How do I use Target Disk, Boot and Display modes on a Mac?

If you’re trying to troubleshoot a hard drive which you’re not sure is faulty, it’s Target Disk Mode you need, if there’s a potential hardware issue, you’ll be after Target Boot Mode or if you want to use a compatible iMac as an external display, it be Target Display Mode you seek. Still confused? Tech support pro Steven explains it all in this video.

How do I troubleshoot my Mac’s RAM?

Common problems you can put down to faulty RAM in a Mac include power but no video or chime on startup, vertical or horizontal lines in video, kernel panics, system-wide freezes, failure to wake from sleep and beeping on start-up. Luckily, our techie Johanna has the answers to what those beeps and failures mean for your RAM. Watch the video below for more.

NewTek’s Virtual Set Editor 2 hits screens

NewTek’s Virtual Set Editor 2 hits screens

Weathermen up and down the country are brushing up on their best isobar and warm front moves, as NewTek announce Virtual Set Editor 2 is shipping. The latest version of their chroma program, VSE 2 lets you easily transform any location into a snazzy-looking studio environment.

More than your average layering application, it’s designed to work perfectly with NewTek’s TriCaster range to give you professional backdrops for dazzling audiences with, even if you’re broadcasting out of a broom cupboard. All you need is a lick of green paint.

Here’s what’s new in NewTek’s Virtual Set Editor 2:

– Collaborative workflow between artist and TriCaster operator, with dual installation on both a TriCaster XD system and an external Microsoft Windows workstation

– Customisable starter sets with multiple angles, realtime reflections and specular highlights

– User-friendly controls for quick and easy set creation, right out of the box

– Realistic virtual camera operation, with adjustable shots and animated movements – even while live

– Effortless import of layered PSD files – including keyed out areas – to support composition of sets using virtually any graphics creation tool

– Export as executable LiveSet installer for use with any TriCaster XD system

– Instant availability of new virtual sets and effects, with support for output and update over the network to any TriCaster XD model

 

For more information on all things TriCaster and Virtual Set Editor, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.

What the new Apple releases and iPad mini mean for education

What the new Apple releases and iPad mini mean for education

Apple are really advancing technology for education at the moment, and their huge recent product launch helped back up their cause. Not only did they release the brand new iPad mini, which is ideal for the classroom, and new Mac hardware, they spent a good chunk of the presentation talking about how iBooks and iBooks Author were helping engage learners. Here are a few of the standout points.

iPad mini (and the updated iPad)

The release that’s got everyone talking, Apple’s iPad mini fills that niche between the regular-sized iPad and the iPod touch. At 7.9″, the tablet’s an ideal size for the classroom, as younger pupils who might have trouble holding the full size 9.7″ tablet will find the new design much more comfortable, and older students are able to hold iPad mini in one hand and use it as an e-reader (much like a Kindle). As Apple were keen to stress, the iPad mini will do everything the regular sized one will do – all apps work the same, as do all the configuration and management features. Of course, you still get access to some 275,000 apps in the App Store too.

Another problem the iPad mini addresses is in using the camera. We always find it a little awkward to shoot photos and videos using the rear-facing camera on the iPad, so the new slimmed down version should make the whole process much easier. There’s also a front-facing FaceTime HD camera so students can produce video diary-style reports. As usual, there’s a range of different storage capacities depending on how many documents, apps, songs and videos you want to load on, and a choice of black or white.

The regular iPad line-up also got a refresh, with 4th generation iPad Retina display models now sporting the new Lightning port recently launched on the iPhone 5, and a new chip which promises processing speeds of double that of iPad 2.

iBooks 3 and iBooks Author

The announcement of the new iBooks 3 and updated iBooks Author will see a huge improvement in the kinds of textbooks, both published and internal, that schools, colleges and universities will benefit from. In the US, iBooks now cover 80% of the curriculum, and the number of digital textbooks for the UK curriculum is on a significant rise too.

iBooks is Apple’s reader app, which has its own iBookstore and ability to create your own digital textbooks with iBooks Author. For an idea of what you can do with iBooks, check out our handy iBooks tutorials. Version 3 now lets you store books and save your place on iCloud to read on any device – pretty handy if students are reading a textbook on the iPad mini, then need to carry on from the same place on their iPhone or iPod for research and analysis around the text. With improved scrolling, sharing features and now 40 supported languages, this will be a real boost for education.

iBooks Author has also been updated, making it easier and faster to publish iBooks. There are new Apple templates, including a portrait template which wasn’t previously available, and better handling of custom fonts, widgets and mathematical functions which will help to close out the remainder of the school curriculum that hasn’t been covered by iBooks yet. They’re both available to download for free now.

The new Mac line-up

Apple don’t tend to just focus on one thing at their presentations, and took the opportunity to unveil a ton of new Macs that have some interesting points for education.

We’ve always recommended iMacs as the perfect desktop computer for the classroom – you get everything you need in one machine the size of a display, with no need for a tower. For the new version, Apple have slimmed the screen down to an incredible 5mm at its edges, and have got rid of the optical disc drive for this model (you can buy an additional SuperDrive to load DVDs, or wirelessly connect to another machine’s drive though).

For subjects where you need to see fine detail – video editing and production, and other graphics work – the new 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display is ideal. With 2560×1600 resolution, they have four times the number of pixels as the previous generation of MacBook Pros, and are powerful enough to run demanding editing software too. Apple’s smallest Mac also had an update – the Mac mini can now fit up to 16GB RAM and is still only 20cm x 20cm, which makes it perfect for the classroom or your desk.

For more information on the whole Apple iPad mini and new Mac range, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. You can also keep up with all our classroom technology news and reviews by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

Sony NXCAM camcorders get 10% education rebate

Sony NXCAM camcorders get 10% education rebate

Sony NEX-FS700 NXCAM camcorderSony NXCAM camcorders are ideal for teaching techniques used in filmmaking and documentary, so it’s great to see Sony launching an education discount across the full range. The scheme means we’re now able to offer a 10% rebate on all NXCAM camcorders – including Jigsaw24 favourites the HXR-NX70E and NEX-FS700E.

Also available with a new discounted price are the NEX-FS100, HXR-NX30 and HXR-NX5. The camcorders’ names don’t exactly leap off the page, but NXCAM as a recording format really is an exciting prospect for schools.

What is NXCAM?

NXCAM is a compression format for tapeless camcorders that compresses footage far more efficiently and gives a more professional picture quality. It’s supported by video editing software including Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, and lets you store footage on affordable Memory Stick Duo, SDHC card or – if you don’t mind forking out a bit extra – a slot-in flash memory unit. You can record to a card and the drive at the same time, giving students an instant backup copy of their work. An 11-hour recording time has made NXCAM a big hit with corporate and event videographers, but we think the fact that it offers both fully automated and fully manual control makes it perfect for educational settings (especially when students often forget to put the battery back on the charger!)

The Sony NXCAM range

Keen to provide solutions for those schools just getting into video production, right up to colleges offering more industry-applicable broadcast courses, Sony have discounted their full range of NXCAM camcorders. The NX line are entry-level cameras that are ideal for schools – easy to use, and ranging from the dinky, handheld NX30 and NX70 (this is also completely dust and rain proof!) to the shouldermount NX5. If you’re looking for something a bit more professional, it’s well worth looking at the great image quality and performance of the FS100 and FS700. These are the kind of cameras the pros take out to shoot adverts and promos, and will really impress prospective students and/or employers.

– Go to our website for 10% education rebate on our full range of Sony NXCAM camcorders.

To find out more about Sony’s Education Partner Programme, give us a call on 03332 409 333, email learning@Jigsaw24.com or visit our site for the full Sony NXCAM range. For all the latest news, follow@Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter.

 

How to start an iPad band: Leamore Primary School

How to start an iPad band: Leamore Primary School

As an Apple Regional Training Centre, Leamore Primary School in Walsall are always trying new ways to get the most from their technology. Recently, they decided on a project to create a band using their iPad deployment that would involve the whole of Year 5 and get them really engaged with digital music alongside traditional instruments. Here, deputy head teacher Michelle Hill explains what they were aiming to do, and how they went about it…

Why did you originally decide to start the iPad Band project?

The children of Leamore Primary School are well known for their musical ability. We were keen to utilise the children’s musical knowledge and ability, whilst also incorporating our innovative approach to technology.

What were your goals?

Our goal was simple. We wanted the whole of our Year 5 class (who had at that point been learning the violin the longest) to participate in an iPad band using a mixture of iPad, digital instruments and a small selection of traditional percussion instruments. Our learning outcome was that all children would be able to musically contribute to a soundtrack.

How long did it take to plan and rehearse?

We knew we were going to be working with a fantastic bunch
of children, so we allocated two full days to learn and rehearse a soundtrack. The children exceeded our expectations and within these two days they were able to learn three complete soundtracks as a class and rehearse them to perfection.

What hardware and apps did you use?

As well as 30 new iPad devices, we invested in an Allen and Heath ZED16FX 36 Channel USB Mixer, five Alesis IO docks and iRig adaptors for connecting the microphones, guitars and MIDI keyboards. We also used Apple TV to demonstrate how to play various notes on specific instruments in GarageBand on iPad. Apple TV was brilliant for individual and small groups of children to play back their specific parts of the soundtrack and contributed to tighter quality assurance of the band overall.

How did pupils find making music with iPad?

In terms of engagement and enjoyment, the iPad Band project will be something that the children remember for the rest of their lives! The project made an impact on a number of levels, from Daniel – who found a natural talent for drumming – to other children who realised that they could play other instruments besides the violin. Our original learning outcomes were smashed. The iPad is more about the music itself – the playing and the composing rather than the ability to play the instrument correctly. It’s a different way of looking at and approaching music. So children can use the iPad to play complicated soundtracks without needing to invest time in the technique of plucking strings, for example!

Do you have any tips for other teachers?

Just go for it! We spent a lot of time talking the project through and invested in a substantial amount of kit, but it is possible to set up
a basic iPad band without these aspects. Apple TV is fantastic for teaching and demonstrating music-making on the iPad, but it is also brilliant to use during a live performance.

What else are you planning to use iPad for in future?

The investment that we made into iPad music technology has meant that our original Year 5 iPad Band and all subsequent iPad Bands will have the opportunity to go ‘on tour’, so any live performances will not just be a one-off wonder. We’re also planning to work collaboratively with the Royal College of Music to offer the equivalent of a GCSE in iPad music-making from September. We have lots of other projects in the pipeline: from experimenting with one-to-one iPad in a classroom to investigating the possibility of paperless learning, the use of iPad with SEN children, and specific projects in all areas of the curriculum.

About Leamore…

Leamore Primary School, Walsall, is an official Apple Regional Training Centre which focuses on teaching with creative ICT (they won an NAACE Impact Award for it recently). They regularly run iPad training events for teachers, and you can see more of their projects in action at www.YouTube.com/LeamorePrimarySchool. To find out more about how to become an Apple Regional Training Centre yourself, get in touch with us on the details at the bottom.

Have a go yourself! Our six step guide to starting your own iPad band

Fancy taking a leaf out of Michelle’s book? Starting an iPad band is easy, and a great way to engage learners and get them working together with music technology, even for those with no previous skills. Here’s how:

1. Get started

First of all, you need your iPad devices. The iPad band is a collaborative project, and you can scale it up to include a whole class of students (we’ve worked with class sizes of 25-30 before with great results). You’ll also need a mixer to control the audio output of all the devices with enough channels to support them – 32 is enough.

2. Fire up GarageBand

Apple’s GarageBand app (£2.99 from the App Store) really is the best app for music-making at this level, with a huge base of ready-made loops and virtual instruments including keyboards, guitars and drums.

3. Get pupils in time

Start students off by making sure pupils are in rhythm, especially those with lower musical ability. The Smart Guitar instrument in GarageBand lets the learner simply tap the chord symbol to strum a chord in time, like striking a triangle, but far more engaging.

4. Develop musical skills further

The great thing about GarageBand is that it allows each learner to learn at their own pace and develop their skills. Once pupils are comfortable with timing, you can start to look at chord sequences, structure and song writing, then develop roles for learners based on ability, and incorporate ideas from students too.

5. Add some real instruments

For anyone who’s had peripatetic music lessons, you could think about adding some physical instruments. Using adaptors like the Alesis IO dock, and iRig and iMic, you can connect guitars and microphones directly through the iPad’s headphone jack, and an additional Camera Connector kit lets you hook up a MIDI keyboard via USB.

6. Plan the pay-off

To complete the project, and see how well pupils have achieved the original learning outcomes, plan a one-off performance. This will also help the project create a bit of buzz around the school, governors and parents. You can even get more of the school involved by adding some backing singers, dance sections and percussion like djembes and glockenspiels to supplement the digital instruments.

Want to know more about starting a band with iPad? Get in touch on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com.

 

ATTO ThunderLink and ThunderStream set to cause storm

ATTO ThunderLink and ThunderStream set to cause storm

Ahead of IBC 2012, there’s a bit of competition between manufacturers as to who can pull the most exciting Thunderbolt products out of the bag. ATTO might be in with a shout, as they’ve announced they’re close to launching the ThunderLink and ThunderStream additions to their Desklink family.

Perfect for use with laptops, the ATTO ThunderLink and ThunderStream devices let you connect to storage protocols including Fibre Channel, SAS/SATA and Ethernet via Thunderbolt while you’re on the go. Wondering what the difference is between the two? Basically the ThunderStream has a built-in RAID controller, allowing you to protect your investment in existing SAS RAIDs, while the ThunderLink doesn’t.

When Sammy first saw them announced back at NAB 2012, he said the new devices would be great for any video professionals looking to replace their old server hardware.

“This is the biggy people have been waiting for,” he said. “Being able to share out your superfast Thunderbolt storage over 10Gb Ethernet puts the Mac mini one step closer to being a viable Xserve replacement. Having connectivity between Thunderbolt and SAS also means you can plug in RAID storage systems like the Sonnet DX800, and also SAS tape libraries.”

Sammy went on to explain: “If your external SAS doesn’t have RAID, you should look at the ThunderStream, but if you’ve already got a RAID controller in your RAID, then it’s the ThunderLink. ATTO have been making RAID controllers for years, so know a thing or two about them. It’s great to see they’ve now taken that knowledge, and stuck it in a box with Thunderbolt ports!”

Head to our site for more information and to order your ATTO ThunderLink or ThunderStream expansion chassis now. You can also call us on 03332 409 306, email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com or keep up with all the latest news, reviews and industry gossip by following @Jigsaw24Video or ‘Like’-ing our Facebook page.