Blog, Video

Compare iPad 2 720p HD Video to iPhone 4 720p HD Video

Watch fullscreen and select “720p” to see it in HD.

This is a video Brian and I shot yesterday while messing around with my new iPad 2. It’s just a short video, about 10 seconds shot on the iPad 2, then 10 seconds shot on the iPhone 4. It’s well known that the still photo capabilities of the iPad 2’s cameras are much lower than the (very nice) 5MP sensor in the iPhone 4. But for video, the specs are the same. They both shoot 720p (1280×720 pixels) HD video. We wanted to see if there was any noticeable difference.

The verdict? To my untrained eye, I can spot the difference in the two videos, but it’s hard to definitively say that one is better than the other. I’d give the edge to the iPad 2, but the iPhone 4 shoots good video, too. One thing we noticed: the live “viewfinder” view on the screen while recording video on the iPad 2 was really grainy, and honestly looked pretty bad. But the actual recorded video looks much better when played back.

Side note: I imported the iPhone video into the iPad using Apple’s Camera Connection Kit, then used iMovie on the iPad to string the two videos together and add the titles/lower thirds. I then uploaded to YouTube from iMovie. The whole process was pretty slick, and only took about two minutes. I can’t wait to dig into iMovie on the iPad.

Standard
Blog

iPhoto Loves Cats, iMovie Fixes Shake, Keep Your ISP Honest

I’m really going to try this time, to narrate my work consistently. I’ve set aside time, I’ve got a great workflow for all of the feed items and other stuff that I collect, and I realized that all I need is to gather, synthesize, and summarize at the end of the day. So here are some things that I’ve found interesting in the last day (that didn’t morph into blog posts of their own as I started writing about them):

iPhoto 09 Recognizes Cats’ Faces, But Not Dogs

Apple’s iLife ’09 hit stores yesterday, and the wires are full of people reporting their experiences with its new features. One of the new new major features in iPhoto 09 (the other one being geotag/location support) is that it can recognize faces of people in your pictures. Apparently, it can recognize the faces of cats, too. But, for some reason, not dogs. Why does Apple hate doggies?

iMovie 09 Video Stabilization

The other iLife 09 feature that I’m excited about is iMovie 09’s new ability to stabilize shaky video. There’s lots of sample footage out there. Here’s some from from Beau Colburn (via Daring Fireball). It’s pretty impressive, and especially good news for owners of light little video cameras with small sensors, like my Flip Mino HD, which are extremely sensitive to camera shake. Can’t wait to try it out for myself.

Google Launches Measurement Lab – Tools to Keep Your ISP Honest

Via the Official Google Blog, Measurement Lab is a suite of tools to help you test your connection speed, see if your ISP is throttling bittorrent, etc. Great way to learn more about your internet connection, and see if you’re ISP is not giving you all the service you would like.

That’s all for today. This was fun! Let me know what you think in the comments. I’ll try to keep it up, but no promises. 😉

Standard
Blog

Video: Amazon Kindle Unboxing and First Impressions

I finally broke down and ordered an Amazon Kindle, now that they’re back in stock. It’s an ebook reader device, and since I read so much (borderline obsession), and there are growning piles of dead tree versions of books all over my house, I figured a Kindle was a good idea.

In this video, we go over the packaging, basic functions of the device, discuss its wireless features, have a look at the fabulous (dare I say revolutionary?) electronic ink screen, and generally check out the new gadget.

Camera help and cameo appearances by my wife Rachel and our son Gabe. You can download the higher quality original Quicktime movie file (about 6 minutes, 72MB), or get a code snippet to embed/share this video on your own site by clicking the little “connect the dots” icon in the player above.

I’ll be posting more thoughts as I use the Kindle more (I’ve had it less than 24 hours), but the verdict so far is: I LOVE this thing! I only wish I hadn’t had to wait so long for Amazon to get them back in stock.

You can find out more about the Kindle, browse the books, newspapers, and magazines available for it, and generally get more information at Amazon’s Kindle page (affiliate link – if you decide to buy one, and use that link, I get a small percentage, which helps to pay for my gadget buying habit).

Post a comment or message me on Twitter if you have any questions, and stay tuned for a lot more Kindle information in the days and weeks to come! :-)

Update: There’s a LOT of great discussion going on down in the comments for this post. I’ve been typing like mad, answering questions, so make sure you have a look if you’re interested in what book formats the Kindle can support, what you can use the SD card for, what I think of the DRM on the Kindle, how the design feels in my hands how to use the Kindle to read RSS feeds for free, and more! :-)

Standard
Blog

Video: Podcasting in Plain English

Nobody explains concepts like blogs, wikis, Twitter, RSS, photo sharing, and the like in “plain english” better than Lee LeFever and the gang at Common Craft. I can’t recommend their videos highly enough, and I use them ALL THE TIME to teach people about this “social media” stuff that we do.

Lee and crew have done it again with their latest video, “Podcasting in Plain English“.

Stop what you’re doing and watch it now.

Then share it with anyone to whom you’ve ever tried or wanted to explain what podcasting is. Rinse and repeat for any of the awesome videos at Common Craft.

If you want to receive the occasional video and audio podcasts that I do here on TinyScreenfuls, then make sure you’re subscribed to the TinyPodcast feed. I first started podcasting in 2005, but it’s become kind of sporadic lately. I’ve got big plans for the show, and my show on Intel Software Network, called Bit Stories, this year! Subscribe now if you’re interested, and automatically get the shows as they appear.

Thank you, Lee and Common Craft, for providing such a useful resource for us! :-)

Standard
Blog

Exclusive: 23 minutes of hands-on with the Lenovo and Aigo Mobile Internet Devices

OK, so I’m a couple days late, and I know I’ve been teasing you with photos and videoappetizers“, but I hope the quality/content of these videos makes up for it. While I was in Shanghai, China last week for the Spring 2008 Intel Developer Forum, I stayed a few extra days to work with the Intel Software Network China team, with the hope that I might be able to score some hands-on time with some of the Mobile Internet Devices that were shown for the first time at IDF.

There are only about 20 MIDs in the world today, all prototypes, and they were pretty much all at IDF. As you can imagine, access to them is jealously guarded, and they were pretty busy being shown off, participating in photo shoots, etc. My access to them got postponed, rescheduled, and moved around a lot, until one afternoon, we got the call. “You can come play with the MIDs if you can be here by 5:30pm.” It was 5:00pm, and Welles and I jumped in a taxi right away, headed for the Intel Software group’s Mobility Enabling Lab. I didn’t have time to go back and get my “big boy” professional video gear, so these videos were shot on my pocket Aiptek Go-HD camera, secured by a GorillaPod. I think they turned out pretty well.

Big disclaimer: the Linux-based software for both the Lenovo and Aigo devices I used is NOT final – there are some features that aren’t implemented, and performance optimizations that haven’t occurred. This is NOT how they’re going to be when they’re released commercially. There are crashes, slowness, and missing features in these videos. Think of this as a preview of the foundations of the software – what it’s capable of in general. Then squint your eyes a little and imagine the final version, a little more polished, sitting happily in your pocket. :-)

First up, here’s a 13 minute video of the Lenovo Ideapad U8 Mobile Internet Device (MID). It’s one of the more unique hardware designs, with it’s flared end, special limited edition Beijing 2008 Olympic color scheme, and hardware number pad, for T9 text entry. In the video, I take a detailed look at the hardware (Intel Atom processor, two cameras – the rear one is 2.0 megapixels, SD slot, GPS, USB ports, etc.), and spend some time poking around with the software/user interface:


You can download the high quality (640×360) MP4 version here – the file is about 153 MB. You can also embed/share the video on your own blog or site by grabbing the Show Player code from the video’s page on blip.tv or by clicking “Embed” in the show player above.

Next up is 10 minutes of video with the MID from Aigo. I cover pretty much the same aspects of this device in the video as I did with the Lenovo Ideapad – hardware (sliding QWERTY keyboard, two cameras – the rear one is 3.0 megapixels, MicroSD slot, USB ports, “Smart Key”, etc.) and software and user interface. The Aigo device looks very similar to the Gigabyte MID, which has been floating around, making appearances. So much so that I suspect they’re manufactured by the same OEM, but I didn’t get any concrete information on this, so I’m just speculating. Here’s the video:


You can download the high quality (640×360) MP4 version of this video (117 MB) here, and get the embed code to share the video on your own site/blog on the video’s page on blip.tv, or by clicking “Embed” in the show player above.

Now that you’ve seen the videos, I hope some of your questions have been answered. And, no doubt, you have new questions. I’ll do my very best to get answers for you, so post your thoughts and questions in the comments below. Thanks for being patient while I got these videos ready. I have a TON more video content that I shot at IDF, and that will be coming out as it gets processed/edited. But this is the juicy stuff, so enjoy! :-)

Standard
Blog

An Appetizer: Video of the Lenovo and Aigo MIDs at Intel Shanghai

I’m working on the video I shot while I was at the Mobility Software Lab at Intel Shanghai yesterday, getting some face time with the Lenovo and Aigo Mobile Internet Devices. I posted the photos late last night (thank you all for the comments!), and ever since then, you’ve all been chomping at the bit to see the videos. I have good news and bad news…

The good news is, I just posted an “appetizer” video, with a quick look at the MID hardware, comparisons to the Fujitsu and Samsung UMPCs (and my iPhone), and a glimpse of the lab. It’s about 2.5 minutes long, and you can watch it right here:


The bad news? The really detailed videos I shot of the UI and applications on both devices are too long to go up on YouTube (which has a 10 minute limit). I don’t want to cut anything out of the videos – I want you to see everything I saw. And I’d really like to have higher quality for the videos than what YouTube allows. But since my video service of choice, Blip.tv, is blocked in China, I can’t upload the videos until I get home. My flight leaves in about 18 hours. It won’t be long!In the mean time, please accept my apologies, and this “appetizer” video as a token of my love, along with the promise that the real “meat” – the UI video you’ve been waiting for – is coming soon. Over 20 minutes of it. And it will look better than YouTube. :-)

Thanks for being patient! :-)

Standard
Blog

Bonus Video: My First Hands-On with a MID (Mobile Internet Device)

A few days before IDF, I met Holly from Intel via an email thread on who was going to Shanghai to blog, etc. She let me know that there was going to be a MID (Mobile Internet Device) photoshoot at some point, and invited me to come, shoot video, and check it out. Well, it turned out that the photoshoot took place at 8 PM the first night after IDF started, and didn’t finish until 8 AM the next morning. These devices are pretty much the only ones in the world right now, and they were needed for the keynote addresses both days of IDF. So the middle of the night was the only time they were available for a photoshoot. I passed.

But! On Day 2 of IDF, Holly came by the Upload Lounge with one of the MIDs – a unit from Gigabyte. She was supposed to do some “man on the street” video, showing people in Shanghai the MID, and asking them to show what they had in their pockets. But her video crew wasn’t available for some reason. SInce I was there with all my gear, and had time before the next session, I happily accompanied her out onto the streets of Shanghai (with Helen, our translator) to do the man on the street video.

But before we hit the streets, I shot this short clip with my Apitek Go-HD, to commemorate my first ever hands-on experience with a real, live MID. Here’s the video – about a minute and a half, not long enough to go into any depth. But it should be enough to give you a glimpse of what they’re like to actually use.


Holly is hard core – she was up all night long for the photoshoot, and still came around to do this. I would have chickened out and hidden in my soft warm bed for a few hours. Hats off to you, Holly! Hope you got some rest! And thank you for letting me touch the MID! :-)

Standard
Blog

More Video from Shanghai: Josh’s IDF Video Diary

Here’s another collection of video clips from the two days of IDF Shanghai. Highlights include a look around the IDF venue (Shanghai International Convention Center), the Huangpu riverfront at night (gorgeous!), a peek at Chinese TV in my hotel room, a look at what websites are blocked in China and which aren’t, some “man on the street” video with Intel’s new Mobile Internet Devices, a look at the terrifying chaos that is pedestrian and vehicle traffic in Shanghai, and a cameo appearance by Celene Dion. :-)


Like the walkabout video I posted before, these little clips were all shot in HD on my little Aiptek Go-HD video camera, then pieced together in Quicktime Pro and rendered down to 640×360 on my Elgato Turbo.264. And then converted to low quality Flash by YouTube. :-) The video is about 10 minutes long, and I’ll probably post a higher quality version than what I can get from YouTube when I get home.I’ll probably keep shooting and posting these while I’m in Shanghai. I’m here until next week – going to spend a few days working with some of the Intel Software Network team here at Intel Shanghai. And I kind of like the style/technique of these videos. I’ve had lots of people ask me how I’m doing this. It’s very simple: I turn the screen on the camera so I can see myself, then hold it out at arm’s length, pointed at me, and pivot around in place to show what’s around me, while keeping myself on screen. Kind of fun to shoot, and I like the results.You know the drill – leave me a comment and tell me what you think. Want to see more like this? Hate it? Have something about Shanghai that you want me to shoot? Drop me a line, and let me know. And thanks for watching! :-)

Standard
Blog

Gearing up for Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in China next week

Getting Geared Up for China

Some of the stuff I’m getting ready for my trip to IDF Shanghai (no, my drink and my Nerf gun aren’t going – they live on my desk 😉 ). Most, if not all, of this stuff will be on my person in my cargo pants pockets for the duration, ready to capture audio and video on the spur of the moment:

Of course, this isn’t all I’m taking. The “big” stuff not pictured includes my Canon XH A1 HDV video camera (with the accompanying mic, light, tripod, etc.) and my Nikon D40 DSLR camera. (Those are all affiliate links.)

I’ll be shooting video of some of the keynote and demos at IDF – the Intel Developer Forum – in Shanghai next week. I’ll also be spending some time with the Intel Software Network team there.

This is my first time to China, and I’m excited and nervous. Mainly because I always get nervous/anxious before a trip. I worry that something will go wrong, I won’t have the right gear/paperwork/etc. I’m sure it will all be fine, though.

I may not have very good Internet access (I know a lot of services I use are blocked in China, but I will have VPN access back through Intel’s proxies), and I know I’m going to be really busy, so updates might be sporadic. But I’ll definitely be posting stuff to Twitter, etc. So if you want to follow me on my trip use Twitter, and watch my blog (www.tinyscreenfuls.com) and my lifestream (www.joshbancroft.com).

Shanghai here I come! :-)

Standard