Gawker Media

Here’s a website I visit occasionally www.gawker.com

It’s a media collaboration of different blogs that follow different aspects of the news.

 

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The Trials and Tribulations of Final Cut Pro X

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When Apple released the new version of Final Cut Pro, dubbed “X” in 2011, two things happened. Video editors everywhere realized the price had been cut down dramatically to a mere $300, so they downloaded it. Then they opened up the program and collectively blew their brains out.

Final Cut Pro 7 was considered, and still is, one of the best Non-Linear Video Editing (NLE) programs, ever. It’s what directors use. It’s what television studios use. It’s what I use. So naturally, Apple decided to change it. The program was completely redesigned, and the price was cut significantly.

Thirty days ago, I downloaded the 30-day free trial, on a whim. Then something unexpected happened. I bought FCP X after those 30 days.

I heard the horror stories. I was discouraged from using it for class. Some called it the “red-headed bastard child” of FCP 7. Other’s called it iMovie on steroids. I call it awesome.

To all the haters: I feel your pain. Apple took your baby from you and gave it a sex change. Now, nothing works right. Some of the coveted features in 7 were nowhere to be found in X. That was in 2011. Since then, several updates have slowly begun adding these features to X.

There’s a few reasons why I bought this program. First, I was using FCP 7 on school computers and wanted to purchase it for myself, but Apple no longer sells it. Also, at only $300, this is the cheapest professional video editing software on the market. It’s actually something I can afford.

The first thing I noticed about FCP X, was how intuitive it is. Yes, the layout is dramatically different from 7, but after playing around with it for 30 days, I didn’t need an instruction manual. Perhaps that’s why this program was snubbed for being “too amatuer” for elite videographers. I agree that Apple needs to incorporate more “professional” features into the program, but at face-value FCP X is an incredible tool.

There is a dilemma though. Nobody wants to touch FCP X with a ten-foot pole. The classes I take, and the job I work for use FCP 7. Instructors only teach FCP 7. The question that I keep screaming in my head: why teach a now obsolete program to young journalists and videographers?

I know the answer…it’s because certain features in FCP 7 haven’t yet been added to X. These are the features that the pro’s need. Slowly, they are being added in updates. This should give hope to the editing community. It means that Apple has the potential to fix this dilemma, and reclaim it’s title as the “industry standard.”

Here’s a video project I did using FCP X.

A Night in austria: a short story

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I was staring down at the blood-red shag carpet holding my breath. The entryway was accented with dim lighting and an enormous painting of a naked woman with her legs spread open.  Billy was sweating profusely. We were both silent. The thick wooden door in front of us opened and small man in a suit walked out. In perfect English he said “follow me gentlemen.”

It had been a pretty good summer so far in Europe. I was touring several countries with my high school honor choir group along with my friend Billy. During the day our choir would perform in different cathedrals, and the rest of the day was free for us to do our own thing. We were both 15 at the time and had made a stop for the night in Salzburg, Austria.

The hydraulic brakes hissed and I jerked my head up from where it was lying on the seat in front of me. We had just arrived in Slazburg, home of Mozart. Outside the tinted glass I could see the other buses pull up next to ours at the entrance of the hotel. It was my junior year in high school and I was with about 300 choir singers from the Midwest on a European choir tour. Now we had to unload the busses.

Unloading the buses was a complicated process. The aggressive bus driver would jump out and unfold the two cargo racks on the bottom of the bus, and then he would take out nearly 100 suitcases and dish them out on the sidewalk. The other two busses would pull up next to ours and then there would be people shouting in multiple languages, suitcases everywhere, and hundreds of kids waking up from an eight-hour bus ride. Next came rooms.

Since we had been in Europe for practically a month, I had this routine down to a science.

1. Get bags off bus as quickly as possible.

2. Acquire room key and run to room before everyone else does.

3. Throw bags on floor and claim a bed (usually never a problem since all rooms had 2 beds.)

4. Open all windows, doors, closets and check who occupies the rooms next door, aka, who can we party with?

Billy and I had made it to step 4 in less than 5 minutes. As we opened the windows to our balcony we saw it together: a “Nightclub” sign in big pink letters.

You’d think the English would have been red flag. But no, we were two fifteen year-olds on a mission to have some fun. We looked at each other at the same time. “You thinking what I’m thinking?” Billy said.

I have never changed clothes so quickly. I pulled my black suit pants and white dress shirt on, as Billy changed into his bright red pants and dress shirt. We probably looked ridiculous, but it was all for fun. After sitting in a bus for eight hours straight, we wanted to go out and explore. It was nearing 10 p.m., which gave us two hours before we had to be back in our room by midnight for room checks.

Leaving the hotel lobby, we received a few strange looks from the other students, who were about to go to bed. Billy and I had never been to a club before, but we were definitely interested in dancing with girls. Instantly, we were the most popular people in the room. Some girls in our group asked us what we were doing. “We’re going clubbing,” we said.

It had now been twenty minutes since checking into the hotel that we were now walking out of. Some girls had followed us. We strolled up to that nightclub looking twice our age. The door was hidden behind a row of bushed out of view from the sidewalk. As we approached a small man stepped out from nowhere in particular and opened the door. He looked at us, then back at the girls. “No girls allowed please,” he said in broken English.  Billy and I said goodbye to the girls, and walked in.

It was dark. After what seemed like 10 minutes of pure silence and anxiety, the man had asked us to follow him. I looked at Billy. He nodded and we walked down the long hallway. I was expecting music and dancing. Instead a row of girls walked up to us and introduced themselves. They wanted to know if we would like to go to a room with one of them. Billy and I awkwardly realized that this was not a club, but a brothel. We awkwardly backpedaled out of that place as fast as we could.

When we made it to the sidewalk, we couldn’t stop laughing. At the very same moment, our choral director spotted us, and asked us to explain ourselves.

Long.Live.A$AP

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A$AP Rocky is smooth. With french braids and gold teeth, the twenty-four year-old rapper is known for his seductive flows that tell tales of inner city life’s struggles. But that’s just going on his mixtape released last year. This is Rocky’s first album.

This is also one of the first rap albums in recent memory that I’ve listened to all the way through. The first track, same as the album title, sets the mood with thunder and rain. “I thought I’d die in prison,” Rocky begins. Those first four minutes and fifty seconds bring us down to his level. Street scenes and ghetto dreams. This is the real life struggle of a rapper growing up in New York.

There were two singles released from this album last year: “Goldie,” and “Fuckin’ Problems.” Both are gritty with bass heavy beats and dirty verses. Recently, I feel like singles are the only songs worth listening to on rap albums. I was surprised when I almost didn’t notice them in this album.

Rocky captivates us with a slow, melodic flow over relaxed synths and beats in “Hell,” “Fashion Killa,” and “Phoenix.” Then he switches it up with quick witted verses over uptempo instrumentals in tracks “Fuckin’ Problems,” and “Wild For The Night.”

Rocky is a talented rapper with an impressive debut album.

Grade: 4/5

Listen to: “Long Live A$AP,” “Hell,” “Wild For The Night,” “Fashion Killa.”

 

Archer returns with season 4 amnesia

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Season 3 left the ISIS crew aboard the International Space Station, where they once again managed to escape certain death from Barry, a cyborg spy from rival agency ODIN. 

It is obvious that some time has passed in the season 4 opener. We see Archer, who now goes by the name Bob, donning a mustache and flipping burgers at a low-end burger joint. It appears that he has since gotten married, and we see his wife and children help him in the restaurant. This is a play on the show Bob’s Burgers, in which H. Jon Benjamin, the voice of Archer, portrays Bob, a burger flipper. Fans who are familiar with the show will surely enjoy this mash-up.

Archer’s simple life comes to a close when a hit squad busts in his burger joint looking for a man named Archer. Archer insists he isn’t Archer, and that his real name is Bob. He then brutally kills the entire hit squad. Afterward, he stands back in horror, not knowing where he learned such fatal combat skills. At this point we ask ourselves, does Archer really not know he’s Archer?

Cut to the ISIS agency. Archer’s mother and commander of ISIS, Mallory, tells the crew that her son has turned up, but that he doesn’t know his identity. Krieger, the team’s unlicensed scientist/doctor urges the team to approach Archer with apprehension, stating there’s a chance he might permanently reject his true identity. Could Krieger have a hand in this?

The ISIS team has a plan. Lana, the tall black and beautiful agent whom serves as Archer’s better half, and even used to date him, meets Archer at a poolside resort. She confides in him she’s a secret agent, and that KGB agents are tracking them. These “KGB” agents are actually Ceril and Ray, members of ISIS who are part of Mallory’s plan. The plan fails when actual KGB agents open fire at Archer and Lana at the poolside resort. In the confusion, Lana hits Archer with a frying pan, and his memory is restored.

Meanwhile, Pam and Cheryl, are enjoying massages at the resort. Pam is smoking a joint while Cheryl eats LSD gummy bears. Are these two ever sober?

The resort begins burning down after Archer launches malatov cocktails on the KGB agents. The ISIS crew regroups outside to discuss the aftermath. They inform Archer that several months prior, on the day of his mother’s wedding, he hijacked the wedding limo, and disappeared. Cheryl, in the depths of an LSD binge, sees an ostrich and begins freaking out. The credits roll, and we are left to wonder what exactly just happened. Was Archer’s amnesia real? Who is Mallory’s new husband? And what does Krieger have to do with all of this?

Bath Salts and Zombies, A History

The U.S. held it’s breath when headlines broke that the man on the left, Rudy Eugene, ate the face off the man on the right, Ronald Poppo, in Miami, Fla. Several other similar incidents have occurred. They all involve a) people on drugs, and b) people going psychotic because of a).  America’s first thought? Zombiesss.

Come on people. Your obsession with The Walking Dead and stockpiling for impeding doom might help boost the economy, but zombies aren’t real. There is no zombie virus. The cause for these gnarly flesh-eating assaults is something much simpler: bath salts. It’s a term that has been thrown around a lot in the news, but not entirely explained. Here’s a rundown.

Not your mother’s bath salts.

For hundreds of years, people have used salts in baths to improve the bathing experience. When salt is added to water, it changes the osmosis so that less water is absorbed through the skin. Also, it can affect the buoyancy of water, making it easier for a person to float. These salts are used in bathhouses and spas and are sold under the name “bath salts,” they are widely available. They are not dangerous and not intended for consumption.

In the past few years, a different group of “bath salts” has emerged. They are not salts intended for bath usage at all, but rather dangerous designer drugs intended to be smoked, snorted or injected. They can be purchased here.

The poor man’s cocaine.

There are three synthetic stimulants prevalent in bath salts that mess you up: methylenedioxypryrovalerone or MDPV, methylone and mephedrone. Although these chemicals are in the amphetamine class, their composition in bath salts may vary.

Bath salts reportedly give users a high similar to that of cocaine or meth. The effects last no more than a few hours. Bath salt usage has exploded in recent years due to its legal grey area and ease of accessibility over the internet.

Bath salts are illegal (sort of).

In October 2011, the DEA placed a ban on the three synthetic stimulants prevalent in bath salts, citing an “imminent threat to public safety.” The ban is effective for at least a year. It is likely that the DEA will forever make bath salts illegal.

Still, bath salts are widely available online.

“He’s not one of us,” Kerrey attack ads brainwash Nebraskans

Find a time machine, go back a year and ask a Nebraskan what they think of Bob Kerrey. Chances are they would remember him as a Nebraska icon; University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate, Vietnam war veteran, local business owner, governor and two-term senator. A man who has deep roots in Nebraska. There’s even a bridge named after him.

Travel back to today. “He’s not one of us,” “We don’t want him,” and “Tell him to go back to New York.”

Since when are Nebraskans so quick to disown one of their own? We’re a state known for being friendly to outsiders and having the most loyal fans in college football. When we spot one of our own anywhere but Nebraska, we aren’t shy about saying “Hi,” and giving each other high-fives in the airport. There is no place like Nebraska.

Yet, some of us do not wish Bob Kerrey a welcome return to the state he grew up in. Kerrey, a Nebraska man who has spent most of his life trying to better the state he loves; I wonder how he feels.

“Go back to New York,” a common response quoted directly from State Sen. Deb Fischer’s attack ads. But why? Maybe it’s because over $1 million has already been spent on attack ads that target Kerrey. It’s ironic that over $1 million has been spent in the wake of our nation’s $1.1 trillion deficit to stop a man who feels it’s his patriotic duty to return to Nebraska and help reduce this deficit. Talk about wasteful spending.

Much of those ads focus on Kerrey’s time spent in New York. As if leaving Nebraska automatically cuts Kerrey’s ties to the state. Yet these ads forget that this isn’t the first time Kerrey has left Nebraska. From 1966 to 1969 Kerrey served in the United States Navy. He received the Medal of Honor. And we welcomed him back.

But this New York “thing” is different. Attack ads make it seem like Kerrey has lost touch with the country, spending the last 10 years prancing around New York turning everything he touched into liberal. The opposite is true. Take the fact the Kerrey was one of 10 people in the country selected to serve on the 9/11 Commission to combat terrorism.  I  can’t think of anything more patriotic than that.

“He’s not one of us,” Go ahead, say it again.

new iPhone.

Did this yesterday. I broke my iPhone 4s last month; the screen, chassis and backplate. It was a mess. My options were to get a new iPhone ($300 for my 32 gb), or get the parts and replace it myself ($180). I had to order new parts, so I went to iphone4parts.com and ordered a white faceplate LCD ($60), metal chassis ($100) and brushed metal backplate ($20).

It was a very complicated process- it literally took me an entire day. The worst part was the screws. They’re so small you can barely see them, and the only way to unscrew them is by using the world’s smallest screwdriver. There’s like 50 of them. Apart from that, the iPhone is built very well, and the parts are (relatively) easy to replace.

Then I turned it on…And on came a light blueish flickering screen that looked like someone nuked my iPhone in radiation poison. It works, but something is off with the color calibration. They sent me a faulty LCD screen, those bastards. I asked them to send me a replacement.

At least the custom backplate looks sweet.