TechFan #142 – Nakamichi History Drones

On December 6, 2013, in TechFan, by Tim Robertson

142
Tim Robertson and David Cohen discuss Amazon and their Drones, Nakamichi, and some cool tech inventions over the years.

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Pulp Motion – Review

On January 14, 2013, in Apps, Features, iDVD, iMovie, Mac OS X, Photography, Review, Video, by Julie Kuehl

PulpMotion 3.5
Company: Aquafadas
Version: 3.5
Compatible with: Mountain Lion
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or above
Price: Standard $49 / Advanced $129

PulpMotion icon

If you want to make slideshow-type videos, PulpMotion is the app for you. It has similarities to iMovie, but is different enough to be worth a look. It is incredibly easy to choose a theme, drop in photos or videos, add some background music, insert a caption or two, and export it in a format best suited to your intended viewing platform. While it is drop dead simple and quick, there’s also a lot of power to tweak and customize your slideshow to get it just the way you want.

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The future, what do you mean? How can we be in the future?


For decades many of us have been in awe of the possibility of the future. Not that long ago the thought of carrying a single panel computer capable of presenting music, film, books, and games was nothing more than science fiction.

I live by the belief that if man can envisage it, people can create it.

Of course, there is the possibility of going too far, as is famously shown in Planet Of The Apes, circa 1968.

For now we can sit back and relax with a small and hopefully harmless portion of technology that seemingly has the effect of enhancing our lives.

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2011-06-16
Mark Sealey
Groove 3
Price: $49.99 for single users; contact Groove 3 for groups specials and (educational) discounts

MIDI Orchestration Explained, using strings

MIDI Orchestration Explained, using strings

Although an older technology and simple in conception, MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) can be complicated to implement and make the most of; and particularly challenging to use in effective music making. But the clear explanations and expert perception of Eli Krantzberg and the Groove 3 team are well up to the task of making MIDI orchestration both plainer and pleasurable for users.

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Toast 11

On March 9, 2011, in Features, First Look, by Mark Sealey
Toast 11 Titanium from Roxio

Toast 11 Titanium from Roxio

Roxio’s Toast began as a simple way to burn optical media, CDs then DVDs; it slowly became the preferred way to do so until Apple built more reliable such functionality into its operating systems. Then, for a number of its iterations, Toast somewhat lost its way; it failed to offer features compelling enough that all but the most demanding (and loyal) users to choose it over Apple’s way of doing things and that of a clutch of decent shareware apps which met most people’s needs. The last two versions of Toast, however, have changed things. Now Toast 11 Titanium introduces a number of new features; and it works in ways that make it once again stand out. Toast 11 includes (from its Extras menu) the other apps, Disc Cover 3 RE, DiscCatalogMaker RE, Get Backup 2 RE, Mac2TiVo and TiVo Transfer and a new version of Spin Doctor (formerly CD Spin Doctor), but not Streamer.

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Adobe Photoshop CS5 Learn by Video
Review

On November 11, 2010, in Book Review, Photography, Review, by Suzé Gilbert

Adobe Photoshop CS5 Learn by Video
Presented by Kelly McCathran, Scott Citron, and Ted LoCascio
Produced by video2brain
Peachpit Press
ISBN: 9780321719805
$59.99 US, $71.99 CN

Like many Photoshop users I upgrade to the current version when the need for the newest features becomes too tempting to ignore. The latest version of Adobe Photoshop is CS5. A bevy of extraordinary new improvements such as Content-Aware Fill, Camera Raw 6, Brushes, Puppet Warp, Refine Edge Dialog, amongst others, make this application a creative and more efficient way to process workflow.

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Review – Popcorn 4

On May 26, 2010, in Macintosh, Review, by Rich Lefko

Popcorn 4
Company: Roxio

Price: $49.99 USD
http://www.roxio.com/

Today we’ll take a look at the latest iteration of Popcorn from Roxio, version 4. Popcorn is a movie compression and conversion utility program.

I plan to focus in on what is new in this version. Let’s discuss the weakest part of Popcorn, and get that off the table. Popcorn will NOT decrypt an encrypted DVD, nor will any of the features of Popcorn work with any commercial DVD. The program works fine with the DVDs you create. If you plan to use the software with commercial DVDs, you will have to use another program to “rip” them first.

The strongest feature of Popcorn is its ability to compress your extracted video to fit on a blank 4.7 GB single sided DVD or a 8.5 GB dual layer DVD. Popcorn gives you the option of removing extraneous files from your ripped commercial DVD file, like extra scenes, special features, and foreign language soundtracks. Trimming your video down allows Popcorn to use less compression when burning your new DVD, and less compression means a better looking video.

Popcorn allows you to convert to many different formats:

Popcorn 4 from Roxio does a bunch of wonderful things, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could speed up some of what it does. Well, you can. Popcorn 4 supports using the elgato turbo.264 or the newer turbo.264 HD devices which can speed up the Popcorn compression process.

Video encoding demands a sizable chunk of your system resources but the elgato turbo devices take that load off your system by performing most of the processing within the units themselves. Go to <http://www.elgato.com> for more information. The turbo.264 units are simple to use with Popcorn. In the lower right hand corner of the Popcorn burn screen you can see a “Got elgato turbo.264?” message.

After you plug your turbo device into a USB port, that message will change to “Powered by elgato turbo.264,” with a pulsating series of animated dots that show the device is being used.

When using Popcorn, the turbo device does not require the elgato software. Plug it into a USB port on your Mac and Popcorn will recognize it and use it.

How did it work?
I tried a simple conversion of a 588 MB QuickTime movie file to mpeg4 format. Without the turbo, the process took one hour and forty minutes. With the elgato turbo.264 HD device plugged in, the same conversion took one hour and thirty five minutes. Not much savings there. Just for fun, I launched the elgato turbo software and tried the same conversion. That process took ten minutes.

At this point, I thought perhaps Popcorn doesn’t just do simple conversions very efficiently.

I loaded a ripped video_ts movie file and asked Popcorn 4 to convert the movie to Apple TV format. Without the turbo device, the process took fifty two minutes. I converted the same file with the elgato device plugged in and it took thirty three minutes. A savings of nineteen minutes, or 36% faster.

This was a much better result. All of this is based on a variety of factors that include: the processor speed of your Mac (I have a 2009 Mac Pro), the length and complexity of the source video, the size of the file, and the amount of compression needed for the end result format. Your mileage may vary.

I believe using the elgato device is a plus, and while I didn’t get amazing results, you might get amazing results, based on your hardware and what video you are compressing.

New in this version of Popcorn is the ability to extract video or music and convert to any format including Flash. Not sure how many people want to convert to Flash nowadays, but Popcorn can do it. You can stream video from your Mac to your TiVo DVR. A shame Popcorn won’t stream to my Apple TV. You can now schedule video conversions to run when you’re away from your computer and you can publish converted video directly to YouTube.

Conclusions:
I have always enjoyed Popcorn’s ease of use. The program is fairly simple to use with many conversion options. I really dislike having to use another application to rip the DVDs I own for my use. I wish the good folks at Roxio would move beyond this restriction. There are applications out there that will rip and re-encode your DVD like DVD Remaster from MetaKine. If you have kids, you know how poorly they treat DVDs. To protect your investment in your DVDs, software like Popcorn is essential for making extra copies of the DVDs you own.

MyMac Review Rating: 7 out of 10

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Get Backup 2.2.5 – Review

On October 27, 2009, in Macintosh, Review, by Steve Hammond

Get backup 2.2.5

Company: Belight software
Price: $39,95 MSRP, with online discounts available
http://www.belightsoft.com

As its name imply, Get Backup is a backup program. But it also serves a dual role as a sync application. Basically, the interface is devised in two for those two purposes. There is an icon at the top right that looks like a two way arrow that can be used to go from one mode to the other. The window then “waves” throughout a 3D animation to reveal the second mode. Each options can also be reached via the application menu bar in the “Backup” menu or the “Synchronize” one. I will examine each one separately as they are very unalike in terms of options and usage.

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Toast 9 Titanium – Review

On November 26, 2008, in Macintosh, Review, by Mark Sealey

Toast 9 Titanium
Company: Roxio

Price: Single license: $99.99
Upgrade from previous versions $79.99 after $20 mail-in rebate
http://www.roxio.com/

Roxio’s Toast has long been the software of choice for reliable and flexible CD and DVD burning on Mac and PC. In recent years Roxio has slowly and steadily added features, generally made improvements to the working of the product and changed the interface of the software… it isn’t entirely Mac-like – not that it is in any way off-putting.

Now Toast 9 Titanium (releases 9.02, 9.03 and the current 9.04 were used to prepare this review) has added several new functions which keep pace with developments in optical media technology. By and large the product can still be recommended as the market leader in its field. There are other apps – not least Apple’s iDVD – which will allow sophisticated management and burning of CDs and DVDs. But Toast’s multiplicity of features sets it apart.

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Macspiration 101
DVD Bookmarking

On October 16, 2007, in Macspiration, by Donny Yankellow

Recently, I wanted to show one of my classes a few sections of a DVD. The DVD was not broken into chapters, so I could not count of skipping through the video with them. After searching the menus in Apple’s DVD Player, I discovered Bookmarks.

Bookmarks allows you to create your own chapters in a DVD video, and it could not be any easier to do.

The first thing you need to do is have DVD Player open. Next go to the “Windows” menu and make sure “Bookmarks” is checked. If it is the window below will open.

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Put Your Favorite Videocasts on DVD

On December 8, 2006, in How-To, by Bakari Chavanu


With the emergence of podcasts and videocasts, along with the unlimited amount of blogs and other types of websites, the plethora of free information and resources is sheerly overwhelming. You simply can’t keep up with all the information you access or that comes to you on a daily basis.

But if you have a collection of music videos, podcasts, or videocasts that you want to keep and review later, putting them on a DVD using iDVD is a great solution.

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Macspiration 45 – 10 Frugal Tips

On July 25, 2006, in Macspiration, by Donny Yankellow


This week I decided to make a list of ways to use your computer to put some money in your pocket, keep some money in your pocket, or just ways to spend your well earned cash more wisely. I guess it depends on how you look at it.

1. Don’t throw away your old OS CDs. Either keep those OS9 and old OSX CDs for emergencies or for your friend’s emergencies, or sell them on eBay. You can get upwards of $30 for your 10.3 installation set, and OS9 is really popular.

2. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: When shopping for a new computer, check Apple’s refurbished products. You can find great deals, and the money you save can go towards Applecare, more memory, a printer, an iPod or whatever. My favorite thing about an Apple refurbished product (besides the price) is that it comes with a 1 year warranty. This is the same warranty you would get with a new product.

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Macspiration
Three Things a Switcher Should Know

On September 13, 2005, in Macspiration, Opinion, by Donny Yankellow

When I heard MyMac.com Publisher’s Tim Robertson announce on the weekly podcast that he was looking for someone to write a “How to” column for MyMac.com I thought, “I can do that.” At work and at home I am the person everyone calls when they have a problem or need help with their Macs. I figured I could put something together that made sense. So, a few emails and a phone call later, here I am starting my first article.

When I was trying to figure out what to write about for these articles, I decided to go with what I help people do on their Macs every day, and just turn those experiences into articles. Within the last month several people at the school where I teach have become “Switchers” and are using Macs for the first time. When I set up their computers I gave them a quick crash course on the Mac. A perfect topic for my first article.

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MyMac Podcast
#40

On August 25, 2005, in Podcast, by The MyMac Podcast

 

 

 

MyMac Podcast 40
Download the MP3 from THIS LINK. Or simply go to our iTunes Music Store listing HERE. (Link will open iTunes)

This week, we reveal the winner of our Adobe Creative Suite Professional 2 contest. Many thanks to Adobe Systems Inc. for sponsoring this contest.

We go into the latest happenings in the Macworld thanks to our news partners at MacMinute.com to start the show off.

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Consumer Electronics! We must be Crazy!!

On August 18, 2003, in Opinion, by Bruce Black

(What’s the real price of cheap consumer electronics?)

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

I was going to write about something else, but a recent experience made a little bell go off in my head. Yep, I was searching for something to write about, and after what happened to me on a Sunday evening a few weeks back, I knew I had a better topic. I had spent my day doing some serious bicycling, and had finished by consuming an entire pizza and watching some of my favorite X-Files episodes, via the wonders of DVD technology. (Don’t you non-bicycle people wish you were one of us? Then you could put away the food the way we do, and still wear the Levi’s from ten years ago. Wink-Wink.)

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Toast Titanium with Jam
Review

On February 5, 2003, in Review, by John Nemerovski

Toast Titanium with Jam
OS X Compatible

Company: Roxio
Price: $199.95
http://www.roxio.com

For Toast 5 Titanium owners, Jam upgrade is $99 for boxed version, $69 as downloadable, which does not include Peak LE. Check Roxio’s web store for current promotions and rebates.


Let’s get a couple of things straight from the outset.

Roxio’s Toast (either Titanium or Lite edition) is some of the very best software created ever for the Macintosh, period. It works almost effortlessly to burn music and data CDs. This application is indispensable both to Nemo and Weeks, for our professional and personal work and pleasure. We give Toast a rousing FIVE MAC MICE out of five, and applaud Roxio for its ongoing support of the Mac OS and community.

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DVD

On July 1, 1997, in Opinion, by Brian Koponen

DVD is the wave of the future, replacing compact and laser discs. Some say DVD stands for Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc, it will in any case market well. Soon Apple and many clone makers will be including DVD drives in the computer instead of CD-ROM drives.

There is enough space on a single DVD movie disc so that movies can be played in up to three languages, which languages depend on the movie. About eight hours with 5.1 channel soundtrack can fit on one disc. From what I have seen, the colors are bright and clear. Some people have said it is too bright, but that can always be adjusted on a television set.

DVD discs are the same size as a CD, but they hold a lot more data. The music DVDs will be played in multiple channels, making it sound even better than CDs. The DVD-ROMs allow developers to do incredible things because they are not limited by space. Companies that put things on several CD-ROMs, such as national phone books, are the first to see the benefits because those CD-ROMs fit onto one DVD with room to spare.

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