All posts by Len Thou

Len is a full time college student who enjoys creative writing, photography, and from time to time boxing. He is an ongoing contributor and publisher to the site. His motto is simply, "Hard Work."

Is Apples Thunderbolt Display Still Worth It?

When it comes to the Mac computing, it has almost become a fashion statement to stay linear with your devices. You own a Macbook? Youre likely to own an iPhone. But is Apples Thunderbolt display any different? В Coming at a thousand dollars, people question whether or not this display is worth it or if they should go with another. Especially considering the Thunderbolt display is vastly similar to their predecessor the Apple Cinema Display. I have used the Thunderbolt display for about a week and I have a ton of positive thoughts, as well as some negative ones. Lets get to it!

Continue reading Is Apples Thunderbolt Display Still Worth It?

Samsung Chromebook: In Depth Full Review

Hello, my fellow techВ savvyВ friends! It is a wonderful day out, and there is nothing better to compliment the sunshine than to have a new laptop, if I may, accompany you. I was, once again, looking for a budget portable that would do three task: Browse the web, type word documents, and play some tunes while doing so. Well, the Chromebook does all of that and more in a different manner. This review may be outdated because there are a ton of reviews out already, but seeing how I just picked up this convincingly priced machine, I thought I would share my opinions anyways.

Continue reading Samsung Chromebook: In Depth Full Review

An Alternative Movie Player For The iPhone: Goodplayer App Review

Goodplayer

I know everyone hates the idea of having to convert videos into the iPhone. Its time consuming and the end product isnt always flawless. From time to time your converted videos end up pixelated or even more bothersome: out of sync audio. So instead you look for an alternative means of viewing videos on the iPhone. I own the 64gb iPhone 4s so of course I had intensions in throwing tons of videos into it.В  Which in the end became a downside for me because the iPhone would only accept MP4, H.264 and motion JPEG. Needless to say, only about one tenth of my library was actually supported by the iPhone. I decided to look for a few alternatives and I remember having the VLC player app for my iPod touch a while back. I suppose I have been living under the rock for quite some time now because that app was, sadly, removed from the App Store.В  So I did some browsing and I found this app calling Goodplayer coming at 2.99. I was hesitant because it had an overall rating of 3 out of 5 stars on the Apple App store. But still, I was desperate so I invested 3 bucks into this app. And Im sure glad I did.

 

Interface

The interface itself is very simplistic. You arent greeted with any amazing artwork. From the main menu you have the option of viewing shared and local files. (You are also given the option to transfer media files through wifi if needed) And finally you have your settings menu where, I am actually surprised, you will find a ton of options.

Main Menu
Just some of the settings...

 

Uploading Process

The app is simple and easy. Just plug in your iPhone or iPod Touch into your computer and open up iTunes. From there click on Apps at the top. And once there you will see a box with a list of your apps. Click Goodplay. There you can simply drag and drop almost any video format into your iPhone/iPod touch without any problems.

Goodplayer and iTunes sync

 

Impressions and Quality

For the most part, the videos that I have uploaded consisted of files that were 720p mkv files.В  I did not have any glitches and such with those files. However, I have noticed, with larger HD files, ones that range from 4-5gbs, the video at times, did get a little choppy. It typically happens when I am switching the movie from landscape to portrait. (or vise versa) All while I am playing the actual movie. It correct itself in a matter of seconds but it is something to consider.

As far as audio lag, again, there were no problems with 95 percent of my files. But those super large HD files did give the audio a split second lag every now and then. But no worries, in about 5 seconds it seems to correct itself. It does not happen often, but when it does happen, it gets annoying.

Here are two screen shots. The top being what I normally view. The bottom being one of those larger files that from time to time become pixelated.

 

Conclusion

The app is three dollars. Is it worth it? I would say if you were lucky enough to snag VLC while it was still out in the app store, this app would not be anything new. However, if your in my position, where you just want an app that is simple and works. Then 3 dollars isnt much to ask for. Is the app perfect? Of course not. Every now and then you will run into one of those mentioned bugs. But for the most part, the app gets the job done. Forget the process of converting videos and check out Goodplayer.

 

Goodplayer For iPhone and iPod Touch

An easier way to watch your favorite movies on your iPhone or iPod touch without the hassle of converting. Whether its an AVI or MKV file, this player gets the job done. But does this paid app work flawlessly?

Rating by Len Thou: 4.0 stars

Simplicity: Happy Hacking Professional 2 Keyboard Review

The Happy Hackin Keyboard Proffesional 2 is mechanical keyboard sought by many keyboard enthusiast. While I had my eyes on it for while, I never had the funds to purchase such a classy and premium keyboard. To my surprise I was given this keyboard as a gift on Christmas day. And while my first impressions were nothing mind boggling, this keyboard soon became one that I swore by. Continue reading Simplicity: Happy Hacking Professional 2 Keyboard Review

Best Portable Audio Recording? Zoom H1 Review

The Techshift team and I are slowly progressing into the world of video making for YouTube. (More of that come of course!) During this journey we have noticed that our sound equipment, none besides the onboard mic of our dslr, just was not cutting it. Upon doing some research I originally sought to buy the Zoom H4N. It ended up out of my price range. Needless to say from there I searched for a budget, but quality, mic and what I found was the Zoom h1. What was advertised as your perfect walk around audio recorder, came to be the perfectВ supplementВ to aВ DSLR. The purchase came out to be about 100 bucks. Yeah! were not rich yet! В While some people would not even consider an external microphone, the Techhift team and I feel as though sound is just as important, if not more, than the video. В So let us get right down to it! Here is the full review of the Zoom H1.

 

В 

Build

Before actually owning the zoom h1, I did do my own research on the product. Everyone’s conclusion was that it felt like a cheap toy. However, I feel as though, while it is all plastic, it still feels sturdy.  I have dropped this mic before and it has yet to crack. (I hope it doesn’t of course!)  And upside to it being all plastic is that it is very light. The build itself is a very small mic intended for on the go usage. It might just be me, but there is something satisfying when you can buy an a product for use, and not have to worry about it getting scuffed up. Coming in an all plastic and cheap form actually makes me want to bring it around more. I toss it into my bag and go. And I think thats a very important factor when considering this type of product to buy. Just dont expect a tank when your buying this product. Keep in mind the satisfying buying price of it and you wont have any complaints.

 

Sound

To be blunt the sound is fantastic.  With an onboard mic that you get with your typical DSLR, you’ll notice the sound levels are not equal. Every now and then I would record a conversation with two people, and while they are at the same exact distance from the camera, every now and then one voice would be extremely high while the other would be low. Not with the zoom h1. If I aim the mic correctly, the audio is not only equal, but it is also accurate.Another problem that I had before using the Zoom h1 was the fact that my onboard mic picked up a certain humming noise in the background. The h1, as im sure many if not all external mics, fix this problem.  The Zoom h1 mic also removed the audio echo that I received with many other cameras. (Especially webcams)

As far as the amount of audio you want to capture goes, you can easily control it. You can set it so you are capturing sounds closer to you, or sounds further away with the input level. Ive been testing the extent of the mic and I once pointed the mic towards my kitchen, while being 2 rooms away, and I swear I heard the conversation my mother and father were having! While we are on the subject of direction. I have noticed that if you move this mic a little off of your subject, the audio that you pick up will be loads different. And no, that does not mean the zoom h1 will not pick up audio, or will have bad audio if you don’t have it directly on the subject. It just sounds much more crisp when you have it directly on your subject oposed to 3 inches off.  So definetly keep in mind, if you are recording something importatnt to have someone overhearing it it through headphones. Once you adjust the input level correct and youve aimed the mic correctly, your 100 dollar equipment surely pays off.

I do not have a wind filter, as it does not come with one, but I have noticed, to no surprised, that in semi-windy condition, without a wind filter, it does pick up a lot of wind noise.  A LOT. Not a negative thing, that’s typical, but don’t be put off by it and buy a wind filter. (If you intend to work in windy conditions)

 

KEEP IN MIND

The Zoom H1 does cannot be directly connected into your camera. You must manually sync you audio. It could be a major pain, and it is something you definitely want to consider. I believe in the new Final Cut Pro X there is a way to automatically sync the audio, but even then, I would of course rather just have the audio recorded right into our DSLR. If this is a problem, you might want to consider the Zoom H1s big brother: the Zoom H4n.

 

Controls

It is a very simple microphone that one can just pick up and use.  Right on the front of the mic is a large record button. Ergonoimically speaking, this mic feels perfect for an on the go use. To the left of the mic you have your volume up and down button which controls both the volume of the speaker and the amount of sound you are capturing.  You have your on and off switch. Trash button to delete any files. Your play/ pause botton along with rewinding and fast forwarding. I found these buttons to be a little unresponsive. Time to time I will try to listen to my audio through the mic and I will fastforward or rewind.  While holding onto the button to rewind or fastforward the button will become unresponsive and it’ll consider my press a single click thus having it skip to the next track. I’ve tried this many times with a firm grip of course haha.  You have your line in and out. Your volume control and finally your input level to adjust the amount of sound your mic picks up. It also has a little screen to view your tracks. Nothing too fancy here. Just the basics, which again, is why I love this mic. The simplicity to use it quickly on the go!

 

Other

The zoom consumes only one AA battery, but I still wish it had a charging feature. В It also does haveВ  tripod screw in so if you have an extra tripod you can mount it equally to your camera.

As a walk around mic, it’s perfect. I mainly bought it to compliment my dslr. But I have had times where I brought out this mic to record commentary or record audio as a joke. And with the size and simplicity it gets the job done right for that.

 

All in all

For a budget mic, I think it is a great product. В I do envy the Zoom H4n, but considering the price this product it is going for, I cant complain much. Its a mic, that I use to supplement everything, my DSLR, my webcam, and sometimes even my phone. The only downside I would have to say is, again, you have to manually sync the audio in post production. So do I recommend this mic? Yes, yes I do!

 

Zoom H1

The Zoom H1, your portable audio recorder now the perfect supplement to any DSLR or video recording device. Small and affordable, but what does all of that sacrifice?

Rating by Len Thou: 4.0 stars