If a Picture is Worth 1,000 Words, What Does That Make a Video?

Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

If a Picture is Worth 1,000 Words, What Does That Make a Video?

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

My week got off to a craptastic, wonderful beginning when I tried to start my car and the engine wouldn’t turn over.  The first images in my mind was seeing 5 Benjamin Franklin’s with wings floating away, laughing at me as I would be forced to pay the mechanic for parts, labor and not to mention towing.  I was fortunate to know that my problem was most likely that my ignition switch had failed.  So I went on Google and typed in “Replacing Ignition switch Do it yourself”.  I found multiple forums explaining how to do this, but for a mechanic newbie like myself, most of this was Greek to me.  I’ve always learned something better if shown a visual of how to do it, than explained.  So my next step was youtube.  I type in the same search perimeters and I find this little gem.

Replacing Ignition switch

What could have potentially cost 500 dollars plus who knows how long I would have been without a car, turned into $80.00 for the part and only 5 hours without a car. Ignition switch was replaced and I was back in business.

You tend to hear about videos going “viral” on youtube that help businesses get instant recognition and marketing companies promising you they will help you create the next internet craze video.  The truth is, no one really knows the reasons what makes one simple little  $25 budget  video explode over the net while a $500,000 mass marketed version fails.  Generally humor is used but if you are using 80% comedy and 20% trying to sell something, you are already at a disadvantage.

As you can see with the video I posted, it was a simple how to video.  It was from a company that markets certain parts for GM models.  From their viewed list you will notice that it has received over 17k views.  While this is no where considered “viral”, that is indeed a healthy number.  If you go by the traditional 10% model that out of 10 potentials, 1 person buys,  this potentially nets you 1,700 sales for a product that costs $80.00.  This equal outs to $136,000.  The cost to make this video was probably $500-1000 range.  So as you can see, the return on investment here is huge!  So instead of wasting time and energy on making the next viral video, try focusing on simple how to videos explaining your niche product or service.

At Visionary Web, we are all about the return on investment for your website and development.  We will work with you to help you reach your targeted audience beginning with a small website package, and as your website traffic grows, we will help you with what steps you can do next to expand your website.  Whether it is a simple website update with a content management system that allows for you to embed how to videos, to blogs and shopping carts.

carDon’t worry, I was able to put it all back together again. :)

New programming services

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

We have lately been working with a new programming platform called FLEX. This platform is made available by Adobe and works in conjunction with PHP, Ajax and mySQL to allow the programmer to create visually stunning, interactive sites and services.

I’ll get Scott to talk a little more about these services as he is more versed in them, but if you have an idea for a new feature for your site that requires a lot of form input, or customer interaction a FLEX-built application may be perfect for you.

Contact us today to learn more: 260-569-0260 or online at www.visionaryweb.com

WACOM woes

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

My one and only complaint about my WACOM is the inability to fully mimic traditional art techniques with the stylus. Once the line is down the textures that are applied in the program of your choice is sufficient enough to get the idea across but not enough to sell the concept to an experienced artist (or a perfectionist like me).

At least three quarters of traditional art technique involves how one holds the pen, brush, etc. and the how one moves it to make the desired mark. The WACOM allows you to do the movements, to a degree, but allows no tolerance for how the stylus is held. I cannot hold the stylus like I would a block of charcoal but rather it forces me to hold it like a no. 2 pencil. The way the stylus fails in movement recognition is that it does not register the rotation or the stylus while drawing a line. During my days in architecture classes I developed the habit of spinning the pencil while drawing my lines. Doing this keeps the point of the graphite from being warn on only one side, thereby distorting your line. The act of spinning the pencil wears the graphite more uniformly and keeps you from having to re-sharpen more than is absolutely necessary. There are a few techniques in painting that call for you to rotate your brush while performing a certain length of pull to create different effects as well. This is where the WACOM and stylus fail in their mimicry of traditional art.

It could be related to the fact that I have not experimented with different nubs. WACOM does distribute 5 different nub styles that fit specific stylus types. These nubs may allow for the ability to spin the stylus and get that effect to translate to the computer, but I do not know. I know no one who has these nubs and have not found any reviews on their performance either positive or negative.

CSS… 3?

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

As promised, here is more on CSS techniques and graphic element implementations. To start I would like to explain what “Sliding Doors� are that I mentioned in my last post.
Simply it is a method of using CSS positioning to fake a rollover with one image that has both instances of the button and there by on the rollover it slides the image over to show the other state of the button. This greatly reduces loading time because there is no preloading required and you only have one image that you are working with instead of a separate instance for each button. The drawback is that you cannot use styled fonts. If you want a non-standard font (e.g. serif or sans serif along with the classic Arial, Helvetica, Veranda, Times New Roman, etc.) this is not the way you want to go because this effect is made by changing the a:link, a:visited, and a:hover background-image position.

I am impatiently awaiting a full support for CSS 3. Just some of the nifty things the newest version of CSS can do is rounded corners through the definition of only two numbers you can define an elliptical radii and thereby set the curvature of your container. This will also set the background to a rounded state even it you have your border set to none. Speaking of borders, CSS 3 has a new “wavy� boarder style that applies a wavy line to the boarder. You can also define images to your borders now just to increase the customization that so many designers have been using hacks and other less desirable methods to achieve the aesthetic quality they demand in their work. Unfortunately this presents us the same problem that exists now with the IE (Internet Explorer) browser support of the PNG file format. IE 6 does not support the alpha channel required to correctly display transparent PNG images. IE 7 however does. Because IE 6 does not we still must avoid the PNG and settle for the GIF format because IE 6 is still widely in use. If we were to try to use a PNG image then we would not be able to make a good design for IE 6, so for now we must ignore the advancements made in IE 7. So Until CSS 3 becomes supported by all browsers we will still have to use our workaround methods and hacks to get a display that will work for everyone. Even CSS 2 isn’t fully supported by all the browsers, or it is rendered differently because of the functionality of that particular browsers interpretation of the CSS.

Some CSS 3 properties are supported by some browsers, but not all. Transparency is one such property. One of the main focuses of CSS 3 was better text / font control for the designers that have wanted to implement some more typographical elements into their web designs. These text / font properties are almost all fully supported, but some workarounds are required still.

To take a look at the new CSS 3 properties for backgrounds and borders follow this link. http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-background/
To view a tutorial for the “Sliding Door� technique follow this link. http://www.expertsrt.com/tutorials/Cd/CSSrollovers.shtml

Dvorak – The ugly secret of typing classes

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

Have you ever wondered why the keys on your keyboard were in such a strange, random order? If you’re like me, you may have wondered why they weren’t simply designed in ABC-order. Well there’s a dirty little secret behind the standard keyboard layout commonly known as QWERTY: it was designed to make you type slower.

Why, you ask? What cruel twist of fate has conspired to reduce your productivity without your knowledge? When typists were just getting good at using old-school typewriters, this keyboard layout was designed because they were typing so fast that the little hammers that pounded the ink onto the paper were getting jammed together.

Don’t despair! There is an alternative. When I was in college, a friend introduced me to an alternate keyboard layout called Dvorak. The Dvorak layout puts all of the vowels and most commonly used consonants on and around home row where then can be pushed most efficiently. It took me a couple years to become just as comfortable with Dvorak as I am with QWERTY, but I did not spend any concentrated time practicing it. I would switch back and forth between the two when I got tired of typing so slowly my friends thought I had left the computer for good while waiting for their next message. When I went to work full time I buckled down and set it up permanently. Now I’m happy to say that I love using Dvorak, and I want to help as many other people make the switch as I can.

What I found worked best for me was to print out this image and place it directly above my keyboard. This way you do not have to look at the keys which are blocked by your hands, but you still have a reference. In consideration for my boss who occasionally needed to use my computer, I also pried up all the keys and popped them back in the Dvorak layout so that he could peck out things when needed. I then scratched some notches for the home row index finger keys.

You can learn a lot more about Dvorak by clicking on this link. There you will find pro’s and con’s as well as other ways to learn Dvorak and some of its history. If anyone feels the urge to give this new layout a try, I would love to hear from you. Please post comments!