Need to edit a photograph? Then consider using Ribbet at http://www.ribbet.com/ which isn't at all bad. It has lots of really nice features, from basic to advanced, and I was quite impressed with it. It's also only recently launched (uses the same system that Picnik did, before Google bought and canned it) and if you get in there quickly you can get a premium account for free while it's still in beta. Just click Editor and click Upgrade.
SlideTalkis a tool that puts a computerised voice onto slides that you produce. Simply upload a deck to their site, then add in the narration that you want, choosing the voice that appeals to you and then publish it. It works well enough, though I was annoyed to have come to the end of a 20+ deck only to see at the bottom of the screen a message saying that 12 slides was the limit for a freebie. No problem with that, but it would have been helpful to have been told that right at the start!
I wasn't overly impressed with the voices either. You'd have thought that they would at least have ensured that the narrators would have recorded 'SlideTalk' as a word - when it was spoken it came out as 'slIDERtalk' which was odd. There were certain words that were also broken down into syllables such as cons-e-quent=ly which also didn't work very well. However, it's not a bad product, and some of the voices were quite amusing (fancy having the Queen narrate your slides?)
It might be useful in an education environment though. I certainly wouldn't be prepared to pay them money yet - it's still far too jerky as a narration tool, and to be honest, if I was that fussed, I could do it for myself. If you want to see my version - which to be fair it uploaded quickly and easily to YouTube it's here:
They say of themselves "Chalktips lets you cull the web for videos, photos, websites, and documents, organize, and annotate them. Publishing booklets maintains the intellectual integrity of the paper, but gives it the much needed facelift." It could be quite an interesting tool, but there's very little there yet.
The idea behind Snapzen is interesting. Basically you can snap screenshots of different webpages, store them in one place and then annotate them, before sharing them with colleagues. You can highlight parts of a page, add borders, write on them - all sorts. Its a good idea for educational work - you could create a whole list of pages and then get a class to discuss them. Super for checking out concepts such as the authority of a page and so on.
Had a very nice discussion with Andrew Olivares from Snapzen, and he kindly responded to some questions/criticisms that I had of the resource. At the moment you can only use it in Chrome, which is a bit of an irritant, but Andrew said "Right now you can only create and annotate in Chrome but one thing to note is that you can view and reply in all browsers (Firefox, IE, Android, Iphone, Ipad). Also next month we will be releasing an Ipad version that will allow you to create and annotate just as in Chrome."
I didn't particularly like the way in which the pages were arranged once you'd collected a few - the newest was at the top, the oldest on the bottom. This didn't work for me, because if you're annotating a series of pages you probably want to tell some sort of 'story', so I think a user setting to change the order of first/last would work. Andrew said "We have also been debating over the order of the conversation internally. On the one hand, a participant in the conversation wants to see the recent responses at the top (like email), but on the other hand a new participant may want to read in chronological order. A user setting may well be the way to go for this."
I also suggested sharing via social media, and his response was "A link shared in social media is an interesting option as well, our concern is how do we ensure the privacy of a conversation – a social media link will make it a public conversation. There’s some thinking to be done on this one as to how to balance the privacy of a conversation visa distribution."
It's an interesting tool, and one that is worth taking a look at.
Most of the fuss has now died down over Google Reader; people have either decided that they don't need a newsreader any more, or they have found an alternative that works for them. However, if you're still lamenting the loss of Google Reader, you may want to try out a product called Feedspot.
I imported my G Reader OPML file of 235 feeds in less than 30 seconds, and everything was exactly where it should be. All the posts arrived very quickly, and it took no time at all to move from one to the next. I particularly like the ability to simply have a list view - source, headline and date, but you do have some choice in how you display feeds, and how they are arranged date wise.
Feedspot supports all the usual - tagging, folder organisation, sorting and so on, but has some nice social media functionality, allowing you to follow friends, share links etc with people via Facebook and Twitter. It also works on smartphones as well.
Feedspot is available for beta testing at the moment, and they do offer 'perks' which I suspect is probably going to be a years update to their 'Gold' version - Feedspot is working on a freemium model with the basics available for free, but the paid version is about $2.99 a month and this apparently turns off adverts, though other commentators have said that they have yet to see any.
I liked Feedspot, because it does mimic Google Reader very closely - there do seem to be a few bugs with it (mainly in the timestamping region), but it IS a Beta product, so things like that are to be expected, and it's unfair to criticise too much. If you've already found a reader that you prefer, I doubt you'll be tempted by Feedspot, but if not - give it a whirl.
If you have a memory that goes back aways, you'll probably remember Delicious which is a bookmarking service. Indeed, it used to be the very best service out there, until it got sold and 'improved', at which point everyone went 'yuck' and left for services such as Diigo instead. It's now been improved from the ground up, which I take to mean 'we really screwed up big time, and thankfully we've recovered all the old code and we're putting things back they way that they were and please don't hate on us anymore.'
I took a look (having retained my account) and to be honest - yes, it's fine. It does what it should do. You can use the bookmarklet for adding stuff and you can now link your Twitter account so that you can see what other people are adding, and it has the option of bringing in your tweeted links - which I can't imagine is going to please Packrati.us very much, since while it's not going to kill them stone dead, it's going to be a pretty heavy blow to their service.
You can search for stuff, either on Delicious generally, or in your own feed, which is obviously a helpful feature. You can tag, multi tag - all the obvious stuff. And I think that's the problem with the new built up from the ground Delicious - it's not offering anything new. There's no 'wow' factor, but lets face it - that's difficult to get with a bookmarking service anyway. If you're still using Delicious I think you'll be really pleased with the changes - but if you've moved on to other services, there's nothing here that will bring you flooding back in happy droves. It's a case of 'too little, too late'.
I've tried it out and it works well. You can see a nice display of what the photograph will look like prior to playing around with the different filters. There's a nice set of options for creating cards as well.
Riffle seems to be a fairly straightforward socially based book discovery network. Join, link via your facebook or twitter account, type in some books that you like - the resource finds you some people to follow and shows you books that they like, based on your own interests. You can search for books as well, and Riffle gives reasonably full reviews.
It's ok, but not something that I think that I'd use myself, but you may feel differently.
They say of themselves Automatically track the location and movement of your children 24/7
Call logs & SMS Record all call logs and text messages that your children sent along with recipient informations.
Web Surfing All visited web pages are transfered to cloud and report to you.
Other activities Track what apps they installs and uses, device on/off, connected hotspots,etc.
Data visualization Different data view helps you the best user experience while explore tracked data, including dashboard, timeline and location stylesSecure & realtime
Your data is securely stored on secure cloud View their activity in real time and see fully recorded activities in the past
www.nonamesnojackets.com is an interesting take on book discovery. You just get the words - no chapter headings, book titles, blurbs or jackets, and you can read a paragraph, then expand out to a chapter. At the end of which there's a link to where you can buy the book. Because of the limitations of copyright, you can only upload stuff that you're allowed to - either as a publisher or an author.
Consequently there's a lot of self published stuff on the site, but hey - if you've enjoyed the chapter, you'll probably enjoy the whole book. It's a simple concept and quite fun.