Friday, February 26, 2010 iPhone App has finally come out with their long-awaited iPhone application. It's available for free in the App Store, but you need to be a subscriber to take advantage of the entire library. There are still certain training movies that are available for free, just as there are on the original website.

It offers both high (default) and low video quality depending on your connection speed. It does not seem to offer variable speed playback, which is one of my favorite features, and of course you're not going to get the same quality or size of video that you get on a 22" monitor over a high-speed ethernet connection, but at least you never need to worry about how to occupy your time the next time you're waiting for a bus. :)

Unfortunately, we can't log in to our accounts on your iPhone, but the good news is that subscriptions are still only $25/month, and is possibly the best money you will over spend on training.

Read more about it on their website.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Now Lending Wacom Tablet

We're now lending a Wacom tablet as part of our equipment lending program. This is the Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet, and it you can use it with your fingers as well as with the electronic pen. As with our other equipment, you can borrow it for up to 3 days at a time. It comes with the tablet, the pen, and an installation CD that includes the PC/Mac software drivers and a short tutorial on how to use the tablet.

Ultimately it's really just a fancy mouse, so you can use it any way you like, but here in the lab, we mostly use tablets like this when we're using Photoshop, which can take advantage of the pressure sensitivity of the Pen, and it makes for a much more fluid experience when you're drawing or painting on the computer.

Login with your PennKey and reserve the tablet online at

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

CS5 Coming Soon?

Has it really been 18 months already? We're finally seeing the first hints of the next version of Adobe Photoshop. Scott Kelby is reporting on his blog that Adobe is looking for people to beta test the next version of Photoshop. With Photoshop World coming up next month in Orlando, I'd expect to at least hear an announcement of the new product line about then.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DAZ 3D Workshop

Explore the new world of 3D art and animation. We will show how to create objects and work with sample 3D model collections of people, animals, accessories, and environments. Presented by Louise Krasniewicz. Monday, March 1, 2010 10:00am - 11:30am in the Weigle Information Commons Class of '68 Seminar Room.


Well, thanks (not surprisingly) to Nick for the discovery of a new URL shortening (or lengthening, depending) service along the lines of or known as Shady URL. Just go to and type in the URL you would like to make shady, and voila!

For example, the URL for this blog:


Which you can then send out to friends and relatives.

I'm not sure how useful this service actually is, but it's certainly interesting if nothing else.


Hi all. We'll be closed this afternoon (Tuesday) 3-4:30pm for a class. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Events at Penn

The DP launched their new campus events calendar service this week, "Events at Penn" ( It's a clean, clear, simple interface, and anybody with a upenn email address can add an event. Perhaps the best part of all is that it was entirely created--from scratch--by our very own lab consultant, David Lei. Give the new system a try, find out what's going on, post your own events, and let David and the DP know what you think of the new system.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Closed for Workshop

Hi guys. We'll be closed this Thursday, Feb. 18, from 4:30-6:00pm for a class. Sorry for any inconvenience!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Our own Rico Moorer, President of UTv, filmed this Valentine's Day video and then cut it together here in the lab. Enjoy. And happy V-Day to you, too.

Friday, February 12, 2010


By now, you're all well aware of Google Buzz, announced just 3 short days ago while you were out building snowmen. Buzz is Google's new social networking service (read: attempted Facebook-killer), built directly into Gmail, and since it's an "opt-out" service, Google can claim to already have millions of users. To be fair, people (meaning the people I know) genuinely do seem to be using it already, and the fact that it integrates with Twitter, Flickr, Picasa, Blogger, YouTube, and Google Reader (note the annoying absence of Facebook). Here's Google's quick intro video:

And they have a web-based mobile Buzz app as well, which includes some nice location-based abilities.

Of course, there have been complaints about it too. One of our lab consultants has been complaining that it's very CPU intensive, slowing his machine down to a crawl, and Fugitivus has some rather coarse language to go on with her very legitimate privacy concerns. (They're working on fixing that problem, I'm told). Both Microsoft and Yahoo! had sour grapes moments. PC World gives us 5 reasons to love, and 5 reasons not to love Buzz.

TechCrunch has a good summary article on the new phenomenon.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Ivy

Happy Birthday to Ivy!

Buying a Hard Drive

Let's talk hard drives. If you're working on a project in Photoshop, or Illustrator, or Dreamweaver, or even GarageBand, a USB flash/thumb drive is probably all you'll need to transfer your files, or back them up. But if you're working on a video project in the lab--especially one that will take more than about a week to finish, we strongly encourage you to buy a portable hard drive to save your files onto. You should expect to use about 13GB per hour of standard, DV video and 40-50GB per hour of HD video.

There are 2 types of hard drive to consider:

1) There are the tiny portable ones, that fit in your pocket or almost into the palm of your hand, and only require a USB or Firewire cable to connect them to your computer. These tend to be in the 160 GB to 1TB (1000GB) range for $60-$200 depending on what brand you get and where you buy it. They're extremely convenient, and if you don't mind paying a premium for their extra portability, they're probably the best option. Other than price, the disadvantage of these drives is that they're a little slower (usually 5400 rpm), and for that reason you wouldn't want to edit video directly from them. Generally, you'd work on your video project on the machine's main hard drive, and then copy it back to your portable drive when you're ready to move it or back it up.

2) There are the bulkier, heavier drives that tend to be a couple inches thick, and require you to plug them into a wall outlet in addition to connecting them to your computer via USB/Firewire. They tend to range 500GB-2TB for $70-$200, so you get a lot more bang for your buck, but you can't just throw them in your pocket, and you need an electrical outlet to use them. If you want to edit video directly from the drive, be sure to get a fast one (7200 rpm or more).

You can find refurbished hard drives a little cheaper, but in my opinion, it's not worth risking your data just to save a few bucks.

You can buy both types of drives at:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Vote for Sparky People's Choice Awards

Check out the Penn entries to the Sparky Awards. You can see them (and vote for them!) at