Some origami video to start with

Over the last week, I have been thinking about doing some video content creation, specifically some kinds of do it yourself videos. I have a liking for origami, and thought this should be a good starting point. I did have a youtube account, but there were also numerous other similar services.

I was wondering which service would be a good choice, and this is when I came across Andy’s post on his choices of online video services. He has given a nice comparison of some of the services like youtube, viddler and seesmic, finally favouring viddler:

Viddler is just so easy to use. It accepts a whole range of common video formats and will transcode them for you. You can tag your videos – and even better than that, you can add comments and tags at particular points in the video. I can embed the videos on my WP.com blog (which is not possible with Seesmic). It’s easy to find and connect with friends. There are groups. There are excellent stats which show where hits on your videos are coming from, including when a video is played through an embed on your site or another one…

The viddler features seemed quite attractive. So, I signed up for it and uploaded my first video (a flapping bird origami). I also did some digging to see how the Viddler videos could be embedded into a WordPress.com blog, and it seems there is a tag to do this:

At the Viddler site, if you click on Menu in the lower right of a video screen, a row of menu selections appear at the top of the video screen. Select “embed” and then click on the “wordpress.com” button and it will give you the code that will work with [WordPress].com.

Here’s the embedded form of the bird origami video (there’s also a flickr photo set for the step by step photos):

I’ll be creating more origami videos along with corresponding flickr sets (also an origami collection for the sets). The only problem for me right now is the slow upload speed (64 kbps), due to which I am uploading low resolution videos (320×240) without audio. As for the video creation, I used my digicam, a Canon Powershot A630 mounted on a Gorillapod to shoot the video, and VirtualDub to re-edit the video (re-encoding to DivX and removing audio).

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My own domain

I finally got my own domain – http://abaditya.com. Getting the domain upgrade is a pretty simple process on wordpress.com. There are quite a few people who have shared their domain upgrade/mapping experiences, including the impact on the additional URL. I also checked out the Technorati FAQs, and found some information regarding possible steps after the blog URL change.

Coming back to the domain mapping procedure, I did have a slight confusion with the domain upgrade interface, but managed to get it done after a false start. I followed the instructions in the FAQs for the domain mapping and checked for my domain of choice. It was available, and I chose to purchase the upgrade, which took me to the PayPal page. I made the payment, and landed back on the domain upgrade page thinking that the process was complete, and waited happily for a couple of days for the domain to be operational.

However, the domain list did not have any additions, and I started to wonder what the matter was. I also noticed that I had 15 credits available. So, I tried another domain check and it said that the same domain that I had applied for earlier, was available. So, I opted for the upgrade once again, and this time got a sign up form which I filled up and had my domain up and running in a short while. I also got a customer number for the domain registrar. As the domain registration is handled automatically, but by a different site, the login information is not directly available. Instead I had to use the customer number and reset the password on the domain registration site, and set up a new password through the usual email process. The instructions are provided after registration in the domain upgrade page itself along with a link to manage domains.

I also set up a Google Apps account so that I could enable email for the new domain. This process has also been simplified by the wordpress folks with clear instructions in the FAQs, and setting it up is just a few clicks away. The other thing to do was to set up the new domain as the default, with the older (xxx.wordpress.com) set up to redirect to the new domain.

Apart from the impact of the domain change on Technorati and search engines, there were quite a lot of sites where I had to update my blog URL – social networks like Linkedin and facebook along with update to the feedburner feed I had set up. There are still some sites remaining to be updated, and I hope to get them in order as and when I recall them (one of the problems with having too many accounts).

First 100 dot coms to be registered

Just came across a list of the first 100 .coms to be registered via this blog post. IBM just missed out on the first 10. The list is comprised of the usual suspects, barring Microsoft (not surprising considering that the period is between early ’85 to late ’87). Here’s the top 15 from the list:

  1. SYMBOLICS.COM
  2. BBN.COM
  3. THINK.COM
  4. MCC.COM
  5. DEC.COM
  6. NORTHROP.COM
  7. XEROX.COM
  8. SRI.COM
  9. HP.COM
  10. BELLCORE.COM
  11. IBM.COM
  12. SUN.COM
  13. INTEL.COM
  14. TI.COM
  15. ATT.COM

Online bookmarking dilemma

I have been facing the problem of which online bookmarking service to use for quite some time now. This is due to the fact that I have the StumbleUpon and Google toolbars installed on Firefox, and also have accounts on deli.cio.us, blinklist and digg (and possibly some others which I can’t remember right now :-). Too diversified for my own good you say. Well my thoughts exactly. So, if you have any suggestions or comments be my guest.

So let me do some old fashioned analysis on this subject. First off lets list my requirements:

  1. Convenient to use from browser (few steps to bookmark page)
    • browser extensions/bookmarklets to bookmark and tag pages – Brw Extn
    • tags suggestions or better yet auto tagging for known pages (a la StumbleUpon) – Tag Sugg
  2. Easy to search through bookmarks and tags – Easy Search
  3. Sharing of bookmarks – privacy settings per bookmark – Share
  4. Post to blog/other service on a timed basis (something like daily/weekly bookmark lists) – Timed posting
  5. Proper public Atom/RSS feed of bookmarks – Pub Feed
  6. Import/export bookmarks – Imp Exp

Googling for a comparison of these services gives me this Read/WriteWeb article from about a year ago, but it’s missing Google bookmarks. Looking at the list, diigo does seem interesting though. A shot at Mashable turns up an article on a list of 50+ social bookmarking sites – so much for consolidation. However, furl and bluedot do look interesting (and I have heard of them before) – save copies of the page along with the bookmark hmmm…. sounds a bit like Clipmarks. Looks like we have 2 new candidates for the lineup. So here’s the final lineup for the comparison: StumbleUpon, Google bookmarks, deli.cio.us, diigo, furl and bluedot. Now onto the comparison table (based on my experiences with some of the services, the 2 articles I mentioned and information on the sites) – column headings based on requirements list above:

Service Brw Extn Tag Sugg Easy Search Share Timed posting Pub Feed Imp Exp
StumbleUpon Y Y N Y N Y N
Google bookmarks Y N Y N N N Y
deli.cio.us Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
diigo Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
furl Y N Y Y ? Y Y
bluedot Y ? Y Y ? Y Y

Looks like we have a tie in the feature comparison between deli.cio.us and diigo. I’ve tried deli.cio.us before, but diigo does seem quite feature rich and promising. In fact diigo seems to support posting bookmarks to rival services. On the other hand, deli.cio.us is quite well known and supported almost everywhere (wordpress.com even provides a widget), and I have found people posting their bookmarks to their blogs on a weekly/daily basis (possibly using technique like this). Then again diigo is a lot easier to type when making a review :D. It was reviewed favourably on cnet.

Jokes aside, let me try out diigo for some time before I make the final (I wonder if there’s any such thing as “final” ) decision. Now only if there was some way in which I could get my shipment of bookmarks from StumbleUpon to diigo somehow.

To round things up, just a few notes on some of the other services:

  • StumbleUpon is still quite good, especially for its “channel surfing” ability, but it’s not the best suited to be used as a bookmark manager. Also, the bookmarks feed does not seem to be supported on some sites twitterfeed and tumblr. So, sharing this way is ruled out for the time being (it does work with Google Reader which supports sharing)
  • Google bookmarks is also quite easy to use through the Google toolbar, but there’s no way to share the bookmarks or set their privacy. They did add the missing Import/Export feature sometime back, so we could expect the feature set to grow. Also, there is not much integration with other Google services like notebook, browser sync etc, which makes the service seem a bit orphaned right now.
  • I’ve tried blinklist, but the problem with that was the browser bookmarklet which didn’t load properly all the time. So, it failed at the basic level itself.

Update (20/9/2007-4:00pm IST): I’ve started using diigo and imported my bookmarks from deli.cio.us, which is a built in feature, and also installed the diigo toolbar on Firefox. The bookmarking and highlighting feature seems to be working properly, with the ability to post simultaneously to deli.cio.us and other such service (as a backup). However, the daily blog posting doesn’t seem to be properly implemented (getting error messages – seems to be done using Ruby on Rails) yet. So I have set up deli.cio.us for this, and the posting seems to be working properly.

Update (21/9/2007-10:25pm IST): Google has added a shared stuff service which allows you to share websites with others. It is not integrated with Google bookmarks at the moment, but the email feature is linked to your gmail account, plus there’s an RSS feed. So, 2 of the missing features in Google bookmarks (sharing and public feeds) could possibly be taken care of by this service.

Writer and StoryTop

I came across a couple of interesting sites today – Writer and StoryTop – through Lifehacker and downsquad respectively. Writer is an online text editor with a very simple interface (distraction free interface as per the Lifehacker post). It also allows you to post your notes onto some common blogs in the draft mode. You can also create an account for better management. If you are interested in simple and distraction free text editors, you can also try out Darkroom which is for Windows or WriteRoom for Mac OS X.

Coming to StoryTop, it is an online story creation tool, as the name suggests. It allows you to create, save and share simple stories which can span multiple pages. I guess it could also be used for making simple presentations, and not just stories.

404 errors and server complaints

I was going through one of the Geek Trivia articles on TechRepublic on the origin of the 404 – page not found error (which everyone would have encountered at some point of time), and it contained a link to a very interesting and humorous page. The page is something like a page not found error from the “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” world, with the server giving you a nice lecture. Wonder what it would be like if we had the server responding in a similar fashion for all the errors that we encounter on the web.

Another virtual world coming up

I was going through my feeds today and came across a post on Scobleizer about a “New Virtual world coming from Australia“, which talks about another Secondlife like virtual world being developed. The virtual world is named Outback Online with the tag-line “User Generated Places”, and is being developed by Yoick. The basic aim of the project seems to be to provide a 3D social network. Right now, there is not much information available on the site or the blog, other than a beta sign-up form.

Make: iPod stethoscopes, chargers etc

I came across the Make: site through one of my RSS feeds, and it has quite a lot of interesting projects and podcasts on it. The site has quite a few projects for/using the iPod, including an iPod based stethoscope which can be used to record and playback heart sounds, a USB adapter and charger kit among many others. There are also many other projects like an open source mp3 player, an alarm clock that runs away and a wifi liberator.

Social networking through Google Reader

I have been using Google Reader for a while now. It is quite handy when one wants to be in sync with different feeds across different machines. Also, now it is possible to add feeds directly to it through Firefox 2.0, which makes it quite convenient to use. The other useful feature is the ability to share interesting entries. It is also possible to subscribe to feeds of others’ shared items.

In some ways, it is similar to social bookmarking, but the difference lies in the ability to browse and share the items of interface through a single interface. There is also a clip available which can be inserted into sites, similar to the dogear bookmarks. The import/export feature is also useful, as you can use Google Reader to transfer feed subscriptions across machines. Basic organization features include tagging and starring items. There’s also a mobile version available for those looking to read feeds on the move.

World Wide 3dWeb

I was checking out the Crystal Space 3D site (the engine behind Planeshift, an MMORPG) and projects using the Crystal Space engine. I came across a project named Festonia which aims at creating a world wide 3d web. The project has released the first 0.01 alpha version of the 3d browser, and as per the site is supposed to be in testing (didn’t find it for download though). The project seems to be aimed towards providing ways to setup 3D web servers for 3D websites. This probably makes it somewhat different from Secondlife, though a 3D web could very well take the form of Secondlife which has facility for content creation, ownership and its own economy.