Easy(-ish) Video Embedding

Part 2 of 2

In Part 1 I covered the easy stuff. Working with audio is trivial compared with working with video. Not only do you have many more file types and codecs, but now you’ve got to worry about aspect ratio for HD and compression quality. Given two video files with the exact same file extension, one might work in one situation, but the other may not. It can be maddening.

The easiest thing to do is to upload your files to a video sharing site such as YouTube or Vimeo. However, sites like that are usually blocked by school districts. There is SchoolTube and TeacherTube, but sometimes those can be problematic, too.

Less likely to be blocked are sites built on the Ning.com platform. A Ning site is free, and will support up to 30 videos as long as each is no larger than 100 MB. That’s fairly generous, and will support most classroom needs. Videos that are uploaded to the site are provided embed codes for blogs and social networking sites. Here’s a sample video I recorded in Space Mountain on a trip to Disney World… Continue reading “Easy(-ish) Video Embedding”

Bearing the Pall

“What do you think they’ll have?”

“I think you could guess just as easily as I could”

  • fried chicken
  • sliced ham
  • green beans
  • macaroni & cheese
  • corn
  • biscuits
  • potato salad
  • deviled eggs
  • congealed salad – multiple varieties, but at least one green and one pink
  • banana pudding

And, yes, my sister and I nailed it. The menu was exactly as predicted. And it was comforting and tasty – just as funeral food is meant to be.

funeral food

But, backing up a bit…

Thursday evening I got a call from my father that my Uncle Raymond Johnson passed away after a prolonged illness. Uncle Raymond was 93, and was a quiet, peaceful man who lived his entire life in the town of Calhoun Falls. Uncle Raymond had married my father’s oldest sister, Mary, who had passed away several years ago. They had one son, Sherwin, who still lives in the area. The funeral was Saturday, so I picked up my sister, Glynda. then my parents for the drive down to Calhoun Falls. Continue reading “Bearing the Pall”

Easy Audio Embedding

This is part 1 of a 2-part series…

I’m a BIG fan of embedding. The ability to take media files from one location and use them in another context creates learning environments that are rich and appealing to students. I like it even better when the process is simple. Embedding is now a standard feature for most social networking sites. YouTube was one of the first, and now most media file hosts have followed suit. On just about any media site now days you can find something like the image below which allows you to copy the code and paste it into another site.

doodle.png  on Aviary

Bottom line – most teachers are uncomfortable with coding of any kind, so it’s got to be easy. Most can do the copy and paste, but if you have to manipulate codes, it can be a problem. Unfortunately, there are times when a simple cut and paste is not available. A resource (such as YouTube) may be blocked by a district, or you may have an original file that you would prefer not to upload to a social networking site. That’s where these tutorials come in. I’ll show you how to create your own embed codes so that you don’t have to worry about blocked resources. Continue reading “Easy Audio Embedding”

Scouting the Tyger

Bob on the Tyger

Our friends from Lowcountry Unfiltered wanted to do an Upstate River this fall. Since I’m the only one in the area that regularly paddles with them, I was tasked with finding a suitable trip. I had scouted the put-in and take-out points on a section of the Tyger River that flows through Sumter National Forest, and thought it might make a good trip. Today Bob Donnan and I scouted the section to see if it would, indeed, be a good paddle. Long story short – it wasn’t. However, it was a good day on the river, and that is always better than a day doing just about anything else.

I had my doubts about this trip. It had been raining all weekend, and when I got up Sunday morning there were flash flood warnings for Oconee County. However, I had the boats and gear already loaded onto the truck, and a phone call to Bob reported that they hadn’t received much rain. We decided to head on down to the river and check out conditions before committing to the trip.

I met Bob at our rendezvous point and we drove to the put-in at the Rose Hill Boat Ramp. Both of us remarked that this area seems “ancient”. There is very little development, and it seems remote. Sumter National Forest covers most of the region, and large hunt clubs have bought up huge tracts of land. The area seems almost mystical, as if just about anything beyond the realm of reality could happen.

Continue reading “Scouting the Tyger”

Exploring an Aviary

UPDATE: Sadly, Aviary has discontinued this wonderful series of products. The links below are no longer available.

Today I got word that Aviary.com has released a new online audio editing tool called Myna. This joins Aviary’s growing collection of online tools with bird names, including Phoenix, the image editing program, and Raven, a vector graphics program. Myna is a loop-based editor, and has many of the same functions as Garage Band or Acid Music.

I’ve only had a few minutes to play with the program, but so far I’m impressed. There is an extensive library of existing audio files. These are categorized not only by style by also by keyword. The samples are further broken down into files that would make good intros, files for loops, and ending files. You can also record samples directly into the program with your computer’s microphone, or upload your own files. Continue reading “Exploring an Aviary”

Judging a Book by its Cover – The Lost Symbol

OK, I know I shouldn’t be writing about Dan Brown’s latest book, The Lost Symbol, before I finish reading it, but…

Brown’s latest adventure with Harvard Symbologist (and just what the heck is that?) Robert Langdon hit the bookstores today. Laura had pre-ordered it, so at precisely 12:01 am Pacific (3:01 am our time) the book was dumped onto our Kindle Readers without having to make a trip to the book store. I’ve just finished the first several chapters, and I think I’ve read enough to make at least a few observations.

1. Dan Brown can’t write Continue reading “Judging a Book by its Cover – The Lost Symbol”

LDHS Class of 1979 Reunion

LDHS Class of 1979 Reunion

This past weekend Laura and I attended the 30th reunion of my high school graduating class. It was the first time that I had seen many of these folks since we had graduated. It was great re-connecting with these folks.

About 100 people attended the event – that number including both alumni and spouses. You could pick out the non-alumni spouses very easily. They were usually the ones sitting in a corner off to a side, while the rest of us laughed and caught up. Continue reading “LDHS Class of 1979 Reunion”

“I Liked the Book Better”

That’s what one often hears after seeing a movie. I’m not so sure that it’s always the case, though. In some cases the movie makes a much better story.

Lately I’ve been reading lots of books that have been made into movies – Carl Sagan’s Contact, Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Harry Bates’ The Day the Earth Stood Still, and James Dickey’s Deliverance, among many others. Obviously, some screenplays do a much better job of taking the novel to the big screen than others. Deliverance, the movie, stuck very close to the novel. I, Robot, while an enjoyable movie, could only claim to be inspired by, or produced in the spirit of Asimov’s original.

As I’ve been reading these I’m struck by the choices that producers and screenwriters make in taking a novel to the big screen. I’m sure someone skilled in writing screenplays would be able to produce a better list, but these are a few of the more common changes I spot… Continue reading ““I Liked the Book Better””