» Cool Products

Pre-Production Software

Cool Products - by - March 2, 2009 - 21:19 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

Under the category of cool tools is a program I have used for planning and script writing, Celtx, has released an update to 2.0, and it is better than ever (www.celtx.com).

It has a lot going for it – it’s free, it’s cross platform (Windows, Linux, Mac OS) and it has a lot of flexibilty. Now they have added Celtx Studio, which is an online collaboration site for teams using Celtex – free beta, and after that fairly inexpensive.

So why use celtx? Honestly I did this pre-production for years in MS Word, but celtx does a great job of helping organize and format many pre-production task, making it easier to actually do it, and allowing you to produce professional looking scripts, storyboard layouts, schedules and reports.

Paperless Boarding Pass

Cool Products, Life - by - February 26, 2009 - 21:42 Etc/GMT+5 - 1 Comment

Loving the “Paperless” mobile boarding passes on Continental (more info here) and have learned a few tips.
1) they are a pain to pull up live off the web when you are traveling – much easier to load them in your browser (on your phone / pda) ahead of time and take a picture or snap-shot of that webpage (or save it to a file), and then just load that picture when you get to the gate.
2) Don’t zoom in too much when you put your phone under the scanner – they seem to work best small -like what is shown in the picture to the side. I usually just zoom in enough to see the traveler info (name / conf number – it makes it easier to get thru security) and this seems to work best at the gate scanners.
3) the one thing I don’t like is sending my phone thru the security x-ray by itself. I wish they would figure out a way to scan it at the metal detectors before I put the rest of my bags thru.
4) if you have a baggage attendant help you at the counter, you have to tell them NOT to print your boarding pass, otherwise they will.

Useful Software and Webware

Cool Products, Technology - by - August 4, 2008 - 03:43 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

Just a quick post – a couple very helpful and useful tools.

Need to take and organize notes? Several different people all suggested Evernote to me recently, so I signed up and wow, I really like it – very handy. It is software / webware / pdaware enabled and seems to go a great job keeping everything in sync!

And love drawing and organizing in Visio but can’t afford it? Check out Dia (sorry, not available for mac at this time….. still looking for a free alternative)

thank you to all who passed along these great programs to me!

My Mac Software

Cool Products - by - July 10, 2008 - 20:39 Etc/GMT+5 - 5 Comments

I switched to a MacBook Pro about 18 months ago and love it. I often have people tell me there is no way they could switch because not enough software is available for the Mac. I also have other people ask me what software I use. So here is a quick rundown of what I have on my mac that I use on a regular basis:

VERY COOL password vault for mac (been using it for over a year): 1Password – http://agilewebsolutions.com/products/1Password

Google sketchup is available for mac: http://sketchup.google.com

Quickbooks is available for mac (been using it for a while now for tracking my business expenses and invoicing): http://quickbooks.intuit.com/

I switched to photoshop CS3 on mac: adobe.com

instead of illustrator, I use inkscape : http://www.inkscape.org/ (free)

A cheap package of photo tools: http://www.yellowmug.com/bundle/

If you don’t use TIMEMACHINE (bundled with OS X) START! This am Amy’s email was GONE…. figured out which file, popped open time machine, went to 11:00 last night and restored that file. VERY COOL, and makes me feel a lot better about traveling with my laptop.

For ripping DVDs and dumping them to my apple TV or iPod, I use Mac the Ripper and HANDBRAKE (http://handbrake.fr/ and http://www.mactheripper.org/ )

I have ffmpegx to do most of my media file transcoding

OnyX is a requirement to keep the system running smoothly: http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/11582

If you want to make your mac more secure and better manage your firewall, check our waterroof: http://www.hanynet.com/waterroof/

Then there are all the great apple apps: iWork08 suite, iPhoto, iWeb, mail, Safari, iTunes, Final Cut Studio, etc.

That is probably the majority of “extras” I am currently using. Of course I have a gazzillion other things installed, probably why my machine can get SO SLOW at times…. still better than my windoze machine.

there are a few applications I want to add soon – to keep me out of windows even more:

the cad solution I am thinking about switching to: vectorworks (http://www.nemetschek.net)

the visio “like” software for mac (free trial): OmniGraph (http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omnigraffle/)

Now That’s Cool

Cool Products - by - February 12, 2008 - 22:01 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

First Days with Apple TV

Okay, I got a new toy. An Apple TV (www.apple.com/appletv). This little device connects to your HDTV (or any widescreen tv) and your home wireless network. After a few very simple setup steps you can start watch. Now here is where it gets cool – I can access anything on my iTunes on any of the computers in the house. What’s more, the AppleTV has a built in hard-drive, so you can sync media to it from you computer and watch it later, even when you computer is not turned on. You can also watch stuff online, from YouTube or iTunes movie rentals. So why is this so cool you might ask? Let’s look at a couple examples.

Video Podcast (VodCast) – I subscribe to several vodcast, including the sermon feed from High Pointe (www.hpbcglobal.org) and from Mars Hill (www.marshillchurch.org). iTunes downloads these sermon videos when they are published each week automatically in the background. Then they are automatically sync’ed with my AppleTV and available to sit down and watch anytime. I use to sync them to my iPod, then plug my iPod into the TV to watch, now it is ready at the touch of a button.

Movies – No more letting the children touch the dvds! I am working to convert my dvds into mp4 video files, which will reside on the harddisk in the AppleTV. Now when the little children want to watch a movie it is a simple matter of browsing to the right movie from the menu and clicking play. And speaking of movies, I can keep my movies on my computer, yet easily watch them in the living-room without hooking up the TV and computer or using some other intermediary device.

Music – yes, you can play your iTunes music library also, so if your TV (or AppleTV) is hooked up to your home stereo system, you can easily listen to your tunes in the living-room, on you iPod and with your computer, keeping them all sync’ed and up to date!

So am I recommending everyone go buy one of these? Not really, but if you are looking for a way to integrate your computer based and living-room digital entertainment, these boxes are a cool solution. And what about the ministry opportunities?

How Do You Get Your CAST?

Cool Products, Media, Technology - by - June 28, 2007 - 17:56 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

Cast? What Cast?
podcast, vodcast, RSS feeds of various types – See, I ask because I know that a majority of you still just read what you want, when you want it using your web-browser. I have recently converted myself from one who just checked in when I felt like it, to one who subscribes to the feeds.

I resisted the movement for a long time – I figured the fad would pass, it was just a waste of time, I really didn’t need it, would not use it. Boy was I wrong. Everyone is blogging and podcasting. I even have heard that some church staff members are creating internal podcast just for their team members to improve communication. Now there is a thought – where is my microphone?

So what am I using?

  • iTunes for all the media content feeds (podcast / vodcast)
  • Vienna for all the blogs and news related feeds

It is nice to always have media I want to listen to ready on my iPod, and when I just have a minute and want to catch up on new, open Vienna and see what the latest is at all the sites I like to visit.