How Do I Slow Down an Animated GIF?

How does one slow down an animated GIF? No. it’s not a riddle. It’s more of a puzzle really, but let’s have fun and call it a mystery.

Certainly, it was more of a mystery to me when a good friend of mine asked me that question the other day. So, like a Sherlock-Holmes-wannabe, I set out to discover how it could be done.

For the purposes of this example, I am going to use an animated GIF from a recent sports blog that shows the evolution of current Major League Baseball teams since 1876. That is 140 years!

EZGIF2A

Go ahead, watch it once and see how fast the logos and years pop on and off. It goes pretty fast, doesn’t it? Kind of like real-life.

To slow it down, I needed to find a program that would not only be able to recognize an animated GIF file, but that would allow me to edit such a file.

Fortunately, there is such a program and the best part is it’s FREE!

The site is EZGIF.

You have the option of uploading a file or in this case, uploading the animated GIF image URL from the page itself.

Here is the entire link, https://s1.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/JUw0PItyMfGdAXg6NDOZUw–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NQ–/http://l.yimg.com/os/publish-images/sports/2015-08-25/015ab440-4af6-11e5-a42c-df968bd54cc4_MLBLogos2015FINAL256100dither.gif

[Note: In case you you were wondering, I found the image URL by right-clicking the image and choosing ‘Inspect Element‘. A box appears in the lower part of the screen and is split into a larger area on the left-hand side. I scrolled down until I found the full GIF image URL, highlighted between the (“), copied, and pasted it. If you weren’t wondering and are not at all interested, then just disregard this note altogether. It is intended for the real keeners!]

Simply copy and paste it in the box and press Upload! You will see this.

EZGIF3A

When it has fully uploaded, you will see the image appear on the GIF Speed Changer page, Speed Changer Page like this.

EZGIF1A

This image editor allows you to do a lot of fun and interesting things to your uploaded image, but we are only changing the speed here so just click on the ‘speed’ button above the image.

Below the image, you will see a couple little horizontal boxes which seem to be set to a default of ‘150’ and ‘% of current speed’.

While leaving it on ‘% of current speed’, change the number to 100 and then click on ‘Apply!’ You will see that the edited animated GIF has slowed down for you.

Go back up and lower the number to 70, 50, or 30 and ‘Apply!’ each time to see how the animation slows down even further. If you have a lot of time on your hands and you want to take your time seeing the logos change over the years, then change the speed to 1%. You may feel like you are living those 140 years in ‘real time’.

Mystery solved! I hope you found this as interesting, fun, and informative as I did.

Want to solve another mystery, why not try using another of the image editor’s tools to see what you can create with this or any other GIF that you might have.

Don’t worry, you can’t break it. You can only have fun and maybe even create something that you may want to use. Go ahead, go for it!

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Secrets of an Entrepre-Dad Revealed

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A number of years ago I decided that I would like to work for myself. I had worked and learned a great deal in the fields of drafting and architecture (Stuart Olson Dominion, formerly Dominion Construction ), food and beverage (PNE, BC Place, newspaper and magazine publishing (Vancouver Sun and Elty Publications, graphic design and advertising (KARO Design), animation (Warner Bros, Atomic, DHX Media, purchased Studio B to name a few), and even in financial planning (Manulife Financial). When I had the opportunity to create corporate videos and do story development for special projects and documentary film, I realized that a passion of mine was creating something from nothing. My days of being an Entrepreneur were formalized and soon after I became and Enterpre-Dad.

Everything, including life itself, starts with an idea. We all of have them. Some are good and many are bad. I know because I have had more than my share of them! The bad ones that is. Fortunately, there are more than enough examples of well-known people who have experienced failure only to not quit until they had achieved not just success but greatness. Here are but a few of the more contemporary examples: Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Albert Einstein, J.K. Rowling, and the Beatles.

Now, don’t get all excited. I am NOT comparing myself to this incredible group of talented people. Far from it. They are people who achieved greatness only after going through long and hard struggles and not giving up. That is the key. They never gave up. As an Entrepre-Dad, I look to their example of learning from both good and bad experiences in personal and professional life and continuing on through whatever hardships, adversities and yes, even triumphs.

So why Entrepre-Dad. Corny? Maybe But it fits what I am now. I am an entrepreneur. I am a dad. Can the two co-exist? absolutely. They have for over 5 years now and the two complement one another quite nicely. Being an involved dad, you learn all about sacrifice, compromise and remaining open to all the possibilities that kids help you to see. How different is that from being an entrepreneur. I would argue that there is very little difference.

What Is a Whealthmaker?

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Whealthmaker, what is it? Is it a typo? Should it not be wealthmaker instead?

I have been asked by  friends and colleagues alike about this word that has in some ways become a sort of title or moniker for me.

The idea of it is really quite simple, but the evolution of it is not.

Essentially, the word is derived from combining the words ‘wealth’ and ‘health’ to the word ‘maker’. That is the ‘How’  and is the easy part to explain.

Now comes the more complicated part; the ‘Why’.

It grew out of the my childhood and earlier life that saw the themes ‘health’ and ‘wealth’ as very challenging for myself, my family and loved ones.

I started out life less than healthy. It took time, love and acceptance of an adopted family to help overcome that start, but I am certainly forever grateful that it did happen at all. My understanding and acceptance of health challenge was put to the test on a number of different levels through direct observation and eventually becoming an advocate for children and adults with mental and physical challenges.

As a result, I took to self-managing my mental and physical health.

The topic of wealth was never mentioned, understood or appreciated throughout my childhood or early adulthood. Instead, helping around the house, becoming a Big Brother informally and then formally, and doing part-time jobs to help add to the very modest household income was the main focus.

Learning about and better understanding true wealth and what it can afford you personally or professionally came to me only after I had completed all of my post-secondary education and had been working in the Advertising and then Film and Animation industries in Southern California.

It was only after I made a conscious decision to improve my physical, mental and financial well-being that I took the necessary steps to becoming a ‘whealthmaker’.

We all see and inherently know what happens when things are out-of-balance. I believe that each of us can work towards and eventually find a balance in our lives in order to have greater success, abundance and overall joy.

And yes, a ‘whealthmaker’ must be practical but also optimistic!

The Ultimate Gift

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Ok, Christmas is fast approaching. What are you going to ask Santa for this year? Have you been naught or nice? Are you looking for that one BIG present that catches the light from all different angles or the bag of clubs that is going to miraculously turn you into a legitimate golfer? Or is your wish more benevolent and altruistic like a donation made on your behalf to your favourite charity or maybe even the evr-elusive peace on earth?

I read an article at http://beliefnet.com today with the featured article being, The Gift of a New Day. The author, Jennifer E. Jones, brings up some very valid points about how we don’t really take advantage of new days. How often have you or someone close to you said something like, “I can’t wait until this day is over!” or “I wish I had stayed in bed this morning.” We can all agree that life as we know it seems to be speeding along and in some cases, seems to be speeding past us. We either have jobs which sometimes does and sometimes doesn’t pay the bills or we have businesses which are completely dependent upon the economy (which is in a dismal state at this moment) and our relationships with our customers that are strengthened by great customer service and great products or services. Mediocrity in any of these areas usually spells business failure.

Why do we assume that we will be around tomorrow? I don’t know if I will be. Do you? We take it for granted that we will have long and healthy lives that will be filled with love, happiness and good fortune. It is not until we are faced with our own mortality through accident, violence, or a routine check-up at our doctor’s office that we realize how delicate and fleeting life really is.

I am blessed to have an amazing family that I choose to spend as much time as possible with, knowing that each day will never repeat itself. Each day is unique and has limitless possibilities if you choose to seee it as so.

For Christmas, all I want is to have the opportunity to have as many new days as possible. That is the ultimate gift for anyone. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself and others what is more expensive, profound or unique? I dare you to find a btter alternative. Until Christmas, I plan on waking up to each new day like it is a wrapped present under the tree or in a stocking hanging above the fireplace. I will be thrilled, hug those closest to me who are a part of it and play as much with as I can until I can’t stay awake any longer.

Is One enough?

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It typically starts with a lot of pain, then relief and finally euphoria when the cries of a new-born baby is heard for the very first time. Life begins.

We are all one. But is it enough?

In 1623, the Poet John Donne wrote Meditation XVII and in it he wrote these famous lines, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

According to Donne, it is not enough. We do not exist alone. There are mothers, fathers, family members, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, neighbours, casual passerby that affect us and that we affect both directly and indirectly through any number of degrees of separation.

In 2000, Tom Hanks played Chuck Noland in the movie Cast Away about a man who spends four years on a small deserted island learning to exist and take care of himself physically, mentally and spiritually. However, it becomes clear that he does not want to exist alone any longer. He wants to go home and be with the ones he loves. So, he builds a raft and does just that.

In life, we go on a series of trips, all within something we call life’s journey. Along the way, we can lose our way through our own negligence or ignorance or through the actions of someone or some other unknown entity. These ‘bumps’ along the way can have tough and even devastating effects on us. In some cases, it can lead to the loss of life including our own. While we may not be able to choose our way out of a situation in some cases, we more times than not can choose a way to continue on with our journey.

However, it is sometimes only with the help of someone else that we can get out of a difficult time or situation. It may be through the legal system, a church or non-profit organization or even the help of a loved one or even a stranger that we are given the opportunity to go along our life’s path again.

In 1991, U2 provided us with Achtung Baby and among its treasure trove of songs is One. The version of the song I chose here directly relates to the theme here. Whether we go through good times or bad times, victories or defeats in life, knowing and having someone to share life’s moments with is necessary and vital to our existence. We cannot exist alone without anyone there for us. To do so would lead to destruction. We see this play out all around the world. In our streets and in our homes. Further, it appears in video clips and photographs splashed all over the Internet, on TV and on newsstands.

One’s fortune or misfortune is shared with the world not in an intimate and respectful manner, but too often in a base and even demeaning manner. The fact that we share each other’s stories is part of what makes us human. If we are to be as One, then we need to learn from each other and yes, even learn to help one another more often.

Is one enough?

Giving Thanks

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Thanksgiving is a holiday that occurs in some, but not all, countries. It originates from a time when travellers from Europe sailed across the treacherous Atlantic Ocean to find and build a new way of life for themselves and future generations.

Today, Thanksgiving occurs and is celebrated on one date in Canada and on a later date in the U.S. No matter the date or place, the nature of this recognition is as
appropriate today as it was hundreds of years ago by those pilgrims. To give
thanks for the many bounties that are provided to us on a daily basis is certainly appropriate and should never be understated. Certainly for Canadians and Americans alike, we have been blessed as much or more than most other countries of the world. To take at least one day out of the year to formally give thanks for all that we have is the least we can do.

Of course, we could go a step or two more by not just giving thanks but by also showing thanks through being charitable to those less fortunate. Whether it is buying a
meal for somone on the streets, visiting an elderly person in a nursing home who has no family visiting them or volunteering to walk some dogs at the local shelter we can all certainly take an extra step to show how much we appreciate what we have.

Take a look around you and see who or what needs your help and give it freely. You will both be surprised by how much better it makes you feel and by the reaction you
get from the party that receives your charity. There are many who do such activities on a regular basis through their businesses, charities or personal activities or donations. Despite all of this, there is still a great need for more of us to do more to help. If you are not sure how you can help, go ask someone at your local church, community centre, nursing homes, women’s or animal shelters, or just simply walk down your city streets and approach one of the many young and old people who struggle to keep going for another day.

I give thanks every day for everything in my life from my family and friends to the food, water, clothes and shelter that is provided to me. I am grateful to have all of my senses so that I can enjoy all the incredible sights, sounds, smells, tastes and objects around me. I also give thanks to the men and women in law enforcement, fire and ambulance services who are preparedto help me or anyone who may need assistance.

But most of all, I give thanks for just being able to have what is the most precious gift of all, LIFE.

Is Life Beautiful?

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Why is it that some days can be so beautiful and other days be so horrible?

Most, if not all of us can relate to this question. I overheard an elderly lady ask this of an elderly gentleman the other day. Not only did it demonstrate that the topic of the conversation between these two, who had lived relatively long lives already, was of a serious nature but that I could fully relate to it from my own experiences in life.

In fact, is it not a universal question asked by all of us at one or more moments in life?

From the little girl in Somalia sitting beside her last dying relative to the parents of the 6 year old in the hospice for children with Leukemia and from the Star hockey player whose team just won the Stanley Cup to the little gymnast from China who just scored a perfect 10 on the vault the experiences of what is most beautiful or horrible are what help to define us.

Take a moment from you very busy life and just think about an experience that sticks out in your mind that was truly beautiful. Maybe you have been fortunate and there are so many to choose from. Maybe you have been less fortunate and there have been very few, if any. Now, think of moments that were truly horrible for you to go through. Hopefully, this is a very short list. If not, you are not alone.

If you are able to, share either a beautiful or horrible experience with others in your comments below. By sharing them you will be learning something about yourself while giving permission to others to share their moments with others. As well, you may see that you are not alone. In fact, there may be many others that share a similar experience with you. In the movie ‘City Slickers’  the three main characters share their best and worst days with each other. One of the characters shares an experience that he declares was his best day. When asked what his worst day was, he responds, “the same day”.

If we are fortunate enough to live well into our 70s, 80s or beyond, then we will experience many beautiful and horrible moments. Some will be shared with many others and some will be very private and not not shared with anyone else.

I would like to share one such moment here, not to induce any sympathy from anyone but to relate an experience that many have and will go through at some point in their lives.

When I was 17, my father died. He had endured a 7-year illness that had seen over 14 operations a number of amputations, terrible phantom pains, depression not to mention feelings of worthlessness, uselessness and embarrassment for the family who had to endure all this with him. He had left the house on many occasions to go to the hospital, whether it was for a scheduled operation or an asthma atttack. On one particular occasion, something was different. I remember it vividly to this day. The ambulance attendants knocked at the door in response to a call from me. My dad was in a lot of distress. While we didn’t know what it was this time, we knew it was very serious and we knew that he needed to get to the hospital right away. I held his hand as they prepared to take him away. I told him, as usual, that everything would be alright and that I would take care of mom and my foster brothers. I had two at that time.

As they wheeled him out the front door, one very vivid realization fell upon me like a giant boulder. My father would never come home again.

Several days later, I drove my mom and foster brothers to the hospital. As usual, I was anxious to see my dad. As usual, i was the first to leave the elevator to get to his bedside. However, unlike all the other times, I was not allowed to enter his room. Several orderlies came to me and held me as they told mee that my dad had died moments earlier.

Everything from that moment on changed. I didn’t realize it, but a large part of my life would be altered forever. I would not be able to share my successes and failures with him. I would not be able to get advice from someone who I and others had looked up to and admired for his integrity and kindness. I would not be able to see him at any future important moments in my life. I would need to care for my mom as she battled life-long depression, health issues and financial difficulties. I would need to get children placed into properly functioning homes where they could be properly nutured and taken care of. I would need to continue to work part time while finishing high school and continue to do so to pay the mortgage, bills and pay for my post-secodary education.

The whole experience had made me reclusive for the most part and fearful of large groups and gatherings, speaking in public, self-conscious and not very outgoing. While I was humourous and spirited around my friends, inside I remained guarded, private and confused about what to do with my life. It would define my life and what I was about for the next 10 years of my life.

I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia. It was the first time anyone from my family had accomplished it. The family home was paid off in full by the time I was 29. I would care for my mom until her death in 2005.

Some days are beautiful and some days are horrible, however life is a gift. I truly believe it. Some of us choose to fill our lives with helping others. Some choose to work hard in business to become billionaire tycoons. Still others choose to start wars, invent amazing machines or cures. Regardless of one’s choices in life, good days and bad days will occur. It is what we do afterwards that makes a difference in our lives and probably in the lives of others.

Have a good day!