Nathan Archive

How to Use Wireless Earbuds Properly

After you try to buy the good wireless earbuds, you should know how to use them in the right way. This is very necessary to last the life of the wireless earbuds. Although you choose the best wireless earbuds you do not use them properly. I make sure that they will occur some common problem. Even, they can be broken. At that time, you will feel so uncomfortable when wearing. Besides, the sound quality also affects seriously. Where do you have some information about using the wireless earbuds? In this article, I will talk about the right way to use as well as care for the wireless earbuds. I believe that they are the really valuable experience for you. Please take your time to refer these things, right! How to use the wireless earbuds properly
  1. Two Styles of The Wireless Earbuds
In fact, there are two styles of the wireless earbuds on the market today. If you have one of two styles you must use in the right way. Here are the instructions for you:
  • Firstly, with the wrapping around the entire ears, there is a small plastic cord to connect two earbuds each other. You will adjust this cord to create the comfortable feeling. Normally, there are three ways to wear such as:
    • You will wear over the ear and put the cable in back
    • In addition, you can wear over the ear and put the cable in front;
    • Or you can wear and the cable will be straight down.
Wrapping around the entire ears with the cable
  • Secondly, do not have any cable on the wireless earbuds. This is the standard style of the wireless earbuds. You will insert the wireless earbuds into your ear. It is very easy to use. You only pull your ear upward and outward. This will make your ear canal straighten. Then, you use your fingers to insert the wireless earbuds into the ear.
Inserting the wireless earbuds into the ears directly
  1. How to Connect to Your Listening Device
The wireless earbuds are designed to connect with many different devices such as portable CD players, cassette players, notebook computers, Apple iPods, MP3 players, DVD, and the exercise equipment which they fit with the gym entertainment systems. If you want to connect the wireless earbuds to other devices you must follow the instructions below:
  • Firstly, you have to decrease the volume of the listening device;
  • Then, you connect the plug from the earbuds into the output jack of the device;
  • Finally, you insert the earbuds into your ears. At that time, you will hear the sound which it is transferred from the device. You can adjust to have the suitable sound that it makes you feel comfortable listening level.
  1. Keeping The Wireless Earbuds Clean
Surely, the clean wireless earbuds will create the better sound than the dirty one. The clean wireless earbuds have the ability prevent the external sounds effectively. To ensure the sound quality of the wireless earbuds, you should keep some tips in your mind as follows:
  • Avoid the high humidity. This can affect the sound of the wireless earbuds too much. Although the design of these types of earphone can face in this environment you should not contact regularly with it;
  • Avoid falling. Any falling strongly can damage your wireless earbuds;
  • Remove the dust and dirt the nozzles of the wireless earbuds frequently. You should use the wax removal tools to clean your earbuds.
  1. Important Safety Information
Some safely information to know about the wireless earbuds In fact, there are a lot of benefits of the wireless earbuds. They are the choice of many people. But to ensure the safe during using as well as protect your health you should know some important safety information relating to the device:
  • You should not wear the wireless earbuds while you are driving a motor vehicle. This can lead to the hazard because of reducing your concentration. In some areas, this is illegal. Thus, you will be penalized by the policeman;
  • Most of the wireless earbuds have the light weight. They are very convenient to use for exercising. However, you also must be careful during walking, jogging, running and cycling. They can fall out of your ears if you have some carelessness;
  • On the other hands, you should listen to the wireless earbuds with the high volume level. It is better to enjoy at the lower levels with the wireless earbuds. In fact, listening to the loud sound levels for a long time will affect your hearing.
  1. How to Care for The Wireless Earbuds Properly
All products of the technology need to care in the right way. These things will be very useful for your wireless earbuds. By these methods, you will take care of the wireless earbuds properly:
  • Use the soapy water to clean the sleeves of the wireless earbuds. You should clean it frequently;
  • Remove the sleeve from the nozzle before cleaning. This will help you clean more carefully;
  • In addition, use an antiseptic routinely to clean the cable of wireless earbuds;
  • The surrounding area of the wireless earbuds also needs to be clean;
  • You must stop using the wireless earbuds immediately if they have some signs which you feel the discomfort to wearing.
On the other hands, the nozzles of the wireless earbuds can collect the earwax. Thus, they can clog the earbuds. Of course, at this time, the sound quality will be affected. In this case, you should check the nozzles firstly. You must take out all clogs in it. If you do not know this tip you can bring your wireless earbuds to the service. You will spend your money for removing wax. In short, the wireless earbuds are used widely because they have a lot of conveniences. This information is important to know. Especially, using the wireless earbuds properly will help you save your money. In addition, your device can work well and last its life significantly. I think that you will be very satisfied after referring to this. Using this device properly means that you are protecting your wireless earbuds.

The Blender Basic Guide for Amateur Housewives

On hot summer days, there is nothing can compare with a refreshing and icy glass of smoothies made from the blender. It’s very easy to learn how to do with hundreds of recipes online, but choosing the best blender for smoothies is not an easy job at all. On market nowadays, there are a variety of brands, sizes, and shapes that confuse customers. Moreover, not any blender can help you prepare a perfect cup of smoothies or fruit juice. In this article, I will show you some specifications you should pay attention to when choosing the smoothies’ blender so that your family can enjoy a healthy and refreshing summer without feeling tired or exhausted because of the sunlight and the heat. Blender for smoothies The blender is becoming more and more popular in almost every family worldwide. It helps us save many times and effort in make the fruit juice and smoothies by wring out all the juice inside the fruits by the machine power so that we don’t have to handle them with hands. You just need to peel the fruits and then put all of them inside the blender, after more than 1 minute, you can enjoy your smoothies glass with your favorite book. In fact, we should have a look at the components of a blender so that we can have deeper understanding about advantages and disadvantages of blender models:
  • Lids and caps: They are usually made of rubber and can be removed for more rooms so that you can add more fruits inside. They are placed at the bottom of the blender. Below them is a base for firm standing of the blender while it’s working.
  • Jar: It is one of the two main parts of the blender. It is made in many shapes but mostly cylinder and round. The fruit are stored inside with the lid on top of it so that the blade and slice and mix them without splitting to the outside.
  • Jar base: This is the part which is screwed to the bottom of the blender jar made by metal or hard plastic. It is designed in round shape so that it can withstand high intensity of vibration. The blades are connected to the jar base on top of it, inside the jar.
  • Blender blades: There are many types of blender blades according to the size and the productivity of the model. The most common ones are double – blade spinner and triple – blade spinner place around in a circular rotation so that when the center motor works, they will spin around and cut and grain the fruits.
  • Base: It contains other parts of the blender that converts the electric energy into mechanical movements of the blades. In addition, the base helps the whole machine to stand firmly on the flat surface. Another thing is that there are buttons to adjust the modes of the product according to the fruit types.
So these are basic parts of a basic blender. You can see that the jar and the blades are the components that need to be taken care of carefully because of its functions. In addition, the price of the blender model also have some effects on the quality of these parts so be careful in watching and choosing the blender. Blenders When you have candidates for your kitchen, don’t hesitate to go to the mechanical center and take a look at them. Don’t just do it online, you need a closer look so that you can compare them in many aspects and have the best decision. Some of them can be:
  • Productivity: It depends on the purposes you use your blender for. If you use it for crushing the ice or fruit graining, it should have strong motor – around 1000W should be find. These kinds of blender often have good customer service and product maintenance for longer use and you can make use of it more often, even with tough food. However, the energy provided for it is quite huge and the noise is louder as well.
  • The material: Most of the products are made from glass or plastic. However, plastic gains popularity because they are lighter and more durable.
  • You should also take a look at other aspects such as functions, the blades so that the machine could be perfect for you and your budget as well.

Some Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Headphones as New

How to maintain your headphone in best condition? Do you often roll the wires into a big ball of tangle then throw all of it to a corner of the room? This is one of the most common reasons why your headphone is broken quickly. So let’s find out how to protect your headphone! headphones Headphone is one of the most necessary accessories for modern devices nowadays such as laptop, PC, smartphone or music players, headphone has become one of the most common and important appliances to many people. There are many reasons that make your headphone wear off quickly and out of use somehow. It could be the fault of the product itself, or it might be you – the one who doesn’t know how to protect the headphone from harms. Even the best headphones need a good care to work properly. Hundreds of lively and hot music matching your style are prepared in your music player or smartphone. With the headphone, you can easily get access to the world of music anytime, anywhere without worrying disturbing other people. That’s the reason why headphones are more and more popular among people especially young generations. People say: “The durability of a product depends on the user”. And that’s absolutely true to anything. There are countless of bad habits in using the headphone that could pose a threat to its lifespan as well as the functions. Just a few weeks after purchasing, you headphones have to encounter with many problems such as the broken jacks, unclear sounds, wires problems, stuck buttons… So, you might have to spend a large amount of money to fix them or buy a new one. using headphones The question is how to protect your headphones and increase the durability of this product?
  1. Put the headphone into the box or bag for headphones with the right size
To keep and maintain the headphone for the best use, you should buy for it or use some bag, or even glasses box with medium size and put your headphone in. With high – end product lines, there is always a box that is specialized for the maintenance of the headphone. Just don’t forget to put the headphone in after using it. This action is not only a solution to protect the headphone from any physical damages from the surrounding but also create a good habit of cleaning and tidying things after using a device for you. If you can do it, your headphone will always in good condition and easy to find whenever you want to use it.
  1. Roll the headphone into a ball after using
This could be the most seen habit in many people. After using the headphone, they have the tendency of rolling it and put it into their pockets. The first consequence of this action is that the headphone will be tangled especially headphones with wires that are designed with round shape so that it would take you so much time to untangle the whole bunch of wire. Another bad thing you have to suffer from when doing the rolling to the headphone is about the appearance of the headphone. Apparently being rolled up like that would not only make your headphone being a mess but also creating some cracks and zigzag traces on the wires. Moreover, your headphone could not recover itself into the initial status when it was first used. The third consequence: After rolling the headphone, where do you throw it? Coming along with the habit of rolling the headphone into a ball of wire, many people will quickly throw the mess to a corner or somewhere else with other small stuffs… and this is a good condition for dirt and dust to stick inside the ear pad. This layer of dust not only has a negative effect to the outer layer of the speaker that causes some problems with the sound but also affect your ears: some of them can go into your ears and make you suffer from some ears diseases. Besides, throw the headphone to a place with other objects could be is stuck somewhere or crushed under the weight of any heavy objects. This could lead to some problems with the wires such as some cracks or broken strings which happen inside the wires. To avoid these problems, you should put the headphones into a bag and hang them on the wall or put into boxes with appropriate size.
  1. Don’t hear too loud
Have you heard about the bad effects of listening to music in high volume? Listen to good music This is completely true. According to some statistics about diseases of old people at 60s, using the headphone with high volume in a long amount of time is one of the most common reasons. This is not only a bad habit that might harm your ears but also makes your headphone wear off quickly and decrease the sound quality.

Things That You Should Know To Be a Good Singer

Being a singer and a tough one and not everyone can do that! Knowing how to sing is just a little part, this job requires confidence and contribution to be succeeded in the way to the top. You have to listen to your heart. You have to practice hard and regularly, listen to all kinds of music, choose diets to follow and sometimes attend to singing courses. In fact, if you have the best record player with you, you can listen clearly and feel the spirit of the songs easily. In this article, I will show you some of my experiences to be good singer. best record player There are six basic steps that you should follow to improve your body and your voice:
  1. Learning singing techniques:
This is the basic steps for you to achieve in your singing career. Although somebody is not really good at singing, they truly have the singing skills and experiences and improve their appearance and abilities. The profession always give high appraise for them.
  1. Get to know your beloved artist:
Singer How do they sing? How do they become famous singers? Which types of audience do they serve? What is the signature style of them? You have to find out what they have but you don’t have. Maybe the singer has gifted voice, of their songs are very touching, or the dance moves of him or her are very sexy and attractive. However, they are just details for you to look at, do not copy anyone’s style, and create your own. You might be successful with it someday.
  1. Begin to take part in voice practice lessons
There should be a trainer that truly has techniques in his or her voice and pleased to help you in every single mistake you made. If you try hard, you can notice the obvious improvement in the singing voice from just week after. Voice practice is very important not only to amateurs but also professional singers. It affects the whole singing quality. You can lose the tone sometimes if the way you sing is not correct. Find out your vocal range to seek for the best practice activities.
  1. Be relaxed as a performer:
You have to overcome your awareness, do not be shy if you fail or do them wrong, just keep collecting real life experiences everywhere you can sing (karaoke, parties, at schools, classroom, at home…)
  1. Develop your own style
Test your voice with different genres, analyze the features of them that suit your voice or not. After that, find the most suitable one to practice and find the songs. You need everyone to know that is you singing the songs. It is similar to the signature to your voice.
  1. “Being a singer”
No matter how good you sing, you can never be a singer if you don’t have fans. You can never be a singer if no one pays money to hear you sing. That means you should join a band, perform at a coffee store near your house, or even making records to send to producers – the first purpose to live as a singer is that you have earn enough money to raise yourself. So let’s get started and live your dream! Tips:
  • When choosing a song on Karaoke, make them impress with the first 30 secs of the song. Do not pick songs that are not your strongest choice in decisive moments.
  • Remember to be yourself, this would help you have the best performance when you must show off your skills and voice.
  • Find the joy of singing. If you love songs and love singing, show it all out whenever you have a chance!
  • Just yourself but don’t think that you know it all. It takes times to improve the sound and the skills. It takes much more time to convince anyone how good you are.
  • Practice anywhere: bathroom, bedroom, in your car. Anytime, anywhere!
  • Take comments from others about your singing. You’re going to need those when you want to improve yourself in singing.
If is very difficult to be a good singer, even if you have many skills and real life experiences. In addition, singing depends mostly on how good you are in singing and also how good you could be in listening to music. Thank you for reading. I will be back with more amazing tips and tricks.

How to Find the Perfect Cooking Appliance to Prepare Your Meals

kitchen Everyone wants to have a nice kitchen in which you can enjoy cooking. Nevertheless, if the kitchen is not designed accordingly you may end up avoiding it instead. In order to keep your kitchen in check, you need to choose the appliances you put in it carefully. Many people end up purchasing a ton of kitchen appliances, big or small, and accessories which just take space and end up never being used. It is not the number of appliances you get, it’s about knowing how to utilize them. Not knowing how to use them may eventually lead in frustration. Some people have the luxury of having both small and large ovens. Many times they don’t know which one to use when preparing food. It would be a smart choice to keep using the smaller one whenever possible, since it saves a lot of energy and cuts down on electricity costs.

Using Alternative Cooking Appliances

Sometimes it might be a good idea to use other cooking appliances instead of the oven. Doing so can save you time and effort when preparing a meal. Getting the best pressure cooker, microwave, grill or toaster for your budget are all great alternatives.

Cooking Takes Time

You need to be aware of the importance of time. Cooking can sometimes take a lot of time, sometimes a bit less. Also you need to know the necessary temperature required for every different type of meal. You should follow the recipes carefully and set the proper temperature and time duration in order to avoid checking whether the meal is done more often than not. Furthermore, when using alternative cooking appliances you should know that every time you open the lid, the device has to work harder to regain the set temperature. When using pots and pans for cooking you first need to make sure they are energy efficient. Having that in mind, always opt for pots and pans with flat bottoms and that they are as wide as the burner you are using. Also, check if the closing lids cover properly. cooking appliances Using a slow cooker is ideal for cooking stews and some single dish meals. Cooking these type of meals slowly will ensure they keep their taste and flavor and maximizes the usage of the cooking appliances. Slow cookers are also very energy efficient. Sometimes you have to step out during the time of the day when you usually cook. Slow cookers are ideal for those situations because you can easily prepare all the ingredients, place them inside and let it do its work. The food will be nicely cooked and still hot when you get back from running your unexpected errands.

What to Use When There Is Not Enough Time

If you are short on time and need to cook a meal much quicker than usual, consider using a pressure cooker. Everything can be prepared into a pressure cooker, from rice to steaks. These appliances are extremely efficient. Most of them use a lot less energy than the rest of the cooking appliances, while preparing your food in no time. Some people even refer to it as a fast cooker. If you simply don’t have time due to other daily obligations, get yourself the best pressure cooker you can afford and never worry about time. Microwaves are also a useful appliance to have in your kitchen. Most of you think of microwaves as the perfect tool to re-heat the food you have left from the day before. While most of you are right, microwaves can be used for so much more than that. You can fix yourself a quick cup of coffee very quickly. You can also find countless recipes online for meals entirely prepared in a microwave. Some of the meals which can be prepared in the microwave include: cooking potato chips, baking lasagna. You can also find recipes for making cookies in a microwave. Whether you have a lot of free time to spend cooking, or you have only a fraction of your day to spare, there are many options available for you to explore and extend your cooking abilities. From slow cookers to pressure cookers, there are thousands of cooking appliances available on the market today.

Next-Gen Options for Storing, Editing and Watching Your Videos

If digital technology has done anything, it has increased our options. Many of us can remember the Dark Age of television, when there were only a dozen stations showing lousy programs. Now, we bask in the Glorious Future of satellite TV and digital cable, with hundreds of channels showing lousy programming. We can even get lousy programming on demand. Lucky us. Video Editing Loyal readers of Camcorder & Computer Video know all too well how digital technology has brought heretofore unimaginable options to video recording. Just skim the pages and behold the alphabet soup of formats, software titles, devices and technologies that are now at your fingertips, thanks to the digital revolution. But, if digital bestowed its blessings to the recording and editing of video, it has been slower to transform the storing and viewing, which has largely remained store on the medium you recorded on in the first place, and view on a TV by connecting your camcorder to the set or, format permitting, dropping it into a VHS or DVD player. In the age of ten thousand TV stations, this will not do. And, it won't, for long. Here's what the future of video will look like: shoot your video on any or every format imaginable. Import it into your desktop and, after making any necessary edits, leave it there. If you want to view on your computer monitor, using nothing more than a remote control, you can. If you want to view it on your TV in another room, you can, scrolling through your entire video collection right on screen with your remote. If you wisely wish to archive your video, you burn discs with the touch of a button, leaving a neat stack of discs to safeguard your treasured memories in the event your computer explodes, rather than an unwieldy library of poorly labeled discs that clog up shelf space. Thanks to the maturation of computer and home networking technology, and the rapid proliferation of hard disk drives into devices like DVD players, the future is here.

Medza Center for the 21st Century

The living room is the single most precious slice of real estate in the entire electronic kingdom, and the television is its center of gravity. If the TV was around when King Wen Wang was cooking up Feng Shui, we wouldn't care about positioning mirrors to deflect negative energy flows but where to position the 50-inch widescreen to get the best view of the game. So, it's no surprise that Microsoft has turned its eye toward conquering your comfort zone, banking on the versatility, if not the stability, of the PC-platform to deliver home entertainment features that traditional electronics can't to date.
  1. The main weapon for Microsoft is its Media Center operating system
television Its powers a class of computers called Media Center PCs. These computers can connect to a television (and, of course, traditional PC monitor), allowing you to store, view and edit your digital video directly on your TV, using the most revered appliance in the history of electronics--the remote control. The Media Center PC is robust. Microsoft's aim is the ultimate all-in-one home entertainment device, eliminating the need for aw others (no surprise there), so there are a host of features that we can only skim through here. For instance, when connected to a TV, a Media Center PC can serve as a digital video recorder, or DVR (TiVo being a popular example of a DVR), recording TV to the hard drive for later viewing. There are 17 manufacturers making a range of customizable Media Center PCs, so it's difficult to easily generalize. But let's. All are pricier than your typical PC as they're beefed up with faster processors (typically 2.4GHz on up), DVD drives and burners, high-end sound and graphics cards, and a minimum of an 80GB hard drive for storing bulkier media files, like digital video, TV and music.
  • The Media Center operating system essentially fronts all of your digital entertainment options on the startup screen, letting you choose what content you want to enjoy by scrolling through the large icons with your remote. So, you plop down on the couch, fire-up the TV and computer, and instantly scroll through all the digital content that's saved on your hard drive.
  • For our purposes, the Media Center promises a central repository for your video files, easily accessible on the large viewing area of your TV. Rather than importing video into a computer in another room and either burning a DVD or reconnecting the camcorder to the television, you can simply import the video right there and even do some basic edits through the TV. Another plus, if you use the hard drive to store your video, you'll have your entire library available to you with the touch of a button, right on your TM Perfect for impromptu reminiscing.
It's also a more intuitive and better-organized way of storing your videos than simply stacking poorly labeled cassettes on a shelf. But, even a large 250GB hard disk drive will quickly evaporate, if you amass large amounts of video, even if it is edited. You may need to invest in an external hard drive for additional storage. And, as with all things computer-related, there is the very real worry about hard drive failure. If you rely solely on your PC's hard disk drive to store your digital video, you're asking for heartbreak. So, you're back to square one saving it on a removable format! However, if you use the Media Center as your principle video depot, you can store the physical media (the backup tapes and discs) anywhere deep in a closet and forget about them until a calamity strikes.
  1. There is another dark side to the joys of Media Center usage
Unless they're angling for worker's comp, no one will want to do in-depth video editing with their face a mere foot from a 42-inch widescreen TV. Thankfully, this downside is being addressed with something called Media Center Extender technology, which will give you the benefits of the TV-connected Media Center PC without having to physically place your computer by your television. Rather, your computer can stay in the office and function as a "media server," beaming your digital content to the Extender device. Media Center Extender technology is a set-top box that will connect to a TV and use a home networking standard (wired or wireless) to move your digital video from your Media Center PC to any TV it is connected to. If you don't have, or haven't heard of, a home network, you will. Its most common home usage is to allow several computers to share one Internet connection, either with wires or wirelessly. Office networks allow multiple computers to access the same, centrally stored, information. But, home networking is coming to home entertainment, and the same standards that send the 1s and 0s from the Internet throughout the house can also send your digital video (also 1s and 0s) for display on any device connected to the network. So it is with Media Center Extender devices. One of the big plusses of Extender is that it can allow up to five different applications to run at the same time from one computer. Say, for instance, you're viewing your digital home videos on your TV in the living room, while your kids, taking a much needed study break, are upstairs on the same computer listening to MP3 music files (purchased legally, of course) without either interrupting the other. That's a family value if I ever saw one. To date, Alienware, Deft, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, and Samsung say they will have Extender-compliant devices by the end of this year, though, of this writing, none are on the market. If you're considering the Media Center route but don't fancy the idea of a PC in the living room, you can wait for Extenders to hit the market and set up a home network.

A Software Alternative

If you don't want to turn your TV into a PC, why not turn your PC into a TV? There are other PC options beyond using Microsoft's Media Center. Consider Cyberlink's PowerCinema 3 software, which lets you browse through all the digital content stored on your computer's hard drive (video, MP3 music files, pre-recorded DVD movies, and photos) with an included remote control. It turns the PC into a multimedia center with functionality quite similar to what Media Center delivers. In fact, to enjoy the benefits of the software, you need to be running Windows XP and have an updated graphics and video card compatible with Direct-Way (video) and DirectX (audio). You'll also need good PC speakers, if you want quality audio. If your PC monitor is sufficiently large (say 17 inches or larger), then the software is a worthy investment. The icons are large enough to view, and scroll through, at a distance and the software lets you customize a number of parameters to make later viewing more to your liking. You'll need a free USB port to plug-in the IR sensor for the remote control. You can get video in a standard TV ratio (4:3) or the increasingly popular widescreen format of 16:9. For your personal video collections, you select Video (not Movie, which designates pre-recorded DVDs). The software can play back MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, AVI, MWV, and ASF files. It will cost you $59.95 to download.

DVD Players Plus

Thanks in part to the advance of the PC on the living room; electronics makers are putting more sophistication and features into their devices to remain compelling. No where is this more evident than the DVD recorder, which, in addition to its ability to record TV and movies right to DVD discs, offer hard disk drives that can store your digital still photos, TV and recorded video. DVD player One of the obvious benefits of new DVD-based camcorders from Sony, Panasonic and Hitachi is the ability to simply drop a finalized disc into a DVD player to view video on your TV as you would a typical DVD movie. Since these companies also make DVD players/recorders, they've begun to integrate more sophisticated video-editing and storage features into the products to make both more appealing. Take, for instance, Panasonic, which offers its DMR-E80H DVD recorder that can transfer the video stored on a blank DVD (and even flash memory cards, i.e. Secure Digital) to an 80GB built-in hard drive. From that hard drive you can perform some basic edits, right from your TV The DVD can also play MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 video files right off an SD card, and you can store this video onto the unit's hard disk as well. Of course, the current crop of DVD recorders can't house your entire video collection and your recorded TV. However, these units serve as a nice repository for your "greatest hits" by storing your best video and still photos right by the TV so that when the relatives come over, you can easily wow them. It's also a far less expensive solution than buying a Media Center PC. DVD recorders with hard disk drives typically start at $600.

Flash Card Readers

If your camcorder features a flash memory card for capturing stills or short MPEG-4 or Motion JPEG video clips, you can view both on the TV without having to plug-in the camcorder. Flash memory card readers have migrated from desktop to set-top and serve as another neat way to view digital files without the hassle. A company called Roku makes the only flash card reader (as of this writing) that can play back digital still/video files on high-definition televisions. The Roku HD1000 has slots for the various flash memory formats (including Compact Flash, SD/MMC, Memory Stick and SmartMedia) to display digital still images and MPEG video on an HD, as well as an analog, TV set. If the thought of moving video to your TV via a flash card is not practical, the H D 1000 can also connect to home networks via Ethernet (wired) or 802.1 lb (wireless) and serve as a hub for your digital entertainment. It won't actually store your video files (the unit doesn't have a hard drive) but rather will use your computer to safeguard the video and draw it down to the television when you're ready to view. When connected to a network, the HD1000 serves like an Extender device (though it is not one), only with flash memory card slots and the ability to output files to an HDTV. It can display the gamut of digital media files including still images, video and music. Suggested retail price is $299.

Transitional Effects: Use These 15 Tips to Make Your Videos Flow

Video It's been said that the real distinction between video that looks professional and video that's obviously amateurish comes from the transitions. How you move from scene to scene and clip to clip, makes all the difference. Choosing the proper transition and successfully executing it can often turn a disaster into a victory. Check out some of the following principles and experiment a bit. These tips should help you make the most of the transitions available in your editing program.
  1. Keep It Simple
Do you remember your first word processing or desktop publishing program? It probably came with an example of a letter created with too many different fonts compared to one done with just two (for example, one for text and one for headlines.) It's the same with video transitions. Grabbing at a clock wipe here, a Venetian blind effect there, and a rotating box and zoom thrown in for good measure is guaranteed to give your video a jumbled look. Settling on just two or three types of transitions, such as dissolves and slides or fade-outs and fade-ins, plus slides or page turns, will give your presentation a more consistent form and a more pleasant look.
  1. Be Consistent
Use your transitions for specific purposes, and stick to those uses throughout your video. Examples might be using dissolves to denote time passage and slide-ins to denote location changes. Transitions have personalities, and the effects make statements. Try to make the same kind of statements with them from beginning to end.
  1. Experiment with Time and Length
Do some practicing. Take two scenes and dissolve or cross fade between them. Do it several times. Try a one-second dissolve. Then, do one for two seconds. Try a lingering five-second effect, then, maybe a real quickie at less than a second. Notice the feel or personality of the effects. Use them to enhance the look and feel of your final video. Do the same with a number of other effects.
  1. Check out The Variations of Each Effect
Most transitions can be stopped at any point in their cycle. That means a dissolve held half way would result in a superimposition. A circle in or out held still would give you a picture-in-picture. It's the same with a box or square. Combine that with control of the box's directional movement and you'll have an over-the-shoulder box behind your narrator just like those used behind a network news anchor.
  1. Experiment with Abstraction
If you have Manual Focus on your camcorder, shoot some out-of-focus objects of different colors and luminosities. Or, take an existing scene and modify it with a filter effect. Try blending them with different transitions. Slow, lingering dissolves would be good for starters--perhaps multiple layers (see Step 7 below.) Then, place the final results under your titles. Try doing this with still photos or artwork as your source.
  1. Relate the Transition to the Movement of the Scene
Let's say you have a shot of someone walking away from the camera. Try a transition where the entire frame disappears by receding to the center of the next scene. One panning shot to another in the same direction? Try a slide or a wipe in the same direction. A handheld walking shot following someone? Dissolve it to a shot where the subject is moving toward the camera and it is tracking back. Dissolve from a close-up of someone looking rapidly right or left to a quick whip pan.
  1. Layer and Combine Transitions
Once you feel confident in your use of effects and transitions try experimenting with multiple effects and layering. In a timeline edit program, like Adobe Premiere, you can easily add numerous video tracks, fade them in and out, and adjust their luminosity levels. You might use video tracks 1a and 1 b with one of the transitions from the menu and then fade other shots in and out over it on video tracks 2 and 3 with a superimposed or keyed title on video track 4. OK ... This will take some practicing AND careful planning. Don't be afraid. Get creative and try some variations. This effect could be valuable in a music video, for example.
  1. Use Contrasting Effects
Just as you can play with the rhythm of your video by cutting together a group of short scenes, then contrasting them with long lingering takes, you can do the same with transitions. One section could feature scenes slid in quickly from one direction. Another, with a different feel, might feature a series of shots slowly dissolving from one to the other.
  1. Don't Be Afraid Of the Obvious
Try using a clock wipe to denote time passage. If you have several wide shots of landscapes in your travel video, try sliding them in from screen left as in a slide show. If you have an archery scene, transition to it with an emerging circle. If your video is about a concert, recital or talent show, don't be afraid of using an opening curtain effect in going from the main title card or auditorium exterior to the performance. Sports event? Go for that flying football effect.
  1. Work against the Cliché
Purposely choose effects that do NOT obviously relate to the action. Use your instincts. Have fun with this.
  1. Don't Overdo It
Specialty transitions (like the ones in Step 5) can lose their effectiveness if overused. One very good transition plug-in package that creates infinite variations from gradated wipes is called the Video SpiceRack, from Pixelan ( Think of your novelty transitions as spices. When cooking up your presentation, be careful not to over-spice it. Just a taste here and there will be fine. The same principle applies to transitions, in general. Straight cuts will always be the most commonly used transitions. Never underestimate their value.
  1. Experiment, Experiment And Experiment
Just like all those neat effects buttons and switches on your camcorder, the transition selection menu will frustrate you if you start messing with different variations on the fly as you assemble a video. Set aside some time for practice sessions, and try different ways of solving your problem. Do several variations on the same two-scene combinations. Try being logical. Then, toss reason to the wind and just choose an effect at random and see how it looks.
  1. Use Sound Effects
One of the most obvious (but effective) sound effects you can use is a nice, loud still-camera shutter click cut in each time you insert a still in your video. The same goes for transitions. They can be made more effective through the use of sound effects. If you don't have any sound effects in your arsenal, go out and buy a compilation sound effects CD (available at most stores that sell music CDs.) sound Don't limit yourself at first with specific volumes (car effects, animals, etc.), but get one that offers a general mix. Then, try different sounds placed under your transitions. Do this in a practice session and see how well this can work when you choose an effective sound effect--and how silly you can make something with another choice. Remember, there's no right or wrong here. (P.S. This step applies to music, as well. Try underscoring transitions with changes in your background music.)
  1. Study The Pros
Watch your favorite movies, television shows, commercials and music videos. Perhaps, you could tape them off the air for repeated viewing. Notice how they use transitions, cuts and dissolves. Make notes. Try figuring out what your favorite directors and editors are doing. Then, try to do it (or something like it) with your editing program. Do a few examples of your own and compare them to the original.
  1. Have Fun
Once you master a few of the rules, you'll be ready to break them. And, your videos will be a lot more entertaining than if you had just tossed in bunch of crazy effects at random. Sure, music videos usually call for lots of variations and effect after effect. But, look at the best ones. Tape your favorites and rerun them. You'll usually find that all of the wild cutting and transitioning has some consistency to it. There was probably some kind of a master plan, but not always. One approach to your video might be a very formal and conservative presentation with a wild and crazy loose interlude in the middle. On the other hand, you might open with a bold montage and then settle in to a more conventional style of exposition. There's no limit to the possibilities. There is always a time to go wild and "just do it." Use your judgment and your instincts and, most importantly, have fun with your project.