OK, I love queso as much as the next person, and I would also love to see $10,000 come my way, but I’m not delusional about my dancing skills, so you won’t see me over at ilovequeso.com

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great idea, and from a marketing standpoint, I admire it. Kudos to whoever came up with the concept.

This is not an idea I would have come up with, and the reason is, you’d never get me to set up a camera, record myself dancing, and then upload it for all the world to see. That’s pretty close to my worse nightmare. But from what I understand, watching people dance is quite a lucrative idea, and there are even network TV shows devoted to such things. Still, not something I would do.

But the thing is, there’s a diverse group here at Z2, so we get a variety of ideas when we brainstorm, and even though you won’t catch me shaking it for money, I can assure you there is at lease one person at Z2 who would probably jump at the chance to do so.

And no, I won’t name that person, but feel free to guess anyway. :)

June 30, 2011 · Posted by in marketing, social media, video  

If you want your tweets to take flight, does the time you send them matter? Is a note posted at 9:30am more likely to be re-tweeted, versus one that’s posted at 1:15pm? A website called “When To Tweet?” thinks so, and it’s ready to help you get the most exposure for your message.

The service created back in 2010 is free and easy to use. It analyzes the time your followers are most active on Twitter. You simply enter in your user name, and the program runs the numbers and selects the time when you will be able to reach the largest audience. It can take a few minutes – mine even after 40 minutes still hadn’t determined my ideal Twitter time – but you can see other users and the time graphic that were created for them.

Since it’s free, it’s worth trying. Go check it out and post your ideal Twitter time below.

June 29, 2011 · Posted by in social media  

When you think back to your grade school education, you probably have memories of large science books or overheads. Well, gone are the days of overhead projectors, now replaced by smartboards. And apparently, those hefty science books may be a thing of the past, too. McGraw-Hill just announced it’s first all-digital textbook for K-12. Sure, they want to turn around the trend of schools spending less on books these days, but it’s a smart move for kids whose lives are increasingly more digital.

If you give a child the option to read a chapter from a big biology textbook or read an ebook with animated video clips, I have the sneaking suspicion that the child would choose the digital option. There’s even the option to have digital conversations right alongside the text, similar to what the kids are accustomed to with Facebook. Polly Stansell, director of product development for McGraw-Hill, says, “We’re trying to meet students and teachers where they’re at digitally.”

A lesson from one of McGraw-Hill's digital textbooks, via Mashable

Now, this sounds really smart. Allowing students the chance to learn digitally since they live their lives digitally seems like a natural progression, right? But is there a negative side effect of being in front of a computer screen all day? Are we creating learners who are better multi-taskers or stimulus-addicts?

According to CNN, our digital lives may be giving us “popcorn brain.” Rather than choosing to spend time outside or enjoying a few moments with their children, people are choosing digital stimulus. Experts are speculating that our brains are now so used to the constant stimulation of digital multitasking that we basically can’t live functional lives offline. Normal life just moves too slowly for our digitally-addicted brains.

Why does this happen? Our brains are wired to like the fast-paced nature of technology. We feed off of the instantaneousness. In fact, being online stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain. So it’s no wonder we’re drawn to this digital lifestyle. However, if this “popcorn brain” goes on long enough, it can cause a physical change in our brains. Those who spend too much time online have less gray matter – the thinking part of the brain. That’s a serious issue. To cope, set time limits for your online life or reserve time in the evening that you’ll stay away from technology.

So what do you think? Is digital learning for students a good progression, or are we setting young people up for “popcorn brain” issues? Share your thoughts in the comments!

June 28, 2011 · Posted by in misc, web  

We’re excited to announce that Z2 recently received a Telly award in the 32nd Annual Telly Awards contest, which received more than 13,000 entries from around the world. The winning video, created to promote wedding sales at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, was filmed last summer on our RED ONE digital camera.

The video won the award in the film/video sales category. We invite you to view it below.

Founded in 1978, the Telly Awards is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions, and web commercials, videos and films.

We’d like to thank everyone who worked hard to make this shoot a success!

June 24, 2011 · Posted by in marketing, video, web  

Final Cut Pro X

I’ve been trying (well, not trying that hard) to avoid looking into Apple’s Final Cut Pro X for a few reasons. One being, I’m the guy who evaluates software, and recommends upgrades, but also because I do some of the editing here (as well as a home) so a major piece of software we rely on being “upgraded” and being touted as “revolutionary” is a bit concerning.

Final Cut Pro X

Apple could have used the line “Everything just changed, and you’ll hate it.” but that probably wouldn’t have been good marketing. But hey, you can fire up the Mac App Store and see that Final Cut Pro X is just $299.99. That seems to be the only good news about this new version. It’s cheaper. No, I take that back… For the things that are missing, that price may be correct. By the way, if you want Motion or Compressor, those are both available in the Mac App Store as well, for an additional $49.99. Each.

Here’s a nice FAQ about FCPX. Here’s a game for you, count how many questions have the answer “no.” Here’s a few:

Q: Can I open old Final Cut Pro projects in FCPX?
A: No.

Q: Can I import or export XML?
A: No.

Q: Can I export EDLs or marker lists?
A: No.

Q: Does Final Cut Pro X have native R3D or XDCAM support?
A: No.

Q: How do I reconnect media?
A: You can’t.

OK, that last one technically wasn’t “no” but it was close enough.

This isn’t the first time Apple has done this… They did it with iMovie. The latest version was a complete re-write, and similar to the older version in name only. People hated it so much when it came out, Apple made the old version available for download and put it in a folder named ‘iMovie (previous version).’

They also did quite a makeover of Logic, though that was mainly an interface makeover, and I think it was all part of finishing the acquisition of Logic from Emagic and fitting it into the Apple universe.

Remember when I said you could check out FCPX in the Mac App Store? That’s where you can also read reviews which such titles as “Extremely buggy, overly simplistic”, “Not for an Editing House”, “HUGE problems and disappointing”, “NOT FOR PROS! This is NOT a Pro application”, and of course, “P.O.S.”

I know it’s still early days, and I’ve seen a number of posts saying that the missing features will get added back in over time and future releases, but for pro users, that means either waiting, or getting it right now, and complaining about it. Even though we live in a right now world, I’m going to recommend that waiting idea…

June 23, 2011 · Posted by in video  

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