I’ve wrapped post production for my short film “Love and Robots” and now I am in the process of entering it in film festivals. The film is entered into the Sundance festival, The Boulder International Film Festival, and the Festivus film festival in Denver Colorado. “Love and Robots” is the story of a female robot who wonders if robots can experience the emotion of love.It was shot with a high definition DSLR camera with a dedicated volunteer cast and crew and no budget to speak of.
I am also in the process of finding a venue for the unofficial world premiere. you can check out the trailer at: http://loveandrobotsfilm.com/trailer.html we also have an Internet Movie Database page and a Facebook page.
Jay Shaffer, the owner of Jay Shaffer Video and Jaybilizer LLC, has been elected to a 2 year term as Sergeant at Arms of the Colorado Professional Videographers Association.
Jay will bring his expertise in video and Web production to the CoPVA and further their mission to provide in-depth knowledge, networking opportunities, and opportunities for professionals to discover new ideas, techniques and technology in the many disciplines of videography.
I finally launched Jaybilizer.com as its own site. It is where I can sell my affordable cameras stabilizers and other camera support gear. To launch the site I’m introducing the Jaybilizer HDSLR Merlin type camera stabilizer specifically designed for the use with the Canon 5DMk2 DSLR.
The Jaybilizer HDSLR is a Stedicam Merlin-like camera stabilizer that is optimized for shooting with the new generation of digital SLR cameras that shoot high definition video.
These cameras produce stunning quality with a film-like narrow depth of field and ultra low light capabilities. The downside is that these cameras are unwieldy for shooting video. The Jaybilizer HDSLR solves this problem and allows photographers and cinematographers to do Steadicam-like “flying” shots. The Jaybilizer is constructed of high quality steel and 6061 aluminum, with a heavy duty steel ball gimbal. The 8″ counterweight bar also acts as a tripod for easily setting down and storing the Jaybilizer. The Jaybilizer HDSLR is an affordable alternative to other expensive stabilizers, at $199 it cost only a quarter as much as the Steadicam Merlin.
The trouble with most camera stabilizers is that it is difficult and time consuming to properly balance a camera. The Jabilizer HDSLR makes this process much easier with both side to side and forward and backward infinitely adjustable sliding balance plates. The Jaybilizer is optimized for camera and lens combinations that weigh between 1.5 and 4 lbs. For lighter camcorders there is also the Jaybilizer 3000 which works with camera rigs up to 3 lbs.
Some of the DSLR cameras that the Jaybilizer HDSLR works with include:</strong>
The Canon 5DMK2
The Canon 7D
The Nikon D90
The Nkon D5000
The Lumix GH1
The Olympus E-P1
The Pentax K7
<strong>Jaybilizer HDSLR Key Features</strong>
* Steel ball gimbal
* heavy duty steel and machined 6061 aluminum construction
* Foam comfort grip
* Can be configured to shoot inverted
* Fully adjustable camera plate
* Easy one screw infinite side balance adjustment
* Works with a wide variety of camcorders and DSLRs
* Quick release camera plate
* Supports camera rigs up to 4 lbs
* Black Textured Satin Finish
* 25 counterweight washers
* 8″ counterweight bar allows you to store the Jabilizer HDSLR upright and improves balance.
I’m not cut out to be a blogger. My typing is horrible and slow, and my writing skills and spelling are also sorely lacking. So that’s my excuse for being such a procrastinator.
Excuses aside, I need to catch up this blog with a little news.
I got back from a week long raft trip down the Yampa river on back on June 5th. This was a fantastic trip and a very rare opportunity. I guess only 300 out of 9000 permit applications are approved to run the river each year. The Yampa river canyon is part of the Dinosaur National Monument and therefore is a tightly regulated wilderness area.
here is a quick log of the trip.
Photos from this trip are available at: Our Flickr Group
and at: My Picassa gallery
Day 0 5/30 – Spent driving to the Deer Lodge Park campground from Denver. We camped overnight and had a great meal of Steaks, Baked Potato, Corn on Cob, Cheese Cake and partied a little harder than we should’ve.
Day 1 5/31- Supposedly an easy float to Teepee Draw Campground. A surprise wave train dumped one of our duckies (Inflatable kayaks) and the rescue took a little longer than it should have. The swimmer was a little shaken, but all ended well. We landed and set up camp just in time to avoid a hail and rain storm.
Day 2 6/1 – Launched and ran Teepee rapid, a nice Class 2. We got surprised again in Little Joe Rapid and hit a pour-over strait on. Doh! No harm no foul though.
Landed at the beautiful Harding Hole Campsite. We set up camp below Wagon Wheel Point and took a hike up the Bull Canyon trail. That evening we were graced with some guitar and singing courtesy of Steven Barnhill.
Day 3 6/2- We stopped across the river from Wagon Wheel point to explore a cave with graffiti from the settlers and explorers in the 1920′s. We then headed downstream toward our appointment with the dreaded Warm Springs rapid. We stopped for lunch at the Mantle Ranch and took a quick hike to explore the Mantle Cave and it’s Native american artifacts. As we launched after lunch storm clouds were gathering, letting us know not to be lulled into a false sense of security. Soon after going by by Tiger rock we hit a Down pour of rain and hail with strong upstream wind gust. It was quite a harrowing experience to land to scout the deadly Warm Springs rapids.
The Warm Springs rapid is true Class 4 rapid during high water with two recirculating holes that that will easily drown a swimmer or upend a sizable boat. You can scout the rapid from the scree field that was formed by the same flash flood that formed the rapid, this is no easy feat when wearing wet river sandal on wet jagged rock.
When our rafters returned from the scout the apprehension on every face was evident. It was decided that we would pack up the Duckies and their paddlers onto the bigger rafts. and that our most experienced rafter would lead and try to eddy-out below to rescue any swimmers. I rode with him.
As we launched into the rapids it was still in the midst of a thunderstorm with driving rain. it only took about 120 adrenaline filled seconds to run the rapid and our guide Hal pulled hard and was able to eddy us out below the second hole. While I held the boat Jason was able to grab some shakey video of some of the rest of our party running the rapid.
All the boats ran the rapid and were happy to put that water at their stern. We put in at the Box Elder campground and were all happy, tired and relieved as well as in need of warm dry clothes. Fajitas and tequila took the edge off an adventurous day.
Day 4 6/3 – I was able to get some great photos early before we set out on this day. This was mostly flat water as we joined the Green river at the beautiful Steamboat rock. I took over a ducky and had some fun on some wave trains. We put-in for lunch at the beautiful Jones hole campground and took a long hike up to butt crack falls. Butt crack falls is a small waterfall that you can block the water flow from above by sitting in the creek. and then someone can stand below as you “turn-on” the water. Great fun and we all smelled a little better after a natural shower. We the Hiked up another half mile to the jones hole Deluge shelter archeological site and photographed some pictographs and petroglyphs. After we hiked back down to the river we floated anther mile down to our assigned capsite which took some effort to land at due to a really strong back eddy. Another great day on the river and sadly our last evening.
Day 5 6/4 – The day started with a lazy float through Island Park. We landed for lunch at the Island Park put-in and were attacked by thick clouds of mosquitoes. We were diving for DEET but some of us were badly bit up before we got on repellent. We ate quickly and put out to attack Split Mountain Canyon. Split mountain seems to be just that, it is an truly impressive geological display of folded and cut sandstone and limestone strata. Oh and there aret wo or three class 2 and 3 rapids just to keep the afternoon interesting.
I rode in Hal’s boat, not wanting to go swimming from a ducky.
We finally landed at the Split Mountain boat ramp to end the river portion of the trip. We shook hands and hugged and took photos and said good-bye to some of our party. A few of us decided that rather than drive the 400 miles back to Denver that we would stop at Pizza hut in Craig Colorado and then meet at a capground near Hayden ,Colorado.
Day 6ish 6/5 – drove back to Rob and Tina’s place in evergreen, then unpacked my stuff from the boat and headed home to Golden.
It was a great trip with some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen.
After many months of effort to set up a legal internet radio station, I’ve finally succeeded! Thanks to finding a way to legally licensing the music I play through LoudCity.com.
I’m proud to announce RadioGroove.org is on the air!
Radio Groove features eclectic Jazz and electronic groove music, including Latin Jazz, Dub, Brazilian, Ambient and Down-tempo, Blues, R ‘n B and even Contemporary Lounge. Hopefully you’ll find some music to love or love by on Radio Groove.
I’m really excited that I will be teaching four different classes this semester at Front Range Community College. In the past I’ve only taught two classes at any particular time, so this is going to be a challenge. Fortunately I’m passionate about all the subjects. Tuesday evenings I’ll be teaching sound design, Thursday morning I’ll be teaching Video editing I useing Final Cut Pro, Friday afternoon it’s Music Technology and Recording, and I wrap-up the week with Photoshop I on Saturday afternoons. While this adds up to about 14 and a half hours in the classroom, throw in a 30 minute commute each way and class preparation, the actual time I spend on the classes ends up almost being a full-time job. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite pay like a full-time job. But in today’s economy any job is a good one in my book.
There is always the argument that those that can’t do, teach. I, of course, have to disagree, I’m still running my video and web business in addition to teaching and when you run your own business there is really no time-off. so I’m essentially doing two full time jobs. And still try to find some time to do some fun stuff like making music and DJing in Second Life.
Speaking of Second Life the college does own a space there, and a group of us are exploriing ways to utilize virtual worlds for education. This is a rich area and I’m really excited to be a part of it…in my spare time.
Okay I’m going to get off on a rant here. I had to have colonoscopy yesterday, and if you’ve ever had one you know that often the most difficult part of the process is doing the bowel cleanse the day before. To do this, doctors often prescribe a product called Halflytely®. HalfLytely® practically has a monopoly on the bowel prep market due the the fact that the patient only has to drink two liters of laxative solution and the competing products now carry an FDA warning for possible kidney damage. It’s a product that seems to effectively do it’s job; however my problem with it and the subject of this blog post has to do with its pricing. In fact I going to say that it is an outrageous case of pharmaceutical price gouging that borders on criminal. Especially if by not providing an affordable product for the uninsured that it becomes a barrier to a patient getting a colonoscopy.
The Halflyely® Package consists of a 2 liter plastic jug with a powdered mix of 210 g. of Polyethylene Glycol 3350 (Miralax Powder), 5.6 g of Sodium Chloride (salt), 2.86 g of Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda), and 0.74 g of potassium chloride (often prescribed as K-Lyte CL and available OTC as a potassium supplement). The Package also contains two 5 mg Bisacodyl tablets (available OTC as Ducolax tablets), and four flavor packets with artificial fruit flavors. Before I go and tell what it would cost me to put together an equivalent product, let me tell you what Braintree Labratories charges for their Halflytely ® product. If you are uninsured, it will cost you $64.99, in my case I have Aetna insurance and my co-pay was only $60. I was so surprised that I had to ask the pharmacist if he was sure that was the correct price, and he shook his head and said yes that’s what they charge.
Upon getting home and reading the ingredient list, I knew this was a perfect case of how Pharm labs rip off patients and insurance companies and it is a clear demonstration of why American healthcare costs are so obscenely out of control. So I went to the Halflytely® website and used the webmaster contact to write the following email:
Why does your company charge $65 retail price for a bowel prep kit that contains less than $1 worth of chemicals and drugs?
Shame on you.
Admittedly I should have researched out exactly the cost to produce and I hadn’t noticed the 210 g. (7.4 oz.) of Polyethylene Glycol 3350 listed on the bottle ingredients, but here is Braintree Laboratories’ email response:
“Thank you for your inquiry. Our product does not cost less than a dollar to make, where did you get this information? Other than that, we cannot control the insurance coverage or the pharmacy and wholesaler mark ups. I apologize for any inconvenience.
Thank you, have a nice holiday.”
So this brings me to my research into what it cost to produce a similar product with the same ingredients as the Halflytely® product.
Let’s start with the assumption that the lab’s cost are going to be less than mine just because they can purchase in quantity. But for my example I’ll buy medium quantities at retail prices and round up prices to the nearest cent.
- Two 5 mg bisacodyl (Dulcolax) tablets from http://www.planetrx.com/ $0.36 (2 tabs from 100 tab box)
- One 2 liter HDPE bottle with cap from http://www.containerandpackaging.com/…$0.68 ($0.47 in quanity)
- 210 g. (7.4 oz.) of Polyethylene Glycol 3350 (Miralax Powder) from http://drugstore.com/ $9.62
- 5.6 g of Sodium Chloride (salt) from http://www.webstaurantstore.com/ $0.02
- 2.86 g of Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) from http://www.buyhardwaresupplies.com/ (1181 g @ $3.68) $0.01
- 0.74 g of potassium chloride from http://www.iherb.com/ (227 g @ $3.34) $0.01
- Flavor packets from http://www.homecaredelivered.com/ (Nestle Adult Flavor Packets, Variety Pack $0.16 a packet) 4 packets $0.64
So my total to make this product with ingredients bought at retail prices would be $11.34
By far the most expensive ingredient being Polyethylene Glycol 3350 @ $9.62.
I realize that Braintree Labs has marketing, packaging, and shipping cost and not to mention probably hundreds of lawyers (whom I expect I’ll hear from) to pay, But I’m also sure their manufacturing cost are well below my $11.34 figure. So this is still something on the order of 300% retail mark-up.
So in the end what can I do about being ripped-off by these greedy pharmaceuticals beside exercise my first amendment right free speech? Not much, except perhaps to inform my doctors as to what they are prescribing. But I hope that other bloggers will take these greedy companies to task by shining a flashlight of truth into their dark world whenever they find that price gouging is taking place.
I resisted buying an iPhone because I thought it was too expensive and I would have to switch from T-mobile to AT&T. I thought for a while that maybe Apple would bring a better business model to the wireless business, but quite the opposite happened. the same old evil stupid way of ripping off consumers prevailed. Don’t get me wrong I am still an Apple fan boy abiet a cheap one.
I had the very cheapest cell plan I could find, which was T-Mobiles basic family plan for $60 a month with “free” phones between me and my wife. I was thinking of getting an iPod touch and keeping my crappy free phone. Since I’m doing what I call forced entrepreneurship now, I felt a need for a smart phone, if for nothing else, being able to get my e-mail on the road.
I did a rough feature and price comparison with the iPhone and for my particular situation The Google Phone ends up being about $560 less expensive over the two year plan. So I got the new G1 Phone. and I haven’t been able to put it down for the two days that I’ve had it. Pretty darn cool, with a few caveats.
here are a few cool things:
- Qwerty keyboard
- Voice dialing (Beam me up, Scotty)
- cut and paste!!!
- G-Mail and Google contact syncing
- Google Maps with street view (Look a topless beach!)
- Touch screen AND track ball
- Active developer community ( lots of new apps)
- Easy ringtones
here are a few lame things:
- No Adobe Flash (why???)
- No Microsoft Exchange ( no big deal for me)
- No iTunes (obviously)
- No standard 3.5 mm headphone jack, must use G1 headset or adapter( O-o)
- No stereo Bluetooth A2DP ( C’mon)
- No multi-touch (Zooming is a PITA)
- No desktop synching with PCs or Macs (It’s all about the Cloud)
- No video recording (hoping for a third party to step up on this)
- No built-in video player, must download from third-party (no big deal)
- No camera flash (Battery life is bad enough)
- No proximity sensor
- Limited to 1GB bandwidth cap, speed down to 50kbps after 1GB (Sleazy)
- Limited 3G coverage (pedal faster T-Mobile)
- Limited to Google email, contacts, calendar,and chat for free, POP email is charged per message
- Limited to maximum 8GB memory, with additional microSD card purchase (I’m going to test whether this is true)
I think of it as a poor man’s iPhone rather than an iPhone killer. Nobody has made the perfect phone yet.
I also run the Mac Audio Guy website with has a wealth of information, tips and techniques for Mac audio professionals and enthusiest. Unfortunately, evil hackers did a WordPress code injection attack on the site, where it substituted it’s own links in Google Ad Sense code. This led to my site being de-listed by Google.
Being de-listed by Google is a death blow to a traffic dependent Website like Mac Audio Guy. I went from hundreds of visitors a day to none. In an attempt to remedy the attack and de-lising, I had to do a complete rebuild of the website and instituted more security measures, which have cost me a great deal of time and headache. I’ve reapplied to Google for re-listing and my only hope to keep the website alive is to be re-listed. I can only hope.
This has me shocked, dismayed and angry on a couple of fronts:
1. Scumbag asshat hackers. You think you’re smart, but you are hurting people. I hope that develop a rash that will never let you sleep again and that your genitalia fall off.
2. Google, while it professes to do no evil, has way too much power over peoples livelihoods. Any website that is de-listed by Google is effectively non-existent. Google is effectively the sole dictator of the internet, there need to be checks and balances on it’s powers.