Dumb Question Corner comes from Hugo Poon who asks for an explanation of IPv6. Our audio and video coverage of Macworld 2011 begins with the following reviews: Prizmo for Mac and iPhone from http://creaceed.com, BusyToDo from busymac.com, Corkulus and Todo Online from appigo.com, Visible Green wall charger & P-Flip Foldable Solar Power from dexim.net, Sell Your Mac from sellyourmac.com, Glif from theglif.com. Honda Bob sent in a recording to celebrate the 200th ad on the show. In Chit Chat Across the Pond Donald Burr teaches us how to do conference photography.
Today is Sunday January 30th, 2011 and this is show number 297. I’m sure by this time you’ve figured out that Macworld Expo was this week, and Steve and I were able to attend. Every year the trip has evolved for me, and each year I think I enjoy it more. As many people have said, it seems to be the people you meet and learn from that make all the difference in the show. One of the tough things about Macworld Expo is that there is so darn much to do! There’s an IT Conference (for those who work in the field of Macintosh) and there’s the User Conference which is more my speed, there’s the Featured Presentations, and then there’s the exhibit hall. This was the first year we’ve had passes to the User Conference which was great. I was never ever bored trying to figure out what to do next, it was more like I was thinking d’oh! I missed that talk Don did on Screenflow? I’m still mad about that.
I’ve heard a few people say that they didn’t find much to see on the show floor, and I think I know why. If you wandered up and down the aisles just using your eyes to judge whether something is interesting, what you would have found is that about 20% of the booths had iPhone cases or iPad holders. I thought that was boring so I skipped over all of that. Then there was a whole music aisle…you can guess what I did there, right? Well I did go over there because the Berklee School of Music was there and my brother happens to be a professor there (yeah, go figure? he got all the musical talent I’m missing evidently), so I did stop by and say hi to the guys and asked them to say hey to my brother. All right, now we’ve got maybe 70% of the show floor left.
I personally found that if you go up and ask the people to explain their products, they’re often enthusiastic and can get you to realize how cool their product actually is. Another trick is to not be wowed by the huge booths. For example, HP was there with a massive front and center booth with about 20 employees…and no one went into their booth, they just walked around it or through it to get to the other side. On the other hand, the tiny little booths, which in some cases were actually four vendors sharing a single 30″ circular table, were absolutely packed all day every day. They often had the most interesting things. You can’t use this as an absolute rule though, because my personal favorite vendor, Dexim, had a huge booth!
This year Steve and I were able to take the interviews we did up a real notch. Remember back in November, Donald Burr came on the show and told us about the wireless microphone setup he got from Audio Technica? It was the Audio-Technica ATR 288W Remote Mic from audio-technica.com It sounded pretty cool, so Steve’s mom got one for Steve for Christmas. The rig consists of a handheld mic that plugs into a wireless transmitter for me to wear. Then on Steve’s end he has the receiver box that hooks into the hot shoe on the top of his camcorder with a wire to pull the audio in. He also can plug in a set of headphones so he can monitor the audio while we’re recording just in case something goes wrong. Steve also bought me a mic flag, one of those boxes that go on your mic to let people know who you are – like NBC, ABC, or Podfeet!
This mic setup really gave us new flexibility in doing recordings. I was able to get right up close with the person I was interviewing, and yet Steve was able to be far enough back to get a good angle on the product being demonstrated. That ability to monitor the audio was a life saver too. On one recording I forgot to take my backpack off and it was hitting the cable connection to the transmitter and Steve was able to stop me and tell me we had a problem. There was another side benefit of this whole rig with the mic flag and the receiver sitting on top of Steve’s camcorder – we looked official. We had people move out of our way so we could get our interviews, and a lot of people came up and asked us how we were doing it. Audio-Technica got some great advertising out of us this week.
I’m going to split up the interviews into two batches, we’ll have six or seven this week and the other half next week. You’ll get the audio here, but if you’d rather watch the video that will be in the shownotes as well. I’ll break things up with a Dumb Question or two so you don’t get burned out on interviews. Let’s jump in and hear a couple of interviews.
Prizmo for Mac and iPhone are available at http://creaceed.com
Using a Screen Reader? click here
Like I said in the interview, I’m a big fan of BusyCal and BusySync, so I’ll be giving BusyToDo a try. I confess that I’m not big on to do lists – I keep trying them but I find that I only do the ones that are on yellow sticky notes in my way! there’s always hope though that we will find the one To Do application that changes our behavior. BusyToDo is available from busymac.com
Using a screen reader? click here
For some reason my favorite vendor, ScreenSteps wasn’t at Macworld, an oversight on their part to be sure. Heck, I probably could have staffed the booth for a while for them, don’t you think? Don’t think for a minute that I went the whole three days without mentioning them though. I was talking to someone, I think it was actually Rod Roddenberry, about how we are all so much more patient with other people than we are with our own relatives. He said he looks stuff on the web for them and points them to the great tutorials that are online so he doesn’t have to figure it out for them. I told him that’s one of the reasons I love to use ScreenSteps, and I told them about my father-in-law’s notebook of tutorials I’ve made for him. I’m sure Rod really appreciated getting a ScreenSteps ad on the escalator! In any case, rather than explain the same thing over and over again to your relatives, co-workers, or customers, consider getting a copy of ScreenSteps from ScreenSteps.com. Be sure to use my coupon code, NOSILLA for 25% off the purchase price of the standard or pro version.
Dumb Question Corner
Hugo Poon sent in a dumb question for us today:
Maybe this isn’t dumb enough, but I’ve been wondering for a long time: What’s all this fuss about IPv6?
I wrote back to him and suggested that this one would be far better if it waited till Bart got back, but he encouraged me to give it my best shot on my own. I do understand it at the most basic level but if we want real depth we’d need adult supervision.
The easiest way to explain the problem is to compare it to phone numbers. It used to be in the old days that you had a home phone that served all of your family members. If you were dialing between counties or between two states, you had to dial the area code and the phone number, all 10 digits, but if you were within a big city you only had to dial the 7 digit number. Then you got a pager. Then you got a FAX machine. Then you got a cell phone. And so did everyone else in your house. In the city of Los Angeles, they had to start breaking the city up into separate area codes because there were simply not enough numbers for all of the devices. Finally they did an overlay area code system, which means we all have to dial 10 digits all the time.
The same thing has happened with internet addresses, also called IP or Internet Protocol Addresses. When they first started putting computers on the network in 1981, they used a spec called IPV4, or Internet Protocol Version 4. In this spec, every device that went on the network got a unique IP address, which was four sets of numbers separated by a decimal point, like 192.168.1.1. That worked swell when only companies had computers. It still worked ok when we got computers in our houses, but the people who worry such things got nervous when we all started to get multiple computers in our homes. They were relieved when we all started buying routers in our homes, because that meant the router itself had the IP address, but each computer inside our home network didn’t have an external IP address, instead they’re doled out internal addresses by the router using Network Address Translation.
Fast forward to today when just about every device you can carry has a connection to the internet. I carry three devices, my iPhone, Blackberry and iPad in my purse, not to mention the connection at home and at work. This explosion of internet connected devices is again causing those in charge of worrying to furrow their brows that we will run out of numbers if we stick to the IPV4 scheme. Another factor that helps them become scarce is that they dole out blocks of numbers to ISPs and other groups, so while each group may have some spare, they aren’t all in a pile together. With IPV4 we have 4 billion numbers, but we’re quickly running out and the need isn’t slowing.
Back in 1998, a group called the Internet Engineering Task Force created a new spec they called IPv6. Instead of the 4 billion available numbers, IPv6 supports 3.4x 10**38 addresses, or 5×10**28 addresses for each of the 6.8 billion people alive today. That should be enough to hold us for a couple of years, don’t you think?
Now what I don’t understand myself is what it takes to move the world from IPV4 over to IPv6. Since they’ve been worrying about this for such a long time, they have been making our routers IPv6 capable, but evidently it’s a rather big effort to switch everything over. I did hear the other day that a group of ISPs had agreed to do a temporary switch over, maybe it was just for a few hours, to try and see how big of a deal it was, and to discover problems on a smaller-ish scale than the whole world at once.
The good news is that IPv6 and IPv4 can peacefully co-exist, but it will require intermediary gateways to allow devices using the different protocols to talk to each other. I have a feeling we’ll be dealing with this topic for decades to come. If you want to learn more about this topic, I put a link in the shownotes to the exhaustive article on IPv6 in wikipedia.
Let’s listen to a few more reviews.
Corkulus and Todo Online from Appigo
It might be fun to do a fly off between Appigo’s ToDo Online against Busy Mac’s BusyToDo – more fun than actually getting my action items done at least! Corkulus and Todo Online are available from appigo.com
Using a Screen Reader? click here
Visible Green & P-Flip
The two products Patrick showed me from Dexim might have been the coolest things I saw at the show. While I’ve known forever that leaving every charger plugged in all over my house was a bad idea energy-wise, it’s far too impractical to run around plugging and unplugging them. How much more practical to just have the darn charger stop drawing current all by itself? And the added coolness of the current flow showing as light makes it even better using the Visible Green wall charger! I can’t wait to test out the P-Flip solar charger case for the iPhone, since I live around so much sunlight, maybe I could save some more electricity right there! The Visible Green wall charger & P-Flip Foldable Solar Power are available from dexim.net.
Using a Screen Reader? click here
Sell Your Mac
I’m excited about the Sell Your Mac guys because I’m just too darn lazy to use services like Craig’s List to sell my devices. I’m too lazy to even know that there are scammers our there, because I’ve never done it! I’ve been pretty lucky that if I procrastinate long enough someone in my life ends up buying it off me. Steve is pretty sure he’s going to sell his old MacBook Air using Sellyourmac.com, and I’ve got Kyle’s 3GS still around since he got his iPhone 4, perhaps we’ll sell that there too. You can sell your Apple products at sellyourmac.com.
Using a Screen Reader? click here
Glif from StudioNeat
Talking to these guys was a real treat. I LOVED their video when they were first asking for donations. I put a link to it in the shownotes so you can see that too, they’re hysterical, so energetic and fun! You can find the Glif at theglif.com.
Using a Screen Reader? click here
We have a guest today for Honda Bob’s commercial, hope you enjoy it!
====insert Honda Bob’s 200th========
If you live in the LA or Orange County areas, and you drive a Honda or an Acura, give Honda Bob a call at (562)531-2321 or send him an email at email@example.com. HDA Bob’s Mobile Service is not affiliated with Honda, Acura or Honda Worldwide.
We’ll get Bob over to a Mac someday, won’t we?
My first impression when I read through the security updates on us-cert.gov as Bart has taught me was that there wasn’t much to chat about. An update to Opera (which you should install if you’re an Opera user because it’s a security update) and a vulnerability in Windows for which there’s no patch anyway. Then there was an update to Real Player, but I figure hardly anyone is using Real Player these days so it’s no big deal. I asked Bart about it and he explained that with these kinds of vulnerabilities, simply having a vulnerable media player INSTALLED can cause you trouble even if you don’t use it. They trick you into going to a web page you shouldn’t visit, and then the player vulnerability is exploited. It’s not just Real Player but ANY media player if not kept up to date can make you vulnerable. So do a scan of your hard drive and if you find Real Player and you haven’t got a need for it, uninstall it, or if you do still use it, be sure to update!
At Macworld I met up a woman named Lynda who I’d met last year, and she told me how much she misses Bart’s security information. She sort of patted me on my addled little brain with a “we know you try, Allison” tone of voice, telling me it’s not the same as getting the in depth analysis from Bart. I suggested she listen to Security Now! with Steve Gibson. She said that she already does, but that she gets even more from Bart! Yet another reason Bart needs to get better!
Chit Chat Across the Pond
Convention photography with Donald Burr of otakunopodcast.com
Three typical scenarios: Outdoors, Indoors, typical conference room, expo floor and Theater (keynotes, lectures, etc.)
* Lots of light. You might think this is a good thing. Well it is, and it also isn’t.
* Harsh, directional light – casts nasty shadows
* Solution: Move them into the shade.
** Under a tree, in the shadow of a building, etc.
** If using a tree as shade, watch out that you don’t have gaps in the leaves that throw weird patches of light on them
* Hope for a cloudy day
** Clouds actually soften the light
** Problem is, no one likes a gray cloudy sky
** Solution: minimize the sky. Shoot at a downward angle, take them and put them in front of a wall, etc.
* Use a reflector
** You’ll need an assistant (or just grab some guy that happens to be wandering by)
** If doing a closeup, just have them hold a white sheet of paper out of frame
* Use fill flash (if your camera doesn’t have a specific “fill flash” setting, just set the flash to turn ON)
** Might have to dial down the power a bit (if your camera has Flash Exposure Compensation), or step back a bit.
* Sometimes you can’t really do anything about this. (i.e. if you’re a reporter, you can’t exactly say to the guy giving the speech “Uh, could you move over there into the shade…?”)
* Minimize background distractions
** Take them against a blank wall, etc.
* Blur the background
** Easier on a DSLR, but doable on a point and shoot
Indoors, conference room:
* Really lousy light
* Different types of light – Incandescent, fluorescent, or (even worse) a mixture of both
** White balance is definitely an issue
** Shooting RAW will give you the best chance of fixing this later
** Set the white balance in camera (even if you’re shooting RAW). Always best to try and get it right in camera.
** You don’t need a gray card (of course if you have one, by all means use it). Just click the eyedropper in the White Balance tool and select any white or medium gray surface (somebody’s shirt, piece of paper, etc.)
* You usually don’t have the best seat in the house
** Try and jockey for the best position, get there early for the best seat if it’s important to you, etc.
** Obviously having a long zoom helps
* Flash is usually frowned upon, sometimes disallowed
** But unless you’re right in front row, probably won’t do you much good
* The name of the game is to keep it steady
** Use your Environment
*** Railings, balconies, bannisters, empty chairs, posts/support beams, etc.
** Use a camera steadiness aid
*** Tripods and monopods
*** DIY string tripod
*** bean bag, bottle cap tripod
If you’ve gotta flash
* Get a more powerful flash unit
* Get the flash off the camera
* Use a flash diffuser
* Use Flash exposure compensation
* Use a ring flash
** Great for Macro/Product shots
* Use one of those pop-up softbox thingies
** I hear Allison’s got one of these now…
* This is the one that separates the men from the boys, as it were
* Really odd lighting conditions
** Bright spotlight on lecturer/performers, against a pitch black background
** Plays havoc with your camera’s light meter
** Use Spot or Center Weighted Average metering
** Or just go full manual (try some settings and take a few test shots, adjust accordingly)
* almost certainly don’t have the best seat in the house
** Again, if it’s important to you, come early
* Again, Use your environment
* Flash does absolutely no good (and is often forbidden/frowned upon)
* This is when you’re probably gonna want to put the point and shoot away and pull out the big guns
Why you’re gonna want a DSLR
* Ability to change lenses. The right tool for the right job.
** Everybody should have a fast 50. Or better yet, a fast 35.
** Then there’s “the photojournalist’s special” – aka the Lens of Doom!!!
* Other gadgets and gizmos
** External flash units, etc.
* Ability to really customize things – Shutter/aperture priority, or even full manual
* ISO and larger image sensors
** Most modern SLRS can push 1600, 3200 easily
** If you do get some noise, it is easily fixed in software (Neat Image is da bomb! from neatimage.com)
* Renting gear might be a good idea, and isn’t as expensive as it sounds
* Pretty much “if you see it, anything goes”
** “Reasonable expectation of privacy”
** Even though you’re on private property, you’re still at an event open to the public, so if you can see it, you can shoot it
** This all changes if you’re planning on selling or using these images commercially
*** Consult a lawyer specializing in photography law
* Don’t be “that guy/that gal”
** You know, the one that blocks the aisles while overenthusiastically taking photos
* Don’t forget your gear
* Practice, practice, practice!
Well I’m sure you’re wondering why I haven’t talked about my photos at all from the trip or even mentioned the NosillaCastaways party, it’s only because I’ve run out of time. Next week we’ll slow down a LITTLE bit but we have more interviews to go and more flavor of the show to talk about. I’m exhausted now, so I’m going to lay my little punkin’ head down when I’m done here. Keep up your dumb questions and comments coming (not that your comments are dumb, you know what I mean!) by sending them in to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.