Working with Google PhotoScan

Google PhotoScan Screenshot

This week Google was making news with the release of a new app. PhotoScan is designed to capture old photos from photo albums, with algorithms to enhance the photo and minimize glare. I have tons of old photo albums from Laura’s family and from my own family, and I’ve been trying to find the most efficient way to digitize these images with the best possible quality. I figured I needed to give PhotoScan a shot.

Google PhotoScan App Demo

Here are my first impressions… Continue reading “Working with Google PhotoScan”

The Echo Chamber

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That term has been tossed about quite a bit during this election cycle. As I understand it, it’s the tendency to only listen to those things that support your preconceived notions, and to disavow any evidence to the contrary. I’ve certainly seen that happen, and the speed of media has simply increased the divisiveness created by such echo chambers. Even so, I’ve decided to create my own echo chamber, and here’s why… Continue reading “The Echo Chamber”

Pokemon Go

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I did it. I downloaded the Pokemon Go app and have been playing it off and on for the past week. My intent was to sit down and write up a blog post, but as soon as I got a few seconds to gather my thoughts, some other blog post or news article had come out covering, hyping, complaining about the very points I wanted to cover. It seemed that anything I wrote would just be additional noise. But, to heck with it… Continue reading “Pokemon Go”

Fun with Cinemagraphs – Part 2

Once I learned about Cinemagraphs I knew I’d have to try out the technique. I was able to find several tutorials online on how to create these using Photoshop, notably the following:

First, though, I knew I needed some imagery with which to work, so I grabbed my camera(s) and headed to downtown Greenville. Continue reading “Fun with Cinemagraphs – Part 2”

Fun with Cinemagraphs – Part 1

I just learned about a photographic technique. A cinemagraph is based on the animated GIF format, but is a far cry from the dancing baloney that gave animated GIFs a bad name in the late 1990s. Cinemagraphs are a combination of still imagery with subtle motion, kind of like the photographs in the Harry Potter movies.

This is not a new technique – the first documented example was for a video game in 2008. The term was coined in 2011 by Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck, who used the technique in their fashion photography. Here’s an example from their website, cinemagraphs.com:

Continue reading “Fun with Cinemagraphs – Part 1”

GeoPodcasting Revisited

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Back in 2007 I wrote an post entitled “Geopodcasting – Adding Location to Audio.” I had just given a talk at SC EdTech on geotagging, and the post was meant to explore the idea of geotagging audio files.

There have been lots of changes in the seven and a half years since that post came out. I wanted to revisit the subject and see what tools and options are now available for for adding location data to audio.

Back in 2007 photo geotagging was just taking off. It was (and still is, to some extent) a tricky process. Back then smart phones weren’t as prevalent, so not too many people had a hand-held device that could combine GPS, imagery, and audio. Today we have iPhones, Androids, and various tablets that can do all of this. So you would think that the process would be much easier. But is it? Continue reading “GeoPodcasting Revisited”

Ten Years of Random Connections

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It hardly seems possible. This month marks ten years that I’ve been blogging at RandomConnections.com. The new website was announced on May 6, 2004 on a post on my previous website as follows:

I have a new website….

www.RandomConnections.com will be online shortly. The new site will be the host for my web log (which will be replicated here, as it always has) but I wanted something without my name plastered all over the place. I’ll move my workshop information to the new site, and leave all my personal stuff here – resume, personal interests, etc., etc. The only personal item on the new site will be the blog.

With the new site in place, I’ll be able to create blog entries for specific categories, probably one for each of my alter egos that I use on various bulletin boards. I’m also going to post our travelog and vacation gallery there.

I love the Internet! Instead of boring just one small set of humans with your vacation pictures, you can annoy the entire planet!

The first post on the actual site was on May 14, and went something like this

The new website is now active (Duh, obviously). This site features a much more interactive weblog than my old site, while keeping things lean and clean. The other site turn [sic] into self-indulgent blathering, was over-designed, and cumbersome. I make no guarantees about this site, but at least the blathering will be categorized.

I also don’t intend to plaster my name over everything on this site. Certain portions will be kept more professional, and will focus on Education Technology and Web Design.

Yes, both of those posts are still online, as evidenced by the links above.   I haven’t fulfilled the promises in those early posts, but I had no idea I’d still be doing this ten years later, or what those ten years would have brought.
Continue reading “Ten Years of Random Connections”

Super Simple Timelines

I’m just getting around to writing about this, and I’m probably late to the party as far as this product is concerned, but I’ve discovered a very simple, very effect way to create timelines for websites.

Back in the 1990s Tom Snyder Productions made some of the coolest EdTech software around. One of my favorites was Timeliner. Users could input dates and events, then print out long timelines on fan-fold printer paper with a dot-matrix printer. Along with Print Shop, it was one of my go-to tools for classroom printing.

Timeliner is still around, and has been updated to take advantage of modern technology. I haven’t played with it in ages, so I don’t know what the new version has, and, quite frankly, I no longer need to. I’ve found a much, much better (and free!) product in Northwestern University’s Knight Lab’s Timeline JS. Continue reading “Super Simple Timelines”

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