My First YouTube Video: Green Screen on the Cheap – Video

I’ve always been interested in photography and later videography. This is my first Youtube video. It is really just a practice video I did one evening to play with green screen and editing in Sony Vegas Pro software. It shows how I set up studio for vlogging on the cheap. My $85 green screen studio.

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$15 Chair Mat – DIY

I needed a new chair mat for my office. I wanted one that was around 60″ wide. I was surprised when I went to Office Depot and found that a large size plastic chair mat ranged in price from $60 to $130. Prices at staples were the same. I finally found a cheap on at Walmart Online for $31 shipped but it didn’t get very good reviews. My solution was to make my own.

I went to Home Depot and picked out a 4’x8′ piece of Tri PLY underlayment for $10. Home Depot cut it down to 65″ for free. I also grabbed a small can of Red Mahogany Miniwax stain for $5. Miniwax offers 24 different stain colors from light to dark. Home Depot does sell sheets of solid hardwood for $30 but I went with the plywood to keep the cost down.

I quickly sanded the rough edges and rubbed the stain on with a piece of old T-shirt. It took all of 15 minutes to do. I waited until the next day and brought it inside. In my opinion it is much better looking than those clear plastic mats. Total cost was just over 15 bucks. My wife was cynical when I told her I was making a chair mat but after I brought the mat in she said that I could make one for her when her plastic mat wears out.

I have no idea how long this mat will last but my chair rolls on in very nicely. Unlike plastic mats there is no sign of the wheels making dents at all.

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Windows XP Floppy Boot Disk That Works – Tip

Flashing firmware or running certain utilities may require you to be in real DOS mode, but with Windows versions XP and newer it’s not so easy.

I just wanted to update the bios on my SCSI card. I created a boot floppy using Windows XP but when I tried to boot the computer I received a “The following file is missing or corrupt: C:\windows\” error message. While searching for an answer I found many similar problems such as: missing or corrupted: C:\WINDOWS\IFSHLP.SYS, missing or corrupted: C:\WINDOWS\HIMEM.SYS but no answers that fixed my problem. When I received the error message I tried typing in the correct path to C:\windows\system32\ with no success.

The solution: Forget Microsoft altogether and create a DOS boot floppy using Caldera Dr. DOS. Download and unzip the file at the end of this article. Run it in Windows. It will prompt you to insert a floppy and will create a basic DR-DOS 7 boot-up diskette.

Now copy your flashing file(s) to the floppy. Boot the computer with it and run the utility directly from the A:\> prompt. When the process is finished, remove the floppy and reboot.

I hope this helps someone trying to make a bootable floppy disk and is sick of fighting with Windows to do it.

Download: DOS boot floppy disk maker here

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These are just some of the products I’ve bought from and recommend:

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VLC 2.0 Is Available for Free Download Now! – Software

For those of you who don’t know VLC is the best video/media player period! And it is FREE! This software can most play virtually anything you throw at it.

VLC 2.0 just came out and it is a major upgrade. If you are still running 1.1.x or earlier grab this new version. Mac users will see the biggest immediate benefit: an Apple-y, single-window interface that’ll match everything else on your desktop. It’s smooth, simple, and comprehendible, for once. Drag a video onto the window, and it’ll start playing. There is plenty new under the hood, too: multi-core CPU and GPU acceleration, new HD formats, higher-quality audio processing, improved video filters, and “experimental” Blu-ray disc support.

If you download videos this is must-have software.

Available for:
Mac: OSX, iOS
Linux: Debian GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, Mint, openSUSE, Gentoo Linux, Fedora, Arch Linux, Slackware Linux, Mandriva Linux, ALT Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux
And: FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, Android, QNX, Syllable, OS/2

Download VLC 2.0 HERE.

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SI Captcha for WordPress forms, comments and registration – WordPress

Up until now I have been moderating every comment that is made on my sites before they were posted. It’s not that big a deal since Askimet takes care of most of the spam and my traffic is fairly low. At the same time it is my feeling that when people take the time to write a comment they want to see it posted instantly. To that end I have am testing SI CAPTCHA on this site. SI CAPTCHA is by the same author (Mike Challis) as the Fast Secure Contact Form plugin I use on all my sites. It has been a solid performer for the last year that I have used it.

SI CAPTCHA adds CAPTCHA anti-spam methods to WordPress forms for comments, registration, lost password, login, or all. In order to post comments or register, users will have to type in the code shown on the image. This prevents spam from automated bots. Therre are many options to customize including: hiding the form from admins and logged in users to full CSS control.

One thing that I found with the Fast Secure Contact Form is that you need to chmod some directories after every update. When you install or update this plugin you will probably need to make this directory writeable (755 or 777):
If you don’t you will probably get a CAPTCHA token error.

If you have a comment leave it here and try out this plug-in at the same time:)

Download SI CAPTCHA here.

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Open Windows Explorer in Folder You Want – Tip

I use Windows Explorer every day. I have a shortcut to in pinned to my start menu. I’ve been constantly annoyed that it wants to start in the “My Documents” folder. I rarely even use My Documents and am forced to click several times to get to my C: drive where I usually want to be. I’ve found an easy way to fix that.

Windows Explorer Shortcut Properties Window

Right-click on your Windows Explorer shortcut and select “Properties” from the bottom of the pop-up menu. Click the “Shortcut” tab and add the following to the end of the “Target:” box: /n, /e, /select, c:\

Click OK and from now on Windows Explorer will open in “My Computer” view where it is easy to select the drive you want to explore.

Windows Explorer My Computer View

Bonus: You can have Windows Explorer Start in any specific folder you want adding this instead: /e, d:\myfolder Replace the part d:\myfolder above with the drive letter and the folder where you want Windows Explorer to start.

I’ve tested this in Windows XP but I see no reason why it shouldn’t work in Vista and Windows 7 as well.

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Gizmodo News Feed

Gizmodo is a technology weblog about consumer electronics. It is known for its up-to-date coverage of the technology industry, along with topics as broad as design; architecture; space, science and just about everything else. One of my favorite sites; I get most of my news by following this site.

These are the very latest posts from Gizmodo:

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Blue Microphones Snowflake USB Microphone – Review

Yesterday I made a video on my computer. You can see it here. The first time I recorded the audio using the microphone in my trusty ole Logitec Quickcam 4000 that was sitting on my monitor. Well, while it works for videoconferencing the sound really sucks for YouTube videos. I plugged in my wifes Blue Microphones Snowflake USB Microphone
and re-recorded the audio. The difference was night and day! The Snowflake isn’t nearly as sensitive. You need to talk right into the microphone. I also had to turn the recording level all the way up. Another plus is that while the Logitech picked up the sound from the fans of all the computers in my office the Snowflake only picked up my voice.

I’m not a musician so I’ve never really thought about microphones before. Until now pretty much any microphone got the job done. Now that we are all posting videos to YouTube and Facebook it is time to include good audio with the video. Many times I’ve quit watching a YouTube video just because the sound was unbearable.

I recommend the Blue Microphones Snowflake as a very good reasonably priced audio recording device. On my Windows XP machine I just plugged it into a USB port and it worked. All I had to do was select it in the audio settings of my software (since my Logitech was still plugged in I now have 2 microphones to choose from).

As a side note: We first purchased this microphone for my wife who is a court reporter to record audio at depositions. The lack of sensitivity makes this product a poor choice for her because it doesn’t pick up voices very well unless you speak directly into it. For making quality audio recordings it is great. To do any better I would bet you’d have to spend hundreds of dollars on a professional studio microphone.

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VOIPo Discount Coupon Video

Activation Link:
Promo Code: 6503220803

This is a video I made for YouTube to promote the VOIPo phone service. I made the video with Camtasia Studio software. I really like the software and may do a full review of it in the future. If you’ve ever wanted to make a screen capture video this is the software to use. At $299.00 it is a bit pricey but at the same time it has editing power that rivals Sony Vegas Pro video editing software. It is great for making YouTube videos.

As explained in the video this coupon gets you a month of free VOIPo service. When you use my promo code I get a free month added to my service too. You can read my earlier VOIPo review here.

Download the VOIPo .PDF Printable Coupon Here.

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