Thu Oct 21 15:36:04 +0000 2010
This portal was established by the seven Irish universities: DCU, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, TCD, UCC, UCD, University of Limerick, with an aim to make Irish research material more freely accessible. It features over 12,300 items ranging from masters degree research theses to articles in international academic journals, and puts Ireland ahead of many leading economies in opening the doors to its research work. The site runs like a search engine, allowing users to search for publications based on topic, the author, institute, the agency which funded research, or the year of publication.
Wed Oct 13 14:32:23 +0000 2010
Last week we highlighted Jing - a free software download which lets you capture and make a screencast. Here's an equally good alternative which has all the functionality offered by Jing but requires no download at all. By visiting Screenr.com you can simply login and immediately record up to five minutes of whatever is on your PC or Mac screen via any Java-friendly browser. Files are then saved to Screenr.com but, most usefully, you can then download the recording as an MP4 video file or have the file automatically uploaded to YouTube. Here's one we did previously. This provides an excellent way to create short videos explaining website features or software. It's a hugely useful online tool following in a similar tradition to services like SlideShare.net. It turns capturing video of your computer's screen from a trial to the trivial.
Wed Oct 06 20:22:13 +0000 2010
A growing number of companies provide support for customers by showing screen demonstrations of how to use a website or piece of software. It's a very useful visual aid that often succeeds where pages of printed notes fail. However, creating on-screen video demos can be a complex process. Not so if you head to Jing from TechSmith. Jing allows you to make up to a 5 minute screencast as a Flash file which is then hosted on screencast.com. All you need is the free software download, a decent microphone and you have everything to get started. If you upgrade to the Pro version (USD14.95 annually) you can make longer demos and also save to MPEG files which can be uploaded to YouTube or other video hosting sites. You can see an example we put together using Jing's free version and hosting here.
Wed Sep 29 20:16:25 +0000 2010
CityDeal is part of a larger group buying business called Groupon with presence in 24 countries. The premise has been around for a while and previous companies have had a go at the general model. Yet, so far, CityDeal appears to be making better headway. It's a sort of chicken and egg scenario. CityDeal needs subscribers in order to be able to cut decent group discounts for members with companies. Equally you're unlikely to join until you feel there's value to be gained in doing so. Yet a quick check of CityDeal's Dublin Facebook page claims it has over 5,000 followers, which suggests it's really gaining traction. To make things more interesting CityDeal aims to offer each city or area it covers with a daily deal. If enough people sign up for it, everyone who did so gets the deal. If not, then no-one gets it. Of course, there's the obligatory iPhone and Android apps available so you need never miss a bargain. So if you like the idea of group buying power, then it might be time to check it out.
Graph Your Inbox
Wed Sep 22 18:25:56 +0000 2010
You probably look at your inbox with varying levels of fear and trepidation, depending on just how much mail is flung at you each day. It’s a very real issue for millions of people who rely on this 40 year old technology. Some companies, most notably Xobni for Outlook, have attempted to release the wealth of data and intelligence locked up in that enormous backlog of correspondence but not everyone uses that mail client. That’s where a new extension for Google’s Chrome browser might help. As the site explains, “Graph Your Inbox is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to graph Gmail activity over time. You can use it to visualise your communication with friends, your Facebook activity, when you purchased items on Amazon or how often you use certain words or phrases. We provide the same search functionality used by Gmail, but instead of a list of messages we show you a graph of your email trends over time.” Go check it out.
Wed Sep 15 17:37:09 +0000 2010
The power of services like Twitter seems to be in the ability to quickly allow like-minded people who want to follow your pearls of wisdom (if you have any). That strength comes from the sheer volume of people subscribing to the service. The more there are the better it can get. Of course too many and you can then be overwhelmed. Blippy tries to build on this by providing a similar concept to Twitter but with a very particular purpose. It aims to allow people to follow and be followed, who want to give and get information about their product purchases. It's similar to ePinions but much more oriented to the social and sharing elements familiar to users of Facebook and Twitter. Blippy is a community of people helping each other to discover interesting things andreviewing or discussing anything they’ve bought. If you are hankering after that latest shiny gadget, this may be the perfect place to find out the positives and negatives before you open your wallet.
WordPress for mobile
Wed Sep 08 14:13:48 +0000 2010
Did you know that the free blogging and content management tool, WordPress, is estimated to be used by some 12 percent of the 1 million biggest sites on the web? You do now! WordPress has become a staple part of many a web-owner’s armoury of site management and development tools. So here’s good news for anyone in this boat: WordPress has been actively developing mobile apps which will allow you to update your site whilst on the move. There’s an iOS version for iPhone and iPad, as well as recently launched Android and BlackBerry apps. All you need to begin adding posts, updating pages or approving comments is your site’s domain, username and password. It’s that simple. In minutes you can be maintaining your site whilst out and about. Who needs a PC now?
Wed Sep 01 20:20:38 +0000 2010
Yet another by-product of our powerful PCs and broadband links is the relative ease with which we can now take promotional materials, such as up-coming movie trailers, and create high quality mashups. For the uninitiated a mashup is literally the juxtaposition of different sounds and pictures to create something entirely novel. This is well trodden ground in the music scene but it's also becoming popular, for those with the time and inclination, in mashup movie trailers. One particularly good example is Frank Ireland's 'UPception' trailer. If you've seen UP or Inception (ideally both) you can't fail to enjoy this 2 minute masterpiece. But if that's not enough check out these other mashups of Inception and well-known movies. The Avatar/Inception mashup deserves an honorable mention.
Wed Aug 25 20:13:52 +0000 2010
One of the downsides with all this digital wizardry at our fingertips is that, as a rule, it's a fairly sedentary experience. We can sit working away at our desks for hours and, come home time, end up doing even more of the same. That's beginning to change as smartphones gain in popularity, allowing the web to become an altogether more mobile experience. So what better way for couch potatoes to combine the use of computers with a need to get off their backsides than Geocaching.com. This service provides a form of 21st century orienteering. Sign up and you can search for a cache, basically a box of goodies that's been stashed out of sight, somewhere in town or countryside. Download the map coordinates to your GPS enabled phone and you're ready to go. Unlike so many games which keep you online, this is a collaborative experience which demands that you go outside. It's also a perfect way to use your latest gadget whilst taking friends and family out for a walk. It's either a vision of bliss or a picture of purgatory. Get the full video pitch here.
Wed Aug 18 17:46:03 +0000 2010
The power of maps to illustrate a situation has become a de facto part of the digital landscape. Yet despite incredible developments from Google, Microsoft and Yahoo with their own mapping services, it's only in recent years that we have begun to see just how powerful online maps can be when mashed up with services which reach out to people via mobile and SMS. The pedigree of Crowdmap has its origins in a service called Ushahidi. It means "testimony" in Swahili, and was a site initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the start of 2008. Ushahidi's roots are in the collaboration of Kenyan citizen journalists during that time of crisis. The website was used to map incidents of violence and peace efforts throughout the country based on reports submitted via the web and mobile phone. Later the same platform was used at other crisis points including Haiti. Just a week into launch, Crowdmap builds on the last two years of learning, creating a version which anyone can use to create crowd-powered maps.