The Radar

Helping You Zero in on New and Exciting Technologies

Jun-15-2012

A Picture Show App

If you have an iOS5 device and a few seconds, here is a nifty app to play around with. It’s called Cinemagram.

It’s simple! Fire up your iPhone, iPod, or iPad (i,i,i, but that’s a lot of  i’s). Choose the Cinemagram app and find something to film for a two or three seconds (not too long or the app will edit down the length of the movie), once captured you use your finger to mask out the area where you want the motion to show on the image, and VIOLA! That’s it.

What you end up with is something more than an animated GIF, more like an amped up animated GIF, and be sure to surf around the web for inspirations.

Posted under app, cinemagram, Mobile, Technology
May-31-2012

Possibilities in Preview

Known mainly as a program for viewing PDFs, Apple’s humble Preview (which comes standard on all Macs) is capable of a fair amount more. While not an advanced editing program, the ambiguously-named Preview allows you to quickly apply minor edits to PDFs and images.

Basic Photo Editing  

Preview enables users to perform basic image edits in a matter of seconds. If you have photos that need a quick crop and exposure adjustment, fire up Preview rather than waiting for a bulky program like Photoshop to load. Preview has all the basic photo editing tools you would expect–you can crop and resize your images, adjust exposure, contrast, saturation, temperature, and tint. You can also convert your image to black and white (0% saturation) or Sepia tone. In addition, you can create low-level image masks in Preview, using either the Instant Alpha or Smart Lasso tool.

Editing PDFs

Preview allows you to delete pages from existing PDFs or merge multiple PDFs. To delete a page, simply select the page’s thumbnail and hit the Delete key. To merge PDFs, first open both PDFs. Drag page thumbnails from one document to another; make sure to drop your thumbnails in the location you want them to appear (if you want a page to appear as the 4th page, drop it between the thumbnails of Page 3 and Page 5).

Annotating PDFs and Photos

You can also add basic annotations to your photos and PDFs. Annotations include text, arrows, boxes, ovals, and highlighted text. Annotations are particularly useful when critiquing work and creating how-to documents (see screenshot above).

Apple has compiled an overview of Preview’s functions in their Support Pages here. If you’re interested in heavier photo editing or PDF creation, Preview is not the program for you. But for creating simple, fast edits and markups to photos and PDFs, Preview is a useful option.

Posted under Design, Technology
May-9-2012

Print to one page in MS Word

Say you have a two-page word document, but only want to print one page. The option for printing a two-page document on one sheet of paper is not available in Microsoft Word 2010′s print menu.

Don’t despair.

There is a way around this oversight, and it is fairly simple and quick (two things that are nice to hear when trying to do something on a computer).

Go to the File tab and click on Options toward the bottom of the menu on the left. Once the options window opens click on Quick Access Toolbar (shown in the image to the left) and in the Choose commands from window select Print Preview Tab.

In the window beneath, choose Shrink to One Page, click the Add button and click OK at the bottom. There should now be a small icon in the upper left area of your word screen (highlighted in the image to the right).

The new button will take a two-page document and shrink it to fit one page, but one note of warning. There is a limit to how many lines it can shrink to a page.

Posted under Technology
May-5-2012

Google Drive

google drive logo

If you have a Gmail account you may have recently received a notification that your “Drive” is ready. That means your Google Drive is now available to use.

Google Drive is a place where you can “Keep Everything. Share Anything.” There are three key components of  Drive: Google Docs, cloud-based file storage with offline access, and third-party apps integration. What sets Google Drive apart from other cloud-based storage options is the ease with which you can collaborate on everything from a spreadsheet to editing video. You could already easily collaborate on spreadsheets, documents, and presentations in Google Docs. The addition of collaborative third-party apps that can help you do everything from create flowcharts to edit photos really makes Google Drive something worth checking out.

YouTube Preview Image Posted under Mobile, Technology
May-4-2012

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage, online storage, online web storage or online space storage are all synonymous for the purpose of this subject.  Basically it is a website that you can use to store or save your digital pictures, documents, music and videos online like you would on your computer hard drive. The advantage is that you can access these files almost anywhere via an internet connection, and it frees up some of your hard drive disk space by saving your files in the cloud storage as oppose to your hard drive.  You can also use online storage to backup your existing files.

Some of the popular free online storage sites are Dropbox, Box.net, ADrive.  They have their own distinctive features.  Google Drive just came out, it features an app that you can access your files from your mobile Android phone, and desktop file sync folder.  Similarly, SkyDrive by Windows offers file retrieval from smart phones as well as from online access, compatible with both PC and Mac.  With iCloud (Apple), you can sync up your cloud storage with the new iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Mac.

Posted under Mobile, Technology
Apr-29-2012

Floss Teeth, Get 3 Points

Yes, really. With the clever incentive site, DailyFeats, you can take steps toward becoming a healthier, happier, better you. By shifting your goal focus to small, everyday “feats”,  DailyFeats can help you to achieve your larger goals.

What is a feat?

A feat is a small, positive step that you take toward your ultimate goal. DailyFeats has a collection of feats for a variety of goal topics (Health Goal, Money Goal, Community Goal, Learning Goal, etc.). Let’s say one of your goals it to improve your health. Some sample feat choices for this goal include: Eat Organic, Take the Stairs, Running, Antioxidants, and Healthy Fats. Every time you complete one of these feats (i.e. Eat Organic, Take the Stairs), you can click the “Did It” link on DailyFeats and earn points. Feats that are more difficult or meaningful generally net more points than simpler feats.

Points

Once you’ve earned some points, you can redeem them for coupons at online retailers. After you have accumulated a larger amount of points, you can use them to purchase gift cards to a variety of stores. You can also convert your points into a monetary donation to a charity.

Why is this site unique?

The thinking behind this kind of approach toward goal achievement is that small, repetitive steps can lead to lasting behavior change. And, by partitioning a goal into smaller manageable chunks, it can appear less daunting. You can read more about the DailyFeats philosophy here.

I have to admit I was a bit skeptical of this approach. Am I really going to be more likely to eat a meat-free meal or do the dishes right now because I’m getting points for it? I thought no, but so far, I’ve been pretty psyched to complete feats and claim my points.

Try the site out and let me know if you feel the same.

Posted under Technology, Websites
Apr-28-2012

Kickstarter

 

Kickstarter is an amazing website that crowd funds creative projects. Projects come from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, publishing and more. 

The way that crowd funding works is that an interested person decides to financially support an idea and pledges a certain amount of money towards it. The project creator doesn’t get paid unless the entire deal is funded within a certain amount of time.

As of April 2009 20,000 projects have been successfully funded! To learn more about this popular website go to http://www.kickstarter.com

 

 

 

 

Posted under Technology, Websites
Apr-23-2012

Let’s Do Lunch

Here’s an interesting new app for networking. The Lunchmeet app makes it easier to find people to network with over coffee or lunch. Working through your Linkedin account, you sign in and set a date and place and the app will search your for people with compatible schedules. You can also announce your availability to meet through your Linkedin account (you have created a Linkedin account, right?).

Lunchmeet will certainly appeal to those of us who prefer a face to face social encounter rather than messaging through Facebook or Twitter.  As of this posting the app is only available on apple’s iOS, but the folks at Lunchmeet have said that an Android compatible version is high on their list of priorities.

Posted under Mobile, Technology
Apr-16-2012

New Guides for Music Equipment and Editing Software

We’ve added multiple new instructions for our various musical instruments and editing software to the Digital Media Lab website.

Stop by the site for help with:

If you’d like some hands on assistance with setting up any of these instruments or programs, fill out this form to request a one to one appointment.

 

Posted under Digital Media Lab, Equipment, Featured, Music, Technology
Apr-13-2012

Get Ready for USB 3.0!

 

 

 

The super speedy Universal Serial Bus Three (USB 3) may be coming to a computer near you!

Already found on some external backup hardisks, smart phone and tablet devices will soon be sporting the 10-times-faster USB 3 ports, which are also possibly destined for new laptops, netbooks, and Windows 8 machines. Other mobile devices may also implement USB 3, but manufacturers want to make the port smaller first.

USB 3.0 is Coming

Posted under Design, Digital Media Lab, Technology