YouTube TV comes to Boise

YouTube TV has made it to Boise! For those of you unfamiliar with YouTube TV it enables watching a lot of the programs you’d watch over the air or via cable through all of the devices that already have YouTube apps.

With the Chromecast connected it’s easy to select my local TV station and send the stream to the largest screen in the house. $40/month, six accounts, and more channels than I know what to watch.

One of the great things about all this is the ability of the system to DVR everything and then hand it back to me on demand. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s awesome.

Baba Yetu

I really only ever play one video game, Civilization IV. This is in part because when I was in high school I used to play Civilization (the first one) off a floppy disk on the school’s computers. We figured out how to work around the old computer’s boot sequence to be able to get a DOS prompt and CIV I was able to be played entirely from a floppy disk.

CIV IV was released while I was on my second deployment to Iraq. To me, it was the perfect improvement from Civilization III. I’ve tried the newer versions of the game but they didn’t allow me to play the way I liked to (for me it’s mostly about colonizing the land) and because of this they weren’t fun.

CIV IV starts with an epic song, Baba Yetu. It wasn’t until I started listening to streaming music services that I realized I could try to download the song and add it to my playlist. I personally think video game music has been overlooked by the industry despite the fact that it’s been terribly good at working with system limitations throughout it’s evolution. Who doesn’t like Lindsey Stirling’s Zelda Duet?

While I enjoyed the song Baba Yetu it was in a language I didn’t know and so understanding the lyrics were beyond me. I had the same feelings about Beethoven’s 9th which I knew had powerful words, but prior to the internet getting a translation was rather difficult.

Eventually I got around to googling Baba Yetu and what it means. I was pleasantly surprised to find the song was a translation of the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili–and it was beautiful.

Baba yetu, yetu uliye
Mbinguni yetu, yetu amina!
Baba yetu yetu uliye
M Jina lako e litukuzwe.Utupe leo chakula chetu
Tunachohitaji, utusamehe
Makosa yetu, hey!
Kama nasi tunavyowasamehe
Waliotukosea usitutie
Katika majaribu, lakini
Utuokoe, na yule, muovu e milele!Ufalme wako ufike utakalo
Lifanyike duniani kama mbinguni.
Our Father, who art
in Heaven. Amen!
Our Father,
Hallowed be thy name.Give us this day our daily bread,
Forgive us of
our trespasses,
As we forgive others
Who trespass against us
Lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from the evil one forever. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Some time later the song got the attention of a couple of prominent vocal artists on YouTube, Peter Hollins and Alex Boyé. Alex Boyé has long been admired by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and so when at an event this year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Priesthood of God being bestowed based upon worthiness happened early this year, I was pleased to see Alex’s rendition of the song added to the celebration’s program. It’s a powerful rendition. It’s a powerful song. It’s based on a powerful prayer. All because a video game needed a good intro.

Google Draw where MS Paint Left Off

We live in an era of big data and really powerful computer programs to help us analyze and navigate that data.  The top end powerful programs seem to get a lot of press when released.  The moment the newest version of Photoshop hits Phlearn, Tony Northrup, and several others will have videos explaining the features to their audiences.  We often forget the programs on the lower end of the spectrum.

Low-end programs are generally bundled with an operating system for free and enable basic features for text and image editing.  Many of you might be familiar with Microsoft Paint, a basic image editor bundled with Windows since 1985.  Quite often these low end programs are our first introduction to tools are seem intentionally designed with cumbersome interfaces and missing toolsets.

One of the most modern missing tool sets from desktop applications is the ability to share a project while still in the creative process.  Collaboration is key for most of what I produce and so I’ve found myself using Google Draw more and more these days to get things done.  My kids are required once a week to record a video for our podcast available at with videos available at our youtube channel as well (feel free to subscribe).  My oldest daughter does most of the editing and uploading to youtube.  

DFD created in google draw
DFD created in google draw

When I create an image file to use as the custom thumbnail I need to be able to share this with her in a way she can edit the file.  If I were to do this in Microsoft Paint, it would flatten the image upon saving and she wouldn’t be able to edit it.  If I were to do this in Adobe’s suite (photoshop, illustrator, or fireworks could all work for this) I’d have to purchase another license and the cost doesn’t justify this expense.  Besides, those programs don’t have native file sharing.

Enter Google Draw.  This program will allow me to save the project as an .SVG which is a browser compatible vector format.  It’s also a format that can be read by free software applications such as inkscape.  While inkscape does have a more robust tool set Google Draw has what I need to get most jobs done.  When it was time to create a data flow diagram for class it was my platform of choice for creation.

Also this week Eliza and I did some on screen research on Octopuses (or Octopi) and I wanted to create a custom thumbnail for the episode.  One again Google Draw came through.  Now she has this thumbnail template shared with her to use with upcoming episodes.

We often overlook the lower end of the software spectrum because of its lack of tool set or key features, but the low end of the spectrum in some areas is certainly powerful enough to lift some very heavy loads.  Google Draw’s big draw for us is the ability to share and export in easily recognizable formats, whether it’s the open source SVG format for editing in other applications such as inkscape, or a ready to publish PNG/JPG file, this is more than the little program that could.  It’s the little program that does!