epiphan VGA2USB is a no go on Windows 7

I’ve been attempting to record our presentations at the Inland Empire .Net Users Group for a while now.  epiphan graciously donated one of their VGA2USB products to help us capture the presenter’s live screen without having to install any software.  It’s been really helpful. 

I just upgraded to an HP dv7t 3000 core i7 laptop running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.  Apparently epiphan’s 64-bit driver doesn’t seem to work on Windows 7 Ultimate 64.  While their bundled video recording software captures the input just fine I have not been able to capture anything other than a one second black video using Windows Media Encoder 9 64-bit, Microsoft Expression Encoder 3, Camtasia Studio 6.0.3, VirtualDub 32-bit or VirtualDub 64-bit.  Ugh.

epiphan has a stable version of their 32-bit driver along with a beta version that reportedly works with Windows 7.  Neither were able to correctly install on my laptop.  Their 64-bit driver was able to install and recognize the device just fine but I can’t capture video with anything other than their built-in program.  Unfortunately their built-in program does not capture audio.  When you capture just video, most of the codecs have a variable framerate which causes the audio and video to go out of sync throughout the entire presentation.  Recording them together on Windows XP using Windows Media Encoder worked like a champ.

Oh well.  While their website offers little in the way of support they have usually responded to me within about 24-48 hours when I email them.  Hopefully we can get this resolved before the next user group meeting.

Roy Osherove’s TDD Code Review Videos

I’m going to be doing a talk on Practical TDD at the Inland Empire .Net Users’ Group in the near future.  We’ve had TDD talks in the past but they have been more overviews with only a little code.  I plan to take the group through craeting a simple blog engine from scratch completely using TDD.  I hope that this will give a real great example of how to develop a project using TDD.

The presentation was supposed to be in August, but as that lands directly on my 8 year wedding anniversary and our son’s 3rd birthday I had to postpone it.  I don’t like sleeping on the couch. 🙂  James Johnson, the president, is still working on where to put my talk, so I’ll post an update when that happens.

Anyway, in the spirit of getting ready for this talk I’ll be writing a few blog posts on some great TDD resources I’ve found.

Recently Roy Osherove, the author of the Art of Unit Testing, started doing actual TDD code reviews on his blog.  These are great!  It’s one thing to read a blogger’s posts with their thoughts and opinions on topics but seeing Roy go through a live code review in a video is just spectacular.  It’s like getting a chance to sit in on a session with Roy.

While he admits that he’s a little harsh on the Nerd Dinner review, having done it at 2am, I think he is spot on in his findings.  Of course, Roy is a very experienced veteran in this area so we’d think nothnig less.  However, the points Roy makes are great and he really brings to light what good and bad examlpes of TDD he sees in the app.

I can’t wait to check out the rest of the videos.

He offers to review code that is sent in.  I’m not sure I’ll be brave enough to do that, but if I’m not that would indicate a smell in my code, wouldn’t it? 🙂 Maybe when I get my talk together I’ll pass my code on to Roy to review prior to my presentation.  That would really give me a great resource to make sure my presentation is sound and a little more authority on this topic.

User Group Videos Now Available!

Well, after a very long labor of love videos of the Inland Empire .Net User Group sessions are now available.

Check out the first two at http://www.iedotnetug.org/UG/videos.aspx.

This has been a long time coming.  There is so much great knowledge and content at our user groups that it’s a real shame that it wasn’t getting recorded.  If you missed a meeting you really missed out.  And if you wanted to brush up on a topic you attended several months ago all you had were your notes, slides or an email contact.  These are great assets but nothing like having access to the actual live presentation.

So, I approached James Johnson (the president of the group) about recording the sessions.  He loved the idea.  We got a VGAUSB2 VGA frame grabber sponsored from epiphan.  (I’m still working on proper sponsor recognition for our videos).  The frame grabber allows us to record the actual live desktop content without installing software on the presenter’s machine.

My dream is having a combination of live video, live screen capture and live audio.  It worked great for the TDD session with Tom Opgenorth.  Unfortunately it took me hours and hours cutting the footage together with nice dissolves and such.  Also my camera is pretty poor on it’s low light ability.  So, for now we’ve abandoned live video.  I think it really adds a lot so getting this back is in the works.

Now we’ve also stepped up to a wireless lapel mic for our speakers.  It’s a major improvement in sound quality, which you can hear in the two videos.  The TDD presentation is just a USB nearby mic where as the Virtual presentation is with the wireless lapel.

So, what are the next steps?  These are not in any particular order.

  • The user group site is moving to Sitefinity from Telerik.  So, getting this same page available in SF is next and already 99% done.
  • Create a proper intro branding video (like 10 seconds) representing the user group
  • Create a proper sponsorship branding video (like 3-5 seconds) for epiphan
  • Get a decent low-light HD camera for live video.
  • Create a new layout template accommodating live video and screen capture so I don’t have to actually edit the result.  Much like the PDC videos.  I really like that layout and it’s minimal setup/maintenance.
  • Take over the world! 🙂

That last one is jokingly but I’m actually drafting plans to setup a SoCal org that facilitates recording of presentations at local user groups and conferences and making them available for public viewing.  check out my post here for the beginning of this concept.

Technorati Tags: