Vertical Video Syndrome PSA

Vertical videos drive me nuts. People on their mobile phones recording videos vertically instead of horizontally the way we’re supposed to watch them. Here’s a great video explaining why you should not record video vertically.


How to remove stickers from my Mac Book lid

I recently wanted to remove the stickers from my Mac Book so I slowly pealed them off and they were gone! However, in it’s replacement was a sticky residue on the Mac Book lid. My usual technique for removing this gunk is to use Isopropyl alcohol, so I grabbed a bottle, poured some on a paper towel and cleaned it, and, it was there. After a little searching online I came across one tip and tried it. I took some WD-40, sprayed it onto a paper towel and cleaned the laptop lid and the sticky residue came right off! I was actually surprised a little by that but it worked. The lid does get a bit oily, so I would suggest taking another paper towel and cleaning it with water. (Remember water on the paper towel NOT on the laptop.) Anyway, this seemed to work great for me.

The Mac Book lid is clean and shiny ready for the next round of stickers.

If you do try it yourself, be very careful, as you don’t want to get WD-40 or water anywhere else. (And do at your own risk!)


NASA audio archive now on soundcloud

If you’re like me, you’re into anything space related, especially things from NASA. Here’s something really cool and fun that could keep you entertained for hours. NASA has recently put sound clips from their archives on SoundCloud for you all to easily listen to. It’s fantastic.

Check it out, NASA on SoundCloud and hear clips like, “Houston, we’ve had a problem”, or “It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. Of course, they also have sounds of the rockets blasting from space. Unfortunately, these aren’t as clear as you could imagine, if they had only recorded the lower frequencies correctly with higher quality mics then it would have been awesome. But check it out nevertheless.

NASA on SoundCloud


How to fix a grayed out folder on the Mac

I have a lot of data and I often find myself copying massive amounts of data from one drive to another. Sometimes during this process, a copy will go bad and will stop. For whatever reason, after I get back to the Finder on my Mac the folder I was attempting to copy is grayed out and inaccessible. It’s very annoying, especially if I’ve copied 700GB of 1.1TB as I don’t want to start the copy process all over again.

What happened? Well, your Mac knows something went wrong so it sets the date the Macintosh was first introduced, January 24, 1984.

So how do you fix the problem?

Change the date of the folder to today or something more reasonable than 1984.

I found two ways to do this after a few searches online.

The first is to use XCode which I’ve found to be the most reliable but it does require you download XCode from the App Store. If you’ve already got it installed, even better.

Run this command, choose a date

SetFile -d 29/08/2014 /Path/to/grayed-out-folder/

Now the folder should be normal and accessible. (You may need to close the Finder window navigate back to it again.)


But if you don’t want to download and XCode you can do try a few other things.

I saw online, you could try change the date by

touch -t 201408291100 /Path/to/grayed-out-folder/

This should change the date, however when I tried to do this it didn’t change the folder as it was still grayed out and inaccessible.

Another approach without XCode is to make a new folder and then move the contents of the grayed out folder into it.

Using the Terminal, go to the root location of the grayed out folder. If the grayed out folder is at /Path/to/grayed-out-folder/, then the root would be /Path/to/

cd /Path/to/
mkdir newdirectory
mv grayed-out-folder/* newdirectory/

Hopefully this saves you some time.


Using Light Leaks To Add Style To Your Films

Update: It appears is no longer in business. You can take these ideas, however and still apply them to your films.

Whether you’re creating home movies, wedding films, short films or even travel diaries, using light leaks are a great way you to give your films character and really make them stand out.

Light leaks, also known as film burns, haven’t always been a friend to filmmakers. Back in the day, light leaks were considered a pain. In old cameras, film was protected in a sealed chamber, one that light couldn’t penetrate. However, every now and again, general wear-and-tear would cause a tiny gap or hole to form in the camera body, leaking light into the chamber, exposing the film. This excess light, would create interesting flares and shapes on the image.


More recently, light leaks have become a way of giving your films a vintage look. And with the popularity of instant filters, this effect is more popular than ever.

So, how do you get these light leaks? A technique called ‘lens-wacking” is popular amongst DSLR filmmakers. It involves detaching the lens and holding it ever-so-slightly away from the camera body, allowing light to sneak onto the sensor. You can pick up and camera and try it for yourself, the results are instantaneous. With so many variables contributing to the how it looks, it’ll be very difficult to recreate that exact look again. Some people really like the spontaneity.


Some filmmakers elect to do this whole process in post production as it gives them flexibility to control the effect exactly how they want. The really great thing about this is that it doesn’t require much time at all. In fact, it’s probably faster to create this effect in post.


To do this, take any of the major non-linear editing programs that are on the market; Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas, Etc. Whether you create light leaks yourself or get them from somewhere else, your light leak will be a digital movie file that is shot on a black background. The background being completely black is the key here. Once you’ve got your light leak file, here’s what you do next:

  • Step 1. Import all your media into your editing program. This includes the light leaks you want to use.
  • Step 2. Place your selected light leak onto your timeline directly above the footage you want to enhance. You can always move it around later but it’s best to get it as close as possible.
  • Step 3. Change the blending mode. I prefer using “screen.”
  • In Final Cut Pro X you can find the blending mode in the inspector window, scroll down to the bottom and you’ll find “compositing”, select “screen” from the drop down menu. In Premiere Pro you can find the blending mode under the “effects controls” tab in your source window. For those using Final Cut Pro 6 or 7 (I know it’s hard to let go), you can change the blending mode by simply right clicking on your light leak and scrolling down to the blending mode option.
  • Step 4. That’s all it takes! Play back the footage on your timeline. Looks great right?

Those basic steps are just the tip of the iceberg. Having digital light leaks are great because you can manipulate them any way you like. Change the speed, color, opacity and even the scale. The world is your oyster!

Check out the video below to see it action:

If you’re looking for a great set of light leaks, check out There are over a 120 full HD light leaks that will definitely set your projects apart from the competition.


Security Now podcast from TWIT

sn300I listen to a lot of podcasts as primary source of media. Over the past few months I’ve been listening/watching more shows from the TWIT Network and “Security Now” has fast become my favorite.

Steve Gibson is the primary host, along with Leo Laporte,  and each week he gives in-depth technical knowledge about computer security. How are attacks taking place, what to look out for, the ins and outs of cryptography. In this week’s show, he talks about iOS security based on the Security document Apple published and calls Apple’s security “crypto heaven” – except for iCloud Keychain.  It’s a fascinating episode to listen to.

If you, like me, are interested in online and computer security, this is definitely a podcast to start viewing. Go to Security Now on Twit to check out the show.


Worlock – Sherlock meets the Doctor!

After watching a podcast interview of the Sherlock team by Apple, I heard about this “Sherlock meets the Doctor!” fan film on youtube. I watched it, and was amazed with the quality of this video. It didn’t look 100% real but it look so darn close. This is an amazing piece of fan work that anyone who is a Doctor Who and Sherlock fan should watch!


Be Real.

It’s been a crazy few months writing code but it’s finally time to unveil Be Real.

Be Real is a mobile destination where you can get help, ask questions, or share your stories with others. We all come from different walks of life where some are more fortunate than others. I believe that everyone should have the chance to have a normal life even when they’ve gone through a lot. I would love to see Be Real be a centralized place not only for those who need help but those who want to help others.

Be Real has been designed not only for webkit-based smartphones and tablets, but also for WAP feature phones.

Be You. Be True. Be Real.

To start the experience of Be Real, go to on your phone


More preference settings are needed for iMessage

iMessage is by far the best feature added to iOS 5.

I use it all the time and every single day. Before iMessage was around I rarely used text messaging because, quite frankly, I didn’t want to pay more for a highly priced text messaging plan.

Although iMessage is awesome, I do wish it had more preference settings, specifically in dealing with sending text messages when iMessage is, for some reason, unavailable.

The preferences for iMessage are bundled under Messages in the System Preference app.

iMessage by default is off, but once it’s activated the only other option is “Send as SMS” which will make the phone push a standard SMS (where regular text messaging rates apply), which is on by default.

I turn this feature off because I don’t want to use text messages, but Apple should add more granular preferences.

1. Give me an option to differentiate between US and International text messages.

This is important because there are times when I don’t mind using text messages in the US but I can wait a few minutes for iMessage to work correctly for international messaging. Allow me to “Send the iMessage when the service becomes available”.

2. Allow me send as an SMS on a per-basis situation.

The phone should attempt to deliver by iMessage but it can’t, so ask me if I want to send it via SMS or wait until iMessage is available.

These are two simple adjustments to iMessage which will really give me the control of how my messages are sent and allowing me to control my costs.

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