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Screencasting Under Linux--A brief Story

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Linux

My first consideration for making A/V screencasts under Linux is Software. What programs are available to do screen-recordings with simultaneous audio narration under Linux? I've probably tried them all: recordmydesktop (which has both gtk-recordmydesktop and qt-recordmydesktop GUI font ends), Istanbul, xvidcap, and wink. Frankly, none of these yielded the high-quality screen capture I wanted. But the real problem is that the audio quality was worse. After thrashing about, I finally end up with a non open source commercial product called DemoRecorder.

Now DemoRecorder is a commercial, proprietary program, which costs $47.00US, $77.00US, or $247.00US depending on the desired feature set. I purchased the $77.00 license. This does not work under Mandriva 2010 in nested desktop mode, but the openGL mode of capture works well. No dropped frames on the video side, and relativey smooth modion. On the audio side, no major sound glitches like I had with recordmydesktop.

Using DemoRecorder in the openGL mode is a two-phase process--Running the demorec --opengl program to perform the initial capture of the video and audio files, then the transcoding or assembly into a finished product using demorec-to-avi (or demorec-to-dv, demorec-to-flv, demorec-to-mpeg1, demorec-to-mpeg2, demorec-to-ogg-theora or whatever video codec/container you wish).

While the sound quality is considerably improved, it's still a bit hollow and tinny when recorded from my Logitech headset. I found the captured sound file produced by demorecorder, which I could then import into Audacity in raw format. I could then edit and improve the sound in Audacity, and export the edited sound file back to the drive before the assembly/transcoding of the video files and the sound file into one avi file.

This works--still, the sound isn't quite professional quality, but close. The real issue with this is that this type of post-production sound-editing takes a lot of time. Better, if possible, to get a high-quality sound recording to begin with, and bypass the editing step. Time for some research into sound production.

I have no experience in sound recording--I'm a computer guy, but I do like to play with hardware.
Fortunately, I already have a really good high-quality sound card in my working desktop computer--an HT Omega Claro Plus.

Turns out, you can get a decent quality mic, and a device called a sound mixer, and you can record really great sound. Good to know. I end up purchasing a Behringer XENYX 1204FX model mixer for $179.99US. This model of mixer turns out to be overkill on my part, and I now know I could have got by just fine with a cheaper mixer (prices for a mixer can range from $99.00US to several thousand US dollars).

As is often the case, one purchase often begets another. So, on to buy a decent, but relatively inexpensive condensor mike (after shelling out too many $$$ on the mixer). I end up purchasing an MXL 990 condenser microphone with a shock mount for $49.00US. Then a proLine desktop mic stand, model MS112 ($29.99US). Finally, I purchase assorted cables and adapters.

After all my sound gear arrives, I connect the mic to my mixer, the mixer to my sound card. Then I fire up Audacity to run some tests. After fiddling with the gear for about an hour, I'm amazed at the quality of the sound captures. Now I can start recording those educational screencasts in earnest.

More in Tux Machines

Proprietary Software Leftovers

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    Vivaldi Technologies announced today the general availability of the Vivaldi 3.2 web browser for all supported platforms, an update that brings various improvements and new features. Vivaldi 3.2 comes about two months after Vivaldi 3.1 and introduces a mute button to the Picture-in-Picture implementation called Pop-out Video. This lets users better control the floating windows when watch clips by muting or unmuting the sound of the video. Vivaldi devs say that the new mute button on the Pop-out video window is a welcome addition when you work from home and you have to quickly jump into an online meeting or take a phone call as you can now immediately mute the clip without having to close the window. You can see the new mute button in action below. Of course, you can also mute the entire tab by right clicking on the tab where the video plays and selecting the “Mute Tab” context menu item or by using the quick commands, but it’s faster with the new mute button on the Pop-out video.

  • Windows 10 Devices Are at Risk From the BootHole Vulnerability

    Unfortunately, because this flaw is related to Windows’ boot sequence, it’s not something that you can fix yourself. Microsoft has to release a patch that fixes the BootHole flaw. However, this isn’t an easy task.

    The boot sequence is an essential part of keeping the operating system stable. As such, if Microsoft rushes out a buggy patch for the flaw, it will cause system instability.

    As a result of this, it may take Microsoft a while to release a patch that fixes BootHole. And we’re all reliant on Microsoft doing so.

  • Greg Joswiak replaces Phil Schiller as head of Apple marketing

    Marketing is a huge role inside of Apple that goes beyond simply advertising products, so this marks a significant change within the company. As Apple puts it, the marketing division is “responsible for Apple’s product management and product marketing, developer relations, market research, business management, as well as education, enterprise, and international marketing.” Joswiak has been in Apple leadership roles for more than two decades, and he’s led Apple’s worldwide product marketing for the last four years.

    Schiller has been with Apple since 1997, helping to steer the company from one of its lowest points to the technology juggernaut that it is today. While he’s been in charge of marketing, Schiller is also known for his involvement in Apple’s hardware, often presenting new products — like the previous Mac Pro — onstage at events.

  • Chromebook perks now include Google's Stadia service

    In fact, buying a Chromebook comes with two Stadia perks. The first offers $20 off the purchase of the Stadia Premiere Edition, which essentially replaces the Stadia Founder’s Edition cloud gaming hardware that launched and almost immediately sold out. But as the second perk points out, you don’t even need the Premiere Edition hardware: Chromebooks now ship with three months of Stadia Pro, the Stadia cloud gaming service. (Engadget previously reported the new Stadia perks.)

    Be aware that this is a trial. After the three-month service period expires, you’ll be signed up for Stadia Pro at $9.99 per month. Also, you’ll need to own a Chromebook released in June, 2017, or later.

  • Florida teen accused of Twitter [attack] pleads not guilty

    Tuesday's hearing in Tampa reportedly took place via Zoom. Clark is scheduled for a bond hearing Wednesday, with bail set at $725,000.

  • Twitter About To Be Hit With A ~$250 Million Fine For Using Your Two Factor Authentication Phone Numbers/Emails For Marketing

    There are many things that big internet companies do that the media have made out to be scandals that aren't -- but one misuse of data that I think received too little attention was how both Facebook and later Twitter were caught using the phone numbers people gave it for two factor authentication, and later used them for notification/marketing purposes.

Here’s the glaring potential flaw in Windows 10X devices as Chromebook competitors

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Imagine an operating system that’s focused on using the web browser and you can’t install traditional desktop apps on. No, I’m actually not talking about Chromebooks, and if I was, that would be an outdated thought experiment since you can install full desktop Linux apps on Chrome OS. I’m talking about upcoming devices running Microsoft Windows 10X, a “lite” software platform that is reportedly debuting in roughly 9 months. You may not recall that Microsoft tried a similar approach in 2012 with Windows RT and the first Surface device. Read more Also: Linux Marketshare Dipped in July – But Not By Much! [Ed: No, it is wrong to base one's assessment on a Microsoft partner that pretends Android, ChromeOS etc. don't even exist]

OpenSUSE: Election Campaign and Leap 15.2 Install Party

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    Community members are welcome to ask the candidates questions about their views on the project and to comment on some of the pertinent matters within the community. Richard Brown, former Chairman of openSUSE, put a few questions to Stasiek Michalski about his views on conflict resolution, the board structure and the project's key sponsor SUSE. Stasiek expressed his views as he answered Richard on the project mailing list.

  • Leap 15.2 Install party @ GOLEM - A quick report

    Ah, the event was also recorded, but they still have to let me know whether that worked well or not. I decided to do a live install as I think our installer is great, and wanted to show it off a bit. :-) In fact, I’ve heard a few times people saying that installing openSUSE is difficult, and I wanted to give it a shot to busting that myth. I showed how it is possible to install the distro with just a few clicks, which is the opposite of difficult. After that, I went back and explained all the various possible customizations that one can make – but only if she wants to– at each stage. Feedback on this was extremely good, and I think I’m going to reuse this same approach for other similar occasions. While the installer was copying packages, there was the time to talk a bit about the characteristics of Leap such as its goals, release cycle, development process, relationship with SLE, etc. I quickly mentioned the maintenance process, taking advantage of some slides kindly provided by Marina (thanks to you again as well!), and this also was perceived as very interesting. After the system was ready, I had the time to showcase YaST a little, to explain how to add Packman repos for the codecs and to introduce BTRFS snapshots, snapper and demo a reboot into a previous snapshot and the rollback.

Why I switched to Fedora

As stated above Fedora has a software freedom commitment similar in spirit to that of Debian. This means that you should be able to give Fedora to anyone, anywhere without violating intellectual property laws. Any software which is either not licensed in a way that Fedora finds acceptable or that bares US patent encumbrances can be found in the rpmfusion.org repository. After the install your next concern is undoubtedly configuring things and installing new packages. Fedora’s command-line package manager is dnf. It works as you would expect. Note also that since rpm uses file-based dependency tracking instead of package-based dependency tracking, as almost all others do, there are very few traditional metapackages. There are, however, package groups. Read more