Tag Archives: creative

Creative Zii D5 Bluetooth Wireless Sound Speaker Review


Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

If I want to listen to audio on my iPhone, it’s not usually a great experience. It’s not practical to walk around with my hand cupped to my ear. Unless external speakers are Bluetooth-enabled, it’s a pain in the proverbial rear to hook them up and tether it. I have to thank the folks at Creative for sending along the ZiiSound D5 Bluetooth Wireless Multimedia Speaker System for me to review.

The ZiiSound D5 is a high-quality device that can dock your device, charge it and act as a wireless speaker system. The wireless transmitter will instantly turn your iPhone, iPod or iPad into a remote control. You’ll get superior Bluetooth stereo performance with their apt-X audio codec.

I found out about this at the recent Bluetooth Sig event. I didn’t even realize there was such a thing that would look nice and work well. I can connect any Bluetooth device capable of transmitting audio to this setup. It doesn’t “only” work with my Apple portable devices.

The speaker system is touch-enabled. I can control the volume in two different places… and it has seriously rich sound. I don’t sound quite so whiny when my voice comes out through these speakers. The bass sounds excellent, which is surprising with a set of speakers such as these.

This is the reason I like to get out of the house every once in awhile. I tend to find out about some very cool new pieces of technology when I venture out to attend functions and conferences. What new things have you discovered recently?

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

Daynah, iPhone Girl Geek!


Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

Traci Toguchi was in Vegas last week, covering the CES conference for us. While, there, she hooked up with Daynah, who was kind enough to help record some of the videos. Daynah is a hard-core Geekette to the max, boys… She’s a PHP coder, a gadget junkie and a WordPress guru!

Daynah works for iProng Magazine, where they write about anything and everything related to iPhones. Daynah has been to CES in the past, and was duly impressed this year. As a gadget geek, she was excited by all of the awesome things she got to play with on the floor this year.

Being an iPhone fanatic at heart, Daynah was ecstatic to see all of the goodies on display at CES that all related to the iPhone. She picked up several new things, including something to do with Hello Kitty. I’m not so sure I want to know what that is all about, Daynah!

This year, Daynah is looking forward to Macworld, which is coming up in just a few weeks! Knowing Daynah, I know she’ll be seventh Heaven while she’s there!

Thanks to Creative for sending Traci the awesome Vado3 to use for recording purposes. It made things much easier on her!

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

Creative Vado HD 3rd Generation Video Camera Review


Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

Ever since I purchased it, I’ve been pretty happy with my Creative Vado HD first generation. I really like it because it has a wide-angle lens. Now, I have in my possession the Creative Vado 3rd Generation! It definitely looks a lot different than the one I already had, that’s for sure. Let’s see how it works!

They’ve improved things with the 3rd Gen. The file format now records in MP4, which is good for both Mac and Windows users. There’s also an audio jack on the top. That allows you to not only listen, but also to plug in an external microphone, as well. It still has the same wide-angle lens, which is a very good thing.

It can record up to two hours, or longer if you use lower resolution. However, if you use the HD Plus format, you can only record one hour. The additions to the Vado HD are nice. Theoretically, it makes it better than previous versions. However, if you didn’t notice, there’s already fingerprints all over it. Even though I’ve only had it for two weeks, it’s all smudgy and icky. I’m grateful to Creative for sending this to me for review. However, I just don’t like the glossy finish.

Another thing I don’t like about the Vado HD is that the only button on the back is really the record button. Do you know how many times I accidentally brushed the wrong buttons during or before recording? You have to be extremely careful when recording. This is the problem with touch controls.

Yes, it’s nice that they have the audio jack. But at least with the first and second generation versions, I didn’t have to be so careful not to press the wrong button at the wrong time. The color is more true-to-life than in older models, and I am happy with that.

Do you own – or have you used – a Vado recorder? What are your thoughts on them? I’m giving this one a 3.5 out of five stars. I really don’t like the glossy look, and I am not happy with the touch screen.

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

Creative Vado HD Video Format Help

David Fay appreciates my hardware recommendations:

Thanks a lot for all your vids posted on YouTube. It was very helpful in my decision to buy the Vado HD. I had originally purchased the Kodak zi6, but thought it was a bit bigger than I wanted to carry in my pocket every day. So, I got the vado HD and LOVED it.

The AVI format does not work in iMovie ’09. I read a bunch of blog entries with this issue, and downloaded “ffmpegx” which seems to take a while, be a huge extra step, and I do not know if it is possible to batch process. I have a MacBook Pro, and love the ease of dumping vids in iPhoto, then making movies in iMovie ’09.

Is there an easier workflow to convert files into a better format?

Yeah, Creative screwed the pooch on Mac support – but there’s a perfect way to fix their shortcomings (until they wake up and realize that not everybody in the world uses, or WANTS to use, Windows).

My suggestion for both Windows and Mac OS X users is to download MPEG Streamclip (freeware). It’s got a batch processing feature for you. Simply adjust your output accordingly (I’d recommend experimenting and finding your own favorite MP4 setting). I believe the Windows version is on par with the OS X version, so you should be good in that respect. I also use this utility to watermark URLs in the lower right-corner of videos that weren’t produced live.

Still Image Quality from the Best Video Cameras

“musicmaster890” was awestruck by the scenery in Seattle (specifically, the landscape shot in my recent video camera field test). He decided to take high quality stills and sew them together into single panoramic photos. I say the results were quite striking – further lending credibility to my argument that the Creative Vado balances color better than the Zi6 and the Mino HD.

I’ve uploaded these images to my Flickr account (obviously, opting to embed them in this post as well). If you’d like to view a higher resolution image, simply click the thumbnail. They were all taken from the videos in this series. No, I don’t live on a lake; the mirror effect was added for artistic purposes. The photos were not retouched in any other way.

  • Pure Digital’s Flip Mino HD is, as expected, a bit washed out. Yes, all it needs is a bit of contrast and saturation adjustment, but this was lifted directly from a video. Wouldn’t you have better colors from your video camera without needing to edit in post?
  • Kodak’s Zi6 does fairly well with contrast, but the sky is a tad oversaturated (almost looking like the Mino HD’s sky – minus the Mino’s inexplicable green tint).
  • Thanks to its wide angle lens, Creative’s Vado HD captured much more (vertically) compared to the other two devices. The sky’s blue and the clouds’ orange seem true to my memory of the scene, too.

Which one looks best? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One thing’s for sure: I love my backyard!

Kodak Zi6

Kodak Zi6 Stitched Landscape.jpg

Creative Vado HD

Creative Vado Stitched Landscape.jpg

Flip Mino HD

Flip Mino HD Stitched Landscape.jpg

Best Video Camera: Creative Vado HD vs Flip Mino HD vs Kodak Zi6?

Creative Labs Deals:

[rsslist:http://coupons.lockergnome.com/cgi-bin/feed_new/rss-custom-feed.pl?search_method=stores&stores=1231191500&date=0&all_coupons_per_store=1]

Find Coupons for over 1100 Stores

First, I got the Kodak Zi6. Then, I got the Flip Mino HD. A few hours ago, I received a recently-ordered Creative Vado HD and decided that instead of doing a full-on review of it, I’d compare it directly against the Mino HD and the Zi6 – in a short video shootout.

  • Flip Mino HD Likes: small and lightweight; has decent software that runs on both Mac OS X and Windows; decent “foreground subject focused” audio in noisy situations.
  • Flip Mino HD Dislikes: Touch controls are too sensitive; there’s a plastic protector that flips out along with the USB connector; colors are always washed out; flat video quality; white balance is impossible; tons of noise in low light; my skin tone never looks right indoors; built-in YouTube uploader decreases quality automatically; tiny LCD screen; cheap plastic wrist strap.
  • Kodak Zi6 Likes: decent saturation; decent audio; great LCD size; uses AA batteries; uses SDHC media; macro switch; great quality when not blurring.
  • Kodak Zi6 Dislikes: unpredictably blurred recordings in low light; no clear audio when noisy; no Mac software support; can be oversaturated in certain scene; heavy construction.
  • Creative Vado HD Likes: great balance of color and saturation in the average shot; tends to favor skin tones; wide angle lens; can record two hours; replaceable / rechargeable battery via USB; lightweight; sharp definition.
  • Creative Vado HD Dislikes: included skin doesn’t accommodate battery replacement / hard reset; audio is treble muted from behind (in narration); skews to light which isn’t always neutral; has a wrist strap slot but doesn’t come with a strap.

The Flip Mino HD is the worst of the bunch to my eyes and ears, and I’m looking to sell it (hardly used) at a good price. The Kodak is completely unusable in artificial light (due to uncontrollable blurring), which rules it out for where I’d need it most. I don’t think Flip is going to fix their problems with a software update, but I’m holding out hope for a Zi6 fix. Kodak has to get its act together – so does Pure Digital.

For my money right now, it’s the Creative Vado HD. The wide angle lens is absolutely essential when you’re trying to get closer to a subject – or if you want more in the scene. That’s all you need to know – and all the reason to go with a Vado HD over the others. Even if you think the Zi6 isn’t bad, the Vado’s wide angle lens trumps it. You have to be much further away from your subject to get the same shot as you can with a Vado (closer, and with MORE in the frame). Keep that in mind the next time you’re in tight quarters, or when you have to take three steps back just to get the shot you wanted.

Plus, the Vado does a much better job with skin tones and saturation (generally) compared to the other two in indoor situations. The HDMI cable may be another win for you and the Vado, but I seldom use video out in these cameras – so that’s just a value add. Hardware controls are comfortable on the Vado, and I like how its USB connector is flexible.

Now, you can watch the following videos inline – but I’d also recommend viewing them on YouTube (where you can watch the original 1280×720 as recorded and uploaded without editing). I’ve linked to the HD versions in the list above. Understand, too, that the Zi6 was at least six inches behind both the Flip Mino HD and Creative Vado HD in this test – even though it appears as though the Creative Vado HD was the furthest away. I’m telling you: that wide angle lens is AWESOME.

Flip Mino HD

Kodak Zi6

Creative Vado HD

Does Anybody Buy Creative’s Hardware Anymore?

Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

I love getting video feedback as a response to something I’ve done. It’s very cool when I’m able to show you guys a video that one of you have done and incorporate it into a video that I am doing. This video is one done by a person wondering why I don’t really talk about Creative’s products.

I’ve owned Creative products in the past, but I haven’t purchased any in quite a few years. I just haven’t found anything worth buying. Many years ago, I installed a Creative sound card though. Do you remember how cool it was to hear things come out of your computer? I even remember a piece of software called Dr. Sbaitso that allowed me to type in words and have the program repeat them to me. I used to giggle over typing in curse words, and hearing the computer cuss at me!

The Creative Zen Jukebox was a 60GB mp3 player. I bought it because at that point it was the only MP3 player on the market that had such a high capacity. It would also play .wma files, as well. Since then, I haven’t really purchased any Creative products since then. In my mind, none of them have been that interesting to me. I still have the hard drive out of that little piece of hardware.

The one thing that has always plagued Creative is their software. If I had to give them a grade on it, it would be a D. I always found it lacking. It wasn’t designed well, wasn’t clean, and wasn’t as integrated as it could have been.

Now that I’m a cross-platform kind of guy, and own an iPhone, I just don’t have a need to buy any Creative products. They haven’t really created anything that I would want to take a look at. Looking at their site, they have sound cards, speakers, and headsets… all of which I really don’t need. Even when I did, my old software experience with them just made me turn away from trying them out.

So now you know why I don’t own or use Creative products. Maybe many of you out there will follow up and let me know why you do or don’t use Creative products. Don’t just say they’re “awesome!” or “horrible!”. Tell me why you feel the way you do. I really want to know.

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

Creative Thinking: Think Creatively!

Geek!This is Mark Coupe’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

‘Creativity: the process of developing new, uncommon, or unique ideas.’ – Google Definitions

Many of us want to be more creative. If you’re as deterministic as those in the industry, you’d want your next project, be it art or literature, to be the best you can do. However, sometimes we just might not think that we have what it takes to be creative, especially when today’s world thrives on a good idea. Follow these tips and ensure you have what it takes to be a creative thinker.

Plan Your Way to the Top

All innovative and outwardly creative ideas require thoughtful planning. This can be done as vigorously or as relaxed as you wish; after all, these are your plans and you are the only one that will need to follow them. Mediums and methods such as mind mapping, flowcharts and spider diagrams are a great way to learn and plan. Try writing little notes for yourself and leave them around the house. This may kick-start your brain into taking action. A little bit of planning can snowball into something fantastic.

Discuss, Discuss, Discuss

This works in a variety of ways; either talk to those who share your ideas and visions, or discuss ideas with those with differing views. By doing this, you construct a completely unbiased idea. This also adds motivation and may even add depth to your original ideas. From personal experience, talking to many varying groups helped with my coursework immensely and by the end, the result was completely different than originally envisioned, appealing to a mass audience.

Persevere!

At the time, an idea may seem challenging, especially a thought provoking and innovative one. This should not discourage you, and should instead fuel you into producing something the world has never seen before. Let your ideas and views be known. Look at many successful products and you’ll see that each of them have their own quirk or niche. Develop your own by sticking to your idea and try to envision an audience.

Don’t Let an Idea Escape You

If ever you’ve hit a creative block, carry a notebook or scrap of paper with you wherever you go. Inspiration can hit you like a bucket of water while you’re out and about and it’s so easy to forget when you come to writing or producing something. A notebook will help greatly and easily fits in your pocket. This, along with a pen, is a valuable tool when it comes to spawning an idea.

What a Chore

While it may seem odd, chores are usually mindless enough tasks where you can allow your mind to wander. While your brain is active, let it wander and you’ll find the extra blood rushing to your head from performing mundane tasks helps you to summon that narrative or “cliff-hanger” ending for your story or project. Next time you’re out of ideas, do the washing up or vacuum the house. It works! Be sure not to attempt anything to strenuous when it comes to daydreaming. You want your work to be engaging enough to keep your brain flowing, but dull enough to let your mind wander.

On Community-Created Content…

First, we’re going to try a “Caption This” community content creation experiment. Then, I’m going to do my best to cover these points (or at least bring them up for discussion):

  • The best community tools can’t be built.
  • People exist everywhere online, as does the idea of community.
  • Content is a commodity, as is community.
  • Awaken to the Attention Metric: more important than traffic.
  • Community is no longer defined by boundaries; affinity is global.
  • Sharing is caring: embedding is the only thing.
  • Conversations happen anywhere, anytime.
  • You can’t control the community growth process.
  • There’s a great amount of control in being out-of-control.
  • Social is off-site; Exist Where They Exist.
  • The Lazyweb is always more powerful than you.
  • Viral happens, it can’t be planned.
  • A blog is merely a tool, as are social networks.
  • It doesn’t matter if most content sucks – it still exists!
  • Brand is becoming increasingly decentralized.
  • Content bends around delivery mechanisms.
  • Google is the great mitigator.
  • Digital distribution is infinitely scalable.

How do You Improve Your Writing Skills?


Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

I’ve developed an acronym: PUGS. It’s short for Punctuation, Usage, Grammar and Spelling. If you remember your PUGS, then you’re going to create a better piece of text. People take you more seriously, and you will come across as a professional if you are using proper grammar. Yes, I can be forceful with my belief that you are smarter than you come across when you don’t write very well. Considering that a large part of being online is text… it’s important that you can write.

Maybe you know how to write, but you’re looking to become more creative. What resources are out there to help you? Language is a Virus won’t install malicious software on your computer. It will, however, give you a ton of new and creative ideas to get you started (or help you finish!). There are so many things on this site to help you, that I’m not even going to list everything. You need to head over there and check them all out. However, some of what you’ll find includes:

  • Poetry and random-line generators.
  • Title-o-Matic and character name generators.
  • Places on the site to post your own stories and poems.
  • Writing experiment exercises.
  • Poetry, Creativity, Writing and Language articles

If you’re having writer’s block, or even just need a little extra boost… this is an excellent resource for you. There are tons of widgets on the site that you can use should you choose. The creative writing exercises are truly amazing, and a lot of fun. You’ll even find articles and tutorials helping you along your path to writing a novel or screenplay!

You don’t need to have a degree in English, nor do you have to speak English as your primary language to get a lot of use out of this site. No matter how good you are (or aren’t!), you’ll get even better with practice.

[rsslist:http://shop.tagjag.com/products/writer]

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video: