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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

How To Easily Change the Sound Volume and Source in macOS Big Sur.

 How To Easily Change the Sound Volume and Source in macOS Big Sur.

Use the new Control Center option in the Menu Bar.
















YouTube Video:

Sunday, November 22, 2020

How To: Add Application menu actions to Apple Magic Keyboard.

How To: Add Application menu actions to Apple Magic Keyboard.
System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts
CLICK App Shortcuts
CLICK +
SELECT 'Application' from drop down menu.
TYPE 'Menu Title'
PRESS 'FUNCTION KEY'
In this example I added a the Safari menu item 'BACK' to 'F13'.






















It worked!

How To: Mac OS Big Sur 11.0.1 - How to Connect Beats Flex Wireless Earphones

When I tried to use my Beats Flex Wireless Earphones on Mac OS Big Sur 11.0.1, System Preferences > Bluetooth told me that they were 'Not Connected.'








I had paired them, but they were not playing music.









Looking into it further, I found that I had to DOUBLE CLICK 'Beats Flex' in System Preferences > Sound to get it to work.

Problem: Mac OS Big Sur 11.0.1 - Your Mac was unable to communicate with your Apple Watch.

In Mac OS Big Sur 11.0.1, I can't get my MacBook Pro to recognize my Apple Watch.

Others are having the same problem.

System Preferences > Security and Privacy:

"Use your apple watch to unlock apps on your Mac."











"Your Mac was unable to communicate with your Apple Watch."

Problem: Big Sur Mac OS 11.0.1 USB Keyboard Not Recognized.

Problem: Big Sur Mac OS 11.0.1 USB Keyboard Not Recognized.

Solution: Buy Bluetooth Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad - US English - Silver. 😉
https://amzn.to/3pTDQAw (affiliate link) and



Saturday, November 21, 2020

How To Fix iPhone 11 Pro Max WiFi Connection Issues

iPhone 11 Pro Max has trouble connecting to, and staying connected to, known WiFi networks that other devices have to issue with.

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250659429?page=1


Here's how to fix it based on the comments on the Apple Support Thread. It worked for me, I hope it works for you

First, Your iPhone has VPN. (Virtual Private Network)

That was news to me. I know you used to have to buy a subscription to a VPN service. Now, VPN is in SETTINGS.

Turn off VPN.

Turn off your router.

Turn off your iPhone.

Wait a minute.

Turn on the router.

Turn on the iPhone.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

HOW TO: Use Xfinity xFi Gateway with Orbi Mesh Router and Satellites in AP (Access Point) Mode

Xfinity xFi Features with Orbi

I've had the Orbi mesh WiFi system for a long time, and up until now, the only way to use it on an Xfinity network, as far I knew, was to put the Xfinity Gateway into Bridge Mode. By doing that, you loose many of the neat Xfinity network management and virus protection features. 

But now I've found a way to Put the Netgear Orbi into AP (Access Point) mode. 

Note: You loose some Orbi features by doing this. 

From a web browser, you go to orbilogin.net and then go to ADVANCED > Advanced Setup > Router/AP Mode, and SELECT the AP Mode radio button.












After that, Reboot the Gateway, then, from a computer connected the the Xfinity Gateway, via a hardwired cable, Go to 10.0.0.1 in a browser, Login to the Xfinity Admin page, and DISABLE Bridge Mode.

Then, reboot all your Orbi's

After a while everything will come back. If your speed does not improve, reboot the Gateway.

Results:

First test on Fast.com was 100 Mbps, and that still wasn't right, so I rebooted the Gateway, and when it came back up, I was at 270 Mbps down, 37 Mbps up. 

That was better. 

Now I had the Orbi's using AP (Access Point) mode. The Xfinity iPhone App worked too. I also had my laptop computer directly connected to the Xfinity Gateway.

I also found xfinity.com/myxfi which showed me:

Gateway Test:

Plan Speed: 1,000 Mbps

Speed to Gateway 1,074,3 Mbps

Upload Speed 41.5 Mbps

Latency 9 ms

Test Speed to this device:

Download speed: 477.1 Mbps

Upload Speed: 37.9 Mbps

Latency: 11 ms

Protocol: IPv6

Host: Boston, MA

Speed Test Lookup Device

My MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2011) Expected WiFi Speed is 150-500 Mbps.

I'm going to be getting a new MacBook Air, depending on what is released on November 10th. I think that will help. ;-)

Internet Cable:

I looked up speed ratings on Internet cables and found how the categories of cables are rated:

CategoryMax speed transmissionMax bandwidth
Cat 5100 Mbps100 MHz
Cat 5e1,000 Mbps100 MHz
Cat 61,000 Mbps250 MHz
Cat 6a10,000 Mbps500 MHz

I had a Cat 5 cable, so I switched to a "Cat 7", which is listed at 10,000 Mbps, and is shielded. I think Cat 6, rated at 1,000 Mbps would be enough.

Here's the Fast.com speed test, with the "Cat 7" cable:

Download speed: 280 Mbps

Upload Speed: 36 Mbps

Latency: 9 ms

Xfinity.com Test Speed to this device:

Download speed: 752.2 Mbps


Speed test from Xfinity iPhone App:

Speed test to iPhone 11 Pro Max: 

Download Speed 177.9 Mbps


At what speed and bandwidth can my Orbi system transmit data?

The Orbi WiFi System’s Tri-band WiFi technology includes a dedicated 5 GHz (866 Mbps) band for communication between an Orbi router and satellite. The remaining WiFi bands are used to connect devices to your Orbi system.

The performance you experience depends on the devices, WiFi interference, and the construction materials in your home. In most circumstances, you can expect the following speeds:

  • Up to 400 Mbps for older devices that support 2.4 GHz and 256 QAM
  • Up to 866 Mbps for newer devices that support 5 GHz and 802.11 ac

Conclusion:

I think I'm on the right track, and am glad to have the Xfinity network management featured available. 


Update:

I presented at a conference and got good upload and download speeds, 429/33.
























Update 11/7/20:

Now getting download speeds of 270/450/510/540/260

Monday, September 28, 2020

Early Prime Day Deals - Purchase two Echo Dot Devices for $39.98

Purchase two Echo Dot (3rd Gen) - Smart speaker with Alexa - Charcoal Devices [Affiliate Link] for $39.98. It's a BUY TWO GET ONE FREE DEAL. But it could be confusing.

On the product description it says, "Prime members get 2 for $39.98. Enter code DOTPRIME2PK at checkout."


So if you put one Echo Dot into your basket, and checkout with the code, you get an error, "The promotional code you entered cannot be applied to your purchase. 


Why?

It's because Amazon isn't going to actually give you two when you ORDER ONE, you have to ORDER TWO, ENTER THE CODE, and then one gets discounted, so the total is $39.98.





Tuesday, September 08, 2020

7 Products You Never Knew About That Will Make Your Life Better

Window Screen Repair Kit Tape, CNASA Repair Patches Tape Strong Adhesive & Waterproof Fiberglass Covering Wire mesh Repair for Window Door Mosquito net Tears Holes, Black(15FT)

https://amzn.to/2Gwmfwn [Amazon Affiliate Link]



Sugru Moldable Glue - Original Formula - All-Purpose Adhesive, Advanced Silicone Technology - Holds up to 4.4 lb - Black 8-Pack

https://amzn.to/32aIikJ [Amazon Affiliate Link]



BEMISO 104 Led Solar Lights Outdoor Waterproof Solar Motion Sensor Light Outdoor Powered Decorative for Wall Lights,Deck Lights,Backyard and Garden Solar Lights(2PCS)

https://amzn.to/2ZhHw3y [Amazon Affiliate Link]



LED High Bay Light Garage Lights Ceiling LED Shop Light, Multi Point Illumination 12000LM 6500K LED Shop Light for Garage for Garage/Attic/Basement/Home/Office

https://amzn.to/3bDu9Q5 [ Amazon Affiliate Link ]



Besign LS03 Aluminum Laptop Stand, Ergonomic Detachable Computer Stand, Riser Holder Notebook Stand Compatible with MacBook Air Pro, Dell, HP, Lenovo More 10-15.6" Laptops, Black

https://amzn.to/3jXfXoa [ Amazon Affiliate Link ]



Candle Lighter, Electric Arc Lighter USB Rechargeable 360° Flexible Neck Windproof Lighter Long for Household Camping Cooking BBQ

https://amzn.to/35ipnXg [Amazon Affiliate Link]



Alternate Product link:

AmazonCommercial 2000LM LED Work Light 120V 30W 4000K Cool White 50,000H UL

https://amzn.to/35eiVQY [ Amazon Affiliate Link ]

Reviewed product not in stock.



Note: Customer Review of Free Products. Click through to Facebook to see the full posts.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

How I Make A 'Greylock Fever-Tree' Gin and Tonic

 How I Make A 'Greylock Fever-Tree' Gin and Tonic


INGREDIENTS
Ice
1 Lime Slice

RECIPE PREPARATION
Add 3 cubes of ice to tumbler.
Add Berkshire Mountain Distillers Greylock Gin.
Squeeze in lime juice.
Add lime slice.
Add Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water tonic water.
Stir.


Monday, August 17, 2020

How I Got a 10/10 Rating From Room Rater.

Getting a 10/10 rating for my room, as seen on Zoom calls, from Room Rater on Twitter required a lot of work.

Having a background in video production and lighting helped, but what tripped me up was thinking about my office as a workspace instead of a studio. 

Room Rater rates the visual presentation of people's home offices, or settings that they place themselves in for online interviews. You'll see lots of people's room being reviewed on Room Rater's twitter account. 

Start there to get a sense of what makes a good presentation. 

Next, take an honest look at your background, in the context of how it will come across on camera. Frame your view with a camera to see what's in the shot and what isn't. 

This is a photo that I was using as a Zoom background to make believe I was in a Zoom room paying attention. LOL. 

My thoughts:
- The paper shredder has to go.
- The bookcase is off center. I think I need more books behind me.

Here I am, top right, on Streamyard, on Chris Brogan's 'The Backpack Show.'

Here's an update with an added bookcase. 


Some of the things in this shot that are great in an office, but have to go away to make the shot look better are:

- tissue box on the right

The brewery logo sign got moved to the left, but it's still sitting on top of the paper shredder.

I got a ukulele and added that, plus I moved my webcam, so that I'm now centered between the meeting of the walls behind me. I think that the added depth, of having the corner of the office looks better that a flat wall of books. I also changed webcams to get a wider angle view. Switched from a Logitech C920, which is a very good webcam, to a MEVO V1 in webcam mode. 

I submitted to Room Rater and got a 7/10




After they found out that the 'small guitar' was a ukulele, they revised their rating to 8/10.

Still no 10/10.

What they didn't like:

- Messy cords. 

- Wall Calendar. 

What I didn't like: 

- Binders on the left

- Row of books on the third shelf, not broken up. 

- Visible book shelf LED lighting

- Office paper stacker on right.

- All black books on third shelf on left. They don't like color coded books. 

I removed the wires and LED lighting, and brought in an umbrella light stand to light up the background more evenly. 

I broke up the line of books and replaced the calendar with framed art and album covers. 

After addressing these issues I resubmitted and got a 10/10:


I'm happy with this final look. 

The books in the shelves are a lot more interesting by being broken up my memorabilia. 

Adding my personality improves the look of the background. They liked the framed albums. I liked showcasing some of my older cameras. 


This was a fun project and I enjoyed interacting with the Room Rater community on twitter. 

Google Chrome Fix: Black Screen flashes while scrolling in Facebook

I just found the answer to the Google Chrome problem, Black Screen flashes while scrolling in Facebook.

In SETTINGS, ADVANCED, TURN OFF 'Hardware Acceleration.'




Thursday, July 30, 2020

People Are People: Trust Agents

Thanks Chris for including this mention of me and Carol in the revised Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust. 10 Anniversary Edition.  Buy Trust Agents on Amazon. [Affiliate Link]

Friday, July 24, 2020

Taylor Swift released her 8th studio album, folklore, at midnight on July 23.



Taylor Swift Tweet 8:01 AM · Jul 23, 2020:






Listen to folklore online.

Some media sites could not get the day and time right:

NPR:

Stream Taylor Swift's New Album, 'Folklore'
No, Taylor Swift did not spend her quarantine nurturing her sourdough starter or tie-dying old sweaters. Nor did she use the period to re-record her catalog as promised last year after a label dispute. Instead Swift quietly spent self-isolation at work on a new album, Folklore, released at midnight on July 24.

It was midnight on July 23.

FORBES:

EDITORS' PICK|9,032 views|Jul 23, 2020,09:04am EDT
Taylor Swift Is Releasing Her New Album, ‘Folklore,’ At Midnight

If you had “surprise Taylor Swift album” on your 2020 bingo card, today is your lucky day. The pop superstar announced Thursday morning that she will release her eighth studio album, Folklore, at midnight EST on Friday, July 24.

It was midnight EDT on Friday, July 23.

Rolling Stone got it right:

ROLLING STONE:

Hear Taylor Swift’s New Album ‘Folklore’
Musician’s surprise record features contributions from Aaron Dessner of the National, Bon Iver, Jack Antonoff
Taylor Swift surprise announced her eighth studio album, Folklore, which she released on Thursday at midnight.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Amazon product review: A USB-C cable and a pair of wire cutters.


A USB-C cable and a pair of wire cutters.
For years we have been thinking up ways to integrate product sales with video. Here, Amazon.com integrates live video with a linked product carousel.
Disclosure: The two products reviewed are part of the program for Amazon Vine Customer Review of Free Products.

Friday, June 26, 2020

[VIDEO] How We Live Now. June 26, 2020. VOTE! Wear A Mask!



VOTE! wear a mask.











Arboleaf Digital Scale - Bluetooth Smart Scale Bathroom Weight Scale, 10 Key Composition, iOS Android APP, Unlimited Users, Auto Recognition, BMI, BMR. https://amzn.to/381pfuy [Amazon Affiliate Link]

Imperfect Foods: Join and we each get $10 imprfct.us/v/steve_1058

TRANSCRIPT:
All right here. Here it is. Hey, everybody, this is Steve, and this is Carol. And another episode of how we live now. mask wearing. mask wearing works. I mean, it's it's proven Massachusetts where we live, the number one state in the country right now at having the least number of cases of Coronavirus and you know who have the most, those those other states where they're not wearing masks.
No one's around. We can not take them down right now. But it's so maddening. And this is, I'm doing a political rant right now. You need national leadership to tell everyone that face mask wearing is mandatory in the whole country, but we have a president that is not doing that. And they leave it up to the States. And then some of the states like Florida are like, Oh, just go party on the beach, whatever. And then they come back and say Oh, you know what, we were Wrong. Don't party on the beach, wear masks, like, obviously we all knew it.
Now we're starting to see a lot of 35 and under. Yeah. we'll test the
they were wrong and then look at the United States.
Rates infection rates versus other countries that have, you know, billions more people who live there. Yeah, we screwed this up so bad. So, bottom line, vote!
And wear a mask.
November 3. I am serious. Okay. Done with my political rant. Okay.
Okay, man. Oh,
okay, that makes me feel better and get that out of my system.
So what else We're going to talk about?
My friend Laura riding is starting a new show today. It's LGOTV: big talks and it's she's @HeyLGO on all the platforms, and you can watch it at 10am on Fridays and Tuesdays Eastern Daylight Time.
Who's she having today?
I forget the name but she has a she's had some good guests so she's been doing a show on her own for a while and now she's gonna use streamyard and have some guests and I think it's gonna be great. So check her out.
There's many people are doing so much more these days online. Yesh, We all are.
All my friends are interviewing all their friends on everyone else's shows.
And I enjoy it.
Steve Carell has a new movie on Netflix today. irresistible, I think it's called. And I've been watching his TV show called spaceforce. I love it. Some people hate it. It's very, get smart. Like, to me. I find the humor very funny and I'm a big Steve Carell fan. I almost thought it was Hamilton time that the plays gonna be on Disney plus on Friday, July 3, I was gonna watch it today but that's big.
excited for that.
A have a rock in my shoe.
You're rocking the rocking issue. Is there a place to stop?
Oh, okay.
My mom's retirement complex is allowing guests. So we've been quarantined for a long time. So we feel it's safe to go up there and I think we're going to go get food and bring it to her. She wants a good burger. So we're going to go to the north shore and try and find a place where we can
take out a nice get a burger. So anybody has any suggestions? Let us know. Yeah. A couple places are closed that we looked at.
Right. I'm surprised Bancroft at the North Shore miles closed. We like that.
So while Carol takes the rock out of her shoe, I'll show you where we are. The Arnold Arboretum in Boston. And it's really really nice acres and acres of places to walk, which are really not crowded and it's a great place to get some exercise. Get outside.
feel good about
at least something
I know well, what else? Do you feel good about?
how healthy we are? Yeah. Oh, good sizing, okay.
We haven't been able to go to the health card, that's where the scale is. And so last week, middle of the night, I bought one of those scales, that connected scale and some scales were expensive, like almost $200 189 159 and then I read the reviews and they weren't that good. So then I found one that was very popular for like $39 and it's a connected scale. So I bought it. We each weighed each other, and we weigh less. It's because we're working out doing those aerobic videos you said which I know I did a lot of weight training but no aerobics now.
Arboleaf Digital Scale - Bluetooth Smart Scale Bathroom Weight Scale, 10 Key Composition, iOS Android APP, Unlimited Users, Auto Recognition, BMI, BMR. https://amzn.to/381pfuy [Amazon Affiliate Link]
 I'm big on Pamela Rief on YouTube. Love her!
...and we kept our goal so far this month, once a week, we do have a merch challenge. How's the merch challenge up? That includes a mile run for you too. I know.
It's amazing. So that's really good. My pants are loose. I need to use the belt more. That is what triggered us to think we were doing a good job. Right Carol? I wasn't quite sure about me. But I still need a second scale but I'll take it for now. These are things so these are some things that have changed during this pandemic and triggered change that we normally would not have. Done The other thing is ordering food online. We're ordering imperfect foods.
You guys might have heard about that.
So imperfect foods, what they do is they take the foods that normally would be thrown away or couldn't be sold to restaurants because you know it's a crooked carrot or a too small apple or certain things like that. So we joined imperfect foods and you can get a delivery once a week or every two weeks. And when I get on there, I find out you can get more than just vegetables, chicken, ground beef,
salmon
sausages are really good. The salmon is amazing. Yeah, so Fever Tree seltzer for like gin and tonics. So we do it every two weeks and then rather than just getting a CSA box that you get what you get, you can go in online and customize what you get. You have a few days before the deadline, and then you choose what you want in the box. And it's great and their customer service is amazing. And their social media team is really fun. So if I put up pictures of some of the things we've gotten, they've interacted with me on social media. Oh, imperfect foods. Actually, I'm going to put a link on this video. And if you sign up through my link, we each get 10 bucks. So I'll do that. You can try it if it's available in your area. I had to wait. We had to wait less than a month, maybe three weeks until they allowed us to sign up. They're really really busy and really popular right now.
Join Imperfect Foods and we each get $10 http://imprfct.us/v/steve_1058
They do take the waiting list like you got on okay.
doing a lot of gardening.
outside.
Things are looking really good.
Now we'll go for a big walk.
Like this walk we do is usually what? Three miles, three or four
it ends up being two hours last week one day and that was a little before mile. It was a big one. It was two hours then we were like, wow, we watched all the way up to amazing. Okay, so we're gonna take the turn now and head up this hill.
Thanks for watching. Be safe, wear a mask vote.
Until next time,
see you later.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

How To Play a YouTube Video On Your Twitter Timeline

I recently saw a video playing on The Tonight Show's Twitter timeline with an overlay link that said "Watch now at youtu.be"
























What was cool about it was that it looked like it was a YouTube video, playing right on the twitter timeline. 

But it wasn't! It's actually a native twitter video, playing on the twitter timeline, with a link over to YouTube

Here's the story:

Usually, you have to click on the YouTube videos to get them to play on twitter. 

So this lead me on a search to figure it out. 

My friend David helped me with a tip, he told me that it was an mp4, uploaded to YouTube, and he provided a link to Google, where people were explaining how to do it. 

This link was helpful, How To Add Links To Your Twitter Videos.

There, Mark Zhuk, explained, in November of 2016, that you need to have a Twitter Ads account to be able to add a link to a video. 

Further research and testing, confirmed the process. 

You need to sign up for a twitter ad account at ads.twitter.com

Then you need to add a credit card to the account. 

Then you can upload a video with a link to the same video on YouTube. 

The YouTube video link you enter, gets overlayed on to your twitter video with the link text, "Watch now at youtu.be", giving the impression that the video is hosted over on YouTube, but it's not. 

Here's my tweet with video, linked over to YouTube


Sunday, June 14, 2020

How To Get Started with StreamYard, a live streaming studio in your browser

Lots of people are using StreamYard to live stream shows, to sites like Facebook and YouTube, and including guests, with the added ability to share their screen. Streamyard is different from some other solutions since it's web based, you don't have to download any software to use it.







You can get started on a FREE account, and then upgrade if you want additional features.

The easiest way to create professional live streams.
StreamYard is a live streaming studio in your browser. Interview guests, share your screen, and much more. Stream directly to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other platforms.

I signed up and can show you the steps to get started to remove the mystery of live streaming. It's easy.

Sign Up
Sign up at StreamYard by entering your email, and then confirming with them that you are a real person and not a robot.

Then you can start a broadcast. I'll show you how.

Here we go!

1. Connect an account to StreamYard. Once connected, you can stream to it as often as you like.



Lots of choices here, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Periscope, Twitch, or Custom RTMP.

2. I'll pick Facebook to start.

Authorize Facebook.



3. Create a broadcast.

Want to try it out before going live? Create a broadcast and choose "Record only".



4. Create a TEST BROADCAST - RECORD ONLY



5. Let's Check your camera and mic



CLICK: ENTER BROADCAST STUDIO

6. Sharing a Single Shot



7. Sharing a Screen



8. Showing Viewer Comments



CONCLUSION
Streamyard is provides an easy was to get started in live streaming that allows you to both include guests, and sharing your desktop. Try it, what have you got to lose? ;-)


Join StreamYard - Disclosure.
Join StreamYard and you'll get $10 in credit. Once you've spent $25 with them, I'll get $25 in credit.

Pricing (Annual Plans)

Saturday, June 13, 2020

How To: Create Better Video From Home

If you've watched any late-night TV lately (Jimmy Fallon, SNL, or literally any other show producing remotely), you know that creating quality video from home is NOT easy! Even for TV veterans.
Video blogging pioneer and "Get Seen" author Steve Garfield of SteveGarfield.com shares some tips for creating better video from home. 
We'll talk about audio quality, getting your background camera-ready, lighting tips, and more!




#Marketing Profs PRO video live stream interview with MarketingProfs' Kerry O'Shea Gorgone, and StoryLeader's Chris Brogan, about How To Create Better Video From Home.


AUDIO

Q: What's the most important part of video?
A: Audio

I've done research. If the video quality is less than perfect, but the audio is good, and the content is interesting, people will keep watching your video.

If the audio is bad, they will leave.

If you are recording with a smartphone, the closer you are to the device, the better your audio will be. 

- Know where the microphone is, and talk into it. 

To get better sound, add an external microphone, for a smartphone, video camera, or computer. 

You can use a set of headphones with an attached microphone, or a standalone microphone. 

One tip is to get a floor stand, and swing the microphone around to where you are sitting. That reduces any noise you might make by tapping on your desktop. 

LIGHTING


For lighting, be aware of the light around you. If you are inside and near a window, have the window facing you instead of behind you. If the window is behind you, and you are using a webcam, it probably has auto exposure, and it will set exposure to the light behind you. That's not good. 















In the above photo, I sat in front of the window to make sure this location was perfectly bad to start from. 

The webcam is at desk level, looking up at me. The light is behind me, screwing up the auto exposure of the webcam.

This is the shot that lots of people use from their laptops webcams.

DO NOT DO THIS

TIP: Raise the level of the webcam in your laptop camera to meet or line up just above your EYE LEVEL. You can easily do this with a stack of books. 



In the above photo I've added light from TWO SOURCES, a MAIN light and a FILL light. 

















The main light is an LED light just to the right of my webcam. The fill light is my desk lamp with an LED bulb. 

I also added a small LED light pointed up towards my bookcase as a back light to allow the webcam to see added depth, but it's small, and not too big to screw up the auto exposure of the webcam. 

BACKGROUND

Set up your webcam and take a photo of where you will be sitting. 















Look at the background. How do you think you might be rated by Room Rater on twitter? Take a look at his twitter feed and see what comments he makes on how to make backgrounds better. 

In this example, after looking at the photo, I decided to move the webcam towards the left to allow more of the bookcase to show up on both sides of me, rather than having the black bookcase look like it was growing out of the top of my head. ;-)

Click through to Steve Garfield's Ultimate Video Gear List: Cameras, Microphones, and Lights to see a list of gear I use