Meta: Screencasting Using The BlackMagic Design Intensity Pro

blackmagic_design_intensity_pro There’s a new tool in the office and I’m actually pretty excited about it. For several months I’ve had the Black Magic Design Intensity Pro video capture card. It’s a little PCIe card that has a variety inputs, most notably HDMI in and out.

In my currently working life this is part of a video monitoring solution. I take a SMPTE-292M HD-SDI feed from one of our products into a Black Magic Design Mini Convertor ($300) that converts HD-SDI into HDMI. Normally I take the HDMI feed into a consumer HDTV for display. This is dramatically cheaper than a proper broadcast monitor with an HD-SDI input.

While that arrangement works for real-time viewing of the HD-SDI stream, I had hoped for some way to capture the stream to disk. Back in February I tried the Black Magic Design UltraStudio SDI but ran into trouble with the USB 3.0 interface under Windows.

Continue reading “Meta: Screencasting Using The BlackMagic Design Intensity Pro”

Hiding In Plain Sight: 24 Hours Of DNS Server Troubles

Some time early on May 31st I received a page telling me that this site was down. This has happened occasionally in the past and was almost always the result to something that I had done. That was not the case this time.

While I could not reach the domain I found that I could reach the server via its IP address. I was able to shell into the VPS and verify its status. It was in fact alive and healthy. By adding a hosts file entry in my desktop PC I was able to provide a local DNS solution, confirming that the server itself was completely happy.

It turns out that the company that handles DNS for this domain, which is not the hosting provider, was hit by what they characterize as a “larger than normal DDOS attack.” They tell me that the attack focused specifically on the DNS servers. They had been working to thwart the attack, and also adding additional servers to help handle the load.

Continue reading “Hiding In Plain Sight: 24 Hours Of DNS Server Troubles”

One Great WordPress Plug-in: WP Smush.it

wordpress-logo As mentioned previously, some weeks ago I moved this site into a brand new VPS. Such a move is pretty transparent to readers, but gave me a chance to rework the site, enhancing the WordPress installation in some interesting ways. I think that some of what I’ve recently discovered might be useful to others.

This new WordPress installation has been refined with respect to how it handles media. One of the niceties that I’ve discovered is a WordPress plug-in called WP Smush.it. This plug-in leverages a Yahoo API to automatically implement a best practices approach to optimizing images as they are uploaded to the site.

Continue reading “One Great WordPress Plug-in: WP Smush.it”

Beginning 2011 With A Simple Statement of Philosophy & Goals

What better way to begin the new year than with a simple statement of philosophy? This will serve as a foundation for many things to come:

To be productive in the home office it’s critical that we communicate effectively with the rest of the world. No matter how well we think we’re doing in this regard, we can always be better. We should constantly strive to improve.

In this quest we should re-examine old habits, and explore new possibilities where we find them.

Further, every bit of technology that we deploy either helps or hinders in this drive to improve our ability to communicate. My goal is to try new approaches or tools where possible, and document what works, or doesn’t work, for my home office.

I offer this up because I can see a clear trend in the notes and drafts that I have before me. The motivation for all of it springs from this simple, unrelenting desire to communicate better. It’s very Tom Peters in some ways, strive for excellence and all…but that’s ok by me.

Also, in the coming year I will try to be more disciplined about my blogging. That doesn’t mean posting more frequently. Nor does it mean shorter or longer posts. It should mean improving the overall signal/noise ratio. I hope to write more posts that genuinely merit inclusion on the “Best Of…” page.

As always, comments and suggestions are most welcome.

Blog Hosting Quality Update

Recently Pingdom published another in a series of reports documenting their findings about the reliability of various large blog hosts. It seems that in the months of October & November 2010 Google’s Blogger platform managed perfect (100%) uptime, while tumblr (96.81%) was the least reliable blog host.

As I am a WordPress user, and I started this blog at  WordPress.com, it’s interesting to note that WordPress.com was the second best host, with 99.99% blog uptime and no single outage lasting more than four minutes. That seems impressive to me.

Continue reading “Blog Hosting Quality Update”

Reader Voice Comments Officially Launched

You may have noticed the widget that I added to the sidebar about a week ago. Inspired by hearing about Voxeo’s Phono on a recent VUC call I decided that I’d like to provide a mechanism for readers to leave comments in the form of a voice message.

This seemed like it would be really easy, even though I’m not a developer. I was particularly happy to see that there is a WordPress plugin called WordPhone that makes this practical for the complete newby.

Continue reading “Reader Voice Comments Officially Launched”