I’ve previously written about TinEye’s interesting image search tools, such as their tool that allows you to upload an image and find its sources on the internet; but their latest tool is worth specifically highlighting. Called Multicolr Search Lab, it takes millions of Flickr images that are available for use under a Creative Commons-license and allows you to search through them by color.
The tool allows you to search by up to five colors simultaneously. You can select colors by clicking on the desired color in a rainbow colored box. While this only allows you to choose from a limited number of colors, once you have selected one or more, you can refine your color choice by clicking on the color wheel within the resulting block of color or manually entering a hexadecimal value. Once you select a single color, the screen will fill with dozens of images pulled from Flickr that match it and as you add each additional color the results will change to reflect your new search. The results are displayed as small thumbnails, but clicking on any of them will take you directly to the image on Flickr where you can see it larger, check the licensing terms and download the image.
TinEye says that this tool is addictive and they aren’t exaggerating by much. I found myself enjoying searching for various color combinations even when I wasn’t really looking for an image for a project. The tool is fun and easy to use. My only complaint is that I wish you could limit your results by the type of Creative Commons-license under which they are available. Overall though, it is a great new image search option. If this doesn’t quite meet your image search needs, be sure to check out my guide to other tools for finding Creative Commons and public domain images.
I’ve previously written about the Haiku Deck iPad app, which makes it quick and easy to make visually appealing slide shows that integrate Creative Commons-licensed images, and now the company has expanded their offerings to include a browser-based option.
As the image below shows, the layout will be familiar to those who have used the iPad app, but there are some differences as well. Once you log into the application, you are presented with the option to create a new slide deck. Currently, there are six available themes for your project, all of which are free. When you first start to create a deck, instructions appear on the screen to offer an overview of the features of the service. Options for each slide are limited, but this is part of the advantage of Haiku Deck, since it ensures that all decks are well-designed and visually engaging. There are three different types of text available, with the default being single line of title text. If you would prefer you can instead opt for a bullet-point list or a numbered list. Each of these types of text can be laid out in a variety of ways. Once you have selected a layout, you can add images either by using the included search feature to search for Creative Commons-licensed images from Flickr or by uploading your own images. If you opt to use a Creative Commons-licensed image, Haiku Deck automatically includes the correct credit information at the bottom of your slide. You can also include presenter notes for yourself. Adding your next slide is as simple clicking the plus sign in the lower right hand corner of the screen.
Once you are happy with your slides, you can preview them and then share them either publicly (meaning they will appear in the Haiku Deck gallery), privately (meaning that only you can view the deck), or under restricted access (meaning that they can only be seen by people with whom you share the URL). You can also share slides via social media with simple buttons, uploaded directly to SlideShare embedded online, downloaded as a PDF or PowerPoint file or shared via email. Overall, this tool is a great way to create visually appealing slides. I have used Haiku Deck for several presentations and I definitely recommend trying out this free alternative to PowerPoint.
This week on the YALSA Blog, I posted on PicPlayPost. This iOS app lets users create montages that combine photos and videos. Its editing tools make it easy to edit your images and videos as you add them to the montage and the montages themselves are also very customizable. It also makes it simple to share the montages with your social network. If you are a fan of photo and video editing and sharing, you should definitely check it out! Read my full post over on the YALSA Blog.
If you have ever visited YouTube or Vimeo you probably know how easy it is to find a never-ending stream of fun, entertaining, useful and even educational videos to watch and share. If you have ever found yourself looking for a seamless way to collect, curate and share these videos, Huzzaz, which is currently in closed beta, is a great new option. It makes it easy to find and organize videos from both YouTube and Vimeo into a single collection.
Once you have created your Huzzaz account, you can create a collection on any topic you would like. Collections can have their own thumbnail image associated with them and can also have tags and a short description to make them more discoverable. You can then add videos to collections in one of three ways, either by pasting in the URL for the video from YouTube or Vimeo, by using Huzzaz’s included search feature to find videos on your selected topic while remaining in the service, or by installing the service’s bookmarklet in a browser to pull videos while browsing. You can also import entire YouTube playlists if you would like. Each video can be associated with its own tags and videos in a single collection can easily be reorganized by dragging and dropping them on the screen, or if you would prefer a random order, there is a shuffle button that will randomly order the videos. You can also choose the quality you would like videos displayed at and it lets you choose whether or not they will default to a fullscreen display. Once you are happy with a collection, you can share it on social media with the click of a button. Alternatively, if you want to share your collection on another website, Huzzaz offers embed codes designed specifically for Tumblr and Blogger as well as standard HTML for other websites. They also already have a plugin for WordPress so you can embed your collections on your WordPress site.
Watching videos in Huzzaz is also a user-friendly experience. When you click on a video, it will pop out in a lightbox that allows you to watch a larger version of the videos in the collection. While watching, you can share the video on social media, give it “applause”, which is similar to a “like” button, or add the video to another collection. You can also vote it up or down on the service that hosts the video, such as YouTube, without leaving Huzzaz. You can find videos from your friends who are on the service with a user search option that is in the upper left hand corner of the page. If you are a frequent YouTube or Vimeo user, Huzzaz is a great new service that you will definitely want to check out.
With the increased ease with which anyone can create and upload videos to the internet, there has been a rapid increase in the availability of video tutorials on a wide range of topics. If you go to YouTube, you can find tutorials on all sorts of skills from cooking to computer coding. But, Curious is a new platform that aims to offer new ways for teachers to share and monetize these lessons.
The platform offers video lessons on a huge number of topics from languages to computer programming to sports and dancing. When the platform first debuted, Curious provided support for each and every one of their teachers, but now they have opened the platform to anyone who wishes to use it. While this may mean that the quality of lessons will decline, they continue to offer teachers the options to become “Curious certified,” a process that requires that the teacher submit an example of an existing tutorial and some information about their experience. Lessons and courses by these teachers bear a special seal to allow users to select these specific lessons if they prefer. The platform itself allows teachers to create lessons, group them into courses and integrate quizzes, attachments and a discussion feature into their videos. Teachers have the option to offer courses for free or charge for them either on a lesson-by-lesson basis or as a bundled course. Teachers who opt to sell their lessons keep 70% of the revenue generated by their work with the rest going to Curious. Curious also allows teachers to sell other products, such as books associated with their lessons, which the company’s leadership believes will lead teachers to offer lessons for free.
From the student’s point of view, the site, and its related iOS app, offer a very usable and attractive experience. Users can view random courses via a spinner at the top of the page or they can navigate by the topic that they want to learn about. There is also a staff recommendations section where Curious can point more attention to courses that they have evaluated. While watching lessons, students have the option to post comments or ask questions of the professor. Once a student starts a course, it will appear in an “Enrolled Courses” section of the webpage while logged in. When you open an account, you are given 20 “coins”, which can be used to pay for lessons during your trial period. Since most lessons cost a single coin (which is equal to $1), this translates to approximately 20 lessons. You can also view an unlimited number of free lessons, though you will be prompted to create an account after just a few minutes of your first lesson.
Overall, Curious seems like an interesting service, though it is not clear that all lessons will be of a higher quality than those that can be found for free online. As more teachers opt to offer free lessons, its value might increase. Also, it is an interesting option for those who wish to use the platform, and the free advertising that can come with it, to offer and profit from lessons on virtually any topic.
If you have ever wanted to build or update a resume while on the go, Resume Designer Pro is a great new app for iOS devices that makes this a very realistic possibility. The app, which is currently free for a limited time, walks users through the process of creating a professional looking resume. The tool is designed to be user friendly even for those with limited experience creating resumes. It offers the ability to add a range of different sections to your resume and offers a brief description of each section to give you a sense of what information to include in that section. I think this could make the app a nice option for first-time resume creators who have a hard time knowing where to begin as they stare at a blank page. Available sections in the app include Objectives, Skills, Work Experience, Volunteer Experience, Education, Interests and Activities, References, Events and a free text section if those options don’t meet your needs. You also have the option to include a photo of yourself, though this is not required.
Once you have added all of your information in the app, you can select from 16 different themes. You can also create a cover letter, with a sample letter provided as a starting point. Finished documents can be previewed and then further edited as necessary. If you are happy with your document, you can share it to another app on your device, print it or email it directly from within Resume Designer Pro. You can also duplicate resumes if you want to use your base resume as a starting point for personalized resumes for individual job applications.
This app is a nice option for those who are looking for a way to create, maintain and share their resume while on the go. I particularly think that the prompts will be helpful for those who are new to the process. The app comes preloaded with three sample resumes that will also guide beginners in the resume creation process. If you think it sounds interesting, try it while it is free.