Daily Archives: April 16, 2009

Making an IMPACT

Apparently there’s some Rational software conference in Orlando at the end of May. Of course, Lotusphere was out there at the beginning of the year too.

Pah! Forget those! 🙂

For me, the place to be is IBM’s IMPACT SOA conference in Las Vegas – in just a couple of weeks’ time. Barring unexpected circumstances, I should be in town for the duration of the conference.

IBM Impact 2009 - The Smart SOA™ Conference

I’ve been heading to Vegas on a regular basis for the past few years, but it has always been for internal events rather than customer ones. In my role, I’ve always been excited by technology and the innovation we get up to internally – but much, much more importantly, I need to be talking to customers and partners to understand how that technology and innovation is being used in the real world. I’m very much looking forward to talking to WebSphere and other IBM customers about their experiences with our products, what they are looking for from Service Oriented Architectures, and taking those messages back into our labs.

I’m also looking forward to finally meeting a bunch of my colleagues such as the legendarySocial Media Sandy” aka Sandy Carter herself, who I’ve known for a number of years now through various networks, but have never had the opportunity to talk to face-to-face. Incidentally, Sandy has some great background info about different events and partners at IMPACT on her developerWorks blog[*]. I’ve just read her most recent book, Marketing 2.0, and I’ll try to post some comments on that soon as well.

One nice feature of the conference site is that there are a range of widgets and social media tools directly available there, as well as links to different social networks where it will be possible to pick up some of the content.

Let me know if you’ll be at IMPACT, as it would be good to connect with my blog readers.

[*] I’m worried. Sandy has got nearly as many blogs and social network profiles as me now. I need to step up! 🙂


Is Amazon neglecting the UK and Europe?

Just an idle thought. Consider:

  • the delayed MP3 store launch in the UK
  • the continued lack of an iPhone app for the Amazon store
  • no Kindle launch outside of the US, and they’re on the second version already.

I’m probably just impatient…

Here today, gone (Game) tomorrow

Excuse the poor title.

A few years ago I was invited to contribute to an IBM blog called Game Tomorrow. I posted a couple of entries there but my contributions rapidly dropped off, what with my other commitments.

For one reason or another, the other day I became aware that the blog is gone… no more… it’s virtually impossible to find any reference to it on the interwebs, in fact.

I guess I’m… officially… no longer a contributor over there.

Some media workflow updates

My earlier post on some of the tools I use in my video workflow was pretty popular, so I thought I’d post an update on some of the latest developments.


I’m now using VideoMonkey for some transcoding tasks. I mentioned in my previous post that VisualHub is now defunct – it was more-or-less the de facto free transcoding tool on OS X. VideoMonkey is also free and is based on a similar codebase… currently in early development, but it works and is looking really promising.

Since I wrote the previous entry in February, iMovie 09 has been updated to 8.0.1 (and, today, 8.0.2). Amongst the “hidden” / undocumented additional features is proper HD export, which had been a bit hacky via QuickTime export before. That’s particularly handy for dealing directly with YouTube’s HD option.

One piece of weirdness I’ve encountered… I’ve been using Keynote for animating certain intro and closing sequences, and exporting as QuickTime for import to iMovie. I did that the other day, and iMovie reported that the movie file could not be imported as the format was not valid. I ran the .mov file through VideoMonkey to get a .mp4 h264 encoded video, and that imported into iMovie as required. I hadn’t come across that before, so maybe an iWork or iLife update changed something there.

Oh, and I’m no longer a stranger to GarageBand – I used that the other day for building some sequences for Dogear Nation. Ironically I still ended up exporting the “song” to iTunes, getting the .aif file, and chopping it up and re-exporting pieces as MP3 using Audacity! However, it worked very nicely for applying real-time effects and applying volume ducking etc.. Once I got my head around the interface, I was very happy.


Latest acquisition is a Blue Eyeball USB HD microphone and camera. It’s the evolution of the Blue Snowflake that I’ve been using, but with the addition of a tiny (and I do mean tiny – the iris is really small!) HD 1280×1024 webcam which pops out of the side.

This was mentioned on MacBreak Weekly a couple of weeks ago, and being a fan of the Snowflake I expected to be blown away by this product too. The truth is – I do think it’s a lovely piece of kit, and the audio quality is great. The problem I have is around software compatibility on OS X! It turns out that iMovie can record from the internal iSight, or from a Firewire-connected webcam, but not from a generic USB webcam. This is an insane limitation that I hope Apple fixes soon! (surely no-one is going to try to persuade me that they use this as a differentiator between the consumer and pro line of products, or that there’s some inherent limitation, given that other native tools can capture the video?). The workaround, as described in the Blue Eyeball FAQ, is to use Photo Booth to do the video capture and then import and edit in iMovie. Oh, and although Skype works flawlessly with the camera, any Flash tools (like, say, Viddler and 12seconds and TweetDeck) don’t seem to want to see it. Video and still image wise, the camera is a definite step up from the iSight, but it still leaves something to be desired on the part of Apple and Adobe software support. On final thing is that it auto-adjusts image quality based on light levels, and there’s no software support for tweaking white balance etc – a bit of a shame.