I've had a bit of an R & D week. Yesterday I recorded an audio interview for developerWorks which needs to be edited and reviewed and transcripted, so it will be a while before you get to hear it, but it's fun stuff. In order to do that I needed to tinker with my audio setup. I found out how to rearrange pulseaudio in Linux to let me do recordings from a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone. I followed directions from a few folks, but still ran into some little fiddly problems that confused me. I recorded my own video demo for that which I will provide here when I get it edited down a little. This is going to make a big difference for me, and also opens the door to being able to record video demos in an interesting way. Look for that here soon. I recorded the demo using my own instant demo script which begins recording my desktop with the microphone using ffmpeg. Here it is, in case you find it useful:
Yesterday I had some time set aside with our main media guy, Scott Laningham. He had to bump to next week so I had the prospect of doing some tedious busy-work or keeping in my R & D frame of mind. I decided to stick with the R & D and worked with Blender, an open-source 3D modeling and compositing program, to start creating a video bumper for things that I create on developerWorks. Blender makes it pretty easy to create flying logo animations once you have your environment built. (That is, of course, the tricky part.) Essentially you build the environment and then you send a virtual camera through it, pointing it where you want. There is lighting and all kinds of interesting elements to work with, but it's a fairly specific skill.
By the end of my time yesterday I had an environment with some 3D letters for developerWorks and a plane suspended in space showing a developerWorks article on it. I could fly the camera around and renderd an 18-second test. I need to tinker more with the materials on my lettering (I want it to look like hard plastic) and I need to replicate the plane with many different articles from developerWorks to make a maze of them to fly through. (Sounds kind of like actually using developerWorks, doesn't it? )
This is why I love open-source software. I didn't need to take any classes or convince someone to let me spend budget to explore these technologies. They are simply waiting for me. A media person I know does the same thing I did with pulseaudio using $700 worth of hardware. Granted, some of what I'm doing requires my level of technical enthusiasm and persistance. There are times when the commercial answer is better suited. But, if you are a techie, and you want to play there's nothing stopping you. You just need to open the door.
Look for my pulseaudio demo soon. Oh! I forgot to tell you that Scott and I did a quick video discussion about some open-source thinking last week. Here it is if you're curious: