• Google Hangouts On Air – 3 ways on how to invite people

    I get this question a lot about how to invite other people to be on a Google Hangouts On Air call; I thought I’d share with you how I go about doing this on my YouTube channel WPwatercooler. As you may or may not know Google Hangouts is a way to get up to 10 people on a video call and interact with one another. Google Hangouts On Air is a way for you to stream the conversation you are having on YouTube for others to see.

    As I have shared with you in a previous article there are ways to Create Google Hangouts quickly with these easy URLs that will help you with creating a Google Hangout or a Google Hangouts On Air, check the link on how to make that happen.

    Once you have a Google Hangout On Air started you can invite people. There are three ways to do this that I know of. Email based Google Hangout On Air invites and Link-based Google Hangout On Air invites

    1) Email based Google Hangout On Air invites

    One is to input the participants email addresses into the box provided when you start the hangout and it will notify them of the link needed to join the call.


    Depending on if you are in a Google Apps organization if your organization allows for Google Hangouts to occur inside or outside the organization you’ll be able to invite people via email to join the call. The participant you email will receive an email from google indicating that they should click a link to join the call.

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    2) Link-based Google Hangout On Air invites

    If the call ahs already started and you want to add more people you can do so by clicking the chain link icon on the right side of the screen. You’ll be greeted with a link to send to people or a way to email them the link.


    If all else fails…

    Google tends to change things at a moments notice. If you end up having a resort to a different method of sending the link to someone you can try sending the URL of the page you are on.


    You’ll notice that the urls are a bit different one with the hangouts// and the other with /call/ depending on how the wind is blowing over at Google these urls may make a difference. Replacing /hangouts// with /call/ may be your best bet to getting a URL that will work for your call participants.

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    3) Scheduling a call using Google+

    On WPwatercooler I use Google+ to schedule my calls ahead of time. This allows me to have a YouTube url for me to share with others and make it easy for me to set up all of the settings on YouTube way before the call starts.

    Google doesn’t make this very easy but as a Google+ Business Page I do the following:

    Click on the avatar on the upper right side of the site and select Google+ page from the drop down menu


    On the left side of the page click on Google+ Page drop down menu then select Google Hangouts


    You’ll be greeted with this page, click Hangouts On Air

    Note: Be sure to bookmark this page for quicker access.

    You’ll end up on this page, from there click on Create a Hangout On Air button.


    A modal box will appear asking you to specify the name, info about it and what time it will start. The audience is not the people participating but rather a way for Google+ to help you promote your Google Hangouts On Air session.


    You’ll end up with a screen that looks like this


    You can edit the event, add a trailer to the event, collect the public links to the event and invite more viewers. I’ll discuss this in a later article but for now, click Start when your event is going to go live and follow the instructions above on how to invite people to be on your Google Hangout On Air event.


  • How to setup a YouTube live video stream using FFMPEG

    My wife Jen recently noticed that we had a bird’s nest in our DirecTV satellite dish. The Momma bird recently laid some eggs in it and we’ve been curious about them so I thought it would be fun to set up a webcam so we can keep tabs on what’s going on up there without disturbing the nest.


    I used to run a live webcam when I was a kid

    As you can see above we have a 24/7 webcam running (as of March 24th 2015) streaming what is going on in the bird’s nest. Back in the day I use to run a webcam and every 30 seconds or so it would take a picture of me sitting at my desk. It wasn’t the most popular thing for obvious reasons but it was a cool concept to have the webcam take a picture, FTP it to my server, rename the existing current.jpg to the date and then name the new file to current.jpg. From there I could refer to current.jpg in my html and you could see the recent image. With some scripting you could show the archives and such. It was super basic but fun none the less. As with most things I do it starts out as something fun and then I end up referencing it for a client. Fast forward a few years, we have bandwidth to spare, webcams all over the place and the know how to push and pull video as needed.

    How to stream to YouTube

    My YouTube account allows me to set up a live event, my account is verified, in good standing and I enabled the live events feature in my Account Features page. I think now days most accounts have this ability with the advent of Let’s Plays and watching people play games on YouTube. If you load up the video manager and go to Live Events you can set up a new live event. You could also use a Google Hangout on Air to do the streaming too. Once you setup your live event you can stream to it. There are a few ways to do this: WireCast for YouTube, Flash Media Live Encode and Google Hangout on Air or use any service that supports pushing video using RTMP.

    How I setup my birds nest camera setup

    A few years back I got a Logitech Alert b700i IP Camera for review, I live in an apartment and I don’t want to be that weirdo that has cameras pointing outside his apartment recording the common areas. I’ve used this camera for a number of events at my work and thought the hatching of some bird eggs would be a good use for it at home this go around.

    I positioned the IP Camera using the pole that was provided and a metal clip to clip it to the side of the DirecTV satellite dish the bird laid its nest in. I then ran a cat 6 cable from that camera over to the nearest network drop and plugged it in. This camera uses PoE or Power over Ethernet to power it so I have a power injector between the camera and the network drop to give it some power. After that I did some searching on my network looking for a device with port 554 open the port that RTSP runs on.

    Acronym Soup

    “I thought you said you were using RTMP?” Ah, good eye. RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol – wikipedia) is the standard that most IP cameras use, RTMP (Real Time Messaging Protocol – wikipedia)  is the standard that YouTube uses for getting a video stream from us over to YouTube. Since my camera lets me stream using RTSP and YouTube supports RTMP I figured I could make something happen by transcoding and bridging the gap between my camera and YouTube.

    Let’s get digging

    The first thing I do when trying to solve a crazy problem like this is to see if anyone else has done this in the past. I googled “RTMP RTSP YouTube” and noticed in the search results people talking about FFMPEG so I added that in too “RTMP RTSP YouTube FFMPEG” which showed me there is hope. Ditching Google and did a search on GitHub hoping someone had a sample bash script to make this all work and sure enough they did.


    What this code does is lets you specify your IP Camera source webcam url to pull from and the YouTube URL, YouTube Camera Key to push to. If you go to your Live Event and then edit the event and click on Ingestion you’ll see a screen like this:



    The area in the code where you are setting the value for the “key” is where you’ll paste in the value from the “Stream Name” above. The Primary Server URL is the value you’ll use for “YOUTUBE_URL” in the bash script. For “SOURCE” in the script I set mine to:


    But this depends on the rtsp url your webcam uses and the IP address your camera has. If you do a few google searched for the camera model number and rtsp you are bound to find something.

    Starting the stream

    I kicked off the stream in the terminal by issuing the command “./stream.sh” and ffmpeg connected to the IP camera and started pushing the video over to YouTube. If you go to your event page and edit the event and click on Live Control Room you can click on the Start Preview button to make sure your video is streaming to YouTube. If it is you can follow the step to preview the stream and then go live.

    What are you thinking about streaming? Leave your comments below.


  • Google Rolls Out YouTube Kids app for iOS & Android

    Little kids want to emulate their parents or even their older siblings watching and laughing at YouTube videos but savvy parents with young kids that not all videos are created equal. For a while parents have been building custom playlists and curating videos for their kids to watch. There are even some YouTube channels that tout that they have kid friendly content or have curated playlists.

    The folks at Google have noticed this and built their own app for iOS and Android. You see Google on Monday officially unveiled YouTube Kids, a new app for the video sharing site this time with a kid friendly interface allowing children to discover silly cat videos for themselves.

    One of the gripes in the comments on both the Google Play Store and in the Apple App Store is that parents are excited to see this for little kids but what about the bit older ones? The 9-12 range seems to be missing in this. Curating this content isn’t easy but Google has many tricks up their sleeve to pull this off. Everything from blocking videos with bad words (by reading the google generated closed captioning) to the type of comments that are left on content are all used to find only proper content for kids. YouTube is partnering with various channels on their service to bring the best content to kids which we’d imagine is the reason the 9-12 range kids are being left out.

    YouTube Kids can be downloaded on App Store for iOS (Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.) and on the Google Play Store (Requires Android 4.1 and up)

    Author information

    Jason Tucker

    Web Developer at Tucker Pro

    Jason Tucker is a web developer, systems administrator and a father of three. Jason owns Tucker.Pro a web development company and is host of WPwatercooler a weekly WordPress web development and design YouTube channel and podcast. Jason also blogs over at WPMedia.Pro where he talks about working with audio and video on the web.

    The post Google Rolls Out YouTube Kids app for iOS & Android appeared first on Stabley Times.

  • How to use SoundCloud for podcast hosting

    Hosting your podcast with a reliable host will insure you that your listeners are downloading from a reputable company, they will have fast downloads and that each download is tracked. In this video I go over how to take a recently uploaded mp3 file to SoundCloud and turn on a few settings so that the file can be downloaded or used in a podcast.

    In the video I mention that I don’t use the RSS feed feature as my “podcast feed” in iTunes (or any other aggregator) because I believe that I should “own my feed”. Owning your feed means that if I ever want to switch podcast media hosts that I can and my feed isn’t bound to them. Switching feeds isn’t fun and you can lose a lot of listeners if not done right.

    I use a plugin for WordPress called PowerPress that generates iTunes compatible podcast feeds and I reference the url of the SoundCloud hosted mp3 file. This video explains how to find the mp3 url and make it easy for you to put it into PowerPress.

    Own your feed using these tips and let me know in the comments how this works out for you.

  • Techniques for using video on your WordPress site

    In this post I plan to help you understand what oEmbed is and why it’s so awesome, how to make your embedded videos from YouTube or Vimeo be 100% width with the correct aspect ratio for the height, and help you set a featured image for your post from your embedded video’s thumbnail saving you time. Let’s get stated.

    What is oEmbed

    oEmbed is simply a way for WordPress authors to include audio, video and other media in their blog posts without using a standard embed code to make it happen. An author just needs to include the url of the media to be displayed and WordPress does the rest. For example if you were to put a YouTube url on it’s own line (as normal text, not a link) in a blog post and the video would be displayed, as shown below.


    Would display a embedded video like this:

    If you don’t want to have the video on it’s own line or you like using shortcodes you can do the same thing using this notation:

    [ embed width="123" height="456" ] 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TASykB63qu4[ /embed ]

    This also allows you to specify the max height and max width of the video but we’ll cover this a bit later by using a plugin.

    oEmbed lets you work smarter not harder

    WordPress makes it easy to embed videos from many of the major video providers using oEmbed. Here is the sanctioned list of video services that you can embed using oEmbed:



    Making my oEmbed videos responsive

    A  while back I wrote about Responsive WordPress websites and oEmbed video and I still use the plugin I mentioned Fluid Video Embeds when working with YouTube and Vimeo video embeds. What this plugin does is makes your oEmbed YouTube and Vimeo videos full width (100%) while maintaining their original aspect ratio. It’s a bit of magic wrapped up in a free plugin that is work looking into. It’s pretty plug and play and works out of the box.

    I want to use my embedded YouTube or Vimeo video thumbnail as the featured image.

    I’ve been using Video Thumbnails plugin for a while with great success. I use this plugin on WPwatercooler to pull the thumbnails from YouTube and saves me a few steps. This plugin adds a metabox to the edit post screen and will scan the post for a video url and then retrieve the thumbnail from the video. It has 4 simple settings you can enable or disabling depending on what you wanting to do:

    • Save Thumbnails to Media Library
      This saves the thumbnail to the media library instead of referencing a file hosted on YouTube or Vimeo.
    • Automatically Set Featured Image
      Sutomatically sets the thumbnail to be the posts featured image which is what we were wanting to do in the first place here.
    • Post Types post
      specify if you want this to work on Posts, Pages or any custom post types you use.
    • Custom Field (optional)
      If you use a custom field to store the filename of your featured image you can specify that field name in the 4th option and it will take care of that for you.

    Let me know if you use any of these plugins and techniques to make your life easier.