Category Archives: Internet

How to Make a Good Audio Recording for a YouTube Video

Nothing is as annoying as a video with bad audio. YouTube has proved we can put up with bad video quality, but if the audio is no good we will stop watching. How can you create decent audio on a medium budget?

This article is specifically written for OSX, but most things apply to Windows as well.

Hardware

Many laptops have a build-in microphone. This microphone might be good enough for Skype, but for a youtube movie it is not. If at all possible use an external microphone, even if it is a cheap headphone/microphone combination.

Should you go for a usb-microphone or a microphone with a pre-amp? It depends on your budget. And the amount of hardware you are willing to live with. Having a separate pre-amp and a microphone on a microphone-stand will probably sound better, but it might be more expensive, and it is definitely a lot of stuff to have around the house.

I bought a blue yeti usb-microphone, and am quite pleased with it. By the time I finish typing there will have come out several new microphones so it is hard to recommend anything. When I shopped around I visited a lot of computer hardware stores and the I could not find what I needed. Then I went to a music shop where they sell guitars, drums and audio equipment and their help was excellent. I told my needs (to record my voice), and my budget (<$150), and they showed the possibilities and the costs of each. Shop around, and google everything!

Next, after you acquired your microphone it is time to create your recording setup.

Some microphones are sensitive to touch (like the yeti) and it might be wise to put something soft between the table and the microphone. Also a spit-guard might be a good thing to add. Test and try, it will cost you some time but your listeners will be grateful!

Record in a room that is as quiet as possible, and try doing your recordings really early, the world is asleep and thus is as quite as it gets in your neighborhood. To avoid echo, have something soft behind you, like a curtain.

Recording audio

It is quite possible to record audio and video from the youtube website, but it is best to do everything separately. The easiest way to record audio on the Mac is using piezo, a really simple and nice little program. The only downside it has is that it records in a compressed format. An alternative is using Audacity, which is cross-platform.

To record a Skype conversation you can either use Piezo, or ecamm from Ecam. The podcast mentioned in ‘also see’ has some good info on how to make a high quality audio recording from Skype.

Listen to some test-recordings with (good) headphones. In the beginning your own voice will sound strange, but you’ll get used to it. Pay attention to buzzes (is everything grounded? Are power-cables and audio cables close to each other?) Is there an echo? (add a curtain/ hangup a coat behind you / around you). Again, test and try.

When recording, have frequent break. Drink water. If you made a small mistake, pause, breath, and say the sentence again. All mistakes can be cut away during mixing.

Mixing the audio

This is where thing get tricky. There are two ways to go about this: mix your audio, and place the video so it matches the audio, or, mix your video and use audio markers to make the audio fit. What works best for you is a matter of trying. Easiest is creating one audio-file and then adding video to fit.

On OSX, Garageband is a good and not expensive program to mix your audio. It also has a lot of sound-effects with a reasonable license. A good alternative is Audacity, which is a bit more cumbersome, but it might be even more powerful, and free (cross-platform, works on Windows as well).

When mixing your audio, make sure your voice has room to breath, have breaks between segments. If you add sound-effects, don’t over-do it. Listen to a documentary and a radio-show and you’ll hear the difference how they were mixed-down. Listen to both and then decide what style fits your video. If you put all the effects on a separate audio track you might even make two versions. Ask what your friends think sounds better.

Conclusion

Great sounding videos are fun to watch. We might think that it is all about the video, but your professional voice-over will make all the difference!

How to Make Online Education Work for You

Last few years, online education has gained substantial recognition; reputed institutes like MIT, University of Michigan and Georgia Tech are now offering online as many technical courses as they are offering non-technical ones. Platforms such as Coursera.com, edX.org and Udacity.com have been designed to make online education work not only for those developing these opportunities, but equally well for those availing them all over the world.

Education is something that is not only a basic requirement for earning a living, but is an equally important factor when it comes to refining and perfecting an individual’s personality. Like in-class learning, distance learning has its own pros and cons, but if we allow ourselves give a detailed look to them, positives seem to outweigh the negatives. Counting a few of many pros of online education here:

  1. Online courses are cheaper: While registration is free of cost for most of the courses, you won’t need to spend any expenditure of time and money on commuting as well; all the classes are attended sitting back at home.
  2. Classes can be taken day or night: Neither time, nor location would hinder your chances to earn a qualification.
  3. Slow learners can learn at their own pace: In in-class courses, it has been observed that not all the students can grasp the concepts at the same pace and soon slow learners lose all the hope. No such problem is faced in online learning, everyone can plan his schedule and learn at his own speed.
  4. Students get the chance to learn the distance education technology: Alongside learning what you have registered for, online education allows you to learn the technology being used for distance learning as well. Since the online education is mostly about making the most of computers and internet, those learning through this method get to learn all the whereabouts of technology.

While the ever increasing list of pros of online education continue to be an attraction for more and more students and academics, familiarization with the pitfalls such as lack of assistance, lack of assessment and social isolation, is an equally important a requirement in order to cope with the downsides of it. Keeping in view the factors to consider before one decides to take the online route of education, a few tips have been collected and mentioned for the interested students. I hope that the following content is worth the time and effort it requires you to put; so, while you read, take notes if it’s convenient to do so.

Tip # 1: Define Your Goals

Many reasons could be there for choosing the online route over in-class education; financial constraints, limited time due to family and work commitments, or desire for career advancement are just few of many common reasons. Before you start on this route, you need to define for yourself why you prefer to earn a qualification online over offline? Do the positives of online education, in your case and circumstances, outweigh the negatives sufficient enough to make it the right choice?

Tip # 2: Don’t Fall to the Trap of Common Misconceptions

Some of the common misconceptions about the online education are:

  1. Online courses are easier,
  2. Student earning an online qualification is left on his own while he’s attending one, and that
  3. Online courses are self-paced.

Coping with the first one first, keep in mind, online courses are as difficult as the on-campus ones. Sometimes, to compensate for the lack of practical work, student learning through online courses are required to spend more time on reading and writing.

Second misconception seems to come right from somebody who either didn’t get the chance to avail the opportunity of online education or holds a biased opinion about it because many of the online courses require student participation in online discussion sessions and sessions with instructors, advisors and administrators.

Most of the online courses have a schedule of assignments and assessments similar to those in on-campus courses though these deadlines are not as sharp as they are in on-campus courses. You can schedule when to complete your assignment within the time allowed for it; misuse of the flexibility would only lead to failure to make any good out of this opportunity.

Tip # 3: Look for the Accredited Programs

Who would like to spend time and invest resources on earning an online qualification that does not even come with the stamp of accreditation and later on create problems in grad school admissions and recruitment for job? Look for the programs that are being offered by reputed institutes with reputable accreditation; only then, would you be able to receive quality education with no such risk as the investment you have made may go wasted.

Tip # 4: Make Sure you are Aware of How Tuition is handled

Most of the online virtual institutes do not charge students for tuition. Among those that charge, some prefer charging on per credit hour basis, some charge on yearly basis while some charge in one lump sum. Before you move on to registering for a course of your interest, make sure that you are aware of how the tuition is handled?

And why is it so important to be aware of how the tuition is being handled before you register for the course? It is because it is required in order to apply for the scholarships available to help fund your degree.

Tip # 5: Know About the Instructors Beforehand

All the money that you have invested on an online course may go wasted if the instructors teaching that course are not good at what they do and could not deliver the desired quality of teaching. Before you apply for a particular course, it is recommended that you try to research the instructors and ask them questions such as what method of teaching do they plan to follow for the course under consideration?

Tip # 6: Make Sure the Technology required is Working Properly

Slow internet connection and limited access to computers will surely make it hard for you to attend the video lectures and submit the solved assessments within the prescribed time. Before you start, make sure that the technology available satisfies at least the minimum requirement.

Once you have managed to have a 1 Mbps internet connection, in order to avoid facing any problem at any level, spend some expenditure on purchasing items such as a black and white printer, tools such as a digital dictionary and a thesaurus, software based “To-Do” lists, a note taking software, and a webcam.

Keeping these 6 tips in your mind and taking all the required precautionary measures as mentioned in them, you can register for any online course of your interest. The motivation behind writing this article was the fact that no single article, online or offline, covers this topic wholly and yet comprehensively, or at least that’s what I have observed. I hope that this writing has done justice to the topic and solved the problem up to much extent.

How to Use Online Stores for Your Benefits

Most of the young generation today loves shopping. It feels so exciting doing it, but roaming around in search of our stuffs feels simply boring sometimes. However, the technologies have provided us with some awesome facilities on which we don’t really have to make several efforts. Online shopping is a great thing that provides you comfort and availability in an easy manner. Anyone would love to select his favorite stuff from a market sitting in his air conditioned bedroom rather that to be spoiled in pollution and roaming all around for the thing that you can get with only one click. People love going through online stores because they have no problem in checking some websites for marketing.

Now days, online stores is offering products for free shipping and with attractive discount offers and also some great ideas of coupon which make the stuff more efficient and worth eye catching. According to the stats online, sales are increasing day by day with a great speed. Online shopping has become a trend of today’s shopping arena. It has been a great source of income and an unexpected profit for online retailers. It was found that one of the famous online stores made more money per day than a shopping mall does in a months. That is really outstanding and amazing success story of online stores. People are always interested in getting any particular thing in as lower cost as possible.

In an online store, you will get awesome deals and unbelievable stuff on very less prices. The new trend of coupon is a hit trend, as it sometimes provides with an unbelievable discount to the regular customers. The concept of coupon codes used online is liked by a big number of audiences. There is no point as to why the crowd should not turn towards online market. In a survey way back in 2004 it was found that products of online store costs 6 to 16 percent lesser which is getting better and better day by day. 71 percent of the shopping people say that they got more discount on the same stuff online as compared to the shops and retailers. Online Store leads you to more saving of money as well as time and it is rightly so, because no matter how fast you can deal in a market or a shopping mall.

However, online shopping will be faster than your fastest outside. Sitting on the internet also gives you the facility of comparing the product of two stores. A recent research has given a fact that online shopping is an environment friendly task. It reduces your fuel consumption. It helps you to reduce air pollution. It saves tree indirectly as catalogs and pamphlets are not used for the promotions of online trade. You don’t have to hop around from shop to shop for a single comparison between the two; you can do it easily in front of your computer screen. An online stores also gives you power to share your experience regarding the product you have used. Moreover, you can check the reviews of different users on the product that you are going to buy and have a good idea regarding its best price and quality offered. This helps you to decrease the error of buying, what I mean is that you buy exactly what you want no mistakes are done. As an online retailer too, you have several ways to go for your publicity. You can go for ads of your product on different on various web sites. That helps you to generate traffic on your store that ultimately results in increasing your sales.

Use Social Media at Its Best

Not many people know that social media can not only be entertaining but beneficial as well. On the top of the music sharing, there are many people interested in valuable information and a brand can be built on the internet using social media sites. It is however, true that many marketers abuse and misuse these platforms, but some others get them right and benefit from the free exposure for free. The below introduction is provided for people just starting with online promotion through social media and would like to increase their online visibility.

Facebook

Facebook pages can become popular and creating one of them is simple. Creating a page is the first step, but if the page is not integrated in the site, it is not worth much. The point of having a business page on the site is to improve communication with potential customers and allow them to sign up through the site. There are many tutorials published online, even on the Facebook Developers Page. There are three different options: build apps, build for mobile and build for websites. There is a simple code that can be inserted in the site to allow users to log in with their Facebook account and Like Button code to be placed in the sidebar. There is also a HTML resource center for webmasters to help them customize the features offered by the site.

Twitter

The social media site Twitter is not only the playground of celebrities and teenagers. It offers great business solutions and the simple search facilities within the site. Some authors say that a business must have a Twitter account for social media success. There are some simple steps to follow when signing up as a business, though. Selecting the username has more importance than some people would think. It either needs to be the name of the business, if it is an established brand or a keyword rich name. Likewise, the description of the profile needs to have the main keywords in it, in order to allow other users to find it. Next, it is also important to pay attention to the design of the page. There are some default themes on Twitter to choose from, but a custom background with the logo can also be designed. The guideline with Twitter (just like every other social media site) is that content posted needs to be relevant and over-promotion needs to be avoided.

MySpace

MySpace is not dead, despite the fact that some people have written it down. It still has many new members every day, and it is extremely easy to advertise using videos or other content. The best thing is that it allows users to provide business information and even URL-s in the profile and their posts, too. The “About Me” section should be used to provide an overview of the company and its services, while the “Who do I want to meet” should describe potential customers. The interests provided should be relevant to the profile of the business. One of the most powerful features of MySpace is still the blog section, and if enough people follow the posts, it can be made popular and attract new customers through the sharing features of the site. The business page layout should also feature the company logo and slogan.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is considered to be one of the most professional-oriented social media sites on the internet. It is very simple to create a company profile, set up users and employees, post jobs and brag about achievements. Networking is easy, and finding people or associates in the same business area is made simple by the site. A showcase of services or products can also be published, and there are several detailed tutorials published at http://learn.linkedin.com/company-pages/ to help people with the process.

What Invitation Link on Gmail Is All About?

This post is targeted at people who use Gmail, and want to know about the new Invitation link that has cropped up recently. Have you seen it? It’s below the Subject field; next to `attach file’ or `edit subject’ link on the “Compose” page, there is this insert: Invitation’ link. Can you see it now?

I agree with those of you who think that Gmail works real hard to keep pace with the way human brain works.

This link appears while you are composing a fresh mail and also while you are replying to an old mail. Do you know that you can use it to schedule your meetings and setting up appointments via Gmail? The good thing is that you can do these things very easily and simply. For those of you who already use Google Calendar & Meeting Rescheduler, this `Insert: Invitation’ link facilitates and simplifies life further. It kind of completes the circle for the user when he uses all these facilities provided by Google for its users.

With `Insert: Invitation’ link users are able to plan or program an event and verify attendee availability without doing anything, right from the comfort of wherever that they are they can simply check out the current status by going to the Compose Mail window.

It’s very simple to insert a calendar invitation in your Gmail message; to do this all you have to do is click on the insert invitation link. This will open new window on your screen. This box will have several columns and will be showing availability of the user as well as various schedules that are included in the e-mail. The user can adjust the time; name the place and description, and also declare in which calendar the event should be added to. Once you fill it up with relevant information and send the e-mail, the event gets automatically included in everyone’s calendar.

For those doing business and networking online, this new link can prove to be an important and time-saving update.

Gmail Invitation Link

Have You Used Meeting Rescheduler? If your mind is not yet able to absorb information about the `Insert:Invitation’ link, its probably because you are missing a link. And that link could be your understanding of this new gadget Meeting Rescheduler.

This Meeting Rescheduler is amongst reasonably recent additions by Google Calendar coming straight from the Google lab. Its complete name is Smart Meeting Rescheduler. It needs installation and once installed, it can be accessed via Google Calendar & appears next to users’ calendars and allows them to opt for individual events for the purpose of meeting or event rescheduling.

As the name suggests, the gadget helps users/people schedule meetings online, that saves them time and energy; without hassle of following up with everyone on an ongoing basis ensuring everyone’s presence; this gadget if used well, ensures overall efficiency.

The Smart Meeting Rescheduler acts like the user’s personal assistant & suggests the most suitable times to reschedule a meeting or calendar event. It minimizes confusion and helps busy online workers to organize their time better and programs with much efficiency.

To make it work, this is what you have to do: click on find `new-time ‘ link and when you do this the program starts checking the calendars of people who have agreed to attend the event or meeting, and starts the process of recommending the best dates and times when the event can be re-scheduled, this re-working of schedule is based on Google’s search ranking algorithms.

Users are free to choose any of the results that return or even adjust or modify the options suggested; thereby adjusting event parameters around time and date suited to them, or by leaving the decision of attendees as optional.

Its recommended that we learn to use these little software that Google introduces for us users from time to time; Google approves of and introduces these after a great deal of research and user interaction. The gadgets are meant to simplify our work and help us use our time better. So instead of taking them for granted lets use them. When you do it, you are keeping up with times; and who wouldn’t you like to do it and be considered net savvy? Is it not what internet is all about? Adapting to the ever changing world?

If we will wait for lounge about, life will pass us by…

Is It Safe to Work Online?

“Is it safe to work online?” is like asking, is it safe to drive; or travel alone; or take a road trip with friends, or have a credit card, take up teaching or flying as a career; and so on. I am sure more than half of you already know what this article is going to impress upon, Well, the answer is yes it is safe to work online; very safe; if you take the right direction, right path and learn to use tools correctly.

If internet was an unsafe medium it wouldn’t be growing at a pace that it is; simply on the basis of short term excitement and thrills that it manages to generate. Internet has gone far beyond scepticism. It’s more real and dependable than many other things and options doing the rounds.

We have already heard and are witness to the conveniences life offers to people who work online. Being able to stay at home and still make money is like a dream come true. For most people who have made a success of themselves working on the net; when you ask them, most of them will vouch for it that it has given them more than what they expected of life. And yet there is a large chunk of people who are very wary of working online, they associate internet with fraud, crime, and where everything is happening in the virtual world and nothing is real.

People still are extremely sceptical to leave their email addresses on sites and blogs even for subscribing to newsletters. For that matter, an unsolicited mail in their inbox saying they have won a lottery of 100000 GBP scares the wits out of them. I personally know people who do not do net banking, forget giving credit card details or making payments online via debit or credit card. They are scared of this medium as hell.

While the above fears are understandable, there is another side to it; those of you who belong to this category should understand that the payment and transaction software are highly sensitive and advanced now; and if you are paying to the right people, for right reasons from your legitimate account, you are making a secure payment, where none of your fears stand a ground. So while you keep your eyes open to dicey situations, you should also make sure that your mind is not shut to the idea of doing anything serious on the internet.

Internet is a huge revolution, it’s changed the way we lived our lives ten years ago. It’s the biggest democracy in the truest sense of the world; and most important of all, it’s evolving everyday; becoming more and more user-friendly, useful, and safe.

So if you are keen to join the `work at home-work force’ do it without any hesitation. Just ensure that you are associating with legitimate people. If they ask for your credit card number, bank details, ask you to pay to start online work etc, then take your cue and get out. A person offering you work should ideally pay, not ask for it, right? If you fall prey to tall claims and exaggerated guarantees like make money without working or become rich overnight, then it’s nobody’s fault; if you allow it to happen to you; you won’t only lose money but the possibility of your bank account getting hacked is also there; if you have given bank details.

Another thing is you should not allow the PC or laptop that you use for earning online to be used by all anybody other than yourself, as there might be sensitive & important information stored in it which can get leaked if you allow other people to use your machine. Also your PC or laptop should be protected by antivirus and firewall so that your data and various programs are safe at all times.

If you keep the above facts in mind, working online is a very safe option, and convenient, lucrative, interesting and so on.

How to Do Effective RSS Management

RSS has made it so easier to access information you are interested in that it seems to me the best invention of the century. RSS was invented to help you keep track of the content on different sites and blogs, to make it easy for you to manage your read and unread feeds and while doing so, make sure that you stay productive. But with hundreds of feeds in hand, RSS seems to cause more trouble than making the subscriber’s job easier for him.

Imagine this nightmare: You get past the number of feeds you could actually manage reading, that’s how a prolific subscriber gets overwhelmed. That’s how misuse of productive RSS tools leaves the user frustrated and demotivated.

Here are some useful tips that may prove to be of great help in effective RSS management.

Tip#1: Use an online RSS reader like Google Reader

Why Google Reader? Why not any other feed reading tool? It’s because Google reader is more user friendly than others of its kind.

Tip#2: Use keyboard shortcuts

You want to go through all the feeds in as much less time as possible, if that’s true then keyboard shortcuts would surely make a lot of difference. Neither would you need to toggle between mouse and keyboard while reading your feeds nor would the time be wasted in that.

Tip#3: Make a “Favorites” folder

Google Reader allows its users to create as many folders as they like. Using this feature to your advantage, you can create folders like “Favorites” folder and “News” folder. This will really help you finding the relevant feeds at the right time and will save you the trouble of going through the irrelevant stuff in the process of searching. “Favorites” folder could be used to house the blogs that you want to read every day while “News” folder could be filled with blogs like Dawn’s blog. A separate folder for news when a “favorites” folder is already there is required to coup with the problem that news blogs produce 100s of posts every day.

Tip#4: Set a time frame for your RSS feeds

Since we are talking about effective RSS management, we can’t ignore the fact that one of the main reasons we end up frustrated and unproductive, whatever we are dealing with, is bad time management. Reading feeds is really going to help you keep yourself updated about what’s happening in the world and much more than that but that doesn’t mean that you start compromising your more important things for feed reading. So, set aside some time for it and do not let yourself get addicted to it.

Tip#5: Hit “all as read” button when required

Imagine the situation: You come back from a vacation to find that your RSS reader’s overloaded. Instead of wasting your time figuring out what you have missed while you were out and trying to catch up with everything, mark all the posts in your RSS reader as read.

Then how would you catch up with all what you have missed? It must be the least of your worries now. Remember what they say about the web: “The advent of web has made the world a global village”; that information’s going to find its way to you one way or the other.

Tip#6: Use Search feature

It’s very likely that your curiosity will not let you go and before you mark all the unread posts as read, you will like to get familiar with the latest happenings in the blogs of your interest. Google reader has got some very interesting search features that will help you search through those feeds some specific terms and keywords, allowing you to have a hint of the what’s really missed and what’s not.

Tip#7: Create a folder named as “Unread”

There might be some posts you would like to read some time later. Again, creating a folder named “Unread” and using it to keep such posts until the time-set-aside-for-them comes, is really going to help.

Same kind of feeds folder could be created to save yourself some feeds for the weekend.

Tip#8: Follow the “trends” and analyze once in a while

Through time, you will lose interest in some of the feeds you subscribed to earlier. That’s not uncommon; interests and priorities change through time but effective management of your feed reading habits would require you to get rid of the feeds you are no more interested in. Google Reader’s “trend” feature is there to help you make such an analysis once in a while and manage your RSS overload.

How to Become Safe When Surfing the Internet

Surfing the internet is very risky. People need to connect themselves into the open realm of the World Wide Web. Basically, they cannot assure themselves that they are safe at their fingertips. They have to remember that the very moment they enter the stream of the online world is also the time that they became vulnerable.

Similar to the real world, the internet is not free from crime. Netizens know that internet crime does exist and every surfer is prone to it. People can name a few such as identity theft, hackers, viruses, malware, and so on. Hence, how are we going to protect ourselves from these threats?

1. Always Secure Your Identity

One of the best ways to secure your identity from being taken is to make sure that your passwords are protected. Internet gurus would suggest that choosing a “difficult-to-guess” password is the most efficient protection for any accounts. People may use a combination of words, numbers, and symbols as their password. By doing so, other people will find it difficult to guess the password. It is also preferable for people to use different passwords for different accounts instead of using a single password for all accounts. This method will help people to secure all their accounts in any case that one got hacked.

When signing up for an account or installing a new software, people must always spend time reading the fine print. There are some software or service providers that asked for your agreement to allow them to collect your personal information. If you do not want to give them your personal information, then, you do not have to agree with their terms and conditions. Cyber criminals use the method of seemingly reliable software and assume that people do not read the terms and agreement. Without reading the fine print, other people will be able to collect your personal information without you knowing it.

2. Always Secure Your Connection

People must also keep in mind that aside from their personal identity, they must also secure their connection; may it be at home or at work. The most basic step to prevent others from penetrating the network connection is by installing an efficient security system such as anti-virus, anti-spyware, and internet firewalls. These programs will protect your computer from dangerous files that may harm your computer. Keep in mind that viruses and spyware are capable of sharing your personal data unconsciously.

When doing transactions online, people must make sure that they are under a secure connection with companies. By looking at the address bar of an internet browser, people will notice that websites start with either “http://” or “https://”. A secure connection has an address that starts with “https://” instead of “http://” alone. Be wary that not all websites with secure connection are trustworthy. Keep in mind that Phishing websites are capable of deceiving people under a secure connection.

3. Evaluate Before Clicking

Immediate clicking is very dangerous when it comes to internet technology. Criminals may just send you a link leading you to a dangerous site without knowing it. Before clicking a link, people must hover the mouse pointer over the link first. They will notice that an address pops-up from the lower-left corner of the internet browser. The pop-up address will show you to where that link will lead you if clicked. Evaluate if the address is trustworthy or dubious.

When it comes to downloading, people must always be cautious. You will never know that certain software is a virus unless you become a victim of it. Hence, it is best to read comments, reviews, and ratings before downloading a certain software or file from the internet. By doing all these steps efficiently, one will always find himself secured while browsing the World Wide Web.