This week we looked at additional tools and resources available online. When it comes to ePublishing we looked at Sigil, a free open-source EPUB creation program. Calibre a free open source library management application, and Schrivener,a commercial word-processing program especially for writers. We also looked at some plugins. One is called contact form 7, this allows you to create a great customisable contact form for your website. Another we looked at was lightbox plus, it allows you to use overlay image effects. AddThis is a plugin that allows you to add social media sharing options. We also looked at IFTTT(if this then that). By using a combination of these tools and others you can really make the most of your website. This is going to be my last post for this module, I want to thank my followers for sticking with me throughout these last few weeks and I really hope that you can take something away from my posts that will help you in future.
This week we looked at optimising your site for social media. We were told to add a twitter feed and facebook feed to the blog. I decided to link my twitter but not to link my Facebook, its not difficult to do but i just felt more comfortable sharing only one of my social networking sites. If you are interested you can follow me on twitter by clicking on the follow button in the footer of the page. 🙂 WordPress allows you to link multiple social media accounts which is great. The purpose of linking your social networking accounts is to allow your audience to share your information and to get access to more information about you. It can be particularly useful for businesses to engage in this as they will have access to a wider audience and the audience will appreciate having this option. We looked at various social media outlets that allow for this function such as stumble upon, Reddit, Facebook, twitter, soundcloud and so on. Some other tools we discussed were Klout, Social Mention, Google Alerts, Mailchimp and Hootsuite. Klout offer rewards to users based on the impact they have online. Social mention allows you to see what people are saying about you or your company online. Google alerts offers you email notifications any time Google finds new results on a topic you’re interested in Mailchimp allows users to create, send and track newsletters. Hootsuite is a platform for managing social media marketing. This is just a quick insight into what these websites offer. Go check them out and see if they can help you or your business with its social media.
This week we took a look at search engine optimisation(SEO). If you are interested in how to optimise your search results you might find this useful. It’ G starter guide to SEO.[PDF] In class we discussed Organic and how it can be used on and offsite. We also looked briefly at search engine marketing which I found interesting, and keyword research tools such as wordtracker.com and adwords.google.com. We also learned about Webmaster Tools and how we can use them to optimise our views potential. I actually found this quite awkward, there were so many steps and if you messed up on one nothing would work. However once i managed to get it to work i could see the benefits. It helps people online to find your blog without too much difficulty. These tools also allow you to view your traffic in a clear and concise way. Give it a go yourself if you want to get more people to view your content.
This week we looked at navigating the digital commons. We learnt about underlying and derivative works, fair use, the public domain, the tension between those who believe in the right to privacy and those who believe in the right to free expression and information, the history of the commons and the difference between copyright and copyleft. We also looked at case examples. One of which was Kim.com, another was The Pirate Bay. I found the privacy part of this topic to be the most interesting. After watching a video called Stand Your Ground, I was shocked by how the security managers handled the situation. The video showed photographers experiences with security staff from buildings around a city and in some cases the encounters lead to the police being called. I was happy to see when the police stepped in that they agreed with the photographers and really just confirmed that they were allowed to be there. The problem only occurs when someone is walking around with a camera in their hand, if there was a CCTV recording everything in the area, nobody would notice or complain about it. We are being recorded every day without complaining, why do people complain when its possibly for art? This video made me think about how people might feel vulnerable when they see photographers, maybe its because the true beauty of photography is being able to capture the moments that nobody else sees. What do you think?
This week we looked at digital image management. We discussed different image formats and how best to use them and we also learned how to take a screen capture. There are many different image formats but we broke them into two segments, vector graphic and bitmap/raster image. Here is an infograph to tell you more about them.
We also discussed the two primary types of image compression, lossless and lossy compression. Lossless compression refers to recreating your image in a smaller size with less server storage requirements which allows for faster delivery. Lossy compression discards all unnecessary information shrinking the file size. This does impact image quality. Most of the time however it is considered the best image technique for web images as it uses less memory.
I thought it was pretty cool that our lecturer gave us a great place to find great GIFs. Its a website called gifart.org.
Here is an example of what kind of things they have to offer. Go check it out.
This week we took look at presentation tools and how best to present information to the audience. I have always been an extremely nervous presenter so going through this really helped me feel more confident about presenting. We took a look at PowerPoint, Keynote, Open Office, Google Docs, Slide Share and Prezi as these are the main softwares used to create presentations. We also took a look at a few other services such as Screenr which is used to create screen casts, YouTube which you can use to publish your screencasts and Modzilla Popcorn Maker to create mash ups.I found this pretty interesting article on stumbleupon and thought it would be good to share so here is the link for anyone interested in learning more. How to Create a Great Presentation in Just 15 Minutes.
The task for this week was to try out Screenr to make a video of my presentation. You will find it if you click on the link below.
This week we looked at digital imaging. We took a look at some platforms that allow you to edit your images such as Photoshop, GIMP, Pixlr and Picasa in particular. Picasa has a range of editing tools to choose from and is free to download online. We also discussed batch processing effects and batch exporting images. We were shown how easy it is to do this and the benefits of it. We were asked to go retouch pros website and complete one of the restoration challenges. I found this task really exciting. It gave me a chance to work on my skills at photo editing. I searched through the photos to choose from and once I chose one I saved it and opened it in Picasa which I had downloaded for free. I then had a look through the tools and decided to start by using the retouch tool, this was the longest part of the process. I found this task really rewarding as I really enjoy learning through practice. I could see the difference I was making through each step I took, I had to change the brush size on many occasions to try to get it just right. I found the most difficult part was around her dress but i think I managed to do an okay job considering I had never tried anything like this before. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment. Or if you have any suggestions about how I could have done it better. Thanks.
This week we covered publishing and hosting our podcast, we also discussed how to go about allowing for subscription to your podcast and rss feeds. I never knew it could be so easy to upload your own audio files and have people subscribe to them. All you have to do is create your audio file (refer to last weeks post) and then make a PodOmatic account online and upload your file. This site will host your podcast for free. The truth is recording myself and listening to it over and over to try to get it perfect was really difficult. It made me pretty uncomfortable, so naturally I had to do it more and more because I kept messing up due to the nerves. GREAT! It took a lot of practice but eventually i got through it and cut out the ambient noise. I still have a few bits of editing to do and then I should feel comfortable uploading it. So you all have that to look forward to.
We were also given the task of taking both landscape and portrait photos to show how shifting between them can improve their framing. Below are my images.
First a portrait:
Then I took the same photo in landscape:
Same again, Portrait:
From the experience I gained capturing my own photos, I feel like it was all about the angle I shot from. That’s what helped me decide which would be the better option. Below is a photo I took where I was at the correct angle to include all the things I wanted in the photograph without having to switch to landscape.
This week we looked at audio recording, audio formats and audacity, a tool that allows you to edit your recording. To use audacity you need to download the software. If you’re planning on exporting mp3 files you should download LAME. You will need to make sure you are installing the right software and make sure you don’t pay for anything. This software is free so if it asks for payment details you are not on the right site. BE CAREFUL!! I know so many people who have gotten caught out by clicking the wrong link for downloading software online.
In class we looked at the many tools that Audacity provides, draw, zoom, silence and envelope. The best way to learn for me was to mess around with the different tools and do some reading from the handbook that is available on the Audacity website. We have to make a podcast soon as an assignment so the things we covered in class will help us to do this. We will be learning more about podcasts and I will give you guys more information when I get it.
This weeks task was to show the effect of shutter speed, unfortunately i cant control the shutter speed on my camera so i was only able to capture images with the shutter speed at 1/4s. Here is the result :
Although I wasn’t able to change my shutter speed I want to display the difference between a high shutter speed and a low shutter speed. I got the images below from imgeater.com.
This week we discussed the history of photography, camera settings and how to use them, how to take a better picture, camera types and there limitations and benefits. I have been really looking forward to learning about how to use my camera to the best of its ability and I feel like I have finally got a grasp on the basics. As this is the area I found most interesting I will share some of the camera workings with you this week. The first one we looked at was Aperture. Before this module I had no previous knowledge of any camera settings other than how to put a filter on, pretty pathetic I now realize. Aperture is the opening of the lens. It is used to create depth of field. It is measured by f-stops, this is where I started to have difficulty with my camera. It took me a while to get the hang of changing the f-stop. My camera is very old which probably doesn’t help. We also talked about shutter speed, this blocks light from entering the camera lens. The longer the shutter is open the more light allowed into the image. It’s a good idea to use a fast shutter speed if you are trying to capture a fast movement in focus. It then makes sense that a slow shutter speed allows for motion blur. However it is necessary to use some form of camera stabilization to capture a clear image. We then moved onto ISO. ISO measures the sensitivity of the camera. Our lecturer asked us to take photos to show our understanding of aperture. Unfortunately the camera I am using is on my iPhone 6plus, although it’s a great camera I am unable to change the settings manually. I did manage to find an app which will show me the metadata attached to the photo so I will be able to tell you the settings my phone set to capture the images. For anyone else who is using their phone to take their photos here is the app I am talking about, its free and so easy to use.
Here are the photos I took on my way home from college:
To the left we have the settings at Aperture f/2.2 ISO 32 and Shutter speed at 1/60s. This focused the object at the front which in this case was the red leaf. The image to the right also had the same settings but I choose to focus the background. The iPhone camera is easy to use, just tap the area you want to focus on and stay as still as possible.