Googling Webcams, What PC World’s Top 100 Missed, and Blog Images

Getting Kicked Off Google using Google Live Webcam Search

I StumbleUpon‘d a great trick today that uses Google to track down live webcams. If you’re not aware the trick is to type “inurl:view/shtml” into a Google search and the links will start popping up webcams! Webcams of just about anything! You can also determine the camera’s location in the world by entering the links ip address into www.ip-address.com were the city of the originating IP address will be returned. What’s interesting is after linking to five or six camera’s using Google it will stop serving links. A page will come up claiming “your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spy ware application”.

PC World – The 100 Best Products of 2007

Even though it’s only May PC World has published a list of the Best 100 Products of 2007. For me the jury is still out for the Intel Core 2 Duo –haven’t noticed performance increase as something to rave about– and Nintendo Wii as I haven’t been able to purchase one yet!!!! Why????

However I’ll comment on and note some other items that are both on and not on the best of list that I came across in the last year. Products I concur of note include Parallels Desktop, Google YouTube, Mozilla Firefox 2, Digg.com, Craigslist.org, Paint.net, and Apple’s MacBook Pro. I really think the products of 2006 include Ubuntu –now 7.04 that automatically finds the content on the Windows partition)– and Audacity –it’s simple operation using keyboard shortcuts streamlines my Audio Voice Over work–. Two items not on the list that I would have included are Open Office and the Blue Snowball Microphone.

In the case of Open Office, I use it as much as Microsoft Word. One of the many things it does better than Word is allow for placement of images in WP documents. It’s also rescued me several times with .doc and PowerPoint files that were created by Microsoft Office and then stopped working. More than once I loaded files into Open Office, it would open them and then I could resave them… The Blue Snowball microphone plugs into the USB port and works great with Audacity and instant recognition as a microphone on a MAC. The quality is amazing….

I see Yan Feng’s blog picked up my comments on Nicholas Negroponte earlier in the week. Yan’s blog appears to focus on pure science and it points to a Scientific Video Lectures site that looks pretty good.

Some interesting things I looked at today

  • Linutop – a small diskless PC.
  • Picotux – a very small Linux PC for embedded applications
  • Invisible Shield – A protective plastic so your electronics don’t scratch.

Finally… Images!

I spent the afternoon activating my Flickr account as you may have noticed on the blogs sidebar. However I discovered that WordPress has an image insertion icon. (Duh!) Anyway here are some of the pictures that I had been wanting to add during the week.

Many’s NOKIA N800

Many Ayromlou's NOKIA N800 Mobile Device

Canola Media Player

Canola Media Player

Shamrocks

The perfectly drawn shamrocks that Mike (the bartender) was placing on the head of his Guinness beers at Good Tymez Pub.

The perfectly drawn shamrocks that Mike (the bartender) was placing on the head of his Guinness beers at Good Tymez Pub.

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NAB 2007 Report Highlights New Technology At April’s Broadcast Show

NAB 2007 Report

I finally found a place to host additional down-loadable content and provide links to it so I can now distribute the NAB 2007 Report that I wrote as a record of my trip. It’ll give you an idea of some of the things I saw at NAB thought were of note if you are at all interested in reading it.

The report is actually the basis of the script for Nonya Nerd’s VLOG of NAB 2007 which the Toronto Final Cut Pro Users Group asked me to make available on the internet. Since I’m learning the basics of blogging and did some reading on how to drive traffic to my blog the link to Nonya VLOG of NAB 2007 will be distributed via this blog. I’m currently encoding it for distribution. As I wrote in a previous blog, people seem to gravitate towards the video –you can’t forget the Nonya character– over the paper version.

Format of Blog

Since the purpose of this blog is to focus on my technical interests I’m going to reformat my posts so they start with technology and advance to rants and raves with the r&r that are not of a technical nature towards the end of the blog.

Many Ayromlou’s Blog

Many told me yesterday that he’s going to start a blog of his own. It’ll be interesting reading as Many is working in a number of interesting area’s relating to communication and media technology. I’ll be sure to blog the particulars once he’s established his blog.

More Soon

….brad….

Final Cut Studio 2, ATI Drivers for Linux, Nokia N800, 3D Films, Joost, FIOS TV and Al Gore

Final Cut Studio 2

I finally got a copy of Final Cut Studio 2 today –delivered in May as Apple promised at NAB– and I’m installing it on my MAC Book Pro as I type. One thing about Final Cut Pro and a lot of MAC software is it takes a long time to load. In fact the instructions say it can take as long as 20 minutes a disk and to wait 25 minutes before removing a disk if you feel it’s not installing correctly…. And in the case of Final Cut Pro it also takes a lot of disk space. To save on disk space I decided not to install Soundtrack 2 or the Cinema tools.

Nokia N800

Many responded in comments to my May 23 post. He tells me that “It’s (his hand held device) actually the N800 (newer version). It runs Debian Linux (known as Maemo).” If you check the comment he includes a weblink that demonstrates the N800’s video streaming capability via its built in camera.

3D Films

I did my usual review of Digg overnight and I saw an article that some Hollywood producers are thinking 3D is going to get “hot” again. This is on the heels of U2’s new 3D feature and both Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson signed on to direct and produce for Paramount’s DreamWorks Studios a trilogy of 3-D movies about the intrepid Belgian comic-book hero Tintin. 3D is definitely something that’s been in the back of my mind for a few years. There is a lot of “backroom” research going on in this area and the NAB 2007 report points to some technology I saw at NAB that does not require glasses. Nonya’s VLOG has some instances of the technology as well. Hopefully that VLOG will be available next week.

Community Support – Linux Drivers and ATI

I have to echo two things that I read on the Internet today. ATI’s lack of Linux support relating to their Graphics Card is a big problem. We ran an Open Source Research Lab last semester at Ryerson and this was one area where we had problems. ATI had better pay attention to this community. I also see that a group of people are starting to talk about ADOBE’s pricing and ADOBE reader.

In case someone is reading this post from ADOBE, I use Acrobat 7 and I get sick of the screen gymnastics that occur when I create a PDF document from inside Word. It takes a long time and it the way the screen jumps around I fear that my Windows machine will crash. I’ve taken to using Open Office that employs an Opens Source PDF creator. I click on the Icon (in the same manner I do using Word) and it creates the PDF so quickly –and cleanly– that I think it did not create it. But it does it every time better –in my opinion– than the pricey Acrobat add on for Microsoft Word.

If the quote about price sensitivity is true in the article I can assure ADOBE that educational institutions (especially publicly funded ones) are price sensitive as well as manpower challenged. Again I hope ADOBE is sensitive to its community however my recent experience included stopping at ADOBE’s booth at NAB and specifically asking for some answers to some questions. In the end they could not be answered so I left my business card. I have received no follow-up telephone call or e-mail. That was over a month ago….

Joost and FIOS TV

I managed to fire up my Joost account over the weekend and get it going on my Mac Laptop. I noticed today that Verizon is launching something called FIOS TV that looks like some form of IPTV that they are launching. Their site is funny. Lots of flashy moving images to the point where I could not discover the link to explain exactly what the product is except that it’s connected to a Fibre Optic Network of some sort….

Al Gore

I watched Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth over the weekend. I see today that Steve Jobs feels that he will become the US president if he runs. I have to say after watching the movie Al Gore comes off as an intelligent and thinking man who brings real life experience to the information presented in An Inconvenient Truth.

Simple Entry

The blog entry for today has to be simple. As a follow-up from last evening’s entry it turns out that Goodtymez actually has a website. This was the place Many and were at last night where we were trying to make his NOKIA work with Bluetooth…… Enough said….

BTW I think that Mike (The Bartender) was upset about the reality that I could not get a picture of his Guinness shamrock on this site. I watched the second half of the AC Milan vs Liverpool game today at Goodtymez. Interesting… I saw Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch playing for Liverpool who I remember from the World Cup games I saw…. I’m no expert but I am getting to know the sport,

On the technology front I submitted my NAB 2007 report today via the Ryerson Operations Committee today. I’ll make public as soon as I come up with a place on the Internet to store documents. Once I get that sorted out I’ll hopefully be able to post the picture of Mike’s Shamrock.. Hopefully this weekend.

However at the same meeting the hotter piece of Media I distributed was the DVD of Nonya Nerd’s VLOG of NAB 2007. What’s the VLOG of Nonya Nerd? After this weekend via the TOFCOUG website you’ll be able to watch the VLOG……

More soon
….brad….

Downloading

I mentioned in yesterdays post about downloading YouTube files. Some others that came to light in a Digg article include www.isquint.org and an article on how to download just about anything using Safari.

Personally having emerged from an environment of little means, I have been watching the development of the One Laptop Per Child program initiated by Nicholas Negroponte over the past few years. It was too bad to see that Intel is moving into this space in a manner that might affect his efforts as shown in this 60 minutes video that was broadcast over the weekend.

I spent a few hours this evening with Many Ayromlou at Goodtymez. Many is a close friend of mine and he just got back from the Access Grid Retreat in Chicago and while in Chicago he visited the Nokia Store. Many tells me it’s one of three stores in the world and it’s something that is being set-up to compete with Apple and their stores. While in the Nokia Store he actually purchased the coolest little Linux based PDA I’d ever seen. Now I had of hoped that the picture I took of it would have allowed me to identify it after seeing it but I believe it to be a Nokia 770 Internet Tablet and there is nothing –to my knowledge– available like it in Canada from a retail outlet. Between the perfectly drawn shamrocks that Mike (the bartender) was placing on the head of his Guinness beers, Many and I played with the Bluetooth connectivity between his Nokia and my UTstarcom cellphone. Despite the promise of Bluetooth we could not get the two devices in a state where they might exchange data.

I received a call today from David Slater of ProApp Tips inquiring if I would release a copy of Nonya Nerd’s Vlog of NAB 2007 to the Toronto Final Cut Pro Users Group. Needless to say I was flattered and agreed that on the weekend I would create a streaming file to make available to registered members of the TOFCPUG for viewing via the website. More on this –What is a Nonya Nerd?– when it’s posted…….

Other items of note today….
Fujitsu’s H.264 chip encodes/decodes in Full HD — a world’s first

More soon….

….brad….

Toronto Podcamp Background, SMPTE/TOFCPUG Meeting Videos and Toronto FC

Podcamp Toronto

I mentioned in my previous post about the Toronto Podcamp in February 2007. I got involved with the event after being contacted by Jay Moonah asking if Ryerson’s Rogers Communications Centre (the place where I work) would be interested in hosting the event. Just in case anyone is interested a few of us involved in the event webcast just about every session and archived the event. Those video’s and other items added by the community can be found at podcamptoronto.pbwiki.com/MediaArchive.

New Web Videos

Speaking of web based video’s I spent the Victoria Day Long weekend sorting out the web distribution of a number of video’s that were recorded for the Toronto Section of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and the Toronto Final Cut Pro Users Group.

Toronto Section of the SMPTE Meeting Videos

The SMPTE videos can be accessed via either of the following links www.rcc.ryerson.ca/smpte/ or www.smpte.org/sections/toronto/archive and are of interest to film production, television operations and technical personnel. For technology historians the SMPTE Toronto Library goes back as far as 1988 and I thought the April 2007 meeting on HD Lenses was really interesting and includes a great presentation on how lenses work and the differences between television and film lenses.

Toronto Final Cut Pro Users Group Videos

The Toronto Final Cut Pro Users Group videos will be posted via the website once I post the video to the webserver and hand off the links to David Slater who runs a Final Cut Pro help website called Proapp Tips for inclusion on the TOFCPUG website.

Video Conversion Notes and Posting Streaming Quicktime(s)

Video Conversion

One of the challenges of converting the older SMPTE archive was that it was originally posted and stored using Real Media. I finally settled on using Xilisoft Video Converter and after several tests I decided it was best to convert them to MPEG 4 -AVC. The results were OK with the biggest problem being the audio remaining in sync. Click here to check out one of the older transfers.

Quicktime Streaming

I’ve worked from the earliest days of streaming with Real Media and Windows Media but to be honest I’ve found working with Apple’s technology to be the most perplexing. Because I’ve been time challenged learning the Apple workflow has been a bit of a challenge. I’ve yet to figure out how to quickly copy a DV tape onto my Macbook Pro’s hard drive but I have discovered if I have an MPEG 4 file either created on a PC or created by Quicktime Broadcaster I need to use Quicktime Pro and export the file as a “hinted” movie. The exported file can then be placed on the Quicktime server and it will work when accessed by a link. I’m sure I’ll be able to figure out the DV tape transfer to a Mac when I get some time…..

YouTube Video to MPEG-4

I finally found a free program that simply converts a YouTube video to MPEG4. It’s called IPOD Video Converter For Free and it worked quite well on one video I downloaded. Although I tried converting a YouTube file that originated from a really old commercial that did not work.

Toronto FC

Over the past few years I’ve developed an interest in Soccer, especially watching the World and Euro Cups over the past few years. A friend of mine Tom Walshman took me to to the Toronto FC game on Saturday May 12 vs Chicago Fire. He has seasons tickets in the South End of BMO Field where the “real” football fans are. It was quite something to see Toronto score their first goal. This weekend the CBC delayed their coverage of the game because they were covering the Ottawa/Buffalo Hockey playoff series. To watch the game live I subscribed to MLSLivetv. For $20.00 for the entire season you can watch any MLS Football game that is covered live an/or on demand. Quite the bargain and the service worked quite well.

More soon…..

….brad….

First Post

This is my first post to this blog. It’s certainly nothing clever, there is nothing insightful to the post but I just wanted to learn how to post and work with WordPress.

Following the Toronto Podcamp I decided to start a blog about the things I was learning and doing. My position at Ryerson exposes me to a lot of information so if nothing else this blog is a means to organize the information and put it in one place.

Following the Toronto Podcamp in February I was convinced through some of the sessions that I should register bradfortner.com, start by making use of WordPress on a hosted site and learn the “tools of the trade” through an honest and open approach to the blog.

I’m just going to post information as it comes along, let people know that I’ve placed links to the information here and see what happens with this medium.

….brad….