Prescription Glasses for Working on the Computer

Glasses

Back on February 2, 2014 I did a post on Gunnars Glasses and Reducing Eyestrain. I found that the Gunnars significantly reduced eyestrain and I used them whenever I was on the computer.

Earlier this month I went for my yearly eye exam. My regular prescription really hadn’t changed since last year so my current distance glasses were fine. I mentioned to my doctor that I was thinking of getting a pair of prescription Gunnars for gaming. My doctor doesn’t offer Gunnars, but he did mention that he could make a prescription set of glasses for working on the computer. I said do it.

Using my regular distance prescription as a baseline, my doctor was able to calculate a prescription for looking at my computer screen. He also applied a process to the glasses that would reflect the blue light from the computer screen, one of the major causes of computer-related eyestrain.

I picked up the new glasses about a week ago and I love them. Since the prescription is set specifically for the looking at the computer screen, everything on the screen is much sharper than with my non-prescription Gunnars. Also, with the reflecting of the blue light, I am still not experiencing any eyestrain.

If you wear prescription glasses and stare at a computer screen many hours a day for work or fun I would definitely recommend asking your eye doctor about a set of glasses like mine.

Even with the new glasses, I am keeping my Gunnars as a backup. I also still plan to get a pair of prescription (distance) Gunnars for console gaming.

iPhone 4S Battery Replacement Using iFixIt.com Repair Kit

I have an iPhone 4S which I love. It is a little over two years old and the battery was starting to go. It would do fine for a while, but then suddenly drop to close to no charge or shut itself off.

I am planning to upgrade to an iPhone 6, but that is still a few months away. Since I use my iPhone 4S for just about everything, I decided to replace the battery myself.

First, I checked iFixIt.com. iFixIt has numerous guides on how to fix/replace things like iPhone and tablet batteries, cracked screens, and even the Xbox 360 “Red Circle of Death”.

iFixIt had a guide and a fix kit for replacing the 4S battery. The fix kit included the battery, two screwdrivers (super small Phillips and Pentalobe), a pry tool, and little Phillips head screws to replace the Pentalobe screws if you want to. Pentalobe screws have a head that is kind of like a star and can be a pain, though I had no issues.

Fix Kit

Pro Tip: iFixIt sells the battery by itself or as part of a fix kit with all the tools you would need to do the job. They are the same price. Get the battery with the fix kit. You may already have tools that can do the job, but getting the fix kit will ensure you definitely have the right tools to do the job.

Next, I went to YouTube and watched four or five videos on how to do the battery replacement.

Do this.

No, seriously, do this. Check YouTube for how to videos for any repair job you are going to do.

One of the videos I watched was by High Tech Dad. This saved me a HUGE potential problem. At the 7:25 mark a tiny clip that goes under the battery connector and held by one of its screws pops out. High Tech Dad didn’t notice for a while:

Little Black Clip
Other videos mentioned this tiny clip as well, but High Tech Dad’s experience really called it out to me. I knew I had to be ready for it when I replaced my battery.

When I received the fix kit I rewatched the videos again so everything was fresh. I then put down a white towel to work on, since some of the parts I would be dealing with were so small I wanted to see them easily.

Prepping

I took my time doing the replacement. Because I was ready for the tiny clip I had no issues with it at all. Removing the old battery took a little prying due to the adhesive used, but I just went slow and it really was not a problem.

Old Battery

It took me around 10 to 15 minutes to do the entire battery replacement. Again, watching the YouTube videos first was not only helpful, but necessary. My iPhone 4S is doing great now with the new battery.

Adobe CC Dreamweaver Spell Check

I have been using Dreamweaver to write the posts for my site. I like much of its functionality, especially snippets. One piece of functionality I could not get to work was spell check. I looked at Help and checked online, and though it appeared I was doing everything right, spell check would not run.

Finally, I stumbled across the issue. Spell check did not seem to want to run in Live view. When I changed to Design view spell check ran fine.

Since I had so much trouble finding what the problem was, I decided to do a little YouTube video that stepped through the problem and its solution.

Samson Meteorite

A few weeks ago I posted some videos I did with After Effects. I thought they came out well, but I was not happy with the quality of the sound. I thought it sounded a bit hollow. This was due to the older headset with microphone that I used to record the narration.

I wanted to find a microphone that would be good for doing narration on videos (YouTube, Vine, etc.). There are studio-grade microphones (Røde, Shure) which are amazing, but they can also be pricey. After doing some research I thought I would end up with a Blue Snowball.

The Blue Snowball is highly rated, but it is also surprisingly large. It is round and slightly smaller than a softball. I may still get one once my home office is set up, but I liked the idea of having something a bit more portable.

I came across the Samson Meteorite. It is small, with a price point of around $40.00.

Samson

The Meteorite microphone is round, a little bigger than a golf ball. It is USB, which is what I wanted. The microphone sits in a magnetic base. The microphone angle can be adjusted and the magnetic base will hold it in place. I did an initial test recording and I am already very happy with it:

I know I have some settings to adjust, especially when using the Meteorite with Adobe CC Audition, but I think I made a good choice.

Dreamweaver ACC 2014: Moving Snippets files from DWACC to DWACC2014

I recently upgraded to the new Adobe Creative Cloud 2014. One of the things I noticed is that the 2014 version did not overwrite/replace the existing version. Though some settings did appear to carry over from one version to another, the custom snippets I created for Dreamweaver did not.

I use Dreamweaver mostly for composing the posts on my website, which is running WordPress. Since I use certain commands and HTML code in my posts repeatedly, I created about 10 snippets for them.

Some of the snippets are very simple, like inserting a double line break:

‹br›‹br›

Others are a little more complex, like one that wraps a highlighted URL with the HTML to launch it is a new browers window:

‹a href=”http://thomasmcnamara.com” target=”_blank”›ThomasMcNamara.com‹/a›

I could not find a way from within Dreamweaver ACC2014 to import the snippets easily from the previous version (there may be a way that I missed, but I didn’t come across it.).

When I looked in the original Dreamweaver CC version directory:

\Adobe Dreamweaver CC\Configuration\Snippets
Please Note: I am using Windows 8.1, so if you are using a different version of Windows, are on a Mac, or installed Dreamweaver to a custom directory your path may be different.

The default snippet folders were there, but not the custom ones I created:

snippets

I then did a search for snippets files on my system. Their extension is .csn.

The search found them in a hidden folder:

\username\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Dreamweaver CC\Configuration
Please Note: You may need to change your settings to view hidden folders. To do this on Windows 8.1.: Open a Folder/Select the View Tab/From Options Select Change folder and search options/The Folder Options window appears/Select the View Tab/Go to the section called Hidden Files and Folders/Select Show hidden files, folders and drivers/Click OK

My custom snippets were in their own folder (which I called WP since they are for doing posts on my WordPress site). I copied the folder to my desktop.

I then opened the location where the default snippets are located for the new 2014 version of Dreamweaver:

\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Dreamweaver CC 2014\Configuration\Snippets

Once that was done I launched Adobe Dreamweaver CC 2014 and viewed the snippets. My custom WP directory appeared with the snippets:

snippets folder

I did notice that the keyboard shortcut keys did not carry over. These are the hotkeys that I had programmed to run the snippets (for example, CTRL+ALT+R runs the double line break snippet).

This is where I was very glad that when I created the snippets I had included what their keyboard shortcut keys were as part of their titles:
shortcut keys

Though I had to go through and assign the shortcuts to the snippets again, I at least knew what I had originally assigned them as.

If I discover an easier way to import snippets or maintain assigned shortcut keys I will update this post. Hopefully this was helpful to anyone upgrading to ACC 2014.

NAB 2014 – Spectacular

My trip to NAB was spectacular. I am very glad I went.

Over the next few weeks I will be doing multiple posts about different aspects of my trip. This will include lessons learned (and rookie mistakes), things I saw, things I learned, and even general conference tips.

According to my FitBit I took 13,077 step, which equals 6.49 miles walked, and 20 flight of stairs climbed. I am very sore this morning, but it was all worth it.

A lot more to come soon.

NAB 2014 – What’s in My Bag

In My Bag

Tomorrow I fly to Las Vegas to spend the day at NAB. I am bringing my TYLT Energi+ backpack with me. I am not bringing a laptop on this trip because I probably wouldn’t have time to use it and I would rather have the room in case I end up bringing things back (c’mon good show specials!).

In the picture above I have split up what I am bringing into four columns so I can go over them.

Column One

Right at the top are my tickets and boarding passes. I did Early Bird Checkin on Southwest so I am in the “A” group for my flights.

Next is my passport and passport card. Though I will have my wallet and California Driver’s License with me, security seems to like passports better. I will keep my passport in my shirt pocket and the passport card in my backpack.

Next is my iPhone and iPhone earbuds. As mentioned in a previous post, i have the NAB Show app already loaded.

Underneath the earbuds is my Fitbit. Not sure if I will break any personal records running around the Las Vegas Convention Center like I did at San Diego Comic Con last year, but we’ll see.

Then I have my backup charger for my iPhone, iRig microphone, Olloclip and powerstrip.

Column Two

This includes my credentials. I also have a map showing where badge pickup is located, and notes on where to pickup the shuttle back to the airport.

Next is my Bistro ticket for lunch at the Convention Center and some granola bars to snack on.

Column Three

This starts off with two 3 X 5 cards. The first is my list of exhibitors I plan to see and their booth numbers. I also made note of anything specific I want to see.

The second 3 X 5 card has the specs of the laptops I am thinking of purchasing. I want to run the specs by someone at Adobe to make sure whichever one I get will be able to run After Effects.

Next are business cards. Not sure if I will need them, but good to have in case I meet any contacts or if there are giveaways.

Finally, my limited edition Simpsons Moleskine and Cross pen for taking notes.

Column Four

I am bringing a light jacket, but that may end up being left in the car. It will be warm in LA tomorrow and warmer in Las Vegas. I am also brining a spare shirt, an extra pair of socks (all that walking, you never know), brush, deodorant and floss picks.

Though I may not use it, I am bringing my Kindle Fire HD and earbuds. This is more for if I get stuck at the airport tomorrow night. I have the season finalé of The Walking Dead loaded (I know, I am behind) and two episodes of Archer. I also have about twenty books loaded.

TYLT Energi+ Backpack

This is the first trip I am taking with the TYLT backback.

TYLT Battery

It includes a battery pack. Charge cables can be run from the battery to various compartments in the backpack.

TYLT Cable Runs

The channels for the cable runs are reinforced and easy to pass through.

TYLT iPhone Charging

In the image above I have my iPhone charging in the top compartment. There is another compartment for tablets. I have a charge cable to that compartment if I need to charge my Kindle Fire.

After I pack tonight I will adjust the shoulder straps to make sure it is comfortable since I will be wearing the backpack all day tomorrow.

Ready to Go

I am ready for my flight and my day at NAB. Tonight I will charge the TYLT battery pack, my iPhone and Kindle Fire. I will also set my alarm early since I have a 7am flight.

I hope to tweet from NAB, but I hear coverage can be spotty at the Convention Center. I will also post here about my trip in the next few days.

NAB – Counting Down

NAB

My day trip to NAB is less than two weeks away. I have my credentials and my plane tickets. I also purchased a Bistro lunch ticket, which is for dining at the Las Vegas Convention Center. By purchasing the Bistro lunch ticket in advance I will avoid the general wait line, hopefully saving myself some time.

Since the post on my Preliminary Exhibitor List, I have added one: Autodesk. They make CGI software including 3ds Max and Maya. They also make the very cool drawing app SketchBook Pro, which I have on both my iPhone and Kindle Fire HD.

My updated Exhibitor List is:

Adobe – Lower South Hall 3910

This is my first stop after picking up my badge. As I mentioned above, I want to check on Adobe AfterEffects specs. I also want to see if there are any show specials, like maybe a discount on Creative Cloud. Not sure if there will be, but that would be awesome.

Telestream – Lower South Hall 3905

The Telestream booth is literally next to the Adobe booth, so this will be stop two.

I learned about Telestream from a great technology vlog I follow, Hak5 (part of Revision3). A year or so ago they did a “behind the scenes” on how they edit and upload their videos using Telestream’s Episode Pro. Episode Pro can put intros and outtros on videos automatically, has all sorts of workflow options, ability to auto upload to YouTube accounts and so on. Pricey and probably down the road for me (unless some amazing show special going on), but I definitely want to check it out.

NEW!! Autodesk – Lower South Hall 3319

As mentioned above, Autodesk makes some great software and apps. I just wish I could draw a little better, because SketchBook Pro is surprisingly powerful while intuitive to use. Very fun.

Grass Valley – Lower South Hall 206

This company does switchers, editors and convertors. Probably beyound what I will need, but I want to see what they have.

Canon – Central Hall 4325

After Adobe, Canon is probably the exhibitor I most want to see. The DSLR camera I am interested in is the new 70D. My plan is to check out the camera at the booth, and ask a rep some questions about it around what I am planning to use it for.

Manfrotto – Central Hall 6025

Manfrotto is located next to the Canon booth. They do tripods, monopods and other camera rigging. I have heard great things about them.

GoPro – Central Hall 6537

Though I am not planning on getting a GoPro anytime soon, I do like them. I know they had a show special last year.

VariZoom – Central Hall 8230

VariZoom also makes tripods, monopods and other camera rigging.

Teredek – Central Hall 8218

Teredek makes wireless video transcoders and transmitters. Very interesting stuff, but probably down the road for me. I will definitely stop by their booth, though, because I know their transmitters can tie into broadband solutions (like Sprint or Verizon). This can be used to live stream events. Very cool technology.

GlideCam – Central Hall 7916

GlideCam makes stabilization rigs for cameras, including ones for DSLRs. This is a piece of equipment I know I will need for my camera. Hopefully I will be able to try out some of the DSLR rigs while I am there.

B&H Camera – Central Hall 11022

B&H is the large camera store in New York City. They have a huge mail order/online business. They are an authorized dealing for most of the exhibitors I will be visiting. I am hoping, since they are retail sales, that they have some show specials going on.

NAB App

I also downloaded the myNAB mobile app to my iPhone. I really like the map function, which highlights the vendors I want to see in red or yellow.

NAB map

Next week I will do a “what’s in my bag” post, showing the things that I will be taking with me to NAB. I will be traveling light, since I will be there only for the day. I am also hoping that I will need the room because I ended up bringing back something cool, but we’ll see how that goes.

NAB – Preliminary Exhibitor List

It is less than two months until I go to Las Vegas for NAB. This is the trade show of the National Association of Broadcasters and takes up all of the Las Vegas Convention Center. As I mentioned in a previous post, I will be attending on Wednesday, April 9th only. Since my time will be tight, I am trying to plan it so I can see as much as I can.

Though I would love to see all of NAB, the driving factor of attending is to look at software, cameras, and equipment needed to make videos and short films. Many vendors exhibiting at NAB this year are ones I plan to buy from (though probably not at the show itself, unless they are running a show special).

This will allow me to get some hands-on, or at least eyes-on, with what I am planning to get. Plus, it will give me a change to speak with the companies about their products, discuss what I am planning to do, and get some guidance.

For example, my first stop will be the Adobe booth in the Lower South Hall. I want to talk with an Adobe rep about the computer I plan to get in a few months and confirm that it is the best configuration for running AfterEffects.

Based on priority, location (what exhibitor is in which hall), and time, I have come up with my preliminary list of exhibitors I will see at NAB:

Adobe – Lower South Hall 3910

This is my first stop after picking up my badge. As I mentioned above, I want to check on Adobe AfterEffects specs. I also want to see if there are any show specials, like maybe a discount on Creative Cloud. Not sure if there will be, but that would be awesome.

Telestream – Lower South Hall 3905

The Telestream booth is literally next to the Adobe booth, so this will be stop two.

I learned about Telestream from a great technology vlog I follow, Hak5 (part of Revision3). A year or so ago they did a “behind the scenes” on how they edit and upload their videos using Telestream’s Episode Pro. Episode Pro can put intros and outtros on videos automatically, has all sorts of workflow options, ability to auto upload to YouTube accounts and so on. Pricey and probably down the road for me (unless some amazing show special going on), but I definitely want to check it out.

Grass Valley – Lower South Hall 206

This company does switchers, editors and convertors. Probably beyound what I will need, but I want to see what they have.

Canon – Central Hall 4325

After Adobe, Canon is probably the exhibitor I most want to see. The DSLR camera I am interested in is the new 70D. My plan is to check out the camera at the booth, and ask a rep some questions about it around what I am planning to use it for.

Manfrotto – Central Hall 6025

Manfrotto is located next to the Canon booth. They do tripods, monopods and other camera rigging. I have heard great things about them.

GoPro – Central Hall 6537

Though I am not planning on getting a GoPro anytime soon, I do like them. I know they had a show special last year.

VariZoom – Central Hall 8230

VariZoom also makes tripods, monopods and other camera rigging.

Teredek – Central Hall 8218

Teredek makes wireless video transcoders and transmitters. Very interesting stuff, but probably down the road for me. I will definitely stop by their booth, though, because I know their transmitters can tie into broadband solutions (like Sprint or Verizon). This can be used to live stream events. Very cool technology.

GlideCam – Central Hall 7916

GlideCam makes stabilization rigs for cameras, including ones for DSLRs. This is a piece of equipment I know I will need for my camera. Hopefully I will be able to try out some of the DSLR rigs while I am there.

B&H Camera – Central Hall 11022

B&H is the large camera store in New York City. They have a huge mail order/online business. They are an authorized dealing for most of the exhibitors I will be visiting. I am hoping, since they are retail sales, that they have some show specials going on.

This list will probably change between now and NAB. I tried to keep it focused on my goal of making videos and short films. I also tried to keep it limited enough so if I want to spend some extended time at certain booths I can.

I am really looking forward to NAB. I think it will be a lot of fun.