Capturing Webinars

Lately I’ve been attending a lot of webinars. Unfortunately, during webinars, I’ve been getting interrupted or otherwise distracted (which can happen when the kitchen is taking five months to remodel). Also, I don’t always want to wait for a link from the webinar producer. Sometimes there is no opportunity to view a recording.

To solve this problem, I’ve began capturing the webinars myself. I’ve been using Camtasia from Techsmith for screen recordings. Another great feature of this software is the ability to capture live webinars — video and sound.

With three monitors on the main computer, I can move the webinar to the third, less important monitor, define the screen area in Camtasia, and begin the recording. When done, pressing F10 on the Windows machine stops the recording and provides the save option. (Stopping is also simple on the Macbook Pro.)

By making my own recordings, I immediately gain control of the educational resources and can easily skip through the recording to find the information I need.


Basic Tools and Knowledge Would Help Journalism Joins the Sloppy Journalism Club

On May 7, 2017 (KOMO TV, Seattle) posted this short story.

Example of sloppy journalism by Seattle's

Example of sloppy journalism by Seattle’s

SEATTLE — A man was fatally wounded in an overnight shooting in White Center, Seattle police said.
Police say a fight broke out around 2 a.m., near E Madison Street and 17th Avenue.
Someone opened fire, and a man was found shot in the head, police say.
Detectives have not released any other details on what led up to the shooting, or information on a possible suspect.
This short story is full of errors to the point it does not make any sense, and the use of fundamental Internet tools would have prevented this terribly written story.

Problems with this Report

The report begins with a man shot in White Center, which is a city south of the Seattle City limits.

Then the report says a fight started at an intersection in Seattle (about 7 miles north of White Center).

Then someone was found shot in the head — in Seattle or in White Center? According to the text, a reader would believe the person was found in Seattle.

How is it then that he was shot in White Center, shot in Seattle, found in Seattle, and died in White Center?

None of this makes sense.

Basic use of mapping tools on the Internet would help any reporter determine the seven mile distance between the intersection and White Center, which should raise concerns for how the story is put together.

Additionally, Seattle Fire Department responds to medical issues, such as gun shots. Had the reporter taken the time to check the publicly available dispatch log, the reporter would have found that the time for the incident near E Madison St and 17th Ave was 12:49am, not 2:00am.

Seattle Fire Department Dispatch time for the incident.  Courtesy SeattleFire.US

Seattle Fire Department Dispatch time for the incident. Courtesy SeattleFire.US

Aside from the basic inaccuracies of geography and time, the story just does not make sense because of the different jurisdictions. If indeed the event involved different jurisdictions, how? The reporter has led the reader into confusion, not clarity.

Eugene Cernan

Man on the Moon Picture

Many years ago I drove a car from Seattle to a Chicago suburb in what was then known as a “drive-away” car. Basically, the car needed to be moved from point A to B and drivers, such as myself, would drive the car, paying only for gas. This was a way to get some reasonably cheap transport from point A to B.

Upon arriving at a home in suburban Chicago, I had a few minutes to relax in the front room of the household receiving the car. As I looked at the pictures on the wall, I cam upon one picture that absolutely grabbed my attention. The high-quality picture was of a man walking on the moon. It was autographed — to “Mom” — as I recall. The picture was signed by Eugene Cernan.

Shortly thereafter the “Mom” appeared in the room. I said “You must have been a proud mother.” Response: “Yes, I was.”

Only then did I get confirmation that I had landed in the boy-hood home of Eugene Cernan. What a treat. And to see a unique picture autographed by a unique man.

Not many moms can display a picture of their son walking on the moon. All mom’s should be proud of their son’s achievements.

In respectful memory of Eugene Cernan’s passing.

Sometimes 3g is better than LTE

I’ve been traveling lately. Recently to the ocean. See below.

On the Pacific beach with power and Internet.

On the Pacific beach with power and Internet.

And then to Lincoln, Nebraska.

As I move around I take with me a couple portable internet devices. One is a Sprint Gateway (by Netgear) with ethernet ports on the back. This is in the picture above in the green circle. The other is a hotspot — about the size of a bar of soap.

Even though both are capable of LTE connections, I often find that forcing the devices into 3g modes is the better option. For example, in Lincoln, I found that the LTE speed was actually slower than the 3g speed in some locations. This was due, I’m sure, from a weak LTE signal the cell site.

In other situations, there is no LTE signal. This is why I paid the extra money for devices that have both capabilities — 3g and LTE. This was a good decision. I’m able to use the devices in many more places and therefore get more value for the money.

Sure, 3g is slower than LTE, but 3g is better than no connection at all. And sometimes the 3g speed is sufficient to stream video.

When choosing a hotspot, keep in mind that 4g and LTE are not everywhere. If you want maximum coverage, get a device that will include 3g.




Reducing Cell Phone Costs

Only a few people I know do not have a smart phone. That is one way to reduce cell phone cost.

For myself, I have two smart phones. One has an area code in my home town for relatives, who are not terribly tech savvy and are still using copper line phones. Yep, these folks still exist. In fact, many of my own Seattle-area customers have area codes on their cell phones from their home town. About 60% I’d say.

I like having two phones, because I get backup (on different carriers) and it is handy to punch in a number on one phone while getting a number on the the other phone.

The cost for two, however, can be more than I might want to support. So, lately I’ve been experimenting to reduce costs.

I got a Google Fi Nexus 5x phone for $250. If you have good credit, you can pay for it over 24 months, no interest. The plan itself is $20 for the base cellular fee (unlimited talk and texts) and then $10 per month per gig of data. If you don’t use all the data, a credit is put back on your account which reduces the next month’s bill. Use 1/2 gig and I get $5 credit on the next bill for the unused 1/2 gig.

My friend Karen got a Google Fi phone and because she is connected to WiFi at work and at home, she rarely turns on the cellular data. (The phone has an option to turn off cellular data.) Her phone bill has been running about $26 per month.

With Google Fi, you actually have some control over how much you will spend. If you don’t need to use a lot of cellular data, then don’t and get credit for the unused portion. If only cable TV providers would give me credit for the 80% of the channels I don’t watch.

In my situation, I’ve implemented Karen’s method with another phone. Before I got the Google Fi phone, I had a smart phone on Straighttalk using the AT&T network. That was about $52 per month that included 5 gigs of data. I was not using 5 gigs of data. It was nice having it available, but I was paying for the unused data allocation.

I wanted to remain on the AT&T network so I went to a Cricket store. I ported my number from Straighttalk to Cricket. This allowed me to purchase a ZTE Android phone for $29. The monthly fee will be $35 (including tax) for unlimited talk and text and 2.5 gigs of 4g or LTE data speed. After that 2.5 gigs, the speed drops to 3g or 2g.

So, the plan now is to keep the Google Fi cell data turned off (unless I really need it) and use the data I’m paying for on Cricket. Aside from phone costs, I now have two smart phones for a tad more than just one on Straighttalk.

If you are like Karen and only need one phone, the Google Fi service is a good option for reducing costs if you are in the T-Mobile or Sprint service area. (The phone does work only on WiFi — have tested it out and it does work.)

Buying Local at Amazon Prices

Near me is an Office Depot. I like buying there when ever I can, because I want the local resource to stick around.

However, I’m not always keen on their prices.

I discovered a while back that my Office Depot store will match the price of the same item found on and sold by Amazon.

When I need something, I frequently will look on Office Depot first, then see if I can find the same item on Amazon. If there is a match, I printout the Amazon listing or bring it up on my phone and head to Office Depot with the information. Once the Office Depot staff confirms the match and that the item is sold by Amazon, they’ve always given me the Amazon price.