Dude, where’s my iMovie ’09 project?

koolaidFor those of us who have drunk the iMovie09-is-so-damn-easy-to-use Kool-Aid I’ve discovered it’s not all good for you, just like actual Kool-Aid. Today I discovered moving iMovie projects to network storage is a bit like driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles via New York City.

The snafu is simple. The latest and greatest version of iMovie (iMovie 09, though this was also true in 08) doesn’t provide an easy option to drop movie projects into a network folder. This is quite problematic for those who operate labs that reboot with a clean image each time, thereby deleting any files from the last time it was used.

I realize it’s possible to copy the “iMovie Projects” and “iMovie Events” folders, where iMovie 09 saves projects and raw video, onto a network drive. However, it’s likely the only option when saving to a network even though it’s less than ideal. The drawback to this option, aside from the obvious difficulty of the process, is that some of the media is not embedded into one of these two folders (i.e., iPhone video that can only be imported through iPhoto).

The external storage limitations in iMovie ’09 as I see them:

  1. Moving a movie project to an external hard drive (not a network drive or thumb drive) mostly works well, with the caveat that movies imported through iPhoto will not be embedded as part of the project though external audio files will.
  2. Saving the “iMovie Projects” and “iMovie Events” folders housed under the “Movies” folder to a network drive will include all of a project’s raw media (e.g., video and images), but will not include any audio or, like when moving to an external drive, any movies imported through iPhoto. The handy method for moving projects to external hard drives does not apply in this case unfortunately.

I recommend:

  1. Save a project to an external hard drive because it’s the simplest method.
  2. If you cannot use an external hard drive, save to the network, assuming of course your network storage has sufficient space.
    • If you’re including audio tracks, save them to the network storage area where you will eventually save your iMovie project folders and files.
  3. For either method, if you’re including video from an iPhone and know you will need to offload the project onto an external drive or network storage:
    • Import the iPhone video into iPhoto then drag the movie onto the desktop (or somewhere in Finder).
    • In iMovie, import the video from the Desktop (or wherever it was placed previously). This will keep the raw movie footage with the project.

In the end, the software is a cinch to use with the huge dangling caveat of the challenge of offloading projects onto network space.

Another way to WordPress

iPhone landscape keyboard viewed in the WordPress app

WordPress on campus has been a godsend and I anticipate it will continue to be throughout this academic year. I love showing it to anyone on campus willing to listen because almost without fail they are impressed by its ease of use. Some people are downright excited, which includes me for sure.

But, tonight I’m even more excited because I can add to and edit my site via my iPhone using the free WordPress app. I admit I experimented with this app while we were piloting WordPress MU in the spring, but I didn’t have my phone then. Instead I was using my wife’s iPod Touch, which lacked the luster of publishing posts or pages from anywhere because I had to rely on wi-fi networks. Plus now, the addition of the horizontal keyboard in the iPhone 3.0 software makes typing a somewhat more realistic task.

Updating your web site from your phone while riding the bus into New York or proofing a post scheduled for review from our beloved College Hil coffee shop (yes, I’m talking about you, Cosmic Cup) strikes me as a lightyear leap from where we were just a year ago.

If you’re an iPhone and WordPress user, do you think you would ever use this app to update your site? If so, under what circumstances?

Be kind.

Here we are in Wildwood, NJ. Our friends, Rachael, Brian, and their daughter Sophie, and me along with my beautiful wife and just as beautiful daughter Annabeth are here for an entire week Today the kids played in the surf and rode the waves on their boogie boards. They dug holes in the sand that resembled nothing other than the type of fun that can engage a five year old for more than five minutes. We retreated for a little lunch in our beach chairs where Rachael kept a lookout for sandwich-snatching seagulls while we all balanced eating our subs while holding onto the butcher paper in which they were wrapped. Then it rained.

manwithoutcountryHowever, before the rains came I was able to find some time to return to Kurt Vonnegut’s, A Man without a Country, a book Marybeth bought me four years ago. One I hadn’t read until now. No real plot. Just a series of memoirs from an old man who died nearly two years ago. Memoirs that tell me that in spite of the world going to shit at the hands of psychopaths, I must persevere to be honorable and educated and to embrace and consider my doubts. Decision making should evolve. Especially when you’re considering invading a country, but I digress, but heck, so did he.

Here are a few of my favorite snippets from Vonnegut’s little book:

A man named Joe wrote Vonnegut with this. “Please tell me it will be okay.” To which, Vonnegut responded:

“Welcome to Earth young man,” I said. “It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, Joe, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule I know of: Goddamn it, Joe, you’ve got to be kind!

This next one made me laugh out loud, so much in fact, that my wife looked up from her beach chair a few yards away. A man wrote Vonnegut with no return address:

If you knew that a man posed a danger to you—maybe he had a gun in his pocket, and you felt that he would not hesitate one moment to use it on you—what would you do? We know Iraq poses a threat to us, to the rest of the world. Why do we sit here and pretend we are not protected? That is exactly what happened with al-Qaeda and 9/11. With Iraq, though, the threat is on a much larger scale. Should we sit back, be little children that sit in fear and just wait?

And now, the punchline from Vonegut that caused my minor outburst:

Please, for the sake of us all, get a shotgun, preferably a 12-gauge double-barrel, and right there in your own neighborhood blow off the heads of people, cops excepted, who may be armed.

A Man without a Country takes just a few hours to read. You get to learn a little more about this author of Slaughterhouse-Five, of which I need to read. Vonnegut is funny, goofy at times, but is unapologetic as he paints a rather dark picture of the world in which he believes we’re destroying fully aware of our costly actions.

So to honor his death as the humanist he was I use his own words, “Kurt is up in heaven now.”

For all our sakes I hope so.

Day 11 with the Samsung Omnia

OmniaFirst, just to get this out of the way and off my chest, I want an iPhone. It’s superior in almost every comparison. However, my carrier is Verizon Wireless and I get a pretty sweet deal on my family plan because I have a family member who works for Verizon Wireless. That’s the dilemma. Pay more than $50 more each month and go with the iPhone plan or try to make it work with a smartphone from Verizon. I’m trying to make it work. I’m trying really hard.

I have been auditioning a Samsung Omnia, which has almost every feature imaginable, during the 30-day no hassle return policy. Here’s what I like about the phone so far:

  • Completely touchscreen based
  • Wi-fi
  • GPS, though Verizon Wireless has disabled it; I’ve read rumors that they will be opening it up by the end of June
  • Bluetooth
  • Works nicely with Exchange/ActiveSync supported email servers (we use Zimbra)
  • Comes pre-installed with the Opera Mobile browser
  • Has both a 5MP camera as well as a video camera that shoots up to 640×480; the video is choppy though
  • Supposed can mount it as a drive to my Mac, though I haven’t tried this yet
  • Expandable memory up to 16MB with a micro SD card
  • Have been able to install some important third party apps

Here’s what I hate though:

  • Windows Mobile; this is the worst interface because it’s still based around the expectation that people will use a stylus to interface with it.
  • Bluetooth won’t mount the device to my Mac
  • Don’t think I can charge it through my Mac because it requires some special program that is only Windows based
  • Proprietary USB/charger jack
  • GPS is locked. Come on Verizon please get with the times and let us use the phone with apps we like such as Google Maps for mobile phones
  • The power button is sometimes hard for me to get to
  • The cover for the USB/charger jack is hard to remove without longer finger nails
  • Outlook just stinks
  • Windows Mobile. I mentioned it already, but it’s pretty bad
  • The Samsung keyboard, though generally pleasant to use, wouldn’t type into Google Maps for mobile phones. Some of the other keyboards already installed worked, but they’re terrible stylus-expecting keyboards
  • Rotation animator works almost flawlessly

And, here are some apps making life bearable, if not enjoyable some of the time:

  • Spb Mobile Shell 3. Makes the phone pleasantly usable by essentially throwing away some of the Windows Mobile interface. This will cost me $30 if I stay with the phone, but I think it’s worth it because it’s that much better
  • Spb Keyboard. Though this will cost about $15 it might be worth it though I’m willing to look for another keyboard that works well with my fingers as well as one that will work with Google Maps for mobile phones
  • Google Maps for mobile phones. It’s Google Maps on a phone. Works great and would work even better if Verizon would open up the GPS. I so want to use the GPS. Think it would be great for getting around NYC by foot or for taking a detour due to a backup on the highway.
  • PockeTwit. I looked around for a decent Twitter client and I settled on this one because it supports kinetic scrolling. I liked Twinkini enough but it didn’t support kinetic scrolling. It also comes with a “QuickPost” app that lets me post a tweet without having to lauch my Twitter timeline. And, the QuickPost app exits automatically after sending my tweet.

So what’s left? What am I going to do before the 30-day period ends? I’m still undecided because namely I haven’t been able to find a better email and calendar interface, which is my biggest stumbling block at this time. Outlook is terrible and the Spb Mobile Shell app doesn’t skin those apps. I hear that Windows Mobile 6.5 is out or will be soon. I’m hoping the interface at least makes scrolling and interacting with the buttons much easier.

I like this phone a lot, but hate Windows Mobile. Get me a better interface for calendar and email and open up the GPS. That could sell me easily.

Opinio Invitation reminders

Photo by Andrew Coulter Enright from Flickr.
Photo by Andrew Coulter Enright from Flickr

I got a call today from one of our most esteemed Opinio users (don’t worry, she knows who she is) wanting to know if she added a reminder message to an already sent invitation would those who have completed the survey also receive the reminder. We ran a quick little replication of this on a test survey by adding a reminder message *after* the initial invitation was sent. To our delight, those who already completed the survey did not receive the reminder.

Case closed.

iPhoto revived

ironpigsOn Friday we returned from a great night of watching the Iron Pigs, the Phillies AAA affiliate, when to my disappointment iPhoto decided to stop opening.

After many hours of research I found no answers. Most everything I found said to delete the plist file in my Library. That didn’t work. I moved the iPhoto library to another account on the computer and it still crashed each time I opened it. I really thought I was doomed to extract the 60GB worth of photos in the library when I finally found an Apple discussion forum that explained how to reset and rebuild the iPhoto library. I held down the alt/option key with the command key,  opened iPhoto, and then saw a screen with many reset options. I checked them all, so I’m not sure which one or ones actually resolved my crashing issue, but frankly, I don’t care. I’m just happy I can go about my photo import process normally.

In my waning hours of losing I hope I did download Picasa for the Mac though thankfully that can wait for now.

YouTube EDU

youtubeedu2To help make finding university video content on YouTube easier to find, a higher education-only channel, YouTube EDU, was recently created by the folks at YouTube. This channel, which requires universities to apply for membership, has very few features, but helps to aggregate higher ed video content using a few simple methods:

  • Most viewed videos among the cohort.
  • Most subscribed university channels.
  • And my most favorite, a higher ed-only search box (I’m a searcher not a surfer as my colleague Ken Newquist coined).

Universities and colleges can be added to this new EDU channel by completing a simple form, which is remarkably only a Google Spreadsheet web form.

As an aside, I’d like to know how many of these university videos are way longer than the 10 min. maximum length.

No more free phone-in on GCast

Photo by Darwin Bell from Flickr
Photo by Darwin Bell from Flickr

GCast.com is a free podcasting service that allows account holders to upload audio content. It then produces an RSS feed, which can be cataloged in podcasting repositories such as iTunes.

The thing I really liked about GCast though is that an account holder could register a phone number with their account. Then they could magically call a GCast 800 number and record the entire conversation. After hanging up, this phone conversation would be saved as an MP3 file on the GCast user’s account. This was awesome (and yes, I wrote “was”) because the phone is a technology most everyone is comfortable using. Easy peezy podcasting. That was then.

This is now. GCast is no longer offering this phone-in service for free, but for $99 a year. Below is the email message I received:

As you know, we have been offering the ability to podcast by phone for several years. Up until now, this service has remained free for you to use without limitations. We have been incurring significant costs to keep this service free and we now must take steps to lower our cost. Beginning April 1, 2009, we will be charging a subscription fee of $99 for this phone-in service. It will still be free to upload content through our website. Additionally, the subscription usage will be limited to 2 hours in any 90 day period.

Ah, the affects of the economy.

No worries Kodak. I have Flickr.

Flickr logo, © 2009 Yahoo! Inc.
Flickr logo, © 2009 Yahoo! Inc.

I received a message from KodakGallery yesterday informing me that their terms of service changed, which now requires their customers purchase a minimum amount annually in order to retain their images on the KodakGallery site. The minimum amount is based on a sliding scale depending on how much storage a customer uses. I’m at 2.5 GB since I’ve been using it ever since AbC was born in early 2004, but at that time their terms of service simply required customers to purchase something for each 12 month period.

Looks like those days are behind us. Now I have to be sure I buy at least $20 worth of KodakGallery products each year. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem since one calendar will cover that. Regardless, I’m not too worried. I have Flickr and I can post to my hearts content as long as I continue to pay the $25 annual renewal fee, which is worth every penny. And here’s why. Unlike KodakGallery:

  • Anyone can have access to the high resolution file
  • I can tag photos
  • I can add notes to photos
  • People can leave comments
  • I can more easily organize my sets
  • I can add photos to a number of Flickr groups that are of interest to me
  • Oh, and anyone can subscribe to an RSS feed of my photos or from a certain tag

The lack of these features in KodakGallery has always bugged me because it makes KodakGallery a very closed system, which is good for keeping things private. However, Flickr still allows me to make photos private while also allowing me to make the system much more wide open and available to anyone.

I suppose I’ll hang onto the KodakGallery account because it’s a whole lot easier to make purchases through it, but hopefully Flickr will make that process easier while including more delivery locations (e.g., CVS, Walgreens).

Quick lesson in large drive formatting on Mac and PC

Photo by Stuart Bryant on Flickr
Photo by Stuart Bryant from Flickr

Yes, this is a remarkably boring topic because hard drives should just work. Like toilets. I shouldn’t have to think too much about them, however…

Special Collections here at Lafayette is participating in of our WordPress pilot by providing their students a place to write about their day-to-day work activities. One of the things their students are doing is creating videos about these daily tasks, such as how to create protective jackets for very old books and documents. The files to produce these videos are quite large, so Special Collections found a 500GB hard drive laying around (pretty cool, huh?). The downside is that the drive was formatted for Windows NTFS file structure, which Macs cannot write on, and since the students are doing all of their editing using iMovie ’08 we needed to figure out another option. At first I thought FAT 32 would work, but I did some digging and found that FAT 32 will not recognize files larger than 4GB, which could be a problem when working with video.

Since the students will likely be working on their movies exclusively in our Mac lab I created two partitions: one for Mac only formatting and one using FAT 32 for both PC and Mac. I figure the compressed videos could be moved over to the FAT 32 partition, assuming they remain under 4GB, while the project and raw video could be saved on the Mac partition.

I’m open for other suggestions.