Harrison Farm

for now, the only thing we're growing on this farm is kids - not the goat variety

Month: June 2007 (page 1 of 4)

You get to Read Books in Jail?

A conversation with Carman:

M: “How many of those Hardy Boys books have you read so far?”

C: “Two. I’m just starting on the third one.”

M: “What? That can’t be right. You just got those books yesterday afternoon!”

C: “I know.”

M: “A person ought to be put in jail for reading so many books.”

C: “That doesn’t sound right.”

M: “Oh, wait. I guess if they put you in jail, you’d probably just pass the time reading.”

C: “What? You get to READ BOOKS IN JAIL??”

M: “That’s right. They even have libraries in prisons.”

C: “So wait, let me get this straight. If I got put in jail for stealing a book, they might actually have that book in the library at the jail?”

sketchup and camtasia

I’m trying to film a short motion sequence out of sketchup for a tutorial I’m preparing. When I click record in camtasia, I am getting a black screen where sketchup just was. Also, in my Windows Task Manager, it shows Sketchup going back and forth between “not responding” and active.

Let’s just try a restart.

Not helpful.

What about if I uncheck the “turn off display acceleration” at the end of the recording setup dialog?

That did it!

Badminton on Summer Nights



A few years ago, my parents gave our family a badminton set for Christmas. Continue reading

Tips for producing Screen-capture video

Pre-production planning:

  • Edit all pix to the ratio you’ll be recording in. otherwise you won’t fill the whole screen (portrait-orientation pix are bad about this. You might favor landscape-style when you are picking pix.)One way to fill the dead (visual) space is to have the main points appear as text/bullets (powerpoint style)

800 by 600 is the largest you would want to go for this. That’s a 4:3 ratio, which is not as modern-feeling as a 3:2.

Aim to be able to do at least a 90 second video with no post-production needed.

don’t doodle with the mouse.

plan your sequences/statements in short chunks and use the pause button.

Look for ways to cut dead space. Sometimes an 8min video can be cut down to 5min.

As you proof-watch the video, look for any confidential info onscreen that should be fuzzed out. I’ve already learned a lot by seeing the toolbars and Firefox add-ins on other’s screencasts.

windows media encoder vs. Camtasia vs. Captivate

All of these tools can perform screen capture.

windows media encoder (wme) – free, records to wmv files,

Camtasia – $300, records to anything but most notably to Flash/swf/flv, includes Flash player which can be embedded in a website,

Captivate – $600 alone or more as part of Adobe Premier Pro, said to be a memory hog, very “cool” output Flash player (embeddable of course), integrates well with all the other Adobe products for a very smooth experience (efficiency)

Other tools…

Snapz Pro – inexpensive tool for native video capture on a Mac.


For me, WME is out because I need to be able to produce “smart” (interactive) video.

If I was going to be using a high-powered computer, it would probably tilt toward Captivate, but since I need something light on memory, I’m leaning in favor of Camtasia, which is a very nice piece of software compared to everything else.

Here’s another big “problem” with Captivate. Adobe is very clever, and they’ve structured their prices so that you are strongly encouraged to buy Captivate, for example, as part of one of their packages which can be purchased at discount in a mega-package … you get the idea.

Last year I bought a $100 flash-building tool which was terribly inefficient and ultimately I couldn’t get motivated to produce anything.

I’m going with Camtasia for now. Leave me a comment if you’d like an update on my experience. I usually respond within 24 hours.

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An Experiment with Embedding Camtasia Flash in WordPress (Quest, pt 6)

here’s the deal: I’ve already succeeded in getting a Brooks Andrus Camtasia-generated Flash video put onto my WordPress site as Flash, not as mere video.

But I can’t reproduce the feat with my own Camtasia Flash video.

To double check, I’m going to use the exact entry that succeeded in pulling-in Brook’s movie and use it to call mine in exactly the same way (absolute urls).

  • First, try it with the football video
  • Try it with mine, using the config file as delivered and with and abs. url

That did it!

But why didn’t it work for me yesterday? I had code up yesterday that wouldn’t work, but today it did?!?!

All I can tell you is that there may be some sort of browser caching issue. Try it in a different browser, perhaps.

So, my Camtasia-flash-in-Wordpress quest is ended… for now.


the above could be a helpful link if I was only using FLV files.

This rules out the possibility that the problem is WordPress, kimili, the embedding code behind kimili, or the way I’m entering the code into my wordpress entry.

The problem can be only one of two things:

  • Either something is different about the camtasia output since Brooks put up those videos, or
  • Something is different about the way he modified the files. At the techsmith forum, he says that the .swf address in the config may need to be made absolute, but in his video from early 2006, he doesn’t mention this. Perhaps there is something else he

Barefoot Children


In the spring, summer, and fall, our kids wear shoes only when we leave home. When one neighbor saw my children barefooted in March, she politely informed me that her mother’s rule was that the children had to wear shoes until they saw the first butterfly of the season. My kids just moaned when I made that proposal.

Marathon and I moaned this morning when we were talking about the influx of felines we’ve seen in the neighborhood lately. They seem to be everywhere, often in our yard. Thankfully cats generally bury their droppings (although we’ve seen some break that stereotype around here), but dogs are happy to leave it behind completely exposed to my children’s bare feet. Should we be concerned about the possibility of them catching a disease or parasite if they come in contact with feces on the ground? Continue reading

Halfway around the Sun from Christmas


It’s a long, long way to the sun. 93 million miles. If you wanted to go there by our current means of space travel, how long would it take?

The manned-spacecraft speed record stands at about 11,000 meters per second, which is 6.83 miles per second, which is about 25,000 miles per hour.

So that means that you could travel the distance to the sun in 155 days. But what if you had to go to the sun and then an equal distance beyond it? Then we’re looking at 310 days or about 10 months.

You’re wondering: why would we care about the “equal distance beyond it” part?

Why? Because that’s where Christmas is.

Whut? Continue reading

Missing Pieces I’m grasping in how to Embed Camtasia Flash in WordPress (Quest, pt 5)

The swf that you call from Kimili is the controller, not the movie!

Okay, so I’ve got that straight and now wordpress pulls in the controller but not the movie. Here is the output from a successful embed of the code:


Here’s the Kimili site. See FAQ at bottom.


This seems to be an important comment at WP support:


Embedding is OK for small files, but when files get big (high res or long) then it’s best to link to another page.

At this point, I see no reason why all those files couldn’t be hosted on a separate site, so I’ll try that if all else fails.

Doesn’t work. I sent the following question to Camtasia Support:

I cannot get your flash player/output to embed in a WordPress page. I have the same situation as “Emersond” on this page at your forum:


No one has answered his question. The bottom comment was not helpful.

A timely answer would be much appreciated.


Here is their answer:


I’m sorry you are having issues with getting this to work. However, what they are referring to in that forum thread are third party applications that we do not work with. Also, the forums are User-to-User forums, and Brooks is only trying to help since he’s familiar with the third party app. What I would recommend is that you create an account with our forums and submitt your question/issue there since you are inquiring about something that’s completely out of our Free Technical Support.

Let me know if you need anything else.

Kind Regards,
TechSmith Support

This launches me into one final experiment before I abandon Camtasia as a flash-creation tool. (see Quest, pt 6)

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