Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Learn to Program Ruby FREE

I'm starting a new Ruby programming series on YouTube. The first video went online today. More to follow soon. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to get notification of new lessons.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Arrays, Addresses and Pointers in C Programming

What's the difference between this:

char s[] = "Hello";

and this...?

char *s = "Hello";

Aren't they just two ways of doing the same thing? That is, of assigning the string "Hello" to the string variable s? Well, no. In fact, these two assignments are very different things. If you have moved to C from another language such as Java, Python, C# or Ruby, making sense of arrays, strings, pointers and addresses is likely to be one of the biggest challenges you'll face. Here's a video I made that should help out.

For a more in depth guide to C programming, see my book, The Little Book Of C:
Amazon (US): https://amzn.to/2RXwA6a
Amazon (UK): https://amzn.to/2JhlwOA

For a full explanation of pointers, see The Little Book Of Pointers:
Amazon (US): https://amzn.to/2LF2aVb
Amazon (UK): https://amzn.to/2FViSvS

Friday, 8 November 2019

Use the Delphi TreeView to Program a Collapsible Outliner

Here is the latest lesson on creating an outlining tool with Object Pascal and Delphi:

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel in order to be notified whenever a new lesson is uploaded: https://www.youtube.com/BitwiseCourses?sub_confirmation=1

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Learn To Program Delphi and Object Pascal

I'm starting a new YouTube series on Delphi programming. In the course of the series I will explain how to design and code a collapsible outliner utility (for brainstorming, TODO lists, password management, project planning and so on).

Eventually my outliner will let you create trees of headings and subheadings, you will be able to drag and drop branches to reposition them and even attach formatted notes to each branch. If you’ve never programmed Delphi before this will be a great way to discover this wonderful development tool for Object Pascal programming. If you already program in Delphi, it will give you an insight into using the TreeView component and saving and loading complex data to and from disk. And, best of all, you’ll end up creating a genuinely valuable tool.

In this first lesson, I give an overview of Delphi and tell you how you can download a free copy.

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel in order to be notified whenever a new lesson is uploaded: https://www.youtube.com/BitwiseCourses?sub_confirmation=1

Monday, 7 October 2019

What are C# Generic Collections?

Baffled by generic lists and dictionaries in C# (C-Sharp)? I hope this short video may help.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

The Little Book Of C# Programming

I was very pleased to see that my book on C# programming is listed Number 1 in several categories on Amazon today. It won't last, I'm sure, but it's very gratifying all the same...

The Little Book Of C# is available as a paperback or Kindle eBook from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and other international Amazon stores.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Cyberlink PowerDirector 18 Review

PowerDirector 18 Ultimate £99.99 / $129.99
Subscription plans also available starting at £5/month

If you are looking for video editing software capable of professional results but without a professional price tag, PowerDirector is hard to beat. It is packed with powerful recording and editing features and outputs or ‘produces’ videos blazingly fast. When I reviewed PowerDirector 17, last year, I wrote “While it is priced towards the hobbyist end of the market, don’t be fooled into thinking it is for amateurs only. In fact, it now has an excellent range of pro-level features. For the serious video editor on a tight budget, PowerDirector is my top recommendation.”

PowerDirector 18 is a fully-featured video editing suite
This month sees the release of PowerDirector 18. This version adds a range of new features, (see What’s New In PowerDirector 18). It has ‘audio scrubbing’ which means it plays back audio as you move the playhead over a track so that you can more easily find a specific location (for example, where the subject says a certain word).  It makes it easy to create perfectly square videos, suitable for some social media sites, additional file format support for pro cameras, an improved title designer to create and animate titles(see example), it has the ability to undock the media library and timeline (handy if you are using more than one monitor) plus a variety of interface and usability improvements such as hotkey customisation, snap-alignment of objects and a shape designer for adding vector shapes to videos. These are all, in my opinion, fairly small changes – there are no huge new ‘gee-whiz’ features – but cumulatively they combine to make worthwhile improvements to PowerDirector.

If you have two monitors, you can dock the media panel and timeline on one monitor (here they are on my left screen) and show the video preview on the other monitor (here on the right)
The new features are just the icing on then cake, however. PowerDirector is already packed with a range of excellent features from its previous editions (see my reviews of PowerDirector 17 and PowerDirector 16) including camera and screencast capture, powerful multi-track editing, a huge range of effects, transitions and colour correction tools, split-screen videos, particle effects, audio editing and synchronization and much more.

You can create your own vector shapes and callouts, change the colours and even add animation. These are then saved to the library for easy use in your projects
It has a few irritating features too.  For example, its video editing tools are spread about in a variety of different places – to change the colours and lens effects, you can either load up some pages containing scrollbars from the Fix/Enhance menu or you can apply presets from the Effects library. To crop and zoom you can either select a popup Cross/Zoom window from the PowerTools menu or you can load up the PiP (Picture In Picture) designer and do it there. The PiP designer is also where you apply Chroma Key (to remove green-screen backgrounds) and make other adjustments to video clip animations. To be honest, I find that there are so many menus, dialog boxes, drag-and-drop effects and popup video editing panels that I often forget which one I need to use in order to make the edits I want to make.

Another peculiarly annoying idiosyncrasy is that when you unlink the audio from a video track then move the audio relative to the track (say to synchronize sound and video) and then relink or group the two tracks, you can no longer load the video into the PiP editor. In order to do that, you have to unlink the tracks all over again, do the desired edits, then relink them.  Similarly, if you group audio and video and then split the clip, you can’t delete one side of the split without first ungrouping the clips, then doing the deletion, then regrouping them.

PowerDirector includes screen and webcam recording tools. Here I am simultaneously recording my computer screen and the webcam which is useful for software tutorials that include videos of the teacher
Overall, I believe PowerDirector continues to offer the best range of professional-grade features for video editors on a budget. And, as already mentioned, its production speed is second-to-none so if you are rendering big videos, it’s a real time saver. At its price, this is a remarkably powerful and versatile package.

Whether you are making pro-grade 4K videos, online educational videos or just simple YouTube videos, PowerDirector 18 is a great program at a very reasonable price.