Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What we learned in Oct 09

Greetings, blog readers. This month's links and a snapshot of what went on at the wefcpug this week.

Timelord Richard demonstrated the all-new way to change clip speeds without (at first) the use of a keyframe timeline. Hey folks, it now works the way we all thought it ought to when we first tried it (and messed up our timelines!).

Phil plugged in to noise reduction on video and demo'd the Neat Video plug-in for same. I liked it so much I bought the filter! A longer review with some frame-grabs will follow, when I've grabbed the frames (and the time to do it). In a nutshell though - it worked really well for me, on what was admittedly ideal subject matter, a locked-off shot - but at a price of $49.90 for the home edition, comes highly recommended.*

I also gave a very quick round-up of free software/services that I've grown into using over the Summer, all of which are tied in to cloud / network use, and in particular the challenge of keeping multiple systems in sync with each other.

These are Xmarks for bookmarks sync across browsers/machines
and Evernote for 'stuff'. I particularly like the OCR aspect of evernote - alas the 3G network in our meeting room was non-existent, so I couldn't demo it. But it's a great party trick using the iSight camera built into your laptop to record hand-written notes, which are then computer-read and filed once they're uploaded.
Plus a reminder that iCal now supports the CalDav format - meaning that Google Calendars can now be read/written in iCal. Info here.
And not forgetting Dropbox for files generally.

All of these are 'Freemium' services - it's a new business model, whereby you are enticed in with a free offer, upgradable (usually meaning extra storage) on payment of a monthly fee.

Two caveats: as Nick reminded us at the meeting, you may not wish to share all your confidential emails/data with companies whom you don't really know much about. And, as happened just this last week, data stored 'in the cloud' might disappear one day, thanks to someone else's mistakes, or a company going down the tubes. So always keep your own local backups.

*For the benefit of US readers, who are (sensibly) beginning to mandate full disclosures, the writer of this blog has no connection with the companies and products mentioned, has (alas) not been paid anything by the companies to promote the products, nor has he been given any products or services without fee, excepting the trial downloads available to all on the websites of those companies.