Monday, March 29, 2010

Rotating an iPhone Video using Quicktime 7

A lot of times a user might take a video with their iPhone using the portrait mode and would like to post it to youtube or another website.   I posted a video on youtube where I rotated a video and had some interest in how I was able to accomplish that rotation.

I used Quicktime 7 to rotate the original movie. Selecting 'Show Movie Properties' under the 'Window' menu. Then I selected the 'video track' of the movie and then selected 'Visual Settings' tab to rotate using the option button next to 'Flip/Rotate'. This version of Quicktime 7 for Mac, still runs on Snow Leopard and you have to have also purchased the extra 'mpeg2 module' from Apple to run with this old version of Quicktime to access many of the movie features.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Subscribing to RSS Feeds Using Firefox with Mac OS X

I guess most individuals cringe, when they see or hear the terminology 'RSS feed', thinking that it is some complicated and extremely technical feature that the average user might feel intimidated to use.

In actuality, it is fairly easy to use and offers the user a means to store an aggregate of topics from one source together to use later. It can provide a very easy method for audio podcasts to be saved to your iTunes library. Thus allowing you to listen to these podcasts or blogs at a later time, possibly while exercising on a treadmill or while out for a walk while listening via your iPod.

Most podcasters or audio sites offer the RSS feed button on the site. If the user clicks on this button, it provides a method to 'subscribe' to that 'feed' or audio or blogs for future castings or broadcastings.

Where these feeds go, is usually where most users encounter  problems. The user should search his/her preferences for his browser of choice to set the place where these broadcasts, audio blogs are captured for future listening.

If using Firefox, this can be found under the 'Firefox' menubar, where the user clicks on Preferences and then selects the 'Applications' tab. The user should scroll the applications in the display window, looking for 'Podcasts', 'Video Podcasts', and 'Web Feed' to set from the 'Action' column the means to save the feed or podcast. The options are numerous and one can directly send to iTunes where the podcasts can be downloaded or synced with such devices as iPods or iPhones.

The 'Preview in Firefox' option will allow the user to see a replication of the page where the images, mp3 files, and descriptive text that accompany the podcasts/feeds are displayed in an open Firefox Browser window. From this view, the user can also download the mp3 from the browser viewing window directly to their hard drive if desired and then moved to iTunes manually to be synced later.

Safari also has RSS feed capability, as do most  browsers.  Check it out you might find it to be a useful way to keep track of news feeds, interesting blog or audio casts to listen to at a future time.

Friday, March 19, 2010

iPlaylist Pro Review - Must Have App for iPhone

Today I was able to download an exciting new app for the iPhone that allows the user to organize or create a playlist for their iPod Touch or iPhone on the go.

It is pretty straight forward interface with very user friendly screens. To create a playlist one merely clicks the + button on the main app page. A screen appears allowing the user to enter the name for the playlist.

Once the title is entered for the playlist and saved, the option is given to Import Songs.
The songs in your device (iPhone or iPod Touch) are then displayed on the screen.  You click the + button next to the songs you wish to add to the playlist and then click Done.  You have created a playlist on the go of songs within your iPhone or iPod Touch.  
The songs are displayed in a list, where ALL songs can be cleared at once, or single songs can be deleted by swiping or more songs can be added by clicking on Import Songs.   The playlist can be accessed from this list and played in song order or in shuffle mode.

Never know when this may come in handy ...  I would definitely give this a 5 star rating as it is not only a useful app, but one that is not available in the normal iPod app that comes with the iPhone.  *****

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mousing Over Names on Twitter

I just noticed today if you mouse over some of the names on your Twitter page that a popup textbox appears showing information about the person. If you click on the text 'More' you can view addtional info and their latest tweet, number of tweets, following, followers and lists.

At the bottom are options  to @ Mention, Direct message, unfollow, block or report for spam.  The two icons next to You Follow Indicator provide a quick way to quickly edit your mobile and retweet settings for people right from your main page.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cinch App for iPhone

Yesterday announced they were closing their voice blogging site.  They had a great site, with some of the first innovative mobile phone blogging and commenting widgets for social networks.  Many of the users are looking for new sites and ways to continue the friendships and fun they had on Snapvine.

Some have suggested  I am checking it out this morning as it seems to offer an iPhone app that should allow me to post recordings direct from the free iPhone app called 'Cinch'.  I haven't had any luck logging into Cinch via the iPhone app yet, but I am just learning the ins and outs of Cinch site.

The site has an embed code ability, so I am testing that now to this blog.  Hopefully, when I embed the code to my test recording you will hear my voice below:  (Here goes!)


It worked!

Cinch also offers a widget similar to the widgets that Snapvine provided for posting comments and blogs.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shortcut for Playing Happy Birthday on My Disklavier

The new Yamaha Disklavier System Software version 4.0 for the Mark IV, has a new feature called 'ShortCut'.  Being the techie lady that I am, and not able to find any documentation online on the Yamaha site for this new updated piano system software, I decided to use the exploration method of learning that my kids had experienced in school.  When I was in school, we had the 1, 2, 3 ... lists on how to do most tasks.  Exploration does add a bit of fun and probably spurs my curiosity more.

The 'Shortcut' option can be programmed using  your Virtual PRC (installed on your computer  using wifi connection) or on the hand-held PRC remote that came with your piano. To find this new feature, click on the main screen of your PRC (or virtual PRC) until you see the following screen, displaying the 'Setup' button.

Click on the 'Setup' button, and using the prev and next buttons, page through until you see the new 'Shortcut' button.
The Shortcut scrollable list will be displayed with 10 lines to add shortcuts.  If using the PRC (or Virtual PRC) you can tap the area next to the number 1 list item or use the center button to depress (enter) to make the selection to enter your first shortcut.
The 'Shortcut #1' screen will be displayed, and you can click on the area next each of the options displayed: Command.   The area appears to be empty, but you can select sub options by using the arrow keys on your keyboard or the small direction buttons around the center control button on the PRC (or Virtual PRC).   As you cycle through you will see various options such as Power, Play, Repeat, Random, Radio, Balance, Quiet.   Selecting some of these options will subsequently display other sub options that can be selected and cycled through such as Medium, Album, Song (for Play or Repeat Option),  Medium, Album (for Random Option), Channel (for Radio Option), Resource, Direction (for Balance).
I cycled through all the options and sub options using the arrow keys and enter key to select my 'User Library', 'Special Occasion Album' and  'Happy Birthday' song.

The PRC automatically fills in an appropriate Name for the Shortcut, but an editing box also appears allowing the user to edit the Shortcut Name.  Clicking OK places the name for the Shortcut Name. 

You can add in ten Shortcuts and then these Shortcuts, can be accessed from the iPhone app (i.e, Disklavier Controller app available free from iTunes App Store), under the 'More', 'Shortcut' buttons on your iPhone. 

So now if I have a friend that is over for their birthday, I can whip out my iPhone and go to the Shortcut screen in the Disklavier Controller App and click on my shortcut and the piano should play 'Happy Birthday'. 

Yamaha Disklavier Radio

One of the best features that Yamaha implemented for the Disklavier Mark IV pianos was the Yamaha Disklavier Radio.  The yearly subscription rate for this service is well worth it.  It is my understanding that sometime in May, the Disklavier Mark III's when equipped with a new box, will also be able to access this great feature.

I am controlling that feature from my iPhone app 'Disklavier Controller' that I reviewed yesterday.  I am able to listen to holiday music today that is under the radio channel of 'St. Patrick's Celebration'.

The Radio is accessed from the Selection option and is listed under the Other Source Category.

Once you select the Disklavier Radio as a source, then you tap on the channel.
Tapping on the screen, the Disklavier Radio screen, displays the control panel for various operations.  The channel name and song title are displayed as well as a mute button.  The main volume can be adjusted using the slider.  The Back button allows the user to return to the Disklavier Radio Selection screen to select another radio channel.   The piano icon to the left of the volume slider bar allows the user to cycle between Acoustic/Quiet/Headphone modes.

So far this option on the new app is working great.    For those who have a Disklavier Mark IV that haven't tried the Radio Feature, I suggest doing so by accessing the Complimentary Channel Sampler and Complementary Music Channels.  I think you will love this feature and if you have an iPhone, the app to control it will be added fun!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Controlling My Yamaha Mark IV Disklavier from My iPhone with Free Yamaha Disklavier Controller App

I noticed that the guys on the Yamaha Disklavier forum over on Yahoo had sent a message to the group that the latest system software for my piano was available, as well as a nice app via iTunes that could now control the piano.  So I quickly updated the piano software, downloaded the Disklavier Controller app from iTunes and started playing a song from my midi library on the piano, controlling it from my iPhone.

So I thought I would share some of the screens that this slick app offers for those that have iPhones and a Mark IV Disklavier.   {NOTE:  When you connect this app to your piano for the first time, the following screens appear, searching for the piano.  If you have connected successfully then subsequent connections occur automatically.}   So here goes:

The first screen let's the user know that System 4.0 is needed and the 'PianoSearch' button at the bottom of the screen allows the user to search for all pianos on the wireless network.   The name of the piano is displayed and the user can select the piano.  Once the piano connects the user can select from 3 sub menus on the bottom row of the app screen:  'Select', 'Balance' and 'More'.

The 'Select' menus allow the user to select the Source, Album and Song or Playlists.

The 'Source' Menu illustrated below offers access to Playlist, Pianosoft, CD and User Libraries, as well as other Media Sources: CD, USB Media and Floppy Disk (FD).

In addition, the user can access Other Sources such as:  From/To PC folder, Download Library (which houses those songs purchased from the Yamaha Store), and the Yamaha Disklavier Radio Stations.

Here are some of the screens that appear when selecting an album and song from the source:

Once the song is selected the screen displays the name of the song, the controls for volume, next and play.
The volume is controlled by moving the slider bar at the bottom.  There is also an icon of a piano to the left of the slider bar and this allows the user to cycle through the AUDIO/QUIET/HEADPHONE MODES with one touch of this piano icon (illustrated below).

To the right of the slider bar is another icon which upon touching changes to various options.  The straight arrow icon is an indicator that songs are played in order from the album or playlist with NO REPETITION  The next icon which is illustrated below, indicates that the current song will be REPEAT.

When the icon changes to the repeat icon but has an 'A' as illustrated below, this seems to indicate that ALL the songs in the album will be repeated in order for the album.
When this icon appears as below, this seems to indicate that the songs will be RANDOMLY REPEATED.

The 'Balance' option or submeu at the bottom of the app screen is illustrated below.  This option allows the user to control the balance for the Voice (adjusts volume of piano part), TG (Adjusts the volume of the ensemble part from the internal tone generator), Audio (Adjusts the volume of software (audio CD, etc) and Mic (Adjusts the microphone level).
 The 'More' option or submenu at the bottom of the app screen is illustrated below.   The 'Piano Search' button, allows the user to scan the network for pianos.  (Sorry, guys not a 'Search' for songs that some of us might like to have).  The 'Short Cut' button allows the user to SELECT short cuts which I haven't explored yet ( this is a new option of System 4.0 for the piano that I guess may allow us to setup some shortcut keystrokes for various options using the PRC remote only).   'Standby' button allows the user to place the piano in standby mode from iphone app.   Not sure about the 'record' button, but assume that if we have some famous person playing our piano, and a floppy in our piano's floppy drive we might be able to start recording them secretly from our iPhone.  The play function offers the most options:  controlling TEMPO (adjusts the tempo over a range from -50% to +20%), TRANSPOSE (adjusts the pitch in half steps, 24 half-steps lower or higher (i.e. 2 octaves in either direction) and OFF/ON of the right and left channels as illustrated in the second screen below.

The 'Demo Mode' option seemed to merely play the demo songs that came from the demo midis preloaded with the piano.  I tried running a karaoke midi, hoping secretly the lyrics would be displayed on my iphone app screen ... but no luck on that.  Also was hoping the graphics demos would be displayed magically on the iPhone screen, but not happening.  Overall, I would say that Yamaha has a pretty slick app for us to use with our Mark IV pianos.  I like it.

Note:  There is a Set Password Option on your PRC remote, that allows the user to set/edit a password to keep others from using their iphone apps to control your disklavier.