November 15th, 2010

You probably know Microsoft as the company that brought you Word, PowerPoint and Excel and a few other ubiquitous programs that everyone has to use sooner or later.  But did you know they’re also up to all kinds of interesting web-based projects?  Today’s internet moment, Photosynth, is a great example of just such a project.  It enables you to stitch photos of particular location together to create a virtual tour of that location.  Here’s a great 7 minute video from the March 2007 TED Conference featuring Blaise Aguera y Arcas.

Photosynth was originally conceptualized as a research project by Noah Snavely and his colleagues at the University of Washington and was called Photo Tourism.  Today, Photosynth is a complete website where you can upload your own photos and create your own online virtual tour as well as tour the creations of others.

Enjoy exploring the Photosynth below of Yosemite National Park in California.  See if you can find the climbers on El Capitan. Online Image Editing

October 12th, 2010

pixlrImage editing can be difficult and really good software can be pretty expensive. offers you a free online image editing program that has enough features to satisfy many of your needs.  If you’re at all familiar with editors like Adobe PhotoShop you should have no problem with the basic editing options and buttons.  If photo editing is new to you there is a great list of video tutorials available at which were created by Haldor Lønningdal of ICT Publish in

Check out sometime and try editing an image.

Learn a Language with the BBC

September 30th, 2010

How would you like to learn a language for free in your spare time?  As part of the the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) mission to “inform, educate and entertain” they offer a great website for learning languages.

Free online lessons are available in many languages.  Check out a language that you’ve been meaning to learn:  French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, and Portuguese are all there as well as many others.

Learn something new today!  Start learning a new language at BBC – Languages.

Knowledge Web

September 16th, 2010

If you’re familiar with the work of the British scientist & historian James Burke, you’ll probably appreciate the Knowledge Web Project.  The website, which is managed by the James Burke Institute, is not completely functional yet but it already has some interesting features that many educators could appreciate.  Here’s the vision and a video overview of the project.

As evidenced by his previous TV endeavors, Connections and The Day the Universe Changed, James Burke offers a unique view of history and science.  He sees it as a complex, interconnected web instead of the usual linear progression.  Today, his description continues to become more and more relevant as we watch our world continue to shrink and become more interconnected. 

Try these Mystery Tours from the Knowledge Web when you get a chance: 

Cornflakes to Communism  |  Goethe to Margarine  |  Frederick the Great to the Bottle Cap

September 7th, 2010

There are lots of websites and blogs out there that offer computer and technology advice.  He’s one to check out:

Ivan Kristianto is a young computer programmer in Indonesia who started blogging in 2008.  Though some his posts might be a very technical and the English a little difficult to read, many of his posts can be very useful.

For example, here are some posts to check out:  Keyboard Shortcut in Windows XP, Facebook…Ads and Span Social Network, How Google Works Graphic, A whole list of additional posts about Microsoft Windows and even an article about How to Make Money Using Blogs.

It’s a great example of what a blog can be.  So check it out when you can:  Ivan Kristianto – Source for programming, linux/unix, and technology, tutorials, news update, tips and tricks, hobbies and entertainment

Jam Studio

August 17th, 2010

Since 2007 you’ve been able to go online at and create your own authentic sounding music for free.  With an easy to follow tutorial and simple controls on the screen, this internet based Adobe flash website could definitely capture the imagination of even the most amateur musician.  Think of it as a music sandbox. was created by Dave Edwards and here is a 10 minute interview with him.  The online music mixer includes over 40,000 musical phrases played and recorded by real musicians that you can mix to create your own songs. is free, but you can create an account so you can save and further develop your creations later.  For a monthly fee of about $10 you can become an All Access Pass Member and you’ll be able to download all your musical creations royalty free.

For educators there is a special grant program that gives students an All Access Pass to at no cost.  Here’s some more information about the grant program at

So find your musical talent and experiment with today. on Fox 4 in Dallas-Fort Worth, TX:

Magic Ball Mind Reader

August 4th, 2010

Here’s an oldie but a goodie.  Do you remember the online Magic Ball Mind Reader?  The original mind reader was credited to Andy Naughton and appeared in 2002.  Today the old flash animation is located at’s website but you can also view a newer version of it here, and if you’re wondering what else Mr. Naughton has been up to you can visit his portfolio at Flashlight Creative.  Here’s a version of the mind readed that was customized for the CBS’s TV show the Ghost Whisperer.   The mind reader is even available as an iPhone app.

If you’ve never seen it before check it out.  The online mind reader is guaranteed to at least surprise you.  If you vaguely remember the site from a few years back it’s still worth revisiting.  Try to see if you can remember how it works.

And if you can’t figure it out, there are some websites and blogs that can help you out.


July 7th, 2010

Would you like to know how to make pizza dough?  How about learning how to change the oil in a car or balance a checkbook?  There is an amazing list of things you can learn online. is a website that makes it easy to learn just about anything. is an online community that strives to give people a place where they can reasearch, discuss and share all kinds of knowledge with anyone.  According to their about page they have accumulated over 1.5 million articles and 150,000 videos that were created by experts and ordinary people.   If you have something to contribute you can join the eHow Community also.

Take some time out of your day and learn something new today at

The American Revolution

July 3rd, 2010

If you’d like to delve into some American history this Independence Day the Nation Park Service might have the website you’re looking for.  Pulling from their vast historical resources, this one website has a great collection of stories, timelines and biographies from the Revolutionary War.  Of course they also offer information about visiting the various parks throughout the nation that have connections to the Revolution.

Whether you are doing serious research or just looking to understand the history of the United States of America, the National Park Service has a website for you to check out! 

The American Revolution – Lighting Freedom’s Flame

Google Books

June 14th, 2010

In a way, Google Books is the original idea that launched Google.  According to Google’s own official history of the project, “In 1996, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were graduate computer science students working on a research project . . . Their goal was to make digital libraries work, and their big idea was . . . a ‘web crawler’ to index the books’ content and analyze the connections between them”

By 2004 the technical challenges of scanning millions of books without damaging them had been overcome and Google entered into a formal agreement to scan the public domain content of Oxford University’s Bodleian library.  Partnerships followed with Harvard, the University of Michigan, the New York Public Library, Oxford and Stanford.  Today the list of worldwide Library Partners continues to grow.

The Google Books Project uses special book scanners and optical character recognition to create a searchable digital library.  The project has drawn criticisms and controversies relating to copyright infringement, but a settlement is in the works.  Most recently Google has announced plans to open an online book store called Google Editions.

So search Google Books today and see what it has to offer!

More about the Google Books Project (from PBS NEWSHOUR, Dec. 2009):

Texas Border Watch

June 10th, 2010

Bored?  Looking for something to do?  How about taking some time to patrol the Texas border?  The Texas Border Sherif’s Coalition would love to have your help as a “Virtual Texas Deputy”.  Using a $2 million dollar grant from the Governor of Texas they contracted a private company called Blue Servo to create a website where ordinary people can log on and watch the border using strategically placed webcams.  Once you set-up an account and log in you can choose the camera(s) you’d like to watch and begin your “patrol”.  Each camera comes with instructions on what to look for and how to report anything suspicious  annonymously.  Here are some examples of what they’ve seen.

Give it a try!  Live the dream of being a Virtual Texas Deputy:

Spokeo – Online People Search

May 28th, 2010

All these computers and all this connectivity…  it’s just a matter of time before the ultimate online people search engine appears. is yet another attempt at creating a searchable online database of people.   Here are some others:  Pipl, ZabaSearch, ZoomInfo, and many more.

According to their website:  “Spokeo is a search engine specialized in organizing people-related information from phone books, social networks, marketing lists, business sites, and other public sources.”  You can learn more here

You should check out this website and type in the names of some people you know and maybe even yourself.  It can be very enlightening to find out just how much information there is out there.