Information Is Beautiful posted a terrific InfoGraphic about what the countries from around the world are best known for.

Unfortunately, South Africa is not listed at being known for its wild life, beauty or friendly people … nope our claim to fame according to the graphic is Assaults. 😦 And while I can’t really argue with that it does make me sad, because my country is so much more than that!

(But then I saw that Tajikistan is known for intestinal diseases; Senegal for rain and Mexico for television – so I didn’t feel that bad anymore!)

Click on the image to enlarge it or click here to go to the interactive version of the InfoGraphic.

Facebook and privacy seems to be a topic that crops up now and then. Honestly I really don’t understand all the hoopla about it – it’s very easy to keep things private on fb: don’t post it!

So by posting things you should really know that chances are good other people might see/read/comment on it – so if this freaks you out, maybe the way to go is to take responsibility for your own privacy on the net, and not rely so heavily on systems to protect you.

In line with this Dave Lee King posted about fb and privacy and I complete agree with him. Here’s a little snippet:

First, there’s the “update me with your stuff” things, like status updates, new photos, and new videos:

  • If you want those to be private, you shouldn’t post them. Period.
  • Hello! Nothing’s private on the web. Even on Facebook.
  • If you want to share a status update with just some people, you can do that. Which is more than Twitter gives you.

Basic info, like:

  • Name: um … don’t open a Facebook account if you don’t want to share your name.
  • Gender: That’s rather apparent, isn’t it? Is it bad that you know I’m a guy?
  • Birthday: Hmm. I don’t really care. Should I?
  • Relationship Status: OK – so I have a recently divorced friend, and it was rather painful to watch his relationship status go from married to single to it’s complicated … back to single, etc. Maybe a case of sharing too much info, rather than one of privacy. So if your life’s on a rollercoaster ride … don’t fill that one out.
  • Current city: big whoop. Google already knows this.
  • Hometown: That’s sort of important when connecting with past schoolmates.
  • Religious and Political views: I have em. So does everyone else.
  • The New York Times also posted an InfoGraphic on Facebook Privacy that’s quite interesting (It’s small, so click on the NY link for a bigger version):

    And a cute cartoon:

    You can now explore the British Library’s Virtual Books collection via their online gallery:

    Explore the British Library here

    the eLearning Coach posted a very useful list (with a small review) of free downloadable software that will aid you with:
    AUDIO RECORDING AND EDITING
    Audacity

    Audacity is an audio recording and editing application with a lot of the features you find in commercial products. It works on all platforms and is probably the most popular free audio program around.BURNING CDs and DVDs
    ImgBurn

    This is supposed to work more smoothly than the software that comes with Windows for burning CDs and DVDs. It creates data backups, video DVDs and music CDs. The publisher provides a list of sites where you can download the application. They’d like a donation, so oblige if you can.

    DOCUMENT CREATION
    Open Office

    I keep hearing good things about Open Office. It’s the free alternative to the Microsoft Office Suite. You can create text documents, spreadsheets, presentations and databases. And it comes in many languages.

    PrimoPDF
    Primo PDF has a free and paid version. The free version is all you need to quickly convert most file types to the .pdf format. To create a .pdf, just use the print command from the source program that the file was created in.

    EMAIL
    Thunderbird

    Some say this email program from Mozilla is better than Outlook Express. It’s supposed to have great features and is easy to use. I’m thinking of using it on my Mac.

    FILE TRANSFER
    FileZilla

    I like this for uploading and downloading files to and from FTP sites. It’s open source software, yet actually has some Help documentation. It’s plain and simple and does the job through a drag-and-drop interface. Works on all platforms.

    GRAPHICS
    GIMP

    GIMP is one of the better, if not the best, downloadable image editing and manipulation applications around. It can do some of your Photoshop tasks and works on all platforms. For more on free editing tools, see Image and Optimization Editors in the Resources section.

    Picasa
    Picasa is the other popular image editor and its from Google. You can import photos from a digital camera, edit them, and make and share Picasa Web Albums online.

    ONLINE CHAT
    AIM
    Most everyone has their favorite online chatting tool. Just in case you haven’t found yours, check out AOL’s Instant Messenger, as it has lots of capabilities. In addition to text chats, I’ll often use it as the tool of choice for video chatting. You can download AIM for all platforms. By the way, their Lifestream product looks interesting too. It’s a way to broadcast and get updates with AIM buddies from all your social media.

    Pidgin
    This chat program gets rave reviews. It lets you connect to most of the other chat services, like AIM, Google Talk, IRS, MSN and Yahoo, so you don’t need to install different programs to chat with different people. It doesn’t have video or audio chat, though. But it does runs on all platforms.

    SCREENCASTS
    Jing
    Jing works on both Mac and PC, to capture single pictures or to record video of screen activity. You can also paste the video into an IM chat, email or Twitter. Now that could save time.

    CamStudio
    CamStudio can record all the screen actions on your computer, as well as an audio narrative, and create AVI files which can converted to a streaming Flash (SWF) format. This app only works on PCs.

    SECURITY
    AVG Anti-Virus

    This is a well-known and loved anti-virus software for home use only. The software is free, but registration is required.

    SYNCRONIZING FILES
    Dropbox

    Dropbox seems to be the file synchronization software of choice. It will automatically synchronize files between all of your computers, regardless of whether they run the Mac, Windows or Linux OS. You get 2Gb for free, after that you have to pay.

    VIDEO PLAYERS AND CONVERTERS
    FLV Player
    If your a multimedia maven, then you need to play FLV files. I like this better than the one that comes with Articulate for the PC. You can download the free FLV player at CNET. It’s got a simple install and works well. I had it downloaded, installed and running very quickly. Then I fainted.

    Handbrake
    Have you ever been stuck trying to get DVD video into another format? Well, Handbrake can save the day. It’s a cross-platform media converter that can pull DVD video and convert it to MPEG-4. It may not give you ultimate control over all settings, but it has a nice interface and gets the job done.

    VLC Media Player
    VLC might be the media player you’re looking for. It’s cross-platform, open source and plays most video and audio formats as well as converts files from one format to another.

    VOICE OVER INTERNET (VOIP)
    Skype
    Skype is the software of choice for talking to people over the Internet, using a headset and mic. It installs easily and the sound quality is good. I have some clients that prefer Skype rather than the phone, so I use it regularly and can vouch for its quality.

    ZIP FILES
    7-Zip
    This is an archiving application with a very high compression rate. Free, open source and all that good stuff.

    Some of these I use, some I planned on using (thanks for remind me again!) and some I’ve never tried – but it’s a very useful list to keep and refer back to!

    Free Technology for Teachers posted a great link to PaperRater a free service designed to help high school and college students improve their writing. It checks your spelling and grammar but also checks for plagiarism – almost like TurnItIn that most South African universities use.

    Paper Rater scans students’ papers then gives students an estimate of the likelihood that someone might think that their papers were plagiarized. Some of the other useful features of Paper Rater are style indicators, word choice evaluators, and a vocabulary sophistication indicator

    Applications for Education
    Paper Rater could be a valuable tool for high school students to run their papers through before turning them in for a grade. Paper Rater can make students aware of potential acts of plagiarism. Paper Rater can also make students aware of changes in vocabulary that they may want to make before submitting their final papers.

    To use the service you have to register, but it’s free and an easy process. It took seconds for me to upload a document and see Paper Rater‘s comments:

    The Harvard College Library has digitized thousands of historical photographs, pamphlets, manuscripts, books, music scores, rare maps and other rare and unique materials. The vast majority of these images are freely available online for public access.

    The easiest way to lose yourself in their collections is to Explore the Collections – they have various themes that you can chose from:

    Of course my eye was caught by the Images of Colonialism – Africa and Asia and there are some great images from newspapers etc.

    Thanks to Cheryl LaGuardia for alerting me on this.

    Ostatic posted a terrific post on 9 Free, Open Source Tools for Video and Media Playback and Encoding that one can use.

    They not only list the 9 sources – such as Miro, VLC Media Player; MPlayer; SMPlayer; Chameleo; Prism and MediaPortal – but also includes a screen capture and a brief description.

    The one I will def be checking out is:

    Prism is a free application that will let you convert video from one format to virtually any other popular format. You can preview the output to guage whether you have all the encoding right. For doing animation and working with it in video offerings, also get to know Blender, and the free book on it you can find here.

    Originally posted by iLibrarian