Archive for June, 2010
Enough numbers in there for you?
In exploring what’s the Best thing to write on here, which, of course, should always be the most interesting, and easy for one to write, in my opinion, I thought I’d discuss some of my recent addictions in my fiddling with video games in my amassed collection.
Last week, I was rather smitten with the ago old Capcom fighting game. My brother had given me Street Fighter IV for Christmas, and I had yet to even unlock most of the characters, so I ventured to do this, which is hard enough on “Easiest” mode. Especially on the higher end unlockables which require some spectacular combination of Perfect and Ultra finishes. Both my wife and I had a pretty good time running through all but the toughest unlocks. I even had more oppurtunity to venture into the online territory and throw down with some Xbox Live members. This game is the perfect mix of all the characters we grew up on for SF 2, in it’s many iterations, pretty new 3D graphics, and if you remember how to play back in the day, the controls carry over nicely…
But, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. They had released Marvel vs Capcom 2 remastered for the widescreen format on Xbox Arcade’s “Summer of Games” last year. I’d thought it worth a purchase, but found the $15 tag too high for the time. But whatever the sale ended up to ($7 I think?) it was perfect. I forgot how crazy this game was, especially only owning the first in the series on the Dreamcast. The three way tag system is chaotic and everything I loved when I insisted on buying my after circulation Saturn and Dreamcasts for X-Men and Marvel vs Capcom, respectively.
I hope to keep up my gaming habit. I actually ended up in on the “Founder’s” program for Onlive, became addicted to Godfinger, and will pick up who knows how many crazy deals (Force Unleashed, Overlord, and Counterstrike Source so far) in the insane Steam deals going on.
As I’ve been developing my podcasting studio from the spare parts I come across, as I’ve discussed in the past. I’ve also been envious of the Skypasaurus from the TWIT studio, and sought to build my own the hard way (ie. with now money). I was an inkling away from endeavoring on this path. Then the Skype Beta was announced.
With this beta, a lot of what I do in my podcasts has changed. The best example, of course, has been with my Wrestling Mayhem Show. Since the beta was released, and thanks to all of the participants being Windows PC based (the 5 way video conferencing only works with PC based Beta participants at this time) our show has become a bit more visually interesting. Much of my camera switching that was once handled by my BoinxTV dealings has been replaced by a rather smooth interface within Skype. By clicking on corresponding video feeds, I’m able to bring the focus onto the prime talker for a segment or discussion, and it even lines up nicely when I bring up the two up for when I’m talking directly to someone.
How can you use this? The main considerations would be recording this “mass Skype feed” along with your own, on site video. I’ve played with something called Vodburner to records our Mac friends not participating in this beta to edit in later until I find a solution, but that method has been less than successful come weeks. If you simply want something to push to something like Ustream or BlogTV, using a screen grabber product similar to CamTwist (what I use on the Mac) that captures the video might be a great way to capture it quick and dirty. Use your imagination, and I’m sure there’s plenty of ways to work this into a video production setup that doesn’t require a ridiculously priced Tricaster.
To see the video in action, you can check out any of the last few episodes of Wrestling Mayhem Show (we started using this Beta on episode 219).
I was recently volunteered by my lovely wife. (more adjectives mean less sarcasm.) It was a graduation party sort of deal a good deal down Rt. 88 in Mongahela, PA, right by the river. We were the cheap option. Somehow, I came up in conversation since cobbling together a DJ gig a few Halloweens ago.
So I sought out to dig out all of my equipment Friday night. I knew it was there. I just hoped it all still worked. Here’s the rundown:
- JVC Home Theater Unit – abtained free of charge when offloaded by my manager at work.
- A pair of small, but mighty enough to power a backyard bash Pioneer speakers – abtained free of charge when offloaded by my boss at work.
- Eurotrack 4-channel board – Leftover from when I updated to 8 channels for my Podcasts.
- Two laptops of some reliabilitiy. (My Macbook Pro and Missy’s newer Gateway PC.
- Your music library – for me, this is 55 GB of over 16,000 songs on an external drive
- Wifi internet – for additional requests
It seemed simple enough. The only thing I was worried about was the song tagging, and the newness of some requests. Sadly, or maybe for the better, my musical tastes for the last five years have gone into the underground side of music. So I’m not up on the latest Eminem, New Boyz, or slew of American Idol acts or bubble gum country that have been out in recent years.
First issue: Song tagging. There were tracks requested I knew I should have had on hand. But, thanks to my massive, long running, MP3 collection, I may have ripped some of these tracks ten years ago when CDDB wasn’t as prevelant to keep the names straight as it is today. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to put the entire collection through before the gig, but I highly recommend Pollux for re-tagging all of your stuff. I’ve never bothered with years or genres as I should have, and even if this just corrects that on a track, it’s helpful, and worth the $10 I paid for a year’s license. (side note: this is the service that was brought down by Leo Laporte’s recommendation a few months back when it was free)
Second issue: Recent music catalogue. This was a solution that was worked on on the fly. I had this inkling that Youtube would be a great resource, thanks to Vevo and the rest of the music being uploaded there all of the time. While I managed the playlist and the tech, Missy was on her laptop, taking requests, and when we found something not in my library, I sent her on a search hunt to “verify” Youtube videos. You know, to make sure the video quality was alright, and to make sure it wasn’t some kid doing karaoke to Lady Gaga. I would then note the user and track, and load the video, on mute, in the background while it was on deck to play next. We would often group these tracks together, then back to an itunes playlist for tracks we had. This was made possible solely from our hosts’ generous internet speed (4/2 according to Speedtest.net).
By the end of the night, people were amazed by the tracks we “had” and how professional and varied things were (we had people that wanted everything from country to rap to hair band rock to “something from the 50′s”) While I don’t recommend this for when you want to go into business professionally for yourself, this was an interesting exercise for those who get roped in as the one that knows how to use those “computer things” when a family member needs some help on the entertainment front.
A side note: I also had a brain storm to work this into some visual presentation. What could keep a person from using this Youtube DJ method and hook up a display or projector for the spectators?
Have any fun, cobbled together tech stories to share?
Some writing for the Wrestling Mayhem Show. A celebration of wrestling.
It’s been awhile since the WWE gave you that buzz, hasn’t it? It’s been awhile since we’ve seen something oh, so different, yet so very familiar, that had all of us buzzing. It’s nearly a week later and we don’t even have an explanation. But then, we haven’t had an explanation for Sting’s random acts of violence for months. Do you remember the last time you had that feeling?
ECW invades RAW….the first time... I was not presently watching wrestling when this first happened (one of my blackouts in life. I blame puberty) But this was the first, true, invasion, as these were two totally separate companies, sans the alledged financial backing by Vince McMahon under the radar…
The NWO. It was the great betrayal to all of us little Hulkamaniacs. And it kept us hooked for almost two years before it ran itself into the ground. But you still see NWO shirts in the crowd…
ECW invades RAW…the second time... Whatever you think of the WCW/ECW Invasion angle over 2001, you still had to love the original setup when ECW became a part of it.
Are there any other invasions that stuck out for you?
A little something I put together for the Podcamp Pittsburgh site…
As many know, I’ve been doing this Podcasting for quite a long time. From streaming , self run “radio stations” to over four years on my own Wrestling Mayhem Show, I’ve seen a lot of changes.
But no matter what your goals are, you’re not going to reach them without a few main points.
- Consistency in release. Your audience needs to know when to expect you. My Wednesdays are the day when I expect that there’s a Macbreak Weekly and Between the Ropes in my itunes queue to download. If something hasn’t posted yet to MacBreak, or Between the Ropes is preempted due to local basketball (because it’s a podcast of their terrestrial radio show in Orlando, FL). It’s one of the items that will separate being viewed as a pro or an amateur, even if we’re all amateurs…
- Evaluate your assets. I would love to higher end productions. In a perfect world, I’d be doing a Podcast showcasing independent wrestling from around the country, or at least the Northeastern region. But I know that there is no chance of working that into my busy schedule, or affording the travel. It would be amazing to try my hand at a more serialized, scripted show, akin or The Guild or Something to be Desired, but again, the time consumption doesn’t allow it for me. When you start into a project, you have to ask yourself if it’s within your abilities. If not, maybe it shouldn’t be a serialized, constant schedule. Maybe, especially if your experimenting, you shouldn’t promise a schedule.
- Time vs Money. I don’t have a lot of money to sink into my content. So I tend to investa lot of time. I have five computers running in my studio of varying configurations that have all been hand me downs, and more not running at this moment. A lot of my problems could be solved, and I could concentrate more on sitting down and putting out great content if I had the money to bring in some cool stuff like a tricaster, build a TWIT-inspired Skyposaurus, or just some newer computers I know won’t crash so hard. But instead, I found myself on this Sunday updating Xubuntu (a nice free alternative vs managing Windows licenses) on a dormant PC I hadn’t been running, testing what I can do with the new Skype Beta for video conferencing, and what to do with my Mac friends who can’t partake during these shows, and evacuating a monitor that started smoking. Thankfully, I love the adventure.
- Have some heart. It better be something you love. I’m up to three weekly shows. It multiplies the time, keeps me up late some nights, but it’s about three topics I can’t get enough of. Technology, professional wrestling, and music. A good place for further reading on this idea, and some really good social media cheerleading, I recommend the audiobook versions of Gary Vaynerchuck’s Crush It. It’s a great message in “Just do it” and will make you want to make
Justin has some great insight into how to make your production matter. But I hope these items I’ve outlined help you keep the faith to push forward personally.
How to you keep the show on the road?
On Sunday, as many have done, I went to a Memorial Day gathering at my mothers and made the best out of little at hand and had some fun with her kiddie pool…for the dogs