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One Billion Stories - Catholic Stories

One Billion Stories.com Logo

I just had dinner last night with a great young Catholic, Seth DeMoor, who is from Colorado and runs a (relatively) new Catholic website, One Billion Stories.com.

The website has a pretty simple premise: go around the world, collecting stories of some of the billion-plus Catholics, and post them as five-minute videos to the website.

Seth seems like he has a pretty good idea, and the videos cover a lot of great stories. I like the idea, and I hope Seth can find more support, video producers, etc. in the coming years! Maybe, someday, the site will have over a billion stories—but for now, I'm content with the few hundred that are up.

Review of Nikon D7000 - Almost Complete

Nikon D7000 - FrontSince about a week after it's introduction, I've been shooting with the D90 as my primary camera, and it's been a great run. The D90 is almost the perfect photo-making machine for me. I was thinking of either upgrading to a D300s, or possibly a D700 (all my lenses would work with either FX or DX), but then came the D7000.

I was instantly thrilled with the specs, especially since the D7000 body is almost exactly the same dimensions as the D90 (meaning I wouldn't need to get used to a bunch of new button placements). So, after a little consultation with my bride, I bought the D7000 (it was in stock, momentarily, from Amazon.com).

Switched back to Safari from Chrome... Again

Google Chrome No MoreGoogle lit up the hornet's nest yesterday when they announced that they were dropping built-in support of H.264 for their own 'open' WebM and OGG video formats.

I reconfigured Xmarks on all my computers (to sync all my bookmarks between FireFox, Safari and Chrome), and I'm back to using Safari full-time, with FireFox as my main backup. (FF 4.0 can't come soon enough).

It was good knowing ye, Chrome. I actually had my sights set on using Chrome indefinitely until yesterday.

Articles on Professional Video and Audio Distribution

In the past few months, I've finally had time to post more information about two projects I've worked on in the past year or so at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis—both of them having to do with the sending and receiving of video and audio signals through a very large building.

Click one of the titles to read the article:

XLR over Cat5 - Balanced XLR Mic/Line Audio over Cat5e

In this article, I explain how we sent crystal-clear audio (used for both communication/VOX and broadcast TV) over a distance of about 300' using nothing but shielded Cat5e cable. Pictures, diagrams, etc. included.

Sending High-Definition Video over Long Distances with Cat5

In this article, I explain how we sent very sharp high definition video (up to 1080p) over about 100' using component video baluns and shielded Cat5e cable. (You can also use these baluns to send digital/coax audio).

Sending High-Definition Video over Long Distances

I'm working on increasing the quality of video sent through the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis' in-house video distribution system (right now they use passive composite video connections over Cat5 cabling, and video is very blurry with lots of ghosting), and I thought I'd briefly share my findings in this area.

I've decided to go with an 'active' (powered) video send/receive unit, from Knoll Systems:

Knoll US-V3 Sender

Ripping Movies from Blu-Ray, HD-DVD and DVD, Getting them onto Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, etc.

DVD to iPhone Apple TV and iPad - Ripping

Note: The guide below still applies, but you can now rip and convert Blu-Ray movies directly in Handbrake if you download MakeMKV (don't even need to run it) then run the following commands in Terminal.app:

cd ~
mkdir -p ~/lib
ln -s /Applications/MakeMKV.app/Contents/lib/libmmbd.dylib ~/lib/libaacs.dylib
ln -s /Applications/MakeMKV.app/Contents/lib/libmmbd.dylib ~/lib/libbdplus.dylib

Also note that iDentify is no longer maintained; I usually use the free MetaZ application to edit metadata before importing into iTunes nowadays.

For many years, I've been in search of the 'digital nirvana,' where all my videos, songs, and photos were accessible on any device, anywhere, at any time, without having to do a complicated digital dance with wires and different sychronization tools.

I am getting ever closer to the realization of that dream... today I will introduce you to a few tools I use to help me get all my videos (be they plain old DVDs or newer high definition Blu-Ray discs [edit: I found I can even rip HD-DVDs on my Mac too!]) converted and stored on my computer so I can play them on my computer, my iPhone, my iPad, my Apple TV, my Xbox 360, a Playstation 3, and do so from anywhere in the world.

There are a few key applications you need before you can do this on your own - I'll describe the programs you need for each step of the process, and how to do everything you need to do to get your videos digitized and readily accessible.

How to Stream from Tricaster Broadcast/Pro to Ustream.tv or Watershed

How to Stream from Tricaster Broadcast/Pro to Ustream.tv

The following instructions are based on this video, embedded below:

Preliminary Notes:

  •  You need at least version 2.5 of Tricaster software.
  •  Download 2.5 or later at register.newtek.com (go to my downloads).
  •  For Watershed, the process is similar, but you need to get the Flash XML file from Watershed directly.

First, you'll need to turn on the Tricaster, and make sure it's connected to the Internet. You should also try to make sure you have a relatively decent (and stable) Internet connection, for obvious reasons. Some problems may be caused by a restrictive firewall, as well, so watch out for that. (Check your Internet upload speed using Speedtest.net - you should have at least 300-500 kbps upload).

The Year's Craziest Christmas Light Displays

Every year, it seems there are more and more extravagant displays of programmed Christmas lights. This year is the most impressive so far—so impressive, the tech side of me wants to do something along these lines, while the religious side of me balks at how much time/money was spent on these displays (even if they use LEDs... that's a lot of power, and a lot of cost/material for the bulbs and cords!).

Anyways, for your enjoyment, here are two of my favorite displays:

Little Drummer Boy

This neighborhood synchronized lights to different songs among 13 different houses. Lots of wireless controllers, I presume:

Click through to see more...

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