Twitter, the platform that transformed the way we communicate into 140-character snippets, recently rolled out an iOS mobile application that enables anyone to convey a slice of their life in a 6 second video. Aptly titled, Vine has already hit some records in downloads and shows tremendous potential. After a few minutes of testing this free app, I found it really easy to create my videos, known as Vines. Once that was done, I could share it on the Vine network as well as post it to Twitter or Facebook. Using my dogs as subjects, here’s my first six second masterpiece:
Latest Vine with the dogs..;) vine.co/v/bJ3QbY0AEpp
— Carl Ferrara (@cferrarakc) January 31, 2013
In many respects, this is a throwback to those looped animated GIFs that thrived back in the early days of the Web 1.0. According to Twitter, they defined it Vine like this:
Posts on Vine are about abbreviation — the shortened form of something larger. They’re little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life. They’re quirky, and we think that’s part of what makes them so special.
Many thoughts also came to mind for this new platform, including how organizations can leverage it in the marketplace. If a picture can tell a thousand words, think about what a 6 second video could convey. Advertisers have already embraced it and I see this as a trend for video ads and social campaigns, especially for advocacy, community-building and loyalty campaigns. I also see celebrities jumping on board, as it’s another way to reach their fan base. Even Paul McCartney has a Vine, so Beatles fans can rejoice.
There is also room for posting comments with full support of sharing and tagging. With all of that, Vine could be the next video distribution channel, giving users the opportunity to tell their stories in six seconds.
To learn more about it, check it out on the Apple App store or view their blog.
What about Viewing Vines on the Web?
There are many sites popping up with streaming Vines, so that you can see the latest micro videos out there and you don’t need to be a registered user to view them. This includes Vinepeek and All Around the Vines. Vinesmap is a great geo tracking site, for seeing real-time Vines from around the world-very cool. I anticipate that we will see more of these sites with some search functionality.
Where’s my iPhone? This is a question that has surfaced many times around my household, as I have conducted many long searches for missing iPhones. This prompted me to do some research, as I knew there had to be a better alternative to combing the house with a flashlight and a tracking mobile phone. I quickly discovered this great, free application that makes the process of finding a misplaced iPhone or iPad an easy task.
Find my iPhone is a cloud-based iPhone app that enables you to track down any iPhone, iPad or even Mac.
Simply install it on any iOS device, login with your AppleID and add your device. This application will mark the location of your device for tracking. The application can locate your device on a map, with a full suite of options, including pinging the device with a high pitched tone, displaying a message on the lost device and even remotely locking the device down. You can also access the application via the Web: https://www.icloud.com/#find
Some key features:
• Locate your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac on a map
• Display a custom message on the screen
• Play a sound for two minutes at full volume (even if your device is set to silent)
• Remotely lock your device
• Remotely wipe your device to erase your personal data
• Lost Mode (iOS 6 or later)
• Driving directions to device location (iOS 6 or later)
• Battery charge indicator of the lost device
To learn more about this FREE application, follow this link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/find-my-iphone/id376101648?mt=8
Is there an alternative to Photoshop? A valid question, given the hefty price tag behind the popular image editing application. Hands down – Photoshop is the best image editing application out there but for those who wish to do minor image editing, there are some other free solutions out there for all platforms including PC, Linux and Mac. Since they are free, there’s no risk involved and it should not burn too deep a hole in your wallet.
I gathered a short list of the best alternatives to Photoshop and I encourage you to try them out and let me know your thoughts.
GIMP: Probably the closest to Photoshop as far as the look and feel: http://www.gimp.org/ Solid interface and easy to use.
Paint.Net: For those who are comfortable w/ MS Paint (MS free photo app tool), this one will feel right at home: http://www.getpaint.net/index.html Not as robust as GIMP, but it can do your basic edits.
Photoshop Express: A hidden gem within the Adobe suite of free products, this platform is the only Web-based editor that offers your basic photo edit options. Simply upload your photo and have fun: http://www.photoshop.com/tools/expresseditor?wf=editor
There are a few more out there, like Pixia, but I think this is a good start.
We all do screen captures-whether it’s to illustrate a point or troubleshoot a problem. However, there are very few free screen capture applications that can capture both video and static screenshots with the ability to share, save and email the captured media.
Thanks to a friend, I recently discovered Jing, a FREE screen capture program that can do it all and much more!! From project collaboration to producing narrations, Jing’s interface is elegant and simple, enabling you to use it for any project.
Some key features of this app:
Real-time screen capture of what you see on your computer monitor with the ability to do annotations
Capture both images and video, an ideal feature for doing live demos
Share it via email, IM, social or just save the file for future use
Basic package is FREE and is installed as a desktop application for easy access.
Click here to download the free version and let me know what you think of it.
There are very few FREE converter applications that can convert audio, video, and even images, between the most popular formats. Format Factory is the perfect solution and I have used it to convert across the multitude of formats including WMV, AVI, MPG, MP3, WMA, AAC, JPG, PNG, GIF, and many more. In addition, it also supports major mobile and portable devices including PSP, iPod, Blackberry and iPhone.
The process is pretty simple – you drag the source file into the main window and set the preferred format and targeted output directory and click start to convert it. In my experience, this application was quite handy when it came to converting from the popular Quicktime MOV format to a Windows-based format like WMV or AVI, making it a great solution. Another cool feature is the ability to convert across many audio formats so you can rip an audio CD to MP3, WMA and AAC in a matter of minutes.
Click here to download the latest version.
There is nothing more frustrating than seeing the Windows Media Player error message indicating that the “media format is not supported” in the player. Here’s your FREE solution: VLC Media Player
VLC Media Player is an open source media player and is considered to be one of the world’s best players since it can play almost any audio and video format. This media player’s most outstanding feature is that it brings its own codecs pack which makes it compatible with all media files you may come across. Its interface is very simple and intuitive with easy handling but advanced features such as client-streaming service that lets you send a video signal over the Internet. VLC Media Player also offers the possibility to add/change subtitles and to handle multiple audio tracks. Compared to other players, this is truly the catch-all for playing all content and works on all platforms. Give it a try and feel free to share your thoughts.
For many years, I have used Handbrake for optimizing my movies for my iPod and iPad. Handbrake is a FREE, open-source video transcoder application that makes the process of video conversion an easy task. Available for Mac, Linux and Windows, the interface is really easy with the ability to export to a multitude of video output formats and settings, most notable the common ones like MKV and MP4 with presets for the iPad, iPhone, iPod and AppleTV. By default, Handbrake will output the files as an MP4 and you can also configure the screen size, chapter selection and frame rate so that the outputted file is tailored for your needs and that device.
• Most common multimedia files that libavformat and libavcodec support.
• File format: MP4(M4V) and MKV
• Video: MPEG-4(ffmpeg), H.264(x264), or Theora(libtheora)
• Audio: AAC, CoreAudio AAC (OS X Only), MP3, or Vorbis. AC-3 pass-through, DTS pass-thorugh (MKV only)
• Chapter selection, Chapter Markers and Subtitles
• Constant Quality or Average Bitrate Video Encoding
• Video: Deinterlacing, Decomb, Detelecine, Cropping and scaling
• Live Video Preview
Follow this link to download it: http://handbrake.fr/
Microsoft Office is a fine product and is used by millions of users to create spreadsheets, manage email, write letters and create Powerpoint presentations. However, with all that functionality comes a hefty price tag and there are many alternatives to MS Office. For years, I have used OpenOffice, one of the best open source and free solutions with full integration and compatibility with MS Office. So, you can create a document in OpenOffice and someone on the other end of the globe can open it in MS Word.
Available on all platforms including PC and Mac, it is the best open-source office solution for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. Free to download and use, I highly recommend it. The only thing lacking is an open source solution that is comparable to Outlook but you can always use one of the free mail clients like Thunderbird, IncrediMail or Mail. For a complete list of features and learn more about it, follow this link: http://why.openoffice.org/