This summer, you’re bound to have a couple parties – on the deck, in your backyard….wherever. With the 4th of July around the corner here in the states, here’s a couple general tech tips that’ll go a long way to keep your gear safe and your party going.
One of the key ingredients of a good summer jam is the music. Last 4th of July, I threw a blow-out at my place and set up a music station on a TouchSmart 610 (of course, you could just as easily rock the party with just about any TouchSmart). It was kind of awesome for a couple reasons. First, it’s plugged into my network with full access to my 1TB media library. Secondly, in an age of tablets and touch, it’s nice to have a giant, stylish 23-inch touchscreen that lets me control the music on-screen. (For instance, I came across an app like OTS Labs’ software that will let you turn your giant touchscreen into a giant pair of TOUCH turntables!)
The speakers on the system sure sound nice enough – and you could always amplify the bass with the Pulse subwoofer. Me? I just fed out the audio to my home entertainment center. You could use the audio output in the back….get your PC on the home network and stream to a client device….or just use something like HP’s Wireless Audio solution.
Now, let’s say that you’re bringing the party with you. Maybe you’ve got a tablet or your favorite smartphone loaded up for the day. Maybe you’re a bit of a pro and you want your laptop handy. Whatever the case, keep your gear dry and away from drinks. It’s a no-brainer rule of thumb that you probably practice, anyhow, but plans rarely survive first contact. A buddy of mine gave me this tip at a party. Bring some sort of plastic wrap with you…and loosely cover a couple parts of your computer (NOT the heat vents!) to prevent liquid getting into the display, for example. Of course, if you had an Elitebook, you wouldn’t be as worried. They can withstand some torture during the work day…so a little partying couldn’t hurt it.
Now, of course, there are a number of places to automate your party beyond creating your own playlist. Online, there are always options. Here are a couple of my go-tos….
Again, being able to have this set up on a touchscreen is always kind of cool – it encourages people to come up and add to / create their own playlist.
Party Photographer Duty
Another big part of being at a party is capturing all those oddball moments that will inevitably go down. Here are a couple random suggestions to keep the party going. Set up webcams at the party. Or use the ones embedded in your laptop. Or whatever! (Just make sure to let people know that they are being recorded! )
Maybe you want to livestream it to buddies around the country (why not?) – or maybe you just want to be able to take pictures without having to “push the button.” If you want to just capture video, that’s easy enough, but maybe you want to set up a Webcam to snap time delayed shots at intervals throughout your party. Or set up a motion sensor so that it captures as people walk by. Obviously, this isn’t the best solution if you have limited hard drive space, but it’s an interesting idea to play with if you want to try something different.
Or you could just feed out video captured on webcams to your TV through your computer. (You’d need to plug your PC into your TV….or, if you have a Wireless TV connect, you can wireless stream that video all over the house.)
Other bits of advice: make sure that you have a couple good phone apps on your smart phone – beyond the usual bundled stuff. After all, the best camera is the one you have with you….and if it starts up easily and quickly, even better.
So, for example, here are a couple apps that I have on my phone: Fast Camera – perfect for snapping a ton of pictures in a hurry. The second you fire the app up, it can continuously take pictures. You won’t miss a thing! 360Panorama – I really love this app. 360 creates some awesome, stitched-together 360 images (as you’d probably guess from the name) and it’s a breeze to use. Check out Occipital’s site to see how it works.
Also, I feel compelled to say this to all you Instagram-heads out there: When you take any picture, take it NORMALLY. If you want to add filters to it after the fact, fine! Go crazy! But you’ll never know when you might need that original image later.
Maybe they are actually talented. Best part is that you can save out the art and share it later with the partygoers on Facebook or wherever. (Or maybe print up a couple for guests to take home.)
Well, there’s a couple quick ways to rock out your summer jams a little more. You have some ideas of your own to share? We’d love to hear ‘em! If you've already used tech for your parties in sweet ways, let us know -- we'd love to put your story up for everyone else to see!
Also, for those celebrating: Have a great, long weekend.