Bill Weye

Tag: video (page 1 of 3)

Our pals in Scotland are still part of the United Kingdom this morning (good thing? bad thing? who knows?!). In recognition, let’s look at some Scottish insults and slang!

Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, Bleeding Edge, is out. Because Pynchon’s a literary rockstar dude, I’m guessing people are afraid to say no to him. This book trailer is the result of that fear.

When professors go wild! Cell phone edition

There seems to be an Web meme of capturing video of professors going crazy in live classes. Because more and more classes are video taped and posted online, more of these videos are surfacing.

For your entertainment pleasure, and a holiday treat, I present a selection of my favorite professors going wild when cell phones ring in their classes. Hey, you can’t get this stuff in online education!

If you’re cell phone rings in class, think twice about answering it.

Photo by hillary h and republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Future of the textbook

I saw an interesting presentation by the co-founders of, Beth Harris and Steven Zucker, sponsored by UMassOnline on October 1 (more, detailed info). is a project to create a Creative Commons based, online art history text book (Harris and Zucker are art history professors). You can watch the video of their presentation below.

I have two takeaways from the presentation. First, about the technology I used to record the video, the new iPod Touch. I was able to record 40 plus minutes of high definition video (720p) with decent audio and video quality, which took almost no effort. It’s not professional broadcast quality, but given the circumstances — like the lights being turned down — the video came out well. Our instructors should think about using this or similar easy video technology to create content for their courses.

The second takeaway from the talk is also video related. The folks at are using video in some interesting ways, including using Second Life to take virtual tours and do commentary about the Sistine Chapel. Other videos feature Harris and Zucker standing in front of a piece of art and having a conversation about it (not in Second Life), like this conversation they had while in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Hey, instructors, you too can do this! Making quick field videos with commentary, no matter what you study, is entirely possible. I can picture biologists, economists, historians, and zoologists taking their $150 video cameras into the field and creating brief commentaries that can bring students into your world.

Anyhow, enjoy the presentation from the fine folks at

Photo by Old Shoe Woman and republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Troubleshooting Java problems on a Mac

Mac users, just like Windows users, have issues with Java sometimes. Here’s a screencast that explains how you can begin the troubleshooting process before calling the friendly support person.

For users of Blackboard the most common problems seem to revolve around Java, so if you first clear your cache, delete the security certificate, restart your browser, and log back into Blackboard, that might solve your issue. If it doesn’t, then your efforts will give you a head start in the troubleshooting process.

Photo by cesarastudillo and republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Creating quick watermarks in iMovie ’09

You can find a lot of tutorials on how to create watermarks in iMovie ’09. Most of the tutorials require you to use an alpha image (transparency) like a png or gif file. My method is quick and easy, and doesn’t require creating an image.

Watch how you can create a quick watermark for your video in iMovie ’09:

Tax resistance in Western Massachusetts [VIDEO]

In 1992 I made this 30 minute documentary about federal tax resisters in Western Massachusetts. The event precipitating the video was the arrest for nonpayment of taxes by US Marshals and IRS agents of Randy Kehler on December 3, 1991. Kehler, his wife Betsy Corner and daughter, had been living in their house since 1989 when the IRS seized it.

Path of Greatest Resistance: tax resistance in Western Massachusetts,  tries to understand the motivations of a variety of tax resisters that lived in Western Mass. along with Kehler and Corner. In addition to Kehler, featured in the video are Andrea Ayvazian, Wally Nelson, Brayton Shanley, among others.

Looking back at the video, it holds up pretty well (only the first 4 minutes make me cringe). Of course the quality isn’t up to today’s digital standards, but I think the story is still a compelling one. There are some interviews where the video is dark. Believe it or not, at the time both the Shanley’s and Wally Nelson were homesteaders — that is, they were living without electricity, so our recording was done with battery power and no extra lights.

The video is from a VHS transfer, pre-digital recording or editing. I’ve remastered the audio and created new title and credit sequences. Otherwise, the video is as it was in 1992.

Emily Harding-Morick was my primary collaborator on this project, and deserves much credit for helping me make the documentary a reality.

Don’t drink craft beer in a catatonic state

What’s the point of drinking a beer that tastes like water steeped with recycled copy paper and lemon? Beer should have a flavor profile that makes you ponder its origins, and daydream about the cool people who crafted it. If you can’t picture in your mind real people crafting that beverage, then you’re probably drinking the wrong beer.

I just finished watching the documentary Beer Wars (a good blog that’s always updated with various beer news), a movie about the battle between small brewers in the United States and the (now) worldwide conglomerates. Right now 3 companies brew 80+ percent of all the beer in the world. If you’re a beer drinker, think about that: it’s almost hard to find beer not brewed from one of these 3 companies: AB InBev (Belgium), Heineken (Holland/Netherlands), SAB Miller (London & South Africa).

Over the past few years I’ve been drinking at one of the best beer bars in the United States, The Moan and Dove. There are many things that make the Moan great, but at the top of the list is that Jason (the owner) and his crew love good beer. That’s the philosophy of the Moan: find great beer and serve it fresh. That sounds simple, but it’s not. You have to convince a customer base that paying $9 for De Ranke XX on draught with straight CO2 gas is more satisfying than paying $3 for a Bud draught.

If you don’t know where to find great beer in your locale, check this directory out at Beer Advocate. I suggest first going to a good beer bar and asking questions. Taste a few different beers. Taste them. Enjoy the beer, because it’s not a race to fill your gut. You deserve to have beer that was made with care and that actually tastes like something.

Preview of Beer Wars


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