Science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke once wrote, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Surely nothing quite fits that bill as well as the Web, which will mark its 20th anniversary in 2010. It can be difficult to think of any other invention throughout history that has changed the way in which we think, communicate, and learn as quickly as has the Web.
When I was in college in the early 1990s, I was one of the few students in my residence hall with a personal computer, and I had to apply to be one of the lucky few who had his computer connected to the university's network. I can clearly recall struggling through learning the archaic command system to send even simple e-mails. Today, my seven-year-old daughter is as comfortable on a computer as is her mother, and if not for her father's insistence on taking a picture to commemorate the event, would never remember sending her first e-mail to ask a family friend a survey question for a homework assignment.
My first introduction to Flash came when I was an instructor at New Horizons Computer Learning Center in Sacramento. I had been asked to learn it so that I could eventually start teaching it. That was Flash 4, and even then, it was pretty cool: I had never imagined that it could be so easy to draw a shape and get it to move across the screen.
At the time, however, I definitely considered myself more of a designer. ActionScript, even in its fairly primitive 1.0 incarnation in Flash 4, was something ...