My DVD to MP4 Media Conversion Project is Done!


You might remember my post from May when I was in the middle of converting my Movie DVDs over to a hard drive. I have successfully converted my DVD movie connection to .MP4 H.264 format! This means that I can now enjoy any movie I own on any HDTV in my house via Apple TV or I can take the movies with me on my laptop or iPhone. I actually finished the conversion a couple of months ago, which was much earlier than I anticipated.


How did I do it?

I have over 380 standard def Hollywood DVDs. Painstakingly one-by-one I converted each one over to an .MP4 file using Handbrake. All 440 movies total (some were already digital or home movies) were imported into iTunes and reside on a Drobo connected to an intel iMac. This iMac serves as my iTunes server. It’s the one that all of my Apple TV’s are sync’d to and it’s the one that I use to sync my iPhone to for media ( you can sync an iPhone to more than one computer for data and media separately). I also use this iMac to sync my iPods too. So it has it all, music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, best of the best photos, etc. 

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Another Successful Photowalk




Not sure how all the other cities did, but my Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk – Detroit was a big success! We had an absolute perfect day weather wise and a great group of photographers.  We went on a 2 mile walk throughout downtown Detroit snapping shots of some great landmarks and interesting landscapes. I can’t wait to see everyone’s shots.


I got a couple myself that I liked, but nothing really outstanding. I was too busy enjoying everyone else that was there.

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iPhone App of the Week – Air Sharing Pro


My favorite app for putting files on my iPhone just went Pro! The one thing I never understood is that Apple allowed you to turn on Disk Usage almost since day one with the iPod, but still to this day doesn’t do it with the iPhone. There are plenty of things that would be nice to carry on your extra storage space such as PDFs, presentations in PPT, word and excel files, etc. Yet, for some reason Apple hasn’t seen fit to allow this natively. No worries, there are apps in the App Store that fill this gap. I wrote about the Air Sharing app back in September 2008. I got in when it was first introduced and it was FREE! It was and still is a great solution for putting documents on your iPhone and viewing them while you’re on the go. Basically Air Sharing turns your iPhone into an HTTP file server that you can copy files to and from over your Wi-Fi network.


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Too good to be true? 6 foot HDMI cable for 17ยข No way!



What’s the difference between these two HDMI cables?

The one on the right cost about $14 and the one on the left cost 17¢. I know what you’re thinking, "what’s the catch?" That’s certainly the first thing I thought when my buddy Corey pointed this out to me. You may remember a few weeks back, I wrote a post about paying too much for cables. Well several readers responded with where they buy their cables. Corey contacted me later on and pointed me to this HDMI cable on for only 17¢. Needless to say we were both highly skeptical! Usually deals like this are not really a deal because they jack up the shipping to basically be the price of the item. However, that was not the case here. I ordered two of them and the total for the order including shipping was still under $6. Of course the other gotcha could be the cable itself. I was half expecting this thing be made out of cardboard. However, it was almost indistinguishable from the cable I was already using on one of my sets. Well of course looks can be deceiving! We still don’t know about the quality of the materials inside the cable. So this required a real test. I unplugged my "good" cable and plugged in one of these cheap ones. I could NOT tell a difference in picture/sound quality at all. 

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Join me at Adobe MAX!



Once again I’m honored to be a Featured Speaker at this year’s Adobe MAX conference! I had so much fun and learned a lot at last year’s conference in San Francisco. This year the conference will be held in LA and I’m counting the days. Adobe MAX brings together some of the brightest minds in the industry and covers everything from developer workflows, to creative pro techniques to a look at where Adobe is headed. 

I’m joined this year by my esteemed colleague Russell Preston Brown, Adobe’s Sr. Creative Director and he will be doing a special 3 Day Hands On Workshop!

I’m looking forward to see you there. If you haven’t registered yet, you can do so here.




Lastolite Kickerlite Softbox Review


The good folks over at Bogen sent me one of the NEW Lastolite Kickerlite Softboxes to check out. My friends over at NAPP were raving about it and my buddy Scott Kelby did his review a few weeks ago. Although I’ve had it for a while now, I just didn’t have the right shoot lined up to try it on. Well that all changed last night. Last night I got to work with one of my favorite models and my goal was to use the Kickerlite during the shoot. Scott let me get a sneak peak at his NEW Digital Photography Book Volume 3 and in it I found a technique that I just had to replicate:


If you want to learn how to do the exact setup for this shot, grab a copy of Scott’s book.

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Let ScanCafe do your scanning for you!


Believe it or not there was a time that I actually shot with, (gasp) film. Yes, I wasn’t always a digital photographer. Although I was an early adopter and saw the handwriting on the wall when I got my first Apple QuickTake Digital Camera, I did shoot with regular film cameras before then. I did NOT consider myself to be a photographer at that time. I was mostly doing family photos and photographing my travels. I had never used an SLR camera before and most of my equipment was of the point and shoot variety. No, I didn’t really get serious until digital came along. The picture above is from my trip to Egypt back in 1990. Is it a great shot? No not at all (as I cringe at the question), but it’s one of the few that I actually have of me from the trip. Therefore, it’s important to me.

With digital I have the vast majority of my catalog of images stored, well um, digitally. They exist on hard drives and backups of those hard drives. However, what about all those pictures I took before digital? Like many hobby photographers out there I have that "shoe box" of prints and negatives. Of course I also have those binders and binders of photo albums too. Most of this stuff is over 20 years old. There are a lot of good memories there too. 


It’s all starting to fade away


Negatives, Prints and Slides WILL deteriorate over time. My collection is no different. So I figured it was time to start transferring these precious memories into the digital world. For negatives and prints that means scanning! I’ve owned more scanners through the years than I care to think about. I even owned a couple of dedicated slide and negative scanners too. The one thing I’ve learned is that I just don’t have the patience or the time for scanning! I bought a low budget Film Scanner a few years back with good intentions on scanning my negatives and slides. I figured I’d do a few at a time whenever I had time. I started out at a good pace and realized that the results just weren’t what I hoped and that it was a tedious, slow and painful process. In order to get the quality I was looking for, my negatives would need to be cleaned and then corrected after they were scanned. Sorry, but I just don’t have that kind of time or will. So I boxed up the scanner and sold it on eBay. Yes, I gave up! I didn’t think about this project again for several more years.

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iPhone App of the Week – Units


One of the first things I went in search of when 3rd party apps made their way onto the iPhone was a good unit converter.  I found Units and haven’t looked back since. This app has evolved over time and the user interface continued to improve. 



Units can convert

  • Area
  • Currency
  • Energy
  • Temperature
  • Time
  • Length
  • Weight
  • Speed
  • Pressure
  • Power
  • Volume
  • Data Storage
  • Fuel Consumption
  • Typography
  • Density
  • Astronomy
  • Torque
  • Luminance

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Get your message out for less than you think!


One of the questions I get ask a lot has to do with my video podcasts. I have two popular shows. My Adobe Creative Suite Podcast has been ranked in the Top 10 Software How-To Podcasts on iTunes off and on now for the past 3 years. I’m approaching my 300th episode! Each month the show gets tens of thousands of downloads.  The show has received millions of downloads to date.


I also launched another show at the beginning of the year for my Macintosh Users Group, MacGroup-Detroit called "MacGroup TV". While this show won’t get anywhere near as many downloads, because of it’s smaller targeted audience (our local group), the episodes average 60-90 minutes each! That’s a long time for a show. Each episode of this show can range anywhere from 700-900MB on average. So here comes the big question?

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Photoshop Educator?


If you’re a Photoshop Educator then you can register to download a FREE Instructor’s Kit. My buddy Scott Kelby has partnered up with Peachpit Press/New Riders and Pearson Education to release his Photoshop CS4 Book For Digital Photographers as not only a text book, but also additional instructors kit DVD with videos and additional files to show your class. There’s a PDF, test questions and photos to help you teach photoshop. The only catch is that you have to be an educator to get this free resource. So if you work as an educator you should head over and check it out. If you want to check out Scott’s original announcement including a short video explaining the program, go here.

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