Killing the Cord $10 at a Time

leaf antenna in the box (50 mile version)Steve and I are big fans of television and we really like the content we get from cable. We have 5 TVs, 3 of which have TiVos on them with cable cards so we can watch and record a ton of TV. We also like Internet TV content. We use Amazon Instant Video to rent movies whenever our iTunes on our AppleTV decides to be stupid and not let us watch the movies we rent. We love Netflix for shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. We have a Roku and a Chromecast for entertainment too. We’re pretty much TV addicts.

We watch Tom Merritt and Brian Brushwood on Cordkillers every week and dream of a world when we can watch what we want, when we want on any darn device we want. We hear about people killing the cord or cutting the cable and dream of having that kind of courage … but did I mention that we really like TV?
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ProJive XLR for Big Girl Mic Input to RecoLive MultiCam

Last week I talked about the awesome $5 app for the iPad (and iPhone) MultiCam from RecoLive that lets you record a multi-camera session using cameras on your iOS devices and Mac and even your desktop. I had one complaint that I wasn’t able to use an external mic, because Multi-Cam simply didn’t have an option to choose between microphones. I tried to use a USB mic plugged into the iPad but I think because I had to use not only the Camera Connection Kit but also the 9 pin to 30 pin dock connector adapter, the iPad just said it wasn’t supported.

ProJive showing xor and mic inputThis week I remembered that ages ago Steve bought me a device called the ProJive XLR from CableJive that might do the trick. Big girl mics have XLR connectors, which is a three-pin connector, and the ProJive accepts the XLR connector. On the other end it has an audio connector that you plug into the headphone jack on the iOS device. I’ll never understand how you can use a microphone by plugging into a headphone jack, but it actually works. The ProJive also has a monitor cable so you can plug in a set of headphones to monitor your own audio.

I plugged my Heil PR40 into the ProJive, and the audio jack into the iPad and fired up MultiCam and it worked perfectly – good audio AND video!

One other note, last week during the live show I hung up on the audience from the $400 Mac OS app Wirecast Studio, and then fired up RecoLive’s Switcher iPad app and I successfully sent video to the live audience over on Justin.tv. There was much enjoyment! Steve and I got excited that I could actually do the live show this way till we realized that if I do it that way, my microphone won’t actually record into GarageBand … so there would be no podcast! I guess I’m going to end up dusting off my giant, complex, mixer if I’m going to keep experimenting with this…

Using Automator to Launch Applications

Automator window showing some of my work flowEvery Sunday night between 4:30 and 4:45pm, I get ready to do the live show. It’s a pretty complex operation (I even have a diagram). Most of the hardware pieces are plugged in all the time, my microphone, my camera, and my Mac, but I run seven applications on my main Mac to get the show to come out in video on Justin.tv, and audio on Alpha Geek Radio and the NosillaCast app and podfeet.com/live. The diagram is terrifying to most people but I’ve been doing this for a while so I’ve pretty much got the hang of it. Every once in a while I may forget a step but it’s pretty obvious what I forgot since something just won’t work. This week I was jogging on the beach when it occurred to me that Dorothy (aka @maclurker) should really automate some of this for me. She’s the one who automated the back end for me, so once the show is done I push a button and the audio file gets encoded properly with all the right ID3 tags and such for iTunes. The only problem is that she’s off on her silly boat with her husband (or is it silly husband with boat) up to Canada. Yeah, she left me. Sure she’s got Internets most days but it’s not the same. Continue reading “Using Automator to Launch Applications”

Leaving a DSLR for a Mirrorless Camera

comparison shot of the two cameras (hint, the D5100 is HUGE)I started in photography with a Minolta X700 in 1978. The day finally came when set aside my trusty camera for the sexiness of digital with the Nikon 950. I didn’t actually get rid of my Minolta because I loved it so much. Time marched on and I went through a series of point and shoots but I got back to my SLR (Single Lens Reflex) roots with the Nikon D40. I was seduced by Bart and Kirschen getting the Nikon D5100 eventually and with Dorothy standing behind me urging me to upgrade so she could buy my D40, it was an easy choice. Knowing that your camera is going to a loving home makes the decision easy. I think we develop emotional attachments to our cameras because it was through the camera’s eyes that we’ve witnessed the events in our lives, so they’re a part of that experience. Or maybe I’m just weird that way.

I had Chris Marquardt from tipsfromthetopfloor.com on the show about a year ago to talk photography with me and I grilled him about these new fangled mirrorless cameras. He talked me out of thinking about them, mostly because they were slow to focus at the time.
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Produce a Multi-Camera Shoot on an iPad for $5

screenshot of multicam in actionYou know how on high-end TV shows they have these complex and very expensive devices to switch cameras between newscasters, and video feeds, and doing beautiful cross-dissolves or quick cuts between them? Would you believe there’s a $5 iPad app that can do a lot of that and even record your multi-cam production? This is a case of something I don’t really need but now that I can do it for $5, I’m pretty sure I’ll start to use.

The application is called MultiCam from a company called RecoLive from recolive.com. I mentioned you could run it on the iPad but there’s also a version for the iPhone and a camera application for the Mac. We’ll get into all of that soon enough. Let’s start with a simple set up. I launched MultiCam from my iPad. I also launched it on my iPhone. On the iPad I see two panes at the top; one is a preview and one is the live view. In the bottom right area, I can select cameras to add to my multicam shoot.
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Easily Grip Your DSLR with ProStrap Camera Wrist Straps by Kirschen Seah

Greetings fellow Nosillacastaways – Kirschen Seah from FreeRangeCoder.com here with a review. It’s about camera related accessories this time.

both cameras showing both strapsFirst off – let’s look at the problem to be solved. You have a nice camera, be it compact or Digital SLR, and don’t quite like the idea of hanging the camera with the included neck strap. Most of these are thin and can cause quite a bit of pressure on the back of your neck. And then there’s the extra time you need to look down for the camera, wrap your right hand around the grip, whisk it up to eye level, and take the shot. Wouldn’t it be perfect if the camera sat ready close to your hand? Well there’s an accessory for that.
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Best Alternative to Photoshop by Allister Jenks

Hello fellow NosillaCastaways. Allister here again, from New Zealand with perhaps a surprising answer to a common question. The problem to be solved? Numerous times in the last few years I have heard podcasters addressing the question “What software should I use instead of Photoshop?”

The usual answers include The GiMP, Acorn and Pixelmator. Certainly all three of these apps are powerful and functional for many purposes. The GiMP, in particular, is aimed squarely at taking on Photoshop although it lacks some finesse in the interface, being open source and cross platform. Acorn has been improving in leaps and bounds as has Pixelmator which recently added yet another Photoshop-inspired feature with layer styles. Both of these have great interfaces.
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Allister Jenks on Diagnosing Freezing iMac

Greetings fellow NosillaCastaways. Allister here from New Zealand again with a tale of trouble. First, the problem to be solved. How about being called out in the live chat room last week to provide some content? No? OK, how about you’ve taken two weeks off work to get in some quality time with XCode and not even half way into the first week your Mac decides to freeze? Often. Yeah, THAT’S a problem to be solved.

Fortunately I am now able to (mostly) trust my Mac enough to compose and record this. I’m sure your Mac will run reliably until the end of its days, but if I’m wrong about that, maybe this tale will help you out.
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Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset by Donald Burr

Hey there Allison, Donald Burr of Otaku no Podcast here, back with another review. Today I am reviewing the Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth headset.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: wearing a Bluetooth headset makes you look like a total tool. And indeed this is true. But they are the best solution if you want to use your phone handsfree. Holding a phone (even one as small and thin as the iPhone) up to your ear can get tiring, and you can’t use the old telephone handset trick (remember those?) of wedging it between your head and shoulder. Plus, in most states, it is now illegal to use a phone while driving without a handsfree device of some kind. Most phones come with headsets (e.g. iPhone earbuds) but they’re usually pretty lousy, and they are wired, and sometimes that cable tends to get in the way, or get tangled up in things (especially if you’re moving around your desk area, etc.) You might be thinking, “Why not use a Bluetooth speaker phone?” There are indeed quite a few of these devices out there nowadays, such as the Jawbone Jambox, and they work well, for the most part, but you can’t really use them when you are in a situation where you would disturb people (say, in an office setting) or if you want to keep your conversation private. So a traditional “wear it on your ear” style Bluetooth headset is still the best way to go in my opinion.
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