Goodbye Mindquarry! What Will Be Next?

Although I feel sad that Mindquarry did not work out the way it was meant to be, I am also excited about some great opportunities which came up lately.

First of all, I’d like to thank all my former colleagues at Mindquarry who proved once more that they are real sports especially during the rough times that lay behind us. You can tell their commitment and proudness from the fact that they kept working on the now available Mindquarry 1.2beta release until the last day of the company’s existence.

I very much welcome that the three Mindquarry founders now help Day Software to add collaborative tools to their Enterprise Content Management System. This is an extremely smart move by Day, because each one of the founders are superb developers with an entrepreneurial attitude. Plus, the founders already gained a lot of experience and insights in the collaboration market space – something of high value for Day’s business, because it accelerates time-to-market.

So, what will I be doing? In fact, I am yet undecided whether I will enter employment again or start my own business with a very good friend of mine. Either way, I plan to continue working in the domain of Open Source marketing, be it as part of a firm’s management or as a consultant.

Up-to-now, I have four job opportunities, most of them would also be interested in working with me as an external consultant. What do you think would be the best choice?

Open Source PR Agency in USA: Terpin Communications

4 months ago, Mindquarry was searching for a PR agency in the USA and today we can already look back at a highly successful public relations campaign, performed by Terpin Communications.

I am extremely happy with the results achieved by Terpin. They helped build up a growing momentum in the blogsphere which just now starts to spill over to traditional media.

Terpin exceeded our expectations when it comes to number of Mindquarry downloads, unique visitors at www.mindquarry.com and Google hits for “mindquarry” as well as the ranking of our Web site for certain keyword searches. Due to increased public visibility, we got contacted by new customers, potential partner companies and investors.

Our points of contact at Terpin are very attentive and highly responsive to all our requests. I appreciate their strategic expertise in software marketing and especially in PR for Open Source product vendors. Terpin is a reliable, goal-oriented and well connected PR agency.

Credit where credits are due. Thanks Terpin!

Lars at Web Monday in Berlin

Web Monday “connects users, developers, founders, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, researchers, web pioneers, bloggers, podcasters, designers and other folks interested in Web 2.0 topics (in the broadest sense)” – as they say about themselves.

This event takes place once per month on a Monday in several cities around Germany. Today, I was flying to Berlin to spend a week in the Mindquarry office and, hey – it’s Web Monday!

Right now, I sit in the Newthinking office and listen to Lars‘ presentation of Mindquarry.

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I am happy to be here, together with 40 other attendees. Lars told me that usually it is even more people – cool! If you’re in Berlin on a Monday, check if it’s Web Monday, it’s worth being there.

I am also happy to be here because finally, I got the chance to meet with Markus Beckedahl face-to-face.

Adding Creative Commons Music to a Screencast with GarageBand on Mac for YouTube

The Mindquarry screencast I wrote about before, got spiced up with the song Revolve by His Boy Elroy, which is available under a Creative Commons license.

Here’s what I did technically:

First I hit File > Export in iMovie and clicked on “GarageBand” to transfer the video to the GarageBand application included on my Mac. In GarageBand, I added the song to the audio track. It was necessary to adjust the music to the video, e.g. to highlight a switch of the topic with the music. After some trial and error, I learned how to cut, paste, move parts of the music and also that you could simply extend a part at its beginning and end (cool!).

When the audio work was done, I wanted to add the music credits at the end of the video. I added the missing clip in iMovie and wondered how I can get the extended video into GarageBand. The trick is actually, that GarageBand will automatically load the new video because it is linked to iMovie.

It was more hassle to find a way how to get the audio track imported to iMovie. I think I only found a workaround yet: 1) Export from GarageBand to high quality video (640×480), 2) Import in new iMovie project, 3) extract audio track in iMovie. I’d be glad to hear if someone knows a better way?

From iMovie, I exported the video in a format optimized for YouTube. The video settings have been described in my previous post Screencast for YouTube with iShowU and iMovie on Mac. I configured the audio settings as follows:

  • Format: AAC
  • Sample rate: 22.050KHz
  • Channels: Stereo
  • Bit rate: 24kbps

Screencast for YouTube with iShowU and iMovie on Mac

Today, I uploaded a short screencast about Mindquarry to YouTube which will be included on our Web site.

I created it with iShowU and iMovie on my Mac and uploaded it to YouTube. It took some research on the Web as well as trial-and-error to achieve a good resolution in YouTube’s 320×240 video size. Here’s a short how-to:Download and install iShowU (I used 1.41), pay the $20. iMovie should already be installed on your Mac.These are my settings in iShowU:

  • Audio: Turned off, because we later add music to the screencast within iMovie.
  • Video:
    • Framerate: 15
    • Size: 100%
    • Quality: Max
    • Compression: Apple MPEG4 Compressor
    • Mouse: Record in each frame
    • Recording area: I used different ratios to show an overview or details. They all scale down well to the 320x240px size of YouTube videos:
      • 320×240
      • 427×320
      • 640×480
      • 854×640

Now start recording with iShowU.

Start a new iMovie project in MPEG-4 format (automatically sets the ratio to 640×320). Import the screencast files (File > Import), insert them, move them around, cut them, add images, audio, effects, etc.

When done go to File > Export in iMovie, choose QuickTime and from the drop-down that you want to define your own settings, click “Share”. Before saving the file, change the screen size by clicking on “Options”, there on “Size” and choose “320 x 240 QVGA”. For all other options, use the default settings (e.g. frame rate at 24).

The text effects in-between the screencast clips have been created in Keynote, which is part of iWorks. It’s a great presentation software with nice text animations. Keynote allows you to export to QuickTime movies which again can be imported to iMovie. The descriptive subtitles at the bottom of the screencast clips have been added within iMovie, just make sure you disable “Black background”.

Now I just need to find a good CC-licensed music for the screencast …

Useful resources:

Open Source and SaaS – Business in the Fast Lane

It’s been an exciting two weeks with all the preparations for the Mindquarry GO launch and respective public relations.

I can now clearly sense how the combination of Open Source and Software as a Service (SaaS) dramatically accelerates our business.

We already get plenty of feedback from users who download our software and install it on their own – that’s the Open Source engine that keeps us optimizing our product. SaaS is the other turbo engine: registrations for free Mindquarry GO beta accounts are adding up and the first beta users will go live Monday. Once we have all 333 users online by September 9th, they will provide even more feedback and help us to rapidly improve our software.

As we try to consequently apply the mantra “release early, release often” to both our Open Source and SaaS offer, we multiply the effect of early user feedback leading towards a constantly enhanced product and hosted service.