Creative Communications

26 August, 2009

Google Custom Search into YubNub

Ok, we all love Google Custom Search, but if only it was easier to access the power underneath the hood. YubNub to the rescue!

First, you need an easy way to use YubNub, my favorite way is through an application or input driven URL launcher. Alternatively, you can place

in the Firefox about:config setting “keyword.URL” for awesome bar access.

about:config setting keyword.URL in FF3

about:config setting keyword.URL in FF3

Second, you need to make, or utilize, a Google Custom Search. The specifics of that are up to you to decipher.

Third, go to “manage your existing search engines” from the GCSE main page. Click on the link for the search engine you want to YubNub and query some simple garbage, like “asdf”, and it will likely return this :


That’s ok, it’s the URL we’re after (your cx numbers will be different).

Pay special attention to the q variable. Hey, that’s my query! That means I can do almost anything with this URL! Drop it into QuickSilver, make a keyword based search for FireFox, or put it into YubNub!

Simply replace the “asdf” in your URL with a “%s” and you’re ready to rock with every possibility I’ve described above.

My first one was a Javascript Reference that shortens to “jsr”, fyi.

6 April, 2009

Configuring a Contour Shuttle Pro for Final Cut Pro – Part 2 – Rough Cut Assembly

Filed under: Final Cut / Video,Uncategorized,Work Adaptations — Tags: , , , , — Sean Canton @ 12:34 pm
Final Cut Pro

Image via Wikipedia

One of the most important parts of any machine interface is it’s ability to generate muscle memories, laid down over thousands of repetitions, which is why having a dedicated controller for audio & video can be very productive, if utilized correctly. The buttons you use become an extension of your mind, and you can operate your software in a more efficient manner. It becomes very tao, as you learn to act without thought. So, it’s important that the button layout be consistent and not change often.

Yet, the workflow of video editing requires several different modes, which requires several different configurations for the shuttle pro. So, careful considerations must be made when planning (yes, the P word), your software configuration to make sure that the buttons you choose are related between the settings.

For this workflow, we will investigate what I call Rough Cut Assembly, which involves parsing through hours of footage and culling out what might be usable shots. Mostly you’re working in the Viewer window and doing very little on the timeline. The objective here is to turn long footage captures into smaller chunks.

The relevant FCP commands:

  • Make SubClip – Takes In-Out and Creates a Browser entry with it
  • Add Marker – Hit twice when stopped to add a name for the clip.
  • Extend Marker – Helps to define a marker over an area
  • In / Out (of course) – Bread & Butter for Editors
  • Next / Prev Marker (shift up + down) – Hint, assign a button to shift
  • Insert/Overlay – For assembling a rough edit
  • Toggle Windows – Switch between Viewer / Timeline

Of course, you should find what works best for you. For shorter projects, that go right to the timeline, I use this workflow.

  1. Open clip in viewer
  2. Mark in/out
  3. Insert
  4. Toggle Windows (from Timeline to Viewer)

Otherwise, if your project is a little more involved you’ll want to mark save to sub-clips and name them appropriately to find later. You will have to trim the out point with this method, but it’s the fastest way I can think of to chop up a lengthy clip into usable, named chunks.

  1. Do a quick pass, stop and add marker at the in point (hit 2x to name)
    Edit Marker
  2. Select markers in Browser
    Multi select
  3. Create SubClip (Modify > Create Subclip , or cmd-u)

If you really wanted to be a pro, you could edit the order of your clips by manipulating the alphabetical sorting when making your markers. That way you have a rough cut before even touching the timeline! Just drag your clips, en masse to the timeline, and the sort order in the browser determines how they are laid out.

For configuring the shuttle, you might want to horizontally flip my suggestions if you use it right handed.

Top-left, outer – Add Marker
Top-left, inner – Extend Marker
Top-right, inner – Insert
Top-right, outer – Toggle Windows
Mid-left – Up Arrow (Or Shift – Up if you only want to scan markers)
Mid-center – JKL
Mid-right – Right Arrow (Or Shift – Down)
Left – In
Right – Out
Bottom Upper Right – Shift ( If you set the mid-left and right to arrows )
Bottom Lower Right – Make Sub Clip
– The next two are rarely used, because it’s a wrist tweak or a thumb under
Bottom Upper Left – Freeze Frame / Play in-out / play around (or whatever else is useful)
Bottom Lower Left – Switch Settings

We covered jog/wheel settings in Part 1.

Ok, that’s it for this installment. If this was of help to you, or if you have any useful input, I would really appreciate a comment. Seriously, the primary motivation for this was because someone left a comment on the first post.

29 October, 2008

A Methodology for Approaching New Frameworks

Filed under: Insights,Using Experience,Work Adaptations — Tags: , , — Sean Canton @ 12:49 pm

How many frameworks have I wrapped my head around, Symfony, Ruby on Rails, Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, and now, I’ve been tasked with porting a classified ad module from phpBB2 to phpBB3. In approaching a foreign framework and trying to understand it’s workings as a whole I almost gave up several times. Looking at it from the outside in, I find it overwhelming to try to understand how it all ties together from a big picture point of view.
That’s just my uninformed approach, because I feel like I have to understand all I can before jumping into the pool. This isn’t the right approach, and my hope is that by committing this to bytes, I’ll change it next time around and save myself some time. Maybe save you some time too.
The right approach is systematic, and involves a step-by-step understanding of how a single element is rendered on a page and interacted with.

1) After installation and basic configuration find the index file and it’s associated code, language files and templates.
2) Work your way backwards from a specific element in the body of the document. Title tags are part of the header and are often a level removed from the index template.
3) Find the template variables in the code, and where that information is pulled from.
4) Learning a new framework is akin to learning a new programming language, in that it’s not the function that matters. Loops, conditionals, and variables are the same idea no matter where you are. It’s the language you use to access these ideas. So pay attention to:

  • How template variables are set
  • How database calls are made
  • How are session variables handled

Basically, everything that has to do with the movement of information is worth paying attention to because the whole point of using a framework is because those pathways are already created for you to use.

5) Learn about custom functions. I find it’s useful to keep a untampered copy of a framework available locally to search through for functions.

6) Identify your global classes. Finally, we’re back to the bigger picture. Global classes are the super-objects used to pass information around and reference it easily within the code. For me at least, I had to see the classes ‘in action’ before I could begin to fully understand what their purpose was.

This might be phpbb3 specific, but that’s where my head is right now. I think the basic ideas could apply to other frameworks however.

That’s it, now I have to get back to porting.

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