Archive for the ‘Audio, Video & Images’ Category

Back in 2009, I remember being on a “podcasting project” at work. It wasn’t really podcasting per se: it wasn’t a regular broadcast of recorded audio content, it was static audio content hosted on a website. I think people are a bit clearer now in terms of the “cast” part of podcasting.

Plenty of folks podcast: radio stations have a lot of thier content available post-broadcast as a podcast (good for when you miss something like a particular interview or segment) or additional off-air content. There are lots of web-only specialist podcasts that function a bit like irregular radio shows and are only available in that format, not on the radio.

I subscribed to a couple of podcasts via the Apple Podcasts app (afer failing to get it to work in iTunes) – the repeat broadcast of the Zed Games radio program which I miss live on 4ZZZ every week without fail; and the Triple J Dr Karl segments, which are on air live while I’m at work so I can’t listen to them. Zed Games was easy to get, but Dr Karl slightly less so – Podcasts keeps entries in its search listing even though they’re not being updated, and while I signed up for three Dr Karl podcasts, only one of them ever has any new content.

It’s nice that recordings don’t disappear if you miss them (as is almost always my problem) and that I can play them on any of my devices. Mostly I use these podcasts on my phone when I’m exercising.

Now we never need to miss anything again! (How did we ever live a fulfilled life before this??)

YouTube – it’s like looking into the brain of the world. There are plenty of useful things you could learn from YouTube. (My husband used a YouTube video to learn how to tie a new kind of tie knot; my sister used it to learn how to French Braid her hair). Then, there are plenty of 2 minute videos of people’s cats chasing laser pointers. The sublime to the ridiculous.

If you want to see something in a visual representation, it’s a good first place to start. My toddler has recently become obsessed with Iron Man, despite never having watched an Iron Man movie or cartoon before. We used YouTube to show him the previews of the films after he requested to see “what Iron Man does”, and so we avoided having to show him all three 2-hour movies (which he would have fallen asleep in anyway!) We also discovered this particular gem (which really just makes me want to go buy more Lego):

 

Apart from work videos (on behalf of my workplace) , I’ve never shared anything on YouTube: I guess I’m a consumer, rather than a creator. That, and my cat is too lazy to chase laser pointers.

 

powerpoint cat

I think I remember reading somewhere that SlideShare was shutting down, but I can’t find any other reference to it, so let’s proceed.

Slideshare is a site where people can share and view power point presentations. You can publish your own (for example, conference presentation) or search for a presentation that might suit your purpose (for example, something for attendees to read before they come to your training course).

I first used Slideshare in 2008 after a conference, but since then I’ve tended just to upload to eSpace, so everything is in one place. It’s gotten plenty of views, but there wasn’t any ability to give more context than just a mere transcript, and nothing has ever come of it.

I tried to find a good Slidecast on virtual reference to put in the InfoAssist training for the research help desk, but nothing really jumped out because you just get the slides, not the speech to go with it (either in print or in audio)

However, it’s a good source for ideas for how to put together a presentation (and for what not to do – I mean, white font on a lemon yellow background? PLEASE!) and if you log in you can download some of the presentations to make your own edits. Because why invent the wheel, right?

skyping dog

The world certainly is a smaller place now, thanks to the internet. And Skype brings it even closer together, so that anyone who’s got a computer with a camera and microphone and internet connection can talk to someone else, no matter where they are.

I’ve been using Skype since 2011, when my son was born but his grandparents were living overseas for 12 months. We used to log on every few days early evening their time, pop the laptop on the floor and let them watch and talk to the baby for hours on end. Later, when our little boy was a bit bigger, we’ve used it when my husband has been away for work, so they can still have storytime before bed. We also used it for chats with a family member who spent a year studying at a university overseas. I’ve been using Google Talk (same kind of idea) as well, for meetings with other members of a state professional organisation committee where we’re scattered all over the state.

The downside is that the conversation is really only as good as your hardware and internet connection. It can sometimes be quite a production (especially at night) to get the lighting just right so your fellow Skyper can see you. We had lots of trouble talking to the family member at uni overseas as her 13th-century building, while lovely, had thick brick walls which were terrible for wi-fi access.

 

At the end of the day, nothing’s quite better than a proper hug from a friend. However, if you can’t, Skype’s a good (temporary) solution if the technology stars align in your favour!

headphone cat

Right off the bat, I’ll confess I am a big lover of audiobooks. They’re pretty much the only things I borrow from the public library. And yes, BORROW, not download, as I really just listen to audiobooks in the car (much better than commercial radio or Wiggles CDs which are my other options)

LibriVox is a giant database of public-domain audio books available for download. You won’t find “Fifty Shades of Grey” or the latest Matthew Reilly here – strictly titles that are out of copyright, read out by volunteers.

You can download the item as a full file for playing on an MP3 or burning to CD, or subscribe via iTunes to get it onto your Apple device.

The titles can be a bit hit and miss – at the moment as I type I’ve got Washington Irving’s “Sleepy Hollow” on, which has a reader with a quite pleasant American accent, and a good pace and tone for the original story. I’m enjoying it enough to keep listening for the rest of the afternoon I think! Which is a much better option than some of the Jane Austen read out by a woman with a very unfortunate southern drawl…

I don’t think LibriVox will replace my public library audiobook habits – maybe one day if I get a new car with an MP3 jack. At the moment, it’s CD-only for me, so I’d have to burn LibriVox books to CD and it’s probably not quite worth the effort!

Cat with a camera

Not much of a contest this, seeing as Picasa now requires an installation and I can’t do that at work. So, fail, Picasa, you’re skipped in favour of Flickr!

Flickr hasn’t changed a whole lot since 2008 when I first used it. It’s gotten a bit more socially-oriented since Yahoo took it over, and the look and feel is a lot more graphical now too.

I’ve used the Creative Commons search of Flickr quite a lot, especially at work to source images for one of our staff training websites. However, the metadata of the search isn’t great, only as good as the tags people think to put in, so sometimes it can be hard to find good stuff (and sometimes you find a lot more than you bargain for!)

The personal pages and photos I could take or leave – Flickr seems to be about 10% artists, 90% narcissists – but I really like the buy-in from some of the big institutions like the Library of Congress and several international universities. Old photos get new life in Flickr, and it’s beautiful to see. ¬†Here’s one of my very favourites for you… three little country Jewish girls eating¬†Pesach snacks together.

Eating Matzoh