Tag Archives: edit

Use TypeWith.me to Collaborate on Documents in Real-Time

Having to shift between different computers and mobile devices is something we do without thinking about. We spend so much time staying connected that it’s second nature to us by now. However, our flow is interrupted whenever we have to figure out a way to work on something we may not have easy access to. What if you forgot to email yourself a copy of a document? Perhaps you might need to quickly collaborate with several people to create a proposal – and none of them are in the same location.

This is where a tool such as TypeWith.me comes in handy. You can either use a generic URL which the application will assign to you, or choose your own document name by typing in typewith.me/documentname (if it’s not already taken, that is!). There’s nothing to configure or install, and you’ll find a host of options to help you get things done. If you’ve already been scratching out notes in a standard text program and need to share it with others, simply choose to import your file from HTML, standard text, Microsoft Word or from a Rich Text File document.

This application (based on the open sourced EtherPad code) allows you to invite anyone to join in the process simply by sending them an email from inside your document or by pasting a link in an email or IM. Your unique URL is created when you begin the document, and every change is saved immediately. You can quickly revert to a previous version at any point in time, and adjust the slider bar to only save in increments of your choosing.

While you are viewing a saved version, you can grab a link to it (instead of your working document) and share it with others to read-only or collaborate with you on. You’ll also be allowed to download these saved versions at any point in time – exactly the way each of them were saved. No more deciding “I like the old way better!” and having to completely redo things. Just click on the version you want and go from there.

Your collaborators can each type in their changes and additions in a color assigned to them. This makes it a snap for you to see who has done what… and why! You can, of course, also strip away background colors completely, as well as the line numbers. Additionally, you can change the spacing of the document slightly so that it is easier for others to read. Simply click on the Options tab at the top of the page and make your changes.

You can use this free service from virtually any type of laptop, computer or phone that you might own – as long as it can access the Internet. This genius little document creator even works on an iPad. You’ll have to export the document as text or HTML first in order to select text on that particular device. Your export options include HTML, plain-text, bookmark file, PDF and Microsoft Word.

TypeWith.me is not meant to replace traditional text-editing documents. It is, however, a fantastic way to quickly access your documents from any machine or device you happen to be using. Type or click your URL and you’re there.

And be careful about what you place on the open Internet. The chances of people finding what you’ve done is slim… but you never know!

Resize Photos With Shrink O'Matic


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BWOne has done several screencasts for us in the past, with great success. He’s been busy uploading CES videos to his own channel lately, but took a break to create another screencast for all of you. Today, Bowman is going to show you how to easily reduce the size of your pictures using Adobe Air’s Shrink O’Matic!

Shrink O’Matic is an AIR application to easily (batch) resize (shrink) images. It handles JPGs, GIFs and PNGs. Simply drag and drop images and they’ll be resized as you wish! Options allow you to choose the output sizes, names and formats. Make sure you specify the output folder (and format), or else it will save over your original by default.

The program allows you to define the pixel length and width, compression ratio, how to name your new file, and the new format. You don’t have to resize photos one at a time anymore, either. Shrink O’Matic allows you to run a batch of several pictures all at once!

Shrink O’Matic works on both Mac and Windows. Even though it only has a limited number of formats it can work with, it should be perfect for most user’s needs!

Thanks, Bowman, for another excellent tutorial!

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Free Photoshop Online


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Sometimes, people want to make use of features of Photoshop, but they don’t have the need (or resources) to buy the complete program. Adobe allows you to sign in on the website (or join for free) and use certain elements of PS without having to buy the actual software. There are options to create projects, edit photos and even email them to others when you’re finished. In this screencast, Alex is going to show you where to go, and what to do when you get there!

Head over to the Photoshop website. Register for a free account if you haven’t yet, or sign in with your existing ID. If you have an Adobe account, you can sign in with that, as well. Once you’re signed in and choose a photo, you’ll see all of your options ready for you to make use of.

If you choose to edit, you’ll have a basic editing suite loaded and available. You can crop and shrink, auto-prep the photo, adjust sharpness and saturation, and choose from some advanced editing tools. You can even adjust the white balance so that it’s more to your liking.

This free suite is not as powerful as the actual Photoshop program itself, but you can do basic editing, as well as photo enhancement. There are even cool effects that you can apply to your pictures if you choose.

Once you’re finished editing, you can choose to decorate your pictures. You can add text, colors or stickers on your photo if you wish. This can be a lot of fun to do with those family vacation photos, or pictures of your friends (or kids!) goofing off. Add little fun pictures on the top of your own pic, or even add a frame around it!

If you want to do basic photo editing, using the free Photoshop website tools is a great way to accomplish your tasks. Thanks Alex for this excellent screencast!

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Picnik


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I recently attended the WTIA Fast Pitch Forum & Technology Showcase. The conference featured two dozen of the of the hottest technology companies in Washington presenting their business in a competition for “Best In Show”. Picnik makes your photos fabulous with easy to use yet powerful editing tools. Tweak to your heart’s content, then get creative with oodles of effects, fonts, shapes, and frames.

If you already use Flickr for your photos (here’s what I do with mine), you’re only a click away from taking a Picnik. That’s how I discovered it, and it’s worked fairly well for me to this point.

An added note is that Yahoo has rolled out some new services recently, to hopefully cut down on the number of additional sites that patrons will ever need to visit. One of these is called Edit Photos by Picnik. This app provides users with a quick way to crop, touch up, add effects and more to any of the photos located in their inbox or online. How much easier can it get?

Picnik is a great service, one that I myself use frequently. If you haven’t checked it out – you’re absolutely missing out!

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How to Produce a Successful Video Shoot

Geek!This is Keegan Blackshear’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:

Whether it is a live video stream, or a video that you are going to put on YouTube, there are many things that you have to keep in mind. Through my trial and errors in making videos, I have found many important items that need to be addressed to make an all-around decent video. I have arranged them according to what I think is the most important first, to the tip that affects you the least.

  • Video Quality – Good video quality is a must for almost every type of video that you may plan to shoot. In the case of showing small items, you need to make sure that the audience can see what you are holding or showcasing. If you appear as a blur on the screen, you should adjust the video quality. This can be achieved by adjusting the focus. Good video quality is a goal that you need to work towards each and every time you shoot video. Try finding out what quality your device has, and attempt to use it to its fullest. If you can use a video camera or photography camera that can record video, then try to use that. If possible, stay away from webcams as they can have a lower quality picture than that of a video camera. If you must use a web camera, purchase one that is of higher quality instead of one that is less expensive.
  • Lighting – Lighting, along with video quality, is important. If you do not have good lighting for your video, then your audience will not be able to see what you are trying to show them. Placement of lighting is important so the viewer can see what you are showcasing. For example, if you place a lamp to the side of you with the shade taken off, then the viewer will typically be able to see only half of your face. If you can move the lamp in front of you as much as possible, it should cut down on the shadowing of your face. Another example of this is if you are standing in front of a window that is open. The light coming in from a window can darken the things in front of and around it. A simple solution would be to close it, or put a sheet, towel, or a curtain over it. If it is necessary for the window to remain open, then you can brighten the area in front of the window with some artificial light from a lamp or ceiling lights. If there is a brighter window behind the camera, then you could let light in from that window to combat the light in front of the camera. Remember, too much light can be a bad thing. The video can become washed out, where it is hard to see what is on the screen.
  • Sound – Sound is another key item that you need to take into consideration when you are setting up, recording, or streaming video. The placement and surroundings can effect your decision greatly. If you have a microphone on the device that you are using to record or stream video, then you may want to think about getting another microphone. The most convenient spot to place your microphone may not always be the place that you should put it. If the easiest place to put the microphone is behind you, you should automatically think about a different place. If you can not find another spot for the microphone, then you can attempt to make the best of the original microphone on your video recording or streaming device.
  • Information – The information that you give in the recorded or live video is an important factor, because it will help you express your message to the audience. You have to be able to convey what you’re saying to your audience properly, or they may not be able to understand what you are trying to get across to them. You will want to take some time to plan out what you will say ahead of time to prevent the need to redo the shot. Before you stream live video, take some time to look at the material that you will present… rehearse it, then shoot it.
  • Editing – Editing is important mainly to recorded video, as it is difficult to edit a live feed. However, you can record the live video that you streamed, to edit later. Some people prefer to upload raw footage and do nothing with it. That is understandable, because it can be a hassle to edit video. However, it is a good idea to edit video in the event that you made mistakes. Editing may also come in handy if you are unable to get the same camera angle again, because of the time of day, position, or equipment change.

These are the five tips I find most important for beginners to have a successful video shoot. It is easy to incorporate these tips into your video-making routine. If you have any other suggestions that you find helpful, you can find me on Geeks, or leave a comment here.

Do You Have any Online Video Tips?

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The videos that we typically record are not always super high quality. However, consider that the video you’re watching now is done live. Our chat room is open and hopping, as you can see in the stream. Nick wrote in and asked if I had any recommendations on software to help him make better quality videos. He currently uses Windows Movie Maker, and is looking for something cheap or free.

I think he should stick with Movie Maker. If he’s on a Mac, I would recommend Final Cut Express, or even iMovie. However, if you can download demos and try them free, I would do that. You can experiment with different programs, to see which produces the best results for you. I unfortunately don’t know of any open-source programs that will work for you. If anyone else does, please let us know.

Nick also threw in a few tips of his own, when it comes to doing videos online.

  • Be original! If you’re going to make a video, don’t stage it. Staging it just makes it useless, and not so funny.
  • Mooching off of someone’s fame came help. He based a film off of Leroy Jenkins that gained over 100,000 views in under a month. Put your own twist onto something.
  • Don’t take insults personally, or even seriously. Some people just get a kick out of trying to bring someone down, even if your work is good. Someone saying “your video is no good” isn’t even constructive!
  • Making videos is an art, and practice makes perfect. If you make a video that sucks… just redo it! You’ll get the hang of it, and be making quality videos in no time.
  • If you’re serious about making videos, put some thought and effort into it. Take the time to properly edit your work. Also consider exploring different camera angles, lighting, etc.

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Edit Video with a Video Editor: 5 Tips

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MrBogosity from our live chat room sent in five excellent tips to share with you all about video editing, especially when it comes to YouTube. These are definitely ones you’ll want to pay close attention to. Keep those Top 5’s coming in!

shanedk on YouTube, MrBogosity in the chat room.

  • Tighten your edit. You may have worked hard on those several seconds of clouds, or bizarre color-cycling patterns, or whatever, but the rest of us are going to be bored watching it and may very well click away and watch someone else’s video. Make things happen all the time. Give us a title card on the screen, or come on and talk, or cut to the next thing, but do it quickly. Here’s a guideline: once the content for that part of the video is finished, start counting. If you can count higher than 1 before the next part of the video, edit it down! Exceptions might be a pause for comic or dramatic effect, but don’t pause too long.
  • Make text readable. White or yellow text on a light video doesn’t do it; select a contrasting color. Take advantage of whatever features your software might have, such as outline or drop-shadow, to make it stand out from the background. And if it’s going on YouTube, remember that they’ll compress the bejeezus out of your video so make the text sufficiently large, too.
  • Turn down the music. It gets your voice all muddled. You can keep it at full volume when there’s nothing else to listen to, but turn it down when there’s stuff going on, especially if you’re talking. If you’re accustomed to using a graphic equalizer, then you might want to turn down the levels in the 100-200Hz range and the 4-5kHz range. That’s where most of the important voice stuff happens. If you do that, you shouldn’t have to turn down the overall volume as much and we can more clearly hear both music and voice. You can also boost those same frequencies in your voice track.
  • Cut out the “fillers.” These are words like “uh,” “um,” and “you know.” Sure, there’ll be a little jump-cut in your video, but that’s not as distracting as those filler words. Your video will go faster, and you’ll sound smarter, too. You can do very quick crossfades instead of jump-cuts if they bother you. Oh, and drop the volume if you cough or clear your throat. We don’t want to listen to that.
  • Don’t use wipes. Don’t EVER use wipes. Don’t ever, ever, ever, EVER use wipes. Cut or crossfade to the next shot. On rare occasions you can do a dissolve where you use solarization or do some other effect, but use it VERY sparingly and only when it enhances the transition. And NEVER use wipes. And if you ever even THINK about doing a page-curl you should be hunted down and shot.

There you are, advice from a completely self-taught producer and editor. Editing is a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding when you come up with something that’s pretty good, and you start getting great comments. And above all: have fun with it!

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