Archive for the 'umwnewmedia' Category

Aug 19 2009

Help Is On The Way

Like we stated many many months ago when Stuff for Starving Students was first kicking off, we are huge fans of Firefox. One of the best features of Firefox is that ability to use add-ons to extend the functionality of your browser. We have discussed a couple of add-ons in the past, like Zotero, Delicious and Aviary. Today we present another add-on to decorate your browser – Video DownloadHelper.

Video DownloadHelper Icon
cc licensed flickr photo shared by umwdtlt

Video DownloadHelper is capable of searching a site you are on for videos and allows you to download the video off the site so that you can repurpose them in ways you need. Nothing illegal going on here (unless you choose to use the content you download illegally of course) it just gives you easier access to content that your browser is downloading anyway. Wondering how you might use this neat add-on? New Media Specialist Andy Rush has a post on embedding YouTube videos in PowerPoint presentations offline using the DownloadHelper add-on.

After enabling the add-on in Firefox whenever you see the DownloadHelper icon (it looks like a molecule) light up and rotate you will know that there are videos on that site available to download. YouTube is just one of the many sites that this add-on supports. So if you find that perfect video for your next project you no longer need to worry about the internet working in your classroom that day if you have already downloaded it.

There are many more possibilities with this add-on and we are curious to know how you use it in your travels, so leave a comment!

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Jul 23 2009

Jing Thing

Now Jing might sound like the name of a  Chinese dynasty but, it is actually a free piece of software that allows you to do screen captures, create screencasts, and share it all easily. So lets break Jing down.

As a screen capturing software it is great. As some of you Windows users probably have experienced, taking screenshots is a pain in the behind. Jing allows you to capture a window, pane, or region so you get just what you need. Jing also has a simple markup feature so you can add a text box, arrow, rectangle, or highlight what you want. After you have your screenshot you have several options for sharing it. Either creating a link, sending it to Flickr, or just saving it to your desktop. One of Jing’s aims is to make sharing of your stuff as easy & quick as possible and they do this well.

Jing also can let you record up to 5 minutes of video of the window or region of your choice. Creating a quick and cheap screencast is simple with the features that let you narrate on the fly and allow you to upload your product as soon as you finish recording. Along the same lines as screen captures Jing makes it easy to share your screencasts with the world. So before you know it you will be screencasting like Andy Rush!

Now I’ve been speaking strictly about the free version of Jing but, if you find the service useful you may consider upgrading to the pro account for $14.95 a year. With that you have more uploading and encoding options for your screencasts, lose the logo on videos and add webcam footage into your screencasts. If that is not for you Jing still has the basic account for free (and we like free).

Like we always say here at Stuff for Starving Students, try it and see what you think. And if you’ve done something really cool with any “stuff” we have talked about (or haven’t!) let us know and we will feature you.

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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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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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