Introducing Helpful Websites

Today I’m introducing 2 helpful websites, presented through video made with the software Screencast-o-Matic. These two websites introduce different elements and recipes of Chinese food that are for intermediate and advanced chefs. Wok from Your Dorm is more for beginner college chefs – so definitely check out these other websites as you advance through your cooking adventures! China Highlights is a travel agency whose website also offers information on Chinese cuisine, dining, and etiquette. The Woks of Life is a food blog made by a family of 4 (who apparently share my love of puns). I was actually really happy to find The Woks of Life blog, because there aren’t a lot of English-language websites that focus specifically on Chinese cooking (if viewers know of any, please recommend). Most of the time, it will be a general cooking website that will have a page on Chinese cuisine or a few recipes.

Using Screencast-o-Matic for the first time was easier than I thought it would be. I realized that the planning stage was the most important – scripting the video, opening and preparing all the web pages I would present in the video, etc. The only significant problem I had was saving and publishing the video. After you finish filming, you can save the video to your computer as a MP4 file, upload the video to a YouTube account, or save the video to your free Screencast-o-Matic account. I tried all 3 methods and each time received an error message that my anti-virus software was interfering with it. After some internal debate and some troubleshooting with my professor, I decided to temporarily pause my anti-virus software and was then able to publish the video to YouTube. (I do not unilaterally recommend pausing your anti-virus software; ask around and try to find another method first, and please let me know if you find another solution).

What do you think of these websites? Do you have any recommendations? Let me know by commenting and liking!

Featured websites: China Highlights and The Woks of Life

Recording a Signature Intro

 

I created an audio intro! I’m excited to use this intro for any potential podcasts or videos I make in the future. I like that I’m learning to create different media styles and communicate to the public in different modes (written, audio, and video). Not only does this variety broaden my horizons as a creator, but also creates greater accessibility to media for consumers. Podcasts are a more mobile way for followers to access text or video media.

I created this 30 second audio clip using Creative Commons-licensed audio,  Scott Holmes’ “Positive and Fun” from Freemusicarchive.org,  and open-source audio software Audacity. I’ve used Audacity to record audio before, but this was my first time editing audio. First I chose an upbeat and lighthearted background track, then recorded my bit using headphones introducing myself and my blog. The editing took some undoing and redoing, but I am ultimately satisfied with the finished product. First I add a fade in at the beginning of the background track and a fade out at the end. I added the Autoduck effect to the background track so that its volume will adjust to accommodate the narration, and then played with the relative volumes of both tracks until I was satisfied with the balance between the music and the narration. I also applied the Normalizing effect to balance the quiet and loud sections, then applied the Compression effect to fine-tune the audio. I tried applying the Reverb effect but could not adjust it to an appropriate level. Ultimately, I gave up on the Reverb effect (for now), but I hope to continue learning to enhance my audio-editing skills. Finally, I exported the clip as a .Wav file, saved it to my computer, uploaded it to my blog’s SoundCloud account, and embed here as media on my blog by inserting it from the SoundCloud URL.

How can I improve my audio intro? Let me know by commenting and liking!

 

 

Background music by Scott Holmes, provided by Freemusicarchive.org (licensed CC)

Designing a Header Image + Logo

Learning to use Pixlr was an experience; I have never tried editing images before, so there was a bit of a learning curve. First I found the two CC images I used, courtesy of  Chris Martino from Flickr and OpenClipart-Vector from Pixabay . I wanted to find images of fresh ingredients that I use in my cooking. The first image is a close-up of chopped tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and cucumbers, which are all ingredients I use often when I cook. The second layer is a cartoon image of a Chinese-style wok and a pair of chopsticks. After I saved the images to my computer, I uploaded the first image onto Pixlr Editor. After adjusting the size of the image and playing with the brightness and contrast, I uploaded the second image as a new layer. After a lot of trial and error, I tried to use the magic wand tool to cut out only the bowl. But the area I wanted to cut out consisted of multiple hues and was difficult to cut out using the magic wand tool. After some Googling, I tried using the lasso tool but found that free-hand drawing on a touchpad was too difficult to draw a fine line. Finally after more Googling, I discovered the polygonal lasso tool, which allowed me to draw a much finer, and more exact line. Using the polygonal lasso tool, I cut out only the bowl, then rotated the bowl 180 degrees. I added a drop shadow and adjusted the brightness and contrast. I have a header image! Given my inexperience, the end result turned out better than I had dared to hope, though still not professional-looking to my critical eye.  I look forward to continuing to learn and improve my photo-editing skills in the future.

How can I improve my header image? Let me know by commenting and liking!

Header images by Chris Martino and OpenClipart-Vector, provided by Flickr and Pixabay, respectively (licensed CC)

Welcome!

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Hey, everyone! Thanks for stumbling your way to my blog. Here I’ll share my college cooking adventures and mishaps as I try to cook homemade Chinese food in my dorm kitchen. Eventually, I’ll be sharing my recipes (which are simplified versions of my mom’s recipes) and tips to learning how to Wok from Your Dorm. But first, as this is my first time creating a blog, I’ll be posting about my adventures and mishaps setting up this website for the curious and the bored.

Happy laughing at my fumbling with technology!

Are there any other #technewbies out there? Let me know by commenting and liking!

 

 

 

Image by Justine.k, provided by Flickr (license CC)