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September 2008 Archives

September 1, 2008

Summary: Adobe Premiere Elements 7

Adobe has announced new versions of its Elements line of consumer digital photo and video software -- Adobe Premiere Elements 7 and Photoshop Elements 7, due to be released in October.

Adobe has worked diligently with each release to make these applications consumer-friendly, while still retaining significant strength and capability from the underlying professional Premiere Pro and Photoshop CS tools. Adobe describes these as the best-selling consumer video- and photo-editing software.

With Adobe Premiere Elements 7, Adobe has focused on powerful technology assists, and integrating with online storage and sharing though Photoshop.com. For example, the new Smart Tags technology extends the technology used for scene detection, quality analysis, and face detection to automatically analyze clips and assign a variety of attributes.

(Yes, the Premiere Elements version number has bumped from 4 to 7 to match Photoshop Elements -- see Adobe Press Release 8/08.)

But the big news in this release is the integration with online access though Photoshop.com. The desktop Premiere and Photoshop Elements 7 applications can push photos and clips to online storage on Photoshop.com, so you can share and access your media from any Web-equipped computer. Changes you then make in the online Organizer then are synced back to your desktop.

Photoshop Mobile also can sync photos from a cell phone to your online storage, and from there to your desktop. Basic Photoshop.com membership is free, and Plus membership for $49 per year offers additional online storage, automated backup, and regular updates of creative elements for the desktop applications.

The pricing is unchanged: Premiere Elements 7 is $99 list, or $149 bundled with Photoshop Elements 7.

See my full article for a summary of new features and enhancements, plus a visual tour of the Premiere Elements 7 interface and features.

See more video applications in my Video Editing Software Gallery

    Find Adobe Premiere Elements 4 on Amazon.com

More on New Features and Photoshop.com ...

Continue reading "Summary: Adobe Premiere Elements 7" »

September 8, 2008

Watch Out: Logitech WiLife Video Security System

When I'm working in my home office at the back of the house I'm really out of touch with what's happening out front on the street. I'd like to know when a visitor has pulled up before the doorbell rings. And sometimes it's rather urgent to see when the FedEx truck pulls up, especially if I need to go down to sign for a package.

You can monitor video out a window with a webcam, and send digital video around the house with an Internet camera, but the Logitech WiLife Video Security System does so much more ...

The WiLife software monitors up to eight cameras at a time. The cameras use HomePlug power line networking through your existing electrical wires, so there's no messy network setup. And the software actively monitors your video watch for motion in designated areas, to record the associated video clip and generate alerts (via e-mail and mobile phone, if desired).

You start with a Starter Kit ($299 and up) with an Indoor, Outdoor (weather resistant), or Spy camera (disguised as a working digital clock). Then add more cameras ($229 and up). There's also a Platinum software upgrade ($80/year) with more flexible alerts, security, and online storage and access to recorded clips.

I mounted the WiLife Indoor camera on a window with the included suction cup to watch the front of the house. And I experimented with optional wide-angle lens (120 degrees) and NightVision IR lens (which includes an IR illuminator designed for indoor spaces).

The system and software worked cleanly out of the box, quickly finding the camera over the existing electrical lines, although it did need to be reset occasionally after long use. The motion detection worked fine with cars and trucks, but also alerted on the movement of strong shadows from trees blowing in the wind. Cranking down the sensitivity helped with the shadows, but then missed the motion of many pedestrians on the sidewalk. (This is a hard problem in video analysis, so don't expect miracles when an outdoor environment is in motion from wind, rain, lighting changes, and the like.)

The IR lens was quite useful, making fun false-color scenes during the day and showing detail under trees at night. But the wide-angle lens worked even better for my needs, showing almost twice as much footage along the street, and even showing some detail at night under the streetlight.

See more details and pictures with the different lenses in my full article -- Logitech WiLife Video Security System

See more on webcams in my Home Media Gallery

    Find the Logitech WiLife Video Security System on Amazon.com

September 10, 2008

Apple Refreshes iPod Line

It's September -- and time for the annual refresh of the Apple iPod line, with new generations of the iPod nano and touch, tweaks to the iPod shuffle and classic, bright colors, and fun enhancements to iTunes 8 with the Genius feature.

Apple describes the iPod as the world’s most popular family of digital music players, with over 160 million sold and holding at over 70% of the market. Its iTunes Store has moved up to be the #1 music distributor in any format in U.S., with a catalog of 8.5 million songs, over 30,000 TV episodes, and over 2,500 films including 600 in HD. And the new App Store has seen more than 100 million applications downloaded since the launch on July 11, with more than 3,000 available, over 90% under $10, and more than 600 are free.

- The new 4th generation iPod nano returns to a vertical design, with the same screen resolution in an even slimmer design (reducing from 1.74 to 1.3 oz.). It also adds a built-in accelerometer: rotate sideways for a widescreen view with Cover Flow album art, or shake to shuffle music. It's available in nine colors, with double the storage at the same price, 8 GB for $149, 16 GB for $199.

- The new 2nd generation iPod touch is smaller and lighter (from 4.2 to 4.05 oz.), and adds integrated volume control buttons and a built-in speaker for casual listening. It also doubles the storage with 8 GB for $229, 16 GB for $299, and 32 GB for $399.

- The iPod classic simplifies to one slimline model with 50% more capacity, with 120 GB for $249.

- The iPod shuffle adds four vivid new colors, still at 1 GB for $49, 2 GB for $69.

- iTunes 8 adds enhanced visual browsing by album and video covers, and adds high definition television programs from ABC, NBC (returning to the iTunes store), and Showtime for $2.99 per episode.

But the big addition is the new Genius feature that automatically creates playlists from songs in your music library that go great together, as well as recommending related music from the iTunes Store. You also can create Genius playlists on-the-go with the new iPods.

For more info:

- For a good time, see the Steve Jobs keynote introduction of the new products - www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/letsrock

- For Apple's summary of specs for the new iPod line, see www.apple.com/ipod/whichipod

- And for details on the new products, and the iPod product line history, see my Portable Media Players Gallery

    Find the Apple iPod nano (gen 4)
    and the Apple iPod Touch (gen 2) on Amazon.com

September 13, 2008

Jan Ozer on Critical Skills for Streaming Producers

Jan Ozer certainly knows how to flog a topic to death! If you want to know about producing video for streaming, and especially understand the trade-offs in using streaming codecs, then Ozer has done an amazing amount of work to get it all figured out and then organizing the info to help the rest of us -- which he has kindly made available in his magazine articles, conference talks, and in a new mixed-media DVD tutorial.

If you want to know more, definitely head off to the Streaming Media West conference coming to San Jose on September 23 - 25, 2008, and make sure you see Ozer's sessions on Encoding H.264 Video for Streaming (Mon. 9/22) and Producing H.264 Video for Streaming (Wed. 9/24) -- (see previous post on his Streaming Media East presentation).

But to get the full story, you need Ozer's new mixed-media DVDs on Critical Skills for Streaming Producers ($249), with additional editions focused on Critical Skills for Adobe Creative Suite 3 and Critical Skills for Apple Final Cut Studio ($99 each).

These feature a 300+ page book in PDF format, with links to play associated video clips and tutorials that present the results of Ozer's exhaustive research on streaming video:

- Extensive comparisons of the key streaming codecs (MPEG-4 / H.264 for QuickTime and Flash, On2 VP6 for Flash, Microsoft Windows Media Video WMV/VC-1) -- including rating quality and collecting 70+ examples of encoded videos, for both standard definition and high-def.

- Encoding tutorials with screencam videos of Adobe Media Encoder and Apple Compressor demonstrating encoding for Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro.

- Extensive analysis of major broadcast and corporate streaming websites to research how they are actually using streaming video, including detailing information including video resolutions, frame rates, and data rates.

But that's not all -- besides the advice and information on choosing and tuning the streaming codec, the book also includes multiple chapters on the production process and workflow, with advice on designing the set, lighting, shooting, and editing for streaming delivery. Yeesh!

Ozer has been very open with this information -- presenting a Codec Comparison at the Streaming Media East conference earlier this year (download the presentation PDF) and writing articles, including H.264 Codecs in Streaming Media magazine. He even wrote up his experience in capturing Screencam videos. (See Ozer's bio and links on StreamingMedia.com.)

Ordering info from StreamingMedia.com / Information Today:
- Critical Skills for Streaming Producers, $249
- Critical Skills for Adobe CS3 Production Premium Streaming Producers, $99
- Critical Skills for Final Cut Studio Streaming Producers, $99

And check out Jan Ozer's more traditional paper books

September 17, 2008

Microsoft Updates Zune Line and Software

The Microsoft Zune line of media players also has been updated, with increased capacity (matching the recent changes in the Apple iPod -- see previous post), and new 3.0 software with even more emphasis on music discovery features -- supported for all existing devices.

The flash memory Zune doubled capacity at the same price, with 8 GB for $149 and the new 16 GB for $199 (remaining 4 GB units drop to $129).

The hard disk Zune stepped from 80 to 120 GB for the same $249 (remaining 80 GB units are now $229. That's some 4,000 songs or 48 hours of video in the 16 GB flash memory model in a smaller 1.7 oz. size, or 30,000 songs or 375 hours video in the 120 GB hard drive model that's somewhat larger and certainly heavier at 4.5 oz.

The new Zune device software upgrades the firmware to extract RDS and RT+ data feeds from FM broadcasts, so you can Buy from FM -- tag songs to access later. You can download when docked to your computer or at a Wi-Fi hot spot, or listen over Wi-Fi with a Zune Pass subscription. The device software also adds support for audiobooks, the beginnings of games to play on the go, and a handy clock.

The new Zune PC software adds new music discovery features, including channels with music programming in different genres, and personal recommendations based on comparing your library with others. There's also new visualization interfaces, including the Mixview dynamic display mapping artists to their influences, related artists and power listeners.

Also check out the Zune Originals online store with exclusive color combinations and options to customize your Zune player with laser-engraved art and personal text (see previous post).

See my Portable Media Players Gallery for more on the Zune players and software, and the development of related products.

    Find the Microsoft Zune 16 GB
    and the Microsoft Zune 120 GB on Amazon.com

September 19, 2008

Corel WinZip 12 with JPEG Compression

After 11 major versions of WinZip, you'd think there would not be much more to do in file compression.

And you'd especially expect that at least photo compression was a solved problem -- since JPEG files are already aggressively compressed, using a lossy process that throws away information (detail that's hopefully not visually important), as opposed to ZIP, which needs to be lossless compression that can reconstruct the exact original file.

However, the recently-released WinZip 12 (now owned by Corel) confounds these expectations with new support for compressing JPEG image files and managing archives with collections of photos, plus improved performance and compatibility, and enhanced security options.

The JPEG file compression shrinks already-compressed images up to 20 to 25%. And you can browse photos directly in WinZip Explorer, to view thumbnails, and drag and drop into folders.

In the Pro version, use the new Photo viewer to view photos and slide shows, and rotate, resize, and delete photos. And the new Zip from Camera Wizard transfers and compresses photos directly from a digital camera.

The WinZip 12 Standard version is $29.95, and Pro is $49.95. The Standard version includes the new LZMA and JPEG compression for smaller archives, plus interface improvements. The Pro version adds the Zip from Camera Wizard, photo viewer, export via FTP and disc burning, administrative options, and job automation.

Just be aware that the snazzy new compression formats are not compatible with older versions of WinZip, so you'll need to be upgraded on any other systems where you want to use the archives.

See full article -- Corel WinZip 12.0 with Photo Compression -- for more on the product versions and features.

    Find the previous Corel WinZip 11
    and new Corel WinZip 12 on Amazon.com

September 20, 2008

Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Photo Printer

Mobile phones mean instant communication. And camera phones offer instant sharing of photos with multimedia messaging to other phones, to the Web, and to PCs.

And now the Polaroid PoGo portable printer offers instant (OK, one-minute) photo printing, wirelessly from cell phones (through Bluetooth) or directly from digital cameras (over USB) -- for around $149.

The PoGo (Polaroid-on-the-Go) is definitely portable --palm sized (0.93 x 2.83 x 4.72 inches), and weighing 8 pounds. It's powered by a rechargeable (and replaceable) lithium-ion battery, providing 15 prints per charge.

Not surprisingly, the PoGo prints small prints -- 2 x 3 inches, like a business card. The magic here is the ZINK (Zero-Ink) printing technology. There's no ink cartridges or ribbons; instead the paper uses heat-activated dye crystals that create prints that are durable, smudge-proof, water-resistant, and fade-resistant.

It holds around 10 photo sheets at a time. The ZINK Photo Paper is sold in 10-packs for around $4 and 30-packs for $10, or some 33 to 40 cents per print.

(Note the PoGo is not a PC printer -- It does not connect directly to a computer, although you can print to it from a PC over Bluetooth, with the appropriate drivers.)

This is obviously not a high-end printer -- Polaroid describes the prints as equivalent to 300 dpi, matching images around 2 to 3 megapixels. Soft and fuzzy photos from camera phones looked dull, but sharper and higher-res images from a digital camera looked pretty good, although you can clearly see the color blocks under a magnifying glass.

So the PoGo is a fun and easy to use portable printer for quickly sharing photos on the go that would otherwise be locked inside your camera phone or digital camera. The paper actually has a peel-off sticky back, so you even can make instant photo stickers.

See my Digital Cameras Gallery for details on this and related products.

    Find the Polaroid PoGo Photo Printer on Amazon.com

September 21, 2008

Kodak Zi6 HD Pocket Video Camera

I'm a big fan of the emerging category of "pocket video cameras," first popularized by the RCA Small Wonder (see earlier post) and Pure Digital Flip (see earlier post). These are so easy to use -- small enough to take with you almost anywhere, power on and start shooting in seconds -- and record good-looking standard-definition video that you can quickly post as-is to YouTube, or edit and burn to DVD.

The Flip Mino, for example, is only about 4 x 2 x 1/2 inches and 3 1/3 ounces, but records up to 60 minutes of MPEG-4 video, for $179. It's great for shooting unobtrusively to catch informal shots at events, and is a lot easier to carry than a full-up camcorder. Yes, you give up a lot of options, but you're much more likely to have it along, and it's better quality and easier to use than your camera phone.

But now the pocket video category is broadening with the introduction of new cameras that actually shoot high-definition video (720p), including a brand new new RCA Small Wonder, several models from DXG, and the Kodak Zi6.

I'm very impressed with the Kodak Zi6 HD Pocket Video Camera, especially at the $179 price. It has a larger 2.4" display, shoots HD (1280 x 720) and standard-def (640 x 480) video, plus a 60 fps HD mode for fast motion. It also shoots still photos (2048 x 1536), and has a close-up macro mode.
It's a bit bigger and heavier, but still in the range of handheld devices, at 4.5 × 2.5 × 1 inches and 3.8 ounces (plus batteries).

Even with these features, the Zi6 is still easy to use. The controls are simple and clear, with a small joystick for menu navigation and play control. And, like the earlier pocket vidcams, it runs on easily replacable AA batteries and includes a pop-out USB connector to easily transfer files to a computer (and has built-in editing software that runs from the internal memory). It has a SD / SDHC slot for expandable memory (4 GB holds around 1 hour of HD video), plus around 30 MB of internal memory available. Plus it has two video output connectors, standard A/V for playing on a TV, and component for HD displays.

My major complaint is that you can't silence the built-in sound effects (power on/off, record start/stop, photo shutter), which makes it difficult to be unobtrusive when trying to record at performances and other quiet events.
UPDATE: This is fixed as of 3/2009 with a firmware update -- see the Kodak support page.

Also be aware of common issues with all of these small and light handheld cameras. It's difficult to hold them steady, so your footage will be shaky unless you pay attention to bracing yourself as you shoot. And the sound is recorded from the tiny built-in microphone, so make sure you're getting good audio in the environment, and watch out for wind noise on breezy days.

See my Digital Camcorders Gallery for specs and comparisons of pocket video camcorders.

    Find the Kodak Zi6 HD Camera on Amazon.com

September 23, 2008

T-Mobile G1 - Google / Android Phone

Ta da! The T-Mobile G1 -- the first Google / Android phone was launched today at an event in New York (see video of the launch, especially the demo clips).

The G1 will be available in the U.S. on October 22 for only $179. It will requires a voice and data plan, with unlimited data and 400 messages for $25 a month, or with unlimited messages for $35.

This is Google's vision of the Android open smartphone platform (the Open Handset Alliance), realized in a handset designed by HTC, and coming to market first in the U.S., and then in the U.K. and Europe.

The G1 works with the 3.2" touch screen in the portrait orientation (there's also a trackball for one-handed operation). Then slide the screen up to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard so you can use it in landscape orientation for texting and e-mail.

It runs on T-Mobile's 3G wireless broadband network, rolling out over the rest of the year and into 2009. And it can seamlessly transition to open Wi-Fi networks for broadband access. In addition, it has a built-in GPS receiver for mapping, plus a digital compass and motion sensor.

In my limited hands-on time, the phone was comfortable and light (it's (5.57 oz. in plastic, not metal). The software worked cleanly and clearly, and the slide-out keyboard mode worked comfortably. The touch screen responded as expected for taps, dragging, swiping to scroll, and "long touch" for context menus. The trackball seemed usable for one-handed operation. However, some of the scroll bars were small to target, and some of the text (OK buttons) was smaller than needed.

The built-in software is obviously targeted to synching with and downloading from Google's online services -- there's no built-in synching to desktop data as with the Palm or Windows Mobile.

But the open platform holds the promise that these kinds of features will be forthcoming from third-party developers, and made available through the Android Market. Since this is intended as an open market, Google is relying on the community to distinguish the better applications through user ratings and comments. A T-Mobile staffer did say that applications will be required to disclose their capabilities (e.g., network, GPS) so that users know what they might do on the device, and this will be checked (automatically, by code inspection?).

See the T-Mobile press conference online, especially the Demo video at 19:00. As a bonus, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin dropped by at 43:00. Brin, as a computer geek, talked about the pleasure of being able to work on the phone -- his first application uses the motion sensor -- so that when you throw the phone in the air it can count the time it is airborne.

See my Mobile Communications Gallery for more details and specs on the G1 and Android, and comparisons to other smartphone devices.

More details ...

Continue reading "T-Mobile G1 - Google / Android Phone" »

September 24, 2008

Verbatim PhotoSave & Memorex SimpleSave Backup DVDs

Verbatim has joined Memorex in trying to take the pain out of doing backups -- at least to archive the piles of photo files that you've uploaded from digital cameras, downloaded from the web, and received via e-mail.

It's too hard to install backup software, and remember to run it. And for many, it's too hard to remember to do backups at all.

The solution is to use what Verbatim calls "Self-Recordable Media" -- the recordable DVD that you use for burning your files also contains a small pre-recorded section with the backup software installed on it.

This idea is now available as the Verbatim PhotoSave DVD (3 pack $9.99, 5-pack $14.99), and the Memorex SimpleSave Photo and Video Back-Up DVDs (5-pack $14.99), which can find and burn some 2,000 photo files to a disc. (Memorex originally also planned to do a music backup disc -- see previous post).

The software auto-runs directly from the disc when you insert it, and automatically searches over your computer to find photo files wherever you have stashed them (or you can select custom folders and file types, including video). Then click to burn the disc.

The Verbatim PhotoSave software (Auto Mastering 3.5 from Soft-R Research) also supports burning multiple times to add additional photos until the disc is full, and spanning a backup across multiple discs for large collections of files.

Now please go do some backups!

See my High-Def / DVD Gallery for more on optical disc formats and media.

See my Portable Storage Gallery for details and comparisons on memory cards, USB drives, and hard disk storage.

    Find Memorex SimpleSave Backup DVDs on Amazon.com

September 26, 2008

Peaceful HD TV: Widescreen Screensavers

That big-screen TV is great for experiencing the explosions of action movies, the immersion of sweeping historical epics, and the excitement of live sports. But sometimes it's nice to just kick back and relax. Instead of turning off your display so it sits as on the wall as a big black rectangle, you can use it to help with calming music and peaceful scenes.

Screen Dreams Living Series DVDs

You can get started with the inexpensive Screen Dreams "Living" DVD series, which started as animated screensavers (Living Aquarium, Beaches, Waterfalls, Butterflies) and have expanded into widescreen video (Living Fireplace, Aquarium volume 2) and photo slide shows (Living Earth) -- for $11.99 each.

For example, the Living Earth disc cycles through a two-hour slide show of 42 outdoor nature scenes, at three user-settable speeds.

It's accompanied by user-selected music tracks, including orchestrial, chamber, and guitar.

    Find the Screen Dreams Living Earth DVD on Amazon.com

Alpha DVD / Ralph LaBarge

For more peaceful relaxation, meditation, and background ambiance, look to the earth and the sky with some of the more than 200 DVD projects created by Ralph LaBarge of Alpha DVD, an independent DVD title developer, and distributed by DVD International.

These classic discs include the Planet Earth series (Visions of the Earth from Space) with seven titles featuring video of different continents taken from the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (North America, South America, Australia, Oceania), each with over an hour of imagery, with music complementary to the region ($7.95).

The StarGaze discs (Visions of the Universe) feature images from the Hubble Space Telescope, plus the option to jump to more information about the current celestial object on the screen. ($21.99)

And the Natural Splendors series displays photography of nature scenes with surround sound music ($17.99).

    Find the Planet Earth DVDs, the StarGaze DVDs
    and the Natural Splendors DVDs on Amazon.com

BBC - Planet Earth / The Blue Planet

Beyond background video and music, and widescreen but standard-defintion DVD, the 11-part BBC Planet Earth series offers the full high-def experience of natural history filmmaking.

It was shown in the U.S. on the Discovery Channel (also see the Planet Earth Guide), and is available on Blu-ray ($63.95)

The earlier series from the BBC, Blue Planet: Seas of Life explores the natural history of the oceans and deeps (also shown on the Discovery Channel), and is available on DVD ($38.99).

    Find the Planet Earth on Blu-ray and the
    Blue Planet: Seas of Life on DVD on Amazon.com

September 28, 2008

Motorola Adventure V750 - Push to Talk

Yes, Verizon Wireless does Push to Talk too -- With the Motorola Adventure V750 phone you can have walkie-talkie direct communications with one person or a group, in a rugged flip phone design with a no-slip surface, meeting military specifications for conditions including shock, vibration, dust, and temperature.

Plus, the Adventure is a full-up multimedia phone, with speakerphone, 2 MP camera for photos and video, music player with play buttons when flipped closed, VCAST Music and Videos, and microSD slot for up to an additional 8 GB of storage.

It's fully connected, with Verizon's EV-DO Rev. A wireless broadband service, with Mobile email and Web. And it's location aware, with VZ Navigator for maps with turn-by-turn directions, Chaperone to locate a child's phone from the Internet or your cell phone, and Field Force Manager for businesses to locate and communicate with mobile field workers.

The Adventure is available for $169.99 with a two-year contract.

See my Mobile Communications Gallery for more on cell phones.

LG Decoy - Detachable Bluetooth Headset

The LG Decoy from Verizon Wireless is a sexy slider phone with a 2 MP camera and full-up multimedia and wireless broadband features.

But the really interesting innovation is an integrated wireless Bluetooth headset that clips onto the back of the unit. The headset design is a thin slab that slips into a slot on the back of the phone, though it projects slightly, with the earpiece nesting in a deeper hole. It also charges while docked.

The headset tucks in the ear, and includes a power/call button and volume controls. The phone supports multiple Bluetooth connections, so you can connect to and switch between two devices.

The phone itself has a mirror-like front featuring a 2.2" display and dedicated navigation controls, including a joystick/button. Slide it open for the phone keypad.

The Decoy is a full-up multimedia phone, with speakerphone and voice commands, 2 MP camera for photos and video, music player, VCAST Music and Videos, and microSD slot for up to an additional 8 GB of storage.

It's fully connected, with Verizon's EV-DO Rev. A wireless broadband service, with Mobile email and Web, plus VZ Navigator for maps with directions, and Chaperone to locate a child's phone.

The Decoy is available for $199.99 with a two-year contract.

See my Mobile Communications Gallery for more on cell phones.

    Find the LG Decoy on Amazon.com

LG Chocolate 3 - Music Phone

The LG Chocolate has been a popular line of multimedia phones, and now Verizon Wireless has the next version -- the LG Chocolate 3, redesigned as a slim flip phone with outside screen and navigation controls for multimedia playback.

The simplified interface for the external screen offers direct control for music playback, photo viewing, shooting with the camera, plus e-mail and calendar. Then flip open for the larger internal screen and phone keypad.

For more music enjoyment, the Chocolate 3 also includes a FM transmitter to play music through your car stereo, and 1 GB of built-in memory (for up to 250 songs), plus microSD card expandability of up to 8 GB.

It's loaded with the Verizon multimedia and wireless broadband services, including accessing the V CAST Music library of more than 3 million songs.

And it works well with the Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Photo Printer (see previous post) to print copies of your photos in one minute.

The LG Chocolate 3 is available for $179.99 with a two-year contract.

See my Mobile Communications Gallery for more on cell phones.

    Find the LG Chocolate 3 on Amazon.com

September 29, 2008

Roxio Creator 2009 - With Blu-ray

If you're a fan of the Roxio Creator suite of digital media tools, you have only one more day to snap up a free copy of the Blu-ray/HD plug-in for the new version.

Roxio Creator goes back to Easy CD Creator for disk burning, which expanded to Easy Media Creator with support for DVD burning, and then into a full suite of digital media tools for working with video, audio, and photos -- and sharing to portable players and online.

Roxio Creator 2009 continues this progression as a market-leading suite for media creation, editing, sharing, and management -- capture and import, organize and manage, edit and author, convert and burn and upload and transfer.

And it continues its consumer-friendly design, with a main launcher for quick access to tasks and creation tools, plus how-to articles and video tutorials for creative inspiration.

Creator 2009 adds integrated access to online services (sharing via Roxio Online), High-Def support (AVCHD import and burning HD to standard DVD discs), and fun audio features including the Audiobook Creator for portable players to convert an entire audiobook to a single file with chapter markers.

Roxio Creator 2009 Suite is $99 (less $20 online discount).
The High-Def/Blu-ray Disc Plug-In is $29 to author to Blu-ray discs.
Roxio Creator 2009 Ultimate for $129 (less $20 online) includes the HD/Blu-ray plug-in plus audio and backup tools.

See press release (8/08) - Roxio Launches Creator 2009

See my DVD Authoring Software Gallery for more on Creator 2009, DVD authoring, and media suites.

    Find Roxio Creator 2009
    and Creator 2009 Ultimate on Amazon.com

September 30, 2008

Nero 9 - Digital Media and Home Entertainment Suite

Nero has just released the latest version of its digital media suite, Nero 9, featuring an updated StartSmart launcher that has built-in quick media playback, ripping, burning, copying, and backup.

The suite still is based on Nero's long-established disc ripping, burning, and backup tools, including Nero Burning ROM and associated drive information and analysis tools. There's also a new Autobackup for scheduled local or online backup.

And like the Roxio Creator suite (see previous post), Nero includes tools for digital media creation and editing -- photos, audio, and video. There's some nice new features including Tape-scan high-speed preview of scenes from DV or HDV tapes, Movie Wizard template-based movie creation, Music Grabber to automatically extract music clips in a video, and Ad Spotter to remove commercials.

Nero 9 also now supports high-def editing from AVCHD camcorders, with Nero SmartEncoding for efficient compression, and burning of HD projects to standard DVD media -- or to Blu-ray discs with the additional Blu-ray Disc Authoring Plug-in.

Nero also continues building its support for home entertainment across multiple devices in the networked home. Use the new Nero Live to watch and record live TV/HDTV (two channels at once). And check out the now trial version of Nero MediaHome to stream media files between your PC archive and other connected PCs and set-top devices (including the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360).

Nero 9 is 99.99, or $79.99 download.
The Blu-ray Disc Authoring Plug-in is $9.99 download.

See press release (9/08) - Nero Releases Nero 9

See my DVD Authoring Software Gallery for more on Nero 9, DVD authoring, and media suites.

    Find Nero 9 on Amazon.com

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About September 2008

Entries posted to Manifest Tech Blog in September 2008, listed from oldest to newest.

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