proKeys for Mac …

Final Cut Pro, Logic, and Aperture all include searchable keyboard shortcut databases. Soundtrack Pro does not. Oddly enough I was never a keyboard shortcut power user. I find it confusing trying to remember specific shortcut banks that vary from application to application. I’m now realizing things flow much more efficiently when using various shortcuts to execute repetitive application functions.

Enter proKeys:


proKeys is a customizable shortcut repository. The left source list includes various (user defined) applications. Specific shortcuts are listed in a basic NSTableView with three columns: Function, Shortcut, and Category. This concept matches the PDF user manual implementation provided by apple. You can store what I refer to as “Quick Tags”, or tokenField strings that support drag and drop. Their purpose? Add and store keyboard shortcut symbols (⌘,⌥,⌦) for repetitive use. Keyword tagging is supported, and I’ve also included a Category Log that simplifies searching for and displaying an entire “bank” of shortcuts that are part of a specific group.

I built the application using a Core Data Model with Bindings. I also implemented a custom file extension that supports SQLITE file/data format backups. The demo dbase includes the entire group of Soundtrack Pro shortcuts.

Now I need to consider distribution. I think it’s a well designed, simple tool that many will find useful.

More news to follow …


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aspectRatio: Divisible by 16 …

Here is a glimpse of what I have planned for the next release of aspectRatio:


At this point I’ve implemented a suggested dimensions method that displays values evenly divisible by 16. The results are triggered by the Target Width and returned Output Height calculation.

Select MPEG formats are based on 16×16 macro-blocks. Evenly divisible (by 16) output dimensions will maximize the efficiency of the encoder and yield optimum results. For example: a purist would prefer a small 16:9 distribution video to be 480×272 instead of the common 480×270

Also included in this release: a user defined output font color preference setting [orange/red], and a Menu option that re-opens the main UI window if the user inadvertently closes it while the application is still running.

A release date has yet to be determined …


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aspectRatio ver.1.8 Released …

aspectRatio ver.1.8 is now available.

New in this release:

• The Main Interface (front panel) now displays the selected NTSC preset

• Film Standards and PAL Conversions panel

• NTSC D1 Conversions panel (square and non-square pixels)

• Updated Controls HUD (available in the Help Menu)

I updated the application website as well.


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RGB Float Values with iPalette Pro …

Below is a snippet of Objective-C code using the NSColor Class to set the background color of a textField.


Notice the color (a shade of blue) is set with float values for Red (0.1336), Green (0.5266), and Blue (1.0000). I opened Photoshop and I didn’t have much success finding a way to return RGB float values for displayed colors. I’m sure the feature is available. I’ll dig deeper when I have some time.

A while back I purchased a copy of iPalette Pro and tucked it away. This is a nifty design tool that supports custom color management and storage. It’s very well designed and fun to use. It’s another example of a $10 Mac Shareware gem.


Take a close look at the data located at the bottom of the RGB Test window. Exactly what I’m looking for: RGB float values.

I’m glad I bought iPalette Pro. It’s worth taking a look at …


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Ford Model Agency Embraces New Media …

20080201.gifHow did Ford Models become one of the hottest things on YouTube? The sub heading on the cover of the latest edition of Inc. Magazine states: “A viral video makeover helped it [Ford Agency] boost revenue 140% and land a big private equity deal.”

Interesting …

It’s important to note this agency has been in existence for six decades. In 2002, Katie Ford decided it was time to enter the new media space. A headhunter pointed Katie to John Caplan, formally the president [till 2001] of His challenge? Could Ford Models profitably enter the new media world, and if so – how?

Currently the agency has produced and distributed 1000+ short format videos that feature an informal style. The segments include Ford models and associates engaged in the informal chatter and interaction that typically takes place backstage during fashion shows, photo shoots, and shopping excursions. The videos have attracted ad agencies and apparel manufacturers, expressing interest as potential sponsors. Ford also received a “significant investment” from Stone Tower Capital, a New York based investment firm that manages $14 billion in assets.

The Ford article documents a specific example of how the agency and their production staff strive not to produce what the subscriber base may classify as a commercial. For example – an apparel manufacturer teamed up with Ford to produce a campaign consisting of four videos. In one segment a few Ford models chatted and one mentioned picking up a pair of jeans available from the apparel creator. It wasn’t an ad, just a reference. A rep. from the apparel company points out “People don’t pay much attention to a brand when it’s the brand doing the talking. What people listen to are neutral influencers, and models are perfect for that.” This campaign, along with a few additional incentives was responsible for $500,000 in register sales in one month.

The article also mentions the videos are viewed by thousands, and the best part of all – they cost as little as $200 to produce.

Welcome to the new media space …

** I highly recommend Inc. Magazine. This month’s edition also features A Complete Guide to Marketing in the Digital Age.

[this is not a paid endorsement]


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Audioarts Air 1 Console …

air_1.jpgAudioarts Engineering, a division of Wheatstone Broadcasting recently debuted their attractive small footprint Air 1 professional audio broadcast/production console. The company states the Air 1 was “specifically designed to meet the needs of on-air, production, news applications, remotes, and the emerging podcasting market.” Features include Dual program Buses, Cueing support, Long Throw Faders, Switchable PGM meters, 2 Monitor Outs, 2 Mic Preamps, Headphone Amp, Solid State Illumination on all switches along with a useful On-Air Indicator light.

Additional features include balanced 1/4″ I/O, external power supply for cool – hum free operation, and bottom mounted Dipswitches designed for easy programing. Lastly, the mic inputs can be programmed to automatically MUTE the Monitor Output when activated. The Air 1 is 2.5″ high, 15.25″ wide, 11.5″ front to back.

No doubt this is a slick device. My guess is professional fans of the Audioarts product line will find this console very attractive. It’s perfect for small scale operations and remote productions. However due to its $1800 price tag, I don’t anticipate wide adaptation within the new media/podcasting space. Standard, sub $1K audio mixers seem to be satisfying the needs of *most* new media producers.


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Java Popup SDK …

for_sdk_post.jpgWhile we are on the subject of software development …

I’ve just completed building a new Software Development Kit that explains how to implement standard Java based site popup windows. I’m referring to the basic method that I am using on this site to display Screencasts via the siteMediaConsole link, located in the upper right sidebar.

The SDK includes two HTML documents that can be customized and edited to suit your needs. I’ve also included a short sample Quicktime movie that can be used as embedded media based on the preexisting code in the files. Simply upload the movie to your server and prepare the files.

The HTML documents require a few simple edits prior to uploading [URL references that will point your browser to these files]. After all is said and done you will be able to test the popup implementation prior to customization.

Lastly I included detailed documentation, as well as a Quick-Start Guide to bring you up to speed in no time.

Disclaimer: This implementation requires basic HTML authoring skills. Apply at your own risk.

Quicktime Java Popup SDK


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