Tag Archives: tutorial

Create Folder Icons for OS X


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Alec has created another screencast for us! Today, he’s going to show you how to create your own custom folder icons if you’re using OS X. It’s not as easy to do as you might think, and I know many people who haven’t figured it out on their own. Alec’s tutorial will show you how to do this quickly and easily, without having to throw your computer out of a window!

The first thing you’ll need to do is to choose icons and download them from Apple’s site. There are thousands available, so this part might take you awhile. Once you have those downloaded, you’ll need to open the folder to see your icons.

Right-click your desktop and create a new folder. Name it whatever it is you want to have it called. Now, right-click on the icon you wish to you, and choose Get Info. At the top of the new window, you’ll see the picture of the icon on the left. Select it so that it has a little blue square around it. Click Command + C on your keyboard to copy it, and then close that little window out.

Now, right-click on the new folder you created, and once again select Get Info. At the top left, you’ll see your boring folder icon. Select it so it has the blue glow around it as you did before, and then click Command + V on your keyboard to paste your icon. Close that info window, and you’ll see your new folder has the correct icon on it now!

The folders work like any other folders. Drag and drop files in there, just like always! You can create your own icons if you want, but be sure that they save in the correct Mac format. The free program Img2icns will help you create and save icons for OS X!

Thanks, Alec, for an excellent tutorial! Very well done!

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Any Tips for Creating Video Tutorials?

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I know that screencasts are all the rage, and I enjoy watching them. I don’t enjoy making them myself, though. There’s something that seems so impersonal to me. Community member Firebucket sent in his list of top five tips on creating a video tutorial to pass along to all of you.

  1. If you’re going to be demonstrating how to setup and install a program that you can download from the web… NEVER show yourself downloading the program. You can give links if need be, and show yourself being on the web page. Never download while recording, though. Have them already downloaded and ready to go. Even better, install the software first. Installation wizards will bore your audience to death.
  2. Make it simple. Don’t use words that your audience won’t understand. If you have to, define it in an easy way that they can understand. For example, don’t say something like ‘Scaling your images down changes the pixel size’, say something like ‘Scaling the image down, makes the picture smaller’. You will catch more people that way and it will sound like you really know what you’re talking about.
  3. Get a microphone and explain using your voice, not Notepad or Microsoft Word. I have seen tutorial after tutorial explaining something that I really want to know. However, once the video starts, the tutorialer loses me by playing distracting music in the background and SLOWLY typing the instructions in a word processing program. This is painful for your audience. They want to be able to hear you, not constantly go back and forth between the program/feature you are demonstrating and Notepad, slowly typing up the instructions.
  4. Get proper screen capturing software. If you are willing to pay for good software, you can buy something like TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio. There are also free, open-source alternatives out there that will do a similar job. One is CamStudio. I have used this before and with their Lossless Codec, my videos were looking fantastic. CamStudio records in AVI or SWF. You can use the AVI video format to burn to a DVD to distribute to your classmates, friends, co-workers or family. Or, use the compressed SWF file type for uploading to video sharing sites or your own website. This will save you bandwidth and hard drive space. For a Mac, you can use iShowU.
  5. Make sure you put the tutorial online somewhere where it will pull in an audience. Places like YouTube and Blip are great places that people go to. They’re usually looking for something to watch because they are bored, or they need to find how to do something. You will at least get 50-100 views minimum… and maybe even a few subscribers, which can inspire you to become a regular video tutorialer.

These are some of the reasons I don’t do screencasts. In order to make good ones, you have to do it well. There are too many people not doing it well, in my opinion. Not only do the videos I record get uploaded to YouTube, they also get placed into my blog, thanks to Kat. This way, you can read the show notes. Kat will add additional information, notes and links to whatever we’re talking about in the video. I believe it gives things a more in-depth perspective to go along with what I’ve recorded live.

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LCD Screen Brightness

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Every day brings new viewers to our live chat. A recent visitor asked about her new laptop screen not being bright enough. She has reportedly changed her settings in the laptop control panel, with no luck. She wrote in to ask my advice, so let’s see what we can do to help Tifferz!

Every laptop brand is different in some ways from the other. They may have different hardware, they could have slightly different configurations. Just as they vary in these ways, they also can have different levels of brightness to the screen.

There are unfortunately only a couple of things you can do to adjust the brightness on your laptop. One method is discussed in this video, and again on Yahoo! Answers. Each laptop should have a small button with the letters fn. The letters on that key can vary by manufacturer. Usually you can find this button on the lower left corner of your keyboard. Pushing this button along with the one that has a picture of a small screen and an up arrow (found on the F4 key usually) simultaneously will adjust your brightness.

Another nifty little trick is to simply plug the laptop in to a power source. Many laptop screens will become a bit brighter when the machine is plugged in. If these two options fail you, make sure your video drivers are updated, and try moving the screen to a different angle.

There are several tips and tricks found right on Lockergnome.com that can help you get your LCD monitor adjusted to your comfort and convenience.

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Help! (the Yellow Tint Video)

Oh man, the video quality totally sucks – but at least I did it. Since I’m a YouTube Director, I can upload more than ten minutes worth of video at a time. “It” doesn’t really have a name yet, “it” was recorded this morning at 3:30am live-to-tape, and “it” is just the beginning (as I hope to record in higher definition with better screen switching soon). For now, this certainly works. Three things to note: (1) Cat Schwartz should be joining me soon, virtually; (2) Darth Vader’s floating head will be a regular feature; and (3) While the workflow isn’t perfect yet, my EyeJot widget is the best way for you submit video.

Free Cheat Sheets

After you’ve finished watching Darth Vader Calling the Emperor, you should probably find something a bit more constructive to do. Spurred on by Sean’s linking to a couple of WordPress cheat sheets (API, Theme), I went looking for some of my favorite cheat sheet authors to see if any had been updated – or new ones added. I found a wealth of great desktop-based cheat sheets. The Cheat Sheets from ‘ILoveJackDaniels’ are simply amazing, and their design is definitely the one to beat. The Quick Reference Cards page has links to a few good ones, largely for the geekier development types. The Google Cheat Sheet PDF is a must-have, even if you already think you know your way around Google. Cheat Sheets are great when you need a one- or two-page reference (and digging through a manual or help file is just too arduous a task).