Now that Apple has quietly added Hulu Plus to Apple TV (just reboot your Apple TV and it will be there). You have a choice in streaming TV/Movie Content Providers. I have been a Netflix customer for many years. I became loyal to Netflix on the day I saw the first ad that stated “no late fees!” I was so tired of Blockbuster and Hollywood video constantly charging me if my DVD wasn’t turned in on time. Yes being late is my responsibility, but watching movies by a certain day of the week didn’t always work for me. The Netflix model was much better. Keep it as long as you want. Those days are behind me. I don’t get DVDs/Blu-rays anymore in the mail. I do however stream Netflix content to my Apple TV and my iPad. Granted, it isn’t the quality of Blu-ray and you don’t have the latest movies to stream right away, but I can usually always find something to watch when I have time to watch. I don’t have to wait for a disc in the mail and I don’t have to return anything either. Yep, I’m a streaming kinda guy now.
Hulu Plus or Netflix
I wasn’t interested in Hulu Plus at all! I didn’t see any advantage over Netflix, but I decided that since it was now built-in to my Apple TV I’d give it a shot. Let’s go through a comparison now.
Hulu Plus on Apple TV
Netflix on Apple TV
Price – Hulu Plus is $7.99/month for unlimited watching and Netflix is $9.99/month for unlimited watching. The different is Hulu Plus still has commercials that you are forced to play before the program starts and usually in the middle of your show. There is no way to skip these ads. Right off the bat I have a problem paying for streaming AND seeing ads too! Netflix also offers plans that will include DVD/Blu-rays too. So for $17.98/month you get unlimited streaming AND 1 Blu-ray at a time (keep as long as you want with no late fees). This is the best of both worlds because you can still get a current movie on Blu-ray and stream everything else. I would have to give the price advantage to Netflix even though it’s $2 more, it doesn’t have ads.
Content – both Netflix and Hulu Plus have thousands of shows and movies, but the Netflix has more! More doesn’t necessarily mean better, but more is more. When you are looking for something to watch, chances are you’re more likely to find something on Netflix. Again Netflix has the advantage here especially if you’re more into movies. I would say that if you are more into TV shows you might like the Hulu Plus experience and content list a little better.
On Apple TV – As far as Apple TV is concerned the experience is about the same between the two services. You can search for shows by name, browse categories and see your recently watched shows.
Going mobile – both Netflix and Hulu Plus have mobile Apps that let you stream content to your iPad or iPhone/iPod touch. I’d call this one a tie.
Take them both for a test spin
Ultimately you will have to compare for yourself. I have no idea what shows or movies that you will be most interested in. For me the winner is Netflix if for no other reason I can’t stand the commercials on Hulu Plus. Luckily both services have trials. Again even when it comes to trails Netflix has the advantage. You can try Netflix for 30 days. You can try Hulu Plus for 1 week!
Déjà vu! It’s like 2010/iOS 4 all over again. A couple of years ago Apple updated iOS to include data tethering. This would allow you to use your iPhone’s data connection on another device like your laptop when you’re out and about. Not meant to be your main internet connection, but a nice plus for travelers that need to connect to the internet from their computers when there wasn’t any free WiFi hotspots available. Of course this was great unless you were an AT&T customer. Not only did it take AT&T forever to turn on this feature, but when they did they blocked it from existing customers that were grandfathered into their original unlimited data plans. They feared that all those users now tethering their laptops would bring the AT&T data network to its knees. They were probably right! In order to get tethering you had to be willing to leave your unlimited plan and sign up for a new Data Pro plan and pay extra for tethering.
Fast forward to iOS 6 in 2012
FaceTime with Seal
Apple announced that when iOS 6 comes out this fall that you’ll (finally) be able to use FaceTime over a 3G network. I never really understood why this wasn’t available sooner since there are so many Apps on the App Store that let you do this today. Nonetheless, its’ coming, but wait for it….once again AT&T is saying no no no to those of us who are on unlimited data plans.
Not only that, they’re saying no to everyone on any existing plan! If you want to use FaceTime over 3G you’re going to have to switch to their newly announced Mobile Share plans. This of course didn’t go over well with customers and AT&T all but admitted that they fear that FaceTime over their fragile 3G network would cause everyone harm.
Another reason I’m glad my New iPad is on Verizon
You might remember that when the New iPad came out that I switched from AT&T to Verizon for that device. Since then I’ve been enjoying tethering at no additional cost and I’ll likely enjoy FaceTime on it too over their fast (almost everywhere in the US) 4G LTE network.
I’ll Just Use Skype!
Skype call with Jason iPhone to iPhone over 3G
FaceTime is great and I’ve always wanted it on my 3G/4G network, but I’m grandfathered into a corporate unlimited data plan that my company won’t be changing anytime soon. FaceTime only works with Apple iOS devices and Macs. Skype works with Macs, iOS devices, Windows, and Android devices. It works today over both WiFi and 3G! This means that I can video call just about anyone I know for FREE TODAY! I don’t have to wait for iOS 6 and I don’t have to switch plans, carriers or anything else. Is it as nice as having video chat built-in to the OS and tied to a person’s phone number/email address? No, but it’s more pervasive and less restrictive, available today and works over AT&T’s 3G network (go figure).
Skype call with my buddy Bruce from my iPad to his Windows PC.
You can get Skype for your computer here.
You can get Skype for iPhone/iPod touch here
You can get Skype for iPad here
You can get Skype for Android here
Delivering on the promise of Creative Cloud and subscriptions Adobe has released a major feature update to Adobe Muse in just 3 months after its initial 1.0 release. This update brings many of the most requested features to Muse without having to wait for the typical 12-18-24 month cycle. Creative Cloud Members and Muse Subscribers will simply be able to click update the Adobe Application Manager or from launching Muse to get these new features.
In this episode of the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast Terry White shows the main new features in the Adobe Muse 2.0 update:
- Align Panel and Ruler Guides
- Asset Upload (link to external files)
- Contact Forms
- Drag & Drop Styles
- FTP Upload (for non-Adobe hosting)
- Adobe Edge Integration (place Edge HTML5 animations directly into Muse 2.0)
- Sitemap.xml (for non-Adobe hosting
- Adobe Muse 2.0 now generates CSS for gradients, shadows and glows instead of images.
- More optimized code
- Japanese Language support
- Several UI tweaks, better font handling and bug fixes
Also be sure to check out Edge Animate 7
Edge Animate preview 7 is here! This is a huge update with new resizable layouts, rulers and guides, shadows, enhanced text editing, timeline grid and SO much more. Download it now! Download it here.
Do you have my App?
See more of my Adobe Creative Suite Videos on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and get the App here.
I recently got a chance to shoot with the Westcott IceLight. The IceLight is a portable continuous “daylight balanced” LED light source. It can run on its built-in rechargeable battery or AC power.
Think of it as a portable Spiderlite TDx
The fact that it’s continuous light, like the Spiderlite TD6 means that what you see is what you get. If it’s not lighting your subject properly you’ll see it right in the shot before you take it. It’s fully dimmable, 1,160 lumen LED rated at 50,000 hours. The built-in battery will last about 60 minutes before needing another charge.
The IceLight creates a nice soft natural light.
I was skeptical at first until I took my 1st couple of shots with it. The IceLight can be hand held by the subject or an assistant or you can mount it on a light stand. When you turn it on you won’t be able to help yourself. You will wave it around like a lightsaber. It’s OK. Go for it. Have fun. Just make sure no one is video recording you or that you right don’t get into a real battle and damage it. After your Jedi workout is over, you can then concentrate on using it for your shoot.
When the model/your subject holds the IceLight they may have a natural tendency to turn the light away from their eyes. After all it is bright! So you may have to instruct them to turn it towards themselves more or do it yourself. This is why it may be better in some cases to put it on a light stand. However, you will then lose the creativity that some subjects may have in how they hold. In fact I encourage you to let your subject hold it the way they want at least for part of the shoot. You’ll get some really interesting looks that way.
The Bottom Line
The IceLight is a great addition to my on-the-go photography gear. I can quickly and easily create different dramatic looks without having to rely on a bunch of different modifiers for my speedlight. It also comes with clips to attach gels. The one suggestion I would have to the engineers at Westcott is to make the “power” button both an on and off button. Right now it only turns it OFF and you use the up/down dim buttons to turn it on. Most people will try to press the power button to turn it on and wonder why it’s not working?
The IceLight is nice but this convenience does come a price though. The IceLight is not cheap. You can get the IceLight here.
My buddy and fellow photographer Rynelle Walker posed against a Mist X-Drop
If you’re traveling to do an on location portrait shoot you can either utilize the surrounding area as your backdrop or bring your own. Using a nice location is great, but what if you don’t have one? I’ve done family portraits in hotel hallways and hospitality suites during family reunions and let’s just say that the wallpaper in these venues usually isn’t good enough. However, traveling with a full blown backdrop and support system can be a pain too.
Westcott X-Drop Backdrops
Westcott just introduced a series of 5’x7′ backdrops and a kit to hold them up. When I first saw them I was really only interested in the backdrops themselves. I wasn’t really thinking about a support to hang them since I already have a couple. However, I got a kit and I gotta say that I’m glad I did. First off I couldn’t believe how light weight this thing was compared to traditional pole type support systems. Secondly it goes up in about 5 minutes or less.
Linda standing against the Saffron X-Drop
You have your choice of 6 different colors: Mist, Quarry, Saffron, Serenity, Eminence and Slate. Plus Black, White and Green Screen for a total of 9. The X-drops can either be ordered separately or as a kit with the stand. I highly recommend at least one kit with the color you want and then if you want additional X-drops you can just order them separately and use the same stand from the kit.
Mist Kit, Quarry Kit, Saffron Kit, Serenity Kit, Eminence Kit, Slate Kit, Black Kit, White Kit, Green Screen Kit.
Like most cloth backdrops it will ship folded and therefore you will have to deal with the creases either by ironing/steaming them out or with Photoshop in post. I used a steamer with great fast results. The good news also is that they are machine washable. The kits come complete with a travel bag that would fit easily in the overhead bin or even in a suitcase.
Now that I have a mix of USB 3.0 and 2.0 peripherals I began the search for the best USB 3.0 Hub. I was interested in a 7 port model and most of all it had to be able to mix both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 devices. What I mean by this is that USB 3.0 devices shouldn’t suffer slow downs when you plug USB 2.0 devices into the same hub. My search led me to the Uspeed USB 3.0 7 Port Hub.
Setup and testing
Setup was easy and straight forward. It came with a power supply that in my opinion has a relatively short cord. It didn’t reach my power strip under my desk that my previous hub’s power supply did. Otherwise it came with everything needed to set it up and plug it into my MacBook Pro Retina Display. I plugged in my USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 devices. However, before hand I ran a speed test on one of my hard drives plugged directly into my computer and then I ran the same test with the drive plugged into the hub while USB 2.0 devices were also plugged in and I got the exact same speed results. So it passed my biggest test/concern.
All of the USB ports are on one side, which is both good and bad. It’s good for cable management since all the USB cables go in one side. However, the power cable and host USB cable are on the other side, so you’re going to have cables coming off both sides no matter what. There are blue LED lights that confirm if a port is in use or not.
The Bottom Line
While this may not be the prettiest design, it is very functional and meets my needs quite nicely. If you’re looking for a 7 port USB 3.0 hub to plug in both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices, then this is probably one of if not the best one on the market.
You can get the Uspeed USB 3.0 7 Port Hub here.
In this episode of the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast Terry White shows how to take a photo, separate it from its background and then bring it into Adobe Illustrator CS6 to Trace it and make it part of a logo design.
Are you missing out on my Bonus Content?
See more of my Adobe Creative Suite Videos on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and get the App here. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see. This episode has a BONUS CLIP that is available only in the App! My iOS App is a Universal App for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. I also have an Android version:
This is a sneak peek of a feature that will soon be added to Adobe Illustrator CS6 for Adobe Creative Cloud members and point product subscribers only. The feature is so highly requested that Rufus Deuchler couldn’t help but to sneak it… What you will be able to do is to automatically create a folder that contains all of the elements necessary for working with the file (linked files, fonts, etc…) for archiving purposes or to share with another designer in your workflow.
Package files is only one of the enhancements that will come to Adobe Illustrator very soon, so stay tuned because the time for running your Adobe Application Manager has almost come.
Remember that if you are a current Creative Suite user you can save $20/month for the first year on Adobe Creative Cloud (Offer available to qualified registered users of individual products and suite editions, CS3 or later): http://adobe.ly/HXRaMg. This offer is ending very soon…
Hands down, my favorite iPad Keyboard/Smart Cover is the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. However, the one problem with it is the back (the surface that will be on the table/desk) is susceptible to scratches and the front really shows off fingerprints.
iCarbons.com answered my call and designed skins to cover both the front and back of the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. You have a choice of colors and even a couple of simulated wood tones. I went with the dark wood and it works great. These skins are not permanent and can easily be taken off or repositioned as needed.
They also make skins for the iPad itself. Thanks iCarbons for answering my needs here and being the 1st to market with a cover for my favorite iPad accessory.
Now that both the MacBook Pro Retina Display and MacBook Air ship with USB 3 I was curious to find out which was actually faster? Going with my existing Firewire 800 drives and the Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter or USB 3 drives. I did searches online and really didn’t come up with much in the way of current data or test. Most of what I found was comparisons to USB 2 or tests done before Macs had USB 3 built-in. Since I couldn’t find the data I wanted, I decided to do my own tests.
Making it fair
I wanted this to be as fair as possible. That meant that I didn’t want to use two different drives. Ideally I would want to test the same drive that has both Firewire 800 and USB 3 built-in. That configuration isn’t as easy to find as you would think on a portable drive. I found two: LaCie’s Rugged 1TB (which I’ve used in the past with no issues) and the Oyen Digital Mini Pro. Since I was looking to have a smaller enclosure, I decided to give the Oyen Digital a shot. It was also a few bucks cheaper.
For the benchmarks I went with the Free App – BlackMagic Disk Speed Test.
Get it here
I recorded my results in the video above.