Wednesday, April 9, 2008

#56 Smilebox - smile in a box?

Smilebox was fun and easy to join up. It provides a large number of templates for slideshows, ecards, scrapbooks, postcards and photobooks. Like many of these programs, there is a basic free version and a tempting one with frills that costs. You did have to install the program on your PC and from what I could see execute it every time you logged in.

I signed up and was quite spooked to discover a swag of my recently uploaded photos displaying along the side panel. I tried a few designs and had a bit of trouble with landscape versus portrait as the photos weren't very easily manipulable if they were portrait and the templates mainly wanted landscape. Finally, as funerals were on my mind, I did a floatings photos tribute to Elizabeth Moisidis. I emailed it to myself, I loaded a link to it on my Facebook profile and here it is below in my blog. It was quite slow to load up the link from Facebook and I also found that with Jamie's one included on the Learning 2.1 blog. This may be to do with the speed of my connection?

Smilebox is fun and useful and something that we could have loaded on our public PCs. I wonder if it would be worthwhile having a Click goes the library session on a number of these photograph tools? I could see it as something that could be quite useful to prepare a presentation of someone's life for a funeral or retirement event, and Jamie's example showed that it could also be useful for local or family history.

Click to play Elizabeth  Moisidis Floating Fotos
Create your own postcard - Powered by Smilebox
Make a postcard - it's easy!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

#55 Slideshare - Presentations online!

Slideshare claims to be the Youtube of Powerpoint and it certainly does provide a great community of online presentations. You can upload presentations and search and view presentations (without joining up) or you can join up for free and set up an account. I had viewed presentations there before but I hadn't actually joined up.

So as part of the work for #55 I joined up and loaded up a few fairly banal presentations. They did seem to lose some definition in the conversion to Slideshare format, but I suppose that is not really surprising as conversion always seems to lead to some change. I was able to share these slide-shows publicly or with my friends or not at all. So I chose to make some private and some public. You tag the presentations to allow for searching. You also deal with copyright through Creative commons. There are also a number of communities e.g Web 2.0, Second life, Web 2.0 tools for effective teaching.

As I was researching my ill-fated VALA talk on Facebook and public libraries while I was experimenting with Slideshare, I did a search on Facebook and came up with a number of useful presentations. When I had completed my presentation I loaded it up on Slideshare so that I could, er, share it with the other presenter and the person chairing the meeting. That worked well except that it seemed to truncate some of the urls in my presentation. As the others didn't comment and one of them uploaded a link, I need to discover if this is a Firefox issue. I'll check out my Slideshare account at work on IE and see if the urls are truncated there. The other advantage of having the presentation on Slideshare is that you can present from there so long as internet access is available, thus obviating the need for uploading the presentation onto the PC in use or bringing along a PC.

I have already found uses for Slideshare in my work, in terms of searching for presentations I would like to read and also in uploading a presentation of my own that I wanted to share. In the lead up to the VALA talk there were several enquiries about where the presentations would be available, and I was able to reply that mine was available on Slideshare and to suggest that VALA set up a Slideshare account where they could either load presentations given at their meetings or at least fave them.

As I found it a useful presentation, I am uploading here Laurie M Bridges Facebook 101 for librarians (2008). Uploading was easy as any presentation that is freely available has a code for embedding. You can also share to Facebook, reddit and all the normal suspects. So I also tried sharing it on Facebook where a link was posted on my profile to the presentation and its url. This is a great tool.

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