Playing DDR

During a Target run today, I decided that for some reason, it would be nifty to use Dance Dance Revolution as a method of exercise, so I got one of the Konami kits that has DDR Extreme 2 and a bundled dance pad. I'd have to say the only unfortunate thing about this kit is that the dance pad only works with playstation II consoles, but that's okay, for now I've just borrowed Justin's playstation II.

DDR Extreme 2 has an interesting mode, it's called exercise mode, unfortunately I've discovered that exercise mode kills me. However, this could be an advantage, because I need to do some working out and losing some weight anyway.

Anyway, here's to the revolution of the Double-Dance!

Thoughts on HDV.

Hey Everybody! This is actually something I wrote as a forum post, and then liked, so here it is on my blog. If you'd like to follow the discussion, click here.

This evening I was reviewing the procedure for getting video from my sony handycam (video8) onto the computer, and usable by a nonlinear editing system such as Final Cut Pro or Final Cut Express. One of the things I discovered is that FCE/FCP doesn't like plain mpeg4 DVD rips, so my procedure for using (any analogue video source with a composite or svideo output really) Video8 now includes using Quicktime Player to convert the .mp4 file to a .dv file.

My main concern with this is that it has become a bit of a time consuming process to prepare my video for final cut, and that the filespace advantage of using a ripped DVD file (which is about 700megs/hour) versus a .DV file (which is about 13 gigs per hour) is now gone, without any of the actual quality advantages of having imported from a real DV camera.

I've been looking at newer camcorders, and what I've seen is that while DV (and digi8 too, if I were going to go that way...) is become less expensive, so are DVD cams, hard disc cams, as well as HDV cams.

DVD cams are interesting because they seem to promise nice, DV quality, but they don't use tape. However, I've noticed that those don't mix well with the iMac. Plus, that only eliminates one (admittedly the least fun) part of the current process.

MiniDV cams are attractive because they are inexpensive (bhphotovideo.com has one for $199) but I am concerned that this format (along with all other things standard def) may be a bad investment (at least to buy new) because of the growing popularity of all things high-definition.

Hard Disc camcorders are significantly more expensive, one of the cheapest ones around is $430 and this is still standard definition. Unfortunately what I've learned is that the current hard disc camcorders are extremely difficult to use with Macintosh video software, and they're even difficult to use with PC software, but very slightly less so. The idea is good, but it's still not been executed properly I think. Add to that, these units are still standard def, which could mean in the long run, it'll be a bad investment.

This brings me to HDV. I've noticed that there is now at least one HDV camcorder for under $1000, the Canon HV-10 for $800, and the Sony HDR-HC5 for $999. Canon's upcoming HV-20 is also going to be available soon, for $1099.

This format seems to be the future, it uses MiniDV tapes (though higher-grade "HDV" tapes are available, which supposedly improve the quality of the format significantly), and it can record 1080i or 720p (I bet it can record 1080p but the low end cameras don't do that apparently.)

My question is whether or not it seems like HDV is really worth it yet, especially for those of us who might already have access to other high def equipment, if some hypothetical person is interested in getting a camcorder sometime within the next few years.

Naturally, there are not really any HD-capable disc burners within a reasonable price range yet, but for displaying HD works on the TV, there's always the component video output on the camera, and there isn't anything saying that bluray or hddvd burners won't come down in cost in the coming years.

Another thing that may be worthy of noting is that HDV is the same data rate as DV, so in the end (storage-wise) if I record an hour of video with my handycam and put it on the computer (after converting to the .dv file), and an hour of video with an HDV cam and put it on my computer, they take up about the same amount of space. (at least this is my understanding, it may or may not be correct.)

I think if I were to adopt HDV today, I'd go for the Canon HV10, it's a smaller size than the Sony offering, as well as being better in a few ways even than its upcoming big sibling, the HV20. The HV10 has the ability to record analogue audio/video from its line-in port to a DV tape, for example. In fact, just about the only down-side to the HV10 is its lack of a microphone port, but that isn't that big of a deal for me, considering I only first started using an off-cam microphone a few weeks ago. Plus, another advantage I've got is that I'd still have the old handycam hanging around if I needed to make recordings using the microphone.

I like the idea of the extra video quality that HDV offers, especially if I intend to do some sort of independent or experimental film at some point in the future, but I am unsure if it's really worth it right now, especially given the fact I've already got the Handycam... well, handy.


Return of the iMac

The yet-unnamed iMac has returned. It's weird though... all of my data is gone, and I'm going to be spending a very long time getting everything returned to normalcy, I can tell. It is really unfortunate that what happened did, because it really reduces my trust - not only in computers in general, but specifically in this computer. This computer was less than 90 days old and it failed completely and totally - as a result of BootCamp with Windows XP, I had to get the motherboard and the hard disc replaced.

Unfortunately, replacing the hard disc means that all of my important data that was on the hard disc is gone. These include such awesomenesses as the UeberWiki, my entire iTunes library (minus whatever I may be able to derive from old archives), and a few of my photos.

It's somewhat devastating, but I guess that this is a good lesson for me in BACKING UP! I am going to start a backup plan this evening, where my home folder will be backed up on a regular basis. I also intend to back up the UeberWiki at least once per week, and create archives of files I am no longer using on DVDs, which will help reduce confusion and uncertainty, and maintain order and whatnot.

Luckily, I've gotten some network things sorted out (this also prevents unauthorized people from using my printer) and gotten the UeberWiki back online! is the new URL. I'm going to create a new intro page, and that'll probably host my potential future video podcast or something.


Birthday, RA Interview

Well, it's been an insane few days... This really should be like four different posts, but here it goes.

My birthday was on Friday, so on Friday night, my friends Megan, Justin, Seth, Mike and Ashley came to sweep me off my rear end onto my feet, out of the room and into the world for our "night on the town." We had the mandarin super-buffet, which was okay - but not remarkable. Admittedly, I was a bit difficult for awhile, and the original plan was to go to the other chinese place, but in the end it worked out well enough. After that, we get back to the dorm, and it turns out that Megan and GirlChris had baked a cake earlier that day - wow! (I'm still eating the cake now, I'm going to finish it this morning. It's awesome.

It didn't end there, though! I got an Easy Button and a Staples gift card from Megan.
Needless to say, I think I've got the most awesome friends of anybody, ever.

In the morning on Friday, I went to check on the status of my iMac. It turns out that the hard disc needs to be replaced, and they're doing that for me. I am going to go Monday and ask them to perform the data recovery service as well, which could cost me up to $60 depending on who is working and how helpless I seem to them. I really dislike putting myself in that kind of position, but I also really want my data back if I can get it. that drive had my music, the UeberWiki, some schoolwork, and lots more on it.

As far as my other computer goes, I now have the PowerBook G3 running Mac OS X 10.3.9, I will probably just leave it with this for awhile. I've got a few nice apps on here, and I'll probably go ahead and put Dreamweaver MX and Office 2004 on here, to prevent me from needing to run PPC apps on the Intel iMac. (I still intend to buy Adobe CS3 when it comes out, but that's quite far away.)

Saturday was big too, my dad and Brenda came for a visit and we went to the Flagstaff mall for lunch at Ruby Tuesdays, then some shopping. I got a new pair of pants in a slightly smaller size, which is my new goal. I also got a shirt. Then we went to Target and got some microwave burritos, deodorant, shampoo, laundry detergent, milk, and a tripod. Some useful stuff, some cool stuff, in all, a nice day. After shopping, we went to to the Olive Garden for dinner, and then my day was over. (Not really - I stayed up until like 3am playing computer. :P)

This morning was like an EventExplosion. At 7, my dad came by and dropped off a birthday card. Then I went back to sleep. Unfortunately, the phone rang a few times. I ended up ignoring it the first time, then it rang again and a message was left. "oh my god!" I thought. It was an NAU Office of Residence Life director, calling to say that I was currently missing my appointment. "Oh noess!!!!" I thought. I called back after a shower, and left a message explaining that I regretted missing my appointment and I was in the process of getting myself over to the office. The director called me back shortly, and said not to rush too much, that if I got there before 10, I'd be good. She said "we didn't want you to miss this, because your application was definitely not just thrown together." (that made me happy.)

So I get there and my interview starts - It's a director from Sechrist, and RAs from McConnell and Tinsley interviewing me. Their 20 questions ranged in difficulty, but they obviously know how to make sure that somebody is well-qualified. I felt fairly confident, but one thing I observed was that I started using fairly big, somewhat formal words, which I'm not sure they wanted. Hopefully I get a second-round interview though.

Anyway... have fun, and to all - A Happy Tuesday!


iMac... maybe?

Well, the iMac was repaired, but that has apparently failed. I went to the NAU bookstore today and checked on the status of my repair, and it turns out that the replacement logic board was ordered, received, installed, and then failed!

Sometimes, I wonder about computers, and whether or not they're worth it.

I'm now using the PowerBook G3 (500MHz/1mb L2, 512mb of ram, 30gig hdd) as my main computer. It started on Mac OS 9.2.2 as a no-internet work computer, as well as doing my website in Dreamweaver MX. Then, getting tired of it's lackluster Internet performance, I put SuSE Linux 10.1 on it. That failed miserably, Linux is significantly lacking in the usability and speed departments.

The PowerBook G3 is currently running Mac OS X 10.3, where it has basically all of the apps I really need, and it runs them quite well. (still some performance issues, but they're nowhere near as awful as running Linux was.)



Well, that certainly is a relief! For those of you who don't know,
last Thursday while I was attempting to discover the "Wow" power of
Microsoft Windows Vista, I decided that vmware wasn't enough, and that
I would need to use Vista in the Boot Camp environment. Unfortunately,
I couldn't partition more than 5 gigs of the disk for some reason, so
I decided I may as well do Windows XP. Unfortunately, that failed too.
The iMac stopped recognizing all forms of boot media.

Anyway, I brought it to the shop on Thursday, and have finally heard
back today - they ordered a new logic board for it, and it should be
ready within the next two to four days. I am going to go pick it up on
Thursday if it is ready by then.

Also, I cleaned my room, that made me feel a bit better. Plus, I've
been picking up the paper on time.