Practical Tech with Tony – 015 – Technology & the Law

Just want to reiterate that neither Jeffrey or I are lawyers, so take whatever we say as opinion and not as pure fact, although we try very hard to get our facts right.

As technology makes it way further and further into our society, into our work, our schools, our homes, we need to stay on top of how things are playing out in the legal sphere. The law tends to be very reactive and not very proactive. Technology is developing faster than the law can keep up.

No list of links directly related to this topic for this podcast, but if you are Twitter user, I’m going to give you the handles of some technology feeds that I pay close attention to. They all have corresponding websites, but the Twitter feeds are the best for monitoring breaking news.

ArsTechnica – @arstechnica
TechCruch – @techcrunch
Reddit Tech – @reddit_tech
Engadget – @engadget
Gizmodo – @Gizmodo
Wired – @WIRED
Internet of Shit – @internetofshit – This is a great one to watch for the outrageous items being connected to the Internet. He also focuses on how things go so terribly wrong. “Why did they connect THIS to the Internet?” is another ongoing theme. Recently he’s had a series of tweets about having to update light bulbs with new firmware/software and an Internet-connected winebottle.

 

Practical Tech with Tony – 013

Studio 300 is proud to begin hosting the popular technology podcast – Practical Tech with Tony – on our blog. This episode is all about gift ideas for the tech enthusiasts on your lists. Enjoy:

Here are links to items and topics mentioned during the podcast:

Google Chromecast

Video converter – Diamond VC500 for Windows and Diamond VC500 for Apple computers.

Logitech Harmony 650 Remote – This is the one I am most familiar with. Retails for $79.99 but you can usually find them on sale at Amazon or other retailers for around $65, especially after the holidays, which is when my parents bought theirs after getting their new TV, Blu-ray player and surround sound system. The Logitech Harmony Elite is the remote that I mentioned in the podcast that can control all your home automation and media center functions. It retails for $349.99.

Bluetooth speakers – This is a recently published (November 17, 2015) article at TechRadar.

Drones/Quad Copters – There are a lot of articles out right now about the best Drones/Quad Copters, and this one has a nice mix of low and high cost models. All the models mentioned show up on other “best of” lists that I have seen.

Acer Chromebook 15 and Acer Chromebook 15C910 – There is a sub-$200 model available in the lineup, but it doesn’t sport a true HD screen (true HD is 1920×1080 pixels per inch) and this is also true of some of the other lower cost ones. The lower cost ones also have “slower” processors, less memory and less storage. The library currently has this particular configuration available for in-house use at the Children’s Services Desk, if you would like to take a look at it. Other manufacturers have other models available, and you can find out more about Chromebooks at Google’s website here.

Mobile Device Gaming Pads – There are lots out there and the prices run the gamut from just under $20 to well over $100. I think it is most important to find something sturdy that fits comfortably in your hands, especially if you are going to be using it extensively. Most game controllers now mimic the shape of Sony’s Playstation console controllers or Microsoft’s Xbox console controllers. Also be aware that not all gamepads may be compatible with all devices, so a device compatible with Android may not be compatible with an Apple device.

Nest Home Automation

Philips Hue Lux – The link takes you to the starter kit page of the Philips website.

Happy Holidays from the staff of the Fountaindale Public Library!

– Tony L.

Library Events

Help Me! Tech Support!! Event – Tuesday, January 5 from 7-8:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 17 from 2-3:30 p.m. in Studio 300

Received a tablet, phablet, camera, laptop, or other tech gadget recently and you’re still not quite feeling comfortable with it? Get the help you need at our Practical Tech drop-in event. Bring your gear and your questions and get ready to learn from our staff of tech experts.

 

Video Promotion Ideas

Use the resources at Studio 300 to make a video that promotes your business, service, event, cause, or something else. You can checkout video cameras, microphones, and tripods for working outside of the library. Or you can use the video production rooms to make your project right in Studio 300.

Our iMac computers have the latest editing software so you can give your video all the finishing touches – titles, music, and more! You even have free access to stock video, audio, music, and graphics content. Of course, our staff will offer assistance by answering questions and pointing you to free resources that can ensure your video is a success.

Stuck on an idea? Here are a few different approaches you might consider for your promotional video. All were produced by Studio 300 staff using the same resources that are available to our patrons. Check them out:

Notes on the clips:

  • Summer Adventure used Comic Life 2 and After Effects.
  • Passport to Success used After Effects and Premiere Pro with the voice-over recorded in Studio 300.
  • Lincoln used iMovie, After Effects, and Premiere Pro with ALA-supplied graphics and stock music from AudioBlocks.
  • Passport Career Track used an AC-160 camera, Premiere Pro, voice-over recorded in Studio 300, and stock music from AudioBlocks.
  • Studio 300 Adventure used an iMovie Trailer template with footage from an AC-160 camera. (One clip used stock footage from VideoBlocks with a little help from After Effects).
  • Studio 300 Sneak Peek used stock footage from Digital Juice and the Prelinger Archives. This was made before Studio 300 opened, so other resources were used at the time.

 

Websites for Learning Coding

code-MyOVmpU_If you are looking to learn HTML, Java, CSS, and other coding languages, there are a few websites available that can help. Codecademy is a free site where you earn badges as you progress through the lessons. Lynda.com is a pay site that offers extensive video-based training, but is free for Fountaindale library cardholders (access it with your FPLD card through this portal). After you’ve mastered the basics, check out CodeWars and improve your skills by performing different tasks.

 

Teleprompter arrives

TelepromopterWe’ve just added a brand-new, iPad-based teleprompter to our Video Suite C. If you are unfamiliar with the technology, read this article. Essentially, the system allows reflecting a script from the iPad onto a two-way mirror. As you read the script scrolling on the mirror, it appears as if you are looking right at the camera lens (the camera sees through the mirror).

A mainstay of TV news, now you can use it for your video productions made in Studio 300. We have the iPad, the teleprompter software, a remote control, and the setup attached to camera one in Video Suite C (see the picture). Come check it out and ask for a demonstration today.

After Effects in Studio 300

If you’ve been to the movies or watched TV or saw a television commercial, you’ve probably seen Adobe After Effects in action. It is the go-to tool for video special effects. It is feature-rich software that can help you create many unique looks for your videos.

There are several ways you can learn After Effects including books, Lynda.com, and by taking our After Effects program (new class starts January 8, 2015 — sign up here).

Here is one example of After Effects in action, created by Studio 300’s Alex.

And this example, to help promote our Passport to Success program, was created by Studio 300’s Adriana.

If you are interested in learning more about this versatile software, ask us for more information.

Photoshop Club

photoIn late Summer we launched a new, ongoing Club Photoshop for our patrons. The club is for Photoshop enthusiasts at all skill levels — novice to advanced — who want to learn new techniques. Each month we demonstrate a project, provide instructions and project files, and then guide you through completing the project. Every month is different so there will always be something new to learn.

Upcoming projects for the Photoshop Club in 2015 include:

  • Photoshop Diet
  • 3D Techniques
  • Animation
  • Advanced Masking
  • And more …

Photoshop Club meets the last Wednesday of each month in 2015: 1/28, 2/25, and 3/25. You can sign-up 21 days in advance.

300 in 300 – 001

Join us for the first episode of our new podcast: 300 Seconds in Studio 300. In under 5 minutes, Jeffrey and Ryan discuss what’s new in Studio 300. They talk about software updates, new software additions, and new hardware arriving soon for our patrons to use. Got five minutes? Give this podcast a listen and discover all that’s happening at Studio 300.

Software updates soon

smallmacAll of the Studio 300 iMac desktop and MacBook Pro laptop computers will soon see major updates to our most popular software programs. There will also be some new additions to expand the creative potential of our patrons (some based on your recommendations).

Updates include:

  • The Mac OS
  • The latest Adobe CC updates (Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and many more)
  • iLife and iWork updates (iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, etc.)
  • Logic Pro X (the latest audio/music workstation from Apple)
  • Comic Life 3 (this fun program gets even more powerful features)

New software includes:

We’re happy to show you these exciting changes as they become available in the next few weeks.

Animation Essentials

flash_cc_splashHave you always wanted to make your own animation? Studio 300 can help. We have several free software programs available to use. Also, we regularly offer classes on how to use this software. Check out these ideas.

  • Stykz – This is free animation software that works on Macs and PCs. You can create simple stick like characters and backgrounds to make fun and easy animations to show your friends! There is even a website where you can see what other characters and animations are available. See work made by Fountaindale Public Library patrons on our YouTube Channel.
  • Adobe Flash – This is a professional animation software that you can use to create movies, website animations, and 2D game animations. It works using drawing tools (similar to Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop) and uses both vector and raster graphics that you can animate in a variety of styles! Flash classes coming this summer.
  • Blender – A free 3D software you can use to create 3D models from rigging to modeling, make 3D Animations, and it even has a game engine.
  • Toon Boom Studio – This animation software is similar to Adobe Flash, however it is more so optimized in a user friendly manner. This is a great program to start with for making your own 2D characters and animating.

Studio 300 can also recommend other resources that you can use to explore your creativity via animation.