with “makesomenoise“, not only got his wish, but further propelled Flash Player 10 to a new stratosphere of imagination and creativity.

It took me about 3 months to act on Lee’s advice. Somewhere between SXSW and MIX, I found the time, with the help of yeoman Brendan Lee, to launch The site is dedicated to coding with the microphone and all its interactive-inducing glory, in Flash Player. The site has a blog where we’ve been profiling some cool examples of developers using microphone access for what I call “Advanced Microphone Interactivity”. We’ve also linked to several major Microphone coding resources, like LiveDocs and other bloggers’ fantastic work and research.

The key post thus far has been our opening of Adobe Flash Player Bug #1766, requesting that the Microphone object in Flash be opened.

I love irony, and so I relish in the fact that the site launched during day 1 of Microsoft MIX 2009 — the very same day Scott Guthrie (or as the .net developer contingent chant, “the Gu”) announced that the #1 requested feature of Silverlight, Microphone/Webcam access, would not be available until at least Silverlight 4.

Join us in exploiting one of the great, unique features that Flash Player’s been giving to us since Player 6. today!