Category: Multimedia

Sounds that create mental imageryHolophonic sounds are supposed to use interference wave-dynamics to create a truly 3D view of auditory space.  Check out the sample below (using headphones).

Holophonic Sounds: Tricking your mind to see alternate realities. [VIDEO].

So, what do you think?  Is this a fraud?

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

How do you set your YouTube thumbnail…again?

According to this seemingly complicated formula, this is how YouTube sets frames in its videos:

X = Video length in sec.Y = X divided by 4 or X/4 in sec.

via How to Set Up The Right Poster Frame in YouTube.

Okay—admittedly, there’s more to it than that—I just cut it down to that for simplicity’s sake…maybe I should say, for “complexity’s sake” because I thought the Squidoo lense where I found this information had perhaps a bit too involved a way of explaining all this.

So, how do I figure out what video frames YouTube uses as its poster frame?

A simpler (or at least different) way to express that would be to put your poster frames at the quarter marks (1/4, 1/2, 3/4).  But then they make it even more complicated by adding statements about “you’ll have to experiment a little bit.”  Well, which is it?

How do you figure out how to set your YouTube keyframe?  Is it this super-exact formula, or is it “just fool around until you figure it out?”

[If the latter is true] In which case, why did you bother making an article (in this actually a Squidoo lense) about all this?

Video Compression Likely Affects Thumbnails

….but then I surfed a bit more and found these comments in response to a related YouTube video that they had posted:

well i tested this out on my video, “winter longboarding edit” – verdict: doesn’t work. my video is 4:07 long, meaning a thumbnail every 61.75 seconds; while each is Roughly at the minute mark, my first thumbnail is at 0:54, 2nd at 2:00, 3rd at 3:00 – by your calculation they Should have been 1:01, 2:03, 3:05. have they randomized it a bit now?

via YouTube – YouTube Thumbnail Timer Video.

I think the answer is that there is a segmentation used in video compression, where the only actual real “frames” somehow are located at the boundaries of those segments.  This means that for things like DVD chapter (start points) and, I’m guessing, these YouTube thumbnails too, the salient single frame of video must occur at that boundary-mark.   Probably YouTube aims for the 1/4, 2/4, 3/4 (quartermarks) but only can come in as close as possible.

Where (and what) are thumbnails?

These thumbnails are, practically speaking, small JPGs stored on the YouTube server.  So now that you know how to set thumbnails for your YouTube video—where do you find those video thumbnails, once they’re set?

According to the Squidoo lense, you can find them here:

YouTube thumbnails are built like this:[video-id]/1.jpg

In this instance, “1.jpg” is only the format…the other thumbnails will be “2.jpg” and “3.jpg” in the same root directory.

Building these Thumbnails into Your Scripts

I have the distinct feeling that, like everything online, this quarter-mark policy will eventually change.  So, you can count on it (roughly) for now, but I’d recommend not making a huge deal about writing your scripts around these special numbers.

Just be aware, things change.

Conclusion regarding this Video Lense

Probably, with a hope to monetize, this lense also included a reference to an eBook you can buy about YouTube marketing.  This book posits that you can do your YouTube marketing taking only “an hour a day.”  A few notes about that statement:

  1. That doesn’t sound like a whole lot from one perspective .
  2. This is actually probably an accurate statement (from that same perspective)
  3. It is not a whole lot from that same perspective.
  4. From another perspective, that is a lot of total time to be invested (think about how many hours that is across five years!)
  5. And, well, see below…

Though I can’t comment on the value of this product, I will go on to say that I did find a great free many, many page report about YouTube marketing at, which seemed extensive (if not exhaustive) and also pretty accurate from what I could tell.

(No, I’m not an affiliate for either of these sites, but I thought I’d just share them anyhow—I just thought there were valuable and thought I’d share them anyways.)

Beautiful Free Pictures

Beautiful Free Pictures is the name of the site, and the promise is that everything there is available for free, for what appears to both professional and non-commercial use.

I think “beautiful” is a pretty accurate way to describe the site.  These free pictures (and they are photos, rather than other types of art or images) are indeed very beautiful, gorgeous to look at and fun to browse.

As far as being “free,” the Beautiful Free Pictures about page states that:

However, all are free and can be used for all personal and commercial purposes. You can use these pictures in your projects, books, articles, e-books, emails, blogs and even in your websites.

There are a few requirements, including crediting the photos’ creators (which varies from picture to pictures) as well as more common and obvious things, such as making no illegal use of these free pictures.

Perhaps public domain is the right word to use, even though giving credit is still required.

Sure there are plenty of picture-sites that have more pictures, perhaps even slightly finer quality images, but these are nice.

Either way, these photos can be summed up in one word.


Burning Words: Write them Now!For almost the past month, I’ve been writing, short stories. One per day. My goal: do this for one year, and have not only practiced extensively my craft, but opened new brain maps for success—for thinking of myself as not just a someday writer, but as a definite here-and-now author.  However, something large and exciting is looming:

So, in one hour it begins: NaNoWriMo — The Infamous National Novel Writing Month where pure output beckons, and thousands of would-be writers test their mettle to see if they can make it work and win. The prize? Having accomplished a full first-draft of a 50,000 word novel (novella?).  If you sign up online, you will be one of the official contestants, responsible for writing an average 1,667 words per day, or about 2,000 if you take one day in seven out.  At the end of the process, the honor system prevails with an automated online word-count checker.

Not to take away from the initial goal I had of writing a short story every day, I found this shortest form of short story I could find—the drabble.  It’s technicall one-hunded (100!) words only, which gives you room to pack a punch, but not to mess around. Here’s one piece of machinery that I found very useful, app-wise, when it comes to writing: especially drabbles, but I imagine it will be just as great for 2,000 words a day during NaNoWriMo as well: Write or Die by Dr Wicked.

What is this application?  It’s a very simple online text-enter zone, where you can set some parameters (basic goals for words, time to spend, etc.) and then start typing.  If you fall behind your parameters (your # of words, etc.) then an annoying alarm sounds, and the screen will flash pink, then red.  This warns the dawdling mind that time is up.  Various levels of forgiveness are available, including the military-strength kamikaze mode, which begins to delete your writing after you pass a certain point of slothful not-putting-words-on-paper.

Just do it.  Carpe diem.  Recently, the “classic” movie Back to the Future celebrated a significant anniversary since it’s release date.  The actor who portrayed the time-machine inventor / mad-scientist “Doc” described his character thuswise: as a man engaged in a race against time, someone who had so many ideas, so many thoughts, so much to do, that he simply couldn’t stop.  An apt theme for a main character in a movie about travel through time, no doubt, but it is more than that — it’s a window on how we all should live our lives.  We all have genius to pour out onto this life, good things to do—and so much distraction to waste away the beauty that we could sow upon the world.

Teach me to number my days that I may apply my heart unto wisdom.

-Psalm 90:12

Life is short.  Write fast.  As another sci-fi flick mad-scientist character (Soren, from Star Trek: Generations) said, “Time is the fire in which we burn.”

Write or die.

Just a note: the Write or Die application by one mysterious “Dr. Wicked” came into my personal noosphere (cognitive space, knowledge, awareness) when I was listening to a brand new (to me) podcast:  You can find it on the iTune store under “Tech for Writers” — its content is extremely helpful, and I actually find this podcast to be made of  probably more practicably applicable information than many of the other more “fun” how-to-write shows that I often listen to—the real nuts and bolts of things to use, and the day-to-day physical side of life as a writer is quite bracing herein, and like nothing I’ve seen anywhere else.  Quite the example of the niche.

Roomba‘s and apocalypse: former schoolmate Rachel Zylstra…a musician singer-songwriter with a YouTube channel called “Advice Music.”

Roombas, Captchas and the End of the Age

Roomba Eats People. Enter Captcha.

A song entitled “reckoning (rhetorically) with robots” deals an answer to a tongue-in-cheek query:

Continue reading

Today I had my first real encounter with the iPad.

Behold the iPad in All Its Glory

Image via Wikipedia

It was a family encounter…my kids and I got to see an example of Moving Tales—a revolutionary new book format!  It’s the kind of thing you’d see in sci-fi….a flat pad that displays images that move—that future storybooks are basically micromovies.
Subtle animation, sound effects and music: the whole thing was illustrated with 3D models that were rendered through a hand-drawn style filter.  The prose was classic and well-written. The story was called “The Peddler of Gushing Cross.”

One of the phrases from the book, “Life is stranger than the she ever could have imagined,” feels quite apt right about now.

The whole things makes one wonder about the path that brain development is taking. Of course, so many people are growing up with TV and with other things along those lines, that the world is reforging itself, if only in terms of how people are thinking.  What will my children think growing up in a world of animated, talking storybooks?  They already have a number of strange conceptions—

—though we talk a lot to them about TV, they hardly ever watch any television-proper—but rather watch whatever they do watch on the Netflix service.  Thus, they have no concept of commercials (and find them quite incomprehensible, if not intolerable) and have little tolerance for the modern fare of non-sequitur cartoons.

That’s probably not what most people are undergoing right now as they re-image their brain-maps, so I suppose there are a number of trails going on in the neurosphere world of new media.

Image representing redbox as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Thanks to my prior co-worker / friend Luke Slendebroek for posting this: Video Rental Stores’ Bizarre Survival Strategy.

1. Apparently video rental stores are offering tanning beds as an incentive for drawing in more crowds.

2. They are seeking legal action against Redbox kiosks using things like “wheelchair accessibility” as the excuse.

3. Making short movies including: using military tanks to run over competitors’ property.

4. Buying wholesale videos and then re-selling them at lower prices, justifying the process by calling the videos “previously viewed.”

What else will they come up with? What do you think?

So I’ve been using Garage Band to edit an audiobook together for a client-project. Here’s a couple of thoughts on using Apple‘s iLife Suite Garage Band.

The GarageBand application icon.

Image via Wikipedia


Back-up your files: Thankfully, it seems that Garage Band’s system for combining media, includes the project-file and the media itself together.  It’s an easy drag and drop backup, but you just have to find where the files are located.  I’d suggest starting your search in [HouseIcon]UserName > Music > GarageBand>FolderName.

Beware losing source-audio: I’m glad I did this back-up. Garage-Band decided that when I was going to copy and paste some clips between one file and the next, that it was going to lose a chunk of the nested audio-source file inside of it.  To-date, I don’t know how to get it back, but thankfully, it was backed up on an external hard-drive.

It’s also been good to work in smaller chunks, so that:

(A) File size is manageable (for backing up, as well, as opening, playback and editing).

(B) Editing is less cumbersome, since the amount of sound-data to scroll through on the timeline is a little less involved and extensive.

I’m trying out my nifty little file name categorization sans numbers system in this project, to make audio track names that don’t require numberical bumpers up front when their titles are displayed.  Maybe I’ll talk about that later.

For those of you who are interested, here are the specs of the platform and software:

Mac OS X 10.5.7 – (2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo)

GarageBand ’08 – Version 4.1.2 (248.7)

Hope that helps. I know this is kind of a basic reminder—but one can’t be told enough to back things up

For point of reference, I’m using a MacBook laptop, not a desktop.

Here’s a new game in the Halo series—purportedly the most popular video game franchise of all time.  It will be a prequel to the original trilogy that does not let you play as the main character, but will give some insight into backstory.

Halo: Reach coming out soon.

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