Why I Will Buy an iPad Mini

[Update: Ordered 32GB Wifi version and it will be here Nov 2nd.]

On Friday I will order an iPad Mini. Here’s why:

I’m an Apple fan. I’ll admit it. I have a little white Apple sticker on my car. I am typing on a MacBook Pro. I have an iPhone 5. My son has an iPod Nano with a watch case. My wife has an iPod Nano (older generation), We have an iPod Touch. I have an iPad 1 (64GB, 3G). I like Apple products. Obviously, we don’t buy everything they make, but we do choose them for many of our electronic desires.

I like the quality of their stuff. There is a reason that Mac computers cost more, and still sell well. There’s a reason that iPads and iPhones sell so well. The interface is great, the quality is great. Their products do what most people want and need. And they do it without complications.

Someone mentioned this to me yesterday, and it is so very true. Apple announces a product, and then delivers it a few weeks later. They don’t talk about prototypes and what they will hopefully deliver, they just deliver. The iPad mini is announced and I will own one the first week of November.

I’m cheap. I like technology, but I am not rich. I can’t buy the latest greatest everything. I still use an iPad 1. I got that device when I worked at a church. They bought it for me. And I got the biggest, baddest version available. When I left, the 3rd gen iPad was already out and they let me take the iPad 1 with me. Which is good because I wasn’t going to be able to upgrade myself. I can’t just drop $600 on a tablet.

In fact, in order to finance the purchase of the iPad Mini, I’m selling the iPad 1 and some other stuff. I’m giving up the screen size, but look at what I’m getting.

The iPad Mini either meets or surpasses the iPad 2’s tech specs. It has cameras, faster processing, runs iOS6 and all my apps. Even Siri. My iPad 1 is discontinued and can’t update to iOS6. I get a lot, and give up a little size. Which I actually like.

I want the form factor and my apps. I own a Nook Tablet. Actually, now I’m selling it. When I first got it I was sure I would be using it all the time. I really liked the smaller size (compared to my iPad) and was just sure it would be my new favorite tablet. And while I did carry it around for a while, I went back to my iPad. I wasn’t a huge fan of the interface. I could read all the same books using my Nook app on the iOS devices. (and read iBooks and Kindle as well) Forget typing on the thing. Not because it’s small, I type on my iPhone all the time. The keyboard just didn’t work very well for me. I had planned to use Evernote on the Nook, but couldn’t get past the keyboard.

I wanted to carry a smaller tablet. I ended up using my iPhone more. I didn’t want to lose my apps. I didn’t want to adjust to a new interface.

So now, the iPad Mini comes out. I won’t buy the 3G version. I have used 3G on my iPad a total of 3 times in the years I’ve owned it. I expected to use it all the time, but I just don’t need it. And because of cost, I won’t get the 64GB version.

I wish the iPad Mini had come in starting at $299. Would have loved $249. But when the specs were as good or better than the iPad 2 which is priced $70 more, I get the price. The $329 price settles in the range of Apple products nicely. New iPod Touch is $299. Larger iPad Mini is $329. iPad 2 is $399.

The only way it could have been in the $200-249 range is if they severely reduced the capability of the device, and made it out of cheaper material. Think about it, if they had released a bulkier, cheaper made 7″ tablet, people would be complaining about how poor the product was. They would rightly be pointing out that this isn’t the brand that Apple has built. People want Apple quality. And now that they have it, some pundits and blogs are complaining about the price tag.

I learned something about shopping a long time ago: If you can’t tell the difference between products, buy the cheaper one. If you can, by the better one.

I have (soon “had”) a cheaper 7″ tablet. I don’t use it. The Apple products are better. So now, I will buy a better small tablet. And I will be making a significant upgrade from my iPad 1. I haven’t been this hyped about a new Apple product since the iPad first came out.

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A Quick Pluraleyes 2 Review

So, since I’m in post production on my show with a truncated timetable, I wanted to get a program to speed up syncing all the video with audio. I had heard great things about Pluraleyes.

So I snagged a fully functional trial version. (I used Pluraleyes 2 because 3 wasn’t out yet. Looks like they released version 3.)

In a word: Awesome.

When I shot the pilot it took me 3 days to sync all the cameras and audio by hand. I synced 5 entire episodes in a day and a half. Really, it was more like 8 or 9 hours. I cannot tell you what a big deal this is. I can now be about the business of actually editing the scenes together.

I will be buying the retail version.

My workflow: Shoot with two HDSLRs and record audio to a Zoom H4n. Convert the h.264 raw files from the HDSLRs to Apple pro res 422 in Mpeg Stream Clip (trim and label each clip as I go). Import into Final Cut Pro 7. And now use Pluraleyes to sun two cameras and the Zoom audio.

Couple of warnings: You can push the program too far. If you have a lot of similar sounding clips, it can confuse the program. I had a few clips it just couldn’t sync. but they are easily placed by hand. It takes a lot less time to place a couple clips than to place them all.

Also, make sure your audio guy is rolling before the cameras start, and after they stop. If the audio is shorter than the video clips, you will end up with two synced videos and an unsynced audio clip. You can go back and placed the two video clips by hand, but it’s simpler if you just make sure the audio is rolling before and after each take. Plenty of pre- and post- roll on your audio tracks will help Pluraleyes do its job.

Saying “No” to the Good, Waiting for the Great

Today I said, “No.”

It was a good opportunity. But it just wasn’t the right time.

I have been producing a Christian sitcom, and working on getting it placed in various outlets. And working on how to generate revenue from it so we can afford to do more.

I had called a few advertising agencies, but this isn’t what they do. So I acted as my own agent and called a couple of local channels. Looking for local insertion, paid time, that would let me sell spots inside my own show. I found one. Decent channel. They agreed to let me do what I wanted, at a decent, but not amazing price in a decent but not amazing time slot.

Based on my estimates, assuming I could sell the ads slots, I would clear between $2000-2600 for the broadcast. Not a small amount, but less than what I had raised to do the first episodes. Definitely not enough to hire some one to sell the time, so I would be the sales guy… and the main post guy.

I really wanted to make this work. I wanted to be able to point to this as an example of how the model could work in other markets. I still think it’s a possibility, but not right now. I spent a lot of time praying and thinking on this, and never got comfortable with the cost versus amount of work. Never got comfortable with the timing.

So, today I let them know I wouldn’t be buying the time right now. It is good to know it is possible. But if I moved forward right now it would be through sheer force of will and charisma. I could make it sort of work, I’m sure. But it wouldn’t be what God has waiting for us down the road.

So I said no to something good, and will wait on something great.