New Media Picks Of The Week: Sharewood Picnic 34
The Sharewood Picnic is my weekly public service to deliver you the latest new media resources, software and websites that can help you become a more effective independent publisher without having to rely on expensive corporate tools.
Photo credit: Darren Hester
In this picnic collection there is something for everyone, wherever you are in this interconnected world.
I recommend you check out some of the resources listed below, as they are valuable little jewels of information technology.
Here is what I found this week:
- US-only legal film downloading service
- Local video news outlet shows future of online video
- Video and audio blog service
- Web-based word processor
- Digital music-makers online community
- iTunes-based application to share music files
- Photoblogging application for mobile phones
- Watch driver-shot video of any road on the map
- PayPal worldwide money transfer service alternative
- Text-ads advertising agency
- Rip DVDs onto your hard drive (tutorial)
Vongo is a major step in the Online TV revolution that will let you download films and other video content to your Windows PC, laptop, TV or handheld device. A project from Starz Entertainment, the download service will consist of over 1000 video selections users can download and watch at any time for the monthly fee of $9.99. Available only in the US, Vongo will also feature a streaming Starz TV channel and will offer several pay-per-view options for $3.99 each. Registered users can download content for use on multiple devices, although the company has promised a strong digital rights management system.
HamptonRoads.tv is a local information site featuring video content about the southeastern coast of Virginia, USA. HamptonRoads shows the potential for online video for local information-sharing. The site has several offerings of video content that presents useful information that many residents would not have discovered otherwise. Compliant with the emerging social web, anyone can upload a video to the site and inform fellow residents of news, sports or any other event. Look for many similar local video sites to spring up in 2006.
KolaBlog is a multimedia blogging service that makes it easy to spice up blogs with video, photos, podcasts or music. With many features built in to the interface, KolaBlog users can:
- Place video on a blog without using multiple programs
- Create a podcast and syndicate it with RSS
- Combine photos and music for exciting multimedia presentations
- Profit from ads placed on a blog through KolaBlog's advertising system
The service is still in its infancy and has a lot of rough edges yet to fix, nonetheless video content posted with KolaBlog appears easily and cleanly in a separate window. Kolablog is ad-supported and the service is free to join.
- Zoho Writer
Zoho Writer is a powerful online word processor. With an easy, familiar interface, Zoho Writer acts almost identical to a desktop-based word processor, complete with the toolbars common to industry-standard MS Word. But there is more to this web-based text tool, as it lets you import existing documents in Word format, edit them in a WYSIWYG editor and export them back to Word .pdf and HTML formats. You can also use Zoho Writer to publish directly to a blog. Zoho Writer supports a number of different languages and international alphabets and allows you to save your documents to the service secure servers. Zoho Writer also integrates a spell-check and an autosave facility. Although there are many features of Word that are not supported, Zoho Writer is ideal for basic word processing and allows documents to be created collaboratively and to be enabled for public viewing. Zoho Writer also supports revision control (aka versioning) so there is no need to keep multiple copies of a document. To make this even more appealing, registration for use of Zoho Writer is completely free.
iCompositions is a lively community for users of Apple's Garageband music-creation software. With nearly 20,000 songs posted, iCompositions is a great portal for sharing music created with Garageband, surveying the work of other Garageband connoisseurs, or just for finding great music (the site now hosts streaming radio and podcasts of users' music). Built with the community aspect in mind, the site allows for easy discussion and commentary on any track posted, while the forums make it easy to learn new tricks with the software. The site also has a Garageband tools section complete with books, software, tutorials and musical instruments designed to integrate with the unique Apple software. iCompositions is also a portal for the latest Garageband news and hosts a huge number of freely distributable loops, samples and beats. Accounts are free and users receive unlimited storage space.
- Dot Tunes
DOTTunes is a specially-designed iTunes-compatible web server that allows remote access and free sharing of your own iTunes music library with both Mac and PC users. Designed for a very specific purpose, DOTTunes is intended for musicians looking to showcase their work with others rather than for people to share music files, and the software's creators stress this point frequently. When used as directed, the program is a great resource for sharing music without the hassles of emailing large files. Also, users can listen to your music for free using nothing but a browser, while the version for musicians is currently available for about $22. DOTTunes is compatible with Windows or Mac, although the Windows version is still a bit rough around the edges.
- Earth Cam Mobile
EarthCam Mobile lets you run a photo blog or vlog directly from your camera-enabled mobile phone. Following a short set-up process, users can send photo or video content from their mobile phones which will instantly appear on their personalized online page, where it can be edited and modified. You can even have friends upload photos to your site. EarthCam's premium features integrate with your phone's display features, allowing any photo or video on your site to be viewed on your mobile also. You can even use EarthCam to view webcams from all over the world right on your cell. A basic membership is available for free and the premium version costs $4.95 per month.
Fotogopo is a Google Maps mashup capable of displaying a driver's video viewpoint of any road along side a dynamic reference map of the road being watched. The goal of this online service prototype is to enable drivers to see any road they want to drive on, ahead of time and in a full video format shot from a driver's viewpoint. Fotogopo has a great deal of potential, but it is still in its early stages. Thus the number of roads and streets that can be "navigated" is relatively limited and covers only US locations. It remains fascinating to drive through San Francisco or the Golden Gate Bridge while seeing yourself moving on a map and while being able to decide what to jump and see next. Strikingly enough Google Sergey Brin announced yesterday at CES convention in Las Vegas a new implementation of Google Local developed for car dashboards. Think of it as your GPS on steroids, harnessing the power of Google Earth to not only provide directions, but also enable the driver to compare on screen what he should be seeing based on his location with what he is actually seeing. Supercool. Free to use.
iKobo is a PayPal alternative. iKobo is a money transfer service that allows you to "make purchases, withdraw cash, or receive money from anyone, anywhere in the world." With just a few steps, registered users can receive payments or transfers directly to their "iKard". The iKard is nothing else but a physical reloadable Visa debit card that is usable anywhere Visa is accepted. iKobo charges a small fee for every transfer made as well as for drawing cash out of automated teller machines. Free to sign-up.
CrispAds is an advertising-agency that gives you more control in selecting the ads that appear on your site. CrispAds uses this in conjunction with keyword-based targeting to ensure that only relevant advertisements appear on your site or blog.
For advertisers, CrispAds offers the ability to:
- Place CPC-based graphical ads
- Upload your own ads instantly
- Pay for ads via any major credit card
- Advertise by product or theme categories on multiple sites
- Monitor ad statistics in real-time
- Sponsor blogs directly
- Select the specific blogs and sites that you want
For bloggers, CrispAds offers:
- Category based graphical ads
- $0.20 USD per click on text ads
- 70% rev-share on graphical ads
- Payouts on balances of $5 and over
- Direct sponsorship, and services to find sponsors
CrispAds also offers detailed statistics so advertisers and bloggers can make the most informed decisions regarding their ads. Free to sign-up.
- How to rip a DVD
Elliot Back has put together this tutorial that gives step-by-step instructions on how to copy (rip) a DVD onto your computer. With easily-understood instructions and screenshots, this page is a quick and effective way to learn how to turn your DVDs into video files you can watch on your computer without the original DVD.
Kevin C. Borgia and Robin Good -
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