Mar 31 2013

Susan’s Invisible Blog Post

jim

Has anyone seen Susan lately?


Mar 19 2013

Death of iGoogle and Google Reader- Consider Protopage as a Replacement!

jim

http://www.protopage.com

In the beginning, Google created Google Personalized Homepages- and they saw it was good. Next they improved upon it and created iGoogle- and we saw it as very good. Then they decided to kill iGoogle- which prompted tens of thousands of users to launch “Save iGoogle campaigns” and such (probably to no avail).  Google is putting iGoogle to rest November 1st, 2013. To deliver our personalized news, website changes, and RSS feeds, we switched to Google Reader (as Google themselves suggested). And just last week, Google announced the end of life for Google Reader for July 1, 2013. Grrrrr.

Those of you who liked Google Reader and want to stay with that look and feel, try www.feedly.com. They even have tools there to help you transition from Google Reader. That website has a much more polished look than Reader, but the basic layout and features are similar.

For those of you still mourning the loss of iGoogle or you just like the ability to add and rearrange widgets on a custom screen, try www.protopage.com. This is very similar to iGoogle and you can actually import your iGoogle or Reader OPML files right into your own start page.

 

Features of Protopage I really like:

 

  • Page is not tied to a Google account so I can share it easily with others (want to see mine? Look at http://www.protopage.com/talljim)
  • Can add multiple “tabs” (pages) like iGoogle
  • Can share only certain tabs of your portal
  • Can add built-in widgets or RSS feeds from various sites
  • I love the Web Widget which allows you to paste in embed code from Web 2.0 sites to test & display

 

 

 


Mar 17 2013

Who’s bringing what? Stop the back-and-forth emails with Sign-up Genius!

jim

http://www.signupgenius.com

It happens all the time- your team, group, or class decides to have some party, get-together, or luncheon requiring everyone to sign up for something. Once upon a time, sign-up sheets were posted outside an office door, cubicle wall, or lounge bulletin board. Then someone had a bright idea: “Let’s email each other what we are signing up for!” And so the email madness begins. You know, it goes something like…

Sally decides to bring fruit salad, and so does Jill. Their emails to the whole group cross in the ether. Tony decides to bring a corn casserole but forgets to email the whole group and just emails the person coordinating. Then Sally sees Jill’s email and retracts her own and decides to bring a Jell-O salad at the same time Jill decides to bring an Apple-Walnut tart. So in the end no one brings fruit salad, three people bring corn casserole, and the plasticware was left off the list!

Sign-up Genius pushes this to the cloud and takes care of it all… and yes, its FREE! So let’s say we are having an end-of-year party at school and we need parents to donate certain things. So here is the sign-up sheet for all to see and use (go ahead, try it- it’ll just send me an email):

www.SignUpGenius.com/go/70A0B44A4AD2CA31-endofyear

No, we aren’t really having a party, though that would be all kinds of fun!

A few great settings that can be selected in the creation process:

  • Can require an access code to sign up for items
  • Can ask customized questions
  • Users can leave their own comments
  • Notify me by email when someone signs up
  • Send reminders to group members X days before the date they signed up
  • Allow a list member to “swap” slots with another member

So for the love of all things good, please pass this on to your room mothers, PTA coordinators, party planners, your Aunt Anne, and anyone else who needs people to sign up for things- it will save a lot of time and hassle (and keep those insane “Reply to All” email messages to a minimum).


Mar 10 2013

Narrate a collage of images with Narrable

jim

http://narrable.com

There are many websites that allow you to add voice narration to photos, slideshows, etc. But there are very few that allow you to narrate a whole collection of images with ease like Narrable does.

After you create an account, upload local images (or browse Facebook), then sequence and resize them into a scrolling collage. Honestly, this is the hardest part- reordering and resizing the images is a little more cumbersome than it should be. Once the images are in place, simply give your photos a voice by either uploading audio, using the built-in voice recorder, or enter your phone number for the voice recorder to call you and record by phone!

Each picture may have a different recording- and each recording is labeled with the person narrating. This allows groups of individuals to contribute to the same project! Here’s a curriculum example (thanks to my awesome and wonderful daughter who lent me her voice for a whole sentence in the narration).

The final project can be shared in a number of ways, including embedding using an iFrame as shown here (view Fullscreen for best results):