Is It Leopard Time Yet?

I’ve had my Leopard discs sitting on my desk since Leopard came out.

But I’ve only upgraded our ProPresenter and ProVideoPlayer machines. This was mainly after reading on their forums that Leopard was working great and we were having problems on 10.4.11

There are some features I’m excited about:
-Time Machine
-Back to my Mac to get those design files I forgot to load on my laptop
-Screen Sharing over network or iChat (this is great for setting up PVP or PP3 or tech help)
-It’s supposed to be the latest and greatest and there is just something about wanting to be there too

But I’ve had my reasons for waiting:
-My laptop is working well and didn’t want to mess anything up
-A few Adobe apps reported problems but I think they are working fine now
-ProTools has yet to announce compatibility. I mainly use my laptop for recording, which I’ve tested on the iMac and G5 in the soundbooth and both recorded fine into ProTools on Leopard.
-Our color printer (Konica Minolta C6500) does not have Leopard drivers. (I can send a PDF to our office ,umm I don’t know his title but he oversees the printers/ copiers and the work room, and he prints and finishes most my files anyway.
-I’m still running Final Cut Studio 1. I don’t know if there are problems or if I’ll need to upgrade to FCS2

Currently I’m going to hold off on updating my MBP and the Mac Pro to leopard. At least until ProTools gets updated. But as I look at the list I don’t have a super compelling reason to upgrade. But I want to. It’s weird how I can so easily get fixated on something new and great. It’s the consumerism mentality in our society that I must fight every day.

So is it Leopard time yet? Any of you made the jump? Any problems with Final Cut Studio, Adobe Master Collection, ProTools? For me not quite.

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February 29, 2008. Tech Stuff. 1 comment.

The UHF World is Not Falling

Here’s a press release from Shure.

Shure Sets The Wireless Record Straight
White Spaces, 700 MHz Auctions, Other Frequency Bands

NILES, IL, February 26, 2008 – Shure has a strong message for our wireless microphone customers. “The sky is not falling,” says Michael Pettersen, Director of Applications Engineering, whose department talks to hundreds of wireless microphone users every week. “Most people have heard only half of the story, and that half is often wrong.”

While the UHF television band may become more crowded, it is not going away by any means. “Reports of the death of the UHF TV band have been greatly exaggerated,” says Mark Brunner, Senior Director, Public and Industry Relations. “The UHF TV band has been, and will continue to be, the largest and best spectrum for wireless microphone users.”

The FCC is in the middle of a multi-faceted reorganization of the UHF television band, stimulated by the future transition from analog to digital television broadcasting. The DTV stations will occupy a smaller section of the UHF spectrum (470 – 698 MHz) than is currently allocated for television broadcasting. The remaining spectrum (698 – 806 MHz) has been divided up into blocks. Some blocks have been or will be auctioned to companies that will use them to provide new nationwide wireless services, while others have been reserved for Public Safety communications.

Even with packing the digital TV stations into a smaller piece of spectrum, there will still be unoccupied channels in every market. These “White Spaces” are used by wireless microphones, in-ear monitors, and production intercoms. The FCC is considering the use of the “White Spaces” to deliver wireless broadband Internet service to consumer wireless devices.

The scale and complexity of this project has generated confusion among wireless microphone users, resellers, and even some manufacturers. Shure explains three points of misunderstanding: the difference between the “White Spaces” and the auctioned spectrum blocks, the fate of wireless microphones after the DTV transition, and the viability of other frequency bands for wireless microphone use.

No Auction For White Spaces
“The ‘White Spaces’ are not being auctioned,” Brunner says. The auctions cover the spectrum from 698 MHz to 806 MHz, often referred to as ‘the 700 Megahertz band.’ “The ‘White Spaces’ will not be sold to Google, Microsoft, or anyone else,” he says.

The Morning After
And what happens on “the morning after” the DTV transition? “Wireless microphones will not stop working on February 18, 2009,” says Edgar Reihl, Shure’s Technology Director, Advanced Development. “Any consumer device that the FCC allows to operate in the “White Spaces” must include circuitry and software that allows it to detect and avoid both TV broadcasts and wireless microphone signals.” The FCC is currently testing this avoidance technology, and it is unlikely to authorize new devices unless they can adhere to these rigid rules and their performance is verified under real world conditions.

Wishful Thinking
Some have engaged in wishful thinking that moving wireless microphones to other frequency bands can eliminate the risk of interference. “The 902 – 928 Megahertz and 2.4 Gigahertz ranges have been represented as some sort of ‘spectrum lifeboats’, but those ‘boats’ have holes in them,” states Reihl. “The core UHF TV bands have much more usable spectrum available than the 902 MHz and 2.4 GHz bands, even after taking into account any new unlicensed devices that may exist in the years after 2009. More usable spectrum translates into more wireless microphone channels available to the user. Additionally, providing interference-free, high quality audio is even more challenging in these bands, where wireless microphones compete with other signals such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.”

Adjusting Product Offerings
“When the timetable for the auctions became clear, we responded by transitioning our wireless products to new frequency ranges that are below the auctioned and Public Safety blocks,” says Brunner. “Our premium UHF-R product was designed with the post-DTV RF landscape in mind. Its 60 megahertz tuning bandwidth is among the widest in the industry, offering maximum flexibility to large-scale wireless users.”

Working Closely With FCC
Shure has been actively engaged with the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology and with legislators in Congress since 2003. The Company has provided samples of its wireless products for use in FCC testing, submitted plans for field testing of interference effects, and has arranged meetings between FCC officials and representatives from broadcast networks, sports leagues, and other major wireless microphone user groups. “No one can definitively say how this will turn out,” Brunner says. “The FCC has to iron out a lot of details before it makes any decisions related to new use of the ‘White Spaces’.”

# # #

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts:

Chris Lyons Gregory A. DeTogne
Shure Incorporated Gregory A. DeTogne Public Relations
847-600-8704 847-367-8187

February 28, 2008. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

What I’ve Been Listening To: Jazz

I’m on a Jazz kick right now. I picked up The Essentials: Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane: A Love Supreme and Miles Davis: Kind of Blue

I’ve always enjoyed jazz music. If I’m listening to the radio it’s usually NPR, classical or jazz music. But I’ve always been intimidated in knowing what to buy. So I just started picking up some of the classics. These albums are great musical works. They have a great vibe for my creative work or just relaxing around the house.

I can’t articulate what differentiates good jazz from bad jazz music. I can just tell you what I like and I don’t like. I can identify the nuances of great musicians. But I want to educate myself about jazz. I also want to learn more about classical music too.

It’s like my journey of learning graphic design. Until I learned some basic rules of design (contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity) I couldn’t identify some of the reasons why I liked the way something looked. Or articulate why I didn’t like something.

I like to have a broad scope of musical styles I listen to. I like the variety. And I like listening to how the music is arranged and mixed. I think it helps me in my mixing.

February 28, 2008. Music, Random. 2 comments.

Running Out Of Space

My laptop isn’t even a year old. When I got the 160 GB hard drive I thought I’d be set for awhile. I wish I would have gotten the 7200 rpm model. But at the time they were saying those models were on a 4-6 week back order. And I had already waited for the newest models to be announced.

The only app I think that takes a hit for the hard drive speed is Guitar Hero III. But a faster hard drive isn’t going to help my fingers move any faster on that game. I’m still working my way through on the medium level. I tried hard today on an easy song and failed miserably.

My current drive was down to about 10 GB free. I dumped some audio loops I never used and moved some stuff to other drives and now I’m up to 25 GB free.

I have about 14 GB of music. 13 GB from 3 seasons of The Office that were on iTunes. Plus podcasts and some other video stuff. I have a bunch of movies I ripped for iPod/iPhone and PSP but I burned those out to disk for archive. I have probably about 30 GB in pictures (lots and lots of RAW files from my Nikon D70). Pictures over a year old and my videos live on my iPod and a 100GB hard drive I have at home.

I also carry around a 80 GB G-Drive Mini that is running out of space. All my graphic design projects (22 GB), digital signage files (6GB), design resources (16GB), plus current video projects and ProTools projects.

When I bought the laptop I thought it would be easy to upgrade the hard drive. The new MacBooks make it about as easy as adding RAM. I had upgraded an hard drive in an old titanium PowerBook without too much trouble. So I saw there is a 320 GB 5400 RPM laptop drive out. This would double my storage and allow be to move most my content living on other drives onto my external drive. But I don’t know how swapping out hard drives will impact my Apple Care. And the instructions to replace the hard drive involves a lot of screws and some pretty invasive prying.

So I’m debating just getting another firewire drive to carry with me. A 200 GB 7200 RPM would allow me to get a lot of content on there. All my design/ media files + my personal videos and pictures. Or look into either Apple or an Apple service center would upgrade my hard drive for me.

February 27, 2008. Tech Stuff. Leave a comment.

ProPresenter/ ProVideo Player User Error

Ran into a problem this weekend that had me stumped for a little while. We were setting up background for our service. Then at one point when we selected a video in PVP it didn’t change in either program.

We rebooted. Things were working normal and after awhile we’d run into the problem again. Hmmmmmmmm…….

Well it turned out that we had 1011 videos in PVP but only 693 in PP3. The problem arose when we were trying to fire videos in PVP above the 693 that PP3 had. So we got both programs synced with all our videos on stills. I think we’re up to around 1400 backgrounds in each application.

Bonus:
A freebee resource for you. If you are running multiple screens on your stage, Awake Images is giving away Volume 1 of their library free. I’ve been kicking around the idea of mixing in static images with our loops. I think it’ll make the loops stick out more. I also like the idea of using loops with a theme or idea instead of the generic 12″ Design and Jumpback loops. I haven’t actually done any of this yet but I’m going to start trying it out soon.

February 26, 2008. Tech Stuff, Video. Leave a comment.

What Not To Do With A Portable Hard Drive

I have a G-Drive Mini that I use with my MacBook Pro. Found out one thing you don’t want to do with it. The hard drive is bus powered and I was running on my laptop battery. Well the battery ran out. It really ran out. I left the drive connected to the drive over night. Well I plugged the power adapter into my laptop and the laptop woke back up, but the hard drive was non-responsive. I rebooted and the drive came up but I had a new folder on my drive called “lost+found”. In the folder was 31 folders. Each folder was a 4 digit number. Inside those folders were random files and folders that were moved from other parts of the drive.

Weird.

I didn’t lose anything off the drive but it was weird. Note to self don’t leave a bus powered hard drive into my laptop overnight with out power.

February 25, 2008. Tech Stuff. Leave a comment.

The World’s Best

I’m a documentary fan. It drives my wife crazy that I’ll have 2 or 3 documentaries from Blockbuster online at a time. Earlier this week I watched King Of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. I was intrigued by what some people will do to become the best in the world at something. With the 08 olympics coming up you’ll see the emotional back story videos about what these athletes sacrifice to be the best. I don’t know how many entrepreneurs have invested their entire lives to make a business successful. I like watching the podcast Cool Hunting to see what different artists do. But some of these artists invest their entire live into their amazing art.

Maybe I just don’t have the drive and personality these people do. But at what price are you paying to attempt to be the world’s best? How many hours are they investing into their business/ hobby/ art? What are you missing out on?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not wanting to judge these other people. I read somewhere that if you invest an hour a day to study a topic, depending on the topic, you can be an expert in 4 years. I know since I’ve been doing media full time for the last 3.5 years I’ve seen my skill set and knowledge multiply from where I was at then. But I just don’t have the drive or willing to pay the price to become the world’s best at something.

I get really bummed when I don’t get to spend a couple of hours a day with my kids and wife. I can’t imagine something that I’d be willing to sacrifice that time for. There have been times because of work I’ve gone a couple of days with only seeing my kids for 15-30 minutes a day. I get depressed. I don’t travel to out of town conferences for this reason. Guess I want to be the best husband and father that I can be.

Here’s a tangent that I’ve been dealing with. I’ve read that to be a success in media you need to narrow your focus. But for my role as Tech Director for a church I oversee live event production, tech setup, video shooting, editing, motion graphics, graphic design, print design, web design, audio post production and probably a few more.

I really enjoy the variety this brings. I can tell you what skills I’m stronger at and which ones I’m weaker at. But I also feel that I’m not able to do my best in most of these areas because of time. Time to develop the skills and time to execute “A-game” quality. Ideally I’d like to bring on a one or two people on staff help me out. We’re a church of 4,500 people on a weekend and I’m the only media guy on staff (the youth have a worship/media guy for there stuff and young adults has a part time worship/media guy as well).

I feel like I have a unique skill set, but I feel like my portfolio of work is not what it should be if I could just focus on a couple of these areas. I can be the great in a couple of these areas but not all these areas. Not the world’s best but still great at it.

What do you want to be the best at? What price are you willing to pay?

February 22, 2008. Personal Growth, Random. Leave a comment.

It Maybe Sappy But…

It maybe sappy but the song “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman makes me tear up each time I hear it. You may question my man card but you must not have a daughter. My 3 year old daughter is in this princess stage. It’s like these lyrics were written about her:

She spins and she sways to whatever song plays
Without a care in the world
And I’m sitting here wearing the weight of the world on my shoulders
It’s been a long day and there’s still work to do
She’s pulling at me saying “dad I need you!
There’s a ball at the castle and I’ve been invited and I need to practice my dancin’
“Oh please, daddy, please!”

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
‘Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don’t want to miss even one song
‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she’ll be gone

It maybe sappy but it does help me to remember what’s important at the end of the day when I’m driving home to my Cinderella.

February 21, 2008. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Review: Sabine SWM7000

With the changes in wireless in the US, there has been a renewed interest in Sabine’s SWM7000 system. A few years ago we demoed their 2.4 Ghz wireless system with the beltpacks. The beltpacks were big and a pain in the butt to open the battery compartment. It looks like they redesigned it. We were using the beltpack with a DPA 4088 for spoken word. On paper they looked great. We could get out of the UHF mess. Basic DSP built into the mics. This was before we got a digital board so that was nice. We demoed a single channel unit and we were pleased with it and purchased 4 of them, 2 dual channel units.

The demo unit worked great but the one’s we purchased were nothing but problems. We suffered from drop outs. Mics were mounted in the booth about 60 feet from the stage with great sight lines. We moved the receivers on stage and still had problems. We had a reputable national AV firm try to trouble shoot any instal/ environment problems. We sent the units back to Sabine they tested them and said they were functioning properly. Sent them back again and they replaced them with new units. Finally returned them for a refund.

We ended up picking up a lectrosonics venue system that has been awesome.

Our experience with Sabine was over 2 years ago and they still have the same testimonials on their website. They’ve gotten very little traction in the pro audio market.

I read some articles online by people smarter than me, who work for other wireless mic manufacturers, talking about the problems of 2.4 Ghz for audio transmission why their companies had given up on it.

It looks like a great idea. But in my experience it didn’t work out well.

February 20, 2008. Sound. 1 comment.

How To Twitter on WordPress

I just figured out how get my twitter feed onto my wordpress blog. It’s currently on the right side. Basically I added a RSS widget in wordpress. But when I copied the feed twitter gave me it wouldn’t work. The feed was feed://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/10282832.rss . Found out I had to remove the feed:// from the url and it worked like a champ. So now if you want to know the more random, sometimes more personal thoughts of mine. You know where to find them.

February 20, 2008. Random, Tech Stuff. Leave a comment.

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