Conference Room Systems Preach Looking Good on Video

CRS web site on hdx4500My long and continuing exploration of the evolution of webcams has reliably turned up a small set of companies that are doing interesting things. Conference Room Systems is one such company. An AV reseller in Pennsylvania they seemed to recognize that A/V tech was evolving beyond its traditional boundaries. It was moving into live streaming, in applications from corporate to churches, schools and community groups.

However, a sales organization is just that. They exist to sell things. Having spent many years in such an organization it’s familiar territory for me. Sometimes they are genuinely knowledgeable, occasionally less so.

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Online Marketers: How-To Hold Branded Blabs

OnSip-SMBlabLong-time VUC sponsor OnSIP has been running a series of video chats they call #SMBLAB. Blab is a newer, kinda Hangout-like video chat tool built using WebRTC. This week I participated in one with Mike Oeth, CEO of OnSIP, Angela Leavitt of Mojo Marketing, and Randy Resnick, founder of the VUC.

Blab is dead simple to use. It integrates with Twitter for user authentication, allowing up to four people to join each Blab (call?)  The resulting video chats are recorded. Throw in good social media integration and you can see why it’s an online marketers dream.

As nice as blab is, it’s visual presentation is a bit generic. It doesn’t have the image overlay or lower-third capability that you find in Hangouts. That means that you can’t readily add your name or company logo.

That said, it doesn’t need to be this way! You can take matters into your own hands and deliver strong, visually branded blabs…if you want to. It takes a little effort in advance, but it’s not difficult…and it will strengthen your brand presentation.

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IoT Idea: A Smarter Pet Door

LabradorBlackSome years ago I installed a MaxSeal pet door into one of the French doors that leads into my home office. This lets Shadow & Gwen wander in and out over the course of the work day. I opted for their dual-flap model, which aims to be more weather-tight. We get heavy rain, and there’s no point in attempting to air condition the back yard.

In general, we’re very happy with the pet door. Where “we” are the two quadrupeds, who like their independence, and the bipeds who don’t want to be pestered about every possible coming or going.

If there’s one complaint I have about the dog door it’s the clatter it makes when it closes. Each flap has six metal clips that swing past magnets embedded in the aluminum frame. This acts as a brake for the flapping action, and holds it closed between ingress/egress events.

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Tip: Faking an HDMI Connection

FITPC-HeadlessLast week I once again saw a need to share the output of an Android device. As I’ve described previously, this requires the use of an HDMI splitter to feed both a monitor and the HDMI capture card in my vMix PC. The monitor satisfies that HDCP handshake, which allows the PC to see the video stream.

However, there are times when it’s just not convenient or practical to have an extra monitor involved. This came up recently in a thread in the Wirecast support forum. Someone wants to capture the screen of a number of Mac Mini’s in order to bring multiple Skype video calls into a streaming production. They run the Mac Mini’s headless, accessing the Mac desktops using a software screen sharing application.

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Rant: If I had a time machine…

TARDISA few weeks ago I tweeted that if I had a time machine I’d travel back and ensure that the speakerphone was never invented. It’s a vile thing whose use is seldom justified. It degrades communication and damages relationships. This story is an example of how this can occur.

My tweet met with response from Doug Mohney. He noted that such an action would likely put Polycom out of business. I doubt that. I appreciate conference phones. Given the presence of a group their use is completely justified. It’s an individual using a speakerphone that makes my blood boil.

My tweet was inspired by a terrible experience on a recent conference call. The experience is worth sharing, so that you might avoid such aggravation, or worse cause someone else the same sort of outrage.

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1More: My New Best Buds..Maybe.

1More Triple Driver EarphonesI’ve long been, and to this day remain a fan of the Etymotic Research line of earphones. In fact, I had three product generations from them. Most recently their HF5’s which remain my favorite noise reducing earphones. That said, in recent times I don’t find myself in need of noise reducing earphones as much as in the past. After 20 years of routine business travel, in 2013 I gave up my relationship with the airlines in favor of a continuous home life.

So when my current set of HF5’s started looking a little worn out it I occurred to me that I could try something new and different. That was about a year ago. While I was curious about some of the multi-driver Shure IEMs their >$300 price point put them out of reach.

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