Tuesday, November 25, 2008

FREE Flash Helper Applications

1. SWF2mht:
a FREE tool for embedding Flash files into HTML
One of the biggest problems of Flash files is that they cannot be opened by a simple double-clicking in Windows Explorer. There are many solutions on how to workaround this problem, including converting them into another format, to self-executable files, or embedding them into HTML. swf2mht is a FREE tiny command line utility that performs embedding of SWF files into HTML. It creates just one file which is double clickable. When double-clicked it opens in MS Internet Explorer where you can see your Flash Movie as if it has been opened using File >> Open dialog.

2. SWF Compress
a FREE Flash Compression Tool
Although most modern Flash production programs provide an MX Compression feature, there are many existing Flash files that still haven't been compressed using MX Compression algorithm yet. This tool solves this problem. Just specify source and target files locations and press Compress button. Generally, most Flash files are decreased by 40%.

FireShot browser extension: screenshot, edit, annotate, save

FREE screencapture tool, lets you annotate and do many things with your screenshot image, saves in various formats. You have to go to the site I've linked above and read about it to see how useful it would be -- especially to people who are creating lessons for students and want screenshot illustrations.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Abbreviations and acronyms dictionary

"With more than 600,000 human-edited definitions, Acronym Finder is the world's largest and most comprehensive dictionary of acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms. New! You can also search for more than 850,000 US and Canadian postal codes."
They also have a handy button you can add to your Google searchbar so that looking up an acronym is just one click from your search box.

Friday, November 21, 2008

NinjaWords - a really fast dictionary

In a forest of online dictionaries, here's a stand-out tree.

I quote them:
Why is this called Ninjawords?
Ninjas are three things:
>They're smart
>They're accurate
>They're really fast
Ninjawords is based on these principles. Plus everyone likes ninjas.

Look at their "Find Out More" page to see what you can do with your own dictionary searches.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Art & Science of CSS: FREE 208 page book

No strings attached. :)
Time limited offer.

I just downloaded the book and had a quick glance through it. It doesn't just tell you the "how" of things, it explores CSS in the context of good website design.

Here are a couple of snippets from their Preface and Intro:

"Each chapter of this book will teach you how to style common web site components through practical examples. Along the way, you’ll learn many handy techniques for bringing complex designs to life in all modern browsers without needing to resort to messy hacks or superfluous presentational markup."

"Who Should Read this Book? This book is ideal for anyone who wants to gain the practical skills involved in using CSS to make attractive web sites, especially if you’re not the type who likes to learn by memorizing a formal specification and then trying to work out which browsers implemented it completely (does anyone enjoy reading specifications?)."

I'm looking forward to digging right in and reading every word!

WebAIM: Resources

WebAIM = Web Accessibility In Mind

A rich list of resources under the headings Popular Resources, Tools, Keyboard Shortcuts, and Simulations. The sidepanel has a Getting Started "Introduction to Web Accessibility", plus Community links as well as links to the most recent articles on their blog.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How to use PPT presentations in your online course

November, 2008: People who regularly convert from PPT for use in online courses are currently almost-unanimously** recommending the following solutions:

1. for simple VIEWING of the presentations: convert to FLASH.
[One recommended free application that does this: iSpring See below for description.]

2. to allow for easy PRINTING: convert to PDF. Use Adobe Acrobat.

3. Best: Make BOTH versions available to students.

** Based on the listserves I'm reading.

iSpring: Free PowerPoint to Flash Converter

"Flash presentations from PowerPoint in one click! FREE converter creates web friendly Flash movies from your PowerPoint content keeping its visual parameters and animation effects. Generated Flash presentation will look as if it has always been a Flash movie. Keeps most of advanced PowerPoint features....With iSpring Free you can generate .html code ready to place an .swf file on your web page or blog. iSpring wraps Flash slideshows in the attractive Player for effective navigation. iSpring supports automatic and mouse click animation step advance and looped playback."