Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Citizendium is a new (beta) site that is very similar to Wikipedia. It is trying to become a more accomplished/accurate online encyclopedia. The way this is done is by using accredited appointed people, to "author" content on their site. However, that does not mean you can't register and become a "citizen". This is a community where members can create and collaborate content.

After giving Citizendium a try I feel like it is on the right track. There are a lot of options for a user to choose when using their search. It is a bit more complex then Wikipedia and you may find getting the results you are looking for a bit of a struggle.

Below is an example of my search on the term "web 2.0"


Give Citizendium a try by clicking here.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shape Collage

Shape Collage is a free application that you can download for creating amazing looking collages. There are a bunch of applications/sites that do this kind of thing, but this might just be the best.

What makes SC so good is the ability to upload any shape (must be in png format) and then add your pictures. For example, I added the Apple Logo, and selected the photos I wanted to include in it.

Another great feature is that you can customize almost anything... draw your own shape, edit the background, save it as any kind of file, it's all here. Plus, it works on any platform!!!

Below is my Apple example....

Download Shape Collage by clicking here.
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Monday, June 22, 2009


Bookmash is a new application that runs on Adobe Air. This means it is flash based and has a really nice looking user interface.

The best way to describe BM is that it is an application that acts like a search engine looking for: video, music, photos, people, and news. All this is done by looking through the most popular technologies of today, such as: You Tube, Flickr, Digg, etc.

Another nice feature is the ability to download, share, and bookmark all content. For example, if you are watching a video in You Tube, you can just click on the download icon and download it to your desktop.

If you like Adobe products then this is definitely worth a look especially since it is multi-platform.

Download Bookmash by clicking here.
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Collecta is a new (beta) search engine which gives you up to date information based on monitoring "LIVE" RSS feeds of various sites. This reminds me a lot of Scoopler in that sense.

This is actually very cool and has a rather unique user interface. For example, you can actually edit your search preferences similar to how you would edit a "cloud" in Search Cloud. Also, you can preview your hits before visiting the site, which is a nice feature shared by many engines.

My only "gripe" I have w/ this site is how long it takes to get your results. I'm guessing this is because it still is in beta and there is not a lot of data right now. However, when you do type in a term that is in their database, you get fast and up to date information.

Below is search on the term, "Steve Jobs"....

Give it a try by clicking here.
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Book Seer

The Book Seer is a fun site that determines what book a reader should read next. This is done by typing in what book you just read and by what author and clicking return. Then the all knowing "oracle" tells you what you should read.

Actually, it takes you to a page w/ recommendations based on hits from Amazon, but it sounded cooler the other way.

Give it a try by clicking here.

3D Image Commander

3D Image Commander is an application designed to create cool looking icons/thumbnails. Users of Picturesque will find this application very similar and easy to use.

3D IC is rather user friendly which is ideal when dealing w/ photo manipulation. Basically, you just upload your photo, click on a dial and adjust your picture settings. Some of the things you can control are: shadows, corners, curving, and rotation.

Also, you can add text to your photo which is nice especially if you want to put a copyright/water mark on there.

Download 3D Image Commander by clicking here ($39.95 all platforms).

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iLovePhotos is an application that is very similar to iPhoto 09 in the sense that it has face recognition. Ideally, this would be great for a Windows user who doesn't have iPhoto, but for those that are still on an earlier version, this is a must see.

First, it gives users the feel of iPhoto 09 w/out having to upgrade to it. Second, it's very easy to use and creates some nice looking slideshows similar to 09. Finally, it has a very nice tagging/grouping ability, and built in user interface w/ the Mac's Address book. This makes it very easy to organize and annotate your photos.

I highly recommend checking this out for those that are interested in face recognition software to see how easy it is to sort your photos. (I wonder how this works for pets ;-).

Below is the tutorial from their site...

Download (free) it by clicking here.

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Friday, June 19, 2009


LOOP Apps is another of a hundred apps that do PDF file conversion. While it vaguely resembles Comet Docs or PDFVue, LA does have it's differences.

First, Loop Apps is ideal for combining PDF's into one file. This is easy to do just by adding your files and clicking on the combine button. Also, there is a great feature which lets you create ESIGN documents. This means you or others can digitally sign documents, a very nice feature to have and one you don't see every day.

Finally, you can add web pages to be converted into PDF's and signed/published as well.

This is a very handy/easy site to use. I recommend giving it a try by clicking here.
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Thursday, June 18, 2009


Aviary is a site that has been around for awhile. It is an online image editor similar to Photoshop. I never really used it before, but decided to give it another shot after seeing it posted on Lifehacker.

I have to say Aviary, is a nice site for editing photos and fast. The tool bar is very similar to Microsoft Word's Draw such as: text, shapes, lines, etc. You also have the ability to rotate and crop which is nice.

Below is my quick example...

Give it a try by clicking here.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 is a wonderful new site I just learned about from Larry Ferlazzo's excellent blog. It is a place where users can upload any file they want to get an embed code so they can display it on their site/blog.

This is just ideal for students/teachers who want to display content "live" which they normally had to link to. Plus, it is very easy to use, just click on embed and select your file or URL.

Once, your file has been embedded, the fun really begins where you have even more options such as: annotating, tracking, and privacy controls. This really is an amazing little site that can really help out the bloggers/publishers in each and everyone of us 8-)

Below is my example using a Deploy Studio manual...

Give it a try by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Widgenie is a great new (beta) site for creating graphs/charts. It is very similar to Lovely Charts or Rich Chart Live. While I think the latter are both great sites, Widgenie happens to be my favorite because it is very user friendly and creates some very nice looking graphs. (RCL is a close close second).

What makes Widgenie such an attractive option for education is the ability to upload any: Excel, csv, Google Spreadsheet, etc file. This pretty much covers the gambit for any spreadsheet. Also, once the file is uploaded you can edit it to get the exact look/feel you want. For example, you can choose an animated pie chart, bar graph, or even text cloud. Plus, you can edit all the fields via the drag/drop user interface. This really is ideal for the average user.

Finally, once you are finished w/ your graph you can create a link, which lets users share your embed code, or you can just embed it into your own site.

Below is an example I made for a "Heat" graph...

Give it a try by clicking here.
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Netalyzr is a new (beta) site by ICSI. It is designed to debug your internet and "tell" you exactly what is going on w/ your network.

After trying it, I must say that it is super easy to use and it does report back some fascinating data. Of course, a lot of it really didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but what I did find amusing was that it was reporting that I'm using a static IP which is not the case.

To begin the test all you do is browse to the page and click Start Analysis. Once it is done (5 min or so) you get a very detailed report of what's going on, on your network. I can really see this beneficial for home users who want to get an idea, if people are using their Wi Fi connection, etc etc. In a school setting it's nice in the sense that it is free, but pales in comparison to Server Admin Reports or those done by some kind of networking service: PRTG, Nagios, Cacti, AW Stats, etc.

Give it a try by clicking here.

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Monday, June 15, 2009


LiveTyping is a cool little site that visually records while you type. I can only describe this as what users would see when they are chatting (some IRC have this feature), using Remote Desktop Chat, or Google Wave, which will show text live as it is being typed (good thing that feature can be turned off ;-)

I can really see this being used to show students the importance of learning how to type and take ownership of their material. Also, you can create an account and save your "typings" as well as embed/link them in your site.

Below is an example...

Give it a try by clicking here.


Goodreads is a social network for book lovers in the same vein as Book Army or Shelfari. It is a place where members can come together to: rate books, create a virtual library (aka book shelf), create a book club, collect quotes, etc.

After creating an account and testing it out, I would have to say it's just as good as the latter two w/ a lot of nice potential. For those of you that are familiar w/ social networking sites (and if you read this blog, I'm sure you are) the interface will be exactly the same: create an account, edit your profile, add your books, review, etc etc.... nothing dramatically different to write home about.

However, there are some nice features which makes Goodreads stand out from these other sites. For example, you can sign up for your friends reviews which is nice. Also, you can create clubs which is another neat feature.

The issue that I have is, adding friends seems to be problematic as I couldn't find out how to search for friends unless they had a Yahoo email account. If that is the case it really does create some difficult limitations.

I suggest checking Goodreads out by clicking here.
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Obsurvey is a new (beta) site for creating online surveys. It is one of the better ones around and I would highly recommend it if it wasn't for Google Doc's, which you can do the exact same thing in. However, that being said, Obsurvey is a really nice and easy to use site which makes creating surveys/polls fun!!!

First, what separates this site from the rest is the unique "wiki" type feel to it. This makes it very easy for the average user to go ahead and get started right off the bat. Another nice feature is the ability to add a picture to your survey which I haven't seen before.

As w/ most survey creators you can generate: true/false, text, multiple-choice, etc. type questions. When you are done you can create a link to send to your users to take the survey. My one complaint is that it would be cool if you can embed your survey into your site/blog. This is one feature that makes Google Doc's such an attractive option.

All in all I think Obsurvey is a nice little site which is definitely worth a look. Give it a try by clicking here.
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Fotopedia is one of the coolest most visually exciting sites to come around in a long time. It is a place where the user/community members create a visually dynamic encyclopedia.

I must say I was really impressed when I started digging around on this site. There is a lot here and you can get lost exploring all your choices.

First, you can upload your own content: photos via Flickr, embed Google Maps, etc. Then you can link articles and have other community members rate your content. Think of this site as one giant Wiki w/ visually stunning content.

Another great feature, which I've never really seen before is the ability to create a widget w/ the click of a button. You can make embeddable widgets for your site/blog, by just highlighting the area of your screen that you want to capture. Great stuff!!!

Give it a try by clicking here.
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Psykopaint is a new (beta) site for painting. It is in a really early version of beta so there is a lot more coming, but from what I've seen this looks really impressive.

Basically, you upload your pic, and then use their painting tools to: brush, blend, filter the picture. You can do some really cool looking things on this site and it is very easy to use. Also, this has to be one of the nicest looking sites around.

Give it a try by clicking here. I recommend checking out the gallery!!!
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Visuwords is an exciting new site which lets users create their own type of graphical dictionary. The way this works is very wiki-esque, you browse for a term, if it is not there it puts the term on a blank page. From there you can edit your term and link them to others, similar to how you would be creating a concept map in Inspiration.

While I think this is a nice tool there still are a lot of terms not listed. I suggest giving it a try as it is very user friendly. A bonus for some will be the ability to download the source code (Unix).

Here are the results from browsing the term "technology". Each color and line represents a specific type of "relationship".

Give it a try by clicking here.

For another in depth review check out the always resourceful Free Technology 4 Teachers blog.


Lexipedia is a new (beta) site that is great for visualizing words. It does this by displaying your words in a concept map w/ a "legend/key" that displays the type of words they are. I would compare it to Vocab Grabber's visual thesaurus in that respect.

For example, I looked up "technology integration" and from the pic below you'll see the concept map that was displayed. Also, on that page you'll see a "legend" that will display if the word is a: verb, noun, adjective, etc. and then list the definitions.

Give it a try by clicking here.


Wordnik is a very interesting site. It's a place where one would go to learn any information on a given word.

For example, if you typed in the word, "web 2.0" it would give you results in the following ways: images, used in a sentence, related words, statistics, etc. Ideally, I can see this being used w/ L.A. classes or those wanting to help learn words.

Another unique feature to this site is the ability to register and then create your own content. So there is definitely a "web 2.0 vibe" going on here as well. Plus, there is a nice little feature which tells you how many times the word has been viewed and you can even click on an audio button to hear the word spoken (great for Spelling Bee practice).

For more info click here.


OneLook is a site I first read about on Larry Ferlazzo's great blog. It is a reserve dictionary which means it searches references for words that have definitions conceptually similar to the words you search for.

It may sound confusing but when you starting using it you'll get the point. It's a pretty interesting site because it indexes a lot of dictionaries so you can check a specific one if you so choose, or use the reverse look up at any time by typing in a colon before your search (ex. : web 2.0).

Below is a pic of my reverse look-up of Technology Integration in Education...

Give it a try by clicking here.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Google Squared

Google Squared is the latest project under "Google Labs". This is a new way to search designed to give you results in a spreadsheet type layout.

I think where Google Squared has the most value is for creating your own. To do that you just click on their link and start from scratch filling in your rows and columns.

Also, you can use it as a typical search engine and just type in what you are looking for. However, since this is relatively new I didn't get results for a lot of quarries, such as 21st century technology.

Below is a search result from the term, web 2.0.

Give Google Squared a try by clicking here.

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Debategraph is a great new site for creating visual graphs on debatable topics. For example, if there was a debate if 1 to 1 was a benefit to the school environment, it would be here.

Not only can you create your own debates but you can view their abundant library to see what they have going on. Best of all, this is very much like a wiki so users can edit the content and share w/ others.

Below is an example of a debate on the Education Policy in the US...

For more info click here.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fun w/ Photoshop

Due to working w/ some kids in the art lab on a "layering" project.  I decided to join in the fun and put together this little pic.

We used Photoshop Elements 3.0 to create this easy little design by using the: magnetic lasso to cut out a pic, and the pasting it on top of another.  We then used the opacity filter and brush tools to get the pictures to merge.

(ignore the spelling error, I didn't save to re-do ;-)

Easy to do and a lot of fun!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009


Yarp, is a website that lets users create short surveys/invitations and does it very well. What makes Yarp so appealing is how easy it is to use. All you do is create your question, decide on the style of choice, and then post the link it provides.

However, one aspect of Yarp that I think is sorely lacking is the ability to embed your invitation/survey into your site. Although, you can save your "yarplets" via a browser cookie, it would be nice to "house" them yourself.

For another in depth review, I recommend checking out Larry Ferlazzo's blog.

Give Yarb a try by clicking here.
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