Making it Work for You
– Plugging into the Collective?
I’ve never been enamored with technology. I’m non technical and more interested in people and ideas than wires, chips and software.
But I’m willing to tap into the amazing technology that today’s rocket scientists create to enable me to travel the world, while making a living online. Perhaps you feel the same way?
Today’s digital technology makes it relatively easy for even non technical people like myself to work online virtually anywhere and share multimedia worldwide 24/7.
We don’t need to be programmers to benefit from software and hardware any more than we need to be an automotive engineer to drive a car. So put the petal to the metal and hit the open road.
The laptop is the central hub of the digital vagabond – a portable window into the world – off and online. Yes, maddening at times – for dam sure. But an entire office in a portable box, along with photos, songs, video and the software to create and share – I’ll take one.
Tandy 1000 – My first Machine
My first computer was a Tandy 1000 that required a floppy disc to be inserted to load the operating system. It ran circles around a typewriter and enabled me to write up a storm, while correcting my spelling.Now laptops are capable of editing even video. It’s simply amazing. Who could say no to having all that fall into their lap?
PC or MAC – the Eternal Question
My recent defection to MAC
I recently under went a conversion from Microsoft based PCs to the cult of Apple. With Apple’s emphasis on making the software work for the creator rather than the creator being a slave to the software they’ve won me over.
Let’s face it, Windows has been plagiarizing Apple’s user friendly innovations for years – remember Apple’s “Trash” can came well before Window’s “Recycle” bin. Apple is my kind of computer – creation first – technology way in the background and under the hood where it belongs.
From Tandy to MAC Powerbook Pro
My new power book Pro is lightweight yet extremely powerful, fast and easy to use. I’m also impressed with Apple’s free integrated suite of user-friendly multimedia programs called I Life.
This family of programs, which include I Photo, I Movie, I Tunes, Garage Band and I Web, work seamlessly together and enable the creator to manage, edit, archive and publish photos, videos, music, sounds and everything else digital. I Life was built for the digital vagabond.
Once again Microsoft is attempting to ape these Apple innovations in its new and buggy Vista operating system. Perhaps after using its customer base to beta test the new release of Vista over the next few months it will work as well as the Mac does today. Of course by then Mac will be well on to the next series of innovations and operating systems, which can be upgraded without requiring the user to remove all their existing software.Mac or Windows PC – you choose. But get one and make it portable.
Connecting to the Wireless Digital Universe
Talk about the world at your fingertips – WIFI has enabled thousands of people to make the world their office and playground. In the USA Verizon Wireless followed closely by Sprint are the two leading choices for nationwide wireless service.
I subscribe to Verizon and use their laptop card to access their nationwide wireless broadband network. Their wireless Internet network now covers virtually any place their mobile phones work, which is virtually every where.
To optimize my signal strength I use an antenna booster that suction cups to the window of my motor home. It seems to help. I’ve gotten broadband wireless connectivity in remote parks and tiny towns in nowhere USA. At $59 per month it’s perhaps the best money I spend each month. It’s my lifeline online.
I also have a portable wireless router that can take the Verizon wireless connection and use it to create a football size WIFI hot spot in and around my motor home for multiple Macs and PCs. You never know when you may play host to a band of digital vagabonds who may stop by. Being broadband wireless hotspot in the middle of an outdoor music festival can be great fun.
Call the World for Free.
The Internet has also revolutionized how we speak to the world. Skype.com in particular has been a leader in enabling people to call from computer to computer for free – now with live video along with voice. By using a wireless headset or phone you can get untethered from your computer, while still making free calls.
You can even buy phones from Skype that don’t require your computer at all – just access to a WIFI network. For relatively small extra fee you can use Skype to call from phone to phone.
Living it and Recording it.
As a former documentary filmmaker I love to record virtually everything. When I’m old and my memory is failing I’ll project my twenty thousand plus photos and hundreds of hours video on the wall as I savor the moments flashing by in my rocking chair. For now I’ll put some of the highlights online.
|Sony DV Handycam||Sony Cyber-Shot||Canon Rebel XT|
I also use a Sony Handycam DV camera with wireless laviler and table mic to record high quality video and interviews of interesting events and people. I use Apple’s I Movie and Final Cut Express to edit my videos for use online.
For candid video clips I keep my Sony Cyber-Shot holstered on my belt at all times, ready to draw in a moment and shoot MPEG video or high mega pixel stills. The only thing better would be if I could wire my eyes and ears to record video and sound. But then again the light sensitivity of this camera in low light is actually better than my own vision.
For high quality still photos I use a Cannon rebel XLR digital camera. It has a quality lens, decent zoom and excellent low light sensitivity with good color balance.
Share it Online.
Once you’re roaming free you may feel the burning desire to share the excitement. Apple’s I Web provides an easy way to publish blogs, sites and photo albums online with ease. Publishing photos online is as easy dragging images from I Photo over to I Web and pressing “Publish”. Apple online service, IMAC, also makes it easy to email photos and videos.
We chose a more complicated route in creating this hybrid blog/multimedia website by using Word Press blog software in combination with numerous cutting edge plugins in order to give this site more flexibility in design and features. However, I do use I Photo to organize and manage all my photos.
Google also hosts a free blogging service called E Blogger. This software and hosting service makes it easy for even computer novices to join the blogosphere and get busy sharing ideas and photos.
Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out
The days of three major TV networks plus PBS in the USA are long gone. Today, in addition to hundreds of TV networks/channels, we have pod casting and the multimedia blogosphere.
Tired of consuming corporate influenced mass media? Drop out and tune into the unfiltered media you really want by subscribing to thoughtful pod casts and RSS (Really Simple Syndicated) feeds from your favorite blogs. What ever your philosophy or politics you can literally subscribe to the media you want to absorb – commercial and brainwash free.
ITunes from Apple makes it easy to manage not only your music but the audio and video podcasts you want to watch. By subscribing to various pod casts you will get automatic updates that can then be transferred to an I Pod automatically or played on a widescreen TV from your computer using Apple TV.
Of course, these days you can do more than just view other media – you can create it yourself and share it with the world or just kick back and watch it on your own computer or TV.
Brave New World indeed!