Plaidcasts & new wine website

Its been like 3 weeks since I've posted! Whoops!

So what have I been working on?
I've edited 4 podcasts:
Burka Ban Signifies Shift in Europe
Taiwan’s Tricky Sticky Status
Sino Sniping Has International Impacts
Iran: the State Built on Hate

And now Vimeo has a mobile site where you can view our Plaidcasts on the iPhone/iPod Touch. To make sure our videos can been seen I have to encode them with the H.264 codec which takes longer than the one I was using (3ivx). Also, I've been exporting them in HD now as well! Exciting!
We need to start linking to the videos on plaidavenger.com since they can't be embedded as of yet, so you have to watch them on Vimeo.
Check the videos out if you are on an iPhone/iPod Touch:
Burka Ban Signifies Shift in Europe
Taiwan’s Tricky Sticky Status
Sino Sniping Has International Impacts
Iran: the State Built on Hate

So the other big thing I've been working on is creating a wine website for John Boyer and his geography of wine class. Boyerwine.com

First I just started out by creating one on Wordpress.com because I wanted it to have multiple pages, something you can't do on Blogger.com (that I know of). We wanted to website to have a page (blog) for 2 wines of the week for students. When I work on Sunday at the Vintage Cellar, Trent will pick out 2 wines for the class which they will get 10% off of for the week. Then we also wanted lesson pages to incorporate John's Drink this Now! book and Gary V's Wine Library TV tasting episodes he does. We matched up chapters from John's book to episodes on Wine Library TV and then had what to taste along side. Finally we wanted to have a resource for where to drink in Blacksburg and eventually the surrounding area. Many restaurants don't update or post their wine lists or even have a website! So we are slowly going around and getting the lists/prices and posting them on the site.

After a week or so on Wordpress.com I thought we should just go ahead and buy/host Boyerwine.com. I went through Bluehost and for a good deal the registered the site and now host it. I installed the Wordpress software, copied everything over, and then redesigned it since I know have a wide range of themes to choose from. I went with the Atahualpa them from Bytes for All. They have a great interface to adjust many aspects of the site for those who don't know CSS, aka me! So after spending a day playing with the settings to get it acceptable (still more tweaking to do), we have now switched over to the site and are using it for class.

John wants to start posting informational wine videos as well, like how to open a sparkling wine bottle, or how to taste wine. There are many of those on YouTube but they lack John's exciting personality, lol.

We went to a warehouse tasting yesterday in Winchester, VA for Kysela and took some video of the place and talked to a few wine makers and I hope to have that posted soon.


Past week of Plaidcasts

So as you might know already this past week the Plaid Avenger has recorded a 3 part series on Haiti -
Why Does Haiti Suck? Part 1: Bloody Birth
Why Does Haiti Suck? Part 2: Problems with Peoples
Why Does Haiti Suck? Part 3: The Political Repercussions of part 1&2

I edit all of the Plaidcasts and managed to get them within 12 hour of recording. We use the same camera for the VT lectures for the Plaidcasts (Panasonic HMC150) and instead of him sitting as usual, we have decided in order to not have to move the camera around a lot he will stand like he does in the lecture videos. We got these old white screen projector stands from the VT auction a while back that go all the way to the ceiling. We hang the maps on them and voila! The Plaid Avenger is on location!

We are actually getting a good amounts of traffic from the Plaidcast based on people searching for "Haiti sucks." I'm always amazed by the amount of hits we get from international sources. We get people from about 10-20 different countries every day.

Our next Plaidcast will be on France and its possible banning of Burkas which we hope to record tomorrow.


World Leader Twitter Names

Alright! So now every world leader that is on PlaidAvenger.com now has a twitter account. I am currently working on them all following each other and have at least one tweet for each of them. Here are all the names (64 and counting) and links to their twitter account. If you want to follow all of them the best bet is to go to Barack Obamas twitter and click on following and follow through there.

Here they are:
Plaid_Obama (Barack Obama, US)
Plaid_Harper (Stephen Harper, Canada)
Plaid_Calderon (Felipe Calderon, Mexico)
Plaid_RCastro (Raul Castro, Cuba)
Plaid_FCastro (Fidel Castro, Cuba)
Plaid_Ortega (Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua)
Plaid_Correa (Rafael Correa, Ecuador
Plaid_Uribe (Alvaro Uribe, Colombia)
Plaid_Chavez (Hugo Chavez, Venezuela)
Plaid_Morales (Evo Morales, Bolivia)
Plaid_Bachelet (Michelle Bachelet, Chile)
Plaid_daSilva (Lula da Silva, Brazil)
Plaid_Kirchner (Cristina Kirchner, Argentina)
Plaid_Brown (Gordon Brown, UK)
Plaid_Merkel (Angela Merkel, Germany)
Plaid_Sarkozy (Nicholas Sarkozy, France)
Plaid_Putin (Vladimir Putin, Russia)
Plaid_Medvedev (Dmitry Medvedev, Russia)
Plaid_Zapatero (Jose Zapatero, Spain)
PlaidBerlusconi (Silvio Berlusconi, Italy)
Plaid_Tadic (Boris Tadic, Serbia)
Plaid_Gul (Abdullah Gul, Turkey)
Plaid_Erdogan (Recep Erdogan, Turkey)
PlaidYanukovych (Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine)
PlaidYushchenko (Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine)
PlaidTymoshenko Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine)
Plaid_Abdullah (King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia)
Plaid_Mubarak (Hosni Mubarak, Egypt)
Plaid_Khamenei (Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran)
PA_Ahmadinejad (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran)
Plaid_Netanyahu (Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel)
Plaid_Abbas (Mahmoud Abbas, Palestine)
Plaid_Mashal (Khaled Mashal, Gaza)
Plaid_Nasrallah (Hassan Nasrallah, Lebanon)
Plaid_Gaddafi (Muammar al-Gaddafi, Libya)
Plaid_alAssad (Bashar al-Assad, Syria)
Plaid_Maktoum (Mohammed Maktoum, UAE)
Plaid_alMaliki (Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq)
Plaid_Singh (Manmohan Singh, India)
Plaid_Karzai (Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan)
PlaidNazarbayev (Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan)
Plaid_Hu (Hu Jintao, China)
Plaid_Wen (Wen Jiabao, China)
Plaid_Ma (Ma Ying-jeou, Taiwan)
Plaid_Hatoyama (Yukio Hatoyama, Japan)
Plaid_Lee (Lee Myung-bak, S. Korea)
Plaid_Kim (Kim John-il, N. Korea)
Plaid_ThanShwe (Than Shwe, Burma)
Plaid_Bambang (Susilo Bambang, Indonesia)
Plaid_Rudd (Kevin Rudd, Australia)
Plaid_Zuma (Jacob Zuma, South Africa)
Plaid_Mandela (Nelson Mandela, South Africa)
Plaid_Mugabe (Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe)
Plaid_Kabila (Joseph Kabila, DR Congo)
Plaid_alBashir (Omar al-Bashir, Sudan)
Plaid_Mbasogo (Teodoro Mbasogo, Equatorial Guinea)
Plaid_YarAdua  (Umaru Yar'Adua, Nigeria)
Plaid_Kimoon (Ban Ki-moon, UN)
Plaid_Rasmussen (Anders Rasmussen, NATO)
Plaid_Amano (Yukiya Amano, IAEA)
Plaid_Blair (Tony Blair, UK & Special Envoy to the Middle East)
Plaid_SuuKyi (Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma)
Plaid_Pope (Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican City)
Plaid_Lama (Dalai Lama, Tibet)

The next step is to get our web guy Kevin Cupp to have each of their feeds on their profiles on the website. Also we need some volunteers to update each of the world leaders, please hit me up if you are interested, you'll get first choice!!


My week of Twitter, Final Cut and Compressor

So I am still working on creating Twitter account for all world leaders listed on the PlaidAvenger.com. I finished down to Nelson Mandela (Plaid_Mandela) and now have 12 more to go. I hope to finish them tonight and then have them all follow each other. Then the fun begins and we have to start updating them! Hopefully we can get some students this spring or dedicated alumni to help us out.

I have been recording/editing a lot of John Boyer's lectures this week. We have recorded "Japan Early History," Japan Meiji" and "Japan Rising Sun." I have edited "Early History and Meiji" and am working on "Rising Sun" now. So far I have only posted "Early History" and the colors keep changing (working on it), but check it out if you have a chance and give us some feed back:

Japan Early History from Plaid Avenger on Vimeo.

The last thing I have been working on is learning Compressor because I want to be able to continue editing video while compressing another one. Currently I finish editing then wait 1-3 hours for Final Cut to export the video. Now I export a Quicktime Reference Movie in about 10 mins from Final Cut then take that file into Compressor and compress it from there. And Compressor only take about 30 minutes which is still less time overall and gives better quality. Why have I not done this before!?!


Hackintosh Final Cut Working!

So I've been having this issue with the video files I'm getting from our new camera: a Panasonic HMC150. We used to use a Canon HV30 for the Plaidcasts, but now that I'm also recording lecture material to be used in John Boyer's World Regions class, we needed a better camera. Using Final Cuts Log and Capture I encoded the AVCHD files to ProRes. The process results in huge files (about a 1gb per minute of file). My Hackintosh, for some reason could not properly playback these files, ie choppy playback then the video would freeze while the audio continued. I couldn't edit on my Hackintosh, BUT could on my 2 year old Macbook Pro Laptop.

After some deliberation and help from some friends it was decided my Hackintosh version of Final Cut (6.0.4) couldn't handle the files and needed to be updated. (My laptop was version 6.0.5) But to update I would also have to update the operating system, which is usually a huge headache with Hackintoshes. In a last ditch effort I looked at my system updates list to see what I was missing for Final Cut, since I never update my computer. I was missing ProKits. Quick forum search later I found out the ProKits for 2008 helped with "robust AVCHD support" but had also crashed some hackintosh peoples Final Cut. I decided to go for it and install and it worked! Hell yea! So now I can finally edit these files on my computer!

So my final issue with the new camera is the white balance. I just can't seem to get it right! Lots of yellowing. You can see here from the photo, left is before the 3-way color correction, right is after. Hopefully can get that figured out soon, any advice is welcome!


New Start

Decided I really needed to start a blog about my life and mostly the happenings of PlaidAvenger.com. Friend and plaid artist Klaus set me up here on blogger with my sweet banner and everything!

So what have I been up to? Recently I have been working on creating Twitter accounts for all of the world leaders (64 currently) that we have on the website. The plan it to have these feeds on each world leaders profile page and eventually into an iPhone app we are working on. Each day they will be updated with what that world leader is doing currently ie "At the ASEAN conference in Singapore talking to Hu Jintao" or "in country meeting with my cabinet members." I think it will be a cool resource for the leaders especially those with no presence on Twitter or no English speaking presence on Twitter.

For the names I had to first create each world leader a email address on PlaidAvenger.com. Gmail hosts our email so luckily I could make a CSV file with the username and password and it would create all of the emails instead of doing it one at a time. If only twitter was like that! Then I went to Twitter and made each one and upload a profile pic. If possible (some names are too long) I did Plaid_"Leaders last name" so Plaid_Obama or Plaid_Brown. I'm about 1/2 of the way done and hope to have them all done this week.

Well that's it for now! Got to get some sleep as I'll be up editing video for my real job in the morning before going to my 3rd job at the Vintage Cellar selling some wine and beer. Party on my friends!