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  • Ready to Use the Mac for video editing?

    Posted on May 6th, 2008 Alan No comments

    When I bought my little Canon ZR800 DV camera, the first time I downloaded video it was to Jane’s Mac Mini.  I created a little slideshow of Kristen’s first soccer game using iMovie.  But I didn’t want to standardize on the Quicktime format so I went back to the PC for most of my video editing.  I got along for quite some time with Microsoft MovieMaker.  I actually liked MovieMaker a lot except for some annoying limitations like not being able to assign a transition between multiple clips in one step.  I finally gave up on it when it kept crashing as I started working with longer videos (10 minutes) and adding music to them.

    I tried Pinnacle’s video editing software and it was one of the worst pieces of software I’ve ever experienced.  I tried a few others and finally settled on Adobe Premier Elements.  I liked it okay.  I thought it was too complicated but I figured out enough to get by.  This past week it crapped out on me.  It refuses to run. Even when starting with a new project containing no media, it apparently does something in the background and closes down after about 5 seconds with "Something serious has happened that requires the program to shut down".  Searching for an answer I came across this which among other things wanted me to turn off all the startup items in Windows and selectivly turn one item on at a time until I determined if one was causing a conflict with Premier.  Are you kidding me?  Yeah I know that this COULD be the problem and this is they way one can figure out what is wrong but customers should NOT be asked to do this level of troubleshooting.  I think first to blame is the underlining OS (Microsoft) and the fact there isn’t a better mechanism to prevent conflicts and then to REPORT them so we don’t have to run msconfig and take an hour or more to look for a needle in a haystack.

    After upgrading, messing with msconfig, deleting various settings file I finally hit on something that worked which is to run it under a different user profile.  I’m not going to login as a different person just so I can use a program that has become unstable in my profile.  So I’m ready to give iMovie and the Mac a try.  I never doubted that using iMovie would not be a pleasure.  And now, after working at DVFilm I’m not so worried about using Quicktime as the output format for my videos.

  • Pixen: A Free image editor for Mac

    Posted on March 13th, 2008 Alan No comments

    I am using Pixen for image editing on the Mac.  Like others that have written, I was surprised that no such program was included in the Mac OS.  I’ve just barely started using it but it so far it does what I need.  I was particularly impressed with the getting started wizard that took you through an overview of the program and  allowed you to set some program settings at the same time!  I model of what all programs should offer.  The only think I would recommend is showing a Page X of Y on each wizard page to let the user know how long it is.

    Update:  Paintbrush is a nice alternative that emulates the Windows Paint program

  • Packet Sniffer

    Posted on October 30th, 2006 Alan No comments

    Free packet sniffer. Easy to use, simple interface:
    Sniphere (requires winpcap library)

  • Web 2.0

    Posted on July 19th, 2006 Alan No comments

    Tim O’Reilly defines Web 2.0


    Google Spreadsheets
    EditGrid – Farther along than Google’s

  • Stickies

    Posted on June 19th, 2006 Alan No comments

    Stickies for Windows. Supposedly just like the Mac application.  Opensource, written in C#.

  • Saving Streaming Media

    Posted on June 14th, 2006 Alan No comments

    SDB Multimedia

  • Alternative to Adobe Acrobat

    Posted on June 10th, 2006 Alan No comments

    Sumatra PDF Viewer

  • Word 7.0 to support blogging

    Posted on May 13th, 2006 Alan No comments

    I guess this is good news.  Can’t hurt right?  As long as they support Typepad.  I primarily post when I’m using my aggregator or browser so switching over to Word and require it be running may not be convenient.  If Word simply generated clean HTML that would be 90% of what I would want.  I don’t mind copying and pasting into my blogging service post page.  I hope, and I’m sure I will like it and use it next time I buy Word in two or three years (I just got a new computer with Office).

  • Why Features Don’t matter anymore

    Posted on March 6th, 2006 Alan No comments

    Damien responds to the article "why features don’t matter anymore"

  • Guidelines to using PowerPoint

    Posted on February 7th, 2006 Alan No comments

    Why do schools love to teach PowerPoint?  Because they can?  Is that the best use of computer education dollars?  More than learning how to create a nice document using styles?  Wouldn’t teaching them the finer points of inserting pictures into a document benefit them more?  How about starting a blog, programming, creating a picture slideshow with music, understanding how to use email effectively, guarding against SPAM, forwarding email after cleaning them up and removing CC lists.  I would choose a dozen other things before teaching a kid in Elementary school how to use PowerPoint.  Is my daughter going to create a powerpoint slideshow explaining the benefits of increasing her allowance?  What does a kid need PowerPoint for?  It reminds me when I was volunteering at SeniorNet and was sadden when I saw the syllabus.  They were teaching 70 year olds that never used computers, Access Database!  How about teaching them an alternative to double-clicking which to some was very difficult to do?  I digress.

    If you have a legitimate need to use PowerPoint. Here are some tips:

    Jesper writes: Death By PowerPoint

    How not to give a presentation