Screenflow screencast tutorials on partial desktop and iOS recording

Last year, I got into screencasting a little, thanks to Screenflow. Lately, I’ve had the itch to create again, and made a few more. One on how to record specific portions of your desktop, to easily create screencasts of a certain size, without changing your resolution:

…and another on how to create iOS screen recordings without jailbreaking, using Reflector:

One thing I’ve leaned is that it’s going to take me a lot more practice to sound genuine and spontaneous in my narration without flubbing my lines. I spent hours trying to read off of a script for the Reflector one, until I rage quit for the night, only to have it go much more smoothly when I mostly ad libbed it the second time around, just going by a rough outline of what I wanted to say.

I’ve been playing around with editing a little to find a style suitable for app reviews. I may actually ditch Screenflow for the editing part if I keep up with this, and use Final Cut Pro and Motion instead.

Now hosted with Digital Ocean

I’ve been shamefully overpaying Linode for my blog and Rails hosting needs when I wasn’t actually getting much use out of the $40/month I was sending their way for 2 VPSs. In a recent thread on Google+, James Williams pointed out Digital Ocean‘s amazingly low priced, SSD backed hosting offering that starts at $5/month. I get more traffic and the same memory at a quarter of Linode’s price per instance. The only drawback is you only get 1 core vs. Linode’s 4, but even with WordPress and Rails running on a single, 515 meg VPS, everything seems to be holding up well so far. I can always bump things up to $10/month to double the memory (or $20 to double the cores).

Plus during my migration, their Head of Product, Moisey Uretsky, quickly answered a support ticket I’d filed over the weekend in minutes. Amazing service!

So, hello Digital Ocean, and hello $35/month less expenditure!

Screencast: Creating animated GIFs from video clips

Another screencast trial run, this time on a topic I wrote about on Google+ a while back: creating animated GIFs from YouTube videos, using Chrome YouTube Downloader extension and GIFBrewery:

I’m still trying to find a good screencasting flow here, and this one is heavily edited. I didn’t run the audio through Garageband this time to adjust it either.

As a YouTuber, I think I’m supposed to say ‘be sure to like the video blah blah blah…’. Did I say that right?

More Joost Schuur than you can shake a stick at

Until there’s more from me on this brand new blog, you might want to check out some of my other social media presences, where I’ve been posting for a while now.

I’ve been increasingly active on Google+ lately, where you can expect me to talk about Google+ functionality analysis in particular, gaming topics in general and even find the occasional inspirational piece. Don’t worry, I barely ever share cute kittens pics, although you’re a terrible person for not liking them. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to be making a few new Internet friends over there, largely thanks to the conversation model.

I’m also experimenting with a few niche pages on Google+ for content curation, including Mars exploration news at Martian Soil, a Backbone.js page and something covering the growing phenomenon of teaching coding to the masses.

I’ve been on Twitter almost since the service launched over five years ago and my updates there tend to me more casual, sometimes funny, sometimes observational or cross-promotional. I’ve definitely learned to loath the 140 character limit and cherish the ability to elaborate on Google+. There’s also a Martian Soil Twitter account, which covers the same content as the Google+ page.

And, if you’re a personal friend, feel free to send a request on Facebook too. I only add people there that I’ve met in real life, or in some cases have worked with professionally for an extended period of time. The account is open for subscriptions, but I rarely make public updates.

Less frequent updates happen on YouTube (although that’s changing), Hacker News, Stack Overflow, Pinterest (still trying to figure out if it fits in with my daily routine) or Instagram. I probably have an account on the latest nerdy social media niche site by the time you read this too.

Adventures in Screencasting

I’ve been dabbling a little with screencasting lately, both because they’re an excellent way to teach new skills like in my Pixelmator tutorial for creating intro graphics or narrate an experience that you’re trying to bring across visually, like in my demonstration of a Minecraft wheat farm that I built.

I got a Blue Microphone Yeti mic, which I started using in the Pixelmator tutorial, but am still figuring out how to fine tune it. I also have a long ways to go on my presentation style, because I still flub some of the things I’m trying to say, and have more ahs and uhms than I’d like in the video. At this point I’d rather get something out sooner than later, instead of trying to get it just perfect right off the bat.

I also learned that until you’re a YouTube Partner, you can’t fully control the thumbnail people see on YouTube, unless you resort to hacks. The latter involves stretching the video to include your preferred thumbnail at the end of it for long enough that it’s included in the 3/4 point that YouTube uses to select its third thumbnail, and then trimming the video again to remove the extra bulk you added, after you’ve picked that as the thumbnail image to use. Even then, the old thumbnail is cached for a long time (it still hasn’t updated for me after a day), and apparently, editing anything else from your video will overwrite the thumbnail choice.

Pixelmator Tutorial: Creating YouTube intro screens

Minecraft Automated Wheat Farm Tutorial With Pistons

Finally, here’s a bumper image I made for the end of my future screencasts. I’m really milking my newfound gradient/drop shadow/text outline skills hard until I take an arrow in the knee ;)