Create animated videos and presentations with Powtoon
It’s free and it’s awesome
PowToon is a company wthat sells cloud-based software for creating animated presentations and animated explainer videos.
It is easy to get going quickly and great fun. You can use it for free, just the videos have a “Created by Powtoon” outro on them, and the selection of themes and images is less than for paid versions, but there are still plenty to use to make a good video or presentation
Edu Powtoon is really really cheap – from $1 per month for students, $2 a month for teachers and only $8 a month for a whole classroom! That is a really sweet deal.
Why not try it for yourself – start off free – it might be all you ever need.
Nearly Christmas time again and the end of another year – it's amazing how fast the time goes by.
Christmas is a time for family and friends, for catching up with those you haven't seen for a while and for telling others you appreciate them and how much they mean to you. What better way than to send them a greeting whether as a phone call, a letter, a card in the post or an e-card or perhaps a personal video greeting.
Do not be daunted by some of these ideas as they can be fun to make and your sentiments are appreciated by the receiver. Let's start by examining the options:
If you want to make your own greeting cards, or just want some festive icons to add to emails or web pages, you can get these great Xmas icons free from Mighty Deals – just click on their "Free Stuff" tab. They come in 3 sizes, 64 x 64, 128 x 128 & 256 x 256 so come in very handy for a variety of projects. Mighty Deals also have Xmas stickers free just now – they are on currently on page 2 of the Free Stuff. There's heaps of other graphics in the free stuff as well, so check them out.
For e-cards with a unique touch, you can't go past Ojolie.com – I first heard about Frederikke's cards way back in 2008 (see my earlier blog post for more information) and have renewed my very low priced membership ever since ($12 for one year and $18 for 2 years). I've lost count of how many cards there are available, but there's a wide selection for all sorts of occasions and the great thing is that the membership area keeps track of that cards you have previously sent to the people on your email list there. They have a nice selection of free cards as well for you to try for yourself. Many of my friends have commented on the delightful cards I've sent them, so check them out at Ojolie.com or on facebook.
If you'd like a video to share this Christmas, try Animoto – they make it easy to use your own photos, text & even videos to produce a professional looking video message. You can make a free one of 30 seconds or less with some limitations on the number of your own photos you upload but the cost is reasonable if you want to a bigger project. The free one below was made in about 4 minutes just as a demo.
This is a tip for beginners only! (If you’ve been using PCs for a while you’ll have worked out a method that suits you already).
Have you ever downloaded a piece of software from the internet and couldn’t find it later? It happens to thousands of people all over the world every day! An easy way to find it later is to first prepare a landing zone or a place where you know you can always find it.
I’m sure we have all complained that our PC is slowing down at some stage, so perhaps some of the tips here can help in your own particular case. They are all fairly simple, designed for beginners to implement if you follow the steps given.
1. Defrag Your Disks to Speed Up Access to Data
One of the factors that slow the performance of the computer is disk fragmentation. When files are fragmented, the computer must search the hard disk when the file is opened to piece it back together. To speed up the response time, you should monthly run Disk Defragmenter, a Windows utility that defrags and consolidates fragmented files for quicker computer response.
* Follow Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter
* Click the drives you want to defrag and click Analyze
* Click Defragment
This may take some time, so perhaps leave a defrag running overnight or while you do something away from your PC.
2. Detect and Repair Disk Errors
Over time, your hard disk develops bad sectors. Bad sectors slow down hard disk performance and sometimes make data writing difficult or even impossible. To detect and repair disk errors, Windows has a built-in tool called the Error Checking utility. Itâ€™ll search the hard disk for bad sectors and system errors and repair them for faster performance.
* Follow Start > My Computer
* In My Computer right-click the hard disk you want to scan and click Properties
* Click the Tools tab
* Click Check Now
* Select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check box
* Click Start
3. Disable Indexing Services
Indexing Services is a little application that uses a lot of CPU. By indexing and updating lists of all the files on the computer, it helps you to do a search for something faster as it scans the index list. But if you know where your files are, you can disable this system service. It wonâ€™t do any harm to you machine, whether you search often or not very often.
* Go to Start
* Click Settings
* Click Control Panel
* Double-click Add/Remove Programs
* Click the Add/Remove Window Components
* Uncheck the Indexing services
* Click Next
4. Optimize Display Settings
Windows XP has a nice visual appearance but it costs you system resources that are used to display all the visual items and effects. To customize your settings, right click My Computer, select Properties and then the Advanced tab and under Performance, click Settings. Windows looks fine if you disable most of the settings and leave the following:
* Show shadows under menus
* Show shadows under mouse pointer
* Show translucent selection rectangle
* Use drop shadows for icons labels on the desktop
* Use visual styles on windows and buttons
5. Speedup Folder Browsing
You may have noticed that every time you open My Computer to browse folders that there is a little delay. This is because Windows XP automatically searches for network files and printers every time you open Windows Explorer. To fix this and to increase browsing speed, you can disable the â€œAutomatically search for network folders and printersâ€ option as follows:
Click Start, and then click Control Panel, Double-click Folder Options and on the View tab, de-select the â€œAutomatically search for network folders and printersâ€ check box.
6. Optimize Your Pagefile
You can optimize your pagefile. Setting a fixed size to your pagefile saves the operating system from the need to resize the pagefile.
* Right click on My Computer and select Properties
* Select the Advanced tab
* Under Performance choose the Settings button
* Select the Advanced tab again and under Virtual Memory select Change
* Highlight the drive containing your page file and make the initial Size of the file the same as the Maximum Size of the file.
Windows XP sizes the page file to about 1.5X the amount of actual physical memory by default. While this is good for systems with smaller amounts of memory (under 512MB) it is unlikely that a typical XP desktop system will ever need 1.5 X 512MB or more of virtual memory. If you have less than 512MB of memory, leave the page file at its default size. If you have 512MB or more, change the ratio to 1:1 page file size to physical memory size.
7. Remove Fonts for Speed
Fonts, especially TrueType fonts, use quite a bit of system resources. For optimal performance, trim your fonts down to just those that you need to use on a daily basis and fonts that applications may require.
* Open Control Panel
* Open Fonts folder
* Move fonts you donâ€™t need to a temporary directory (e.g. C:\FONTBKUP?) just in case you need or want to bring a few of them back. The more fonts you uninstall, the more system resources you will gain.
Hope you find these tips useful.
Frederikke and Timothy from ojolie.com have added a new card called “Blue Planet” to their selection ofÂ animated ecards just in time for Earth Day on 22nd April.Â The wildlife in the card, especially the dolphins, our intelligent counterparts below water, have an important message to deliver.
Earth Day, held on April 22 each year, marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970 and isÂ now celebrated around the world.
Earth Day 2009 will herald the beginning of the “Green Generation Campaign”; a two-year project culminating with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in 2010. The Green Generationâ€™s core principles are:
1.Â A carbon-free future based on renewable energy that will end dependency on fossil fuels, including coal.
2.Â A commitment to responsible, sustainable consumption on an individual level
3.Â Creation of a new green economy that addresses poverty by creating millions of quality green jobs and sees the global education system transform into a green one.
For those of you who missed helping to save energy during Earth Hour on March 28th, here is another chance to spread the word about helping our environment by sending Frederikke’s delightful card to your friends.