Monthly Archives: April 2008

The Best Way To Perform An Assassination? Use Lightning Storms!


European students at the University of Lyon are flirting with the idea of controlling lightning. Scientists believe that being able to control lightning will allow researchers to study lightning’s affects on our planet, transportation, and power lines, but I think it will make quite the impressive weapon for the future. Soon will we be questioning if a freak accident by mother nature was a successful assassination?

Considering my fascination with weather—specifically lightning—I say let the Europeans do their thing. I would love to understand how lightning works, and I guess it would be a great thing. I don’t know how feasible it would be to create a weapon out of lightning, and I am not sure I would even want to know about it. A scary thought, I say. However, I think this is a cool story.

What do you think?

[Source: Optics Express VIA Popular Science | Image Credit: Ominous—Warren Rohne]


Getting Your Webcam To Work On Stickam

I see a lot of search terms similar to “how to get this (insert webcam model) webcam to work on Stickam” bringing people to this blog. This was even before my latest post about HD webcams. I don’t know why, but I am feeling helpful. This is a guide on how to get your new (or old) webcam to work on that wonderful site called Stickam.

Step 1: Install Your Camera Drivers (If Required)

If your webcam did not come pre-installed or built-in on your computer, then chances are high that you will need to install drivers to have your webcam work correctly on your operating system. Almost every webcam should have drivers for Windows XP, and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Windows Vista. Mac OS X is becoming popular as well, and most major webcam manufacturers will provide you with drivers for that operating system as well. if you are running Linux, this is where things get quite difficult, unfortunately—Google becomes your best friend in this case.

Step 2: Check to See If the Webcam Works

After you have installed the drivers, there should be an application with the drivers to use for taking pictures, recording video, etc. Take the time to ensure that the webcam works, and also use this time to adjust video settings to your liking. If you do not have software that does this, try WebcamMax or CamTwist.

Step 3: Enter a Room on Stickam

This part of the guide is obvious. Either pick a room to enter or go live. You might be lucky if the webcam automagically turns on, but if not, just read on.

Step 4: Change the Video Source Settings

If you are outputting audio (if you have a built-in mic or external mic) but your webcam screen is blank, it is likely because your video source has not been properly selected. In this case, you should right click anywhere within the Stickam room until you have a popup that allows you to chose Settings. Do this, and then you will presented with a popup window that has a few tabs on the bottom—you are looking for the webcam. Select the proper video source (keep trying every one until it works correctly), and then it should be mission accomplished.

Step 5: Bust a Move

Congratulations. You are now ready to interact with other people on one of the first impressive live video communication sites ever. If you have any additional questions, leave them in the comments.

Where Are The High-Definition (HD) Webcams?

Continuing my discussion of high-definition technology, Tekzilla brought to everyone’s attention about the lack of HD webcam technology. To put it simply, even some of the former TechTV staff couldn’t locate an HD webcam. That is pretty pathetic considering how the price of high-def televisions and camcorders are rapidly dropping.


Sure, doing HD video conversations might piss off your local internet service provider if you do it all the time, but we are pretty much screwed anyway as the desire for high-definition content rapidly increases. The first company to release an HD webcam is likely to pick up plenty of customers, and I am slightly annoyed that there is only one company, Logitech, that offers quality products like these. Logitech doesn’t even offer Linux support.

To all consumer electronics companies that need a great idea:

Create an affordable high-definition webcam that will shoot and record true 720p (1280 x 720) at 30 frames-per-second. Make it compatible with everything, and for goodness sake, offer Mac and Linux support! We shouldn’t have to wait until CES 2009 to have this technology on the market, but if we do, another company (like Logitech) will gladly step up to the challenge. Version 2.5 Upgrade Completed

Following the release of the official WordPress v2.5 standalone version recently, has followed suit by upgrading their users to the new version as well. The interface has been completely redesigned, and the back-end has received a myriad of improvements. This release of WordPress is said to be the largest release in quite awhile.

It was only a few hours ago when I opened up my blog’s administrator interface and was greeted by the new 2.5 version of WordPress. First thoughts? I was shocked they upgraded so quickly after the release. I figured that the team would wait until the public played with the 2.5 version of WordPress for a few weeks just incase someone could find any serious issues.

Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, stated on that this release of WordPress is “probably the largest release of WordPress in about two years.” He continued by making everyone aware of several other improvements to the WordPress content management system:

  • A redesigned back-end
  • Richer media features
  • Built-in image galleries
  • One-click plugin upgrades

Regardless, everything seems to be going smoothly so far, and while it might require a few people to get adjusted, these improvements appear to be for the better.

Unfortunately, it appears that there are still some issues with Mac operating systems not being able to properly resize images, but perhaps this issue is going to be fixed soon.

Overall, I’d say that the community and developers are pleased with the results. WordPress continues to grow.

A Great Time For Purchasing An High Definiton (HD) Camcorder

Maybe some of you have noticed how rapidly HD camcorders are dropping in price. It is quite an interesting thing to observe as someone who has monitored the prices of gadgets like these for quite awhile. The prices continue to drop, and pretty soon I believe that most of the features available on the multi thousand-dollar camcorders we see today will be affordable for many lower budget indie film-makers in the future. However, that time has not yet come, but we still have great options to choose from.

Canon HV20/HV30—$1000


The Canon HV30 (right) or HV20 (left) are great values for those that want to really take HD content to the next level. It includes some of the best features out of the prosumer level of HD camcorders. The recently released HV30 features 24P and 30P shooting modes and can accomplish 1080 progressive resolution. The only downside? It records to tape, but it is worth it if quality and features are important to you.

Sony HDR-HC9—$1130


Certainly the most attractive looking camera, the Sony HDR-HC9 packs a bunch of features for those who are looking for more of a point & shoot experience. If you do not want to be bothered with customizing the settings on your camera, this camera is right up your alley. It can be found for around $800 online. It stores data to an internal hard disk.

JVC Everio GZ-HD6—$1280


The most expensive of the bunch, receives the least praise in public opinion. The quality is not up to par, and JVC almost forces you to use proprietary software to edit video—that sucks. It does look quite impressive, but the looks alone should not influence your decision. It is, however, a better option to standard video formats.

All prices listed are suggested retail, but prices are quickly dropping on the streets. My vote would be for the Canon HV30, but I really like the feel to HDR-HC9 after playing around with them at Best Buy. Personal preference will prove to be the most significant factor in determining your purchase. I would urge you to check each out for yourself.

Expect prices to drop anywhere from $150 to $350 throughout the rest of this year.

Before purchasing an HD camcorder online, please be sure to check the site you are purchasing from on ResellerRatings for customer reviews of the retailer.

Google Does It Again, April Fools!

Ah, you gotta love Google.  The company pulls out some amazing new things with April fools day.  This time around they have hit several Google services like Gmail, YouTube, and Google search.  Virgle anybody?Maybe there will be more developments, but it will be interesting to see how it turns out as the day goes on.  Unfortunately, it didn’t have me as fooled (although the Gmail one was very convincing at first).  It was still fun though!