Archive for the 'Media Stuff' Category

Jul 01 2009

Forget Photoshop

Here on Stuff for Starving Students we have talked about cool stuff for starving artists before. There is yet another tool that I have played with for some time now (back when it was still in private beta) and while I don’t have ton of use for it as a boring old history major this has to be one of the most powerful online creation tools out there.

Addiction by mpeutz on AviaryAddiction by mpeutz on Aviary.

The above image was created on Aviary a web based tool that is an image editor, image markup, effects editor, swatch editor, and vector editor. Each of these tools has their own clever bird inspired name, e.g. Peacock, Phoenix, Toucan and a few others. What you create in one can easily be brought into another editor, making the process of creating a visually amazing image simple. There are many great tutorials and documentation available for those of you who don’t know where to begin or need a little help getting some stuff done. I wish I could talk more extensively about the image editor, Peacock, but not often needing such a powerful editor I have not used it. I’m willing to bet that many of the tools on Aviary would impress those artists who understand color swatches, vectors, and other artsy terms. As I mentioned before though I am a boring history major, so why am I bringing up Aviary anyway?

Recently Aviary released a new editor called Falcon that works alongside a Firefox extension called Talon. As a long time PC user (no comments about that please) I have never really impressed by Windows screen capture options or MS paint. In fact I don’t think MS paint has changed as long as I can remember that application, that is besides the point though. This simple add-on that so innocently sits right next to the Delicious add-on (you did install it like we told you to right?) has already made my life so much easier. With Talon you can easily capture just a portion of the screen, the visible portion of the page, or the page in its entirety. After you have taken the screen shot you have several options. You could save it to your desktop and call it a day. Or if you are feeling more adventurous open it up in Falcon which is similar to MS Paint but doesn’t look so ugly and also gives you the option to go to a more advanced editor which totally kicks MS Paint butt. Even more than that you could open the image in the other editors we mentioned earlier in this post and do more fancy stuff!

And would you believe all this editing stuff is free? So instead of shelling out big money to use Photoshop, and lets face it you won’t even use half the features in Photoshop if you are anything like me, get a FREE account at Aviary. Even if you want to upgrade to a premium account the cost won’t make you cry yourself to sleep at night and eat ramen noodles for the rest of the semester. For the awesome screen capturing goodness alone this is worth it but, as long as you are going to sign up for account might as well play around, right?

Keep on doodling you starving students!

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Jun 03 2009

Nicktoon Nostalgia

Now that school is out for most of college students the malaise of summer has begun to set in. I’m sure you are doing many productive things on Facebook and YouTube but, if you can spare a moment for a distraction I am sure you will be glad you did.

One look at Facebook and you can find many groups dedicated to love of all things 90s, including cartoons. If you spent much of the 90s like I did in front of TV and had the luxury of cable you probably spent hours watching Nickelodeon. How many obscenely long conversations have you had with friends about the merit of 90s Nicktoons versus the “garbage” they put on the air now? Do you wish you had the foresight to have taped your favorite episodes on VHS?

Then The Orange Splat is just the website you have been dreaming about for years (well maybe that is just me). The site is by no means extensive in its breadth of coverage but, it provides access to episodes that otherwise could not be found without extensively searching the intarwebs. The site is easy enough to navigate (even though it is not necessarily aesthetically pleasing) and has hours of childhood memories waiting to relived. Best of all it is free to watch all of the episodes and that my friends is a beautiful thing.

So this stuff post may not help you out in school but, go ahead and enjoy the summer (or take a break during summer classes) and indulge your inner 90s child. Sing your favorite The Beets song, (Killer Tofu?). Go around telling people “How dare you!” ala the large woman in Rocko’s Modern Life. Or ponder the great mystery of why Helga incessantly says Arnold’s name in the opening credits and even stranger why Arnold never responds.

Keep on veggin’ you starving students.

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May 19 2009

Cookin’ Up Some Recipes

Published by under Media Stuff,umwnewmedia

Even though it is summer time, we have not forgot about the starving students taking those summer classes. So in celebration of summer time and summer food we bring to you some digital media recipes.

Andy Rush = dreamy

Over at digitalmediacookbook.com you’ll find all sorts of helpful “recipes” to indulge in and perhaps you’ll even hold on to a couple of those recipes for future use. Every recipe comes with a video demo (screencast), ingredients, and directions. The creator of the cookbook, UMW’s New Media Specialist Andy Rush, has made it very easy to follow the recipes, even you digital media novices out there have nothing to fear.

Andy Rush is always working hard to find and create new recipes for this cookbook. So if you like what he has to offer make sure you send some comment or link love to let him know you want more recipes. Just as any good chef likes to recieve compliments, our new media specialist needs some lovin’ too.

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Mar 27 2009

Spice Up Your Prezintations!

Yes, I know how to spell presentations in case you were wondering. Prezintation is just my bad attempt at a pun in order to turn your attention to Prezi.com.

If you somehow missed it, by clicking the little image above you can get a preview of what Prezi does. So click now, I can wait.

Now that you are back you are probably wondering how exactly you can make a sweet presentation like that. Well the first step is to sign up for a free account. The one current drawback is that it is still in private beta, but don’t let that stop you from trying out this cool app.

Next you can check out the learn tab and see how easy it is to create visually appealing presentations. The website says it the best, “Prezi is the ultimate tool for the creative, the child-like, those who want to impress their audience, and those who like shiny objects. It might look scary and confusing first, but it is, in fact, self-explanatory and easy to use”. If you think you fall into one of those catgeories (or many like I do) than Prezi just the tool for you.

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Feb 18 2009

Stuff for Starving Artists

At SfSS, we know that starving artists are an important subspecies of starving students. That’s why I’ve hand-picked five useful resources for all you tormented, creative types out there.

First, the Louvre! Luckily, you don’t have to go all the way to Paris to visit. The Louvre’s website provides images of the museum’s artwork, plenty of corresponding information, and–joy of all joys–a totally badass virtual tour. You can wander through the wings of the Louvre, clicking on any painting for a closer view and description. You can even save your favorite works in custom albums, using their ‘my personal space‘ feature. Want to be the next Van Gogh? Nothing’s stopping you now!

If you’re a musician, I’m about to make you very happy. No, I haven’t just kicked Paul McCartney in the balls, but I think you’ll like this too. Chordie is a website dedicated to providing guitar, banjo, ukelele, and mandolin chord progressions for pretty much every song you can think of. And, because it’s just made of awesome, it will transpose these songs into any key you want! Imagine the possibilities.

But what about writers? Try Duotrope! I know it sounds like a sleazy, non-FDA approved drug, but I promise it won’t give you cancer. Duotrope’s Digest is the largest database of literary journals on the web. If you’re looking to get published, this is a fantastic resource for finding journals to submit to. You can search by genre, length, payscale, and a whole host of other attributes. Do you write experimental post-apocalyptic short fiction about mice and root beer floats? There’s a journal for that. Well, probably.

Maybe you write something that can’t be published in a traditional way, like screenplays. While certainly not the most attractive website, the Internet Movie Script Database has screenplays available for most movies, word-for-word. Recent additions include “Slumdog Millionaire“, “Revolutionary Road“, and (unfortunately) “Twilight“. If you want to write like the Coen Brothers, the best way to start is by studying their work. IMSDb makes that easy.

Hey graphic artists, you didn’t think I forgot about you, right? Check out Vecteezy for free creative commons vector art. You can search by category, file type, or license, and there are even sections for flash animation, Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator brushes, and all kinds of nifty icons. Web designers, I’m looking at you too. Think how shiny your sites will be now that you’ve got this resource at your fingertips. People will follow you around, in awe of your design skills. Small children, cuddly animals, and generous millionaires will flock to you.

So go create art, you beautiful people!

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Feb 17 2009

A Spoken Word Is Not A Sparrow…

…Once it flies out, you can’t catch it.

But we are not talking about just any spoken word, we are talking about SpokenWord.org and this is the kind of stuff that we don’t mind slipping out.

So, what is SpokenWord.org? I am glad you asked because it is a number of things.

First of all it is a directory for audio and video spoken-word recordings. So instead of hitting up google (and we do love google) hit up SpokenWord and you’ll find a plethora of just recordings that can satisfy your audio desires. SpokenWord also has the added benefit of being a user-generated content community. So if you know of some good recordings out there (hey free PR, baby!) you can submit it to the site and get mad Internet-props for not just being a consumer.

Now here is where SpokenWord takes it up a notch. While SpokenWord does not actually host any of the recordings (again just a directory) you can create ‘collections’ and subscribe (like an iTunes podcast) to those audio recordings you dig. SpokenWord can do this through an RSS feed of the recordings and if you aren’t familiar with RSS this quick video is a great way to learn. In addition, you can subscribe to your own collection or others users collections in iTunes (or whatever feed reader you choose). I know you are asking, how will I find other people’s collections or more importantly how will people find my awesome collection of audio recordings? Simple, you can tag your collection with various key terms that will help you find what you are looking for and help people find you.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up, contribute, and share – the wheels of the web don’t run if users like you don’t move.

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Feb 13 2009

Digging the Past: Propaganda, Education, and So Much More

Since I am a history major I am always on the lookout for cool (read: nerdy) history sites.

Two of my favorite places to go for video and photos are the Internet Archive and Shorpy’s Blog, respectively. These two sites are chock-full of videos and photos from 20th Century America.

To start off, the Internet Archive. With over 150,000 “moving images” (as the I.A. so calls them) it is great place to search around and find old film clips and moving images of just about anything. For you ladies out there that are interested in becoming secretaries this video will be sure to help!

But seriously the Internet Archive is a treasure trove of video, photos, and audio. Whether you want a good laugh or need some primary sources to help you understand the past, Internet Archive is a good resource.

Next on the list is Shorpy.com. Shorpy’s Blog has hundreds of high-resolution images from the Civil War era to the 1950s. I’ve used photos for many presentations and I’ve even printed out some photos and hung them up in my room (did I mention I was a history nerd?). All of these photos can be freely used and there are images from such photographers as Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and Mathew Brady. I can’t emphasize how high-resolution these images are, they beat anything you can find on google.

So next time try the train…err or Shorpy.com 🙂

Hope this is helpful for you history buffs and nerds out there. Great resources for free, now thats my kind of stuff.

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Jan 07 2009

Posters That Can Do More Than Hang on a Wall

Binder clip poster hanging

This kind of poster is nice, too.

These days, when we think about giving a presentation it’s tempting to just fire up PowerPoint, throw together a few slides, and call it a day. Well, for those of you hankering for a different way to present your stuff, we give you Glogster.

Glogster, an entirely online service, bills itself as “a revolutionary way of expressing your mood, feelings and ideas.” In a nutshell, it allows you to create an online poster, into which you can embed photos, video, and audio. The service also provides you with a bunch of stylized text containers, image widgets, photo frames, and background to deck your poster out.

All of your editing is done entirely through the Web browser, using some simple but slick toolbars. Once you’re done, you just give your poster a name and save it. If you want, you can make it private; otherwise, sharing it is as simple as giving people the URL. Glogster also has built in tools to share your posters on  social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. If your poster is just composed of images and text, you can even print it out from within Glogster. (In fact, we recommend doing this or printing your poster to a PDF file so that you’ve got a copy of it. Free Web services are awesome, but you should always try and keep a copy of your stuff, just in case.)

While Glogster really imagines itself more as a service for sharing your personal lives, we think there’s a great opportunity to use it for class presentations, science posters, and other academic assignments. In fact, Glogster has recently put up a site aimed just at the educational sector. You might want to browse other students’ posters there.

As always, we think you should get in there and use Glogster to really see what it is all about. And then come back and tell us what you think.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Dano

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Dec 10 2008

Stuff We Made

It seems appropriate (ok and maybe a little self-serving) to start SfSS off with a run-down of stuff that DTLT has worked on — often with the help of other awesome colleagues at UMW.

10 ways to use UMW BlogsUMW Blogs: You must have heard of this, because, well you’re here now. In short, UMW Blogs is a WordPress (that’s a blogging application) platform that anyone at UMW can use. You may already be using it in a class. If not, check out Jim Groom’s 10 Ways to Use UMW Blogs for a run-down of what it can do. If you’re still not sure what it’s for, our best advice is TRY IT! Yep, here at SfSS we believe that the only way to understand what a technology can do for you is to get in there and muck around. When you’re done, let us (and our readers) know what you did.

curries!New Media Toolkit Digital Media Cookbook: Here in DTLT we’ve got a guy. We call him our New Media Specialist. Sometimes we also call him Andy Rush. Or ‘hey you’. Anyway, Andy’s putting together a great new resource on new media. He’ll be providing information about all kinds of media tools and techniques and how you can mix them all together to whip up tasty new digital recipes.

UMW Digital Archives: First, we have to be completely up-front and say WE did not make this by ourselves. This was a collaborative project involving lots of people from around UMW, including our stellar colleagues at the UMW Library and in University Relations. But, we’d be remiss if we didn’t list it here, because it’s just neat. If you’re interested in what UMW used to look like in the olden days, check out this archive of digital photos. You may also want to check out the smaller collection that we’ve put together at Flickr. Not sure what to do with all of this visual UMW goodness? How about finding an image that’s topically relevant to your next class presentation and popping it into PowerPoint for a title slide? Use your imagination. There’s enough cool stuff in this collection to inspire anyone.

Photo Credits:

Creative Commons License UMWBlogs photo credit: bavatuesdays

Creative Commons License Ingredients photo credit: bitmask

Creative Commons License Phonebooth photo credit: UMW Centennial

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