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Saturday, October 29, 2011

NBTMV with update on video recording setup

Here's the latest on lighting for my low-cost video recording setup at home. I think the colors are acceptable now, with Daylight CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) bulbs and Automatic White Balance (AWB) setting of my Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 camera.

Here are some more things to help you...

To catch up on my previous post about my video recording setup at home, see NB-TMV: How I record videos at home where I also provide links to things you may need for a similar video recording studio at your home.

Here's a sketch showing the layout of my current setup:

NBTMV on Learning Spanish (Especially Speaking)

I explain my approach to learning Spanish, especially how I overcame my fear of speaking in a new language. Just listen to the video :-)  To see my video in Spanish, explaining the same method, please see the previous blog: NB-TMV - un método para aprender un idioma nuevo.

Here are some more things to help you...

I relied on Pimsleur lessons for the first step-- Listen and Repeat - -to learn Spanish pronunciation. They had CDs, each 30-minutes long, where a native speaker speaks and, where appropriate, pauses and lets you repeat what was said. The method recommends going through only one CD per day and I could do this on my commute to work. I went through three levels - - 90 CDs - - which you may consider doing to get an overall feel for the pronunciations plus learn some common phrases and words along the way. This would take 6 months or more to complete. You can check out Pimsleur on Amazon and then see if you want to invest in it or try borrowing the CDs from your local library. By the way, if you want to just check out the Pimsleur method, you can start with the lower-cost first book+CD, called goSpanish. I had used something similar and then committed to the whole series after I liked the approach.

The other option is Rosetta Stone. I had tried this for French (which I gave up after some time) and I think it'd work as well, but this requires to complete the lessons on a computer.

For the Listen and Understand step, which you should do continuously, search for local Spanish radio stations or watch Telemundo or Univision on cable.  To begin speaking Spanish, you should consider spending some time (at least a week) at an immersion class in a nearby Spanish-speaking country such as Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, etc. I spent a week at the Christian Spanish Academy in Antigua, Guatemala - -that school was very good and affordable (and Antigua is a very nice town to visit). I stayed thw week with a host family (see photo below). Now, I continue weekly lessons over their elearncsa program. 

Naba Barkakati with other students and host family in Anitigua, Guatemala
There are even books that you can consult to learn about Spanish immersion programs such as the one shown below for Mexico. I have also listed below some books that I have purchased for my own use and that I have found useful for learning Spanish vocabulary and grammar. Believe me, once you can speak some, you won't mind putting some effort into learning more vocabulary and polishing up on your grammar. 

By the way, to check verb conugations or translate words online, I use the Spanishdict web site.

Cómo aprender un idioma nuevo

Como tú adivinas, no soy hispanohablante nativo. En verdad comencé a aprender español hace dos años y vencí el miedo a hablar desde hace enero 2011.

Todavia estoy aprendiendo y estudiando la gramatica español pero quiero hacer este video para demonstrar lo que bueno es el método que yo usé para llegar a este nivel donde puedo hablar contigo en español. Creo que es una buena manera de aprender un idioma nuevo, especialmente aprender a hablar en ese idioma.

Bueno.  Numero uno. Comienza por escuchar un hablante nativo del idioma que tu quieres aprender, y, muy importante - repite lo que tu escuchas. Es mejor para ganar buen pronunciación en ese idioma. Puedes usar lecciónes como Pimsleur o Rosetta Stone, o también lo que tú encontras cuando buscas en la Red.

Numero dos. Escucha la radio o ve las programas de televisión y trata de entender lo que dicen. Es necesario para mejorar tu abilidad para entender lo que hablantes nativos dicen cuando se hablan muy rápido. Recuerda eso - si tú no entiendes lo que dice, no puedes continuar una conversación.

Numero tres. Comienza a hablar en ese idioma con algunas hablantes de ese idioma. Es natural que tú tienes miedo para comenzar a hablar. En mi opinión, asistir a una escuela en el pais donde se hablan ese indioma (que tú quieres aprender) es un buen idea para vencer el miedo a hablar.  

Y, finalmente, debes que estudiar la gramatica, leer, y escribir también. Por eso, puedes tomar unas clases. Recuerda que es posible para tomar las clases por Internet.

Aqui es el resumen de mi metódo. Uno - escucha y repite. Dos - Escucha y entiende. Tres - Habla en el idioma nuevo. Y, por supuesto estudia gramatica y vocabulario también.

Espero que puedas utilizar este método para aprender un nuevo idioma - tal vez Inglés.

Bueno, antes de me voy, te pido perdon para algunos errores en este video. Todavía tengo que aprender mucho mas español.

Hasta luego y ¡Que le vaya bien!

Aqui está unas cosas para ayudarte más
Puedes usar el método Pimsleur que he usado para aprender la pronunciaciónOtra opción es usar Rosetta Stone.


What are some of the risks of Cloud Computing

In other videos I explained what cloud computing is and why it’s useful. In this video, I want to mention some of the risks of cloud computing - - things that could potentially go wrong and affect your organization when you use cloud computing. Of course, if you implement a cloud in your own data center for your organization’s use, then the risks are similar to ones you already have - - security, privacy, disaster recovery, etc.

However, if you are planning to use cloud services provided by a third party, then you need to think of any new risks that may apply to your situation and that’s what I’ll cover.
First, the obvious risks - - security and privacy risks because of not knowing whether the vendor’s cloud is secure, that the staff who manages the facilities are trustworthy, that privacy protections are up to the level required by law.
Second, we have some management and oversight risks - - relating to potential lack of control in figuring out where data is stored and processed and how to get it back, if you change provider. The oversight risk is the possibility that your auditor cannot get access to the cloud provider’s systems to check them out.
Third, there are some technical risks, relating to lack of standard definitions of what a cloud service is, how are fees set, how to move data from one cloud to another, whether you can get reliable performance...
And, finally, a fourth set of risks may be relating to potential foreign laws and regulations that apply to your data because of where the cloud service is located.
Anyway, this is not an exhaustive list, but the point is that you should think what risks apply to you and then manage them, as is the prudent thing to do. Some risks already have mitigation approaches such as putting things in the contract and some have ongoing activities to help business mitigate those risks.
And, even if there is no mitigation for some, you may still decide to accept the risks and forge ahead with cloud computing. After all, that’s how we get the good things in life... by taking risks.

Here are some more things to help you...

Please see my previous post on "What is Cloud Computing" - - there I have a slide presentation on cloud computing that I used when I gave a talk in Seoul, Korea in Nov 2010 and the 30-minute video of the talk as well.

Why you should consider cloud computing as an option

You might wonder why is “cloud” a big deal. First, and foremost, if you have a collection of servers for your business, once you use virtualization, you’ll be able to support many virtual machines on a small number of physical machines - - some experts suggest that for each “core” on an Intel or AMD processor, you can have 3 to 5 virutal machines. Many servers are 4- or 6-core, so you could have anywhere from 12 to 30 virtual machines on one server, but you’d need to have lots of memory and storage as well. Nevertheless, the ability to run lots of virtual machines on a physical server means that you reduce the number of physical servers and that translates to less space, less electricity, less heat, and less messy cables, etc. So these benefits make a cloud an worthwhile proposition for businesses, even if you were to convert your current server farm to a cloud.
If you can move on to buying the cloud services from a third party, the benefits are even more. Now you can simply buy the computing power you need, without having to spend money up front. You can benefit from the economy of scale, the cloud vendor would typically have better redundant power and network connectivity that you could afford. Even security may be enhanced because the cloud provider can afford to hire more experienced information security staff and apply patches across all virtual machines more efficiently and promptly than you could.
You’d notice that I have a lot of “may” and “could” in justifying the benefits of cloud, that’s because you have to check it out for yourself to see if it meets the needs of your business. What you don’t want to do is dismiss cloud as an option because of knee-jerk reaction from others inside your organization who may bring up risks relating to security, data ownership, and many other issues as reasons why you shouldn’t go the cloud. All of these may be valid risks, but they also have equally valid solutions that mitigate the risk enough for you to take the plunge. The savings in IT costs alone make it worth taking the step to, at least consider cloud services as an option.

Here are some more things to help you...

Please see my previous post on "What is Cloud Computing" - - there I have a slide presentation on cloud computing that I used when I gave a talk in Seoul, Korea in Nov 2010 and the 30-minute video of the talk as well.


What is Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has become a popular buzzword, but many managers find it confusing. Those old enough to remember time share computing tend to say, “oh, it’s just like timeshare systems we had in old days,” but cloud computing is more than that. It’s w-a-a-y more than lots of users logging into a mainframe through green-screen terminals.
You can understand “cloud computing” better by focusing on just the basics. Let’s start with the physical computer. Whether it’s a laptop, desktop, or a rack-mounted server, at its heart you have the processor, memory, storage, and network connection. On that physical computer you had an operating system -- Windows, Linux, etc. - - and many applications - - email, word processing, spreadsheet, databases.
Along comes the concept of “virtualization” - - the idea that instead of just running multiple applications on a physical computer, you can create “virtual machines”, each with its own virtual collection of memory, storage and network connection, RUNNING an operating system and set of applications. Thanks to the virtualization software, each virtual machine will be able to operate as if it had its own memory, storage, and network connection (or multiple network connections, for that matter).
So virtualization gives you the ability to run multiple “virtual machines” on a single physical machine. You can, in fact, have multiple virutal machines running different operating systems (Windows, Linux, what have you) irrespective of what operating system is running on the underlying physical system. The virtualization is possible through software, for example, VMware or .
There is another element as well - - management software that enables a system administrator to easily create virtual machines and “provision” them - - allocate memory, storage, install operating system etc. on the virutal machines.
Once you have the virtualization software with the management software to easily provision virtual machines, throw in Internet connectivity and you have a cloud - - the term is used because in network diagrams, the Internet is typically depicted by a cloud. You could say “virtualization + great Internet connectivity” = cloud computing - - BECAUSE now users can access your computing resources from anywhere and make use of the capabilities.
All the other terms you hear about cloud computing - - relating to types of service such as infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, or software as a service or <insert your favorite application name> as a cloud… AND terms relating to how they are deployed (read “for whom”) such as public cloud, community cloud, or government cloud or hybrid cloud or, again, insert <your favorite qualifer> cloud (such as Joe’s cloud or Jane and Mary’s cloud) are just qualfiers... at the heart, each must be a “cloud” as I explained earlier -- use virtualization, be able to create and provision virtual machines easily, and have great Internet connectivity.

Here are some more things to help you..

I had presented a talk on cloud computing (it was about IT and Network convergence, which, when I began developing became a presentation on cloud computing) that you may find helpful Below are the slides and then I have the 30-minute video in two parts (had to split into two 15-minute parts) of my talk based on the presentation.

After you skim through the slides (there are only 15 slides :-) you can watch the videos below:
Part 1 of KISDI talk Nov 2010

Part 2 of KISDI talk Nov 2010
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How I record videos at home

By now you’ve seen a few of the videos I have posted and I think I should briefly describe how I record these at home. That way, you can do the same, if you want to...

You have probably noticed how I raise my hand to turn the camera off at the end of my videos. That’s because there is no one in the room helping me with the recording. Luckily the digital amera I am using - - a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 model - - seems to work out best at arm’s length, so I can reach the start/stop button easily.
Besides the digital camera, which I already had, all I had to do is spend about $40 to buy were three clamp-on lights from the local hardware store. I bought two 10-inch ones  for the Key and Fill lights and one 8-inch one for the backlight - - the Key light with a 100W equivalent Compact Fluorescent Light bulb is at 45 degrees to the left in front of me, the Fill light with a 60W equivalent bulb is at 45 degrees to my right, again, in front. The backlight is slightly behind me, to my left. I clipped on white handkerchiefs in front of each light because the light was too bright otherwise. I think the light is still not that great, as one of my friends already told me, so I plan to tweak it either through camera settings or by moving the lights back some more.
For the backdrop, I clipped on some dark sheets on a bookshelf behind me. I sit on a bench and put the camera on a tripod on a small desk placed in front of me.
Behind the camera desk, I put a small LCD TV facing me that I connected the camera’s Audio-Video output to the TV. That way, the TV becomes my monitor to check on what the video looks like. The camera displays the recording time, so that display on the monitor also cues me when my time’s up.
With all that set, I sit down, turn the camera on, make sure I appear centered in the monitor, then press the Start button and start recording... that’s all there is to it. :-)

Here are some more things to help you get going...

Here are links to some the items I used for my setup. Of course, you probabaly already have a digital camera that can capture video, but, if not, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 was great... or consider the newer DMC-LX5... and you may want to get an AC adapter (model number DMW-AC5PP) so that the battery does not run out while you record video. And you need a high-capacity SD memory card to record those videos as well.
You know, with Amazon's free shipping for orders over $25, I would have definitely ordered what I needed from Amazon instead of running around local hardware stores :-)

Naba Barkakati's three-minute vidoes (NBTMV)

I have started posting 3-minute videos on Youtube on various topics. In my first posting, I described what I intend to do:

I started this blog to post the transcripts and other helpful information related to each 3-minute video, as well as the video itself. Hope you enjoy the convenience :-)

To learn more about my video recording setup at home, see NB-TMV: How I record videos at home