Tag Archives: firewire

Which Type of Camcorder is Best?


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When you’re in the market for a new camcorder, how do you know which camcorder is best? Choosing between HDD camcorders, SD card camcorders, and MiniDV or HDV tape-based cameras can be confusing. The best camcorder for you really boils down to how you intend to use the camcorder.

If you live stream like I do, you need a MiniDV or HDV camcorder with FireWire so you can easily connect your camera to a computer and stream the video. If you want portability – and plan to record video files and upload them – either an HDD hard drive camcorder or SD card camcorder may fit your needs better. This way, you won’t need to capture the video from a tape.

With either HDD or SD camcorders, you simply copy a file just like you would from any other drive storage media.

How to Use FireWire 400 Devices in 800 Ports


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I don’t know if you remember the battle between USB and FireWire, but USB won of course. I still have a few devices that use FireWire, including the camera I use to record my videos. FireWire has less overhead than you do with a USB connection.

You probably still have devices that connect via FireWire 400 ports, I’m sure. I know I do. But now I need to connect this camera to a FireWire 800 port. Instead of buying all new cable, I’m just going to use a Sonnet FireWire 400-to-800 Adapter.

Just use your existing FireWire 400 cables with this simple adapter from Sonnet to connect devices to a FireWire 800 port. Just plug it in between a FireWire 800 port and a standard FireWire 400 cable’s 6-pin male connector. It can’t get any simpler.

Make sure you keep the Sonnet Adapters in mind, instead of going out and buying all new cable!

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What’s the Best Blu-ray DVD Player and Burner to Buy?

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Most of you probably have an optical drive in your computer, or even externally. But do you have a Blu-ray drive? If not, you should look into picking up a Mercury Pro!

OWC has rolled out the first external Blu-ray drive in the world that features Quad Interface, enabling it to hook up to your computer via four different methods – FireWire 400/800, USB 2.0 and eSATA, making it compatible with both Mac and PC platforms. There will be two models available – the Mercury Pro SW-5583 that reads/writes Blu-ray, DVD, DVD-RAM and CD-R/RW while the Mercury Pro SW-5583T does all the mentioned and comes with a full retail version of Roxio Toast 9 Titanium (Mac OS X).

The Mercury Pro is plug-and-play, and connects via FireWire… which is what interested me to begin with! I have an option to buy this at the end of my 30-day review, and I’m thinking of doing so. I’ve been wanting an external DVD drive, and this one really fits the bill.

It comes with everything you need, as far as software. It also comes with a couple of 25GB Blu-ray discs. This machine will allow me to make good backups, as well as saving videos too. There are a variety of connectivity options, so it’s very flexible! It’s definitely a quad-inteface!

No matter what type of computer you have, nor what you need to use Blu-ray for… this is the perfect solution for you!

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Can Analog to Digital Conversion Happen via FireWire?


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I’ve tried a few devices that could take a signal from a video switcher and feed it into the Mac. None of them really would work with the software I use to integrate all the different components. I picked something up at the Apple store as a last resort, and what do you know? It worked! The ADVC110 A/d Converter is exactly what I needed.

Use ADVC110 to connect all analog and digital video cameras, decks and editing systems. ADVC110 is a portable and easy-to-use digital video converter compatible with Windows and Mac OS computers. ADVC110 is the ideal device for capturing and outputting analog video from any FireWire-equipped notebook and desktop computer. There are no drivers to install and ADVC110 does not require a power supply when used with a 6-pin FireWire cable.

Features include:

  • Connects to all widely used DV and analog video equipment.
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac OS DV editing systems.
  • Compatible with leading editing and DVD authoring applications including Grass Valley EDIUS, Canopus Let’s EDIT, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, Vegas, iLife, Ulead MediaStudio Pro, and Windows Movie Maker.
  • Audio-only conversion support.
  • No need to install drivers or any software applications.
  • Powered by IEEE 1394 FireWire connector.
  • NTSC and PAL compatible.
  • Color bar reference signal generator.

If you need to convert Analog to Digital and mount that specific signal, the ADVC110 is going to work for you. You don’t even have to install anything – there’s no “installation CD” included. Had I not picked this handy device up at the last minute, you all would not have been able to have live video during the Gnomedex conference. It may be a little pricey, but it’s well worth the cost. It works, it’s easy to use, and it’s just slick. Thank you, Canopus!

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Which USB / Firewire Car Charger do You Use?


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How many of you out there have an iPod? How many of you leave the house? What about having a car? Even if you don’t have an iPod, you may have a device that requires a charger of some type. I’m sure you have a mobile power adapter. Today, I picked up the ultimate charger. The Emerge Tech Retractable 5-in-1 iPod Charger is an awesome little travel option. The features include:

  • Compatibility: This accessory is compatible with iPod, iPod mini and iPod nano.
  • Versatile charger: A car power adapter, wall power adapter, USB and Firewire charge plug are all included, so no matter where you are you’ll be able to stay powered up.
  • USB and sync cables: Sync with your Mac or PC, or use the USB cable to transfer music, pictures and video to your iPod.
  • High-quality: Durable ABS housing means this accessory will be particularly hard to break in any situation.
  • Retractable components: The cords retract into the shell for protection and to save space.

Even if you don’t own an iPod, I still recommend this gadget. It’s well worth the $20 I paid for it, even if only to have the USB and Firewire charging capability. What other travel devices do you use and cannot live without?

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Cable Management

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Jthermane wrote: “USB, Power, FireWire… there are many types of cables out in the world that do many different things. They can bring things to life, carry data, output sound. But the more cables you get, the harder it is to keep track of them. They start showing up in different locations around your room or home office. Here are my top five tips for cable management.”

  • Use one drawer or box for all of your cables. This may be hard. However, when you go looking for that special USB cable for your iPod, it cuts down the look time drastically.
  • LABEL, LABEL, LABEL After a while, you may have two or three black power cords that have different ends… but say the same thing on the adapter. Use a silver sharpie (4 for $5.19 at staples), or buy a pack of file folder labels, and write on them in PEN. Nothing’s worse than having the lettering fade off a label in a drawer full of identical cables.
  • When storing, fold them up and put a rubber band around them. This makes it easier to store in a drawer, or any other small area.
  • Put heavily used USB cords into the plugs in the back of the computer. This makes it easier to connect those “quick use” cables in the front ports.
  • If you don’t have USB connections on the front of the computer, or if you have more USB cords than your computer has connections… buy a USB hub. It makes access to ports much easier, and you can keep it right under your screen. When buying a hub, always think about future expansion.
  • BONUS TIP!!! Try and keep cords going to the same area rubber-banded or twisty-tied together. This makes it easier to control the mess of cords behind the computer, and makes it look more sightly if your computer isn’t in a case.

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Wireless Networks, Hard Drive Failures, Web Browsers

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Taking live calls on the 888-PIRILLO line is always fun, especially when the questions are so diverse! This video entails more than one question/topic, so it was three times the fun!

Tuxedo_Jericho is a long time chat regular, so talking to him was lots of fun. TJ first asked what are good ways to increase wireless range with his router. The biggest and easiest way is to try to get a better antenna, if possible. Also, eliminate any wireless signals that may lie between the access point and the devices connected. If it’s in a house, try to keep the access point centrally located. My router is in the lower level of my house. Trying to access it from upstairs wasn’t working too well. I ended up buying a USB device that plugs in. It looks like a little radar dish. You point it in the general direction of the access point, and your wireless signal is boosted immediately. It makes a BIG difference. Sometimes, changing the channel on the access point works, as well.

The next call was two questions. The first one was whether I would go with iWork 08 or Microsoft Office 2008 for the Mac. It’s funny he should ask that, b/c I just got ahold of Office 08 for the Mac today. First of all, I didn’t feel it was any faster than the earlier version of Office for the Mac. Even though the UI has supposedly been updated, it still feels clunky. I honestly prefer iWork myself.

The caller then said he had gotten his first Mac Mini. He plugged in the external 500GB Seagate firewire drive, and turned it off. It wouldn’t unmount properly. It screwed up the directory file for it, and the entire file system. Even when he plugs it into Windows, it tries to reformat it. I asked him if he can try running a repair on it, and he already had. Even DiskWarrior says it cannot be restored. DiskWarrior is the King of dealing with things on the Mac. If it had problems, I honestly am unsure if anything else will fix the problem. It’s formatted with Fat32, which made me grimace a bit. I recommend trying to recover the data, before trying much else.

The last caller for this video asked what Internet browser I prefer. My first question, of course, is which platform does the user use? Since they’re using OS X, I had an easy time answering this one. Despite Firefox’s default settings for OS X and how good they are… I still use Safari as my default browser. It’s crazy fast, and works great. If you’re a power user, you may want to use FireFox. Also, I know of people who use Opera on OS X, but the UI is kind of junky in my opinion.

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How to Buy a Hard Drive

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Liam is 14 years old, and from the United Kingdom. He definitely has a bright future ahead of him. He sent in this top 5 list, with his tips on buying an external hard drive. Pay close attention to these tips if you’re in the market for one of these devices. Liam’s advice is right on target.

  • Decide on where and when you will be needing the hard drive. If you’ve got a laptop, then you’ll need a small, compact device, that only has one cable, and no bulky power supply. You’ll probably need a 2.5 inch drive, also called a notebook hard drive. These tend to smaller in size, but also smaller in capacity. Desktop hard drives, or 3.5 inches, tend to be a lot bigger in capacity, but have a separate power supply, and have a noisy fan running in the background.
  • Check the connections. What has your computer have that the hard drive will plug into? USB is the most common, but you need a dedicated port connected straight to the computer. They cant really be used in a USB hub, and tend to be quite slow. From my own experience, fire wire hard drives are the best. They are extremely fast at moving data and are virtually silent. But, they are a bit more expensive and are a little harder to come by than USB. If you’re using the hard drive between several computers, get an Ethernet hard drive that can be plugged straight into your router or hub/switch, but are a lot more expensive. eSata drives offer the fastest connection, but require a special connector and are extremely rare in most shops.
  • Check the speed. If you’re a dedicated game player and use the best games that money can afford, no matter how fast your system is, unless you’ve got a fast hard drive, you’re toast. Most hard drives, both external and internal tend to run at 7,200 RPM. smaller drives will run at 5,400 RPM. But, if you’re someone who needs fast connections, go with something above 9,000 RPM. Of course, the speed of the cable does help, but the faster your hard drive spins, the faster you can get information to and from it. Beware, faster drives run a lot warmer, and will probably have a big, noisy fan hanging out the back.
  • Backup software. If you’re running OS X Leopard, then you’ve got Time Machine, but windows users will probably need extra software for regular backups. Check the packaging of the hard drive, or its website, to see if it comes with dedicated back-up software. Backing up is a must, even for the smallest users, because you never know when your internal hard drive will fail, or windows goes ahh and dies in front of you.
  • Read reviews. Whenever buying anything costing more than a few bucks, check the web and several different websites for reviews and ratings of the product. Check to see what people say about the noise of the fan, the speed of the machine, and what its like in general. Chances are you’ll find a good deal, especially in the January sales, but there is normally a reason for a hard drive to be priced lower than all of those around it.

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The Best Hard Drive Enclosure

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I have a large collection of hard drives lying around. I’ve been looking for a great enclosure for at least one of these, to use as an external drive. I’d rather it be a FireWire 800, as the transfer rates are just outstanding. However, those are hard to come by. Finally… I found exactly what I need.

the Mini Stack version 3 from Newertech.com is just amazing. You can order just the shell to put your own hard drive in. Or, you can order it with a hard drive installed up to 1 Terrabyte. With its eSATA, two FireWire 800, one FireWire 400, and three USB 2.0 ports PLUS FW800/FW400/USB2.0 connection cables included, miniStack v3 connects to Mac and PC systems with Plug-n-Play simplicity.

There are so many high performance speed components in miniStack v3 that you’d be tempted to drag race it. The latest generation Oxford 924 chipset, the fastest drive mechanisms on the market, and an eSATA port all combine to deliver the fastest single drive data transfer rates possible…up to 150 Megabytes per second! Having a “quad interface” in one portable housing makes miniStack v3 ideal for data intensive uses like audio/video editing, digital photography, MP3 libraries and high-speed back up. Plus, now you can connect multiple desktop digital accessories like scanners, printers, memory card readers, digital cameras, and iPods – all at once – with miniStack v3’s unique, ergonomically enhanced rear and side port configuration.

The price is just right for one of these. It’s an absolutely amazing device!

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Firewire Target Disk Mode


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Did you ever notice your Firewire ports showing up in your network, and wonder why? Not only can you can also use a FireWire cable to set up a network between Mac computers, but you can use it to transfer data directly between them.

It’s easy to bring two Macs together using FireWire. Simply plug the cable into both Macs. Reboot one, while holding down the Tkey on the keyboard. As it boots back up, an icon for the drive will show up on the machine you left running.

Yes, it really is that simple – so simple, I probably overdescribed it. Despite what I said in the video, this isn’t so much a “networking” feature of FireWire. Several commenters in this post, as you will read, outline the feature in more detail.

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