BlackMagic Intensity Extreme with Thunderbolt Connection [Review]

Blackmagic Intensity Extreme

Blackmagic Intensity Extreme with Thunderbolt Connection

Two weeks ago, I wanted to bump up my live camera action. Knowing that camera companies like Canon have decided to remove DV and component video connections on their newer lines of cameras, I had to find a solution to pull video from the HDMI output. Therefore, I bought the Intensity Extreme.

BlackMagic Intensity Extreme Advantages

The biggest feature on this device is that I can connect directly to the Thunderbolt™ port on my MacBook Pro. This is the machine I do the majority of my video, using Wirecast to record and broadcast.

The BlackMagic Intensity Extreme can also get video from a composite source, using the breakout cable (included). Therefore, it’s a perfect way to stream your gaming session to uStream or Justin.tv. If you have an SD camera, you can also connect to the Intensity Extreme to broadcast. Therefore, I could connect my Kodak Zi10, or a Flip camera using the composite cable.

Intensity Extreme is compatible with Avid, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier, DaVinci Resolve, Wirecast, and many other programs. You can even use it for a program like Screenflow, to enhance the video with your face in the corner.

No Windows Drivers – Yet

The Intensity extreme does not have Windows drivers just yet, so you Bootcamp users out there will want to use your Mac for recording. It doesn’t mean you cannot get it to work in Windows, but you will not have support just yet. You will have to purchase the Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle to have Windows support.

BlackMagic Intensity Extreme – Overall

The device is simple to set up (camera to Intensity to computer). There is no external power, so you don’t need to worry about a battery or plug. The Thunderbolt cable does not come with the Intensity Extreme, so you will have to drop another $50 for that.

The BlackMagic Intensity Extreme is $284, and is a perfect way to add a 16:9 camera to your mix (like the Canon VIXIA R20 I used). This can give your recordings more depth because you will have focus, white balance, exposure, zoom, and other features a webcam cannot offer.

The Blackmagic Intensity Extreme is also part of Todd’s new High Definition Mobile Broadcast Studio.

iTwin Creates a Personal Cloud

iTwin Infinite Capacity Thumb DriveiTwin is billed as an “infinite capacity thumb drive” but this sells the device short – it’s much more than this. Andy finds out what its capable of from Akash at CES Showstoppers.

The basic premise of iTwin is a pair of USB devices, one of which goes in your work desktop, the other in your home (or laptop) computer. Files can then be copied securely to and from the work computer across the internet to the laptop.

The devices are cryptographically paired together to ensure the security of the connection and the creators seem to have solutions for most of the issues that might arise, such as dynamic IPs or theft.

The brilliance of iTwin is that it offers a personal cloud solution where the data is completely under your control but not actually in your possession. No risk of theft, loss or nosey border guards rifling through your files.

Works with both Windows PCs and Mac – available now for $99.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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KB Covers Keyboard Overlays

KB Covers offer specialised keyboard covers for Apple Macs and MacBooks. Rather than dust covers, these are keyboard overlays which re-label for foreign languages or show keyboard shortcuts.

KB Cover Keyboard Overlay

A good example for the former is a foreign language student who wishes to use a keyboard with the studied country’s layout and alphabet. Imagine the convenience for students of Arabic or Cyrillic languages. For software packages, the overlays highlight keyboard shortcuts to enhance productivity – it’s much faster to press “alt-f” than it is to use the mouse to select an item from a pull-down menu. All major software is covered – Photoshop, Final Cut, Media Composer, Sibelius, etc.

The overlays are a ultra-thin and made from high quality silicone. There’s a big selection of overlays for different countries and software packages. Prices are in the range $20-$40 and I think they’re great value.

Interview by Andy McCaskey and Courtney Wallin of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Dolly Drive Cloud Backup for Time Machine

Dolly Drive Time Machine Cloud DriveApple’s Time Machine has been a lifesaver for many people, especially when they’ve accidentally deleted an important file. However, it doesn’t protect against fire, flood or theft when everything is lost. Enter Dolly Drive, a Time Machine-compatible cloud-based backup service.

Available as a subscription service based on data usage, Dolly Drive looks like another Time Machine target to OS X and once setup, will store revisions and changes to the cloud, giving the security of off-site backup.

Included as part of the deal, subscribers are sent a hard drive via courier to return and seed their Dolly Drive for the first time. This avoids a lengthy upload over broadband when the service is first started and the whole disk is copied.

Prices start at $5 per month for 50 GB but a more representative subscription is $10 pcm for 250 GB. As a bonus, 5 GB is added each month for free.

Interview by Andy McCaskey and Courtney Wallin of SDR News and RV News Net.

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j5 create’s Wormhole Station

j5create logoj5 create‘s background in USB display adaptors means they know a thing or two about using both hardware and software to create unique solutions. j5 Create’s Wormhole cable is one such solution as it joins two computers into one…and they don’t even have to be running the same OS. Fred shows Jeffrey and Steve some of the benefits of this innovative technology, which won a CES Innovation Honoree award.

At its most basic the Wormhole switch is simply a USB 2 cable that connects between two computers, but clever software allows the computers to work together, with one keyboard and mouse being shared between the two. The OS of the two devices doesn’t have to be the same and an Android tablet being controlled by a Windows PC is perfectly possible. Files can be seamlessly transferred between the two machines as well. Pretty smart.

Moving on to a second product, j5 create has a very desirable line of small docking stations for laptops that are little more than foot-long shiny tubes with a plethora of ports. Branded “ultrastations” and connecting via USB 3, these take full advantage of the faster data rate to provide a myriad of connections, including HDMI, through a single USB 3 cable. Nice.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of The Geekazine Podcast and Steve Lee of Netcast Studio.

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SurfEasy On-line Privacy Debuts at CES

Canadian firm SurfEasy will debut their eponymous USB key-based private Internet browser at CES, Las Vegas, next week. The portable USB key launches its own web browser which uses strong encryption to keep your surfing habits secret and holds all your personal information such as bookmarks, history and web passwords on the password-protected key itself. Nothing is left behind on the computer itself.

SurfEasy Secure Internet

When you stop and think about it, we use many different networks and computers to access our online lives. Whether it’s connecting from the office or using a Wi-Fi hotspot, we’re providing a lot of personal information to computers, networks and websites that are not designed with our personal privacy in mind,” said Chris Houston, founder and CEO of SurfEasy Inc. “SurfEasy lets people take control of protecting their online privacy and security by simply plugging in a USB key.

One of the biggest potential benefits is when using unsecured WiFi in places like coffee shops. As SurfEasy creates an encrypted tunnel from the SurfEasy USB key across the Internet, no-one can see any detail about your browsing. All they can see is the encrypted data and the volume of data. SurfEasy encrypts the web traffic using SSL and passes the traffic through its own servers, stripping the client IP from the data stream.  The proxy network is hosted in Canada and the US, with other international locations to come soon.

As the data stream passes through SurfEasy’s servers, SurfEasy publish a Customer Bill of Rights which is upfront about what you can expect from the company in terms of keeping your activities secret. Basically, unless you come to the attention of the legal authorities, no usage data is held.

The SurfEasy browser is powered by Mozilla and is compatible with Microsoft Windows XP, Vista and 7. Apple users needs to be on Mac OS X 10.5 or later. The SurfEasy USB key costs $60 and this includes 2 GB per month of encrypted traffic through the SurfEasy network. Additional data costs $5 per month for 25 GB and $10 for 75 GB. Product delivery is expected in February.

I can see this being very handy for backpackers and other travellers who have to use Internet cafes while travelling and are rightly concerned about security. Plug-in the SurfEasy USB key to a public computer and you’re instantly secure wherever you are.

GNC-2011-10-20 #715 Seven Year Anniversary!

This show is pretty close to the seven year anniversary of the show. It has been a great run, and I want to thank all of you for being loyal fans.. You will get a chuckle at the beginning of the show as I for some reason have no idea what day it is.. Lot’s of tech and thanks for all of the emailed comments.

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Credits:
Jack Ellis – Executive Producer
Mike Baine – Associate Producer

Five Backup Solutions to the Cloud for Your Computer

In this computer day and age, you want to make sure pictures, documents and more are backed up on a daily basis. Especially with hard drives that fail every day and notebooks that get stolen every day. Even if you get your stolen computer back, the thieves might have done damage like wiping the hard drive or dropping the machine altogether.

I back up my machines to different sources. I have 2 home backups and one cloud backup. The cloud backup can also be a great way to share pictures through an iPhone, Android or iPad application. Nonetheless, if my computer drive dies, if there is fire or water damage, if someone steals my computer, I don’t lose the data.

Advantages to Cloud Based Backup

  • Off-site data retention
  • access to data from multiple computers or mobile devices
  • software that will start backing up files when computer is idle
  • High encryption on backup
  • Cloud based service runs their own backups – Your data gets backed up by them, too!
  • Prices are low – There are some services that are free to a certain level.
So here are Five cloud backup solutions you can employ now:

MyPCBackup

My PC Backup

My PC Backup

MyPCBackup was ranked #1 by Top 10 Online Backups. With unlimited backup, you can make sure all your pictures, documents and more are safe. They have an option to sync multiple computers through a folder on the machine.  They also offer a money back option and full customer support.

Mac users won’t be able to use this program, which is a major downfall to this program. The “1 PC, 1 Mac” per household ratio is growing. There is also no mobile application so you can view your backup files.

Carbonite Online Backup

Carbonite Online Backup

Carbonite Online Backup

One of the more popular online backup systems is Carbonite, this unlimited backup lets you view your files from any computer, or through an iPhone, Blackberry or Android application.  Carbonite also has accidental deletion option, which means if you delete a file that was backed up, you have 30 days to restore it.

Carbonite also works on PC and Mac systems. Therefore, you could backup all your items from the old computer, switch the program to Mac and download the files. There is full customer support if needed.

Mozy Online Backup

Mozy Online Backup

Mozy Online Backup

Mozy online backup is also a PC or Mac backup. You can access your data from an iPhone and Android (no Blackberry) application. They also offer on-site backup, which means you can set up a USB hard drive and Mozy will backup to that as well. Full support and they also offer the ability to restore a file up to 30 days after deleted.

Mozy does not offer unlimited backup, though. $5.99 /month  for 50 GB and $9.99 for 125 GB. For a standard computer, you might not fill that spot – unless you take tons of pictures or create video like myself.

DropBox

Dropbox

Dropbox

You might not think of Dropbox as a online backup. However, with their open API, there are a lot of things that Dropbox can become. You can use it to sync with other computers, so it’s a great collaborative tool.

Keep in mind, it doesn’t tout itself as an online backup. You do get some great options, like short-term backup recovery.

They do have a free service for the first 2 GB, then pricing options after.

iBackup

iBackup

iBackup

iBackup is a backup for not only PCs and Macs, but also Servers. You can also back up your MySQL, Linux box Exchange, Oracle and iPhone. Therefore, it’s a full corporate backup solution. It gets pricey fast, but if you need 1.5 Terabytes of data that has to be backed up, this is a great solution.

They also have a “30 version” backup – If you change a document 29 times, then realize you need to start from the beginning, you can go into your account and pull up the first version. That can help if someone messes up a document and you don’t realize it right away.

There are  other online backup options, too. This includes items like PogoPlug or Drobo, where the files are stored at your home site. Elephantdrive, Livedrive, KeepIT are some other online backup tools.

Since it’s your data, you should research each program and see if it’s right for you. But if you have important data and need to back it up, then these options might help you with that solution.

There are also some great software solutions if you want to backup your computer to another computer. If you are on a Mac, then Time Machine is a feature you can set. Everything from backing up folders to making a full image of your computer to restore at a moments notice.

Most important – Back it up now, because you never know if you’ll get a chance to back it up later.

Alfred for the Mac

Alfred AppOne type of application that can help you increase your productivity are what people call launcher apps. There are several popular ones for the Mac including Quicksilver, Launchbar and Alfred. I have tried all three, but lately I have been using Alfred. Alfred can be download through the Mac App Store or through the Alfred Web site. I recommend doing it through the Web site, it will make it easier later when you want to purchase the PowerPack and you will want to purchase it.

So what can you do with Alfred. You can launch applications, search the web, find, and open files on your local network quickly and generally speed up your Mac productivity. If you purchase the PowerPack you can save clips, control your iTunes library, start an email and even add attachments all through Alfred using a couple of key strokes. If I want to launch the Twitter application I hit command then space bar which activates Alfred. I then start typing Twitter arrow down to Twitter and then hit enter and Twitter launches. Want to search the Internet, activate Alfred type the search engine you use, then your search term. You can also search the database of Web sites like IMDB and Wikipedia. If you have the PowerPack you can create custom searches. Want to find or open a file on your network activate Alfred type find or open then the file name and hit enter. For this to work with network attached drives you have to add them too your Default Results under the Alfred’s Preferences. If you have the PowerPack you can add even more options by using Apple Scripts, Automator Workflows and Shell Scripts. You can write ones yourself or add ones that are already written. My favorite one allows me to quickly add a task to the task manager Things. These are just some of the actions that you can accomplish with Alfred.

I like Alfred, it does what I need it too. Alfred itself is free. The PowerPack is £12.00 or around $19.00 and it is well worth it. I recommend trying Alfred, I did and I was surprised how much it helped to increase my productivity.

Avast! Antivirus for the Mac

If  you have a Mac, you are mostly likely aware of the malware MacDefender. Which is a fake antivirus program created specifically to attack the Mac. For more details I recommend The Mac Security Blog.  Unfortunately as the Macs become more popular these kind of attacks will become more common, which will make installing antivirus and anti-malware software on a Mac as necessary as it is on Windows. If you are looking for antivirus software for the Mac now you may want to try the antivirus software from Avast! Software Avast Software is based in Prague, Czech Republic and has been stopping virus and malware on the Window’s platform since before Windows 95 was out. They are now making a free antivirus program available for Intel Mac 10.5 and above. It is in beta and available thru the Avast user forum for download.  Avast for the Mac was created specifically for the Mac and not something ported over from Windows. It has three separate shields; one for mail, web and file system. You can also scan your system or a part of it at anytime. The Web Shield is a new build and it actually filters all HTTP material before it reaches the browser. This is key since as Ondrej Vicek, CTO of Avast Software so rightly puts it “The discussion on Mac security has centered perhaps too long on individual operating systems,” added Mr. Vlcek. “There is already a lot of internet-distributed malware out there based on JavaScript which works across various operating system platforms and this beta protects against.”

I am a Mac user and am still not totally convince I need a product like this. However I decided it is better to be safe then sorry so I downloaded avast! Mac beta. The download and install went without any problems. You may lose connection to the Internet for a short time, during the installation. Once installed I had it scan my Home folder and it did it with no problem. When I did a full scan of my computer, I did notice that processes did slowed down. I was running several applications at the time so the slow down was not unexpected. Fortunately nothing was found. I have had it running for two days in the background and the only reason I know is the icon on the menu bar. Whether you need an antivirus software on your Mac is something only you can decide. If you do decide you need one Avast! for the Mac is not a bad choice.