Friday, May 29, 2009


Bing is a new search engine by Microsoft. In fact it's so new you can't even test it right now just watch the video. From what I've seen it does post some impressive results, but I can't really know for sure until I can give a "test drive".

Microsoft claims, "We took a new approach to go beyond search to build what we call a decision engine. With a powerful set of intuitive tools on top of a world class search service, Bing will help you make smarter, faster decisions. We included features that deliver the best results, presented in a more organized way to simplify key tasks and help you make important decisions faster."

It should be interesting to follow up w/ this when it is finally released, but in the meantime watch the demo video by clicking here.
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Google Wave

Well, it looks like Google is up to their old tricks again pulling another rabbit out of their hat, this rabbit's name, is Google Wave.

Google Wave which has been in development for 2 years can best be described as the evolution of Google Apps/Email. Google claims it is, "what email would look like if it were invented today." It will be really interesting to see how things shake out when it is released to developers latter this year.

Another nice feature is that you can "house" GW in your own site via an API. This means, no longer do you have to worry about a third party hosting your data, it can be done from your own environment.

For a much more detailed review from Lifehacker, click here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Creaza is a site I learned about from Larry Ferlazzo's wonderful blog, and it is a bit complicated to say the least. However, once you spend the time looking it over you'll notice that there is a lot of useful tools to be found.

Basically, Creaza is a multi-media suite (vaguely similar to Adobe's) which lets users create: cartoons, Movies, and Mind Maps. Their site states, "Creaza offers you an integrated, web-based toolbox for creative work, both at school and in your free time. You use the toolbox along with various fully developed thematic universes: historicalperiods, fairy-tales, fantasy worlds, and current challenges, such as climate/environment."

Another great aspect to Creaza is the "web 2.0" features which lets users: share, publish, comment, in a secure environment. The only downside is, there is no built in filtering going on. This leads to a tricky issue when dealing w/ CIPA compliance. While a user can potentially swear/bully, they have people monitoring all content so it will get removed and the user will be punished.

Below is a short breakdown of each area of Creaza:

Cartoonist - complicated cartoon creator which had me scratching my head just to add a speech bubble. However, there is a lot here and has a great deal of potential.

Movie Editor - has a similar look to iMovie 09 or Boinx TV. It has the ability to create nice visual mash-ups w/ pre-set: graphics, video, effects, etc.

Mindomo - is a lot like any other graphic organizer/mind mapping tool. Not as simple as drag/drop (my sub-topics kept getting stuck) but there are some good things to be found here.

I highly suggest giving Creaza a try, you'll be glad that you did. Click here for more info...
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GigaOM Pro

GigaOM Pro is a brand new site (beta) that is designed to give consumers/users "effective" reports on the technology industry. As quoted from their site, "GigaOM Pro was created to address the gap that exists in real-time expert industry analysis on emerging technology markets."

They accomplish this in many ways and focus primarily on these areas: emerging technology markets, timely analysis, and easily accessible reports.

GP looks to have a lot a promise and is worth the look. However, it is not free. If you sign up now you can get an introductary rate for $79.00. I'd love to hear back from somebody that has subscribed and see if they think it is worth it.

Give GigaOM Pro a look by clicking here.
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My StoryMaker

My StoryMaker is a site by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. I heard about this in passing and was intrigued, so decided to give it a shot. I'm glad that I did.

MSM, is a great site for young readers/storytellers. The user selects the characters, props, scenery, and supplies all the text. Also, you choose how the story goes w/ preset effects such as emotions and actions.

Once the story is done you can either print it out via a PDF or save it online to view as a PDF. I only wish they had some kind of export feature that allows you to download it or post it as a .mov file. I had to use Screen Flow to make my sample "interactive".

Below is my sample short story I created...

Create your own story by clicking here.
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Navify is a fun new site I learned about from Larry Ferlazzo. This site is great to use when you want to search/filter Wikipedia visually. It literally grabs and displays all the multi-media results, of a given topic, inside of Wikipedia.


From their site, "Navify is a visual encyclopedia that combines Wikipedia articles with images, videos, and comments."

Here is what a results page looks like when searching the term, Web 2.0.

Give it a try by clicking here.
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

File Browse

File Browse is a new application for viewing your files/media in a new way. This is really a great great application, which acts a lot like Quick Look or Preview.

Also, FB allows users to sort their media and view their data inside of a "tree". It is very handy to use because once you view your files, you can keep digging further visually, instead of how you normally would, when browsing inside of your HD. For example, if you wanted to see the meta data for an application, to find that inside of the HD would take a lot of clicking, but not in File Browse.

Below is the hard to find (in retrospect-made easy in FB) plist info of Wirecast.

Download the free 30 day trial by clicking here ($25.00).

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009


TimeRime is a new (beta) site for making online/interactive time lines. I find it very similar to Capzules and a really great resource for education.

What makes TR such a great resource is the ability to "house" it internally and manage all content so nothing inappropriate gets posted online. This is ideal when trying to abide by CIPA/COPPA compliance. Plus, using the educational portal eliminates all adds and allows the users to collaborate using all the "web 2.0" tools available.

For more info on the educational version click here.

Below is a time line on the history of Japan...


MyPicsMap is an interesting new site which is a mash-up of Google Maps and Flickr. This is really a nice tool to use if you are a Flickr user. You can track where pictures were taken and then click on the thumbnail to blow up the image.

Also, you can search out any exsisting Flickr user and visualize where their picture is from. Think of it the way iPhoto 09 organizes photos w/ Google Maps.

Give it a try by clicking here.

For another more detailed review, check out Free Technology for Teachers.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Geek Chart

Geek Chart is a new site which visually tracks your usages on social networking sites. This is done in a pie chart format and covers: Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Blogger, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc.

Here is a bit more from their site, "Geek Chart shows the last 30 days of your activity on these social websites. If you haven't been active on these sites within the last 30 days, your actvity won't show on the chart."

Also, GC (for registered users) gives you an embed code so you can embed the chart into your blog/site. Plus, it updates automatically as you continue to use these social networking sites!!

Below is a pic of a simple Geek Chart...

Give it a try by clicking here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Leap Fish

Leap Fish is a new (beta) search engine among some of the best newbies out there. LF is a search engine very similar to Dog Pile. It uses state of the art technologies to "enhance" your browsing experience.... or as they put it, " We've created the first multi-dimensional information aggregator and search portal in the world."

It's interesting to view your results as it breaks it down (all on one screen) in the following sections: web results, blog results, images, news, shopping, and answers. I'd supply a screen shot of an example of this, but it is to large and just doesn't fit well in this blog format.

However, the search bar at the LF login screen gave me a chuckle...

Give Leap Fish a try by clicking here.

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Booklet Creator

Booklet Creator is a new site that is for turning PDF's into readable booklets. It is very easy to use, just upload a PDF, select your settings, and click create booklet.

Also, you can purchase BC to work "offline" right from your desktop, for $9.95. This is a very handy tool when dealing w/ large PDF's.

Give Booklet Creator a try by clicking here.

Below is a pic of my completed booklet....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Alpoy is a new (beta) online avatar creator. There are a bunch of these type of sites out there, however I really don't have much to reference it, as I like to create my avatars from scratch. That being said, this is a easy/fun site to use.

To get started, just register an account, upload an image, and then have fun w/ the basic edit tools such as text, draw, or shapes. Once that is done, you can save/download the image, or even animate it w/ some basic scripting.

Here is a pic of the avatar editing screen...

Create your own avatar by clicking here.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha is finally here!!! This has been the long awaited computational search engine which is unlike anything ever seen before.

It is a search engine that "solves" problems by doing computations. It's kind of hard to explain w/ out trying it. For example, if you wanted to know the half life of an element type it in here. Or if you wanted to know the difference between home runs hit by your favorite baseball team, WA would be your place of choice.

Wolfram Alpha is ideal to use in schools for the sciences/math curriculum.

Below are screen shots from different areas of interest.


SAT Scores

Click here to give it a try!!

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Saturday, May 16, 2009


Twine is another new search engine by Radar Networks. It is built on "web 3.0" or semantic web technologies.

Twine potentially has the ability to be one of the best search engines around. There is so much behind this technology that it's hard to describe. However, if you would like a "behind-the-scenes" look click here.

As a semantic search engine it queries results in a way that "helps" the user and "learns" w/ them.

Give Twine a try by clicking here.
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Hakia is a new (beta) search engine that focuses on semantics. What this means is it has the ability to search more effectively then other search engines by incorporating these three things: results come from credible Web sites recommended by librarians, represent the most recent information available, and remain absolutely relevant to the query.

The semantic web is the evo
lution of the internet and how data is searched/retrieved. The common term for this is "web 3.0". This can be summed up best by quoting directly from their site, "Semantic search technology enables accurate retrieval of information via concept or meaning match. The technology is effective, as it is perhaps the only method that can be appropriately applied to credible and dynamic content. Most of this type of content is statistically flat (infertile) for popularity algorithms (conventional search engines like Google) to work effectively beyond common queries. "

I must say after using it I am really impressed w/ what I have seen. Europeana has a very similar search engine built into their site. I highly recommend you check out both of them to see where the web is heading.

Below is a pic o
f the search results, notice how you can check on/off credible sites.

Give Hakia a try by clicking here.

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Graffiti Creator

Graffiti Creator is a fun site for creating all types of graffiti: text, graphics, backgrounds, etc. After giving it a try I have mixed feelings.

GC is very easy to use, just click your style and type away. What I don't like about it, is all the "extra" stuff that the site has. There are a lot of links that takes you to different sites and it can get kind of confusing.

Give Graffiti Creator a try by clicking here.

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Search Motive

Search Motive is an interesting new (beta) search engine designed to give you results from "people" not "web crawlers". Here is a quote from their site, "Get relevant, recent, and real-time search results from the most popular social networking and user-submitted content sites including Twitter, Digg, Hulu, Flickr, YouTube, and many more!"

Another nice feature to SM is the ability to search either via: web, images, or video.

Below is a screen shot of the results from a query on technology integration.

Give Search Motive a shot by clicking here.
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Tilt Shift

Tilt Shift is a great new site for adding subtle effects to photos. Originally it was created to help edit the creator's iPhone camera pictures.

What I like so much about TS is how easy it to use. Just upload a picture, slide the control effects to how you want it and "PRESTO", your picture is ready. Tilt Shift reminds me a lot of Picturesque so if you are familiar w/ that app you should be happy w/ this one.

Below is my TS example...

Give Tilt Shift a try by clicking here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009 is a new site for editing photos online. While it is not as robust as Photoshop, or as cool as Live Quartz or Acorn, it is nice, free/easy application to use.

I like to compare Pixer to iPhoto/Preview, in the way that it can edit photos. It can handle basic type stuff, such as: cropping, effects (ex, sepia), rotating, etc.

While, not the fanciest of applications out there, for free it's not bad.

Give it a try by clicking here.

Below is a pic using an effect called, 1850.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Onyaka is a new (beta) site that is designed for project/task management. After taking it for a "test drive", I must say this is one of my favorite PMA's out there.

What makes Onyaka so appealing for users is how easy it is to get started. Once you have created an account, click on the control panel tab and get going. The control panel assists the user in creating/assigning their: projects, skills, users, etc.

Below is an example of a project I made for imaging...

Register for a free account and give it a go by clicking here.

Sketch Cast

Sketch Cast is a site that I tried a few years ago and then was happily reminded about by Larry Ferlazzo. This is a site for creating/recording drawings w/ audio. It can best be compared to Doodle Wall or Voice Thread's doodle feature.

SC is a great application for what it does as it incorporates all of the "web 2.0" tools. However, there is no filtering going on by Sketch Cast. They have a policy in place that lets users aware of what is considered "appropriate" behavior. This lets users report abuse for inappropriate content. While this is good, it still is not ideal for schools that need to abide by strict CIPA/COPPA compliance.

Below is a quick sketch I made.

Create your sketch by clicking here.

Search Cloud

Search Cloud is another new (beta) search engine, that uses a "tag cloud" interface to calculate your preferences. The way this works is quite simple, type in your query in the search bar, then either hit return (via a pre-determined search engine-which you change), or click on any one of the engines in the "cloud".

What makes SC so great, is that the more you use a Search Engine, say Google, the bigger it gets in the "cloud". The less you use search engine, the smaller it gets in the "cloud". Also, you can customize your cloud all you want, so you only see specific search engines, or even add your own!!

Give it a try by clicking here.

For another more in-depth review, check out Free Technology 4 Teachers.
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Voice Draw

Voice Draw is a new site (beta) that I found out about from one of my Plurk buddies/colleagues. This is a site where you draw w/ sound. It is very very interesting, and reminded me of using an etch-a-sketch.

I can see this being used in Art & Music to introduce the relationships between the two.

To the right is a sample pic from their site.

Below is an actual example of Voice Draw...

Give it a try by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hero Factory

The Hero Factory is a fun little site where you can create comic book heroes. I first heard about this site on The Book Chook, a great blog by Susan Stephenson.

Anybody who has a Wii and likes creating Mii's, or just wants to do something fun w/ their kids, should really enjoy this site. Keep in mind, there are only two characters you can create, and then style them to your heart's desire.

I think if they added more characters, the ability to add text, and maybe throw in some effects, this really could be an excellent site.

I must say quite the spitting image-minus the groceries, I never do the shopping ;-)

Create your own character by clicking here.
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Mixbook is an exciting/new site for creating: digital stories, online scrapbooks, and storyboards. After giving it a try I have to say it is one of the best resources out there for doing digital storytelling/storybooks.

For example, there is a project that we do here where our 6th graders create storybooks in iPhoto and then either print (via PDF) or order via Apple's online service. While this is great, it is limited to the fact that it only works on computers that have iPhoto. This is very limiting to students who don't have a Mac at home. Mixbook would eliminate this problem and make the project much more "universal/open". Plus, they can share their project online w/ others to view/comment/collaborate (web 2.0).

Another great feature to Mixbook are the educational features. In here you can create your own environment for others to view/edit your books. Think Google Doc's but instead of working w/ text you are working w/ photos, a really nice feature!!!

For more info on Mixbook for education click here.

The actual creation of the book is very easy. Any user of iPhoto will have no problem picking it up as the user interface is quite similar. You can select from a variety of: themes, backgrounds, text, and stickers. The only downside to this is the speed of all of this. Bandwidth comes into play when dealing w/ an "online" application.

Below is an example of my short Mixbook example...

BTW, if you'd like to learn more on our wonderful 6th Grade iPhoto Storybook project click here. (iPhoto Project) Special thanks to our 6th Grade English teachers who are trend setters/technology pioneers!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009


Stupeflix is a video creation site for creating beautiful looking "mash-ups". After giving it a try, it reminds me of a cross between Remix America and Animoto; combining the "mash-up" ability of RA, w/ the transitions/effects of Animoto.

What makes Stupeflix such an attractive option for users are the vast amount of features it offers, such as: speed (super fast rendering times), video uploads (text, audio, pics), effects, templates, etc. Plus, Stupeflix provides an API (Application Programming Interface) which allows users/web designers to embed/encode videos into their site.

Another great feature of Stupeflix is the unique user interface for creating videos. At first glance it might not seem as "user friendly" as other video apps but that is not the case, it's just different. Everything is drag/drop and "housed" in containers. Users of eZedia will feel right at home w/ this type of application.

To the left is a screen shot of video editor. Notice how images/videos are arranged in groups by dragging/dropping.

Also, you can click on a plus sign to add text to your video/image!!

Text/Transitions/Effects can all be added from the editing menus!!

Give Stupeflix a try by clicking here.

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