This sleek little app mixes your photos and music to form a 30 second video. The fun part is how the app analyzes the music and images to generate professional looking effects and editing. For most this is just a fun toy, but I see it as a creative possibility for classwork.
Maybe in a library marketing, management, or instruction course you could have the students make a 30 second video to get their message across. This process helps them see how important identifying the message is versus how you express it. The easy ability to publish and share the videos makes it perfect for a portfolio or classroom exhibition.
My first effort is not that interesting but merely shows you how easy this really is. (Estimated time from start to posting: 4 mins.) Do that without Animoto and tell me how long it takes.
A new competitor for Google was released in the form of Cuil. Based on work by two ex-Google employees, this search engine’s philosophy is touted as;
Cuil’s goal is to solve the two great problems of search: how to index the whole Internet—not just part of it—and how to analyze and sort out its pages so you get relevant results.
An interesting concept but will the indexing actually help you find what you really “need.” The overall look has a much more modern feel, but just because the container is sleek does not guarantee that the content will be worth it.
The search results page is pleasing to the eye as well and after a short time getting un-Google-fied the multiple avenues of a search progression can start to take shape. I enjoyed how alternate suggestions for the base search were made into tabs above the results. I also liked the concept of the “drill down” box, but the actual interface was a bit too touchy. Maybe they will add other ways to expand and contract the information in later releases.
The results are fairly comparable to Google though there seems to be far fewer unconnected results. (The goal I suppose.) I feel a bit let down by seeing over a million results for my name, but only about 20 links to follow. Perhaps a slight redesign to that display would be in order.
I can’t say I will be switching from the big G but I am going to keep an eye on Cuil.
Extra: I also wanted to point out that I smiled pleasantly after reading this snippet from their site about the reason they chose the Gaelic word Cuil:
Tom Costello, our founder and CEO, comes from Ireland, a country with a rich mythology around the quest for wisdom. Cuil is the Gaelic word for both knowledge and hazel, and features prominently in ancient legend. One famous story tells of a salmon that ate nine hazelnuts that had fallen into the Fountain of Wisdom and thereby gained all the knowledge in the world. Whoever ate the salmon would acquire this knowledge.
A famous poet fished for many years on the River Boyne hoping to catch the Salmon of Knowledge. When he finally caught it, he gave it to his young apprentice Finn McCuil to prepare, warning him not to eat any. As Finn cooked the salmon he burnt his thumb and instinctively sucked it to ease the pain. And so it was Finn and not the poet who gained all the wisdom of the world. Finn went on to become one of the great heroes of Irish folklore. Any time he needed to know the answer to a question, he sucked his thumb.
As a child Tom poached salmon from the same spot on the Boyne where it is said the Salmon of Knowledge was caught.
I am not sure whether to be inspired by this or nervous about the implications of divine inspiration. Granted I have long been an admirer of the Celtic mythological tales.