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Ask Andru: How can I make my iPad louder?

In today's Ask Andru column, we get a question about an issue with the iPad that we've actually experienced ourselves for years. Ever since the release of the original iPad, it's been painfully obvious that the speaker on the Apple tablet isn't exactly up to snuff. It's fine if you're somewhere quiet, but go somewhere that has any ambient noise, and all of a sudden it's a challenge to enjoy any audio-based entertainment. So, on to the submitted question:

I love my new iPad, but I wish it were louder. It seems that everything about the new iPad is high-quality, with the exception of the speaker! Is there any way I can get more volume out of this thing?

I hear you! As I said earlier, the low volume issue has been around since the very first iPad. When the iPad 2 was released, the speaker grille was larger, and many assumed that this meant that the device would be louder. Unfortunately, despite the visual cue, the iPad 2 suffered from the same issue, and the new third-generation model (see our new iPad review) seems to have the exact same speaker as its predecessor. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the frustration.

Click to continue reading Ask Andru: How can I make my iPad louder?


How To Use Your Gaming Headset with Xbox Live

Xbox Live Headphones

If you’re anything like me, and I’m making an assumption here (because that’s what irresponsible journalism is all about), you might only have so much money to go towards fancy gadgets and various electronic compensations for a strikingly diminished sense of personal worth. That can lead to some trouble if, for instance, you have a decent gaming headset that you want to use for your instead of a bona-fide sound sytem, since you can no longer use Xbox Live without Microsoft’s proprietary, flimsy headset.

A few headsets, like those from Turtle Beach, alleviate this problem by offering individual chat volumes and the ability to both listen to your game and communicate with your buddies. It’s a worthy investment, but a bit of a waste if you already have a good gaming headset - dedicated XBL headsets can hover around the $150 range. All you need is a $5 adapter and zero soldering.

Hit the jump to see what you need.

Click to continue reading How To Use Your Gaming Headset with Xbox Live

The Secret to Publishing Your Comic With Dark Horse

“How do I get my great comic book idea published?” I’m glad you asked because Dark Horse is giving away the answer. No need to pickup a thick copy of “Writer’s Market 2009” to find out what DH is looking for from their creative talent. Senior editor, Randy Stradley, offers specific advice on breaking into the comic book industry. A goldmine of information to aid up-and-coming artists, Stradley offers details on new talent turn-around times and necessities for artist portfolios. A great resource for unpublished and up-and-coming comic books artists.

For More on Randy Stradley:

For more on submitting work to Dark Horse, here is Dark Horse’s submission guidelines and sample script for artists.

Closed-Captioning for the Hearing Impaired per VideoJug:

How can an artist submit his work to you?

We have an open-submission policy. The people can send us stuff through the mail anytime. It tends to pile up for a while. We get a chance to look through it and we’ll whittle the pile down to nothing. It then builds up again. Here at the shows, people sign up ahead of time and it’s generally first-come, first-serve. For years we’ve tried to figure out a way to triage the line so that we tell the people who are ready, yes, get in line. For the people who aren’t, you’re not ready yet. You don’t need to show your work to an editor. It seems like, in recent years, that showing your work to the editor has become the “in” thing that you do. It’s just what you do. They don’t even know why they’re showing their work to an editor because I’m not an artist. I can’t really tell them how to draw better, or what techniques they should use. My job is to find people who can be given an assignment and be expected to pull it off.

What is the ideal artist portfolio?

The ideal artist portfolio is probably five to ten pages of consecutive story telling. Something that starts with a quiet scene and moves to an action scene. It includes everyday people in street clothes, buildings, cars, furniture, the stuff that the readers see every day. I always tell the artists being able to draw all the mundane stuff well is the most important part of seducing your readers into believing what they are looking at. So then when the monsters show up and the superheroes show up they are ready to except things. You have lured them in with this sort of real world that they can believe in, so they suspend their disbelief and the fantastic stuff goes down easy.

Do you prefer reviewing original or photocopies?

I am happy to look at copies, as long as they are good copies. I don’t need to see the full size originals. Yeah, it’s not a big deal.

What is the best advice for an artist submission?

Try before you show your portfolio, try to get a realistic assessment of your skill level and you do that by showing your work to somebody other than your family and friends who are all going to say, “Oh yeah, that’s great.” They’re not really going to be honest with you. So if you can find another comic artist to show your work to or strangers sometime or a teacher or something like that. Find out if you’re ready to be showing your work to try and get a professional job. Then when you do show your work, treat it like it’s a job interview. Be serious about it, come prepared. Don’t come with a bunch of excuses like well I didn’t have time to finish these pages, well yeah because COMICON only happens once a year so it totally took you by surprise didn’t it? Those things don’t fly. I want to see you show up as if you were doing a job interview.

Is having contact information on my work important?

It should be on everything that they leave with me. I’ve had it happen in the past where somebody’s given me great samples and I get back to the office and I realise they don’t have their name, phone number, email address or anything on the pages. Therefore, I have no way to know who that person is and no way to contact them. I’ve had great samples in the past for somebody who didn’t get a job because I didn’t know who they were.

Do you try to match the artist’s work you see to the stories you already have?

No, but I’m greedy. I think about the books I’m editing and what I have coming up and I think, “Oh, this guy would be good for that,” and “Oh yeah, I need an artist for this story”. Theoretically, I’m here being the eyes for all of the artists or all of the editors at Dark Horse, but I always think of myself first.

Do you look for a specific style of work?

You know for main stream comics, personally I edit a lot of Star Wars books. So I am looking for something like an artist who can handle likenesses, who can handle all the details of the hardware and everything but it can also be stylized and we have room for that. But generally if somebody is not drawing sort of, at least quasi realistically, probably their best bet is to either write their own story or attach themselves with a writer. And come up with a story that suits their style. And I am not saying find a Star Wars story that suits their style, but find you know, the kind of story they want to tell. That is how Dark Horse got started was with artists and writers who had stories of their own that they wanted to tell. We did not have any established characters when we started. So we could not say, oh write me this kind of story or draw this. We went with what they had created. The thing that separated Dark Horse at the beginning was that we allowed them to regain control of their own creations. Whereas if they had brought those creations to other companies, they would have had to sign away the rights to them.

Should I submit fully inked or colored artwork?

I would rather see just the pencils, or if they are going to show me ink work, have photocopies of the pencils, because not every artist is their own best inker. In fact, most of them aren’t, and with the way scanning technology has improved in recent years, we actually scan a lot of books directly from the pencils, and are able to reproduce them. In the old days when we had to photograph things, you just couldn’t do that. If it wasn’t dark enough, you needed to have the books inked. But nowadays, I only have one inker and I have got all the other books that are inter-shot directly from the pencils.

What happens if you like my artwork?

That’s when the challenge starts because if I say “you’re hired”, you have a month or forty days to turn around a 22 page story. Some are going to drop dead in terror, because they’re excited about it, at the time they think that’s what they wanted to do, but when it comes right down to it, drawing comics is a lot of work. And, I’ve had a number of occasions where somebody new has drawn one issue and that’s it. They decided “I can’t draw comics any more - it’s to much work.” And you really have to want to do it, especially we’ve had a lot of people who do movie story boards and they work in the entertainment industry and they’re in love with the idea of doing comics. So they do one issue and they are like, “No. I get paid a lot more to do story boards, I’ll stick with that.”

Does being a comic book artist pay well?

Paid rates are all over the board now. There are some people who make pretty good money. I had one agent telling me that, “Hey we’ve got artists who they’ll pencil, ink, letter and color an entire issue for $2500”. So you break that down, that’s a little over a hundred dollars a page for a lot of work. We try to pay better than that. But things aren’t as good as they were in the early nineties during the boom time, when there were artists literally making fortunes, because so many books were being sold and they were making so much money. But comics don’t sell that well anymore.

YouTube Reporters’ Center

Posted by Sheila Franklin Categories: Corporate News, Internet

Reporters' Center logoWant to get into broadcasting? set up a journalism hub yesterday with tips from those “who know,” like Bob Woodward, Katie Couric and Ariana Huffington. There are video tutorials on how to interview, ethics in journalism and our fave, NYT’s Nicholas Kristof’s instructions on how to report from a “global humanitarian crisis” without getting shot. If you already are in the field, YouTube would like your input on their Reporter Centers’ as well.

Read More | Reporters' Center

On Writing: Kurt Busiek

Posted by Kris Madden Categories: Editorials, Independent

Picture of Busiek

I’ve always been a fan of “How to” articles, books, blogs, etc. I blame my dad for my addiction to the DIY lifestyle. As a kid, I would browse through comics with awe and wonder. They were the most beautiful things that I had come across; with vivid colors and pages of action sequences. Why wouldn’t I love them?

Even though I racked up quite a collection, I confess: I never read them. I looked through them and admired their artwork often, but considered the dialogue sections of comic books the “boring parts”.

It wasn’t until I was older that I began reading comics, and while some were tacky and cheesy, others were thoughtful and intriguing. My attitude changed quickly and I became obsessed with comic writers.

When I went to the local comic shop I looked for names like Moore, Miller, Busiek, and Brubaker. As I read more, I wanted to learn how they wrote comic books.

So here are links to Kurt Busiek’s comic book writing advice, which I have enjoyed. They’re a great resource for anyone looking start writing their own comic books.

Click to continue reading On Writing: Kurt Busiek

Bleeding Edge TV 155: Andru Edwards, Chris Pirillo, Robert Scoble, Steve Broback on Blog Marketing

We take a break from gadgets in this episode, as we present an impromptu roundtable discussion between some of the major players in the blogging space, focusing on marketing and what major companies need to do to start engaging today’s consumer. With the way information is consumed these days, along with the way our generation consumes media, companies need to approach marketing a bit differently. This video features Andru Edwards, Robert Scoble, Chris Pirillo, and Steve Broback discussing these topics in two parts - first, I talk with Scoble, Pirillo, and Broback one-on-one, and then we bring you the full roundtable.

A big thank you to Chris Aarons of AMD for asking us about this topic, which is what motivated us to get some of our friends together for this dialogue.