Jay Thrash

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Telling Stories About Screens for Screens →

One of the most challenging aspects of making videos for a software company is that your subject—the software you are trying to sell, market, explain—already exists on a screen. You are making a story about a screen for a screen in other words. It already sounds unappealing.

Getting your app to stand out in the App Store can be quite a challenge. A common trait you’ll find among the more popular apps is that they leverage promotional videos as a medium to convey not only that their app exists, but they also tell a compelling story explaining the problems they solve for the user.

However, simply pointing a camera at a screen and yelling “action” is a recipe for failure. Matthew Latkiewicz has assembled a pretty thorough survey of popular techniques, along with their pros and cons, used when creating videos to showcase software.

Speaking.io →

Zach Holman:

Public speaking is tough. Be it at a conference, or during a company meeting, or in your car trying to persuade the cop not to ticket you for going three times the speed limit while streaming an episode of The Maury Povich Show on your iPad, talking in front of other people can be an intimidating experience.

At Speaking.io, Zach as collected some of the best information I’ve seen on planning, preparing, and delivering a public presentation. Whether you’re presenting to hundreds at a conference, a small local user’s group, or to your team at work, you’ll certainly improve your chances at success by following the advice of someone who’s done his fair share of talks.

Making GIFs MOV(e) in Keynote

When I need to highlight an application workflow in a Keynote presentation, I prefer to include a short screen recording of the workflow rather than break out of Keynote and perform the task live. Additionally, I’ve found it useful to convert those screen captures into animated GIFs1 which drastically reduces the file size and makes them easier to share across platforms and devices.

However, if you attempt to include those animated GIFs in a Keynote presentation, you’ll quickly discover that it will only display the first frame of the GIF file, not the entire series of frames. Luckily, there’s a dead simple workaround to get your animations going again:

  1. Duplicate the GIF file
  2. Change the file extension on the copy from GIF to MOV
  3. Drag the MOV file into Keynote

Now, Keynote will treat the file as a movie. You can control the playback properties via the Movie Inspector pane as you would if it were a QuickTime file.

  1. My current tool of choice for this task is GIF Brewery


Mattt Thompson:

In terms of open source participation, releasing code is only one aspect—and arguably not even the most important one. Developing an open source project requires equal parts engineering, product design, communication, and community management. But the true deciding factor for whether an open source project succeeds is stewardship.

The Internet is rife with Open Source projects that launched with great enthusiasm, but were left to wither on the vine. In another great NSHipster article, Mattt (yes, that’s the correct spelling!) explains how the role of stewardship is the vital component of creating a successful open source project.

Site Reboot

Another year, another blogging engine. For 2014, I’ve decided to set Octopress aside and experiment with Jekyll instead. Similar to Octopress, Jekyll is a static site generator but it appears to be more actively maintained than Octopress.

I also took this opportunity to create a Talks page which consolidates the slides and recordings for the presentations I’ve given at development conferences and CocoaHead meetups over the past few years.

Speaking at 360iDev

I’m extremely happy to announce that I’ve been invited to speak at the 360iDev Developers Conference this fall in Denver! This will be my third time attending this conference since 2009, and will mark my first time attending as a speaker.

If you’re thinking of going, I recommend grabbing a ticket soon because it’s sold out the last four years running!

Sounds Delicious #3: Picture Perfect

In this episode, I’m joined by Ashely Rodriguez of Not Without Salt, an absolutely gorgeous website where she expertly combines three of my favorite subjects: food, family and photography.

Ashley and I discuss the importance of creativity in the kitchen, her food photography techniques, some great sources of inspiration for developing recipes, and finding joy in cooking for your family.

Sounds Delicious #2: Smoke Signals

In this episode, I’m joined by Shawn Blanc, a full time technology blogger and barbecue enthusiast who currently resides in Kansas City; a city renowned for it’s unique form of barbecue.

Shawn and I cover the fundamentals of great smoked barbecue, how to hack your own smoker, and uncover the mystery that is “burnt ends”.

Outside My Comfort Zone

Public speaking is an area that I’ve always considered myself to be a bit lacking. I’ve never taken one of those personality tests, but I’m pretty confident that I’d land on the mildly introverted side of the spectrum. Left to my own devices, I can very easily spend an entire workday without interacting with anyone verbally.

In an effort to break out of this self-built shell, I’ve been forcing myself to step outside my comfort zone and participate in several speaking engagements over the past year. Among these included a few presentations at my local CocoaHeads chapter and multiple guest appearances with Jim Metzendorf on The Comic Shack podcast. And even though I still haven’t quite conquered the pre-flight jitters I feel before each of these talks, once they’re over I’m always happy I participated and contributed.

An unintended side effect of these speaking engagements is that they’ve lead to some additional opportunities and projects I never would have considered a year ago. I’m very happy to announce two upcoming projects I’m extremely excited about:

  • I’ve have accepted an invitation to be a speaker at CocoaConf in Raleigh where I’ll be presenting along with some amazing featured speakers like Bill Dudney, Aaron Hillegass, and Daniel Steinberg.
  • Last week, I launched my own podcast, Sounds Delicious!, which will be a weekly interview show where we explore the topics relevant to the home cook and moving beyond the boundaries of the everyday cookbook.

Am I nervous about being listed alongside some of the most well know Apple developers in the industry? You bet.

Do I realize that despite being pretty accomplished in the kitchen, I’m a complete newbie when it comes to producing a podcast? Absolutely.

It’s still not easy for me to completely ignore all my lizard brain reservations, but thanks to a conversation I had with a very smart Mann, I realized I don’t have to. By setting them aside, ever so briefly, some pretty amazing things can happen.