OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) Studio

OBS Logo

Recommended to me by Students OBS Studio is a free program that allows primarily for streaming of gaming content. However it much more powerful due to the ability to overlay images (such as logos), text (such as web addresses or twitter ID’s ) and your webcam(s). However where the software really comes into its own is as desktop capture, even allowing you to move elements such as the webcam whilst you are recording but “transitioning” your layout update when you are happy so that your viewer does not need to see you visually tinkering with your setup. No cost, no time limit, no watermark!

The software is not the easiest to initally use, but YouTube comes in handy as the software is extrememly popular (I would stick to video that are recent due to large changes with the software and confusions with OBS Classic). Admittedly this does not work too well on a single monitor as you would have to restrict the capture area to at least half your screen so that you can use the other half of your monitor for the actual OBS software to manipulate your elements, but I cannot see any reasons why you cannot create reasonably short captures without being overwhelmed.

Find it at https://obsproject.com/

Dodocool 2.4GHz Wireless Cordless Presenter

I look after my tech, but I have misplaced my presenter pointer. An old Genius Pointer that allowed you to control media players, the mouse pointer, left and right mouse click… you name it, it had it! but it was an old unwieldy thing that ate batteries when you needed them most.  It often messed with your head as you fought to put into one mode from another. and it hated Prezi.

 

Sometimes life throws you what seems like disaster only to be rewarded with fortune. Enter in my new Dodocool 2.4GHz Wireless Cordless Presenter with red laser http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00D72O46E. I am not expecting it to usher in a new age of technology. But it does do what I need, without bells and whistles….

  • Desicated on/off switch (hopefully less dud batteries)
  • Only takes an AAA battery and is extremely light, and small
  • forward/back buttons
  • Open/ close to Full screen (equiv.F5)
  • Blank Screen
  • Lazer pointer
  • Prezi friendly
  • website friendly (scroll & refresh)
  • Adapter for the PC lights up and stows away in the battery compartment

Uncomplicated and fairly versatile, without the complications. And one that I would not be to upset if I lost!

 

Andy

Google Chromecast

Google Chromecast

i2.cdn.turner.com

 

I now have two of these, especially as Curry’s were selling them at £18 across black Friday week with free delivery. Effectively the Chromecast allows you to display your favourite apps to a HDMI capable display. In the box you will find the Chromecast itself, a USB power adapter, USB power cable and a flexible adapter (useful for if your Chromecast cannot directly fit into a HDMI port). All this for under an RRP of £30. The power adapter is only needed if you don’t have a powered USB port locally such as in the TV. In my case I power one of my Chromecasts via a local Wii console which has USB ports at the rear.

Apps for IOS are minimal with YouTube and BBC iPlayer including Chromecast options. The videos are not directly sent from a mobile device to the Chromecast but instead sends the URL of the desired media to the Chromecast for it to fetch directly. The mobile device acts as a controller for video playback, volume and queuing up further videos.

Third party apps exist to send photos and videos but these can be erratic depending upon the strength of you network connections and bandwidth.

Using an android device rewards you with far greater benefits such as full screen casting of your device (Apple still prefers its own AirPlay setup). And the need for streaming photos has been made moot since Sky’s recent update and ability to stream photos through the Sky+ app.

I cannot see these being used in a wider teaching context mainly due to the fact that the Chromecast would need to be connected to a network, that is not to say it cannot be used, I’m wondering if it’s possible to tether to a smartphone – maybe a future trial.

Update: To tether to a smartphone your likely to need two devices 1) smartphone to act as “router” 2) device to perform connection activities (the iPhone does not list its own hotspot as an internal option within the Chromecast app)

Andy

VGA Adapter (W7S-00001) on the Surface RT

I have received  the correct VGA adapter (some time ago) outline in a past post ( http://wp.me/pspi8-gt ). And have used a number of times, not really much to say other than it does as expected. Giving you the option to be the primary, duplicate (mirror) or extended desktop that most windows users have encountered.

The connection to the surface can occasionally be temperamental, but this is minimal. I would avoid 3rd party adapters as these are likely not to have the angled face on the connector to the surface that helps (in the most part) to ensure a good fit.

Andy

Living with the Surface RT [Day 100]

Surface RT

I have hit 100 days with the Surface RT and I can say that they only thing about it that has been an uphill struggle has been this blog (only at times!). I certainly would have liked it to be more educational that it has been but attempting to blog daily has limited that. Id on’t intend to stop blogging, but I do not intend beyond today to blog on a daily (or attempt) basis but I do feel that this entry should look back at what I have tried to do and where i still/want to go with the Surface RT.

  1. Connecting wirelessly to another display
  2. Tethering to my phone for when I cannot get Wifi (made some headway – Bluetooth only real solution from a cost perspective, and so far not needed to!)
  3. Finding at least one good app (and free) for all categories (a bit ambitious now the categories have expanded i.e. sport & government not my thing!)
  4. Trying to write this blog from the Surface itself (setup has been on a PC, entries have been on an iPhone 5)
  5. Not writing this blog retrospectively (which it has up till now!)
  6. Purchase & use a stylus

I still have a few projects/research pieces involving the Surface RT that will be a part of this blog.

  • Tethering to my phone for when I cannot get Wifi (from my original list above)
  • Micro HDMI to mini HDMI adapter (on order)
  • VGA adapter (on order)
  • Working with whole groups of students and staff to utilise tablets in the classroom

I do have to say that I have not powered up my works laptop since July 2013, the Surface RT has been a great replacement and the abilities it has serves it well:

  • light
  • portable
  • Small form factor
  • Amazing battery Life
  • Productive (especially love office and OneNote app)
  • App store is starting to mature

 

I am going to have to dust off the laptop, if only because I’m teaching game engines and the software is on my laptop ready to utilise. I am still holding out hope that miracast will come to the Surface RT (although knowing it not coming), but overall I don’t see myself being drawn back to the iPad.

In fact I would probably be persuaded to move onto a Surface Pro or similar tablet/laptop device.

 

Andy

PowerPoint on a Second Screen and the Surface RT [Day 96]

I love this ability on the surface…. and it has so much more for the presenter

  1. Split screen that is adjustable
    • Current Slide (forward & back)
    • Next slide preview
    • Current slide notes (inc. text size adjustment)
  1. Timer (pause/reset)
  2. Current time
  3. Pen tools
  4. Magnify
  5. Screen blanker

 

Andy

HDMI Adapter on the Surface RT [Day 95]

Having the odd HDMI cable around I did not want to splash out on another HDMI cable, so instead opted for a HDMI adapter (Micro Male to Full HDMI female) that cost less than a few pounds.

As you may well move your Surface RT about I would be careful of not snapping or bending the connector, actually a good reason why adapter may well be a good idea, wrecking a cheap adapter not a whole cable is far more bearable though.

The side of the Surface RT is angled so the adapter is not flush against the device (I wonder if a hobby drill could be used to slightly trim plastic away for a better fit?)

 

Andy

 

VGA Adapter NOT on the Surface RT [Day 92]

I was hoping to have some news on the VGA Adapter, however due to two reasons this is not going to happen:

  1. I decided to purchase a bargain (yes I did look to see that it stated Surface RT)
  2. The seller does not know his RT from his PRO

I have ordered the right adapter based on part numbers ensure it is W7S-00001 and NOT W7U-00001

Ho hum

Andy

PowerPoint (wireless) on the Surface RT [Day 91]

ppt

I gave a presentation remotely yesterday and love the functionality of PowerPoint on the Surface RT (see recent post for Wireless Connectivity). The tools accessed from the bottom right corner, ghosted, really come into their own when used on a touch screen (see above. The laser pointer allows you to move around the room and still put focus onto relevant points easily.

The downside… a protracted question and resultant answer resulted in the Surface RT going into sleep mode, effectively cutting off the wireless connectivity – in the end it would have take to long to restore the connection, so I continued with the PowerPoint on the Desktop connected to the PC. I certainly did not want to give a clipped answer to the question.

I have ordered myself the Micro HDMI to VGA Adapter and do want to revisit PowerPoint again, having seen other posts on the functionality this connection offers.

Andy