China, Here I Come

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, or you are “friendly” with me on Facebook, you would know that a truly amazing event in my life is rapidly approaching. If you don’t know, here’s the big news: I will be traveling to China from June 3rd until the 14th with my high school, as part of a school music tour.

Technically, the trip is just ten days long, but my group (there are two of them) will be laying over in Hong Kong along the way, providing an extra few hours of excitement. This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I surely would like to savor every moment of the trip.

Obviously, while I’m on the road, my communication options will be somewhat restricted, but I’ll definitely work on sharing the experience and remaining open for contact.

  • Blogging: I will be bringing my PowerBook G4 along for the trip, and there will be internet access at the hotel we are staying at. If I can find free WiFi around the area, I will surely use it, but the internet access in the hotel room isn’t free, so some of my friends will chip in a bit for the cost of the in-room connection (and I’ll gladly let them use of my laptop in return). Hopefully, this arrangement will work out, and I will attempt to blog while I’m in China. In addition, we have a school blog that we will try to update daily with photos, and perhaps video.
  • Video: Being that I am a Qik employee, it makes sense that I should be broadcasting live video from my cell phone, but the only problem that would prevent streaming in China is the difficulty in obtaining a Chinese SIM card with a data plan. I have reached out to some Chinese Qik users, to see how they use Qik in China, and I found out that you have to be a legal Chinese resident in order to get a SIM card with the appropriate subscription. Luckily, my Nokia N95 (the phone that does the magical streaming work) has WiFi, which provides one more possible communications venue. Robert Scoble says that all Qikking at DAVOS and similar international conferences was done over WiFi, which is several orders of magnitude easier than obtaining a SIM card from a Chinese carrier. (BTW, you can view my live stream on either the Live section of this blog, or on my Qik profile page.)
    I am debating whether to take my MiniDV camera to take good video footage, but since my PowerBook doesn’t have a built-in web cam, I will bring along my iSight (the original FireWire version). An idea is to do a nightly video journal, where I’d record a clip every evening detailing my experiences, and then post to the web if there is enough bandwidth. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Photos: I am still debating on whether or not I will bring my Kodak DC4800 to China. I have heard a lot that people get robbed of technology in China. (Fortunately, my hotel room will be equipped with a safe, and, needless to say, I’ll be making good use of it). If I do decide to take my Kodak camera, I will post my photos to Flickr. My N95 also has a 5 megapixel camera built in, so in theory, I could use the phone to photograph the trip. However, the camera functions on the N95 are particularly slow, which would severely impact the frequency of picture taking.
  • Twitter: When I do get an internet connection, I will be Twittering. Seeing that I am “addicted” to Twitter, it would be very hard to not Twitter for more then a few days. One solution for tweeting on the go would involve Chris Thomson’s experiment, which I did consider, but dropped because of the complexity.
  • Email: I will be checking email (the frequency will depend on the connection situation), so if you do need to contact me, the best way is to use the Contact page on this site, or email me directly.

To put it in simple words, this is going to be an awesome trip! Expect to see blog posts and photos on my Flickr photostream that detail the entire experience. Beijing, China – here I come!

Disclosure: The thoughts mentioned in this blog post regarding Qik are of my personal opinion and do not represent the business practices of Qik, Inc., or any of its employees or management, or those of its subsidiaries.

One Year of Podcasting, One Year of Connecting

On April 5th, 2007, Apple Universe was born. It was an idea that came to my head mainly because of Leo Laporte and his network of podcasts, TWiT, and also because of Douglas Bell. Douglas has a podcast called PreviewCast, which he recorded and edited an episode of live at my high school. I saw the work behind the scenes of podcasting, and wanted to start.

Now, one year later, Apple Universe is going strong. One hundred fifteen episodes have been released, and many more will be coming. I wanted to commemorate the first anniversary of Apple Universe. I also want to thank everyone who has ever helped Apple Universe. Your help is very appreciated. To all my listeners, thank you for listening, and helping make this such a good podcast. Thank you Robert Scoble who took me from a nobody, a random high school student, into a somebody, almost a celebrity of my demographic.

Thank you,
Daniel Brusilovsky

One Year of Blogging, One Year of Learning

On March 25th, 2007, Daniel’s Blog was created on WordPress.com. Much like the birth of my podcast, Apple Universe, this was meant to be at first an experiment. Robert Scoble inspired me to start blogging, and has since inspired me to publish new media, and go out and do the unexpected. Robert Scoble is not only an inspirational person in my life; he’s someone I really look up to. His work is extraordinary. Personally I don’t care that people hate his constant Twitter updates, but I like them.

Let’s fast-forward back to the present, about one year later. Danielbru.com thrives upon its own domain and hosting (free from the somewhat tight shackles of WordPress.com). Like in the case of Apple Universe, I’d to thank Robert Scoble so much for inspiring me to start blogging. If it wasn’t for Robert, you wouldn’t have known about me. Thank you to everyone who has ever read articles on or helped produce this blog.

Thank you everyone,
Daniel Brusilovsky

Time for a New Look

As anybody who visited the site recently can tell, DanielBru.com has gotten a new face, almost top to bottom. Previously, I was using the GlossyBlue theme designed by N.Design Studio, but now the blog is showing off the WP-Premium 1.0 by R.Bhavesh.

For the record, I did not work on customizing this theme alone. The awesome Matt Pippen, of Teen Media Productions, helped me along the way with CSS and PHP, and making the theme fit into the blog just beautifully.

But we’re not doen yet. Community, you’re involved in this too. Do you like the theme? Do you think that there’s anything else we can work on to make the blog look even better? Let me know by leaving a comment below, or through the contact form.

WordPress 2.5

WordPress is about to release version 2.5 into the wild (It just hit Release Candidate on the 17th). If youโ€™ve been using WordPress.com or have peeked at the demo site you will know the biggest change coming to WordPress with this release.

My Beginnings in Blogging with WordPress

My original blog started at WordPress.com in April 2007, and I recently switched to my own self-hosted WordPress install in December 2007. With the re-launch of Apple Universe in February, I needed to get much more familiar with the platform, hence the switch.

At first, I was amazed at all the features like plug-ins, and user-installable themes. In my search for themes, I happened across iTheme, but at that point I didn’t know that Matthew Heidenreich would design an amazing theme for me. Once he was done, however, I was really blown away by his work.

WordPress 2.5 – Dashboard Design Refresh

Daniel Brusilovsky โ€บ Dashboard โ€” WordPress

Although older releases of WordPress were easy to use, WordPress 2.5 brings a fully refreshed administration system that makes things easier to understand than before. The “Publish Status” option is now prominently displayed at the very top of the right-hand sidebar. (Editor’s note: As I’m working through this post, I’m apppreciating the intelligent relocation of features more and more by the minute.)

The result is a new way of interacting with WordPress that will remain familiar to seasoned users while improving the experience for everyone.

Daniel Brusilovsky โ€บ Dashboard โ€” WordPress

The main tabs are functionally similar to older versions: on the left-hand side there are the Write, Manage, Design, and Comments links, (and, in my WP install, podPress), and on the right-hand side reside Settings, Plugins, and Users. However, links are now managed and created under the Manage tab, an alteration that brings back memories of the 2.0.x series releases.

The first major change that I noticed was the orange banner across the page, with a new super-emphasized “Write a New Post” button (and, directly adjacent to that button is one for creating a new page). Isn’t that the point of blogging? Generally, the first thought that comes to mind when I browsing to the Dashboard is writing a new post, and with WP 2.5 RC1, it’s clear that the WordPress team is aiming for this thought process. Blogging is the main objective; everything else merely enhances the experience.

Visual Editor Improvements

The WYSIWYG visual editor, a long time bane of many users existence, has been upgraded with support for TinyMCE 3. It includes a Full Screen mode for those that donโ€™t like to be distracted when writing. I cannot speak a lot about this upgrade, as I donโ€™t use WordPressโ€™ visual editor, but the blogosphere has agreed that it’s a vast improvement over previous versions.

WordPress 2.5 RC1 is available for download. For a more in-depth review of the new features, Matt Mullenweg published a post on the WordPress Blog, and Aaron Brazell has an amazing outline of the new features, which inspired me to write up this article regarding WordPress 2.5.

Behringer HA400 Headphone Amp

Recently, I received a package in the mail from BSW USA, totally expectedly. As usual, I am very grateful for what was in the this package. But before I reveal the contents of the parcel, let me give you a little background on why the item in the package is of particular use to me.

Obviously, there were many things that I learned after holding the Apple Universe LIVE at Macworld 2008 event that I organized. The main lesson is that I need a bigger mixer, but right now that’s beside the point (and mixers are rather expensive). The matter being emphasized here is that guests at events like mine need to monitor themselves, usually through headphones. Monitoring helps speakers feel more confident about how they are speaking into the microphones (or, for example, singing, at a concert), which results in much better recordings. The problem: My mixer (Alesis MultiMix 8 USB) only has one headphone jack, so only one person (usually me ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) can monitor the mix at a time.

The solution: The Behringer HA400 Headphone Amp that I got from BSW. This small device is basically a pro-quality version of those headphone Y-splitters that everyone uses with their iPods. The headphone amp connects to one of the outputs of my mixer, and four sets of headphones connect to the deck-sized box. This way, if possible interviewees live close by, they could come to my “studio” and record here, and both provide and receive high quality audio, instead of burning bandwidth on Skype (of course, we can blame ComCast for that).

Another package will be coming later this week, with a lots more fun goodies and gadgets. All of this new gear is proudly donated, so thank you very much donars!

~Daniel

Video: STS-123 Shuttle Launch

One of my greatest friends, and one of the smartest people I have met in technology is Ben Higginbotham. Ben not only knows a lot of technology, and how things work, but about astronomy. Ben has been a huge fan of astronomy ever since I have met him.

Ben worked very hard on this hobby, and I felt that his work is well worth sharing with everyone. Ben live streamed on UStream.tv the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavor! Here is the clip from Ben’s stream:

http://ustream.tv/rqyzo0QgnMfsMyUP0gNj8g.usv

Ben has a blog up for his space podcast, called SpaceVidCast. Check it out!

Twitter Updates for 2008-02-18

  • @DonMcAllister: Thanks a lot Don! There are a lot more changes to come ๐Ÿ™‚ #
  • Done! http://www.appleuniversepodcast.com/ #
  • Typical Mac User Podcast @ http://www.talkshoe.com #
  • On phone with PayPal… #
  • PayPal support is stupid #
  • New Blog Post: http://tinyurl.com/2jaavj #
  • @gdrage: you still there? #
  • @gdrage: whats your AIM? #
  • @SpencerC: yes… #
  • @SpencerC: one sec…let my reply #
  • @dsifry: I also think so… #
  • Opening iChat…bye bye Adium #
  • Shower… #
  • @Scobleizer: Over here….why do you keep on copying Facebook? #
  • Taking the laptop, and going to bed….good night from the PowerMac G5! #
  • Going to work #
  • At the office…replying to TONS of emails ๐Ÿ™‚ #
  • My sister doesn’t like the fact that I don’t have school today…but I like it ๐Ÿ™‚ I am at the Qik office, baby! #
  • I might be getting a new Mac soon….very soon #
  • @macmaniapodcast" that is for me to know, and for you to find out soon #
  • @jonathandavies: I know what I might be getting, but its up to one person #
  • @David_Ford: haha…a no ๐Ÿ˜› #
  • I’m streaming live right now, come chat! http://qik.com/video/9041 #
  • I’m streaming live right now, come chat! http://qik.com/video/9042 #
  • @SpencerC: : what? #
  • I am adding 1GB of Ram to the PowerBook G4….yay ๐Ÿ™‚ #
  • @SpencerC: maybe #
  • @Chris24: I wonder who gave you that…. ๐Ÿ˜› #
  • @CaliLewis: You are a super star ๐Ÿ™‚ #
  • Going to lunch with the team… #
  • Back from lunch… #
  • Video editing with @shooby #
  • @michaelper22: I can’t comment on that…..yet #
  • Trying to run GarageBand on my Mac…ya right! #
  • @stuhelm: oh ya….I need one really badly #
  • @michaelper22: dont’ worry about it now #
  • Conference Call in 5 min #
  • @: sure thing #
  • @SpencerC: sure thing ๐Ÿ™‚ #
  • @Chris24: phew…thank god ๐Ÿ™‚ Have fun with it #
  • @guitarplayr82: sure thing ๐Ÿ™‚ #
  • @Chris24: Enjoying Frenzic? #
  • @Chris24: No problem…blog about it and say where you got it from ๐Ÿ™‚ #
  • @superic: thats where we went during MacWorld! #
  • Going to circut city…buying a Mini DV camera… #
  • @David_Ford: no….for Qik #
  • @patphelan: awesome! We should meet up! #