Jeff Geerling's blog

Taking Twitter by Storm: Let's get #ThanksPontifex trending on Feb. 28

Pope Benedict Greets the Youth - 1

Matthew Schneider is spearheading an effort to get the hashtag #ThanksPontifex (and it's multilingual equivalents) trending globally on Twitter at 07:45 Rome time, in February 28. On his blog, he offers further details, and gives local times around the world for when you should tweet using this hashtag.

For those of you in St. Louis or otherwise in CST, tweet around 1:00 p.m. on the 28th.

Also in the post are a bunch of sample tweets you may post, in addition to links to services that will allow you to schedule tweets in case you can't tweet during the appropriate time (due to work or some other circumstance).

Obviously, this isn't limited to Twitter; if you're on Google+, go ahead and use the same hashtag and see if you can get it trending there too!

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.

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