Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to Reserve Equipment in 90 seconds or less

Thanks to Jesse for this 90-second video walk-through of how to reserve the equipment we lend from here in the lab. You can make your reservation at

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Final Cut Pro X

Wow. I have never read such vile reviews of a product in my life. An awful lot of people seem to be singularly unhappy with Apple right now over the new release of Final Cut Pro, which became available as a download in the App Store just yesterday for $299, a heavy discount from the previous version's $999 price tag.

First, you can (and should) check out Apple's FCP site at

Then you can read Walter Biscardi's review at Creative Cow, which does a good job listing the problems that have made so many FCP users upset:

Then, before you get TOO upset, you should read David Pogue's responses to many of those complaints:

He ends his article with these words: "Professional editors should (1) learn to tell what’s really missing from what’s just been moved around, (2) recognize that there’s no obligation to switch from the old program yet, (3) monitor the progress of FCP X and its ecosystem, and especially (4) be willing to consider that a radical new design may be unfamiliar, but may, in the long term, actually be better."

We will be keeping Final Cut Pro 7 in the lab for the coming school year (this was already the plan, even before the release of FCP X, because Apple's release date was too close to the beginning of classes to allow us adequate time to learn and test the new software), but we will have the new version available on at least 1 or 2 workstations for those who wish to start using it or play around with it. We'll re-evaluate the state of FCP in the Summer of 2012.

Updates: It's been several days since the release of FCPX, and there's a growing body of good material on what's going on:

Jeffrey Harrell has an excellent post on why FCPX is wrong for professional editors:

Thanks to Ellen for pointing me toward this response to David Pogue from video editing guru Rich Harrington:

Also, if you have an hour and half to kill, and this topic is of particular interest to you, you may want to check out Rich Harrington and Walter Biscardi--both long term professional video editors and longtime FCP users--discuss their concerns in this "podcast" at called "Why We Can't Use Final Cut Pro X at Our Companies":

Most significantly perhaps, David Pogue has since downgraded his recommendation on FCPX in his third article on the ongoing debacle: "Final Cut Pro X may indeed be ready for the future. But for professional video editors, it’s not yet ready for the present."

Man, I'm glad I'm not Steve Jobs right now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Facebook Privacy. Yes, again.

Lifehacker has created this nice guide on managing your privacy settings in Facebook. The best part is that they've promised to keep it up to date:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fitting the iPad into a Photography Work Flow

Terry White had a good post recently on how to fit an iPad into a Photography workflow. Yes, there's a certain aspect of the post that seems like a thinly veiled attempt to get you to purchase certain apps, but it's not unreasonable to expect that you'd need 3rd party apps to full take advantage of the device, just as you'd buy MS Word or Adobe Photoshop to full utilize your computer.

He breaks the post into these general areas:
  • Preparing for the shoot
  • Model and property releases
  • Getting images into the iPad
  • Controlling the Camera from the iPad
  • Reviewing the images
  • Editing the images
  • Going from Lightroom to the iPad
And talks about how the iPad is useful in each area.

Read Terry's post at

Friday, June 17, 2011


I learned about Lubith last week and I spent the weekend playing around with it. Boy do I like it. Lubith is a tool that helps you design and download your own Wordpress theme. For free! Check out this five minute (okay seven minute) tutorial on how to use it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Games & Alternate Reality Games for Learning

Great session for anyone interested in using games in an educational setting. I'm copying and pasting from the flyer:

Whether you are new to games or want to discover how they can be used for learning you won't want to miss the PANMA session to get the latest information. This session is for anyone in education, corporate or looking for new innovative ways to get your audience to participate and learn.

We're lucky to have Koreen Olbrish from Tandem Learning to share her knowledge and experience with you. Tandem Learning has been at the forefront of immersive learning strategies and applying game dynamics to educational projects. Koreen will share the latest trends in serious game design, including 3D immersive games and alternate reality games (ARGs), and how these design techniques can increase engagement and facilitate learning. For those new to serious games, Koreen will provide an overview of why games are great for learning, when games should be considered, and the basics of different types of serious game design. Case studies of corporate learning implementations of games will also be reviewed.

Q & A Panel

We'll close the evening with a Q&A panel where you can ask your questions.

You'll learn about:

  • Current trends in applying game dynamics to learning
  • How serious games can engage learners differently
  • Alternate reality games and their advantage in immersive learning design

Date: Thursday, June 30, 2011

Time: Doors open: 5:30pm / Event Starts at: 6:00 – 8:00pm

Location: Huntsman Hall, 3730 Walnut Street, Room G-55, Phila, PA 19104 | Directions:

Cost: FREE

Register Here:

Pizza & light refreshments will be provided. A special Thank you to our Sponsor Wharton Technology for providing the space and pizza.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Page Speed Online

I like this. Google Labs is developing Page Speed-a site that rates how quickly any page on the internet loads. I could imagine this being helpful for web designers testing out how quickly their pages are, but I could also see this being helpful for users. For example, if your computer is lagging, this site can tell you whether it's your computer that behaving badly or if the page is particularly slow. Of course, it might take a while for the page to work if your computer is the culprit...
In Google's words: Page Speed Online analyzes the content of a web page, then generates suggestions to make that page faster. Reducing page load times can reduce bounce rates and increase conversion rates.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Facebook Face Recognition and Privacy

The New York Times is reporting that Facebook is changing your Privacy Settings to allow its facial recognition software to identify you in the photos uploaded by you and others. Once you've been recognized, Facebook suggests to your friends that they tag you.

I'm not a big fan of Facebook making privacy decisions on your behalf. They should alert you that the new feature exists, and then let you opt in if you so desire. But of course, as I have said many times to many people Facebook and Privacy are actually polar opposites. FB wouldn't be able to make any money if people were smart enough not to share every bit of information about themselves with everyone else on the internet.

From the article:
You can change the privacy settings relating to the facial recognition feature, but it is a little confusing. If you want to disable the feature, go your account privacy settings and click “customize settings” at the bottom of the page. Once in this area, scroll down to a list of options called “things others share,” and then click on the button that says “suggest photos of me to friends.” You will then be given the option to disable the facial recognition feature.

Read the full article at:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hipster City Cycle

Vitale Media Lab vets Michael Highland (UPenn '08) and Keith McKnight (UPenn '08) have just released there long in gestation iPhone game. Hipster City Cycle is now available on the App store for $1.99. The two, along with their crew of cronies have turned out quite a product. Its a retro-feeling biking game that takes place on the streets of Philadelphia. You might recognize some familiar sites like Pat's and Geno's Steaks, a Septa Bus, and Rittenhouse Square. There are tons of details, and lots and lots of hipsters. Check out more on the game at there official site:
or at their facebook page:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

YouTube + Creative Commons

Starting today YouTube is introducing the option to upload your videos with a Creative Commons license. This will allow other users to legally sample your work to create their own mashups and musings. This is great news! Check out more details at