Friday, December 17, 2010

Text to Movie

My brother shared a video on facebook today.  It was an interesting video, interesting enough that I checked out the webpage displayed at the end.  The webpage wasn't about the video specifically, it was the page used to create the video.

It looks like this could be kind of fun.  They say, "If you can type, you can make movies" so I'm looking forward to trying it out.  It looks like you choose characters, choose a background, and write your script.  After that, I'm not sure because I haven't had time to try it - but I'm linking to it here so I can play with it in the future.

Xtranormal - Text-to-Movie - there's a downloadable version and a web version. Both are free, but there are some premium features you can pay for, if you want more.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Anticrepuscular Rays

Driving home on Sunday, I saw rays like this - but I didn't know what they were, and I didn't get a picture.  What was I thinking?

Anticrepuscular Rays Over Colorado
Credit & Copyright: John Britton
Explanation: What's happening over the horizon? Although the scene may appear somehow supernatural, nothing more unusual is occurring than a setting Sun and some well placed clouds. Pictured above are anticrepuscular rays. To understand them, start by picturing common crepuscular rays that are seen any time that sunlight pours though scattered clouds. Now although sunlight indeed travels along straight lines, the projections of these lines onto the spherical sky are great circles. Therefore, the crepuscular rays from a setting (or rising) sun will appear to re-converge on the other side of the sky. At the anti-solar point 180 degrees around from the Sun, they are referred to as anticrepuscular rays. Pictured above is a particularly striking set of anticrepuscular rays photographed in 2001 from a moving car just outside of Boulder, Colorado, USA.

-from Astronomy Picture of the Day

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Free Screen Capture Tool

This looks like a handy tool to have. It lets you capture screenshots or screencasts, determine where and how to save them - even send straight to email or your printer.  You can capture your entire screen, selected window, or a selected area.  Capture not just a screencast of what you see, but capture the audio too.  Works with the PrntScrn key on your keyboard.

Get Free Screen Capturer.  Totally free - no spam, no ads, no strings attached.

Check out these related articles for some other options:
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Don't Touch the Yellow Frogs

Schrecklicher Blattsteiger (Phyllobates terrib...Image via WikipediaI'm not sure when or how it happened, but I have this thing for frogs.  You probably figured that out from my header, huh?  I even ordered froggy checks today!

It is totally amazing how many different frogs there are!  Check out these amazing frog photos and you'll see what I'm talking about.  But I don't care how great they look, I don't really want to touch any of them - especially not that golden poison frog!
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A New Wireless Relationship?

I just went to the US Cellular website to send Cory a text and noticed that they are changing a bunch of things. Here's one I'm excited about - no more contracts after the first one.

Of course, we've been with US Cellular for years, so contract of no contract shouldn't really matter.  It does, though.  It means they will work to keep customers by providing the best coverage and customer service and not because they're tied to a contract.

Another thing - I can save 5% on my bill every month just by signing up for automatic payments with my checking account and paperless billing.  I'm definitely signing up for that!

More info on US Cellular's Belief  Project.
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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Who Wants to Pig Out with Me?

Piggy bank from German bank HASPA, around 1970.Image via Wikipedia

A while back I mentioned that we were using Bing Cashback, and getting money back every time we did any online shopping.  It was great.  We got back over $100.  But then they went and discontinued the program.

I hadn't yet figured out what to do next when I saw a commercial for The Pig tonight, so I checked it out. It looks like the same idea - click through from the site whenever you do any online shopping and get cash back.  The percentage varies by store. Unlike bing, it looks like you can use coupon codes in addition to getting your cash back - meaning you can save even more.

Sign up is free and easy - just enter your email address and choose a password, and you're ready to go! Start filling that Piggy Bank and getting back some of the money you spend online. Also, if you use my referral link to sign up and make $25 in qualifying purchases in the first 30 days, we'll both get an additional $5 added to our Piggy Banks.  There's no limit to the number of friends you can refer and no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn.  

If you're going to be shopping online anyway, why not get some of that money back?

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Get PagePlus Essentials Free from Amazon is offering PagePlus Essentials as a free software download.

Product description from Amazon:
PagePlus Essentials makes it a breeze to design and print stunning projects like cards, posters, newsletters and more with its amazing combination of powerful and easy-to-use desktop publishing features. It’s so easy to go from a blank page to a fantastic design just by dragging and dropping whatever you want onto your page – it’s that simple! On-screen ‘How To’ guides can walk you through tasks step-by-step, while the handy Learning Zone contains videos and tutorials as well as access to the community forums and the extensive knowledge base – help is never far away. The professionally-designed, customizable templates in PagePlus Essentials are a great way to produce amazing documents in no time at all – just add your own pictures and words for a polished document in minutes. You also get fabulous effects and instant styles to make your words and logos stand out from the page. Impressive text handling is at the very heart of PagePlus Essentials. You will recognize all the usual writing and formatting controls from a word-processor plus fast-flowing text wraps, customizable paragraph and character styles and the freedom to write text and place objects exactly where you want. It really does have everything you need to create impressive documents. A built-in PhotoLab offers over 70 adjustments, corrections, filters and effects to turn your images into works of art. With the dedicated Image Cutout Studio you can remove photo backgrounds quickly – you don’t even need a steady hand. PagePlus Essentials also supports more than 25 popular image file types so it’s a safe bet that you will be able to use any picture you can get your hands on. After you have finished designing, you can share your projects with friends and family quickly and easily by publishing documents as PDFs that can be viewed and printed on other computers. This powerful and flexible program is indispensable to anyone who creates or designs documents on a computer.

If you need publishing and design software, give it a try. You can't beat the price!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sharing Some Music

I'm not a fan of visiting pages or blogs where the music starts automatically, but when I visited one this morning, I was interested in finding out how they added the music.

I may just play with this later and see if I can create and share playlists - without having them start automatically.  Or maybe I'll just create a page just for music I like.

What do you think?  Do you like music on a page?  Do you share your music, and what do you use?
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Getting Organized

I've had an account with Springpad for a while now, and so far I've used it to save a few recipes and start a grocery list.  And that's about it.  After reading this today: How to Organize Your Life with Springpad, I see that I haven't been doing nearly enough.

I keep thinking I need to get organized,  and here I've had a handy tool to help me with that all along.  Now I just need to figure out how to make it work for me.
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Friday, July 2, 2010

More Free Templates

I ran across another site for free Blogger templates today.  There are quite a few really nice ones here, so if you're thinking it's time for a change, you might want to check out Templates Block.  The templates are designed to be easy to install and customize, and include free support if you have any problems.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Linking with Images

I participate in a couple memes each week, most of the time anyway.  Each week, the host posts a link list, and we all sign in.  Usually you just leave your name and url, but I recently came across inlinkz, a free linking tool that includes thumbnail images.  Instead of just leaving a text link, participants are able to choose an image from the page they are linking to.  I thought it was really cool - especially for photo memes.

Today I visited Linky Tools and saw that they have a new thumbnail Linky that allows the same thing.  Linky Tools actually has a whole list of Linky types to choose from:
  • Basic Linky: This is the basic MckLinky List... people leave a title and link it to their blog. Use it for any reason you can dream up. 
  • Thumbnail Linky: A thumbnail linky has a collection of image thumbnails instead of a list of text titles and links. Lots of fun! Give it a try 
  • Blog Hop Linky: A Blog Hop is a group of bloggers who display the SAME LIST OF LINKS on their blogs, usually with some sort of theme or topic. 
  • Picture Caption Linky: 1) Invite readers to leave suggested picture captions, then 2) rank them or choose winners...  
  • Contest Entry Linky: Run a contest or some sort of giveaway on your blog. 1) Readers enter their content submissions as per your instructions then 2) you choose winners OR 1st Place, 2nd Place, etc.
  • Prayer Request Linky: Have your readers leave their prayer request and link. 
  • Answer Linky: Ask your readers a question and let them leave their answer and a link to their blog or email. 
  • Question Linky: Have your readers leave their questions for you and a link to their blog or email. 
  • Ideas Linky: 1) Ask readers to help you come up with new ideas for a project, event or topic; then 2) rank them or choose winners. 
  • Top X Linky: Create Top 10, Top 5 or Top 3 list (from 1-10). 1) Ask readers for their entries for a Top X List then 2) choose and rank the winning entries.  
  • Create A Story Linky: Fun! Start a story in your blog post and invite your blog readers to help "write it" by adding on to the end of the story (the list). Use a theme or plot, or just start one and see what happens.
I'm thinking I need to play with some of these - maybe that Ideas Linky, asking for post ideas or something.
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Email Stripper

Do you hate all those extra ">" and other formatting characters that show up when you forward emails?  I do, and I used to take the time to delete them, but that is such a pain.  And takes way more time than I really want to take.  That's why I love the free Email Stripper from PaperCut.  All you have to do is paste the messy email into the program and click the "Strip It!" button, and it cleans that email right up. 

Then simply copy the cleaned email and paste it into a new email message.  How cool is that?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Getting Started in Genealogy - Free Download

I've never really gotten into it, but I know a lot of people enjoy looking into their genealogy and family history.  The Internet makes it a lot easier than it used to be, but it's still hard to know where to start and where to look.  I got an email today offering this free e-book download - Getting Started in Genealogy Online - and thought others might be interested in it.

It's 67 pages of basic information to help you get started tracing your family tree online.
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Monday, April 12, 2010

Keep Your Widgets (updated)

I updated the template on my photo blog yesterday.  I've pretty much ignored that one for a while, and I was still using an OLD Blogger layout.  Anyway, I found a template I like and decided to install it.  And that's when I noticed that Blogger now lets you choose to keep your widgets when you upload a new template - instead of having to lose them all, or manually find them in your old template and insert them into the new one.  I'm not sure when this started because I haven't changed a template in a while, but this is going to make changing your template so much easier. 

Thank you, Blogger, for realizing that after we put all that work into adding our widgets, we don't want to lose them just to change the look of our blogs!
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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Twitter Followers on Your Twitter Background

I'm thinking it's about time for a new background for my twitter page, but I'm not sure what I want.  Do I want to create a custom background, which would take some kind of idea and artistic talent?  Or do I just want to pick a free one from one of the many sites that offer them?  I still haven't decided, but I noticed one of the people I follow on twitter was using a background from Twilk - so I had to check it out.

It looks like fun.  Basically you sign in with twitter, and Twilk creates you a background made up of the profile photos of the people you follow, or your followers, or both - however you want to set it up.  The more you mention, retweet, or interact with someone, the more they should show up in your background.

I haven't decided if I'm going to try it or not, but it does offer a very unique background for everyone - unless, as someone said, you have the exact same followers and interact with them the exact same way as someone else does - highly unlikely.
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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Free Photoshop Brushes

I came across this list of free Photoshop brushes today - the best brushes in various categories.  There are some nice looking ones here, and I think I could have some fun with some of these.  I haven't downloaded or installed any of them, so I'm saving this list for later.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Free Books

I came across a couple sites for free books today.  One is for audio books, and one is children's books.

You can download free audio books from There are quite a few books available in different genres.  Most of them are older books, so you won't find any recent best-sellers, but definitely worth a look.  There are quite a few books I've never read and might enjoy listening to, as well as some old favorites I haven't read in years.  Books can be downloaded into iTunes or in MP3 format.

Free children's books can be downloaded at Children's Books Forever.  There are some really cute books here.  It looks like most, if not all, of them are written by Hans Wilhelm.  The books open with Adobe Reader, so you can read them online, save them to your computer, print them out, and even use them on Smartboard, PowerPoint or overhead projectors (non-commercial use only) - so it looks like a great resource for parents and teachers.
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Friday, March 5, 2010

Multicolr Search Lab

Lady Banana shared this on Twitter today, and it's so much fun.  You can select up to 10 colors, and it searches for Flickr images with those colors.  I'm not sure if there's any practical use to it, but it's fun to choose different colors and see what comes up.  If you find a photo you really like, you can click to view it on Flickr.


Check out Multicolr Search Lab and try it for yourself.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fun with Photos

Mosaic of a seagull (using birds and other nat...Image via Wikipedia
Today's Giveaway of the Day was some kind of program to create shapes with your photos.  After reading through the comments, I decided not to download it, but I grabbed some links to programs I can get later if I want.  The first two are for photo mosaics,which is more what I was interested in.  They take your photos and create an image, like the seagull here.  The last one takes photos and arranges them into shapes, which could have some fun uses.
Now, if only I can find the time to play with them...
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Changes in my Feed

Image representing twitterfeed as depicted in ...Image via CrunchBase
I've been using twitterfeed for a while now.  I love it, because it automatically tweets my blog posts.  You just have to add your blog's RSS and enter your twitter information, and you're good to go.  The only problem is, my posts stopped showing up on twitter.  I finally figured it out - I had to change my twitter password, so twitterfeed was using the wrong password, and couldn't post to twitter.  All these automatic things are great, but if anything changes, you have to remember to make those changes everywhere.

The only problem is, that since I've updated my twitter password, and twitterfeed has told me it checks out OK, only one post has actually been tweeted.  So far I've only posted on my other blog Beth & Cory's Mom, so this post is mostly a test to see if this feed is working properly. 

After reading the following related articles, I'm thinking I might start using Google's Feedburner to tweet my posts.  Decisions, decisions.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Read Books Online

A Picture of a eBookImage via Wikipedia
I recently found a site called  There are all kinds of books available - best sellers, new releases, etc.  Each book is available in several versions: .rtf, .txt, .pdf, .epub, .PalmDOC, .FB2, .lrf, downloadable and  playable on various media devices.  From what I can tell, you can download books for 99¢, but you have to load your account with a minimum of $10 to get started.  It's a little confusing because I haven't actually added any money to my account, so I'm really just guessing about that.  That's a pretty good deal for books, but that's not what interested me.

What interested me was the option to read the book online for FREE.  I don't have any devices to read books on, except my computer, so I really have no need to download the books.  How much online reading will I actually do?  I don't know, but it's kind of fun to play with.  You can choose book or document format, choose your font and font size, and even add bookmarks to the books you're reading, so you can find  your place later.  It even keeps a list of the books you've looked at recently.  It might just be a good way to check out a book I'm thinking about reading, before I request it from the library.

I also want to check out Read Print. It doesn't have the new books, but there are a lot of books available - a lot of  classics, which I almost hate to admit that I've never read.  I guess I have no excuse now, except for the usual 'So many books, so little time' that I always use.
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Screen Capture Tools

Giveaway of the Day offered a Screen Capture program today that was not very popular.  I didn't bother to download it, because I've been using PicPick for a while, and I really like it - and because everyone who looked at or tried this one had nothing but bad things to say about it.  The good thing about that is that there were a whole lot of suggestions for free screen capture programs and tools.  I went through all the comments and tried to list them all here:
I haven't tried any of these, except Jing, which I liked but never re-installed after I re-formatted my computer.  I really should, I liked it.  But if you need a screen capture tool, I thought it would be nice to have a list to choose from.  Hopefully something here will work for you.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Keep Your Widgets

I'm thinking about changing the layout on my other blog, eventually. I've found a layout I really like, and I've even messed with personalizing the header. But what about all my widgets? You know how you start to upload a new template and blogger asks you to confirm widget deletion? I don't want to have to delete my widgets and then have to build them all up again. The HTML/Javascript ones would be OK, because I could just copy the code to notepad and add it back, but things like blog lists take a lot longer to put together.

So, I started searching for ways to change my layout without losing all my widgets and ran across a really good tutorial on keeping your widgets when changing your template. I tried it out on my test blog, and even though I didn't have many widgets there, Blogger wanted to delete them. So, I followed the tutorial and saved them all! I've got a few tweaks to make on the template and some code I need to grab from my blog, and I think I can change my layout relatively painlessly. So maybe eventually will come sooner rather than later?