This site showcases the (mostly) digital work of Andrew DiFiore from both Virtual Arts Studios and answerYES Interactive as well as random thoughts and experimental projects too volatile to be contained anywhere else.

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    If you’ve been a fan of  mobile app startup Aviary then you already know that their popular Flash-based photo and audio tools, collectively called The Advanced Suite, have closed down (repost below of CEO and Co-Founder Avi Muchnick’s good-bye). From what I can gather, the company will focus serving up their photo editing SDK to third-party web and mobile app developers. Judging the from the outcry, the company should do the same with their audio editing tool Myna.

    As per this blog post from July, we have officially closed the advanced suite of Flash tools (previously located at in order to focus on our new company direction powering the photo experience in 3rd party apps. While we hoped that everyone would have taken the time to retrieve their files since our notice, we recognize that the message may not have been seen by everyone.

    Therefore, if you were not able to retrieve all of your files to date, please contact us at from the email address associated with your account to help retrieve your files. Do this quickly. Please note that after September 30th, 2012, we cannot guarantee that your files will still be available for us to retrieve.

    While the tools will remain offline, we may continue to explore new homes in whole or in part, for specific elements of the suite. If interested in discussing, please contact us at with the subject line “Interested in Advanced Suite.”

    I would like to make a few recommendations for alternate tools to try:

    • Advanced Photo Editing (layer based) – GIMP
    • Vector Editing – Inkscape
    • Image Markup – Skitch
    • Audio Editing & Music Creation – GarageBand or Audacity
    • Node-based image editing (like Peacock) – watch this blog for more information…

    I have a number of thank yous to make, but I’ll leave out names because there are so many and I don’t want to risk leaving anyone out:

    Thank you to the Aviary staff who worked on the advanced suite, some still with the team and some not. You are some of the most ridiculously talented people I have ever met and I can honestly say you have set the professional bar higher for me for having gotten the opportunity to work with you.

    Thank you to our wonderful moderation volunteers – our Aviators are amazing people who brought out the creativity in thousands of people, expecting nothing in return. I’ll miss reading the Bird Bath newsletter.

    Thank you to those of you who wrote tutorials, especially those of you who wrote and published 2 books on the advanced suite.  How cool was it to go into a Barnes & Noble, and see it in print!

    Thank you to the dozens of press outlets who covered the advanced suite. The tools would have gotten nowhere without you.

    Thank you to those of you who gave awards to the advanced suite. We have the trophies adorning our coffee table in the office and we’ll never forget the excitement when we won them.

    Thank you to our investors, who helped us turn an idea into a reality and continue to back our vision of democratizing creativity in our current direction.

    Thank you to our advisers who gave us guidance along the way in shaping the advanced suite.

    Thank you to my co-founders, who made the advanced suite their driving mission in life while we worked on it.

    Thank you to our families, who selflessly continue to put up with our long hours. Welcome to the 3 babies who joined our families while we worked on the advanced suite.

    And most importantly, thank you to the millions of users who gave the advanced suite a try, especially those of you who made it your primary form of editing tools and for whom I know today represents a real loss.

    I love all of you and hope we can continue making creative expression accessible for everyone in the world, going forward.

    Best, Avi Muchnick

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    Well, it is finally Christmas! And it is still Hanukkah! And the New Year is just around the bend! So click on the Holiday Card above (made especially for you) and have a Happy Everything!

    As a Web developer, I’ve built many a Flash-based websites (or hybrid sites) and I “was” a fairly active contributor to the Flash community at large. I became an avid fan of the application shortly after Macromedia acquired FutureSplash  (circa 1996). I considered ActionScript among my top three programming language proficiencies.

    But, alas, can’t say I have much cause to work in Flash lately. Clients that may not know much about technology, know enough to say no Flash.

    Just a few short years ago, Flash was a rock star. It was the preferred platform for video. If you wanted your site to be cinematic then Flash was the only way to go (it still is).

    The turn of fortune began with the rise of search engine optimization (SEO). Flash sites can be built to have good SEO but it takes more effort and Adobe failed to educate and encourage developers on best practices (at best their attitude was lackadaisical and at worst, arrogant). But, no doubt, the final nail in the coffin was the Apple iPad. It is hard to ignore a market share of nearly 75% (Apple sold 11.1 million iPads in the September quarter alone).

    Apparently, Adobe agrees it is time to throw in the towel, opting out of Flash for mobile, stating they will now aggressively contribute to HTML5.

    I suppose this is good news. Web Standards are the right way to go and HTML5 works within the DOM architecture of the Web, not outside it.

    In the coming year, the next generation of sites will feature impressive performance while rendering effects that are both beautiful and user-friendly. HTML5 may not do the more complex animations that Flash enables but for most applications (outside of movie and video game sites) it is more than adequate.

    Still, can’t help but feel a little sad, like saying farewell to an old friend for the last time. Such is the way of the warrior coder.

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    Commissioned by NYC marketing company Moss Appeal to develop branded content for DirecTV Ad Sales team’s social media  initiative, which included a Twitter page, a Facebook page (with two custom apps), and this interactive DirecTV Perfect Match Game that utilized video outtakes from DirecTV’s popular programming.

    The game also featured a Bobble Yourself viral marketing component where participants could upload a photo to create their own bobblehead with a personalized URL that featured them on the game’s microsite. This created greater engagement and encouraged more sharing through email and social media.

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    Having recently relocated from Florida to Connecticut, Dr. Jon Rosenblitt not only needed to get the word out that there is a new family dentist in town but also distinguish his practice from the rest (an already crowded space in Stamford). We worked with the good doctor to craft a website (his first one) that informed potential patients that Dr. Jon Rosenblitt Family Dentistry was the right choice for their oral health care. Through clever optimization of site structure, copy, and graphical elements, we were able to quickly drive awareness of the office to the top of local searches for key search terms like stamford family dentist in just one month. And this is only the beginning.

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