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National Walk at Work Day

What a great way to break up the workday! Wednesday, Greteman Groupers celebrated National Walk at Work Day with a brisk stroll along the river and through the Keeper of the Plains Plaza. Brown bags in hand, we strapped on our tennis shoes, threw on sunglasses and set out into the wind tunnel that is Kansas. OK, wind aside, the day was beautiful and perfect for outdoor exercise.

Along our journey we saw a growing mass of people, and soon the paths were filled as far as we could see with smiling, chatting, health-minded walkers. Seems Blue Cross Blue Shield hosted a rally and one-mile walk. It was awesome to see so many Wichitans stepping out for health.

Where the Air is Rarefied

My sister and I recently had a once in a lifetime opportunity to tag along with our dad, acclaimed aviation photographer Paul Bowen, as he shot from a WWII B-25 Mitchell bomber on a Bombardier photo shoot.

Headset plugged in. Check. Strapped into the nose gunner position. Check. Ready for take off. Check. I watched the runway whiz by under my feet. We gained speed. And just like that, we were off and flying. The adrenaline rush was off the charts.

As departed from Chino and flew out to Catalina Island, my sister and I peered out the nose in awe. We circled the island a few times taking in the beauty. Then, two state-of-the-art Bombardier Challenger corporate jets appeared in the sky next to us. I’ve coordinated more static displays than I can count. I’ve even ridden on these amazing aircraft a time or two. But to see them in this setting was mind blowing. It gave me an entirely different appreciation for the wonder of flight.

Choreographing a ballet in the sky

Part of my dad’s job is choreographing a ballet in the sky. As he provided instructions over the headset, they moved perfectly into place. The heavens opened up and beams rolled off the plane like liquid light. The planes banked in unison. Then he’d call out the next command.

Toward the end of the shoot, my dad asked us back to the open-air tail gunner position where he’s tethered in. It was time for the famous wingtip vortices. The Challenger 300 and Challenger 605 took turns behind the B-25. They were so close. I felt as though I could reach out and touch these “flying sculptures,” as my dad calls them. The Challenger 300 dipped down and then up through the clouds as the circulating air generated by the lift rolled down the wings and off the winglets. And there they were. Wingtip vortices. Spinning in what seemed like slow motion behind the aircraft. I suddenly felt a few teardrops gently rolling down my cheek. I was speechless and couldn’t stop smiling.

After the sun had set and we were heading back to Chino, I was reminded of why I am so passionate about aviation. It’s not just what I do for a living. It permeates every facet of my life. It is a part of me. Sharing that flight with two of the most significant people in my life is a memory I will always cherish.

Flash is dead. Long live Flash.

Image courtesy of

There’s a war going on that you may have heard about. The two sides have been saber rattling for some time now, and it’s only getting uglier. But this isn’t a war fought between nations; it’s between two tech companies – Apple and Adobe. The contentious issue is Flash, Adobe’s multimedia product that allows video, animation and interactivity in your browser window. Flash is everywhere on the Internet. You’ve seen it even if you haven’t realized what it is. Hulu shows videos inside a Flash player, and the Facebook game you’re addicted to (FarmVille anyone?) was probably created in Flash as well. For years, Flash has been what’s made the web, well, more interesting.

The problem is Apple’s new product, the iPad, which Apple fans are comparing to the wheel in historical importance. It won’t play Flash. At all. Go to a website that uses Flash and you’ll just see an ugly icon that indicates all the glorious Flash content is not for you, iPad user. iPhone owners are already used to this, since it doesn’t support Flash either. But the iPad is being marketed as a replacement for your desktop computer’s web browser, while the iPhone is better at viewing mobile-friendly versions of websites, which typically haven’t had Flash content anyway.

The Finger Pointing Begins – Arguments on Both Sides

So why does Apple have a problem with Flash? According to Steve Jobs, Flash uses up too much of your computer’s processing power, is full of security holes, and is buggy, leading to browser crashes. All of these things are, to varying degrees, true. Apple says the future lies in a new technology being developed, HTML5. They say that everything Flash does now, HTML5 will do instead.

Pro Adobe forces counter with the argument that Flash works much better on Windows computers than on Macintosh computers, because Apple doesn’t allow Flash to access the Macintosh hardware that would speed it up. They also say that, currently, support among browsers for HTML5 is spotty and that standards haven’t been completely worked out. Developing for Flash takes less time because content looks the same across browsers, so there’s less testing. And since the Flash plugin is installed in around 98 percent of computers, it currently has a greater reach than HTML5. Most importantly, Flash does things that HTML5 currently can’t do.

We Love Things that Begin with a Lowercase “I”

We have to admit it, gadgets like the iPad make us drool down our black turtlenecks. It promises a more convenient way to browse the Internet, untethered from the desktop and with a larger screen than your smartphone. With this new device comes new opportunities for our clients to get their message out. The question Greteman Group has to answer is whether or not to use Flash in our clients’ websites, since the iPad doesn’t support it.

So which side should we back, Adobe or Apple? At this point in time, it doesn’t make sense to exclusively jump into bed with either of them. Flash isn’t going away in the near future, it’s too ingrained in the Internet, and the benefits over HTML5 make it too attractive to abandon. While projections indicate that the iPad might sell between 2-10 million units in the first year, that’s a pittance compared with the number of desktop computers out there – computers that can view Flash. And there’s nothing that says that Apple won’t eventually give in and allow Flash on their devices. It would only take updating their software. So while we’re not yet giving up on Flash, we’re also keeping abreast of HTML5 and its capabilities.

Our Solution to the War – Live and Let Live

Right now, our recommendation is to keep developing Flash content if your site warrants it, and serve up non-Flash content to people who might be viewing your site on an iPad. The code that does this is already built into the Flash standards. iPad content could be in HTML5 if it’s necessary to try and mimic the Flash content, or it could simply be static images. Anything other than the dreaded “You can’t see this content” icon. If in the future Flash looses favor to HTML5, we’ll change how we build websites. But for now, utilizing the best of both worlds seems to make the most sense.

Greteman Group’s goal is to serve our clients and their audiences as best we can, regardless of technology. We immerse ourselves in digital culture so we can provide the smartest solutions in an increasingly complex online landscape. And if in the future a device comes out that beams websites directly into your brain, you can be sure that we’ll find the best way to use it. But only for good.

Old Enough to Know Better. Young Enough to Try It Anyway.

We hit a milestone birthday today: 21. Legal age. But does that mean we’ll start acting our age? I certainly hope not.

I was such a try-anything teen that the arrival of my 21st found me, well, experienced. I already knew the day-after feeling that comes from staying out too late, dancing the night away and having a little too much fun.

Time for a Toast

Today we celebrate the people and passion that have pulled us through. We’ll also break out the Wii and step outside where we can drink in this glorious spring day. We’ll mark our time together laughing, playing and remembering. I’m filled with gratitude. For our incredible client partners, my mountain-moving team and a wouldn’t-trade-it-for-anything community.

We’re all grown up. Let the games begin.