Archives For Tech

We returned home Friday afternoon from a great (and exhausting) week at district Kids Camp.

I had a blast filming and editing videos all week for a nightly ‘highlight reel’ video shown in the rally. I’ve been told that 13-children made first-time commitments to follow Jesus at camp this year! I believe in the impact and importance of the camp experience. As camp-weeks become more and more expensive to attend and pull off, I fear the inevitable, but I’m grateful to serve on a district that believes in the importance of financially investing in the lives of children by availing a camp-experience each Summer!

Here are the camp highlight videos from our week together –

I love stumbling on stuff like this. It reminds me how much fun the Internet is.

Every church tech closet I’ve ever been in could use a little Bob Marley . . .

cord wrap

Understatement of the year as a blog post title? Check.

I guess it should really be, “Time management isn’t easy (for me)”. There are MANY people in this world who are literal ‘kings’ of time management and productivity and I’m often overwhelmed when I receive nuggets of information from some of them on how to increase my skills in these areas.

btdlRecently a friend of mine, Erik Fisher launched a brand new podcast entitled “Beyond the to do list”. I’ve listened to a few of his episodes now and am continuing to glean useful information from each of them.

I’d be selfish not to share this resource with the stevansheets.com readers and others who may share in needing an overhaul of their time management and productivity skills.

Head over to beyondthetodolist.com and check out an episode or two and see what I’m talking about. I’d recommend the Michael Hyatt episode if you’re not sure where to start.

You can also subscribe to the Podcast from within iTunes here.

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image credit goes to David Drury who created it during a ‘Twitter rant’ we were having last evening

I was remarking to myself the other day (this happens often, believe it or not) about just how much graphics-technology has changed in my own lifetime.

From my humble beginnings with an 8-bit Atari 2600 (I’m pretty sure I could still beat anyone at Centipede) and then ‘graduating’ to playing GoldenEye on the 64-bit Nintendo system, the graphic-ability of even the gaming consoles of my life has been ever-changing right before my eyes. I’m not even sure how many ‘bits’ are within our family’s Wii these days.

The same is true with computer graphics. I remember being pretty excited playing on the Mac computers in the computer lab of my Junior High School and manipulating basic shapes into some sort of a clickable ‘game’ with my friends during Computer Club (yep, I was that guy).

These days the “Computer Graphics Industry” has advanced beyond what I can even imagine. Think about it yourself next time you’re watching television and a majority of what we see now is aided by computer graphics.

A couple of years ago I upgraded my “graphics suite” of software to Adobe CS4 and I’ve become familiar and comfortable within the programs of Illustrator and Photoshop. Also in this suite of software are some video and graphics-manipulating programs that make me quite nervous. I’ve been editing my latest videos quickly within Adobe Premier, but have been nervous to dig any deeper than I’ve needed to with basic editing all I’ve approached thus far.

This week I dug out a piece of green cloth I saved from the dumpster one afternoon and brought it home with me. I also ‘hired’ a 6-year-old assistant to recite the Pledge of Allegiance after a day of school and I filmed her in front of my make-shift ‘green screen’ with my HD camera.

It was her idea to put a flag behind her when I suggested the idea on the way home from school. (she’s already a creative genius)

I really don’t know what I’m doing. I watch enough YouTube tutorials to get by and I’m scared I’ll break something every time I tweak a setting within the software, but what I came up with is what I’m hoping is a first-step into doing more with video in the future. I want to know and learn enough to ‘be dangerous’ and do fun things like put waving flags behind my kids as they say, “…with liverty and justice for all…”

Behold, my first green-screen attempt:

“I can’t afford Apple products.”

This is what my response is when I’m (often) asked why I’m I computer-guy and yet don’t use a version of the computer with a partially eaten apple logo that glows via nuclear reaction while the lid is closed…

It’s partially true. I’ve crunched the numbers and have had the numbers crunched for me when I’ve talked about my new non-Apple laptops I’ve purchased over the years. There is enough evidence to go either way, I think, with performance and quality versus affordability in the argument of Mac vs PC.

The truth is – I learned much of my early computing on an Apple product – it had a green-monochrome screen and I’m fairly sure I spent more time suffering from the electronic-version of dysentery (while playing Oregon Trail) than I did learning anything truly helpful in those days. I also currently have an old iMac in my home that my kids play on occasionally. I also love stepping into Apple Stores when I have the opportunity. I have owned a few iPods over the last few years. I’ve even wasted a few afternoons in the past watching Apple Keynotes via someone’s snuck-in webcam on an livestream to see LIVE what kind of earth-shattering technology Mr. Jobs and company have come up with (mainly so that I could Tweet it out and be cool).

But I’m definitely NOT a ‘fanboy’ of all-things Apple – I own an Android phone, a Dell laptop, an Android tablet, and a GoogleTV device. An ‘Apple fanboy’ would own an iPhone, MacBook, iPod, and an AppleTV – plus a pile of the related accessories and probably sport a small partially-eaten apple logo on their left bicep.

avsThe latest headlines regarding the lawsuits Apple has filed against Samsung have been seemingly insignificant in their goings-on and especially in their outcome of Apple winning the suit and Samsung being forced to make amends for their apparent copyright infringements.

I am appalled by the result of these lawsuits.

Full disclosure: the Android tablet I own is a Samsung Galaxy Tab. The Android phone I own is a Samsung Galaxy S2. Obviously it would look as though I’m a bit biased because I’m on the ‘other side’ and own a piece of the losing company – but stay with me.

The court’s ruling that Samsung infringed upon (read: stole) the Apple product(s) in creating their own is probably fair but I don’t think it’s right. (For more on “fair vs. right” please take a time-machine back to my adolescence and almost any afternoon conversation with my father about how ‘unfair’ the world was back then.)

Other’s have described the danger’s of Apple’s winning suit better than me. Even before it was a court-case.

Back in June, Kirby Ferguson, a filmmaker was a featured TED presenter at TEDGlobal 2012 that I think gives us a unique and powerful perspective on the fact, as he says, that “Everything is a Remix”. I challenge you (Apple fanboy or not) to watch this short presentation and ask how the consistent patenting of ideas by the likes of Big Corporations is not only hypocritical but also detrimental to our society.