The Essence of File Management In A Terabyte World

May 19, 2013 by

The Essence of File Management In A Terabyte World

In a few years, I’m sure people will look back on this 2013 post and laugh–I’m struggling with file maintenance on my Mac and running out of Gigabytes and now even Terabytes. Where do we go from here? Petabytes.

The ever complex problem of file management in a digital world. From kilobyte, to megabyte, to gigabyte, to terabyte and soon, the petabyte.

The ever complex problem of file management in a digital world. From kilobyte, to megabyte, to gigabyte, to terabyte and soon, the petabyte.

While this may seem like a fairly trivial First World issue, it’s a rapidly expanding problem that computer manufacturing companies don’t seem to be addressing fast enough. Yes, Apple’s iMacs now come with a 1 TB drive, but as I’ve found in the world of HD video editing, a terabyte doesn’t last very long.  And a gigabyte? Yeah, well there are 1,000 gigabytes in a terabyte…

For those of you who don’t understand what I’m talking about, there’s a progression in the size of hard drives. Back in the late 80s, when Macs were first getting going, I remember floppy disks that had 512 kilobytes on them. That was considered a lot.  Then we progressed to megabytes. As Moore’s law was proven more and more correct and the need for more and more storage came about came the gigabyte in the late 2000s. As we’ve escalated the need to store data up to 2013 with the proliferation of HD video, expanding iTunes libraries and storage of photos in things like iPhoto and Aperture libraries, demand for space continues to grow and at a rapid rate. The thing to have now is at least a terabyte of storage.

But most computers these days aren’t coming with hard drives that have anything more than a terabyte. This MacBook Pro, bought in March of 2012, had 750 GBs on it. I’m down to about 284 GBs left and that’s freaking me out because that means I’ve used almost 500 GBs and eventually, I’m going to run out. I’ve only had this machine for 15 months!

The solution then comes with external hard drives and the Cloud.  I’ve been a user of Dropbox for some time, but when I store something in Dropbox, it also lives in the hard drive of my Mac, so if I took the 60.6 percent of the 222 GBs I have over there off my Mac, I’m only going to get back about 100 GBs. My iTunes library now is about 300 GBs. My primary Aperture photo library is almost 700 GBs.

I have two external hard drives I use regularly on my Mac now. One stores the Aperture library, the other iTunes.  I have desktop hard drives that store video, do Time Machine back ups and then a smaller drive I use for archiving.

And while the day after I just bought that new 2 TB external drive to attach to this Mac, I have only about 3.5 TBs of available space right now before I need to buy another external unit.  As funny as it may sound, that makes me squirm because I know it’s not going to last long.  Combined, I have enough storage space for about 7.75 GBs. That means I’ve used about 60 percent of available space.

Yesterday, a fellow dad blogger recommended a new Cloud storage site called Bitcasa. For either $10 a month or $99 per year, they’re offering unlimited lifetime storage space. What I am not sure about yet is if I have things here on my laptop like I do with Dropbox, am I going to be taking up disc space in both places? Meaning, if I loaded 100 GBs of space to Bitcasa and I can see access to it on my Mac, am I going to be down another 100 GBs here on the Mac, too.  And that’s where my problem lies. If I could put all 4.5 GBs of stuff I have out on Bitcasa and it not try to replicate or drain space here on the Mac, that’d be swell.

Otherwise, it’ll be time to get something more than a 2 TB hard drive before too much longer.

Next, the Petabyte — or 1,000 Terabytes. Somehow, I don’t think it’s going to take very long to get there…..

 

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The LaCie Thunderbolt 2 TB External Hard Drive Doesn’t Exist

May 18, 2013 by

The LaCie Thunderbolt 2 TB External Hard Drive Doesn’t Exist

It’s frustrating to go into one of the the five Apple Stores here in DFW and be told, “Sir, I’m sorry, you’re just ahead of our time.”

Today I wanted to finally make the leap from my Western Digital 1 TB external hard drive for my 750 GB 2012 17 inch MacBook Pro to the LaCie Thunderbolt enabled 2 TB rugged hard drive. There’s only one problem. LaCie doesn’t make a 2 TB external hard drive.

Lacie Rugged 1 TB external hard drive

Lacie Rugged 1 TB external hard drive. There needs to be at least a 2 TB or 3 TB model. Seriously.

My Situation

At present, I have a 1 TB WD external hard drive on the back of my Mac. I have the $45 hard plastic shell to protect the veneer of the Mac and instead of moving about as I do constantly with my MBP, I have my WD affixed to the back of my monitor top with Velcro. When I move about, I only have to unplug the USB 3.0 cable from the WD and from my USB port and slide my Mac into my travel bag. It works sweetly and any time I’ve had to go into a Genius Bar I always get “why didn’t I think of that?!?” smiles. Yeah, they know they’re dealing with a serious user.

So on my present 1 TB WD, I have my primary Aperture 3.0 library that’s now 698 GBs strong, AND, I have my iTunes Media Folder which is 295 GBs strong. That’s 990 GBs of just those two items and I’ve been trying to open Aperture and it’s wanting to do an update to my photo database but it’s saying I need 6.1 GBs to do that, and I only have 3.8 GBs left on the drive. So getting another 1 TB external hard drive wasn’t the answer, plus, I wanted to move to the new and supposedly faster Thunderbolt connector so I wouldn’t be taking up two of my three USB ports on the Mac.  So now you see the problem….

Which gets me back to Aldo today at the Henderson/Knox Apple Store in Dallas.

Aldo first told me I could get a USB to Thunderbolt adapter. Me: “Would it run at Thunderbolt speed?” quizzically and pretty much knowing the answer was NO! Aldo: “No.”  That doesn’t help.

He then wanted to show me the G series desktop drives. “Aldo, I’m mobile. No power cords.”

Velcro on External Hard Drives

Velcro on External Hard Drives means no inadvertent disconnections from the Mac and less to reconnect between moves.

I was insisting that at Northpark I’d seen a 2 TB LaCie hard drive. So we went to their site and well, there isn’t one.  I was thinking the 1 TB rugged unit which sells for $229 was the 2 TB version.  No, it’s still just the 1 TB.

As an aside here, my video wonk, Jamaal Jackson keeps telling me that even with the “faster speeds” mentioned for Thunderbolt, the writing speed of a Mac is still only 720 something something so he keeps telling me there’s even a misnomer in the whole Thunderbolt concept.

So reps at Lacie, I hope you’re reading this, but I NEED AT LEAST A 2 TB external hard drive and I’d like to use one you make with a Thunderbolt connection. The question I have is, is Lacie even going to make one?

Best Buy

I started off my morning at Best Buy because I figured if LaCie made the 2 TB unit I was sure I’d seen, maybe they’d have it and I wouldn’t need to drive into Dallas from Mesquite. I saw they had a WD 2 TB for $149. But see above. I didn’t want another external unit with a USB 3.0 connector.

Okay, Back to Aldo

Aldo let me think about it and I came back to the only conclusion I could make. WD won out today over LaCie because they had a 2 TB unit.  I told Aldo buying another 1 TB unit would be like buying a floppy disk at this point. That’s when he said, “You’re a head of the times, sir.” Yes, I do tend to be living there, but this seems like it would be a foregone conclusion. Or is it?

I could not help but notice at Best Buy this morning the usual wide array of external hard drives seemed thin.  What I’m wondering was if that’s because internal drives are getting bigger, 750 GBs seems standard for MBPs nowadays, or are they making space for the Thunderbolts to come in and selling out of the USB 3.0 units? Is Thunderbolt not catching on as Apple had hoped? Hmmm.

WD 2 TB USB 3.0 transfer

WD 2 TB USB 3.0 transfer now says it’s going to take 7 days to switch out 698 GBs. That’s not acceptable.

I don’t know the answer to this yet.  But I do know that if someone at Lacie would let me use a 2 TB or even 3 TB external hard drive for mobile use, I’d love to do so and even blog about how much faster it is than the USB 3.0.

Anything would be good at this point considering we’ve gone from 11 hours to at present it saying it’s going to take seven days to transfer over my Aperture library to the new WD 2 TB drive and let’s just be frank about this, that’s totally unacceptable.

And hey, Western Digital reps, if you’re reading this and you’ve got game with a 2 TB or 3 TB unit that has Thunderbolt, I’d love to hear from you, too. Your units have worked well for me for 5.5 years now and I have no reason to switch.  And today, couldn’t……

 

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The Print To eBook Conversion–A New Way To Look At ‘Books’

May 7, 2013 by

The Print To eBook Conversion–A New Way To Look At ‘Books’

At Claxton Creative here in Dallas, we’ve done a number of print to e-Book and iBooks Author-generated conversions and one thing becomes immediately clear throughout this process–the print to e-Book conversion process shouldn’t be a matter of just replacing the print copy into digitized form.  No, it should be much, much more.

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

eBook v. iBooks Author

On top of that, we take things a step further than most competitors we’ve seen online.  Yes, the EPUB formatted book can be read on many more devices than those built with iBooks Author, which only work on iPad and iPad mini.  However, the functionality of a book made with iBooks Author versus one in an EPUB 2.0.1 or even the “new” EPUB 3 format leave a world of difference in between.

We’d like to bang someone in the marketing department at Apple over the head for their lack in marketing the difference between the two. In the video below even, we’ve shown you the contrast between 3D imagery in an EPUB 3 book and that of Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya.  As we like to say, a book for iPad made with iBooks Author is like being in a museum where you’re supposed to touch everything.  Using 3D in an EPUB is like trying to play ping pong on a 1970s Atari on a black and white TV.  (Sorry Atari, but that’s pretty accurate. For clarification purposes, Atari was ahead of the time then.  EPUB 3 isn’t.)

Working With Print Authors

We often are approached by print authors who are ready to make a digital book and our first question to them is how much video do you want to add to your book?  We ask that knowing that our recommendation to them truly is going to be to make a book for iPad because the functionality, the file size, just the look is so much more alive and vivid than anything we have yet to see on a Kindle or Nook.  We have a potential client we’re trying to help understand this concept as she wants to do a series of YouTube videos and put them on a website for free. It’s our recommendation that instead they be added to a book for iPad because it will help make the book even more spectacular than what we already are talking about.

Besides, why give something away for free when there’s going to be high production costs and, more importantly, you can include it in your book for iPad and make some money back from it?!?!

Are You Wanting To Convert From Print to Digital?

If you’re ready to convert your book there are a series of questions you should be asking yourself.

  • What visuals can I add to my book to make it come alive?  This means video and still, hi-res pics.
  • Your book (for iPad) should include video. What videos could we shoot for your book to add a dimension that is presently missing?
  • What interactive charts or graphs would you like to include in your book that your printer said would cost too much to print and they didn’t want to expend the extra pages to include? We can do that on one page now, at a high resolution and they can be very cool.
  • What website pages would you like to have embedded in your book and let your readers visit without ever leaving your book?
  • If you could add digital magic to your book, what would you like to add?

If you know the answers to some or all of those questions, then we’d like to talk to you about making a book for iPad, and of course, doing an EPUB version.  Yes, more people will be able to get your book from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but the one they get off Apple’s iBookstore will be the one that will make most people’s mouth’s drop and want to know what you can do next.

Let’s talk.

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Can You Use Hype To Create A Parallax Animation For An iBook Widget?

Jan 28, 2013 by

Can You Use Hype To Create A Parallax Animation For An iBook Widget? CC Yellow Books Circle 60 by 60 TR 1

For more than a year now I’ve been working on a sister project–TheWondersExpedition.com and trying to help share some fascinating discoveries I’ve noticed in the study of amazing places around the world.

And to begin telling that story in digital book form, and also online, I’ve been in the process of building various forms of art in Photoshop and Illustrator and trying to decide whether files should be straight vector files–(I’d love to be able to do .SVG but iPad won’t support it) or go for Photoshop creations rendered out as .PNGs.

Clearly I want to be able to tell the story of multiple sites around the globe and use the continuous scrolling effect to help share the findings.  Ultimately, this will require creating some sort of parallax-looking animation that makes it look like the world is turning, day is going from day to night, and cool places are popping up into view as the world turns, along with some sort of geometric lines, trig formulas of sine and cosines, and probably a kitchen sink, too. while I’m at it.

That led me to really look at two creative tool options tonight.  After Effects or Tumult’s Hype, now available as version 1.6.0.

Can You Use Hype To Create A Parallax Animation For An iBook Widget?

The answer to me right now is–I don’t know.

What I did tonight was create a Hype file with the dimensions of 2048 px by 1536, the size of an iPad 3 screen/retina screen. Just trying to see the whole screen on a 17-inch MacBook Pro, early 2012, requires me to shrink the View down to 50 percent and to shove my timeline as far to the bottom of the screen as I can stand.  (That’s not a complaint, it’s just the way it is.)

Just for starters tonight, I went ahead and in Photoshop created a round ball designed to rotate from the center point at the bottom of the animation.  I didn’t do the math, but through a process of lines from each respective corner, then a line down the middle and then a line from the bottom center line to the top left and right corners got me a measurement of about 1555 px.  I set the ellipse tool to form a perfect circle by holding down the shift key when I created a round “globe” in a file that was 3710 px by 3710 px. This way, as the globe rotates in Hype from the center spot at the bottom, there will never be a point where the viewer won’t see either blue for the atmosphere during the day, and black for simulated night time. Mind you, I’m not worrying about anything fancy line stars and the moon right now.  I just want to get the global atmosphere spinning. (Later will come additional layers of stuff.)

Trying to create a rotating "Atmosphere" using Tumult's Hype.

Trying to create a rotating “Atmosphere” using Tumult’s Hype.

With a two-layered .PNG the file for just the atmosphere right now is 39 MBs.  HUGE!

And needless to say, when I put it in the timeline of Hype and then set it to turn 180 degrees in 20 seconds, it really made the MBP, with 8 GBs of RAM, start to creep.  At one point, I could see block pixels where there are none, as the earth’s atmosphere turned from day to night.  Not good.

So at 11:30 p.m. on a Monday night, I’m calling it a day to rethink this as I sleep.  I’m beginning to wonder if Adobe’s After Effects isn’t going to be the better place to do this, but then it is destined to become a .mov and not an interactive HTML5 widget.  So I ponder.

Anyone else done this?  Anyone?  Bueller?

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Books for iPad and iBooks Author Video

Nov 12, 2012 by

Books for Ipad Now Can Include Video

Another one of the most amazing aspect of books for iPad s the capability brought about by the iBooks Author Video widget.

In our opinion, it’s really hard to decide if 3D animations or videos are the most compelling interactive feature of this new form of book.  Really, at this point, you don’t want to publish a book for iPad without them both.  On one hand you could say leaving out one of these ingredients would be like not putting icing on a cake, but really, it’d be more like trying to make a cake and not using flour or even sugar.

From The Opening Of A Book For Ipad You Know This Is Different

In iBooks Author, a publisher has the option to open a book with a video. The video is actually embedded in the opening trigger mechanism of the book and starts immediately. For Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya, we even added TA-DA music for when the video cues up just to add to the surprise of someone not expecting it.

To play on iPad, videos within the book are specially formatted. In our 2012 book, that allowed for us to add as much as two hours worth of clips from 15 Maya scholars all adding to the value of the book in ways that words and pictures are not able.

Because of the Retina Screen, videos can be HD, but we found saving them at a lower bit rate makes the file size smaller and even on a Retina Screen, you really can’t tell the difference.

iBooks 3 Update

With the iBooks 3 update from October 2012, in the iBooks 3 app, controls have been added for video navigation for the opening video clip. This was a good update as the only way to get back to the beginning of the opening clip before was to either let it finish playing and start over, or exit the book in iBooks 2, then reopen it.  It was a pain and we heard complaints.

Having video in books for iPad shows that Apple has recognized that in our ever-increasingly visually oriented world, video in books is not only logical but also necessary and preferred.

Done right, readers can get more out of their books if they have video references to use.

Thinking Different

The inclusion of videos in a book for iPad requires a different thinking process in writing a digital book.

Before books for iPad, an author would have to focus on telling their story or providing all their information within the text of a book. Now, it’s necessary to understand a little about video production, visual locations, backdrops, ambient noise, lighting and more. And while an author can do these things on their own, this is why a publishing/production company like ours can save time and money, and ensure the product looks as professional as possible.

Ready To Submit Your Manuscript?

We are a publisher of books for iPad in Dallas, Texas, USA. But we can make these books for anyone in any country on the planet. If you’re ready to submit a manuscript for production, please go to the form link above and submit your book today. Yes, you can try to do this yourself, but we look at it like this.  With changes in software, most people now can get access to software like Photoshop, too, but you know what?  That doesn’t mean what’s going to get produced is going to be expert quality.

That’s what we provide at Claxton Creative.  We’ve done several of these books for iPad now, and we’ve worked with the traditional book publishing world.  Add to that our experience in video and audio production, graphics and now 3D animation.

Working with us frees up the opportunity for you as the author to concentrate on telling your story in a new way, and we work on the nitty gritty details and technical aspects.  Trust us, that’s a lot to figure out.

 

 

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Books for iPad–iBooks Author 3D Animations

Nov 9, 2012 by

iBooks Author 3D animations set books for the iPad apart from every other kind of book that ever has been made.  That’s not an exaggeration or a snazzy marketing claim.  It’s fact.

books for iPad--iBooks Author 3D Animations

Donny Claxton explains the latest in books for iPad–iBooks Author 3D Animations.

Books for the iPad, and the newly released iPad mini,  include iBooks Author 3D animations, videos, multi-touch interactive images, puzzles, study guide notecards and now, with the release of the iBooks 3 app—social media. All those things are cool.

Today’s post, however, is focused on iBooks Author 3D animations.

Welcome To The Museum Where You Touch EVERYTHING!

In short, you can’t do 3D animations in the eBooks format used by competitors of the iPad. Most don’t have the memory for it and they don’t have the technical capabilities.

The 3D animations in Claxton Creative-published books make reading one of our books like going to a museum where you are required to touch everything. They are absolutely the coolest part about books for iPad and the video below helps show you why.  With our recently released, “What Apple Isn’t Saying About Books For iPad,” (Available via free download) our goal is to help educate the public, parents, teachers, administrators, even corporate managers who are looking to improve their maintenance manuals and training materials, about how amazing this new form of book, really is.

One great example is in one of our published works. The 3D animations of Maya and Aztec artifacts in Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya set it apart from any other book ever made or written on the subject. It’s available on the iBookstore and selling well.

3D Animations–Where The “Magic” Happens

With 3D animations in books for iPad, this is where the true, jaw-dropping magic happens. We have been working with working with some incredible 3D developers here in Dallas and if you want to do a book that includes these cool animations, we’d be happy to work with you.

If you want to highlight an object in a book and have it rotate and allow users to pinch it or enlarge it, our 3D animations are the best thing that’s ever been invented for such.

Watch the video below.  If you have a book you’d like to submit for publishing, we’d be happy to set up an introductory conference call and begin the process.

If you have an iPad and haven’t checked out books for iPad in iBooks 3 yet, we encourage you do to so.

And if you haven’t downloaded our free book for iPad, “What Apple Isn’t Saying About Books For iPad,” there’s no time like the present! (Downloading the book takes time and you’ll need to do it over WiFi.  Also must be running at least iOS 5.o and have minimum of iBooks 2.0 on your iPad. It will not download to an iPhone.)

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