Jeff Geerling's blog

Aquinas and More Closing

Aquinas and More, a great Catholic store that had probably the best selection of Catholic goods available online, seems to be going out of business soon. This is unfortunate, because that means I'll have to go to Catholic Ripoff Supply more often (and their website needs major improvement). Ah well.

Aquinas and more going out of business.

For now until they run out of inventory, they're having a 20% off sale on almost everything.

The Mass, Explained by an App

Mass Explained Logo

The Mass Explained App for iPad looks like a pretty awesome app ("coming soon") from Agnus, LLC. I haven't seen the app in action (just screenshots), but even if it's just a bunch of static pages like an interactive book, it looks like the content is high-quality:

iPad Mass Explained App

I really hope the app function as good as it looks. If so, I think this would be a good template for other similar apps explaining sacraments, sacramentals, the Rosary, prayer, saints, the Vatican, etc.

Basically take encyclopedic knowledge of a Catholic subject, and marry that with some great illustrations, images, and 3D models, and make a very nice interactive app or iBook. I would buy the whole series!

What's a good video camera to use for short YouTube videos?

I've gotten this question enough times via email that I thought I'd create a quick blog post mentioning what I think is a good deal for a video camera setup for recording short videos, ideally with one person speaking.

In such a situation, since you probably won't see a major difference in picture quality in anything under $500, I'd skimp a little on the camera itself and just make sure the video camera you buy has an external microphone input, then buy a microphone like the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 to clip onto the person being recorded.

A microphone goes a long way towards making quality video—many people think the camera's the most important part of a video recording setup, but it really isn't (unless you're doing a top-notch production!). That's how I can use the tiny iPhone camera as my primary video camera and record good videos, since the iPhone accepts external microphones so easily.

The camera

Canon VIXIA HD Camcorder

I'd buy a Canon VIXIA camera, as long as it has an external microphone input. The Canon VIXIA HF R100 is only $179 on Amazon, and it records great video and has a microphone and headphone jack.

The microphone

As stated earlier, using an external microphone (instead of the cheap, junky built-in microphone) will dramatically improve the overall quality of your recordings. I recommend two different microphones:

Beautiful tour of the Sistine Chapel (VR)

The Last Judgement - Behind the Altar in the Sistine Chapel - Michaelangelo - The Vatican

In some ways, viewing this VR image (zoom in to see incredible detail) is better than visiting in person, because you don't have to listen to constant shushing and be packed in a small space with more than a hundred other people!

The picture above was adjusted in Photoshop after a screen grab, and shows Michaelangelo's famous The Last Judgement.

The best part? It also works on the iPad. Check it out here: Virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel.

It's going to be a good Saturday

Tools for wrecking - reciprocating saw, hammer, prybar, bolt cutter, screwdriver

Dear old scrap wood furniture that came with the house: say hello to my little friends.

3 million pageviews

Wow. Just glanced at stats for 2008-now on lifeisaprayer.com, and it looks like I've passed 3,000,000 page views, with more than 1.6 million unique visitors (I didn't keep stats from 2004-2008, so I don't have data for that time).

Thanks for all your visits, and for helping me improve this site through your feedback! I've received over 1,500 comments and 1,000 emails over the course of 800 blog posts, 60 articles, 31 reviews, and 1,100 photos posted to this site. I've written over 40,000 words in the posts on this site (not yet enough for a novel), and I've written similar amounts for sites like Open Source Catholic and Midwestern Mac.

One of my greatest dilemmas is whether to consolidate sites like those into this site, or to try to keep Life is a Prayer more about personal things, marriage, family life, etc. Here's to another 40,000 words figuring it out!

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