February 20, 2009
RoR IDE - Browser/Web Based Coding IDEs! Holy Crap!!
June 24, 2008
Web 2.0 Powerpoint like Presentation Services: Evaluation Criteria
This is a post about selection of presentation technology and what are the criteria for selecting them, beyond the common features we have come to expect. Here are the criteria to evaluate on:
-ability to import from common file formats
-sharing ability (synchronous control)
--can you control slide progress for viewers?
--can you share desktop? (yes in zohoshow)
--live annotations (digital highligting, digital ink, digital laserpointer)
--embedding customization control
--embedding cleanliness (zohoshow is a a clear winner here)
--slidecasting (sync with mp3) (slideshare)
-transition ability etc.
--fidelity of import from existing
--authoring from an RSS feed
--stringing together existing webpages
-ease of use
--intuitive distribution of menu items
--sluggishness of the interface
October 14, 2007
Live Better: Web2.0 tools you can use NOW
University of BC has an excellent page dedicated to cool eLearning tools it has developed in house. But before hopping over there, check out for a very thorough review of 50 Web2.0 services that you can start using NOW to develop elearning content here, a place I like to call: "50 Ways to Web2.0"
Back to UBC: There are many that relate directly to eLearning, but two caught my fancy which I review below:
1. Timeline Tool: Excellent implementation. Extremely useful for any webmaster. In their own words:
The timeline tool is a web based learning object template which allows an instructor to quickly construct an interactive timeline with audio and visual effects. The finished timeline can serve as a re-useable learning object which can be easily distributed and shared over the web. This learning object template is built in Flash, PHP and XML.
2. Multimedia Learning Object Authoring Tool (Video + Slide Sync Tool).
This would be a great tool for anyone needing to sync static slides with videos, and an additional media stream. However, does not beat Camtasia for the same purposes, but it is a good too to have for the zero budget eLearning startup. In their own words, again:
This tool enables content experts to easily combine video, audio, images and texts into one synchronized learning object. All assets are configured to be played back in a pre-configured order. Users do not need to perform any programming tasks, but rather going through a graphical user interface to generate the learning object. A much advanced WYSIWYG "click through" version is being launched in the short future.
April 04, 2007
Widgets will change your life
If you like AJAX, but hate coding or simply don't have time, widgets can bring you great stuff to configure and place anywhere online.
I have been using them for the following applications: Slide-show of blog-posts from an RSS feed (widgetbox.com); blidgets (convert a blog into a nice snippet: e.g. This blog's blidget on ruthvickdivecha.com's sidebar)
The cool advantage is - once the widget is placed on your webpage or blog, you can infinitely tinker and tweak from the widget-building website, in my case widgetbox.com
And did I mention that it is free? Coooool, infinitely.
formlogix even allows you to analyze data submitted via its form using tables, charts etc. Also, the form creator is Wysiwyg: and it rocks!
Widgets have cut my development life-cycle time by 90% (without learning a new language, switching to a new platform or hiring a developer). They help me create reliable, robust and flexible web components which I can tweak to my heart's wishes. If you are a busy web professional: widgets will be the next best thing after sliced macaroni... ok, ok sliced bread.
March 05, 2007
As you Zoho, shall you reap
Someone had to do it. Easy to use, shareable, syn and asynced Powerpoint presentations. Zoho show was introduced to me by a colleague. Check it out at Zoho.com.
I like the idea of embedding shows. I have tried the old antiuated route of uploading to flickr, creating a flash slideshow with slide.com and embedding it. Somehow, in my experience flickr calls have been trecherously slow in webpages.
Zoho show gives ability to edit slideshows online and share them. BTW, did I mention that it was free? Now I did.
October 31, 2006
Stumble on great sites? Create a personalised search engine, or two
Search Engines: The Threat
Good information on the internet is useful, only if not sandwitched between hoards of commercial websites who "spam" the engines by using keywords that have NOTHING to do with their content. Believe me, I've been an search engine optimization expert of sorts for hobby projects and I've seen all the dirty tricks. Search engines try and create algorithms to filter out spamming websites. These search engine spammers use false keywords, redirects, white-text and all sorts of dirty tricks.
Search Engines: The First Principles
The basic principle of operation of a majority of search engines is all-inclusiveness. Unless a website is found guilty of hard-spamming, it is not banned from a search engine.
Quickest Solution: Personalized Search Engines
If you are an avid reader, even of print media, you will come across genuinely resourceful websites, which might contain 80% of the answers you seek. These include websites with trusted content, blogs of reknowned authorities in a field etc. The best idea in this case is to create your own personalized search engine.
What I've tried:
Google Co-op: Seems impressive. Just started using it. I have created a general-knowlege lookup engine and now working on specialised knowledge search engines, the first one being a TabletPC knowledge search engine.
Apart from fine controls it offers a novice meta-search engine designer like me, I like the ability to custom skin it. It is also possible to collaborate and create a search engine with your colleagues or team-mates. One of the best uses I see is faculy & researchers rolling out their custom search engines, which would be help-ful for students to form basic solutions. However, if it is not used exclusively, only then the envelope of knowledge will expand for the person in question, but atleast, there will be no junk search results from an innacurate source ("a psycho blogger behind a fancy template situation").
But the best feature I like about Google Coop is Google Marker, a brower toolbar tool to quickly add a website you are browsing to any of your search engine. Very much like the delicious toolbar tools. I love it already.
Other Similar Service:
Rollyo - Somehow, I stopped using it. It did not index my chosen sites properly.
I see personalized search engines as a step up from social bookmarking. The effort is pretty much the same: discover a resource, tag it. However the resulting output is much sweeter: not a bunch of links to go back to, but ability to search what they lead up to. I will accept CSEs over Social Bookmars. (Google's code calls the Personalized Search Engine a CSE - Custom Search Engine).
Give my search engines a spin: continue to read the extended entry:
My General Knowledge Search Engine
My Tablet PC & Digital Ink Tech Search Engine
June 19, 2006
Google Does US Government
Beltway Bandits Just Wanna Have Fun... ;)
It will bring up interesting things. I searched for "India" and it brought up the biography of a presidential pet called "India" in the top 5 results: http://www.whitehouse.gov/kids/india/.
But banter apart this is a great resource for anyone wanting to write federal grants. I try to search, say for smoking and good hits. Lets try to search something closer to my research area: assistive technology... I expect to get section 508 all over... lets see...
Nope... its more of state accessibility guidelines and section508 is not even in the top 5. http://www.section508.gov/index.cfm.
Anyhoo, happy USGoogling.
Google Does Shakespeare
Shakespeare would ask: ...What stuff 'tis made of? And Google would have an answer. Lame opening line but its a segway into this post: Google does Shakespeare. This is a fantastic example of how to do things right:
--- Pre-loaded Tabbed Browsing of Categories.
--- Extra features "Search for Mr. S on News, Video etc."
--- Google earth treat on all places Shakespeare.
Overall its a fantastic example on how to build a reference resource on a person.
January 23, 2006
Public Health Podcasts
This was long awaited. How to find Public Health podcasts. Dentistry has taken the much anticipated step in putting together a way to look for good podcasts.