Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Accessing youTube HQ and HD modes

I'm just writing this entry as a little reminder for myself, but if you find it useful too then that's superb!

By default YouTube plays their low quality version of all videos and external applications also fetch this low quality version by default.

I'll actually use a real video from my music video collection for this.

To view "Esprit Sur Un Voyage" in any web browser, embedded player, or fetch application the URL is as follows:


To view a higher quality version of this same video, &fmt=18 has to be appended to the end of the video URL. I've noticed that while the video image quality still suffers notably at this setting the audio goes from low quality mono to good quality stereo. sample as follows:


And finally to view to video in 720p HD, the original quality of the video, &fmt=22 has to be appended to the end of the URL as follows:


If there is only a High Quality version of a video but no HD version fmt=18 will work but fmt=22 will do nothing and the video will run at low quality. Likewise if there is no high quality version of a video at all the fmt= setting does nothing at all.

There! Now it's in a nice easy to access place so I won't forget about it!

These tag additions don't appear to work in embeds, but they do work for fetch applications.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ward-Studios presents the 2008 Sampler.

Ward-Studios presents the 2008 Sampler.

Below are embeded YouTube links to all 6 videos on the DVD

Scene 1: Tiny Bouncing Objects

Scene 2: Space Station #9 Club Remix

Scene 3: The Calm After the Storm

Scene 4: Glide

Scene 5: Space Station #9

Scene 6: Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring

I hope that you will enjoy each video. Please note that the videos on my YouTube site are actually done in high quality. If you visit my channel there you can view these and more music videos featuring my music and photography as well as watch many of them in high quality 720p HD with CD quality sound. Here is the direct link to my channel:

Please go, enjoy, rate high, and comment on as many videos as you would like!

So This is My Birthday

I've been up to so much lately. Work has still been as slow as molasses. Since I've dramatically cut back on the amount of time I play World of Warcraft I've been finding myself with lots of time to do other things.

Since I don't have a huge amount of money to spend buying people extravagant gifts this year I decided instead to spend some time and create a gift for them which will hopefully be something they will enjoy and cherish for years and years to come.

The gift is called "Ward-Studios 2008 Sampler" and contains a DVD, personalized CD, and Christmas card all contained inside of a standard DVD case. Here are some pictures of the final product. This one was personalized for my Aunt Marge.

Here is the Front Cover:

The Back of the Cover:

The Face of the DVD:

The DVD and Card Inside the Case:

The Inside of the Card, Personalized with CD:

The DVD contains 6 videos which I will post in a new blog entry after I have finished this one. The CD contains 6 Christmas time pieces. All the songs on the CD were arranged and produced by myself at my music studio, Ward-Studios. The last of the 6 songs was also composed by myself for the joy of the season.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Light Shows

In the beginning this amazing fellow created his own sequence to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's amazing smash hit, Wizards of Winter.

The video itself went on to become a smash hit. Visitors from all over would drive to see the spectacle themselves. News stations featured it on the air. It has even appeared in a television commercial. But the bulk of views come from various posts of it on the YouTube video site.

Since then many many people have created various light shows. Commercial drive kits have even been developed now so that anyone with a little creativity, some cash, and lots of time can buy one and create similar displays on their own home.

Following are some of my all time favorite displays:

Another wonderful Trans-Siberian Orchestra hit, Appalachian Snowfall:

The following Holdman displays are among the best I've ever seen online.

An amazing remix of Frank Mills' classic smash hit, Music Box Dancer:

Music Box Dancer - Holdman Christmas Display 2007 from Richard Holdman on Vimeo.

Theme from A Miracle on 34th St.

Miracle from 34th Street - Computer Controlled Christmas Lights from Richard Holdman on Vimeo.

Amazing Grace Remix:

Amazing Grace Techno - Computer Controlled Christmas Lights from Richard Holdman on Vimeo.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Frying a Turkey ~ Day 2

Frying a Turkey ~ Day 2: Frying the turkey

We did not end up cooking the turkey on Saturday as I had anticipated, but instead cooked it on Sunday. The extra day of marinating made it so good! Anyways, on with the turkey frying adventure.

The first thing I did was remove the turkey from the fridge about 2 hours before it was time to cook it. It didn't get to room temperature or anything like that, but it allowed it to warm up a couple of degrees. This slight warming prevents some of the splatter when placing the uncooked bird into the heated oil. After the turkey had been out for 1 hour I loaded the fryer with about 4 gallons of peanut oil and set it to heat the oil to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. It took about another hour to heat the oil. Once the oil had reached 400 degrees I unwrapped the turkey and placed it in the frying basket.

To place the turkey into the oil I used a metal hook which came with the fryer. I didn't just dump the turkey into the oil on one motion because this almost always results in excessive splatter causing oil to leap out of the fryer. If that happens aside from the obvious mess that would have to be cleaned up, there is a very good chance of getting burned by the hot oil. So I lowered the basket about 1 inch into the oil, then lifted it for a moment to allow the skin to get seared. Then I lowered it again, a few more inches and the lifted it again. By doing this 4 or 5 times the skin becomes warmed and seared, helping to reduce the oil splatter. There is always going to be some splatter, so as I lowered the turkey into the oil the final time I had the lid for the frying ready in my left hand. As soon as I had lowered the turkey into the oil I quickly placed the lid over top to contain almost all of the splattering oil.

Next I set the timer on the fryer by telling it how big the turkey was. In this case it came to 13.75 pounds, so I punched it in and let it fry. It took about 1 hour to fry the turkey in this case. I've used this fryer several times now and trust the timer to be pretty accurate as long as I entered the weight of the bird correctly. I still went back after 30 minutes to check on it to make sure everything was looking good. It looked good and smelled fantastic!

Another 30 minutes passed and the alarm went off to notify my the frying was completed and the bird was cooked all the way through. I picked up the hook and lifted the basket carefully out of the oil, hooking it on to the edge of the fryer as it was designed to do. Even though I trust the timer on this thing, I still wanted to be sure the turkey was cook thoroughly and ready for consumption, so I grabbed our trusty meat thermometer and double checked the internal temperature of one of the breasts. 160 degrees, perfect!

I left the turkey to cool for about 30 minutes because handling it immediately after it came out of the oil would have been very difficult due to the high temperature. After 30 minutes I removed the turkey from the basket onto a platter in preparation to carve it.

First I removed the leg, and then the thigh, and finally the wing. And then I started slicing the breast directly from the turkey rather than removing it first. I just find it easier to do it this way.

And that was it! We sat down and enjoyed a fantastic and delicious turkey dinner! The marinade was visible in the meat and it was so very flavorful. I can honestly say I really enjoyed our dinner. The turkey was so moist and tasty.

Thanks for reading, come back soon for my next random post, whatever it may be.