How much does sound quality matter when recording a video or podcast?

Sound quality if very important when creating a video or podcast. Instead of telling you how important sound quality is, I decided to run an experiment showing you how different mics sound. The difference is telling, especially when you hear the difference between a nice mic and your standard mic on your laptop. When you hear the two one after another the difference is HUGE! Take a look for yourself in the following video:

How do I make my videos?

I have been asked this question so many times that I figured it was time for me to show you! So how do I make my tutorials? How do I add myself to a video when showing off a piece of software? Its easy and its complicated! I know that’s probably not the answer you are looking for. I think most people want me to say “I am using X software that does it all” but unfortunately it involves several pieces of software and hardware. In the following video I explain everything I am using:

How to create a podcast

See my latest video on how to create a podcast. This video is designed for the absolute beginner. I am in the process of creating some more advanced ones. In this video I cover the basic steps to create a podcast:

1. Find a topic!

2. Set a schedule

3. Hardware

4. Software

5. Publishing

6. Promoting your podcast

 

Adobe Captivate Virtual Reality (VR)

In this video I review and show you how to use Adobe Captivate’s VR feature. Here is a summary of my findings:

What it is – A very easy to use VR developing environment. You can use both videos and images. Create quizzes. Create hotspots. Have users go through a specific path.

Tech required – 360 Camera. You really need a 360 camera to use this. Fortunately they are inexpensive and adobe gives you a few images and videos to play around with to explore the feature. If you are looking for one, here is the one we use in my technology lab: https://amzn.to/2ZsDGpv

Developing – Really easy. Like super easy. I give Adobe a 5/5 for ease of use. Its not super complicated but that is welcome considering its a up and coming feature that will really get fleshed out over the next few years.

Testing –

Browser – works awesome! This is where the program shines. Doesn’t require a VR device and anyone can use it on a browser. I tested Chrome and Firefox and both worked perfectly. It was really amazing (tbh)

Mobile – This means you are using Google cardboard to view. I was not impressed. First I should mention I hate viewing VR on a phone. I think its just terrible. But if you don’t have other options then its worth trying. Ok, so it works to view but you can’t actually press any hotspots. So that was a big issue if you need to have a quiz or any interactivity. Just putting someone in a room and letting them look around worked fine.

VR Headset – I tested the latest Oculus Quest headset. So to access the program from a VR headset you need to use a VR browser. I used the default Oculus Browser as well as Firefox. Here was the issue – I could view the program and it worked when I viewed the browser as a flat screen. So in VR you can view a browser as a flat screen (like a monitor) or immerse yourself into it (what VR should be). Unfortunately it did not work when you immersed yourself in. You could look around but it didn’t recognize the hand units to press any hotspots. So quizzes and hotspots were a no no.

Overall – Honestly I love it. Yep it doesn’t work well with the VR headset but the fact that it works with the browser is huge. I think there is a lot of application for it. I do however hope they keep working on the product and get it to work with the hand controllers to it works with VR headsets better.

Here is my video demo:

Streaming made easy

One question I am consistently asked over and over again on my youtube channel is ‘How did you make this?’. The easy answer – I recorded a video of my screen and myself at the same time! The hard answer – I used specialized software to record my screen, a video camera to record myself, a microphone to record the sound, a green screen in the background, specialized lighting, and then video editing software to edit the video and finally publish it.

So as you can see, streaming and recording a video takes a lot of work. It involves specialized software and hardware. It takes a lot of time. But its fun. I love it. If it wasn’t a passion of mine I would not be doing it.

To learn about the software and how to get set up check out the following video which goes through the entire process:

Here are links to the hardware I recommend for streaming:

Logitech Webcam – https://amzn.to/2KLOXrK

Blue Yeti Mic – https://amzn.to/2Z8XaLS

lights – https://amzn.to/2H4pTeg

Green Screen – https://amzn.to/2Z3hQ7R

Is Fortnite appropriate for kids?

My son, 8 yrs old, is begging to play this game (fortnite). Apparently he is the only kid in his class that is not allowed to play it, which is ironic considering I am probably the only parent in the class that plays it! Having said that, he will finally be allowed this Oct when he turns 9. I believe he is finally ready. But no way is my 6 yr old allowed. He is not ready. He is not mature enough.

My biggest suggestion to parents – please monitor each game your child wants to play. Here is my 5 point plan for monitoring a specific game:

  1. Ask your child if its appropriate
  2. Google the game and check out some reviews
  3. Look at the game website and/or app store to read the description
  4. Check out the game rating
  5. Play the game yourself

Honestly, I can do all of this in 20-30 minutes. Yes it takes up my time but its well worth it. I have to block about 20% of games that my son asks to play. I enjoy games so I don’t mind learning about them. Plus I can talk to him about the game and see what it is about it that interests him. Check out the following video where I discuss Fortnite and how it is/is not appropriate for kids:

Text to speech software

This is a topic I have had a lot of interest in lately. Text to speech is not really a new technology (I used it in the 80s) but its gotten significantly better. Additionally, people want to use it for professional products (ie elearning). Narration is an expensive cost in an elearning product so a good voice could help to really save a lot of money. So is it good? Well, at this point its OK. There is some software out there that really isn’t terrible and some that hasn’t improved since 1985. Overall I am excited to keep trying it out and see if it gets better over the next few years. Here are a few videos I have created which go through some of the current software on the market today. You can be the judge and jury: Would you use it?

2019 Security Recommendations

My 2019 Annual Security recommendations. These are recommendations I think you should follow to help keep your data and privacy safe online.

Browser: Firefox – Its open source and is the backbone of tor for a reason. I much prefer firefox to any other browser. Chrome is a close second but I do not like that its not open source. I only use Firefox for email and sites where I login otherwise, I use the next site listed as most secure for all of my searching, research, googling, etc. https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/

Most secure browser: Tor. Tor is designed for those times when you don’t want anyone to see what you are doing. TOR blocks your ISP, the government, etc —humblerise.com. from seeing what you are doing online. It keep everything you are searching very secure. Researchers, journalists, the government, and criminals all use tor when they want their tracks to be private. The bad thing about Tor is that its slow because its rerouting your data and some functions on various websites won’t work. https://www.torproject.org

Mobile Browser – Firefox and Firefox Focus are my preferred go to browsers. I mostly use firefox focus 99% of the time. Focus is really fast and simple. If you want more privacy, there are various tor browsers for the web https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/focus

Security add on for your browser/Adblock – uBlock – works for firefox and chrome and keeps away ads and other nonsense. This helps many pages load faster too. It will also prevent youtube ads. This is my goto addon when I install a new browser. https://www.ublock.org/

VPN – Cyberghost and others like NordVPN. If you are using a program like Kodi to watch TV/Movies you better be using a VPN. I used to solely recommend cyberghost because they were the cheapest quality VPN but now many others have dropped prices and offers sales/discounts. Its so much about which company but rather that you have one. When you use a VPN you entire computer is hidden from your ISP vs tor which just hides the tor browser. A VPN is a must when using public wifi like at a hotel or starbucks. https://www.cyberghostvpn.com/en_US/

Email: Protonmail – Anonymous email. Doesn’t track you. Keep your data/emails private and safe. https://protonmail.com/

Malware/adware – Malwarebytes – its free and very powerful. I use this every few weeks to check my machine. I recommend using this whenever your computer is acting slow/funky. Please consider buying the full version to support them. https://www.malwarebytes.com/

Antivirus – Honestly, windows defender that comes on your machine is probably good enough. Its all I personally use. Now on my wife’s machine I use Avira – Its free! She tends to need extra security! https://www.avira.com/

Firewall – I don’t use a firewall anymore now that windows defender does the job for me. But if I were to need the extra protection, I would use Zonealarm. A firewall is designed to stop all traffic you don’t approve to and from the internet – https://www.zonealarm.com/software/free-firewall/