AirPlay for Apple TV is here!

 

Apple released iOS 4.2(1) this week for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and one of the most touted features is here. It's called AirPlay. AirPlay is the evolution of AirTunes. You might remember that with AirTunes you could stream audio to a stereo or speakers connected to an AirPort Express or Apple TV. Now with the NEW 2010 Apple TV you can not only stream audio/video from your Mac/PC, but you can also stream audio or video from your iOS device. 

 

 

What can you do?

With an iOS device running 4.2.x and an updated 2010 Apple TV you can now stream music from the iPod app, Videos from the Video/iPod App or Pictures from the Photos App. You can also stream YouTube videos from the YouTube App. I imagine as developers update their Apps you'll see more Apps take advantage of AirPlay (content licensing permitting). 

 

What can't you do?)

You can't stream movies taken with your iPhone 4 directly from your iPhone 4. There seems to be a hardware limit in the iPhone 4 in terms of bitrate/compression that makes it impossible to stream HD videos captured with the iPhone 4 directly to your Apple TV. Also if you own the original Apple TV you're not invited to the AirPlay iOS video streaming party. There is no software update for the older models to allow this feature.

 

How well does it work?

I streamed a movie from my iPad without skipping a beat (over my 802.11n network)! No pauses, no glitches. It worked fine. I also streamed photos from the Photos app with no problem. Lastly I streamed a YouTube clip and surprisingly (because YouTube pauses all the time) it played without any problems/pauses as well. 

 

The Bottom Line

If you have an iPhone 3G or higher or an iPad/iPod touch as well as the NEW Apple TV, this is what you've been waiting for! While I think the technology is cool, I still wonder how often I'll actually use it? As I said from the start, it's rare that I would have something on my iOS Device that wouldn't already be on my computer/Apple TV. Granted I could have just taken some photos with the iPhone 4 camera and want to see them right away and there would be a good use case. It would have been nice to view a video shot with the iPhone 4 wirelessly on the big screen, but that's not possible without taking it to the computer first anyway. Time will tell! Nonetheless in my initial testing it all works as advertised.

You can get the NEW Apple TV here for $97.99.

Don’t Shoot DSLR Video without a Z-Finder Pro

 

Nikon D7000, 85mm f/1.4 lens, Rode VideoMic and Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 3x

Shooting Video with a DSLR camera is all the rage now. However, one of the biggest problems with shooting video with a DSLR camera is keeping the video in focus. When you shoot at a shallow depth of field (one of the benefits of DSLR video), it's almost impossible to maintain focus while looking at the LCD on the back of your camera. While 3" may seem like a nice healthy screen size for a camera, it's really small when you're trying to check the focus of a scene. If you're shooting stills it's less of a problem because you can take a shot and then zoom in on it to check focus. When you're shooting video you don't have the same luxury. You can can't zoom the preview while you're shooting. The camera manufacturers haven't figured out that they should give us the option of looking through the lens via the eyepiece when shooting video yet. So for now we have to rely on the LCD for everything video.

 

The Zacuto Z-Finder Pro to the rescue

Zacuto has a few solutions for this problem. The one that I like the most is the Z-Finder Pro. It's designed to attach to a supplied bracket that goes on the bottom of your DSLR. It then gives you a more standard eye piece/viewfinder to look through while you're shooting. It also magnifies the screen. Once you put your eye up to the Z-Finder Pro you'll never want to shoot video without it again.

Looking through the Z-Finder Pro 3X

 

How would I redesign it?

The Z-Finder Pro attaches to a plate with two thumb screws. While you can certainly loosen these screws to remove the Z-Finder when you want to go back to shooting stills, I'd make a faster "quick release" system for quickly detaching it and re-attaching it. I also haven't tried this yet with a tripod mount/ball head. It might be interesting if the popular ballhead manufacturers had built-in support for the Zacuto bracket or vice versa.

 

If you shoot DSLR video, you want this!

 

You can get the Z-Finder Pro 2.5x mag here for $375.25

You can get the Z-Finder pro 3x mag (the one I used) here for $375.25

Solving the Camera Strap Mystery

Several months ago I was at an event and Tom Hogarty (Adobe's Lightroom Product Manager) walks up to me and says "let's replace that Nikon camera strap with this one." He hands me an Adobe Lightroom branded strap. It has the Adobe logo on one side and the Lightroom logo on the other. I thought, "cool!". I immediately switched straps and have used that one on my smaller travel bodies ever since. I can not believe the number of emails and comments I get asking…..not where do I get an Adobe/Lightroom strap, but "who makes that strap it looks comfortable?"

I get logo'd items all the time and rarely do I think "hmm, I wonder who makes this?" This is definitely the case with this strap. Yes it is comfortable! However, not once did I ever think about who makes it?

 

 

It's by OP Tech USA

I took a few minutes to look to see who makes it and it turns out it's by OP Tech USA. I'd never heard of the company before so I went to their site and found that they have tons of straps! It actually took me a few minutes to find the right one. It turns out it's the "Superclassic 3/8".

The mystery is solved. 🙂 You can check it out ON SALE here.

The Beatles Now on iTunes!

It's what many of you have been waiting for. Get started here:

 

iTunes & App Store

My 2010 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide is Here

 

That's right it's my guide to help you with you holiday shopping for the gadget lover (freak) on your list. The way this thing started was each year towards the holiday season all my friends started asking me and emailing about what my picks were in various categories and of course the answers were usually the same. So I decided to compile a list and just email it to the folks that asked.

Once again I've put together a Holiday Gadget Gift Guide to help you pick out gifts for the techies and gadget lovers on your gift list. However, instead of making a PDF with links to multiple sources, I've decided to go with once source this year. I've chosen Amazon.com simply because they are the one online retailer with not only the largest presence, but also the one that carries 99% of the items I recommend. Another advantage is that I can continue to add things that come up all the way up to the final days of the holiday season. In previous years I would always find some cool gadgets after the static gift guide was published. Now because they don't carry every single item on my recommendation list, you can check for some Extras at the bottom of this post.

 

How did you pick the items that you recommend?

Simple! If it's in my guide it's because I either use it now, have used it in the past or one of my close friends or colleagues use it and I trust their opinion. Now in some cases there may be an item in the guide that is NEWER than the one I use and I had to list that one because my model is no longer available. Two examples come to mind: The Epson Workforce 610 (I have the 600) and the Sony BDP-S370 (I have the 350). So there was no choice but the recommend the current model. Each year, I get dozens of emails from companies trying to get into the guide. However, unless I've used it or know someone who has, it doesn't get in PERIOD.

 

How does the gift guide work?

The guide is broken out by Category so that you can shop accordingly. This way you can pick your gift by the kind of person you're shopping for. I know that sometimes you have to buy a gift based on a certain dollar amount or budget (like gifts for co-workers), so I've given you a couple of dollar amount categories too. Happy shopping and in case I don't see you later, Happy Holidays to you and your family! You can go straight to my 2010 Holiday Gift Guide here.

 

 

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My “Learn the Creative Suite with Terry White” App is now on Android too!

Just a quick heads-up before heading into the weekend. My popular "Learn the Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White" App is now available for Android OS too! Now Android users can get my weekly tutorials, tips and tricks right on their Android devices. Just like the iOS version you'll be able to mark your favorites to view when you want, browse the episodes you want to watch and of course view the exclusive bonus content that is available with many of the episodes. 

 

$1.99

You can download the Android version here from the 

and of course you can also get it for iOS here from the Learn Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White - Wizzard Media

The native iPad version is in the works.