Finding Your Format

It’s quite impossible to choose a camera without
knowing which format best fits your needs. Below,
you’ll find many of the most popular formats.


Based on the standard definition of DVCPRO format,
the DVCPRO HD from Panasonic uses a data rate of 120
MBps and intraframe compression, both of which will
provide strong protection from generational loss.

The DVCPRO HD also has supporting cameras and decks
that use FireWire I/O, which is a very important
feature for keeping an eye on your bottom line. The
cost of the equipment is a bit pricey, as it can
cost upwards of 80,000$.

HDCAM
The HDCAM format from Sony is based on DigiBeta and
can record in 24p, 25p, 50i, and even 60i. It
uses a high data rate of 140MBps, which produces a
great looking picture with few glitches. Because
of the very unusual 17:6:6 color sampling scheme,
the color detail is half of DVCPRO HD. The
picture is top of the line, proving to be among the
best available on the market.

HDV
There is quite a bit of buzz surrounding HDV as
the newcomer to the high definition marketplace.
With high compression rates, HDV has enabled
high quality shooting and editing with low cost
tools, including the convenience of high
definition video to Mini DV tape. This has also
helped to open up the HD field to a wide
variety of videographers and producers who
would never have even considered going high
definition otherwise.

The biggest drawback to going the HDV route is
also the greatest strength – high compression.
Both audio and video can suffer dramatically
from too much compression. The audio in theory
isn’t up to CD quality, although some users
report that they are perfectly happy with it.

Your Own Virtual World Play God – Be God (Even If It’s Only Electronically)

Part of the appeal of video games is the visual eye-candy that splashes across the television screen. But even the addictive imagery is only half of the equation. The remaining half is the magic bestowed upon our eyes when this imagery comes to life. Animation that’s controlled by a gamer is all it takes to escape into a different time and place – a time and place brought to you by virtual reality.

As you can imagine, virtual reality is a hypothetical three-dimensional visual world created by a computer. Players can enter and move about in this world and interact with objects as if inside it.1 Some of the games that are already on the market give a pretty good idea of what virtual reality is and can do. Video games like Zelda, Halo, or Harry Potter allow players to enter into an environment and interact with objects, but they don’t allow the player to create an environment and that’s what virtual worlds are all about.

Without a single ounce of programming experience, anyone can create a virtual world and have loads of fun doing so. All one needs is an idea.

To begin, you’ll want to construct a plan that maps your idea of the perfect world, the craziest world, or the oddest world that you can imagine. Some virtual world software will give you a template of sorts (a “starter” world) that lets you make additions and ultimately build a world that you’ve always dreamed of. A good example of template use is inside Maxis’ SimCity or SimTown games. Both games provide pre-designed environments that provide plenty of space and opportunity to shape them into one that you prefer.

Of course, you could always start from scratch. The only problem with starting with scratch is that it takes more time and knowledge to add some of the features that virtual worlds provide. Either way (from scratch or from a template), most users build a world by adding objects and scenarios – even deleting some until they’ve reached the perfect balance.

A good place to find examples of what you could build in virtual world gaming is online. Every virtual world program available offers sample environments that players can download and install into their own system. Some manufacturers of these games even hold contests and award winners with free upgrades. Other suitable places to find ideas are from fiction books: -historical, -fantasy, -futuristic, you name it. Science fiction movies are a good resource for ideas as well.

Just understand that virtual gaming takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your virtual world. There’s no rush and this is a relaxing hobby. Take your time and have fun. Don’t fret over not knowing how to build an object or lay down a map – you can learn how to do these kinds of things in due time. Your goal is to create a world of enjoyment and it won’t help if you find yourself frustrated all the time.

When ready, you can add characters with their own unique histories, habits, strengths and weaknesses. You can even give them goals or small tasks to perform throughout the game. Giving your characters goals and tasks will help you give the game a plot.

To get started, look for RAD (Rapid Application Development) Tools. RAD tools will help you bang a virtual reality game together in no time and with little difficulty.

What Makes A Great Game

A Gentle Reminder for Programmers
It’s easy to get lost in all the details of building a great video or computer game – so easy in fact, that we can forget the parts of a game that make them fun to play. The following serves as a gentle reminder of what prompts players to play games in the first place. Refer to this reminder in the event that you get bogged down or distracted with confusing C++ syntax, or lines and lines of Visual Basic statements and DLL structures.


1. Remember the player is the main character. Here’s a secret between you and me: People play games to gain a sense of control. If you can manage to program your game in a way that puts the player in control, then you’ve already won half the battle. This doesn’t mean to suggest that the game should be easy. It simply means that when a gamer runs home from school or drives home from work to play a video game, she wants to feel the control that she didn’t have during the hours between nine and five. The outcome of a game – whether it’s a win or a loss – should never be random, but the result of a good, controlled game play instead.

2. KISS. Remember that acronym? It stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. We all know that programming a game is hard business, but believe us when we say we don’t want to be reminded of it. The difficulty of programming a game should never be part of the game play so when possible, make the game easy to start, easy to navigate, and of course, easy to play. We’re not asking for pre-school strategy here, but on the other hand, we don’t want to feel as dumb as a pre-schooler either. Forget the hundred page manual. Nobody except the truly obsessed is going to read it anyway. Build your game for the average Joe and everyone will be your fan.

3. Add plenty of action. And add lots of it too. The more action you add to your game, the more attention players will pay attention to it. And the more that players pay attention to your game, the more addictive your game gets. For every action that a player’s character makes, have the game react and then prompt the player for more.

4. Make the story a good one. Nothing is worse than playing a game only to wonder what you’re doing and why. Purpose is and always has been a human obsession. But without it, we’re left wandering… in the darkness… wondering bizarre things like how the house would look in a coat of bright pink paint. Don’t give your players the opportunity to waste time like that. Give them a mission and make sure your game reminds them what the mission is at opportune times and why they must complete it.

5. Give us eye candy. But make it relevant. The graphics in a game shouldn’t be distracting, they should make our eyeballs glaze over with satisfaction upon seeing them, and then salivate for more. Graphics should contain clues and entice us further and further into the game until we’ve beaten the thing.

6. Make it real. Fantasy games are okay, but what makes them cool is the fact that they’re realistic. It’s hard to get into something that isn’t familiar or that there’s no way we could ever experience. But if you can implement some reality into your games, players will appreciate it and relate to it on a whole new respectable level.

The Civil War

America has been part of some devastating battles over her long history. World War I and World War II were tremendously difficult conflicts and ones that taxed the nation’s resources to the maximum. But none of those conflicts can compare to The Civil War not only for the brutality and devastation of human life but in the damage to social fabric that was caused by that terrible conflict.

America is proud that it has never had a battle on its native soil. Other than Pearl Harbor and 911, we have never even been attacked on our own soil. So it took a war of brother against brother, American against American to make even the possibility of war within the borders of America even possible.

The war’s statistics are staggering for a relatively short conflict. The war started on April 12. 1861. It was the confederacy that drew first blood attacking Fort Sumter in South Carolina. The battles of the Civil War and legendary. We have come to honor the dead of both sides of this bloody conflict by preserving many of those historic battlefields even to this day.

Throughout the war, the North was at an advantage in preparation, equipment and supplies. But General Lee, who commanded the confederate army, was a brilliant strategist and the battles often resulted in massive casualties on both sides. When the final tally was drawn up, over 970,000 American citizens died from the Civil War. While that may not compare numerically to the huge losses in the two world wars later to come, this figure represented 3% of the American population at the time. And since the huge majority of the war dead were from America’s youth, the hope for her future, the set back this war had on the development of America’s economy was truly remarkable.

In modern times we look back on the Civil War as a titanic battle to bring an end to the horrors of slavery in this country. And to be sure, the Civil War is and will forever remain a central part of black history and the beginning point of the civil rights movement in America. But the causes of the Civil War were complex and diverse which only made negotiation and resolution of the war more difficult in advance of conflict.

Part of the issue that was being fought out was the rights of states for self determination as balanced with the rights of the federal government to determine affairs in the individual states. On the surface, this may seem trivial compared to ending slavery but put in context, it was a critical relationship to iron out in light of our not very distant memory of our revolution against England for trying to impose unreasonable controls on the colonies.

American’s are fiercely independent people and that independent spirit was born in the battles of the revolutionary war where America stated firmly that they would no longer bow to a king or let the centralized government have such sweeping control over individual lives. The outrage over how England tried to put the colonies under servitude was the foal that caused the explosion known as the Revolutionary War. And much effort was made to assure there was language in the constitution and other critical documents to assure that the federal government would be severely limited from interfering in the lives of its citizens.

Beyond that the preservation of the union as one country was also in contest in the Civil War. But it was the moral issue of slavery that made the Civil War such an emotional issue and one that caused people to fight with such ferociousness to defend their side. In the end, even Abraham Lincoln made slavery the central rational for the war and determined that the end of this barbaric practice would be the legacy of this horrible conflict.

But one thing that also was a legacy of the Civil War was the determination that we, as Americans, would never turn our war machine on our own citizens again. The war tore families apart and literally caused brother to war against brother. Since reconstruction and the union of America, the country has had a bruise in its national psyche over this war and that bruise reminds us that we are one people and we would always be one people devoted to the causes of truth, justice and the American way of life.

 

Educational Opportunities in Video Games There’s Lessons in Them Thar Games!

Who would have ever thought that video games – a form of entertainment – could improve the minds of those that play them! The truth is that amid all the cool graphics, the fantastic music, and the intriguing plots, educational opportunities are abound – and to find them, one only needs to look at them a little closer.

1. Video games improve strategic thinking. Rare is the video game that doesn’t require its player to make a decision two or three steps ahead of a current situation. With constant play, players quickly learn the advantage of strategic thinking and they start to apply it to actual world opportunities.

2. Video games improve problem solving. Although the same could be said about any game, video games have proven in study after study to improve problem-solving skills. This is because most (if not all) games are centered around a problem and then challenge the player to solve it. In just one game, a player may solve anywhere from three to a hundred or more different problems.

3. Video games improve hand and eye coordination. If you find this hard to believe, pick up a game controller and try to maneuver around the game. Manipulating a game controller demands the same skills that it takes to maneuver a mouse around a computer screen.

4. Video games facilitate quick decision-making. One quality of video games that lends to quick decision making is its impromptu situations. The element of surprise is always around the corner and it’s what makes games exciting to play. To win however, players must be able to make smart decisions within a very short amount of time.

5. Video games feed the imagination. We don’t really understand the argument against things like television, videos, and gaming where people use the lack of imagination to support their part of the debate. Some people claim that video games take away from the imagination because games supply the mind with things instead of encouraging the mind to come up with these things on their own. Bear in mind that these are the same people who say a stack of blocks is sufficient to grow a child’s imagination. Of course we couldn’t disagree more. The imagery in video games only fuels the imagination and gives it a spring board to form new possibilities that might not have occurred otherwise.

6. Video games encourage exploration. In role-playing games, players must venture off the beaten path and explore the unknown. They have to open doors without knowing what’s behind them. They have to enter areas of the game without knowing the consequence. And they have to interact with characters that they’ve never met before. Inside these particular kinds of games, the opportunity to gather up the courage to explorer unknown territory isn’t just available, it’s required.

7. Video games enforce memorization. Another feature of video games is its strong influence on memorization. The terrain portrayed inside some of these games is huge, yet accessing the maps can be cumbersome and disruptive to the game. To compensate, gamers will not only memorize a large portion of the terrain, they’ll remember the tasks required to get to specific areas.

8. Video games teach consequence. All computer and video games operate off of an “action – reaction” principle. Do something, and the game will react. This is a great opportunity to learn about consequence – whether this opportunity is experienced from a gamer’s point of view or a programmer’s point of view.

9. Video games teach patience, dedication, and endurance. No great game can be conquered in a day. In fact, some of the best and most popular games take weeks or months to finish.

These are just some of the educational opportunities hidden inside video and computer games. After closer investigation, we’re sure you can find more in addition to hours of fun and amazement.

 

George Washington

It is impossible to reflect on the truly great leadership that has been one of the real blessings of this nation without including the name of George Washington in that list. In fact, in almost anyone’s “top ten” list of truly great presidents, Washington would almost certainly top the list. His stature in American history is legendary and the respect Americans have for this their first president borders on adoration of myth.

In fact, there is a lot of myth and some humor about our first president that reflects the love people have for this great leader. From the many quips about his supposed wooden teeth to the thousands of places around the nation that proclaim “George Washington slept here”, to the mythical story of how he threw a silver dollar across the Potomac as a child or his response when he was caught cutting down a cheery tree and responded to the accusation “I cannot tell a lie”, Washington’s myth is strong in the national memory of this great leader.

Washington never set out to become the greatest president of all time or even to be in a position of leadership in the new country he helped to start. He was the one who originated the concept of a “citizen president” and he believed so strongly in that concept that he refused to run for a third term because his time as citizen leader was over. This tradition was sustained with little exception until it was codified into part of our constitution in the form of the 22nd amendment.

But before Washington was a great political leader, he showed his tremendous leadership skills on the field of battle. He learned the art of warfare serving honorably in the French and Indian war and his influence and the respect he had earned during that conflict netted him the title of commander and chief of the American Army when the continental congress created that role in 1775. Small wonder when he ascended to the presidency some years later, he carried the responsibility of commander and chief with him to the presidency where it continues to reside today even though few of our modern presidents have the military credentials of Washington.

When commanding the troops during the revolutionary war, a famous incident that has been captured beautifully by artists was his decision to cross the Delaware in New Jersey to stage a surprise attack and win the battle against the British. It was yet another brilliant maneuver that showed his firm grasp of military strategy and only served to add to his fame and reputation as an outstanding leader of men.

After the war, Washington again was interested in retiring from public life but he was never one to turn away when his nation needed him. And needed him it did as he presided over the Continental Congress to assure the successful drafting of the US Constitution. Of the many great accomplishments of his life, his ability to provide leadership and inspiration to that assembly to produce this masterpiece of American political ligature would certainly be ranked as perhaps his finest hour.

George Washington was rewarded for his superior leadership skills when he was given the awesome responsibility of serving as the nations first President of the United States. His wisdom and insight into what the nation needed at east stage of its early development made him the man of the hour for a struggling republic. Few recognize that one of his greatest contributions to the presidency was recognizing that the nation was torn and weary of war. So using his considerable influence and negotiating skills, Washington signed a number of important treaties that resulted in years of peace that were needed to turn the country from thoughts of war to thoughts of building a great nation.

Washington never tired of providing leadership for two terms as the first American president and it was he who decided not to serve a third term and returned once again to private life. But his impact on the nation and the world was profound and long lasting. It was the kind of nation shaping influence that truly earned him the title associated to him to this day of “father of the nation.”

Laptop Tips And Tricks Everyone Should Know

When you’re thinking of getting a laptop, or you just need some advice on how to use one, this article is for you. Here you’ll learn the basics of laptops so that you know what you’re doing with one. Keep on reading if this is something that you need to learn about.

Buy a laptop with a smaller screen if you don’t intend to use your computer for gaming or watching movies. The displays on these computers often offer much lower resolution but they are less expensive and more portable. Fifteen inch monitors are in the mid range and should give you the resolution you need.

Always get a case to put your laptop in if you’re going to be taking it out of the home. Whether you’re going to school with it or taking it on a vacation, you’re going to want that protection. Just tossing your laptop into your backpack is a great way to have it get damaged pretty easily.

Get on the mailing list of different laptop brands. You will be able to get insiders-only discounts and coupon codes. When you are in the market for a new laptop, you might get just the coupon you need to make a purchase. Sometimes, a good coupon will help you make up your mind.

To repair just one faulty key on your laptop, gently pull up on the edge until it comes off, and look at the hinge underneath. If the hinge is cracked or broken, you need to order just a new key kit instead of a whole new keyboard. Installation instructions come with the kits, and you end up saving money.

Learn a little bit about specs before you purchase a laptop. Know the differences between various CPUs, hard drives, graphics chips, and RAMs. You do not need to know everything about each of these items, but understand what each is and what function they have in a laptop. You do not want to spend more for something that you do not need or not spend enough for something that you wanted after the fact.

It’s pretty easy to see now why a lot of people have laptops. They’re portable, and they’re not that difficult to use. Just remember that the next time you need a laptop, you should put the things you’ve read here into practice. This will save you a lot of time and money.

What Everyone Should Know About Car Repair

Getting a vehicle repaired can be one of the worst experiences a person can have. Not only do they have to spend money on repair costs, they have to deal with auto mechanics that charge too much and take forever to do repairs. The following article has tips that can make auto repair easier.

If you hear a squealing sound when you step on your brakes, it is likely that you need new brake pads or rotors. Do not wait to have a mechanic check your brakes. There will be more damage to pay for and it is also dangerous to drive your car if your brakes are not functioning properly.

Schedule yourself extra time for free checkups, especially if you are going in on a weekend. No matter how early you get in, there are only so many bays in the garage. That means that your car may have to wait for a few paying clients before it gets looked at.

Friends and family are a good source when you are looking to get some work done on your car. Ask around to see if anyone can suggest someone to you before you go on your search. Never go with the opinion of one person. Ask a few and see what other answers you get.

If you are having work done on your car, make sure you get a written estimate beforehand. The estimate should include what is being repaired, the parts that will be needed and the anticipated cost for labor. It should also say that they will call for your approval before doing any additional work which exceeds the amount or time specified.

Check online reviews for any mechanic you’re considering. This will also allow you to know what the public thinks of how they handle customers and how good they are at solving any problem you may encounter. You can use the information to find a place you’ll feel comfortable spending your money at.

Avoid costly car repairs by sticking to the maintenance schedule of your car’s manufacturer. By doing regular maintenance on your car when necessary, you will avoid having to fix things due to maintenance neglect. Not sticking to the maintenance schedule will result in unnecessary repairs which could have been avoided.

Many people have had bad experiences with auto repair, but you don’t have to be one of them. All of the dangers and pitfalls associated with auto repair can be eliminated when using the tips from this article. You’ll be able to drive your vehicle once again and not have to go through trouble to do it.

Simple Tips To Using Your Iphone And Making Life Easier

Whether you own one, or plan to own one, knowing how your iPhone operates is key. When you understand how to make the most of the iPhone’s multitude of features and capabilities, you take the experience to a whole new level. Read on to truly make the most of your iPhone.

Download and sign up with the Find My iPhone app. This invaluable application can help you locate your iPhone in the event that it is lost or stolen. This app not only allows you to display a message on the screen or cause the phone to ring extra-loud, but it allows you to wipe data or lock your phone from a remote location.

Do you want to extend your battery life? There are a few different things you can do to get the most out of your battery life. One thing you can do is turn down the brightness. Also, turn off any wireless radios when you are not using them. This can give you more battery life.

Certain iPhones can be set up to connect to Wi-Fi, although some setup is required. The benefits of the connectivity is obvious, because you can access the internet away from home with your iPhone. This a great advantage to business people because they can check their messages while they are away from their office.

Did you know that you can create your own shortcuts and dictionary on your iPhone? When using diction this automatically knows what you want to say. You can establish your own shortcuts for words and phrases you use often. As you type on the keyboard, mistakes will be automatically corrected.

Control your iPhone music without going to your music app by simply sliding your app bar once to the right. There you’ll be treated to a mini music control system that includes play and pause, next and previous buttons. You can even get quick access to whatever app is currently playing music in the same area.

Capture those fleeting on-screen moments by using the screenshot function. To take a screenshot with your iPhone, simply hold down the “Home” button while simultaneously depressing the “Sleep” button one time. You should see a flash of white on the screen, and the image should be archived in your camera roll right away.

Is iPhone screen flipping driving you nuts? Stop the screen from moving by locking the orientation of the screen. You can do this by sliding the iPhone app bar once to the right. There on the left-hand side is a lock button for your screen orientation. One click of that button and your screen will lock in whatever format it is currently in.

It is easy to understand why the iPhone is one of the most popular devices on the market. Having read this article, you can better understand why you made the decision to get an iPhone. Keep learning all you can. You have so much you can do, you might need more hours in the day.

Buying A Desktop Computer: Tips And Tricks On Finding The Right One For You

Are you excited about buying your new computer? But as hours turn into days of searching, your excitement may fade. So how do you know which machine will be best for you? This article will help you out.

Try building your own computer. Instead of buying a computer ready-made from a big company, try building your own computer. This sounds complicated, but you can get help online. You’ll find that building your own computer helps you save money, and allows you to create something in line with your needs.

A good way to decide what features you want in a new computer is to try out different models before you buy. Many stores have a large selection of models set up and it is a wise idea to spend some time trying them out. You can see which keyboard is most comfortable and which screen size is right for your needs.

Be sure to check the web prior to shelling out money at a brick and mortar tech store. Often the prices you’ll find on the Internet will be a lot less expensive than what you’ll see in stores. If you can wait the additional few days for your desktop, you can save a lot of money.

If you favor a certain brand of desktop news, do your research on it and stay current with upcoming releases. The last thing you want to do is buy a new computer from the bran only to have a new release that you want come out not too long after it. Staying current, doing research, and waiting can land you some great deals with certain brands of desktops.

How much hard drive space do you need? Look at the sizes available in terms of how many photos they can hold for an easy reference. A 500GB hard drive holds 100,000 photos, for example, or the equivalent of 38 hours of video or 125,000 MP3 songs, which is more than enough for most.

Try online comparison shopping when you need a desktop computer. Using comparison sites that show what a certain model offers across multiple brands can help you you decide where to buy. It can also save you a lot of money. Certain sites may offer useful additions and free shipping.

When you are buying a new computer, make sure the software you receive is legal. There should be a CD and key that comes with every package.

If a home office or small business requires one or more desktop computers, many people also have a laptop or iPad for convenience. All the computers can share the most important programs and information, making it easy for sales people to stay connected with their office while out on the road.

Having some helpful information will make a huge difference when you are considering a new desktop computer. Relax and breathe deeply, then put this new knowledge to use. That will make sure your next experience buying a computer gets you the machine you want.