Thursday, December 31, 2009

Video mania

Video Editing
3 weeks ago I bought a camcorder (JVC Everio HD300) and have used it to film family time around christmas. The supplied software is not too bad (and worked only after I installed a new H.264 codec) but has no provisions to edit a film. But this is badly necessary - nobody wants to watch a series of unedited video scenes.
Finding suitable software was harder than expected. Windows Live Movie Maker looks nice, but doesnt seem to support the AVCHD format which is used by this camera, at least not on Vista.
AVS Editor looked promising but I didnt like their pricing model. You either pay $39 for one year or $59 for unlimitedd usage. And it wasnt so easy to use either.
Trying Adobe Premiere Elements was a complete waste of time and bandwidth. I had been warned by several very negative Amazon reviews and found them to be so true: first crash after 60 seconds.
Corel Video Studio X2 Pro does whatever I wanted and most of the time in a pretty intuitive way. But even when I could not figure out how to do certain tasks, I quickly found the solution in the user guide. So I went for it and am pretty happy with it.
Be careful where and how to buy it. The download version at the Corel site doesnt seem to be the cheapest. And as a german customer you can save some money when you use a US address: 60 $ instead of 60 EUR.
Converting for iphone
Converting videos into an iphone-compatible format always was sort of painful. SUPER does a pretty good job, but videos often were distorted because SUPER had stretched the picture to fill the complete iphone screen.
Handbrake is just what I need. It comes from the Mac world, and it shows: Handbrake is extremely easy to use. Only the batch mode looks something like an afterthought: I needed to look up the help to find out how to use it. But otherwise Handbrake is just perfect: it produces great iphone videos with a minimum of effort. Highly recommended!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Samsung sucks!

No wonder Samsungs products are so popular: they offer good quality and innovative features for a really nice price.
But beware if you need Samsung to repair your defective device, at least in Germany. Be prepared not to see it back for months. As reported in the german computer magazine c't (in issue 18/2009, listen to it here), it can take 5 months - and maybe even longer, if you don't use some heavy pressure.

Compared to that I was lucky - it took only 7 weeks until I got my T220HD monitor / TV set back.

Worst thing is that Samsung is not able to correctly track the status of their repair orders. This can lead as far as in the c't case that the device is actually lost. And they have been struggling for months now, just listen to this c't report from March 2009 here (in german). And if that's not enough to convice you, some more stories here (in german).

So better keep away from Samsung if you are not willing to kiss your device good bye for a few months.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Martin Schumann's next concerts

My brother Martin Schumann will perform chamber music in the beautiful Wassermühle in Holm on August 29 and 30. Seat reservation is recommended as these concerts are always very popular!

Einladung 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Review: The Art of Letting Go

"Die Kunst, loszulassen" has very few highlights and some good articles but overall is a disappointment, as you can read (in german) here.
There also is an english version and a website.
One of the things which disappointed me was that there was is no appropriate web counterpart to the book. Only one article of the book is available online, and there is obviously no active community there.
But Willms Buhse, one of the editors of "The Art of Letting Go" is going for a radical change with his new book "Wenn Anzugträger auf Kapuzenpullis treffen". This is a complete collaborative approach, looks very promising. Check out his website!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A living legend

Many of my readers will not remember the great old days of BYTE magazine. It was that definitive ressource for the PC enthusiast, it had tons of reviews, deep insights, adverts which made us germans dream...and it had that column which I always read first: Computing at Chaos Manor, written by Jerry Pournelle.
Probably Jerry can claim having written the first blog, and it was this informal and interesting style, written not from a pedestal but from a peer-to-peer view, which made it so interesting.
And of course it was his "reviews": Jerry got all sorts of equipment into his house (which must have been stuffed with all these gadgets), and he used them and wrote about his experiences. A "recommended" by Jerry was more worth than any in-depth review, even if it came from BYTE.
All this seemed so long ago that I feared I would have the write this blog post as an obituary, but I was happy to find that Jerry Pournelle is still very active and writes his columns regularly.
Here are some links:

Monday, July 6, 2009


Chris Anderson wrote an excellent article how scarcity is replaced by abundance. And he lives what he preaches: his new book "Free: the future of a radical price" can be downloaded as an audiobook for free from here.
Even better: the full text and the audiobook in the full version (free) and an abridged version (not free!) are here.
If you are like me an iPhone/Touch/Pod addict, you will want to hear this as an audiobook and not just as a collection of MP3s. I Used "Mp3 to iPod Audio Book Converter" to convert the MP3s into an audiobook. It's free (of course) and does this job very easily. Recommended!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The way towards internal Enterprise 2.0

Just found an excellent presentation. Here's what I found most important:
  • Don't replace Knowledge Management by a Wiki - it wont work. People need the right audience to share their knowledge.
  • Integrate social network tools into the day-by-day work of the people, so that it makes their work easier.
  • Culture can't be changed, only influenced.
  • Think big, start small. Make you sure you know where you want to go, but don't expect you can plan your way. It will take experimentation and constant learning.
  • Crisis time is innovation time.
Have a look for yourself, it's worth the time!

First part:
Second part:

Third part: