Microsoft

Office 2013 Review

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Office-2013-LogoReleased to the public yesterday, Microsoft Office 2013 is finally here. Building on the tradition of the past, but not holding on to aged technologies, the Redmond-based company has completely re-designed their suite of office productivity applications. The installation is fairly straight-forward and easy. The software can be purchased in a store (included on 487 high density 3-1/2″  floppy diskettes), streamed wirelessly via FM radio (accessible through any Zune device or USB radio), or downloaded directly through The Pirate Bay.

Aiming to impress without leaving the painful impression left by the most severe of impressions, Microsoft Office 2013 is here. We feel you’ll love the simplicity, challenge and nostalgia afford by the 5-hour install time and bold orange color theme. Free subscription to Redmond Magazine in every box! ~ Office 2013 press release

Microsoft has taken a bold stance on UI with its newest version of Office. The entire experience is optimized for touchscreens, and the controversial “ribbon” menu interface has been replaced by the “bow tie” experience (instead of being hidden under tabs, options are now selected by tracing your finger or mouse in certain knot patterns, for example, the half-Windsor selects the printing options). Word has undergone perhaps the most drastic change, in appearances at least. The program now resembles a traditional pen-and-paper notepad, and all of the menu options are built into the spiral binding cascading down the left side of the screen. Options to change to college-ruled are available for more advanced users.

Microsoft Power Point has been completely revamped to minimize user input. Designs are now chosen via the theme options in Control Panel, and picture customizations can be applied from Instagram. The presentation mode of Power Point is now controlled exclusively through Kinect for Windows. Transitions are chosen randomly, and font selection is limited to Comic Sans, Arial, and Wingdings.

Microsoft Excel has been made more user-friendly, and “all that complicated math stuff” has been removed to make the user experience more smooth. Graphs are now limited to pie charts and bar graphs, and the color scheme changes according to the Bing Weather forecast.

Outlook has been changed to look like a cell phone texting screen, and Access and Publisher have been nixed entirely, because “nobody uses those programs anyway.” Onenote is still included, but nobody really knows how to use it.

And that’s how not to write a review,
~XK

How To Make a Webcam Time Lapse

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Once again, I am straying from my normal mode of posting randomness to bring you a tutorial-type post. In this post, I am going to lay out my method of using a webcam, a laptop, free software, and Sony Vegas 9 (or freeware programs) to make a time lapse video.

First of all, I have a fairly good webcam, a Microsoft Studio, that is capable of shooting 1080p video and taking 8mp still shots, so the results of your time lapse will vary with the quality of camera. Various free programs exist that allow you to make time lapse videos, but most of them are either buggy or limited in function; I couldn’t use Tilaphos to shoot in HD, and Booru is pretty buggy.

The solution to my problem lay in a very simple method of image capture. The laptop is not able to be used for other functions while it is capturing the image, but that was no big deal to me. My solution is to use a software auto-clicker to press the photo button at a certain interval.

  1. Download the auto-clicker here. (This is safe software that I’ve had no trouble with; no installation is required.) Unzip the .zip file and save the folder to a location that is easy for you to find.
  2. Open your webcam software and browse to a screen that shows a capture image button. For those of us with Microsoft webcams, this is a little image of a camera.  
  3. Once you have opened the software and have your webcam pointed at your subject, open the auto-clicker. Set the point at which you want the mouse to click by clicking “Locate” and then clicking on the image capture button.
  4. Set the time interval (how often the software will capture an image) in the “Click Interval” section. The units are milliseconds, so if you want to take a picture every 5 seconds, set the first number to 5000. Ignore the second number, and leave the “To” box unchecked.
  5. Make sure that “Left Button” is selected, and set the number of clicks if you wish. (If you set the interval at 5000 ms, and you want to record for an hour, set the value to 720. Click the Start button and let take pictures for as long as you want.
  6. To turn your images into a time lapse in Sony Vegas, open the program, go to Options > Preferences > Editing, and set the “New image still length” to .050. When you insert the images into your timeline, the images will be the right length to play back at 30fps. Tweak your output settings to whatever you want; I set mine at 8mbps 1080 30fps in .wmv format.
  7. Alternate: If you do not have Sony Vegas, here is a tutorial detailing how to make a time lapse with various free programs. I recommend using Virtual Dub.

Here’s the result!

Have fun! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
~Chris