Category Archives: Video

High-Def Life: The Future is Looking Clearer Than Ever

Where Apple goes others follow. Apple’s iPhone, iPad and other devices are known for being on the cutting edge of technology, particularly in terms of setting the bar for individual user experience.

Apple is making a huge push toward high-definition and customers are not pushing back. Instead, high-definition is being welcomed with open arms the way a new member to the family is accepted – as if she had been there the whole time.

High-definition displays are rapidly becoming a permanent fixture. Companies like Google, Motorola and Nvidia are putting out their own high-definition products to compete with Apple and meet customers’ new (and high) expectations.

imageThe interest in high-definition consumer electronics has seen a significant increase in the past couple of years. Usage of high-def TVs and laptops, particularly among children and teens, was growing, while that of other consumer electronics stayed the same or was down in 2010.

Today, the expectation for high-def has expanded to smartphones, tablets and other devices. Apple’s new Retina display on iPads and MacBook Pros is meeting this new need and capturing the attention of customers worldwide.

Apple claims that the new Retina display on their iPad 3 surpasses the retina’s perceptive capacity. The iPad 3 features an operating system that displays at 300 ppi and the ultra-HD video blows away previous viewing options.

Apple’s Retina display is also available on the MacBook Pro. Apple unveiled a new 15-inch MacBook Pro 2012 with Retina display at the Worldwide Developer Conference earlier this year, sparking rumors of a 13-inch model soon to come. The company also announced the retirement of the 17-inch MacBook Pro without Retina.

The success of the Retina display began when Apple introduced it on their iPhone 4. It was then used for the iPhone 4S and the iPad before making it onto the 15 inch MacBook Pro, which demonstrates Apple’s commitment to high def.

The larger screen pairs well with the phones cameras and video chat capabilities. A Droid Razr HD seen in China featured a 13-megapixel camera on the back plus a 3-megapixel camera on the front. The extra megapixels contribute to what appear to be nicer pictures from the Razr HD compared to the iPhone 4S.

imageTo compete against the iPhone 4, Motorola is releasing their Droid Razr HD. This device has become one of the most anticipated smartphones on the market, according to International Business Times. Reports suggest that the Razr HD will be stronger, thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4S. The Motorola Droid Razr HD will feature a 4.5-inch 720p HD screen, while the iPhone has a 3.5-inch screen.

The Motorola Droid Razr HD’s screen is reportedly 1196×720, which matches the resolution of the Samsung Galaxy S3. The crisper, larger screens make both of these phones attractive alternatives for the iPhone 4S, though Apple is hard at work on the upcoming iPhone 5.

The industry now needs to catch up with the new technology by creating apps, games and other entertainment options that take advantage of the impressive high-def displays on portable devices.

Qualcomm’s impressive development wing had a good showing at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Spain and offered enthusiasts a sneak peak at what’s in store for the upcoming crop of HD smartphones, including impressive projector tech.

The bottom line is that high-def is here to stay and thanks to the efforts of Apple and its competitors, consumer electronic users are able to see more clearly than ever.

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

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Filed under cell phone, Guest Writers, iPad, iPhone, Tech Net News, Video

Love And Freedom – The Porcelain Unicorn

I don’t often refer to non-technical videos, but occasionally there is one I wish to share……this is one of them. Sad, sweet, uplifting – film-making and story-telling at its best.

From the Net:

This summer, Philips and director/producer Ridley Scott launched a global filmmaking competition dubbed “Tell It Your Way” following its Cannes Lions award-winning short-film project “Parallel Lines.” The entrants were given freedom of expression and could take up any theme they wanted.

There were two strict rules – The dialogue could be precisely six lines (as it was in the ‘Parallel Lines’ films), and entries could not exceed three minutes.

Here’s the prize-winning entry in Philips’ “Tell It Your Way” competition. Easy to see how it impressed and touched the judges.

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To play video – click on the graphic.

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Filed under Living Life, Opinion, Point of View, Video

Internet Televisions Crush Household TVs

Guest writer David Samuel takes a look at the ongoing changes in viewing habits. 

In a nation renowned for its couch potatoes, you would expect TV’s in U.S. households to be more popular than ever with the plethora of recent technology advancements including HD TVs & 3D TVs. However, for the first time since 1992 U.S. households’ containing a television has declined by over 2%. While the decline is small, the shift in power is immense.

This change can be explained by the explosion of high-speed internet – from 2007 to 2009 broadband internet connections across American households increased by nearly two thirds; this is the most recently available data.

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In January 2010, the Consumer Electronics Association (CE) revealed that sales of televisions fell by 1%, while sales of internet-enabled televisions increased by a monstrous 150%. Households across the globe with broadband internet connection are progressively turning to the internet as their principal media portal.

It’s estimated that in 2011 internet TV’s as well as 3D TV sales will grow by over 60% in the U.S due to increased content from videos games, TV events, Blu-ray films and HD sporting events. Other electrical equipment, such as high definition audio units, is also increasing in popularity due to this demand.

The internet generation is no longer buying traditional televisions and are instead opting to stream media over the internet. In the future more households will have a mission control like layout, where both the TV and internet will be consumed. But, what will this cocktail media viewing unit be called? I quite like Media Viewing Device (MVD) – that’s my call – what’s yours?

Biography:

David Samuel is an electronic media consultant, with over 13 years’ involvement with some of the leading electronic retailers. David’s awareness and market intelligence make him one of the best equipped experts around. While specializing in HD TVs, David’s knowledge covers a wider spectrum of consumer electronics.

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Filed under Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Internet TV, Tech Net News, Video

iSpy Open Source Webcam Security, Surveillance, And Monitoring Software

imageIf you’re looking for a free (Open Source), Web Cam surveillance solution that includes a ton of built-in features, then iSpy may be just what you’ve been searching for.

iSpy, last updated December 28, 2010, is an open source application which uses your webcams and microphones to detect and record movement, or sound.

iSpy provides a number of additional benefits over the two more basic free Web Cam surveillance applications described later in this review, including:

Access to captured media over the Web, and to mobile devices – as well as the local network.

iSpy can be setup to run on multiple computers simultaneously, and has full Email and SMS alerting capabilities.

While I found setting up iSpy relatively easy, it was slightly more complex than the two free applications described later. On the other hand, additional features often lead to more complexity.

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As the following screen captures indicate, you’ll be presented with a smorgasbord of fine tuning choices.

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As the following screen capture indicates, you can access captures over your local network (local machine), which may be all you need.

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Alternatively, you have the option of setting up an account, which will allow access to captured content over the Internet.

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Fast facts:

Access and control your cameras and microphones using your mobile device (iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7)

Connect and monitor as many cameras and microphones as you like. Import and export object lists to share with colleagues.

Connect multiple computers in a group and manage over the web

Install iSpy Server and publish your webcam to other instances of iSpy, over your network and to the web

Detect, highlight, track and record movement

Record video and audio on demand (and via the web)

Detect and record sound

FTP frames from your camera to a remote server

Run any program or send an email or SMS alert when movement or sound is detected

Run any program or send an email or SMS alert when movement or sound is not detected (monitor machinery or staff activity)

Receive email movement alerts with attached frame grab images from your webcams

Periodically receive image grabs via email from your webcams

Connect to any device, even webcams attached to other computers with JPEG, MJPEG, IP Cam, webcam and AVI file support

Watch live and recorded media over the web (through this website and over your local network) and also via mobile devices

Access and control iSpy remotely

Schedule sound and video capturing to start and stop automatically

Time-lapse record from any camera

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7. Microsoft .Net framework will be installed if required. Windows media player 9 VCM codecs – will be installed if required.

Download at: Download.com

Two additional free Web Cam surveillance solutions, previously reviewed here:

Secure Cam:

Setting up Secure Cam is a breeze since the interface is minimal. Simply launch the application, and from the main menu select your device, select the device format and then initialize the device.

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You will then need to set the application options – click on the image in the Secure Cam window to bring up the options dialog box. Choose your options and you’re good to go.

SecureCam 5

I’ve tested this application extensively and overall, I’ve been very pleased with its performance.

Fast facts:

Automatically captures images when motion is detected

Adjustable motion detection trigger level

Supports up to 99 cameras

DVR card capable

Multiplexing capable

Capture Images when motion is detected, or continuous

Image sensitivity adjustment

Image Archiving (1,000s of images)

Dynamically expanding and contracting archive

Archive images from minutes, to years

Application viewer for image playback

Image playback at various speeds

Low processor and memory usage

Adjustable Jpeg Quality

Text Overlay

Timestamps

Image Rotating, & Flipping

If you’re looking for a free (Open Source), Web Cam surveillance solution, Secure Cam may be just what you have been searching for. In fact, this is the application I settled on.

System requirements: Windows (all), DirectX 9 or greater, 600Mhz Pentium 3 with 128MB Memory, Web Cam or DVR PCI card

Download at: Source Forge

Rise Sun:

Rise Sun is another free web cam surveillance application I looked at that’s perhaps not quite as feature rich as Secure Cam. But, if you don’t need all of these features, (some of the bells and whistles are just that – bells and whistles), this application is a very acceptable alternative that will meet your basic  surveillance needs.

Rise Sun 3

(No, I don’t really have green dots on my face – this is the motion detector in action).

Installation is straightforward and the interface is simple – no esoteric manual to digest here. New users should not encounter any difficulty getting this application to perform as advertised.

Fast facts:

Works on all webcam models available on the market.

Powerful motion detection algorithm that allows flexible adjustments to suit your needs.

Extended Period Algorithm (For Extra Precision)

Automatically take pictures, logs events or display silent warnings when motion is detected.

Silent Alarm, Alarm, Motion Logging System

Extended Threshold, Sensibility and Performance Variables

Automatic Snapshot (JPG Compression to reduce file size.

While I haven’t run this application for very long, it’s a very capable application. It does what it’s designed to do, and turns your webcam into a fully functioning motion detection video surveillance system.

System requirements: Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP, Vista, and Win 7.

Download at: Download.com

Note: If you’re a Linux user you haven’t been left out in the cold. Checkout – Motion, a software motion detector, here. Since I now run Ubuntu more than half the time, this application is on my testing to-do list.

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Filed under Connected Devices, downloads, Free Surveillance Applications, Freeware, Open Source, Software, Surveilance Tools, Surveillance, Video, Video Apps, Web Cam Applications, Windows Tips and Tools

Go Elf Yourself! – Christmas Is Coming!

Again this year, as they have for the last five years or so, OfficeMax is offering the charmingly humorous ElfYourself, an online animated Christmas greeting creation tool.

Working with ElfYourself is actually a bit of fun, and while the end product is not “professional”, in any sense, the result is pretty cool – especially when one considers the price; FREE.

Once the project is completed (it takes just a few minutes), you can then share your Holiday greeting by email, or post it to either your Facebook Wall, or to a friend’s Wall.

Go to ElfYourself to get started.

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Once on the site, follow the simple instructions. The following screen captures will give you some idea of how uncomplicated the process is.

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The cropping tools could be a little more robust, I think. But, free is free – so, who’s complaining.

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The interface allows a number of minor adjustments.

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Once the face has been adjusted to your liking, the next step is choosing a dance to accompany the animation. Luckily, there’s a fair number of choices.

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Once you’re satisfied with the results – sharing your creation is a breeze.

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imageA tip of my Hat, although since it’s winter here in Canada – a tip of my Toque, to my good British friend John B., who was kind enough to put me on his list of ElfYourself Christmas greetings. Check this out.

If you’re tired of the same old, same old, Christmas greetings, then visit ElfYourself and get creative. You’ll have a bit of fun at the same time.

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Filed under Arts and Crafts, Cloud Computing Applications, Email, Freeware, Just for Laughs, Recommended Web Sites, Social Networks, Software, Video, Windows Tips and Tools

Using Adobe Reader? – Then Watch This Video Of Your Computer Being Penetrated

imageThere is nothing particularly unusual in Adobe Reader having an unpatched vulnerability. If you use Adobe reader, you’re used to having to wait for Adobe to release another patch to correct another vulnerability.

Once the fix is released you’ll be safe – at least temporarily; but only until the next bug is discovered.

The latest bug in Adobe Reader, CoolType.dll, which was disclosed on September 10, won’t be patched until October 4. In the meantime, if you’re a user of this application, take a look at this YouTube video which illustrates just how easy it could be for a hacker to penetrate your computer system by exploiting this vulnerability.

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Click on the graphic to watch the clip.

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A big thank you to my Blogging buddy Dan Dieterle over at Cyberarms, for putting me on to this video. Dan has tested this exploit, and confirms that it works.

For additional information, checkout Dan’s article – Adobe Reader PDF 9.3.4 “Cooltype Sing” Zero Day Exploit.

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Filed under Adobe, Application Vulnerabilities, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Video, Windows Tips and Tools

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt Stars In “Don’t Be Evil” Video

image According to one regular reader here, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt is “a dangerous fool”. Another reader expressed a similar view (albeit, in slightly stronger words), when he wrote “Google are bast**ds. And so is anyone else who keeps information on people ….. they don’t have the right, or our permission.”

Unusual points of view do you think? Or, are these two views more broadly held than either Google, or Schmidt, are prepared to acknowledge?

Listening to Schmidt pontificate on the privacy issue in the last year or so, you would be forgiven if you believed the fight against Google’s virtually raping of the public’s privacy, for commercial gain, is all over – except perhaps for the crying.

Quotable quotes from Schmidt in the last year include:

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

“We (Google) know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are.”

“I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.”

He managed to top these inflammatory bits of Google wisdom recently however, when he suggested  – children could be entitled to change their names when they got older, if they want to escape their youthful indiscretions, and disassociate themselves from their one-time online lives.

Given the unprecedented ability Google has to collect endless streams of data, and correlate that data (much of that ability jealously guarded), I have no doubt, that Schmidt’s seemingly bizarre view, is well founded.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist in any sense, but I do believe that the very structure of Google constitutes an attack on a basic human right – the right to be “left alone”.

I admit, I’m in the minority in recognizing the truth, in that occasionally seen bumper sticker – “Google Is Not Your Friend”. But, I’m far from being alone.

Consumer Watchdog’s, Inside Google, which describes itself as “a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, ….. to educate the public and opinion leaders about Google’s dangerous dominance over the Internet, computing and our online lives”, has crafted a short though provoking video – “Don’t Be Evil?”, in which “Google Is Not Your Friend”, takes on new meaning.

To view the video on YouTube, just click on the graphic.

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As well, the video is currently running 36 times a day in New York’s Times Square.

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While the fight to rein in Google might seem unwinnable, privacy advocates have not lost the battle yet. Earlier this year, Google was condemned by the privacy watchdogs of 10 countries (including the UK, Canada, France, Germany and Italy), for showing a “disappointing disregard” for safeguarding the private information of its users.

If you believe that your privacy is worth fighting for, then join with the “good guys” and become proactive in the campaign to manacle the Google octopus.

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Filed under Google, Interconnectivity, Personal Perspective, Point of View, Privacy, Surveillance, Video, Windows Tips and Tools