October 8th, 2012

Here’s something free from Microsoft for you to check out:  Zoom.It which enables you to view and share high resolution imagery.   It’s hard to explain exactly what this means so it’s better that you just click on one of the links below to experience it first hand.  It does require the Silverlight download from Microsoft and it might not run on all computers.

Extreme Panoramic Imaging Project at Yosemite National Park in California, USA – Make sure you use the roller on your mouse to zoom all the way into the map and then into the panoramic photos that appear above each half circle.

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Charts – Try zooming in and moving around there charts of the whole world to experience the depth and volume of information that can be contained in one of these.

Hard Rock’s Memorabilia Collection – Zoom and pan your way through this amazing collection of goodies from the legends of rock and roll.

How would you like to make your own dynamic high resolution photo that people could pan and zoom through online?  It’s actually pretty easy provided you have someplace on the internet where you can paste an image.  Then copy the image’s exact web address and take it to this site (Zoom.It) where all you have to do it paste in the address and wait a couple of seconds.

For more information about how this technology works check out the links to Windows Azure and Microsoft Silverlight on the Zoom.It About page.



September 9th, 2012

Skype.comHave you ever heard of Kazaa or the entrepreneurs who built it, Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis?  It was the most popular internet software download in 2003.  Kazaa was a peer-to-peer file sharing service that was primarily used to share pirated music files online and it peaked in popularity sometime after Napster was shut down and when Walmart and then iTunes became the top music retailers in the USA.   Well if you ever heard of  Skype then you’re familiar with the next big project the Zennström & Friis took on.

Skype is a free download that enables you to make free voice and video calls through the internet.  It uses a combination of VoIP technology and peer-to-peer file sharing technology to deliver a virtually free video conferencing service to the world.  You just need a webcam and/or microphone and a computer with internet access.

First released in 2003, Skype was bought by eBay in 2005 for $2.6 billion then in 2011 it was bought by Microsoft for $8.5 billion.  The future of any communication technology is always uncertain, but no matter what, the ability to see and speak with people around the globe for free is turning out to be very popular.  With 30+ million users every day accumulating over 300 billion minutes of online conversations in 2011 alone.  It is an amazing growth story that’s starting to make a profound change to the way we communicate.

So check out skype.com today, you might even want to consider downloading it yourself.

Skype Explained Visually

Free Public Domain Music

December 13th, 2011

Making an online video is getting to be a pretty popular activity.   Most budding digital film editors quickly realize what a huge part music plays in creating the atmosphere in a video.  Unfortunately the use of copyrighted music in a home made video or school project might get you in a bit of legal trouble with the copyright owner.  And by the way websites like YouTube.com have developed some sophisticated ways to identify your illegal use of music.  Instead, try using some of the music you can download for free from FreePD.com where you can find hundreds of musical arrangements that are available through a creative commons license.

Explore free music at FreePD.com today!


August 26th, 2011

Be No. 1... Give to Public Schools in Need! - Go to DonorsChoose.org

As the Summer draws to a close students, teachers, parents and to a certain degree everyone else thinks about going back to school.  If the TV ads haven’t reminded you maybe those school buses blocking your daily commute will.

Have you ever wanted to help a school or classroom in need?  If you’re a teacher who needs help wouldn’t it be great if you could connect directly with the many concerned citizens who would like to help you?  DonorsChoose.org gives you that opportunity.

  1. Teachers post specific classroom project requests
  2. Donors choose a classroom project to donate to
  3. DonorChoose.org delivers the requested materials
  4. Students respond with photos and thank you letters

It’s simple, it’s effective, and it’s an opportunity for everyone to make an important difference in the education of a child.  Why not check you DonorsChoose.org today and consider what you could be doing to make a difference this school year.

On Guard Online

April 6th, 2011

OnGuardOnline.gov provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.”

The homepage features links to expert tips (Topics), online activities to test your “cyber smarts” (Games) and online videos about keeping safe online (Videos).  Amazingly the site does incorporate materials that are relevant to all age groups and all levels of technology sophistication.  Though it is a lot of information to review, anyone interested in protecting themselves online will be rewarded with valuable knowledge if they spend enough time on this site.

Schedule a refresher course on protecting yourself online, set aside 30 minutes or an hour to explore OnGuardOnline.gov today!

Kahn Academy

March 28th, 2011

Why not teach the world?  That’s what Salman Khan is doing.

“What started out as Sal making a few algebra videos for his cousins has grown to over 2,100 videos . . . covering everything from arithmatic to personal finance to history and physics”  KahnAcademy.org delivers millions of simple 10 minute long lessons via the internet every day.  Every video was created by Salman Kahn using Smoothdraw, Camstudio and Youtube.   The lessons are simple and short and but very effective, based on the number of people viewing them online.

Below is a video about KahnAcademy.org from PBS News Hour in 2010.

A Day Made of Glass

March 2nd, 2011

To survive, corporations have to be future oriented.  This is especially true of technology companies but companies that supply the resources for developing technologies have to be on top of new developments too. 

Corning is a 160+ year old glass company and it might surprise you to find out that they have a YouTube Channel.  And what do they display on their YouTube Channel?  Their vision of the future of course which just happens to highlight how vitally important their forte with glass is going to be in the future. 

Enjoy the video below and consider how much of these futuristic ideas might come true.

A Day Made of Glass . . . Made Possible by Corning


February 4th, 2011

Did you every have a frustrating email conversation with someone where you keep emailing attachments back and forth while trying to collaborate on something?  Did you wish you could both be typing and editing the same document at the same time while communicating about it?  How about doing all this online, real-time collaboration for free?

Etherpad.net was created by AppJet Inc. in 2008 to do all this and more.   It was such a successful web based collaborative real-time editor that Google bought themtherpadin December of 2009.  Inevitably the features in etherpad will become available in Google Docs

In the meantime, an open source release of etherpad has allowed for the creation of many “clones” of the original which are still available online.  One of the best of these is PiratePad.net which is hosted by The Pirate Party in Sweden.  Here is a link to more information about other etherpad clones and a review of each one:  http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20004686-248.html


January 17th, 2011

With over 4,000 audio books in it’s inventory, Librovox claims to be the largest online resource for free audio books.  Librovox was started in 2005 by Hugh McGuire with the goal of using volunteer readers to create downloadable MP3 files of books.

More information from the website:  “LibriVox audiobooks are free (*). You may use them for whatever purpose you like. Click here for information about our public domain license. Click here to hear some samples of LibriVox recordings.”

Download from the audio book catalog today at Librovox.  You can also subscribe to their podcasts and, if you are so moved, you can also consider becoming a volunteer reader.


January 16th, 2011

GapMinderHans Rosling is currently a proferssor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and he has been a speaker at TED multiple times.  He is probably best know worldwide for Gapminder.org, a website where you can view and explore statistical data from all around the world in an easy to use graphic format.  “Unveiling the beauty of statistics for a fact based world view” is the Mission of Gapminder.

Why do you want to take a moment to explore Gapminder.org?  Because regardless of what previous experience you might have had with statistics, this website is bound to change your opinions of the science of statistics as well as some of your own misconceptions about the world we live in.  Take a look at this 4 minute video about the last 200 years of history to give you a taste of what statistics can tell us about our world.

Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes -The Joy of Stats – BBC 4

Let’s Say Thanks

December 16th, 2010

Once again the Xerox Corporation is giving you an opportunity to send a free thank you postcard to a service member who is overseas for the holiday.  LetsSayThanks.com is actually a partnership between Xerox and several other organizations.  All you have to do is click on your favorite design and either select the message that best expresses your sentiment or draft a personal note. The postcards are then printed on the Xerox iGen3 Digital Production Press and mailed in care packages by the military support organization Give2Troops.org.

Why not take some time today to remember those who won’t be home this holiday season.  Visit LetsSayThanks.com and send them a note.

Christmas Price Index

December 1st, 2010

Every year, since 1984, PNC Financial Services has assembled the cost of purchasing the items listed in the 12 Days of Christmas carol.  Though certainly not recognized as a legitimate economic indicator, the PNC Christmas Price Index can help teach concepts such as inflation, deflation and what the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is all about.

This year’s presentation includes a well done interactive pop-up book as well as chartsactivities & other games for students.  So has the cost of Christmas gone up or down for 2010?  You’ll have to check the website to find out:  www.pncchristmaspriceindex.com