A few tech notes

As the weeks pass, I get closer to my goal of acquiring no new technology for the year of 2014. Sure, I’ve been constantly evaluating new gadgets, computers, etc. But I’ve not purchased anything. I have come close.

My current personal tech lineup consists of:

  • 7 year-old Mac Mini for audio/video editing, connected to wide-screen 27″ Viewsonic monitor. Not exactly state of the art, but the thing is this: it still gets the job done. It is slow on processing HD video, but it can do it. I’m not in a big hurry. It does just fine as the core of my podcasting setup using Garageband.
  • 11″ Samsung Google Chromebook: This is still quite useful, and is my go-to device for most web-surfing, writing, blogging, etc. If Google would come out with some good video/audio editing apps, it would really be great, but I don’t expect that. It is what it is, and it works very well. If Google start allowing apps to get loaded on to the Chromebook outside the Chrome browser it would most likely destroy the beautiful and effective simplicity of that the device does.
  • iPod Touch 5th version: just used for mobile wifi stuff, music, blah blah. I’m about to get a little tripod and lens kit for it, as it takes very very good HD video in good light conditions.
  • Amazon Kindle Touch: Still love this single-purpose device for its intended purpose – reading the written word. I find it superior.

I’ve been interested for some time in using an iPad to edit video. This week I finally downloaded iMovie for the iOS to my iPod and played with it a bit. It is really pretty incredible what you can do with this little pocket-sized device, but if iMovie isn’t any more full-featured on the iPad, then the iPad simply isn’t a good option for “real” video editing at this point. It would be alright for quick little projects, but not good enough to spend $500 on an iPad.

And really, why do I need to be able to do that? I don’t. If I want to edit video, I can just sit down at my desk and do it on the real computer.

Also, I really struggle with the issue of planned obsolescence. I just HATE the idea of ceasing to perfectly functional, if somewhat slow, computers, as long as they are meeting my needs.

My audio-video hobby of course requires some equipment, and like the computer and software itself I am making do with what I have. I’ve written about my podcasting stuff before, so all I’ll say is this: I have everything I need for that. I have great mics and a good system. Thankfully that stuff doesn’t really change a lot.

For video, I am shooting skate video using a couple of devices:

  • Old banged-up Canon point-n-shoot camera. It will not shoot full 1080p HD video, which I’d like, but it does get the job done, and it isn’t so nice that I have to worry about it. These little cameras do have a limited lifespan, so I can see getting a new upgraded one in 2015.
  • GoPro HD Hero – the original “Hero” model. Works like a charm of up close HD video of skateboarding.

I feel like skateboarding video has really gone overboard with the high-quality cinematic bullshit. Everyone thinks that every video needs to be some “epic” life-changing tale of greatness and wonder. I disagree. They should be fun and show the skateboarding. So my personal taste has kind of gone back toward simpler and shorter videos, with the “art” being in getting good shots.

My friend, podcasting partner, and team sLACK co-founder Tony Gale uses his iPhone almost exclusively for shooting skate video. He’s the one who really made me aware of how useful the iPhone/iPod can be for this. Again – I really love the idea of using this kind of minimal technology (minimal in that you are using a phone and not an expensive camcorder) to produce interesting and engaging content.


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