Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spice Up Your Image Searches with Cooliris

If you haven't yet tried Cooliris to search for images and videos, you are in for a treat. Cooliris is a free and easy to use plug-in for Firefox (Windows XP/Vista, Mac, and Linux), Internet Explorer, and Safari (Mac), which "transforms your browser into a lightning fast, cinematic way to browse online photos and videos." The "3D Wall" interface provides a gorgeous and seamless way to scroll through thousands of search results from the Web or images stored on your own computer.

Cooliris works with hundreds of Web sites. These include image search sites like Google Images, Yahoo Images, and Ask Images; photo sharing sites such as Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, and deviantART; professional stock photo sites including Getty Images and iStockphoto; video sites like YouTube; social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo; and many others.

After installing Cooliris, there are two ways main ways to launch it. You can visit a supported site directly and perform a search. Here you may mouseover images or videos in search results and click on the Cooliris icon that appears; this takes you to your search results in the Cooliris 3D Wall environment. Or you may simply click on the Cooliris icon on your browser's toolbar and perform a search within Cooliris.

Once in Cooliris, a search box allows you to repeat a search in selected sites like Google, Flickr, Picasa, and YouTube. An option to search "My Computer" is a new and much anticipated feature. A Preferences menu lets you customize Wall and Slideshow settings.
While creating and logging on to a Cooliris account is not necessary, you can e-mail others about images you find and save favorite images for future reference.

There are some features that I hope Cooliris will incorporate soon. A
built-in save function is not yet available. In the meantime, Cooliris provides a quick link to each image's source page, where you can easily save the image to your computer as permitted. An advanced search feature within Cooliris would also be useful. For now, you can conduct a search for large images in Google, for example, and then launch Cooliris to quickly scroll through those results.

More information about features and compatibility can be found here. The Self-Help page also provides six ways to optimize the functionality of Cooliris.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spreadhseet of TED Talks Available Online

The annual TED conference (Technology, Entertainment, Design) features "the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes)." Over 200 of the best talks are available in streaming form on the TED site under a Creative Commons license to allow sharing and reposting. Just about anyone can find TED talks of great interest (the conference's scope has expanded in the last 25 years include technology, entertainment, design, business, science, culture, arts, and global issues), but with so many eclectic choices, deciding which ones to view first can be daunting.

Here is a handy site I came across via LISNews: a spreadsheet of all TED Talks posted through March of this year, including speakers, titles, summaries, durations, and links to the videos available on the TED site. Who is responsible for this resource? I am not sure; it was published on Google Docs and picked up by LISNews after reportedly being tweeted by @joycevalenza, with who knows how many other intermediaries involved. Thank you, whoever you are!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Library of Congress: "YouTube, and Now We Do Too"

Following the success of its Flickr project, the Library of Congress has launched a YouTube channel. Matt Raymond's LOC blog post describes current content and future plans. Now featuring over 70 videos, including the first moving image ever made (Thomas Edison's sneezing man), LOC plans to continue adding files to its YouTube channel over time. As the world's largest repository of audiovisual materials (over 6 million films, broadcasts, and sound recordings), they have plenty of material to share. Raymond reminds us that the American Memory collection provides these and hundreds more videos, of which there are many higher resolution versions available for viewing online.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Picasa Available for (Intel) Macs

Picasa, the popular tool from Google for editing, organizing, and sharing photos, is now available for Macs (Intel CPU, OS X 10.4.9+). You can download it for free here.

In addition to importing, editing, and organizing features, iPhoto can integrate and sync seamlessly with Picasa Web Albums, which allows you to easily share images over the Web privately or publicly. There are also tools for facial-recognition, collage-making, and adding text to your photos.

Many Mac users prefer the flexibility of Picasa over iPhoto; it allows you to keep your photos organized in their existing file structure on your computer. It is fast, and integrates well with the Mac OS. The interface can be customized and simplified to your preference. Picasa lets you to keep your images in iPhoto, but recognizes them and invites you to copy iPhoto images into the Picasa library for editing.

Google has created a short video tour of Picasa. Check it out:

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Start Playing a YouTube Video at the Point of Your Choosing

Have you ever wanted to view a portion a YouTube video starting from any point other than the beginning of the posted video? Here's a great tip I came across in the Resource Shelf newsletter:

You can append to the YouTube URL (Web addess) the minute and second where you would like the video to start playing. The required format is #t=2m50s, where the minute and second values are your choice.

To illustrate, the URL becomes Voila -- it's that simple.

Image: from Creative Commons - Get Creative, posted on YouTube under a Creative Commons license.