Blogs, facebook, Productivity, Social Services, video

Tell A Great Story With Storify

I love blogging and sharing information that I find across the web on any given subject as soon as I see it. I came across this great tool called Storify which lets you do just that in a nice visual format.

The way it works is that you pull information from Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud, YouTube and many others into one big story that you can then share with your friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook. Now the idea of this is really simple and you would think that this would be really easy to use. Unfortunately, I found a few stumbling blocks when I tried it out. Once I developed my story, I couldn’t export it to other programs such as WordPress or Tumblr even though it says that you can do so. Upon further investigation, I found out that you can only do this on WordPress if you have a self hosted account and the plug-in (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/storify/?utm_source=Users). I also couldn’t find any way to delete the snippets that I had to create once I was finished using them in my story. Do they just sit there forever? That would seem to get confusing and cluttered after a while. There also doesn’t seem to be a standard help section or forum to answer questions.

Overall I like the concept of the platform because you can gather a lot of information very quickly and share it immediately. I also liked that when you publish your story to your twitter account, it also notifies the author or tweeter to let them know that their content was used in your story. This is a great way of course to generate goodwill with other writers and bloggers. I really hope they get past these small quirks because as it stands now this platform is a little limited. If you use this program with WordPress or Tumblr I would love to know how it works for you.

Here is an overview of Storify:

Photos, Productivity, technology, video

Free Programs That Can Make Your Life Easier

Everyday I come across tons of free programs that can definitely make your life easier if you have the patience to learn how to use them. Having a computer background I often wonder how easy these programs would actually be for someone who might not have the time to learn an extensive program with a lot of bells and whistles. I came across 2 that are very easy to use right away but offer tons of great features that you can discover at your own pace.

Open Office

This program is like a free version of Microsoft Office with all the same features that you would pay hundreds of dollars for. You can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations very quickly. I tried this one out a couple of months ago because I wanted a doc editing program for my laptop that I could use on the go. Without reading any of the tutorials I was able to create a document in about 5 minutes and save it into my docs folder. I don’t use spreadsheets very often but I was able to create a simple table in about 10 minutes. I honestly thought that there would be a major learning curve here but if you know anything about Microsoft Office this wont be a painful switch at all. The only thing that I had to remember was to save my file to a .doc format so that I could read it in Microsoft Office on my desktop. Here is an example of Open Office:

 

Gimp

Gimp is the closest free program that I have found to Photoshop. There is a download available for Macintosh as well (http://www.gimp.org/macintosh/ ). Gimp lets you do simple photo alterations, create web pages and brochures, as well as draw and paint with text just as easily as Photoshop without the major expense. Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve, but I was able to put together a simple one-page brochure in about 30 minutes my first time using it. There are also numerous tutorials available on line and at Gimps official website to get you up to speed fairly quickly. Then you can take your time becoming a pro. I’m sure I will be using this one a lot more often since I realized how extensive the program actually is. It’s definitely worth the effort of learning. A quick review of of Gimp:

Do you know of any other free programs that are fairly easy to learn? Please share them with me.