Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

Gaming at SCALE

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

My next two days of prep were spent by my young gaming guru currently getting his degree in video game design. Hunter Banks.

Just a bit of a delay

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Sorry everyone. I was doing my 20 days of SCALE and have had many personal obstacles over the last couple days that really set me back. I’ll catch up with a couple posts over the next couple days.

VideoLan’s VLC media player (day 2 of 20 days of SCALE)

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

For day 2 of my prep for the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) I’m going to talk about my hands down favorite media playing program. VideoLan’s VLC. Just for clarity’s sake you will sometimes see VLC/VLS. VLS used to be a server component forVLC streaming that was separate from VLC but I guess the mere awesomeness of VLC was more important and so they put VLS stuff into VLC.

I can’t stress how much I love this program because I use it for everything video and audio related and so does everyone in my house. It’s one of the first programs I install on any computer we buy. This is also due to the fact that it’s multi-platform.  You know that’s a word that I can’t get enough of that means it will run on Linux, Mac, and Windows. So, seeing as how my house has all of these systems then you’ll find VLC on all of them. Let’s go into why you or anyone else would use it.

Around 10 years ago I changed totally over to VLC when I was still at work using a desktop that was running Windows and a laptop that was running Linux. I was using Winamp on the PC and couldn’t quite settle on one for Linux. VLC came into play and soon my kids were using it as well. I worked in the audio post production industry at the time and ended up having them use it because it could play every format there was. I also met the creator of the format Ogg and FLAC (Chris Montgomery) at a SCALE back then and started becoming a big user of those formats and of course guess who supported them.

The interface is extremely easy to use but it has a TON of power under the hood if you really play with the options. Using the HTTP interface you can have a computer connected to a TV or just on it’s on and control it from another computer or useful apps on your phone (Android apps I should say because this is something I haven’t tried on iOS phones and the iPad yet). That gives you an instant no holds barred media center and I’ve used this just bringing a laptop and a video cable to someone’s house.  Doing a video presentation? I keep a copy on the usb stick on my keys with a copy of the presentation. If there’s a computer connected to the projector then I can boot to a Linux from my stick and play it or there’s a portable VLC app that runs on Windows that I keep with me to play it. This has come in handy at a couple of prom parties that I did the video for.

The bevy of ways you can use this program has given me tons of examples to use as we vlc-20-gnome3-debian.jpgeven use it to replace iTunes for listening to music. Once at a Podcaster’s convention I spoke to a crowd about how I used it to stream video to a port where my kids and even my mom from her computer a couple miles away could view it from my computer.

Since the program can also capture video from standard devices like video capture cards and webcams I have used it to convert video I fed into a video capture card to convert a VHS into a DVD and AVI file for the saving precious moments or making a video blog (although still not the greatest method).

Come out to SCALE Feb. 22-24 and find me giving the SCALE tours (Phillip Banks) or follow me on Twitter and Facebook and I’ll give you a couple other ideas from what you do everyday.

SCALE Tours at Southern California Linux Convention

Friday, January 25th, 2013

SCALE is not your grandfather’s convention so neither should the experience be. There are a lot of exhibitors to see and too many things you want to get your hands on. Our two full ballrooms of exhibits can be overwhelming to some. All our exhibitors want you to hear about their product, solution or mission and we definitely have worked hard to get the people in front of you that offer the most bang for the open source buck. The problem is that usually you might get bogged down with too much information with one and not enough with some of the others before you want to get back to all the great talks or events going on.

For that reason we have been making an exciting feature we call our SCALE tours. What we’d like to offer you is a fun filled walk through both sides of the convention that will be the best couple minutes you’ve ever had at a convention.I (Phillip Banks) will take groups on a trip that passes a lot of cool places and people and asks them to give you 2 minutes of “Absolute open source goodness.” Exhibitors have come to love the attention it brings so they come prepared with lots of goodies like tshirts, demo media and maybe a song, dance or some other random act of weirdness that you just don’t get anywhere else. The best part about the tour is that you come out of it with a snippet of what is going on and will probably have a list of exhibitors that you want to go back and talk to for more information or products you want to return and get.

Last year we added a kids tour so feel free to bring your children. SCALE has a kids track so children can come and learn scalekids.jpghow to do all kinds of cool things with their computers. After their class we take them out on the floor and it’s unbelievable how much they love all the stuff the exhibitors have that is focused on raising the next generation of techies. I vouch for it myself because my own 10 year old daughter is among the bunch and opened her bag like it was Halloween candy.

So, come on out and ask about the tours at the registration desk. If you’ve been before you already know how fun it can be.

Scale 7x on FLOSS weekly

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

I’m gearing up for the SCALE 7 conference so I was listening to some friends of mine Gareth Greenway and Shyam Kapadia on FLOSS Weekly episode 46.  Make sure to give that a listen.

Open design and the real world

Friday, April 25th, 2008

In a previous post about “Communist design” I got a weird thought about taking the opposite into consideration but in the real world. Open source vehicles, buildings, spaceships, boats, etc. People combining their thoughts for a better solutions. I found that these ideas already exist.

jsfpic.JPGMy first I’d already heard of was the Joint Strike Fighter aka JSF F-35 jet fighter. This jet fighter is a collaboration of a couple companies and countries. It’s actually a working plane that will be the next major fighter. It has stealth, virtical lift off, supersonic speed, massive firepower, and advanced computer and camera integration. In a word… COOL.

The next on our list… The OScar. Right now this car is strictly conceptual. The concept started in 1999opencar.jpg but became fully open to everyone in 2006. According to an article posted at Autoblog the Open source car actually debuted last March (2007) with it’s first concept vehicle. Looks pretty sleek and not totally the spec that is posted on the OScar website but there’s a lot of room to really make this something that could change the world.

Watching a video on TED I also was very intrigued by the open source textbook publishing company. Imagine, books that evolve quickly and are cheaper because the book can be printed and bound on demand. Our kids wouldn’t be left behind with old information because new books are in print, etc. This really would have helped out when Pluto was ruled out as real planet.

How about a music synthesizer? this video is from South by Southwest in 2006. A lady namd Limor Fried talks about her open source synthesizer and open source in the real world.

Why not collaborate on food? Yes it’s true. There is an open source cookbook and open source beer project.

So, there you have it. Those are some of the great real world applications for open source. I’m sure there are more and I would be very happy to know about them. If you are technically minded though, I also love to mention cool sites like: Makezine, Hack a Day, and Hackszine. It’s pretty much open source to me because the comments allow you to combine your ideas for a better final project.

Follow me! Follow me! I’m naked to the net.

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

Like the Pied Piper leading the mice from the village so in turn does blogging go. Everyone has the new opportunity to be able to follow the lives of other people. My life has always been an open book to most anyone that I meet, however, now it’s becoming that way to many that I don’t meet. This blog gives away my thoughts on my field to all that ask. Now, it can do the same with Twitter, blogging, microblogging, photosharing sites, and your social networking sites (i.e. Facebook and Myspace). Follow my everyday adventures and interact with me on what you think. I’ve recently forwarded my Twitter account to my instant messager so you I’m going to get more involved with my personal thoughts on Twitter. Follow me there too. Here’s my info:

Twitter: banksps

GTalk IM: banksps

AOL IM banksps1

Facebook: Look for aka my email address.

I love to hear from all my new friend on the internet and hopefully make more.

Southern California Linux Expo

Thursday, February 7th, 2008


Come one come all!

If for any reason you should find yourself in the Los Angeles please feel free to come to the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE). It will be going on from February 8th-10th, 2008 at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel (just blocks from LAX).

I’ve been helping out there since it’s creation 6 years ago and I can’t that if you’re into Linux and open source you’ll enjoy yourself. I could tell you all about it but I’m sure I’d miss something. Instead, go to this link and the official website will tell you everything.

FLOSS I have an idea

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

floss.jpgUsually this blog is to everyone but today it is a response to a kind response to a blog post I got yesterday from Randal Schwartz (the co-host of FLOSS Weekly. You can find the response and the post here. My response was too long for a comment so here it is:

I don’t usually down people for what they do because I do realize that there may be unknown factors. FLOSS is no different. If I’m wrong in my opinion I love to be shown but here’s my constructive take on this.

I definitely understand some of the problems that go into this because Leo has brought up a lot about having to edit TWIT shows and I do go to the Podcast and Portable media convention every year to talk to podcasters, and some I talk to regularly. I also spent 5 years as IT director for one of the country’s biggest audio post production companies doing audio post production for every big name media company there is. So I do understand the time it takes to edit audio as I’ve stood in for a couple editors before and edited commercials long ago. (more…)

Some real class acts

Friday, September 28th, 2007

While at the Podcast and Portable Media Expo this year I’ve got to give a quick shout out to some real class acts. First and foremost I’ve got to give my friend Roxanne Darling a hand for a great seminar today on how she makes video production easy (these pictures are from last year but I’ll take new ones tomorrow).


Then to Leo Leporte and Steve Gibson for “Security Now” getting Podcast of the year (Leo couldn’t come this year).


Also, I’ve got to give a quick applause to a very good video podcast for the children and the curious about animals. A guy named Joel Mark, of the Maryland Zoo, started a video podcast that’s 5 minutes long and about a different animal each time. It’s definitely something to look forward to as the upcoming video about camels is cute for the kids, funny, and educational. Find him at He was worried about his job because he started this without approval. However, I notice now that his link is redirected to the zoo’s site and embedded there. That must mean he’s safe.