I know I tend to wax lyrically about TED.com and TEDTalks, but seriously folks the videos really are that good! I know they are HUGE and take AGES to download, but for most you can download the audio file only and it really is worth it. Load it on your iPod and listen to it while driving or waiting in line.

Aviary blog-ted-com Picture 1

They’ve added the 500th video today (woooohooooo) and together with the great celebration also added a very nifty and handy list to the TedBlog – a clickable list of all 500 videos with the speaker, theme and link. It’s brilliant because now I don’t need to click through the site to find videos – it’s in one simple place.

I’ve listened to about 10 of the 500, so I have a long ways to go!


I stumbled upon XTRA NORMAL – Movies From Text this morning and my little world has changed!

Xtranormal’s mission is to bring movie-making to the people. Everyone watches movies and we believe everyone can make movies. Movie-making, short and long, online and on-screen, private and public, will be the most important communications process of the 21st century.

Our revolutionary approach to movie-making builds on an almost universally held skill—typing. You type something; we turn it into a movie. On the web and on the desktop.

The interface is simple and easy to understand – you simply choose your characters and the world you want them to function in and start typing their dialog! You can also pick and change the camera angle, your characters’ emotions and posture and add music. It literally takes a few minutes.

I made a (very rough and short and basic) video to showcase it to a friend:

You can post them to YouTube, send the URL or embed the movie into websites.

A word to the wise: Register before you start playing around as you can’t publish your work until you’ve registered.

Like I mentioned before data visualisation sites interest me tremendously – I find it fascinating that you can convey complicated data in a simple visual image.

Thanks to Roy Tennant over at the Library Journal’s Digital Libraries blog I also know about Spezify.com

Here’s what Spezify is all about:

Spezify is a search tool presenting results from a large number of websites in different visual ways.

We take web search further, away from endless lists of blue text links and towards a more intuitive experience.
We want you to get a good overview of a subject,
find useful information and be inspired with Spezify.

We mix all media types and make no difference
between blogs, videos, microblogs and images.
Everything communicates and helps building the bigger picture.

We collect websites and are aiming to use as many relevant, free and open API:s as possible to generate extensive and diverse search results.

I tried Spezify first with my username (I tend to use the same username for all my social media, web adventures) and was quite suprised at the amount of data it showed me

Aviary spezify-com Picture 1From this screen shot you can see that you can also filter that data on display > requesting only images, text or video and you can also exclude certain websites.

Each of the images are live and by clicking on them you will be taken to that particular site.

Here is another shot I created with for the concept: mobile learning (another field I’m interested in)

Aviary spezify-com Picture 2

I think these types of visualisations (images, videos and text) can be used quite successfully in a website/blog to link students to particular websites or images. What do you think?

Have you found the videos on TED yet?


You haven’t?!?!?

Well then get thee over to their website!

TED themes

They have some of the most passionate and innovative speakers talking about:

The videos are quite large and I have trouble viewing them in my screen – so if you have slow connection or limited bandwidth rather download them and view them at your leisure.

I love this video:

shows you how a little can do a lot!

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