iMovie 7.0 idiosyncracies and publishing to Zenphoto

Wow, it is hard to figure a few things out with iMovie, but here is the best way to produce great looking DVDs and also things ready for export:

# iMovie ’08 (aka version 7.0) is a bit of a wierd program. First, it doesn’t have a File Save function. Instead, all projects are in a named directory which is /User/_your.username_/Movies/iMovie Projects/_the.name.of.your.project_. So if you want to move a project from one place to another you have to stick the project file there. I see why they did this for noob users, but it is very unmac-like. It does mean you don’t have to worry about File Save and File Save As, the program does this automatically
# Media Browser is a very strange concept. Basically, when you say Share Media Browser, you get a list of different formatsand iMovie automatically updates these renderings, but you can’t find them. Again, they are hidden in the package and you can’t find them with Spotlight or anything. In fact, you have to go to /User/_your.username_/Movies/iMovie Projects/_your.project_ and them right click and choose _Show Package Contents_ in Finder. This shows you the hidden directory called Movies within that package. You will find files called large.m4v, medium.m4v, mobile.m4v etc.
# The m4v is another name for a .mp4 format that Apple has popularized, but most tools on the internet like Flowtool or flvtool built into Zenphoto doesn’t recognize them. So to you have to copy out the say mobile.m4v and then rename it to mobile.mp4 and then copy up to any Zenphoto. Zenphoto doesn’t document it but basically any .mp4, .flv or .mov it finds in an album is displayed along with other photos and then when you click you get the built in flowplayer to show it. Kind of slick!
# Alternatively, if you just want the limited options that iMovie has, then you can choose Share/Export Movie which has the same options as Media Browser, but let’s you name the files whatever you like. The Media Browser thing does integrate with iDVD well in that you don’t have to navigate the file system to find files, it knows the magic location automatically
# The Share/Export using Quicktime gives you lots more control as it let’s you product a variety of formats. Most interesting are 1080 HD which products an H.264 movie in HD format. The other is 480 SD which produces a DVD quality movie in .MOV format. There is also an option to make .FLVs directly but I get an error 32766 when you try that which “no one”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1582188&tstart=4 seems to understand.
# The other strange thing about Zenphoto is that if you select the Shutterfly option, you can print, but it is not clear how to do it. What happens is that when you go to the image page, you will see an option for full size, but nothing for shutterfly. At the lower left of the page, there is a strange icon or logo but no text. You click on that and then you see the option “Add to Shutterfly cart”. How wierd is that. Now text at all.

B+W 77mm Circular Polarizer Slim Lens Cap

!http://www.photofilter.com/hoods.htm#Lens%20Caps. That is if you can stand paying $20 for a lense cap! Or get a bunch of the 75mm Push-on Lens Cap for 72mm slim filter for $7 from “B&H”:http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/249645-REG/B_W_65014142_75mm_Push_on_Lens_Cap.html

Personally I’m willing to try the $20 lense cap in the hope that it won’t fall off!

Jawbone 2

I have a pair of Aliph Jawbones (actually I’ve owned five so far, the other three have all disintegrated because it falls out of my ear. I can’t get the ear clip to work and don’t like wearing it all day like a Borg). In any case, the new one is ridiculously expensive at $120 street, but totally worth it because it is smaller but mainly because the noise cancellation really works super well. “Slashgear”:http://www.slashgear.com/jawbone-2-review-1911687.php, “Cnet”:http://reviews.cnet.com/headsets/aliph-jawbone-2-black/4505-13831_7-33018886.html, “phonemag.com”:http://www.phonemag.com/aliph-jawbone-2-review-062975.php all love it.

iPhone 2.0.1?

Well now that things are out on the iPhone, the collection of bugs come. The most severe are crashing third party apps. Looks like you have to reinstall them, but eventually they stop working (emmory leak I bet). Same for the whole system, you have to turn off and reset (another memory leak)

AppleInsider | iPhone 3G and 2.0 affected by buggy software, sensors, wireless

While iPhone 3G itself is hard to buy, those who do own the new handset are reporting a number of common problems that range from crash-prone third-party apps to lag, Bluetooth, and GPS.

iPhone 3G voicemail

The only thing wierd is setting up voicemail doesn’t work as expected. You’d think that hitting the voicemail button would send you to setup, but it does nothing out of the box. To fix, you actually have to call yourself and set it up. Strangely out of sync with a simple out of the box experience.

Re: iPhone 3G voicemail and data problems – Apple – Wireless Forums from AT&T

1) From the iPhone, I called my own phone number.
2) After being prompted to setup my voicemail, I went ahead and went through the setup and then disconnected the call.
3) After doing this the voicemail button on the iPhone still didn’t do anything, so I thought it didn’t work.
4) Called my iphone and left myself a voicemail. Within a few minutes my iphone showed a voicemail message was there. Then when I clicked the voicemail button it did work. Maybe the voicemail button doesn’t work unless you have a message?

Call of Duty 4 does not meet minimum requirements and does not start

If “Call of Duty 4”:http://www.codhq.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=2831 appears to start with the intro screen and then disappears, it probably means your computer doesn’t meet minimum requirements. What an unfriendly and unclear way to handle this problem.

Here is the computer:

* AMD Athlon XP 3200+
* nVidia 5900 FX graphics adapter
* 1GB RAM
* 700GB disk free

So because it is an Athlon XP and not an Athlon 64, I think I’m hosed. The minimum requirements are according to “firingsquad”:http://www.firingsquad.com/news/newsarticle.asp?searchid=17802:

# CPU: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 2.4 GHz or AMD(R) Athlon(TM) 64 2800+ processor or any 1.8Ghz Dual Core Processor or better supported
# RAM: 512MB RAM (768MB for Windows Vista)
# Harddrive: 8GB of free hard drive space
# Video card (generic): NVIDIA(R) Geforce(TM) 6600 or better or ATI(R) Radeon(R) 9800Pro or better

I had forgotten the “differences”:http://www.computing.net/answers/cpus/xp-athlon-vs-athlon-64/10499.html but essentially the Athlon 64 is 64 bits internally.

Adobe Acrobat and clones

We are getting so many documents now in PDF, it would be easier just to paste a signature in. To do that we need Adobe Acrobat or one of its clones. There are an amazing number of editors since Adobe allows anyone to create a writer royalty free. “Wikipedia”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_PDF_software has a big list. (Even Office 2007 with some obscure add on can now write PDF).

* Adobe Acrobat Standard. This seems to be all hat you need. There is a “pro”:http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/matrix.html version whcih adds AutoCAD, Visio and Project conversion, digitally signing PDFs, comparing difference and an even more expensive Pro Extended (what a name!) that lets you make PowerPoint slides additions and embed video into Word. It is $99 for the OEM version and $149 for retail. So amazingly expensive for a conversion product.
* “Acrobat.com”:http://acrobat.com. If you just want to do a simple conversion of Word or other documents into PDF, there is a free utility on the web. Only lets you do five conversions per signup though.
* “Freepdfconvert.com”:http://freepdfconvert.com. If you don’t have a Mac, then there are many free pdf converters on the web. Here is the top hit on Google.
* “Primopdf”:http://primopdf.com is the free converter that runs on your Windows machine.
* “NitroPDF”:http://nitropdf.com is a clone of Adobe Acrobat. It is $99 for the Pro and $49 for Express and there is a free thing called PrimoPDF that just creates. Actually on the Mac, you don’t really need that is Apple includes a PDF by printing. We need the Pro version because it allows editing and adding graphics (like signatures).

I’ve used these, there seem to be a host of google:”PDF Edit” around that are more reasonable priced as “TUAW”:http://www.tuaw.com/2007/03/31/feature-review-pdfclerk-vs-pdfpen/

* “PDFLab”:http://lifehacker.com/software/pdf/download-of-the-day-pdflab-154095.php is a freeware program that also reportedly lets you add images but most folks report it “doesn’t”:http://www.macupdate.com/reviews.php?id=15818 work. It also crashed for me on a one page document, so I think it probably hasn’t been updated for the most recent Acrobat file formats.
* “Skimapp”:http://skim-app.sourceforge.net/ is also open source and allows annotations (but now so does OS X Preview). It can add circles, lines, text, but doesn’t seem to allow adding images 🙁
* “PDFpen”:http://smileonmymac.com/PDFpen. Does all the basics. The main issue is that it died on a 300 page document in the review and you can add in graphics for signatures and it’s files are much smaller. The signature plus the file is 168KB vs 1.5MB for PDF Clerk. For $95, you create fillable forms. I don’t really need this but could be useful for things like being a soccer registrar 🙂 On balance, since our PDFs are short, we’ll take PDFPen. Also, they have a deal where for $75, you get 5 licenses, which is pretty good!
* “PDFClerk”:http://www.sintraworks.com/ is $60 and is uglier but you can also place signatures on. It also lets you clip out a section of a PDF document (for creating an attachment to a memo) and handles renumbering. The good news though is that it doesn’t crash on big documents but it does bloat the files. I took a 50K one page PDF and added a 150K image that was the signature and the result is a 1.5MB PDF. Sigh.