Tag Archive 'new media'

Oct 21 2009

Awesome Aviary Audio

The last time we discussed aviary, SfSS told you all about Aviary (http://aviary.com/home) and its ability to be your photo editor, for free.  Well, while Aviary is still all about that, it has some new functions that you should know about.  Let me introduce you to Myna, Aviary’s new free audio editor.  Have you ever had a dream about being that awesome DJ, spinning incredible tracks with laser lights going off all around you?  This could very well be your first step to realizing your ambitions, you go getter, you!

To start off with let’s talk about the layout:

Picture 5

It looks straightforward and comes with the same basic options that you would find on the older program Fruitloops, for those who have been in to making your own tracks for a while now.  Although the snap shot only shows a few of the tracks it carries ten tracks that you can test.  My favorite thing about this stuff is how absolutely painless it is for me to use.  Everything can be simply snapped to the grid and edited within there.  You have a whole host of options, creating fading in and out transitions, changing the gain, editing the clips, and more.  The best way to get yourself acquainted to this fun tool is to just start playing with it, although there is a helpful quick screencast to get you started.

Clips for this program come from three possible sources.  The library within Myna, which comes with a user’s agreement, boasts a wide range of clips from different cds, all of a techno genre or another.  Next, your own media library can be used as a resource for clips.  However, if you have say a part of a song that would fit so nicely into your mix, unless you have a clip prepared, it will generally pull the whole song, major buzz kill.  Oh and that third source of clips?  Well that is you, of course.  You can record directly into Myna, instruments, your voice, a baby crying, whatever.

Aviary as a whole is really awesome, especially with its support.  I had some funky saving issues when I created my first song, but I dropped aviary a line, got a response in no time flat and straightened the issue out.  So give it a whirl already!

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Jul 14 2009

The Audacity of Free Audio Editors (There is Hope!)

Ok, pay no attention to the cheesy and poorly written joke in the title of this post. This ‘Stuff’ post features one of my favorite open source software, Audacity, a free audio editor and recorder. Audacity has many features including recording, import & export capabilities, editing and effects. For a free piece of software Audacity has a lot of power.

I have used Audacity to record lectures during classes (very helpful if you learn best through auditory input), to create a quick recording of my friend’s jamming to a song on their guitars and to poorly mashup songs to create a whole new song. From basic recordings to advanced editing Audacity can handle it all. Even if you don’t need a piece of software like this all the time (I certainly don’t) it is a good program to have in your repoitore. Maybe you’ll even find reasons to use it more often once you start playing around with it.

I will mention that in order to export from Audacity and encode your stuff you will need to download something extra but, Audacity will point you to where you need to go. So if you plan on exporting an mp3 from Audacity you’ll need to have the extra file.

So there you have it, Audacity, a handy piece of free audio editing software. Just to reassure you that this piece of software is used by the best, take a look at UMW’s New Media Center and you will discover that this software is endorsed by our New Media Specialist Andy Rush. If you don’t trust his opinion on this new media stuff I don’t know who you can trust 🙂

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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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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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