Google Reader in Plain English

The folks at CommonCraft have done it again. This time, they have made a quick video about one of my favorite tools for reading information on the web, Google Reader. I’ll let them explain it to you.

I currently have 253 subscriptions in Google Reader. I can’t say that I read each and everything that passes through, but there are certain RSS feeds that I do pay closer attention to than others.

Do you ever open up a newspaper and scan the headlines? Then perhaps you read the byline to get a little more behind the story, and only then do you decide to actually read the rest of it. There are many times when I use it in that capacity, especially when it comes to various feeds from news organizations that crank out a lot of items in just a few hours.

This is how I keep on top of things, even if it’s just a quick glance.

Playing photographer at the Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival 2008

Entrance to the Vancouver Dragonboat Festival 2008

About a week and a half ago, I had the extreme pleasure of joining Rebecca on a really cool experience of covering the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival for the festivities of 2008.

Cycling teams through

People come from all over to compete in this event, not to mention watch and enjoy the festivities.

The Festival was created to show off Vancouver’s growing cultural diversity and to promote racial harmony among Canadians – new and old. Vancouverites were invited to the festival to experience spectacular food, entertainment, arts and children’s programming reflecting Vancouver’s cultural diversity. At the same time, interest in paddling was taking off and more and more teams formed and registered each year.

Twenty years later the Festival still fulfills its mandate to promote cultural harmony among Canadians. It has developed into one of Vancouver’s most anticipated summer family events. [dragonboatbc]

Throw ring, win tinfoil!

This was just a little bit more than the run of the mill walking around, shooting pictures, and seeing the sights. Thanks to Anita, we had media passes to the event.

Pretending to be in the boat

Rogers team stretches before racing

Probably the best thing about the media access for this event was being able to ride in the media boat and follow the racers as they went from start to finish, paddling along until their bodies couldn’t give anymore.

Warming up


Keeping guard

Good game

With my trusty camera, I decided to try something a little different and shoot some video with it of an actual heat or two.

The Dragon Boat Festival is a real passion for some of these racers. There’s a community that comes from the numerous teams, and the action is just as intense. This is something that you don’t really get a sense of until you get away from all of the tents and vendors on dry land. When you get down to the water level, it’s a whole other experience that I’m really glad I had the opportunity to see.

Fenway Park cameraman shows off his expensive toy of a day job

This is pretty wicked. Found this via Robert Scoble who found it via Jakob Lodwick, and what we have here is an incredible video that was put together by Tom Guilmette who is not only an avid video enthusiast, but his day job is being a camera man in the outfield at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.

This short video is a small tour of the camera he uses to do his job, and the camera he used to make this video blog of sorts isn’t anything to sneeze at as well.

Fenway HD Camera – Sony HDC-910 – Canon 75x from Tom Guilmette on Vimeo.

I would love to be able to do something like this with my day job, but in all honestly, radio is not as pretty and it sounds. No seriously, it sounds way better than what it technically takes to make radio happen.

What tornado damage looks like from the inside, as it happens

The Des Moines Register posted this video on their site of the security cameras from inside of a bank that was destroyed during the tornado in Parkersburg, Iowa over the recent Memorial Day weekend. The video is astounding. You can see what the wind can do as the windows are blown out, and then the tornado hits the building dead on, eventually taking out the cameras.

Update: The Des Moines Register also posted this video footage from the same storm that destroyed much of Parkersburg, Iowa. It’s truly shocking.

DVD player from RCA that keeps on giving

Last Christmas, I decided to help upgrade Rebecca’s aged DVD player by getting something that would help us enjoy home time together. Her old player would get picky about what it would or would not play from time to time, especially any burned media that we would throw into it. So this is what I ended up getting her.

RCA DRC285 DVD Player The RCA DRC285. Our hope is to do the HD upgrade in the future, so that was my main reason for choosing this model due to the HDMI[wiki] outputs. That way when we make that jump, she can watch her “Sex in the City” DVD’s in all their 1080p glory. Plus there is the ongoing education of sharing movies with each other form respective “must see” libraries. The price for this was a great buy, so it was a good situation.

Now here’s the kicker. This little puppy has a USB 2.0 port on the front of it. On a whim, I took a 350MB AVI and put it on a 1GB thumb drive. The remote has a “DVD/USB” button on it, so after plugging it into the USB port, I hit the button, the little LED flickered like it would when being accessed by a computer, and there was the file listed on the screen. I selected it, hit the “OK” button, and the video file loaded.

What we normally did before this was run about a twelve foot A/V cable with RCA connectors[wiki] from the back of the TV to our iMac. The TV then became a second monitor with audio running to it from the computer, giving us the option of watching downloaded video files on our TV. None of that sitting in front of the computer monitor for us.

So with this USB discovery, it was an amazing moment. The video looks superb compared to the output generated from the iMac to standard NTSC video quality. There was a lot of pixelation from fast video movement, but that has changed since we’ve gone to viewing programs off of the thumb drives. I say drives because you can put about two episodes of a program per one, 1GB thumb drive. With two, we cycle through the pair.

Additionally, the DVD player flows right through the list of files. Start with the first one and it plays the next one in order. Oh, and you can also pause and fast forward like a standard DVD.

With our hectic lives, it’s safe to say that this has been a very cool addition to our arsenal of things to disconnect with.

Podcasting in plain english

I spent a huge part of this past weekend cranking out a bunch of podcasting content for Happyfrog during EPIC in downtown Vancouver. I’ll make a post about that soon (because it was an amazing experience), but this just popped up on my Twitter feed. Since it’s all about podcasting, I couldn’t pass it up.

So here is “Podcasting in Plain English” by the great folks at CommonCraft. It’s another great creation by these folks to help explain cool internet things in much simpler ways.

A basic understanding of what podcasting is, minus the gritty details. Trust me, that’s harder said than done. Good job, Leefevers.

Real world uses of Ustream, and it’s not for just being geeky

I’ve been aware of the whole Ustream phenomenon for a time now, and there have been a few opportunities to get my mug into the action with some of the live streams of the Canucks Outsider that Dave put on, with the help of Roland. Outside of that and what Chris Pirillo does with the service, I haven’t given much thought about Ustream’s capabilities or uses. At least, I know that I can use it, but what would I use it for? (Do you really wanna watch me read my RSS feeds, do some geeky web-programming-podcasting-blogging stuff, and drink coffee?)

Robert Scoble dropped by Ustream’s offices and did one of his patented interviews with the people behind the scenes. After watching it, it opened my eyes to what they are doing, how it works, and, more importantly, what the real world can use Ustream for.

The bulk of what I’m getting at comes towards the end of the interview. Since Ustream is embeddable nearly anywhere you can dropped the code, there are a variety of uses for this. With a webcam(that has a good audio source) and a decent internet connection, you can stream anything you want, live and for free. It’s that simple, and many computers are built with this capability off the shelf. You just have to set it up with Ustream and broadcast what the camera sees.

City council meetings could be open to the public with no need for local access cable channels. Company meetings can get posted on internal, corporate sites that only employees can see. Or maybe you have those events that you want to get out to the public and wish that the local news station would give you more coverage than just a fifteen second mention on the six o’clock news? Now you can bypass that worry and broadcast what you want to the world, but still invite the “media” in case they want to come down. The options are endless.

It makes more sense to me now. Ustream is looking to expand what they are doing by upping their services in a variety of ways. I’m certainly looking at them with a different perspective.


Joost When I first heard about Joost, I thought not a lot of it. On demand video over IP. I love my TV in doses that I can control, but there really wasn’t much more that made me want to check it out. That changed this afternoon when I got myself an invite to try out the beta, so here’s my initial thoughts on it.

Addictive. Turning it off was, I admit, difficult to do. Anytime you can give me access to watch content from around the world, I’m curious. I don’t care what language it might be in, but that won’t stop me from checking it out. Even this beta version has a lot of content that I can see myself getting into, I’m more curious about other things that are slated to come on board, namely The Soccer Network. On top of that, get me on demand Cubs games and I’ll be uber hooked.

I only spent about twenty minutes watching the content that is currently available on Joost, and the quality wasn’t that bad at all. In fact, I found myself watching Fifth Gear[wiki] for a few of their clips. I’m not a car guy, but now I get why people are so hooked on this show. They do cool things about cars that I’ll never own or care about. Still, that shows the effectiveness of technology like this. I might actually stop and watch this on the “normal TV” if I stumble onto it.

I think it’s pretty cool. I’ve heard other people complain about it, but the guys behind Joost are working on making it better. At least I hope that’s the case.

Fun with video, podcasting, and Canucks hockey

In the midst of the craziness that has been this past week, I’m doing my best to surface here and there to make some updates. This piece of news involves one of my fellow Crazy Canucks hosts, Dave Olsen. He is taking his podcasting endeavors to new heights with a live video cast.

For the first ever live, streaming video episode of the Canucks Outsider on Saturday. April 21st at 5PM PST. The show will be delivered via and feature live chat, guests, hi-jinks and libations. Stay tuned for details and save the date/time. [canucksoutsider]

The brains behind this experiment is Roland Tanglao, and he has already tried a variety of vidcasts on his own via this same method. I do believe that if you miss the live part, the video will be archived so you can view it or download it later. Fun stuff, indeed.