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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: software, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 57
1. Trello for Writers

Lately, I've been using Trello a lot at work to track tasks and projects. As often happens when I'm using cool software, I automatically consider how it can be used to improve my writing process. Turns out that with a little creativity, Trello can easily be adapted to be anything you want.

I guess I should start at the beginning. What is Trello? Trello is a task management system, which is a fancy way of saying it's a way to manage your To Do list.

Trello is set up like a bulletin board where you pin cards with each task into a list. Typically, you might have three lists: To Do, Doing, and Done. When you start working on one of your To Dos, you move it to Doing, and when it's completed, you move it to Done.

Of course, the cool thing about cards on a bulletin board is you can make the cards whatever you want them to be, and you can arrange them however you want. That means the ways you can use it are limited only by your imagination.

Trello is very easy to use, but there are some tricks and tips that add extra power, which you can use to improve your writing processes. If it were just about making cards and moving them around on a board, this would be a short post.

In this series of posts, we'll look at ways to use Trello to manage a writing project. We'll use it as a kind of sketching tool to map out our plot, start developing characters, and build our fictional world. I'll also show you how you can use Trello as a way to organize your actual written documents, and to collaborate with others, whether it's a co-writer or your crit partners. And once you have everything written, you can, of course, use Trello to track submissions.

The first thing, of course, is getting it for yourself. That's the easy part. Go to trello.com and sign up. Trello is a web app, so you can use it anywhere you have an Internet connection. In addition to the web app, you can get free apps for iOS and Android. The mobile apps let you do almost everything you can do on the web, except for a number of customization options and some advanced management. You'll probably want to use both the web and the mobile apps.

Trello is completely free. You can create an unlimited number of boards and cards without paying a cent. There are a couple of paid versions, but you probably don't need them. The paid versions give you a few extra features, like emojis you can use as stickers on your cards and the ability to create more personalized backgrounds for your boards. The one bit of functionality that is nice in the paid version is that you can attach bigger files to your cards--the free version limits you to attachments that are 10MB or less--but unless you work with very large files, this really won't make much difference to you. Everything I will show in this series will take advantage of the standard functionality in the free version.

I recommend that you download Trello and get familiar with the basic functionality. Create a test board and some cards and lists. We'll start digging into the details in the next post.

But for now, I've finished this post, so I can move my Intro card to the Done list. Moving a card to Done always feels like a reward!

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2. Toon Boom Launches Harmony 12 and Introduces Subscription Pricing

The same software used by Disney and Cartoon Network is now available as low as $15 per month.

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3. Adobe Character Animator Lets You Animate With Your Face

A new Adobe program allows you to animate using just a microphone, a webcam, and your face.

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4. Gary King: an update on Dataverse

At the American Political Science Association meetings earlier this year, Gary King, Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor at Harvard University, gave a presentation on Dataverse. Dataverse is an important tool that many researchers use to archive and share their research materials. As many readers of this blog may already know, the journal that I co-edit, Political Analysis, uses Dataverse to archive and disseminate the replication materials for the articles we publish in our journal. I asked Gary to write some remarks about Dataverse, based on his APSA presentation. His remarks are below.

*   *   *   *   *

An update on Dataverse

By Gary King

If you’re an academic researcher, odds are you’re not a professional archivist and so you probably have more interesting things to do when making data available than following the detailed protocols and procedures established over many years by the archiving community. That of course might be OK for any one of us but it is a terrible loss for all of us. The Dataverse Network Project offers a solution to this problem by eliminating transaction costs and changing the incentives to make data available by giving you substantial web visibility and academic citation credit for your data and scholarship (King, 2007). Dataverse Networks are installed at universities and other institutions around the world (e.g., here is the Dataverse network at Harvard’s IQSS), and represent the world’s largest collection of social science research data. In recent years, Dataverse has also been adopted by an increasingly diverse array of other fields and protocols and procedures are being built out to enable numerous fields of science, social science, and the humanities to work together.

With a few minutes of set-up time, you can add your own Dataverse to your homepage with a list of data sets or replication data sets you make available, with whatever levels of permission you want for the broader community, and a vast array of professional services (e.g., here’s my Dataverse on my homepage). People will be able to more easily find your data and homepage, explore your data and scholarship, find connections to other resources, download data in any format, and learn proper ways of citing your work. They will even be able to analyze your data while still on your web site with a vast array of statistical methods through the transparent and automated connection Dataverse has built to Zelig: Everyone’s Statistical Software, and through Zelig to R. The result is that your data will be professionally preserved and easier to access — effectively automating the tasks of professional archiving, including citing, sharing, analyzing, archiving, preserving, distributing, cataloging, translating, disseminating, naming, verifying, and replicating data.

Dataverse Network Diagram, by Institute for Quantitative Social Science. CC-BY-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Dataverse is an active project with new developments in software, protocols, and community connections coming rapidly. A brand new version of the code, written from scratch, will be available in a few months. Through generous grants from the Sloan Foundation, we have been working hard on eliminating other types of transaction costs for capturing data for the research community. These include deep integration with scholarly journals so that it can be trivially easy for an editor to encourage or require data associated with publications to be made available. We presently offer journals three options:

  • Do it yourself. Authors publish data to their own dataverse, put the citation to their data in their final submitted paper. Journals verify compliance by having the copyeditor check for the existence of the citation.
  • Journal verification. Authors submit draft of replication data to Journal Dataverse. Journal reviews it, and approves it for release. Finally, the dataset is published with a formal data citation and back to the article. (See, for example, the Political Analysis Dataverse, with replication data back to 1999.)
  • Full automation: Seamless integration between journal submission system and Dataverse; Automatic Link created between article and data. The result is that it is easy for the journal and author and many errors are eliminated.

Full automation in our third option is where we are heading. Already today, in 400 scholarly journals in the Open Journal System, the author enters their data as part of submission of the final draft of the accepted paper for publication, and the citation, permanent links between the data and the article, and formal preservation is taken care of, all automatically. We are working on expanding this as an option for all of OJS’s 5,000+ journals, and to a wide array of other scholarly journal publishers. The result will be that we capture data with the least effort on anyone’s part, at exactly the point where it is easiest and most important to capture.

We are also working on extending Dataverse to cover new higher levels of security that are more prevalent in big data collections and those in public health, medicine, and other areas with informative data on human subjects. Yes, you can preserve data and make it available under appropriate protections, even if you have highly confidential, proprietary, or otherwise sensitive data. We are working on other privacy tools as well. We already have an extensive versioning system in Dataverse, but are planning to add support for continuously updated data such as streamed from sensors, tools for online fast data access, queries, visualization, analysis methods for when data cannot be moved because of size or privacy concerns, and ways to use the huge volume of web analytics to improve Dataverse and Zelig.

This post comes from the talk I gave at the American Political Association Meetings August 2014, using these slides. Many thanks to Mike Alvarez for inviting this post.

Featured image: Matrix code computer by Comfreak. CC0 via Pixabay.

The post Gary King: an update on Dataverse appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. Productivity tool: Coffee shop sounds, creative productivity and Coffitivity - and a poll

Survey: Do you like background noise while you're working?

Don't know about the rest of you, but I find my background noise preference depends heavily on what I'm working on. When I'm illustrating and am past the early sketch stages, I listen to audiobooks or have episodes of a previously-watched tv shows playing on my second monitor; the key for me is to have something interesting enough for variety but not TOO interesting to distract me from work.

For early creative stages and for writing, I used to prefer silence. These days, however,  I like to have something going on in the background, especially if my work day has been especially long. Music with English lyrics is too distracting, so I listen to Italian progrock but even that can start driving me crazy after a while.

One of my favorite background sounds for intense creative work? Coffee shop noise: murmured conversations, movement, muted clatter of cups and cutlery. I also find having people around who are DOING things stimulating, and I'm less likely to start daydreaming or slack off. I used to go to real-life coffee shops to do my writing, but this has downsides. The expense, for one thing, plus sometimes the conversations taking place around me are a tad TOO interesting.

Looks as if I'm not the only one who finds coffee shops and coffee shop sounds motivating:

How The Hum Of A Coffee Shop Can Boost Creativity - by Anahad O'Connor in The New York Times

Why Some Of Us Get More Done At Coffee Shops - by Kevin Purdy on Lifehacker

Coffitivity Plays Ambient Coffee Shop Noise To Boost Your Productivity - by Melanie Pinola on Lifehacker

For others who like coffee shop sounds in the background while they work, here's one solution:

Coffitivity: Just opening up the website page will start up the sounds of a coffee shop, and you can also get free apps for iOS, Droid and Mac desktop. I prefer the latter because I don't like having my browser open while working because it's too tempting to "just check one more website."

There are choices of other sounds as well, like a campus cafe and lunchtime lounge. Coffitivity has also invited the community to submit sounds to share, so I expect we'll get more choices soon.

How about the rest of you? Do you prefer silence? If not, what do you like to listen to while you work? I'd appreciate you taking a few minutes to answer my 1-2 multiple question poll: Do you prefer background noise while you work?

I'll post results in an upcoming Inkygirl post.

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6. I love Scrivener and I think you might, too

she wishes she had ScrivenerWriters, if you haven't tried Scrivener yet, do. It's so worth the learning curve and (really quite affordable) expense.

Give up the MS Word addiction. Imagine: no more keeping each chapter in a separate file, then having to open fifteen different files when you can't remember quite where That Very Important Thing happened. No more keeping your story outlines on dozens of sticky notes... and then always wondering whether maybe you lost a few that time you worked at the cafe table outside. No more endless bookmark lists and devastation when you can't find that one perfect link you looked at five months ago. 

No, the people who make Scrivener aren't giving me a dime. I just like their product very, very much. 

It's hard to boil down all of the outstanding features of Scrivener, so I'm going to give you my top five:


  • Being able to have an electronic "corkboard". I plot, and re-plot, my stories out using this. Gone are the days of having a wire stretched across my study with index cards hanging from it. Now I can take my outline anywhere, so long as I have my laptop. And it's super easy to shift elements around, and see how they fit. 
  • Storing all of my internet research and references in one place, with subfolders. When I find a website I want to keep, I drag its address into my Scrivener research folders. If I want, I can easily rename it. It's so simple to go back months later and find things. 
  • Keeping snapshots of chapters that I'm afraid I'll complete bungle in revision. When I'm about to slash a chapter into ribbons and rebuild it, I often take a "snapshot" that saves all of its text in a nice, neat area. If I have to go back to that snapshot, it's as easy as a push of a button. or I can just copy-and-paste pieces out of my old version. 
  • Keywording chapters. I add customer keywords for each of my characters so I can track, at a glance, where they end up in the story (and where I've forgotten them for too long). 
  • The support. You can watch great introductory videos, and the developer is super responsive if you contact him through Twitter, too.


I use the Mac version, but I know there's now a robust PC version too. There's a free trial available, so why not try it?

I'll bet you a latte you'll never go back to writing your novels in Word.

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7. Kleki


A nice free online drawing app. It works without Flash and even works on the iPad.

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8. Using MS Word to Auto-Outline and Keep Track of Revelations

Figure 1

I'm not a pantser. Much. I have my complications worksheet which gives me a basic outline, and my character worksheets which give me a good idea of my characters' quirks and attributes. I usually fill these out after I write the first three chapters. BUT (and it's a great, big, hairy but) I am a closet pantser. I HATE doing the worksheets. Also, inevitably, once I've got them done, the story evolves organically. In technical terms, sh** happens.

It's not so much that the plot changes. The story can take left turns while staying within the plot. The revelations change, and what I reveal (backstory, subplot, worldbuilding, character, stakes, etc.), and when I reveal it, will alter my readers' perceptions of the story. I hate to stop writing to change all those worksheets, outlines, synopses or whatever. Ditto on revision.

Figure 2
I've tried Scrivener, yWriter, and various writing

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9. Must-Have Free Software for Writers: Evernote

by Scott Rhoades

I get the feeling when I write about software that many of your eyes (and just how many eyes do you have, anyway?) glaze over, while a small percentage of you feel the nerd node in your brain perk up and you get excited.

This week, though, I'm writing about something that you eye-glazers might really want to pay attention to, and most of you geek freaks already know about: I'm talking about Evernote, one of the most useful apps a writer can have in his toolbox this side of a comfortable word processor.

Imagine this: you're driving down the road and you see an old house or a bit of scenery that is exactly what you pictured for your work-in-progress. You hit the brakes, screech to a halt, and jump out of the car, smart phone in hand. You snap a few photos, then create a voice note explaining why the pictures are important. Because your phone has GPS, your pictures and note are tagged with the location where you took the pictures.

Or, you're sitting in some waiting room somewhere, perusing a four-month-old magazine, when a story sparks a story idea. You don't have your laptop, and you know how well you can trust your memory. But you do have your phone. So you open up Evernote, jot down a few notes, maybe even take a picture of the item in the magazine that set off the idea. By the time you get home, the note is already on your computer, waiting for you.

All of this good material is almost instantly available on every computer you own, plus your iPad and your phone, because you created all of them in Evernote.

Evernote is the Swiss army knife of electronic notebooks. You can create as many notebooks you need, each with as many notes as you need. You can attach sound files, photos, and several other kinds of files. (With the paid version, you can attach any file you want to attach.) You can use add-ons for most popular browsers to clip bits of Web pages that you want to remember. You can even synch up with some popular email and calendaring apps, like Outlook.

Everything you put in Evernote is automatically synchronized with your Windows and Mac computers (at home and at work), with your iPhone or Droid or Blackberry or Palm, and with your iPad, and is accessible on the Web. In other words, your notes are available everywhere, any time. You can even share notes with friends, even if they don't use Evernote.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

You can use Evernote to store to-do lists, notes and ideas for stories, even your manuscript draft. Need a good, convenient place to track your submissions, always a tricky thing now that most queries are sent in email so you might send them from both work and home, while your old query tracker was only on your home computer. And you can use Evernote's "ink note" feature on your computer to sketch a map or an idea for an illustration. I only wish ink notes were available on touch screen devices. That would be really cool. (OK, it kind of is, with a for-pay iPad app called Inkiness, but the reviews aren't that great and it's not native to Evernote.)

Oh, and Evernote is free. You can get additional space--although the free version provides 60MB per month, more than enough for most people, unless you want to attach a lot of high-res pictures--and a few other features by paying for a premium account, but everything most writers really need is available in the free version. You can get Evernote for your Mac or Windows computers at www.evernote.com, and for your mobile devices at whichever app store or market you use. You'll want it on everything so it's always there for you. The Web site also has documentation, videos, and other information that will help you get up to speed quickly, although Evernote is easy enough to use that the docs aren't really necessary. They might help you discover a use you hadn't thought of, though.

So what are you waiting for? We writers often have our heads in clouds, so we might as well keep our no

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10. Writing Tools

I work in software technology by day so that part of my geeky life tends to bleed over into my creative life. While I do loves me a green pen and legal pad, I also use other writing tools for my novel project.

Here are the three that I use the most:


I first started using this spiffy tool about a year ago. I’m a big fan of spreadsheets and this software has a great outlining feature that is very helpful — especially if you write in scenes like me. You can switch things around, create writing schedules and goals — this is what I used for my Operation 50/50 project. What I like most about is that in addition to typing prose text, you can assign setting, characters, and even objects and track them for each scene. Best of all, it isn’t based on any operating system, so you can put this program on a thumb-drive and plug it to use on a laptop or computer. Even better, it’s free! But I’m seriously thinking about giving a donation to this fellow software geek for making it easier for me. Yeah, I know all about Scrivener but I don’t have a Mac and I’ve tried the Windows version for awhile but came back to this. I loves it!


Speaking of thumb-drives…it can sometimes be a pain carrying them around and if you’re paranoid like me then you’re always afraid that you’ll lose them. And then it’s sort of a pain to download the newest changes to your main computer or laptop. This is when I came across this cool sync tool. Basically, you can download data to one central location (what us software geeks call “The Cloud”) and then it automatically syncs to every linked computer. I have uploaded my yWriter software and my current writing project to Dropbox. No matter which computer I use, every time I make a change to any file, it gets synchronized everywhere. Your data is encrypted and the first 2 MB is free. So that’s more than enough space for a novel-in-progress. Plus a good way to backup work.


Ah, this cool e-book gadget isn’t just for reading books. It can read your own work-in-progress too! I’ve learned the beauty of having someone else read my work so I can hear what’s wrong right away. The Kindle has a “text-to-speech” feature that can read your WIP aloud to you. It’s not a sexy voice but it’s great for proofreading and catching errors or issues. My writer friend Medeia Sharif also uses this feature. You can use the Mobipocket eBook Creator free download to convert WORD or text documents for use on the Kindle.

So these are my top tools that I use to help me with my writing. What about you guys? Use any cool writing tools? Or are you strictly a paper and pen writer?

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11. New Releases of OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice

by Scott Rhoades

As writers, our choice of writing tools are extensions of our minds and hands. What we use to write is very important to us. There've been a couple of releases in the past week or so that are worth mentioning. The first is the release of OpenOffice.org 3.3, and the second is the release of the new kid on the block, LibreOffice 3.3.

I'm not going to get into all the new features of the new OpenOffice.org. Most are likely to have little noticeable impact on our daily writing activities, although the more deeply you use the program, the more you're likely to notice.

But I will rave over one new feature.

I have an Internet acquaintance who writes extensions for Writer, the word processing part of the OpenOffice.org suite. A couple years ago, I suggested an extension for the one thing that's missing from the major word processors: a Find toolbar. When I'm revising, especially when I'm making changes from marked-up hard copy, it annoys me to have to open a dialog box to search for a particular place in my text. That always means opening a little window that covers part of the text, so you always have to open and close it as you go through your documents. So many apps have a Find toolbar. Why do all the word processors lack such an obvious user interface improvement. My friend loved the idea, but he never wrote the extension. Probably because this toolbar was in the spec for 3.3.

Microsoft Office 2010 lets you open a Navigation pane with a Find toolbar. This pane sits to the side of the document, where it's out of the way. That's not bad. But you still have to open something separate. That's a minor quibble, though. The new Navigation features are pretty nice.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 puts the Find toolbar right where I want it, on the toolbar at the top of the document window. Because OpenOffice.org allows you to customize your toolbars in ways that Word users can only dream of (I admit it--I love to customize my workspace so it works the way I like, and the tools I use are handy while those I don't use are out of the way or are out of sight completely), I can (theoretically--I haven't actually done it yet, since I just installed 3.3 today) move the new Find toolbar to a convenient location.

I've been using MS Office 2010 more lately, although I really prefer OpenOffice.org. I was able to buy Office through a program at work for a staggering $10, which pretty much negates OpenOffice.org's most obvious benefit: it's free. (Maybe I'll write about why I prefer OpenOffice.org to Word in a future post. Hint: It has nothing--OK, little--to do with the price and everything to do with functionality.) I think Office 2010's new collaboration and online features are interesting and compelling, although I haven't actually needed to use them yet. But this Find toolbar, even if it seems to be a little thing, is a huge deal to me. It's something I cry for every time I make changes from my crit group. This alone will encourage me to use OpenOffice.org more.

Or it would, if not for the new kid on the block.

LibreOffice 3.3 is a new fork of OpenOffice.org, released this week. Its reason for existence is a long story, probably of little interest to most readers of this blog. In short, it was started when Oracle bought Sun, who "owned" and was the main supporter of the open-source OpenOffice.org project. Based on Oracle's history of not supporting open-source projects all that well, a whole mess o' key OpenOffice.org developers jumped ship and started a new project based on the older program. You can do that with open source.

You won't notice a lot of difference between OpenOffice.org 3.3 and LibreOffice 3.3. They are built on the same code base, although LibreOffice has supposedly cleaned up the source code considerably to improve efficiency, added a handful of unique features, and made some slight differences in the interface. Howeve

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12. Amiga - Disney Animation Studio (1990)  I spent countless hours...

Amiga - Disney Animation Studio (1990) 

I spent countless hours using this software as a kid. It breaks my heart I have none of the animation I created using it, or the work I created with Autodesk Animator, the other piece of software that kept me out of daylight on weekends.

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13. Paint Tool Sai

Paint Tool Sai:

A (new?) raster drawing program that the fantastic Steve Lambe filled me in on tonight. It is for PCs only right now, but MAC users should check this out (though I haven’t tried it yet).

From Steve:

It’s like someone took Flash’s awesome drawing tools, merged it together with Sketchbook’s natural feel for drawing. I’m digging it big time.

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14. Photoshop Splash Screen Evolution Those were the days.

Photoshop Splash Screen Evolution

Those were the days.

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15. Yes. Another Backup Lecture. | 43 Folders

Yes. Another Backup Lecture. | 43 Folders:

Merlin Mann walks through his redundant, automated back-up solution. If you’re reading this blog there’s a good chance you’re a working illustrator, which means you have plenty of files that are important to you — and important to your clients.

I use a combination of Apple’s Time Machine and Dropbox, but I know even that’s not enough to cover my butt in the long run. Are you backing up your work? And are you confident in your backup solution? From the linked article:

  1. If it’s not automated, it’s not a real backup.
  2. If it’s not redundant, it’s not a real backup.
  3. If it’s not regularly rotated off-site, it’s not a real backup.

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16. WPSHOWER - Free wordpress themes

WPSHOWER - Free wordpress themes:

Some nice free WordPress themes for artist portfolios.

(via @n8w)

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17. Laying out comics in Adobe InDesign

I have certainly used InDesign to package finished comics projects, but since it’s primarily a page layout tool, I have never seen it used for any sort of drawing. In this video Gareth Hinds shows how he uses InDesign’s vector pencil tool to do the rough sketching and layouts for his comic book adaptation of The Odyssey.

This is the first in a series of videos for which he plans to share the other steps in his comic-making process.

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18. Free unplugging USB devices software until Aug 25

I don’t know about you, but I have a heck of a lot of USB devices on my computer (mouse, pen drives, mini drives, keyboard, etc.). And I’m, ahem, not very patient with computer stuff; I want things to be instant and easy and just…fast. I don’t always go through the whole right-click-turn-off-usb-drive before I unplug stuff I use every day. (Do you havev to go through the whole rigamarole with an ebook reader? I’m assuming you do.)

Well, Gizmo pointed out a solution–USB Safely Remove 4.1–software that makes unplugging USB devices easy. And what’s even better is that this software is free until Aug 25 (it normally costs $20). So, if you have lots of USB devices like me, check it out!

I’ve found a lot of very useful, free software over the years via Gizmo; I trust him.

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19. Augmented Reality

Have you ever heard of Augmented Reality?  If not, Augmented Reality is a computer based software that uses 3-D tracking.   To simplfy that even more, by using a sheet of paper with a desired icon, the camera can spot the icon, and replace it with a 3-D computer made icon.  Some people even animate the icon, so that when you move the paper to it’s side, the icon will respond with some sort of action.

You may still be confused about what Augmented Reality is, so I will continue to explain what it is through out this article.  Currently, there is a museum that uses Augmented Reality to show everything.  Augmented Reality is currently being geared towards kids, so throughout the tour, kids can put on the special glasses and see the books come to life.  How?  Just like the computer, the glasses spot the icon, and then replay what is in it’s memory.  Say for instance a child is reading a fairy tale, once they turn the page, that page’s story begins to play out before the child. 

If you do a search on the internet and type in ‘Augmented Reality’ you can find many downloads where you can try it out.  Many car dealerships have started using Augmented Reality as a marketing tool.  They definetly got me hooked.  If you are into 3-D modeling and animation, you can download the free trial of Augmented Reality to test it out. 

Over all, Augmented Reality will be part of your future.  This is not something you will want to miss out on.  Check it out today!

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20. Augmented Reality

Have you ever heard of Augmented Reality?  If not, Augmented Reality is a computer based software that uses 3-D tracking.   To simplfy that even more, by using a sheet of paper with a desired icon, the camera can spot the icon, and replace it with a 3-D computer made icon.  Some people even animate the icon, so that when you move the paper to it’s side, the icon will respond with some sort of action.

You may still be confused about what Augmented Reality is, so I will continue to explain what it is through out this article.  Currently, there is a museum that uses Augmented Reality to show everything.  Augmented Reality is currently being geared towards kids, so throughout the tour, kids can put on the special glasses and see the books come to life.  How?  Just like the computer, the glasses spot the icon, and then replay what is in it’s memory.  Say for instance a child is reading a fairy tale, once they turn the page, that page’s story begins to play out before the child. 

If you do a search on the internet and type in ‘Augmented Reality’ you can find many downloads where you can try it out.  Many car dealerships have started using Augmented Reality as a marketing tool.  They definetly got me hooked.  If you are into 3-D modeling and animation, you can download the free trial of Augmented Reality to test it out. 

Over all, Augmented Reality will be part of your future.  This is not something you will want to miss out on.  Check it out today!

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21. Odosketch online sketching app


I just doodled this little fellow over at Odosketch, an online sketching application that attempts to replicate the experience of drawing with natural media. Obviously, the effect works best with a stylus instead of a mouse, but it’s certainly one of the more stylish online sketching apps I’ve used.

You can save your creations and, what’s probably the coolest feature, watch them get redrawn before yours eyes.

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22. Photoshop on your mobile device


I know this isn’t a tech blog, but I thought this was interesting enough to share here: Photoshop is now available as an iPhone/iPod Touch app from Photoshop.com, plus you can access Photoshop Mobile on several other devices too. Sadly, the app is really just for barebones photo-editing, and not one you can use to draw with. It’s Adobe’s version of PicNik I guess.

Oh, and in other news: Photoshop Express dot-com, has turned into just plain old Photoshop.com. I’ve been living under a rock, so I had no idea either existed. I know Adobe had a few web-based tools—like Kuler and BrowserLab—but I can’t find a page on their site that lists all of them. Anyone?

Posted by Luc Latulippe on Drawn! The Illustration and Cartooning Blog | Permalink | No comments
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23. 27 Tools for Writers

Writers use many tools! Here are some I use online, offline, and by hand.

Essential Writing Tools:

Preferred Writing Tools

  • WordPerfect

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/fdecomite/2916728372/

  • Ywriter
  • Printer, pen or pencil, highlighter pen
  • Unabridged Dictionary
  • Rhyming dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Internet Access – prefer Foxfire browser, though I use Google’s Chrome on my netbook
  • Flash Drive – my current one holds 4g and actually holds the Ywriter program on it, so I can use it from any computer
  • Writing Friends

Online Tools I use daily

  • Check up-to-date sales rank on Amazon: Sales Rank Express
  • To keep track of real time statistics of visitors on my blog, I use Statcounter.
  • To keep track of the blogs I want to read, I use Google Reader.
  • Facebook.com – Reluctantly, I’m pulled into this time drain simply because everyone is doing it, therefore, if I want to know what’s happening, I gotta check it, too.

Online Tools I use monthly

  • However, for long-term statistics, I use Google Analytics.
  • To keep long term tracking of sales on Amazon, use TitleZ.

Fun to Have Writing Tools

43 Resources for Writers

Best Software for Writers

  • 2010 Creative Writing Software Review – great chart comparing features of software for writers.
  • Need basic grammar help? Check out Writing Software Solutions or the White Smoke folks, who even have software to help dyslexic writers.
  • Amazon has lots of software on writing fiction:
  • Writing picture books or illustrating picture books? Look at how the Celtx software integrates text and pictures. FREE
  • Mac users can use Scrivener to keep ANY writing project organized.
  • Write Room (Mac) and Dark Room (PC) present writers with just a screen and text, no toolbars – which are perceived by some as distractions. If you constantly jump onto the internet, this writing software might help keep you on track.
  • 24. Digital 3D Lighting Studio

    lighting 3d model test

    3d model lighting test 2

    Fairy head 3d model

    I had a go modelling a fairy head in Sculptris and then lighting it using Kerkythea.

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    25. Post It!

    sticky-noteWant a super easy way to organize and remember things? Then discover the dozens of uses of sticky notes.

    Their key advantage is in their ability to stick cleanly to files, papers, banners, phones, walls, doors, chairs, and books.

    They come in all shapes and sizes–even smells! My personal favorites are Post-It notes in the shape of orange stars and my pink ones imprinted with a Louisa May Alcott quote: “She is too fond of books, and it has addled her brain.”

    Uses for Sticky Notes

    There are all kinds of paper sticky notes and free computerized sticky notes. [See the end of the blog post for unusual uses for computer sticky notes.] You can order paper notes online or buy them at WalMart or any office supply store. Some uses are obvious–but many will be new ideas to help you as a writer.

    • Leave yourself message reminders (about writing and non-writing chores to do, when you have to leave for an appointment, when you have a phone call scheduled)
    • Bookmark pages to find research, places to call in the phone book, and directions and names on your map.
    • Make business tools. You can order sticky notes with pre-printed messages, your personal logo, or your business card info. Use them if you’re out to lunch (post on your front door or computer screen). Give these business tools as gifts.
    • Map your day. Put sticky notes on a wall map showing where each errand or meeting  is located. Group them. After running that errand, remove the sticky note.

    There is also a free sticky note software download for Windows.  With it, according to their website, you can do more than customize their look and then stick the note on your computer screen. You can also:

    • send sticky notes over a local network
    • send sticky notes over the Internet
    • customize sticky notes any way you need
    • edit and format sticky notes
    • print sticky notes

    Time Management Books

    Using sticky notes is just one time management idea. For hundreds of other ideas, see my time management book list.

    What is your most unusual use for a sticky note–either writing or non-writing-related?

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