Looking for a simple Drag and Drop Web Page Creator? Try out Wix.com. Wix is a Flash-based web page creator that lets you drag and drop various elements into your page. You can easily add text boxes, photos, video, maps, RSS feeds, and more into your page by simply clicking on the side menu and dragging them to where you want them on your page.
Its been a while since I have posted about Twitter. I the past 9 months, Twitter has seen a huge jump in popularity. Recently, a lot of celebrities and network news organizations have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon and brought even more attention to Twitter. Now, its hard to go a day without seeing a news show on FoxNews or CNN mention their Twitter page.
When I eventually decided to join Twitter, I was not sure how useful the service would be for me. I mainly saw Twitter as a useful tool for communicating a quick message within a group, company, or class about an upcoming meeting or task. Now, I see Twitter as a way of networking with other like-minded users. For example, I have started using one of my Twitter accounts to keep up with others interested in using technology in education.
For more info on Twitter, click here to read Twitter’s explanation or look below to see Common Craft’s “Twitter in Plain English” video.
I do a lot of video editing on the computer. For simple tasks, I will use Windows’ Movie Maker. It is included with XP and Vista, and it does a decent job for basic editing. For more advanced editing, I like to use Cyberlink’s Power Director. Power Director is one of the few multimedi commercial apps that I use on a regular basis. With Power Director, I get over 100 types of transitions effects between clips, over 70 video effects, picture in picture video and images, multiple audio tracks, multiple video output options (ranging from MPEG II to YouTube), DVD Authoring, Slideshow Wizards, and various import options (from Camcorder / webcams to DVDs). Click here to see a full list from Cyberlink’s Website. If you are looking for more features than Windows Movie Maker, I definitely recommend checking out Power Director.
I ran across Viddix.com recently. Its a little hard to describe. Basically, you can upload a video to Viddix. Then you can add a timeline of information to play during the video. The timeline can contain text, images, RSS feeds, html code, polls, and web links. I can see where this resource can be extremely useful for teachers who film their lectures and demonstrations. For example, if I am filming a demonstration of graphic editing a photo, I could use screencasting software to capture the steps in to a video, then add detailed notes about how and why a particular tool affects the image. I also really like the option to add a poll in the timeline.
Below is a very quick and simple example of what you can do?
I just came across the ReactOS Project. This is an ongoing Open Source project designed to be an alternative to Microsoft’s Windows Operating System. This is not the alternative of a completely different Operating System that runs completely different applications, like Linux. Instead, this is a project that uses freely available documentation from Microsoft to create an O/S that is compatible with Windows Applications. Since it is Open Source, this also means that it is Free.
The project is still in the developmental stage and not yet ready for daily use as the main O/S for your computer. However, from the information on their website, ReactOS requires much less processor and memory than Windows XP, Vista, and Win7. I am hoping by the time a stable version comes out, we will have a widely compatible O/S that can be installed on older machines that are laying around and collecting dust or being dumped in landfills.
I downloaded version 0.3.9 and tried it out on a couple of computers. The screen looked nice and loaded quickly, but then hung up. There might be a quick solution for this, but since the project is still not quite stable yet, I will wait until a future release before putting too much time into it. However, if you want to try it out yourself, ReactOS has several download options available, including an installation ISO and LiveCD ISO.
USB Drives are getting larger and cheaper every month. A few years ago, my first 1gb drive cost $70. Today, I can get a 32gb USB drive for that much. Back then, the common size for drive was 128mb. Currently, the common size I am seeing is 4gb.
Now that USB drives 4gb and larger are common, Portable Applications are a great choice to include on your USB drive. I had played with the PortableApps.com Suite several years ago, but when I only had a 2gb drive, the suite of applications was not very convenient for me. The PortableApps Suite took up most of the 2 gigabytes of space on my USB Drive. Today, I am using an 8gb drive and now have plenty of room for my documents and a plethora of portable applications. Portable Applications are generally small or refined programs that do not require an installation process on your computer to run. These apps were either designed this way, or altered to allow them to be “portable”. Personally, I try to run as many “portable” applications as possible because every “installed” application contributes to the eventual slowdown that all Windows-based computers get as time goes by.
There are portable applications to cover probably 90% of what most typical PC users need. The PortableApps.com Suite includes an Email Appication (Mozilla Thunderbird), Office Suite (Open Office), Antivirus (ClamWin-A/V), IM Chat Client for Yahoo, AIM, and MSN (PidginIM), PDF Viewer (Sumatra PDF), MediaPlayer (CoolPlayer+), and Web Browser (Mozilla Firefox). There are dozens of other portable applications that can be found at pendriveapps.com and everythingusb.com. The list of portable applications grows everyday.
The main advantage of using portable apps is that you can easily take your data and work with you. Since all of your work files and settings are on your USB drive, you can take the drive to another workstation and not have to worry if that computer has the same version of word processor or presentation software.
Of course, there is a disadvantage to this as well. If you are prone to losing stuff (keys, wallet, phone, etc), then you might not want to put all of your data in just a USB drive.
If you do choose to use portable apps on your USB drive, I strongly recommend backing up your data on a regular basis.
Zamzar.com has an online text to speech converter. Upload your text file to Zamzar and after a short period of time, you will be emailed a link to download the file in MP3 format. The converted MP3 has the typical computer generated voice, but this is still a great resource for converting text to speech.
If you need to share your presentations online, you have several options. Here is a short list of the ones I have used…
There are dozens of others, but these are the ones that I have actually tried out. Currently my to favorites are Slideshare.net and Zoho’s Show. I just spent a few minutes playing with Prezi.com. It actually takes a different approach to presentations. I don’t have a lot of time right now to experiment with it, but it is definitely a page I am addint to my Social Bookmarks.
If you have a Pocket PC PDA or Windows Mobile Smartphone and use Wikipedia regularly, check out the Wikipedia in MDict Format. Basically, this is a dump from the Wikipedia database to be viewed offline. I personally don’t rely on Wikipedia as a primary source of information, but this looks like a handy reference tool to use in conjunction with other sources.
Zembly is an interesting website that lets you create widgets for websites and simple applications for social networks like Facebook(news tickers, polls, etc). Zembly is free and has several templates to help you get started. After taking a few minutes to look around their site, it looks like you can have a widget up and running within a few minutes by using their templates. Check it out here.
Occasionally, I will have trouble accessing a website and wonder if the site is down for my location or completely down for everyone. Downforeveryoneorjustme.com will help determine if the problem is locally isolated or a widespread problem.
The next time you have a problem with a website, click here to check it out.