From the Assistant’s Chair: Sell Your Crap!

So you’re at the local drive-in, sitting in your hot rod with a swell filly named Loralane, and you’re necking her like there’s no tomorrow. Then the roller skating waitress glides up to your car and asks if you’d like the Moon Over My Hammy special, and Loralane says she won’t go to the box social with you this Saturday night unless you get her some grub. ┬áBut you reach in your pockets, pull them completely inside-out until a moth comically flies out, and it indicates to both Loralane and the roller skating waitress that you are not only broke, but you’re too poor to even afford a wallet to not hold the money you don’t have in the first place. Then she goes off with Butch from the Green Cobras on his dirt bike, and you go crying home while “Earth Angel” by Marvin Berry ominously plays from a mysterious location in the distance.

You know what your biggest problem was? That’s right, associating with those dastardly Green Cobras in the first place! Second biggest problem? You need a bunch of money! Well, if you’re in charge of your own post-production company then you are bound to have a ton of out of date equipment, because this industry is a constantly upgrading, uphill climb. And the higher you climb, the harder it will become to keep carrying all of your old stuff that you barely use anymore. So sell it!

Read moreFrom the Assistant’s Chair: Sell Your Crap!

The Dark Side of DROBO


IMPORTANT NOTE: This post was updated on Wednesday; November 4, 2009 with new information regarding resizing partitions on the Drobo using iPartition.

As brought to my attention by reader Bradley Davidson (thanks Bradley), iPartition does not actually support the method that I mentioned, and neither does drobo directly.

In my testing, I performed the resizing operation on a newly formatted drive that didn’t have any data (since I had just lost all of my data that was on the drobo). If you try to resize a partition as outlined in this post, you WILL LOSE YOUR DATA. So don’t try it. In theory it was a great idea, but apparently this too will cause problems.

You can find more information on the iPartition website, as well as from Drobo. Like we’ve pointed out many times, we’re also learning here at SuiteTake so thanks for the feedback.

Before I start, let me just say that I am a Drobo fan. I have 2 of them (an original USB and a newer FW version) and plan to purchase more Drobo’s in the not too distant future. Overall I’ve had a great experience with the units and when I needed assistance their tech support was very helpful.

All of that being said, there is a dirty little secret that they don’t warn you about and if you’re not careful you can have your Drobo crash beyond recovery, which is what happened to me this past week. I lost nearly 4 TB of files and there was nothing I could do to get them back. If you own a Drobo, this is a must read.

Read moreThe Dark Side of DROBO

OPINION: Even If You’re Cheap, Don’t Cheap Out On Your Hard Drives


Hard drives the single most important piece of tech we use as digital media professionals. When you think about it, every bit of work you do is saved to these mechanical/magnetic devices spinning at thousands of RPMs. You may spend hours, days, weeks or even months on a project – and all the time you’re trusting that the drives do not fail you. If you really let your mind dwell on it you may actually start to lose sleep!

Having regular backups is important enough (that’s for another day, another post) but how about starting with a quality drive system? I’ve seen too many people buy drives for their edit systems based on price and price alone, only to be burned and burned bad. It’s like shopping around for a heart surgeon and going with the cheapest guy.

drnick

“Hi everybody!” “Hi Dr. Nick!”

I was told a story about an editor that was working on a big show for the Discovery channel for over 3 months, and 5 days before he was to master the show his drive system went down and all was lost. Every bit. There was no way to recover 3 months of work in time to make the broadcast date so they not only lost the job and all future work from Discovery, but 3 months of revenue that they had already worked for. Just pause and think about that. That’s the kind of thing that some companies can never recover from.

At Edit Creations we have a job that we do every year that lasts from January through the end of June (2 rooms, 5 days a week), creating multiple videos and various programs that all play at a show in July. Whenever we start to come down that home stretch I remember that story and start to get a bit nervous. I’m always making sure that our backups are in good shape.

This post is all about making sure the drives you buy are worthy of the work that you’re doing. Or more importanly, that you avoid the drives that are not.

Read moreOPINION: Even If You’re Cheap, Don’t Cheap Out On Your Hard Drives

The SuiteTake App Store

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And now, introducing the SuiteTake App Store! Well, ok not really. It just seams as though everybody is getting rich selling apps these days so why not jump up on that band-wagon? The proliferation of the iPhone App Store, and the many others imitators from Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and on and on, it’s important to take a step back every now and then and remember that they still do make cool apps for regular computers too. And it may be hard to believe but some of them actually aren’t flashlights.

The following is a brief list of 5 cool apps that we just love to have on all our Macs. All 5 are what I would call utility and workflow type apps, they’re not things like After Effects or Firefox, apps that are essentially the core function of your Mac. These are little ditties that just make life, and work, that much easier.

Everyone goes through a learning curve when it come to technology and computers. You begin as a novice and learn more and more over time until you become very streamlined and efficient with the tasks you do everyday, whether it’s crunching spreadsheets or compositing layers. Even though the latest and greatest versions of OSX and Windows have come a long way to improving upon the efficient user experience they still leave a lot of things up to third parties to fill in the gaps. For most of us there will come a time in our learning curve where we have become so advanced and efficient that our software actually gets in our way, we can think and process what we want to do much faster than we can type and click. These few apps go a long way in solving these types of problems.

Read moreThe SuiteTake App Store

Windows 7 Premium Upgrade for $50, For Now Anyway

So while it’s true that I am in fact a Mac Addict, I also consider myself a well rounded computer nerd. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that I’ve been using the beta version of Windows 7 almost since it came out. While most of what I do is on the Mac, there’s no avoiding using the accounting computer when I do invoicing and receivables (yes I know there is QB for the Mac but there are many issues with it and that’s a whole different conversation). And I can tell you from personal experience that Visa has been pretty slow and buggy for me.

Another way we use Windows is to check WMV files. While you can check them using Flip4Mac, VLC Player and the really outdated Windows Media Player for Mac, there are technical issues with all of all of these when it comes to doing a 100% QC check. In recent weeks we’ve had to watch over 100 VMV files, start to finish, to check them before sending them out for a huge Wachout presentation. The only true method we found of checking them, with confidence, was installing Boot Camp onto one of our machines and booting into Windows natively. It’s amazing how much better the files looked, and how much more smoothly they would play in that environment.

So when the free beta version of Windows came out a few months ago and I started hearing good things about it, I decided to give it a try. I installed it as both a virtual machine on my MBP, as well as a Boot Camp volume natively. What really struck me was that running Windows 7 under virtualation inside the Mac OS was actually faster than running Vista natively on our accounting PC (a 2 year old laptop).

When running in under Boot Camp, it screams and feels very fast and fluid.

I wasn’t planning on sharing this on the blog but recently Microsoft did something they’ve never done before. They lowered the price for all pre-orders to $50 for a upgrade version of Windows Home Premium. That means if you have a copy of XP or Vista, you can upgrade for $50 for a limited time. Once the software is released on October, the price goes up to $119. Full versions are $199 and up.

So if you have a PC in your life, this is worth buying. If you’re not sure, download the Public Beta of it now and run it using Boot Camp or Sun VirtualBox. Both are free! If you like it, get on board and buy it before the price more then doubles. It’s what Vista always wanted to be. I purchased 2 copies, one to run on my laptop in virtual mode, and one for our QC Boot Camp machine.

And don’t hate me because I use a PC. I’m still a Mac at heart.

Click here to buy it on Amazon.com


Recommended Reading: The Knack


For several years now I’ve made it a habit to read business periodicals as well as business books. As a business owner I feel it’s imperative to learn from those with more experience than myself, and I have to say I enjoy it more then I would have ever imagined. I keep up to date with Inc. Magazine and read between 4 and 10 business books a year. Some are good, some not so good, but I always seem to walk away with something of value.

It’s been quite some time since I was really excited about a business book, but I just finished reading one that I thought I would share. The book is called “The Knack:How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up“, and is written by Norm Brodsky, Bo Burlingham, both writers at Inc. Magazine.

Read moreRecommended Reading: The Knack