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Podcasting Microphones and Accessories for under $100

Posted by Dr. Burton on December 16, 2013 in Education, Technology |

Over the past couple of years my family and I have gradually been producing more and more podcast. Of course the primary element of any successful podcast is quality audio.

To achieve quality audio, a quality microphone is the most important piece of equipment. In this area you can spend a lot of money, but we have found a great deal of success with the very reasonably priced Blue Microphones Snowball USB Microphone

A second key piece of equipment is a 6-Inch Clamp On Pop Filter. For less than $15 (or less if you use a pair of pantyhose, a coat hanger and duck-tape) you can take the sound quality to an even higher level of quality. The filter greatly reduces pops and cracks that can happen as we speak.

If you are regularly interviewing others through your computer or just so that you can do effective editing, a good set of headphones is essential to avoid feedback.

If your interested in getting started with all of these items, you can get a nice set through Amazon:

We are getting ready to setup a second recording station at Burtons Media Group due to our increase in pod and vod casting.  We have been so happy the Blue Microphone Snowball, we plan to continue using them for our new station.

I have friends in the recording industry that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment.  But they are recording for the music or movie industries.  Fortunately for the podcast/vodcast industries, we can get started for a lot less!

So, what do you use?  How happy are you with the equipment and cost?

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Corona SDK Graphics 2.0: Going 2.5D

Posted by Dr. Burton on November 24, 2013 in Corona, Education, Game Development, Mobile |

I can’t tell you how excited I was when I learned that Corona would support 2.5D or Isometric game development.  Now that the new graphics engine is available, I figured I would jump into it and start making games!

Of course there is a learning curve to making games.  The first thing I wanted to know was how to make a circle appear as if it were 2.5D.  Easier said than done.  For my first attempt I wanted to simulate an attack radius.  Sounds simple, right? Well after a night of coding, I had learned a great deal, which I have summarized in this 11 minutes tutorial!

Please note that all of the changes to the object are done to the objects path parameter, not the object itself. We are just changing it’s appearance, not the actual object.

 

Corona SDK Graphics 2.0: Making 2.5D or Isometric with Vector and Bitmap Graphics.
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10:50
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display.setStatusBar(display.HiddenStatusBar)
--Initially I tried vector based graphics.  Circles don't work since they do not have a path parameter (or corners).  Rectangles work fine.
--local circle = display.newCircle(display.contentCenterX, display.contentCenterY, 100)
--local square = display.newRect(display.contentCenterX, display.contentCenterY, 200, 200)
--So we moved on to bitmap, which work great!
local circle = display.newImage("circle.png")
circle.x = display.contentCenterX
circle.y = display.contentCenterY
circle.alpha = .8
circle:scale(2,2)
w= circle.width*.33
h=circle.height*.33
transition.to( circle.path, { time=2000, x1=w, y1=h,  x2 =-w, y2 = -h, x3=w, y3=-h, x4=-w, y4=h } )
									


 

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Learning QuickBooks 2013

Posted by Dr. Burton on November 17, 2013 in QuickBooks, Tutorials |

Last year was a pretty good year for Burtons Media Group.  Our main area of growth was in the number of authors working with us.  As dealing with royalty payments is a rather complex issue (nearly as bad as having employees), we decided to begin the migration from a spreadsheet to track all of our finances to QuickBooks (you can purchase an online version from Amazon here).  It was our hope that by making the switch, taxes (we use and have used TurboTax for years)
would be simplified.

We should point out that Dr. Burton has an undergraduate degree in business, so there is a basic understanding of accounting principles and double entry book keeping as we begin this process.

With four new textbooks in production, the switch over project was placed at a low priority.  We have decided to start the new year off with QuickBooks.  To be ready for the change-over, we have started setting up our accounts.  The following tutorial is the first step in that conversion process.

Introduction to QuickBooks 2013
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Developing Games with Unity3D – Using Unity Remote

Posted by Dr. Burton on October 25, 2013 in Game Development, iPad, iPhone, Unity3D |

Recently I have co-authored several eTextbooks with my long-time friend (and partner in crime) Jeff Huff.

These textbooks teach the entire pipeline of developing a game from start to publication.  Each one covers the 3D modeling, texturing, importing, and programming for the game. Our goal is to keep them on just one topic and affordable ($9.99).

One of the biggest frustrations in creating these textbooks has been the outdated Unity Remote 3 software (produced by Unity, available through the App store).  It a gamble it this original version of Unity Remote will work when you go to test.  Sometimes it works great, sometimes not at all.

The app store version is old (2010) and hasn’t been updated.  If you do a search on the Unity forums you will find repeated mentions of an updated version based on Unity 3.5, but all the links are invalid.  After several hours of hunting (yes, I was that determined), I found a valid link for the somewhat newer version of Unity Remote.  You can find it in the archives on the Unity website at the bottom of the page: http://unity3d.com/unity/download/archive

This is for iOS only and like it’s predecessor, cannot be used with a Windows version of Unity .  You will have to compile it with xcode (which through lots of errors when I did a build, primarily due to deprecated commands). I also received a fatal error during the linking phase.

Ignoring the warning and focusing on the fatal error, the fix is easy.  In the xcode project window you will need to make two changes.

1) Change the Bundle Identifier to your bundle identifier (for me that is com.burtonsmediagroup.UnityRemote3).

2) In the Deployment Info, cfatalerrorfixhange the Deployment Target to your current iOS version (7.0 for my device, even though I HATE the new graphics – but that is a rant for another time).

 

After you make those changes, you should be able to build and deploy to your test device.

Should note that the new Unity Remote (3.5) worked perfectly!  I didn’t have to fix any of the warnings. Definitely made my game development life easier!

 

Hope that helps!

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Addressing the Shortage of Mobile App Developers

Posted by Dr. Burton on July 15, 2013 in Mobile, rant |

Forbes writer Ayo Omojola published an article today speaking to the shortage of mobile app developers and the impact it is having on businesses (you can read the full article here). 

It is well written, but did miss an important point that was addressed by a friend of mine, Richard Harris on his website AppDeveloperMagazine.  Richard points out that mobile app developers in general are not beholden to the traditional 9-to-5 mindset; they have the option of becoming independent developers and making a very comfortable living from their own home computer.

As a professor who teaches mobile app development courses, I can confirm the demand. My students are getting lucrative job offers before they have completed the first course. 100% placement for the four years I’ve been teaching the course.

Every week I receive at least one call from someone looking for a developer. Demand is so great for training that I have now written two textbooks for training future mobile app developers, travel as often as I please to provide corporate training, and have many of my own apps in the works.

It’s a great time to be an mobile app developer!

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