Wishlist Archives

I’m Overdue For A Backup Party

A “Backup Party” is what I call an event where I take a day or two, possibly even three, to get all of my important files backed up so that I don’t face the chance of losing them if something catastrophic were to happen.

The problem is that it has been WAY too long since the last time I did this.  A big part of the reason why is that, around here at least, it’s bloody rare that I find blank dual layer DVD’s on sale.  Oh, I could go with the single layer disks and I suppose that I should but the thing is that it would take twice as many of them to hold the data and I really don’t have the money to throw around for that.

Double layer media typically only costs a little more than single layer and has twice the capacity.  That way I could do a much better job of organizing my files.  Besides, there’s another reason for wanting double layer DVd’s, I also want to make some DVD’s of my video productions.  This is partly because I just want them and partly because I want to be able to share certain parts of this collection of videos with family members who are currently unable to see them on youtube because they only access the internet by way of their phones and they aren’t wealthy enough to have the kind of smartphones that are capable of watching youtube videos.

Technorati Tags: dvd, backups, video

Lighting, The Heart Of Chroma Key

Anyone that’s used the video editing tool called Chroma Key, the trick of making a color transparent so that you can have a picture or another video clip visible behind your actor(s), can tell you that THE single most important factor in using that effect is lighting.

Oh, it’s possible to make it work (well, sort of) with poor lighting by using color correction tools to super saturate the green (or blue) screen and make it usable, most pros and experienced amateurs will agree that in the end there is no substitute for a well lit green (or blue) screen.

Now during the last several months I’ve had the advantage of the much brighter sun that’s available in my studio in the spring and summer months.  However it’s now autumn and we’re headed into winter.  That will mean months of dingy gray clouds with little to no bright sunlight to speak of.  Never mind light that is both bright enough and available at the time I need it.

Anyone that’s ever looked into studio lighting will know that it’s expensive stuff, even when it’s on sale.  Fortunately I have a couple of ideas that should do the trick.

The first is to wire up a couple of those insanely bright halogen headlights to a twelve volt power supply.  I they should easily be bright enough since I get almost completely blinded every time I’m driving at night when SOME inconsiderate moron doesn’t understand the courtesy of dimming their high-beams when there’s oncoming traffic!

The other, much easier option is to get a couple of work lights and position one on each side of the green screen for even illumination.  This will also have the advantage of being portable for those times when I’m shooting at some location other than my studio, something I hope to be doing more of over the coming months.

Technorati Tags: visual effect, studio lighting, lighting, chroma key, lights, studio lights, video editing

Planning For Next Bug Season

Even though summer is officially over and the weather is beginning to turn toward the long awaited cooler days of Autumn there is still something of an insect problem going on.  Oh, it’s not anything like what it was two months ago but they’re still around even though it is in smaller numbers (finally!).

Mostly though, I’m thinking ahead to next spring when the weather warms up and the foul little beasties start appearing and multiplying like crazy and generally making life miserable for anybody that happens to be unfortunate enough to live in an area where there’s a lot of them.

I particularly hate the way they’re attracted to light.  If I turn on my carport light and go outside at night it means walking into a cloud of every kind of bug imaginable.

It’s the kind of problem that ensures the sale of every kind of anti-bug technology known to man from the simple fly swatter to citronella candles, fly paper, insecticides and so on.

solar pest killer bug zapperThe bad thing about all those different means of dealing with insects is that they all have problems.  For example when was the last time you tried to actually hit something with a fly swatter?  Oh you might get something once in a while but in my experience, 90% of the time the fly swatter doesn’t do more than move the air around a bit.

Citronella candles?  No thanks, I can’t stand the smell of them and you have to babysit them and start a new one when it goes out.  Insecticides?  No thanks.  I’m not even remotely interested in adding God knows what kind of toxins to my home and yard.  And Fly paper has got to be the stickiest mess ever.  No thank you!

The one means of controlling bug populations that I like best is things like this Solar Pest Killer Bug Zapper.  There’s several reasons why I like this kind of solution.

1, No toxins needed and therefore no risk of somebody being affected by ’em for any reason.

2, Not nearly as much babysitting or tending is needed.

3, This one is solar powered.  The batteries charge during the day and then it’s ready for up to six hours of bug-zapping

4, Finally, say what you like but it’s actually kinda entertaining on an otherwise boring evening to sit back and watch as mosquitoes and other bugs are attracted to it’s UV light and get zapped with a thousand volts of pest control.

(I can just picture a little mosquito version of Gollum telling the others “Don’t follow the lights.”)

Hrm.. guess I’ve got another thing to add to my Christmas list.  *cackle*

Technorati Tags: pest control, insects, mosquitoes, bug zapper, gollum

Slow Progress Needs To Go Faster

While my weight loss efforts have been yielding me some results, the progress has been painfully slow.  I started out at 353 pounds and I’m in the middle 330’s now.  I still feel like crap most of the time and I don’t have much endurance for physical activity.

My diet plans (for lack of a better term) is a decent one I think.  It involves finding better foods with lower calorie counts on sale, load up on them when I do find ’em.  For quite a while I was shooting my daily vlog video while using the exercise bike but then I was sick for most of a week and I got out of the habit of doing it.  That was followed a while later by a particularly vicious migraine that lasted over two weeks.

Over the last few days I’ve been trying to get back into the habit of doing regular exercise and / or walking as much as I can.  It’s proving to be almost as hard to start this good habit as it is to break a bad habit.

Of course it doesn’t help that the exercise bike is a joke.  It broke during the winter of 09.  I’ve been using it anyway, even though the seat is gone, by sitting on a chair behind it.

It’s not much but at least it’s something.  I have also been doing a LOT more walking.  I walked more this mornign than I normally used to in a week or more.  The problem with that is that I’m only barely able to walk around the block or any appreciable distance.  Instead, I’m thinking more about something like this Treadmill which would allow me to walk as much as I had time for without leaving the house.

I could spend all the time on it at once as I am able to without being concerned about getting too far from home and having my endurance run out and ending up not able to make it home without collapsing.  It would also be THE thing to keep me exercising this winter when the weather gets cold.

Now all I need to do is convince a rich person to buy it for me.

That’s gonna happen.  Isn’t it?

Yep.  Any second now.

Technorati Tags: losing weight, walking, exercise bike, burn calories, build endurance, treadmill, exercise, weight loss

Christmas Gift Idea

It’s that time of year again.  Time to start getting serious about planning one’s Christmas shopping.  Even though I don’t have the resources right now to do anything about it I *have* been doing quite a bit of “window shopping” as it were, looking for that ideal gift idea and I in several cases I think I’ve found it.

You see there’s a bunch of family members that either don’t have computers or the computers they have died some time back and after a lot of looking around I’ve found something that would be just perfect, a Dell Latitude Laptop.  This machine, while admittedly not exactly state of the art bleeding edge, is light years ahead of the dead machines (which could only run windows 95!) and is infinitely better than trying to use the internet on a low end cell phone.

What’s more is that because it’s on sale for 46% off of it’s regular price, if I could lay hands on a few thousand bucks I could afford to get enough of them to outfit everybody in the immediate family that needs a computer.

I also like very much the fact that it comes with Windows XP as opposed to being saddled with the resource hogging nightmare that is the more recent versions of windows.  Besides, Windows XP means that I’d be in a fairly good position to handle the inevitable tech support calls if there should ever be a problem.  I couldn’t support vista or seven because I have very little experience with vista and none with seven.

Now all I need to do is find a way to make about $3,000 appear on my kitchen table and I can start buying them up and getting set to surprise a bunch of people for Christmas!

Yep.  That’s gonna happen.

Technorati Tags: computers, christmas shopping, gift idea, laptop, dell laptop, christmas gifts

 Page 2 of 12 « 1  2  3  4  5 » ...  Last »