This Was “Pinterest”-ing

After learning that Jing would be easy to use and that this screencasting assignment would be simple, I set my expectations for success very high… and let myself down. It’s not that Jing is hard to use, but I did experience some technical bumps along the way that made me frustrated beyond belief.

Photo From: http://contagioussocial.net/contagious-social-podcast-ep-12-use-pinterest-marketing/

Photo From: Contagious Social

First of all, I chose Pinterest as the subject of my screencast because it is well designed and I spend a lot of time on it. I don’t love any one particular blog but Pinterest is great because its like a bulletin board that houses a collection of blog links and articles.

It took me three tries to create my screencast, two more than I had anticipated. On my first take, Jing decided that it needed to stop working in the middle of the recording and restart. At this point, I was worried that this might happen during every single take (which, luckily, wasn’t the case). On my second take, I realized afterwards that it had cut off the first few seconds of my audio even though I waited to start speaking until after the countdown. After playing with it a bit, I realized that you have to wait a few seconds after the countdown before you start speaking so that the beginning audio doesn’t get cut. The third try was a charm and I’m fairly happy with the result (though I still don’t like my voice).

I think that screencasting could be useful both personally and professionally. My grandparents are always asking me to help them with computer issues from Florida and now I can send them screencasts to help them to solve their problems. Professionally, I think that screencasting can come in handy to create presentations and to provide tutorials for new employees. Also, the creative possibilities that screencasting presents for bloggers seem to be endless!


Hip Hop and Food: A Great Combination

Once again, I came into this assignment with a little experience using Audacity from work in a previous class (actually for a blog assignment as well). However, once again, I would consider myself far from an expert in using this program. I actually had a lot of trouble remembering how to cut audio clips from files and complete other basic functions; it’s not like riding a bike. I had to look up answers to some of my questions. However, unlike when I designed the header, I tried to “dive in” and explore Audacity rather than look for a bunch of tutorials and follow their instructions verbatim. It may have taken a bit longer but I feel that I was able to take a different and valuable journey in learning.

The easiest part of creating this commercial was choosing songs to play throughout my voice over. There’s no genre of music dedicated to food, so I had some room for creativity when choosing my songs. I am an avid hip hop fan and I thought that this was a great opportunity to let my personality and interests shine through on this small part of my blog.

The Fat Boys song is reminiscent of more old school hip hop but the lyrics of their intro match the theme of my blog perfectly. The Jay Z instrumental track that plays under my voice has a fantastic beat that pumps up the energy (at least for me).

I am fairly happy with my commercial but I think that, with some more experience, I could create an even better one. First of all, I’m not too comfortable with the way my voice sounds when recorded. I think that if I practiced speaking for recording purposes, I might be able to make a more professional sounding commercial. Overall, I didn’t find this assignment nearly as painful as photo editing. This might because I had much lower expectations for the final result in this case; when I started my header, I had some pretty grand ideas about the final result and, as a novice, I wasn’t quite able to make them come true.


A Headache of a Header

Let me begin by saying that I have used Photoshop before and have a bit of experience in the world of editing. Though I am by no means an expert, I definitely did not expect that the task of creating a header using photo editing software would be so time consuming. I do not own Photoshop so I attempted to use Pixlr and found the software to be annoying. I tried and failed to get he marquee tool to work for over a half an hour before giving up and moving on to GIMP (which I already have and have tried a few times). Overall, I feel that these free photo editing programs cannot compare to the real deal of Photoshop which I guess is to be expected. However, after taking a lot of time to explore GIMP, I was able, I think, to design a header that I am quite proud of! I had a lot of fun experimenting with different color and image effects. In fact, my header background started as a trio of sprinkled cupcakes and ended up an abstract piece of artwork.

Even though designing this header created a bit of a headache for me, I am certain that this was a useful learning experience. Not only do I appreciate the robustness of Photoshop now more than even, I feel that I am more well-rounded in my knowledge of photo editing software. In everyday life, I can use my new GIMP and Pixlr skills in order to amp up school projects and assignments (and move beyond the feeble set of editing tools that Microsoft Publisher offers). I also think that photo editing skills will be, if not a necessity, a sort of bonus skill to add to and boost my resume for post-graduation job prospects.

But for now, I’m so happy this experience is over!


Second Time’s a Charm

When I heard that we were going to be using WordPress to design blogs for class, I was secretly very excited. I’m not extremely tech savvy and was nervous that we were going to be setting up websites with complex software. However, this was not the case.

Photo From: The Creative Penn

Photo From: The Creative Penn

In a class last year, I created and maintained my own WordPress blog in much the same way as we will in the class. Thus, creating the physical blog was not very challenging for me (though I’m still learning how to navigate some of the features that WordPress offers). I did not encounter any significant problems applying a theme (although I’m disappointed in the lack of choices in free themes) or setting up pages and widgets.

In my experience, the most difficult aspect of setting up this blog was deciding on a topic to blog about for an entire semester. That kind of commitment takes a lot of hard thought and decision making. This process was made harder by the fact that I don’t necessarily have one standout passion or hobby that I know I could talk about expertly for 15 weeks. For instance, I’m not obsessed with a sport, I’m not a photographer and I’m not a musician. However, after a lot of thought I realized that food is something that you don’t need expertise in to blog about; we all enjoy food without a formal background or education because it’s universal. That is how It’s All About the Food¬†came to be!

Photo From: BuzzFeed

Photo From: BuzzFeed