Friday, May 27, 2005

Crazy For You - Zefrank

Zefrank. Where do I begin with this guy? Is he an artist? A designer? A futurist? A nut job? A visionary? A sensory explorer? Does he empty the contents of his head for public consumption?

Never mind. I'll start at the beginning. On his web site, there are choices. You can watch videos, play games, read manifestos, or just click a link to see what happens.

The first one that I selected was "How to Dance Perfectly." The poor soul. Rhythm he has not. I laughed when I wasn't gasping for air. You can try his steps at home but for the love of humanity do not attempt to perform any of them in public.

Then I checked out "Supahbad." It is fascinating in a train wreck sort of way. If I told you that this guy mouthed the words to James Brown's Super Bad it wouldn't do it justice. It is more like someone put on a very cool suit that his body or in this case, his head could not contain.

Not everything is funny or meant to be entertaining. If you need to bust out of L7 then this is the guy for you. If you don't know what L7 is don't worry about it, your fine. But check Ze out anyway. Ride the pony -

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Keep It On The Down Low – Underheard Radio

My birth radio station was WDAS, 148 on the AM dial. From 6 a.m. Monday to Midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning it was my station.

There were great DJ comedians who were clean but they made you fill in the blanks. Some of them made it their personal mission to make you late for school or work.

You knew what play was in town or what celebrity was plugging their concert at the Uptown Theater. We didn't need the Emergency Broadcasting System. We had DAS.

Flash forward 40 years. WDAS is now a Clear Channel station. Clear Channel owns hundreds of stations. They homogenize play lists. The stations are programmed to assume what the listeners want to hear. If there are live DJs at the station, they have firm instructions as to what can and cannot be said over the air.

In the Los Angeles area, many DJs have lost their jobs and have been replaced by an automated system. One DJ may service multiple radio stations across the country. The most recent addition, Jack-FM has no DJs. Jack picks from a list of 1,200 songs.

He (the corporate "he") really doesn't want listener input, other than to record "this is a great station" promotional announcements. They are not breaking any new ground; it is the usual suspects and then a surprise recording or two. I don't know from whom, they don't announce or back announce. Snarky.

There are still terrestrial radio (traditional radio as opposed to satellite or cable radio) stations that still try to connect with the local community. They think about the programming and their
mission. collects radio programs and streams a selection of independent and community radio stations from across the nation. Some of them are small 500-watt stations; others are connected to colleges or are truly independent of mainstream media controllers.

*If you have a thing for Hawaiian music then KCSN in Northridge will take you far past Don Ho. (No disrespect intended).

*If you are looking for a Dub injection, you can swing over to WCSB in Cleveland.

*If you need more stories, documentaries or sound exploration WZBC in Boston's Magnetic Tape fills in the gap while you are waiting for the next episode of "This American Life."

You can go to these stations by visiting their web sites. Most have streaming or download capabilities. makes it easy to sample and experiment with various musical, informational and alternative formats –

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

From Sea To Shining Sea – Image America With Camera Phone

Robert Clark is taking pictures with a Sony Ericsson 5710a 1.3 megapixel cell phone. With sponsorship from Sony Ericsson and American Photo Magazine, he will travel the U.S. and Canada. The images are posted in a flash animation gallery.

Being a worker drone, I envy his ability to just go and see huge chunks of this country. I'll guess I will compensate by trying to cover my own backyard a bit better (with a full digital camera) but he does have some nice images.

Robert Clark is a professional photographer, you can visit his main web site. I imagine he has the kind of camera equipment I would dream of owning. He has the credentials to shoot for National Geographic, Newsweek, and Time magazines.

To cross the country to take photos with a cell phone just amazes me. If I am not careful, I might catch a bit of that road trip fever.

Hitching A Ride – Backpack Information Manager

Anyone who knows me knows I carry a messenger bag full of papers, books, notebooks, and free papers picked up from around town.

It is not because I want to do it. You never know who might need a copy of eye exercises or a list of music from the Alan Lomax collection. Really, it happens. I'm like a Boy scout. Always prepared. Except I'm not a boy. Or a scout.

While looking for something completely different, I don't remember what, I came upon a free service called Backpack.

You can create a "to do" or memory page that you can access from any Internet connected computer. You can post your travel plans or emergency contact information. You can put up a portfolio or a buying list for the building project.

Fore example, I'm at a client's home. There is a bit of information or software I didn't anticipate needing. I could zip over to Backpack and download or print from one central place.

The site is very easy to use. If you need convincing there are Quick Time movies to help you learn to use the service. If you can type you can use Backpack. You can email reminders, photos, and notes to post at the site.

You sign in to your own private section. No one can see your Backpack page but you or whomever you want to see it.

If you use no more than five pages (that you can re-use and recycle) Backpack is free. If you need more space then you can purchase more pages. For most folks five pages is plenty. Unless you are a compulsive pack rat, I mention no names -

Friday, May 13, 2005

On With The Show - Previewing & Distributing Your Web PSA's

(May 2009 update - you can upload .avi videos to, YouTube and most video hosting services. Try to keep the file size down below 100MBs. There are newer tools and options but this is what I knew in 2005. Consider this an historical post but check out my new stuff for current options.)

Wow! Almost finished. You gonna want to preview your PSA a few more time just to knock the bugs out. Better still have a trusted friend or a little kid peep over your shoulder. They might catch a bugaboo that you might have missed.

Time to share your PSA with the world. Here are your options:

The first order of business is to save your project. This will have the Dubit.dub file extension. Next, move to the file menu and select "Create Movie."

If you plan to post your PSA on your web site or blog Dubit can save files in the traditional Real Player format. Anyone with any version of the Real Player or Real Alternative who has a modern browser will be able to see your PSA.

The downside? Not everyone has a modern browser. Not everyone can or wants to use Real Player formatted files.

You can also save as a Windows .avi file. AVI files can be large but the advantage is that every media player can display this format. And although it is listed in the drop down menu, you can't save in the Windows .asf format. You wouldn't want to anyway.

If you have QuickTime Pro ($30) you can import the .avi file into QuickTime Pro and save it in the QuickTime format - .mov However, you run into the same issues as before. Not everyone is using a modern browser or they don't have the free version of QuickTime installed. Bummer.

Now you can't please all of the people all of the time but I think I have a solution for the masses. Swish Video ($50 from Swishzone) allows you to convert Windows Media (.avi and .wmv) and QuickTime media files into the Flash Animation format. It is quick, easy and most important the .swf file format has become the universal format for sharing media files. It is a very easy program to use and by dingy it works. You can download a free 15 day trial copy at Swishzone.

There you have it. And the good thing about it is that once you get the hang of it, you can apply what you have learned with other audio and video programs. But I wanted to use old technology to help good people reconnect with the ability to do good. Or do better. I'm not sure anymore. I need a nap.

Go forth, do good work and keep in touch.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

And Nursing A Part - Adding Music To Your PSA

If you decide to have music in your PSA you have to be cautious. Because your are posting them to your web site or blog you have to make sure you have the legal right to use any music you plan to use in your PSA. Noble purpose or intent is not a legal defense. Remember how the RIAA went after Jib-Jab? You don't want to know what they could do to you.

There are safe places to obtain music. It is vital that you make sure you understand you can and cannot do with the music you are using for your PSA (or any other purpose). Here are a few starting places:

Flashkit has hundreds of music loops and sound effects that are free, free for non-commercial use, or free provided you inform the author of the work how and where the musical loop is to be used. You can preview the music loop before you download it.

Videomaker Magazine has a download page that links to companies offering free music and musical loops.

Yahoo has a Creative Commons Search for music that can be used, modified or even used for commercial purposes (read the fine print first!) You can type in the kind of music that you are looking for and received a boatload of suggestions. At this time, the search was still in Beta form. Some of my searches pulled up non-CCS type music or education pages that mentioned music but has none for download.

But I did two good places to check out; Royalty Free Music Piano Solos and Fonogeno, which has a page of electronic music such as beats, percussion, and synthetic bass.

If your music is in a format other than .wav you will need to convert it into the correct format. Dubit can only import .wav files.

Audacity is a free and non-adware/spyware audio conversion program. All that means is that you can use it to convert MP3 into .wav sound files. You can also download a copy from

Once you have your sound file in a .wav format, you can insert it into your PSA.

Next - Previewing, File Formats and Distribution Options

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

No More Rehearsing – Assembling Images For Web PSA's

Sorry for the delay – the realities of my life and a bad case of the flu caught up with me. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Now that you have your images saved at either 320 x 240 or 160 x 120, you now can start to assemble your images into Dubit's slide show feature.

I'm not going to go into detail about that because Dubit has a good description in the Quick Help Menu. There is also solid information to be found in the Context and Index menu.

You have two choices. Let Dubit match the timing to your music or narration. There will not be an edit option available.

Or you can custom time your slides. It is really just a matter of finding the location of your photos, bringing them into Dubit, placing the slides in order. This is the time to edit a slide or move forward or backwards in your presentation. You can also edit a slide to adjust the transition time or change the slide order.

The "eyeball" opens your media player to a preview version of your PSA.

If you have not already done so, please save your project. This will allow you to return to your project to make adjustments to your PSA at a later date. The project is saved with a .dub file extension. You need to do this before you create your distribution copy.

Keep in mind that Dubit is not Microsoft Photo Story. This is a simple program that can run on almost any Windows system from Windows 95 on up. You can add images, music in .WAV format or voice narration. You can also select the slide transition time. That is the extent of Dubit's capabilities.

Next, adding music.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

This Masquerade - Misha Gordin Photo-Illustrations

There are times when you need to infuse your spirit. You have to remind yourself that there are other things besides the daily mundane matters of life.

An artist can help you see the invisible truths of the worlds and provoke you into action. Misha Gordin has photo-illustrations that tell powerful stories about the human conditions. If you have ever felt doubt, you will feel a connection with the series of photographic images that take you to a place inside of yourself.

If you need a visual kick in the pants to jump start your creativity, this is an excellent place to begin your journey.