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Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools for Creating Eye-Catching Video

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. πŸ™‚

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’re going to be taking a look at a tool that lets you make fun, cool, interested animated videos….really easily. I’m not sure what the practical applications of this tool may be, but I am looking at ways to integrate it into my library- currently I’m update our virtual library tour, and at the end of this post I’ll show you what I have so far. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at Animoto!

I have to admit- I’ve really had a fun time with Animoto. I was introduced to this piece of neatery by my good friend and former (but always current) colleague, Peggy Kaney of Northeastern State University in eastern Oklahoma. Peggy was our keynote speaker at our summer workshop, unCOILed. She spent some time talking about Animoto, but I have only recently been able to dig around on the site. So, let’s dig!

Animoto is easy to sign up for and easy to use, which I will walk you through momentarily. There are different levels to Animoto, and each of the nicer levels required monetary involvement. However, if your needs might only be to create short 5-7 slide videos, then the free version will work for you. I’ve gone ahead and purchased the Full video option, but there is a Pro option (non-branded) as well. So what you’ll see today will be a short video, but I also plan to show you what you can do with a longer, or Full Video option.

When creating a video, you simply click on the create video link and Animoto will walk you through it.

It’s a simple photo uploader, one I’m sure you’ve seen before. You just choose pictures from your computer and they will appear in the Animoto layout. Keep in mind, you can pretty much manipulate any order so don’t worry if they don’t upload in a specific order. Oh, and you can bulk upload, which is nice if you’re doing a large project.

Below is a pictorial representation of the Animoto tool bar.

You can (and should) add text to your Animoto, in order to give it narration. The “T” in the following picture represents a slide on which I’ve inserted text. You’ll see what I’ve typed over to the right side of the picture. Here’s where you might need to get creative- slides keep you to a specific number of characters in each line (22 in the top line, 30 in the bottom).

After you’re set with your pictures and text, you go on the the next step, which is choosing music.

This I did find a little frustrating, but not too bad. The speed and length of your video is dictated by the speed and length of the song. When I was creating my virtual tour, there wasn’t a long enough song on the site to cover all of my video. So it stops short of the desired end of the video. But, there are a lot of genres to choose from or you could upload your own music. Beware of copyright!

The next thing you’ll do is choose how quickly you want your pictures to progress. Essentially you can choose between 1/2 time, normal, and double time.

Once you’ve chosen your music and slide speed you move on to the final stage of creating your Animoto video. This is where you’ll add your title and a brief description of the video.

Then the video has to be converted. You’ll see a screen similar to this:

Once the video has been converted, you’ll be sent an email alerting you that it is finished. The email has a link to the video which you can click on and watch immediately.

If you find a mistake you can change things: but beware, each time you go back to fix something you will create yet another copy of it in your queue. So, I have about 7 redos of my virtual tour. But you can delete whatever you want and only keep the final if you so choose.

The Animoto editor panel is also where you can get the code to embed your video.

Click here to watch the video I created while touring the site for Tuesday Two.Oh!

Click here to watch my (EARLY) virtual library tour.

I’ve really liked using this tool. As I mentioned above, we’re really looking at this as a tool with a lot of potential. My next task is to record a voice file and upload THAT to Animoto and see if we can’t use it as our “music” background. I’m a little nervous about the timing of said voice file, but I’m sure with a lot of tweaking and swearing I can get it to come out correctly. Have you used Animoto? What do you think?

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Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools for Global Philanthropy

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. πŸ™‚

First of all, thanks to Aaron Brown for finding this awesome site! Not only a great musician, a great web hunter. Find him on Twitter: @mrvoxius

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’ll be taking a look at a site that involves not one but TWO of my passions: wine and reading. Yes, they can be had simultaneously. And for such a good cause! Today we’ll be looking at Fledgling Wine.

From the site: “The Fledgling Initiative aims to make awesome wine for the benefit of Room to Read, a non-profit organization extending literacy and educational opportunities to children worldwide. Every case sold will provide approximately 60 local language children’s books and promote education in the world’s poorest regions.”

Find them on Twitter: @CRUSHPAD

Room to Read “….seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.”

Find them on Twitter: @RoomToRead

Several noteworthy Room To Read programs include first and foremost their flagship program, Reading Room. “Reading Room, has established more than 7,000 libraries since Room to Read was founded in 2000. By engaging children with books in a fun and meaningful way, the Reading Room program helps children develop a lifelong habit of reading. ”

A global Andrew Carnegie.

Another initiative worth checking out would be the Local Language Publishing. The problem that a lot of children face in poorer communities are the lack of books written in their native languages. They not only have to struggle for access to books, but then face a language they may not know. “Books are often field-tested by our staff with local children, to garner comments on plot, character development, language and general suitability for the target age group. All of our local language books are printed within the respective countries, where we publish 5,000 – 10,000 copies per new title and distribute them to our network of schools and libraries, and to other non-governmental organizations.”

A third initiative addresses classroom overcrowding. “Room to Read established our School Room program to provide children in the developing world with better access to appropriate learning spaces. Our School Room program sets high standards and expectations while partnering with local communities to meet specific village needs in building primary and secondary schools, and in some cases, preschools.”

There are several other programs and iniatives that I encourage you to read about on the Room to Read Programs Page.

In order to increase support for Room to Read, Twitter and Chruspad have joined together to sell wine to support the non-profit organization.

You can purchase a lovely Pinot Noir.

Or, you could purchase a Chardonnay.

In closing I generally can be counted on to support any group, cause, or organization that supports libraries. Bringing the literacy of the world up is so crucial to the peace and understanding process that we need to support organizations that fulfill these rolls. And, as an added perk….wine! How could you possibly go wrong? Good luck, Room to Read!

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Tuesday Two.Oh! 2.0 Suicide, tools for those of us who have had enough.

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. πŸ™‚

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! I’d like to welcome you guys back with a dose of reality. Sometimes people have just had it with the social networks (what!?!?!) and would like to live a simple, un-pokeable life. Today we’re going to talk about a site that will help you do that without having to go through any lengthy de-registration process. Today we’ll be talking about The Web 2.0 Suicide Machine.

From the site: “Liberate your newbie friends with a Web2.0 suicide! This machine lets you delete all your energy sucking social-networking profiles, kill your fake virtual friends, and completely do away with your Web2.0 alterego. The machine is just a metaphor for the website which moddr_ is hosting; the belly of the beast where the web2.0 suicide scripts are maintained. Our service currently runs with Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and LinkedIn! Commit NOW!”

While I like the idea of committing web 2.0 suicide, I’m just not ready to do that yet. So, I decided to create some dummy accounts. Here we have 123FakeTweet (My humble homage to The Simpsons), and Zee Zee Jacobs (I’m going to go with Flamenco Dancer on this one).

So, to kill my fake Twitter and Facebook accounts I need to select which social network is going to drink the kool-aid.

Then, the logo of your hated social network will appear in the circle in the middle of the screen.

Then all you have to do is “Commit” and enter your user name to start the process.

And here is where I started running into problems. At first I could not get the 2.0 Suicide Machine to even take my account information (you can’t hit enter more than once), and I would get a message saying that their suicide booths (here “machines”) were currently busy and to try again later.

So, I tried again later with Zee Zee’s account. And….SOMETHING HAPPENED! It actually accepted Zee Zee’s account.

Be Forewarned, if you want to watch your social network life die, you need Flash Player 10.

Zee Zee went from the famous no-face on her Facebook account to this:

I am imagining that if I check back later it’s possible that the profile will have been deleted. I did not upload the pink noose picture, which leads me to believe that the 2.0 Suicide Machine was successful in accessing my account- at least on some level.

I have not been so lucky with 123FakeTweet. Maybe it’s an omen, and I’ll keep it. It wasn’t meant to die. We shall see.

Overall, I thought the site had a fun, albeit slightly kafkaesque feel to it, it had it’s fair share of problems. The more often you try to kill your online alter-ego, the less the 2.0 Suicide Machine seems to work. If you do decide to take that plunge, please let me know if it was worth it.

*Poke!*

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Tuesday Two.Oh! My absolute FAVORITE Collection of Web Games.

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. πŸ™‚

Today I’m going to introduce you to one of my all time favorite game sites on the web. Now, before we get in too deep, I want to tell you these aren’t your normal collection of flash games- they’re more like layered brainteasers. You must solve the game in exactly the right steps, or you can’t win. And the deceptively difficult trick is that there are often few options to choose from- it’s just that these options have many “levels.” You must max out each level to win- but each step, no matter if it’s the wrong order, will produce a different result. So, on this rainy, cold, miserable day, let’s take a look at Eyemaze.

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There’s really not much for me to walk you through, but I honestly can’t recommend these games enough. I will link to some of the major games, but if you poke around there are mini games galore. The interesting thing about this site is that the games are labor intensive to create- so the site doesn’t have new games all the time. BUT, if you enjoy them as much as I do I recommend bookmarking them and checking back every once and awhile to see if new games have arrived.

And, I have to brag, I’ve solved them all. But I won’t help you- what would be the fun in that? At the bottom of this post I’ll post some screen caps of what it’s like to win a Grow Eyemaze game.

The first Grow Eyemaze I’d like to show you is called Grow Cube- this is the game that brought me to this site. It’s fun, maddening, and just addictive. Click here or on the picture to play.

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The game that started it all is called, hilariously enough, “Original Flash Game.” Click here or on the picture to play.

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One of the most interesting and inventive is “Grow Version 3.” Click here or on the picture to play.

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Remember earlier, when I said that these games could be deceptive? Well, “Grow Version 2” is an example of just how deceptive these games can be. Click here or on the picture to play.

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The next game is completely whimsical. There is a solution to this puzzle, but getting there via any series of clicks in totally fun. “Grow Version 1” is definitely one of the less maddening, but equally satisfying games on the site. Click here or on the picture to play.

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And now, one of my all time favorites: “Grow Island.” Click here or on the picture to play. Believe me, you’ll like this one.

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And last, but not least, I’ll show you “Grow Tower,” as it is when you start and when you solve. Grow Tower is one of the newer games on the site, but I really enjoyed it.

Here is Grow Tower, fresh and unsolved. Click here or on the picture to play.

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Now, keep in mind the solution is LONG. So, I can’t really do it justice with screen caps. I did my best, though. This of it as a representation of what the solution actually looks like.

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Now, that’s not perfect and I know it. But it’s dynamic, the solution moves, so it’s hard to capture.

This site and series of games has been around for awhile. In fact, for several years. So it’s possible that some of you have run into this series before- but if you haven’t, I hope I’ve been able to introduce you to a site that is really rewarding and fun. Not only does it test your patience, it will test your reason. Good luck, and let me know what you think!

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Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools for the Social You (and me).

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. πŸ™‚

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’ll be taking a look a tool that puts you out there: you can represent your pictures, your music, your tweets! Anything, really, provided you belong to the included social networks. And, as a bright spot, this Tuesday Two.Oh! goes out by request for a lovely friend of mine. Hopefully it’ll be the tour you’ve always wanted! πŸ˜‰ And to the rest of you, enjoy enjoy enjoy! Let’s take a look at Flavors.me.

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I could not find them on Twitter.

They don’t have an “about us” page, per se, but you can learn a bit about what they’re all about by looking at the homepage.

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There isn’t a lot of initial “depth” to the site- but it is what you make it. Essentially, from what I could see, Flavors.me is all about what you want to display to the world. If you’d like a great tour, check out their video posted on Vimeo.

The first thing you need to do is sign up for an account. If you need a hint, look here. Signing up could not be easier.

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Once you’ve gotten an account, you need to set up your identity.

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Once you’ve accounted for your basic information, you choose which social networks you would like to represent on Flavors.me.3

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One interesting thing, you can’t “flavor” your tweets unless you have them unlocked. So when I entered my twitter handle, I got:

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No big deal! I protect them for a reason, so threading them on Flavors.me wasn’t exactly high priority. I do wonder how google might search the content on your Flavors.me, though. If you protect your facebook under layers of blockage, will connecting them here lead to pictures or other information being shared in a fashion you might not want it to? At any rate, as with anything, protect yourself on the web.

I did go back to see what Facebook information was linked, and there appear to be holes in what’s displayed on Flavors.me. So, if you protect your Facebook, it appears that only things you don’t protect will show up.

Once you’ve chosen to connect to the various networks (I chose Last.fm and Facebook) you’ll be given your blank Flavors.me page.

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From here, you can sort of take it anywhere. You can upload an image, play with the font, change themes. Though, I thought changing themes was a little more annoying than it had to be- but overall, it was still very easy. You can change the orientation of your information, the placement of your picture, and basically create anything you want within the confines of the page.

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Your information will appear once you or the user clicks on the (+) button. My last.fm appears like so:

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My facebook like so:

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It seems like only pictures from facebook are linked. The music that shows on my last.fm feed are probably correct- it’s been awhile since I synced.

Overall, I found it to be an interesting and fun site to use, but I’m not all that convinced of it’s usefulness. That said, I’m willing to be convinved. I suppose you could send a link to this site to your internet-wary parents who may just want to be checking up on you in one place as opposed to on several different networks.

Have you used Flavors.me? What do you think? Comments and thoughts are welcome!

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Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools for your Taste Buds.

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. πŸ™‚

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’ll be taking a look at a tool for all you food lovers out there. I wanted to feature something fun for Thanksgiving, and when I stumbled across this site I thought it would fit in perfectly. You can use this site to find new recipies by ingrediant, or browse though vivid and beautiful pictures to choose your next kitchen challenge. I also stumbled upon a restaurant review while clicking around this site. Let’s take a look at Tastespotting.

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Find them on Twitter.

From the site: “Founded on the idea that we eat first with our eyes, TasteSpotting is our obsessive, compulsive collection of eye-catching images that link to something deliciously interesting on the other side. Think of TasteSpotting as a highly visual potluck of recipes, references, experiences, stories, articles, products, and anything else that inspires exquisite taste.”

The first thing that I like about this website is the color and pictures. It’s literally a feast for the eyes, if you pardon the cliche!

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The page is mostly set up as illustrated above: pictures, with short descriptions beneath them. I think that featuring the pictures like this is smart- it draws the viewer/reader in, and makes clicking almost unavoidable.

Once you’ve narrowed in on something that looks interesting….

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…say yummy looking little bread turtles, you can click on the picture to be directed to the page on which the recipe appears. For instance, the turtle recipe comes from a blog named Diamonds for Dessert.

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Some pictures will link to restaurant reviews:

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on blogs like this:

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You can use the search feature on the site to find recipes that include certain ingrediants. For instance, I searched for “persimmons” and came up with this result:

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If you sign up for an account with the site you can submit recipes and mark favorites. I thought the marking is a good though, and won’t clutter up your social bookmarking or browser bookmarks. The sign up was quick and easy.

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There is a lot to experience, recipe wise, on Tastespotting. As represented below, there are too many pages to just scroll through. Enjoy this site, and maybe take home a few ideas for Thanksgiving.

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All in, I liked this site. The one thing I thought might be lacking was some sort of automatic filtering; meaning, if I could set up a search, and any time a recipe came in matching my preset requirements, I got an email. That would be a nice addition to the site. Other than that the site really does do what it sets out to do.

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Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools to fit your Mood.

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. πŸ™‚

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’ll be looking at a site that’s…well, it’s probably better experienced than it is toured. I’ll go ahead and give you a walk through, but I think that the best way to get to know this site is to click around it yourself. It’s not a very “deep” site layer-wise, but it’s definitely interesting and different. Let’s take a look at Moodstream.

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I couldn’t seem to find Moodstream on Twitter, but Getty Images is there.

One of the first things you’ll notice when you click on the site are the pictures and the music. Both of these things are copyrighted, with a pretty hefty terms-of-use policy. That said, I ended up speaking with a representative of the company about featuring the site here, and he was extremely helpful. So, thanks again, Erik.

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The basic gist of the site is to give you an option to choose which mood you would like to listen to and watch. The pictures will sort of correspond with the music- which instead of being driven by genre, is driven by “mood” which you can choose by sliding the menu around.

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To make it easier on the user, Moodstream has a “Preset” Wheel from which you can choose moods. I thought this was a pretty handy feature, as I wasn’t sure how “happy” might correspond with “calm.” But choosing the presets gives you insight as to how the creators of the site would like to use their own creation.

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You can use this menu:

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to keep certain channels, or Moodboards, that you create.

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The Moodboards will not remain if you navigate away from the site, but will if you sign in with an account. I didn’t sign up for an account in this instance, but it’s easy enough to do.

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All in, Moodstream is a really interesting web goodie. I don’t really know the practical use for it, but it’s visually interesting and musically intriguing. It took me a little while to figure out how I might want to use the site- and the one thing I keep going back to is having it on while there’s a dinner party. It would be really cool back ground stuff. I’m not sure how it would work on the job, if only because I need to be looking at other things both on the web and off. So the visual element would render itself pointless.

At any rate, I really do suggest that you check it out. It’s cool and fun, and I really dug it.

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