Since joining Twitter a few months back, I have wanted to understand how it overlapped/interacted with the web-content aggregator friendfeed. I looked at friendfeed at least two or three times and never quite ‘got it’ – until today.
Robert Scoble was a guest on the recent episode 81 of net@night. This guy is quite the friendfeed evangelist (Arrington suggests he’s addicted to it). So much so that the net@nite discussion made me want to take another look. Leo mentioned that Scoble had done a ‘how to’ type video on friendfeed. A quick Google search lead me to this very informative 26 minute video: ‘Robert Scoble: 20 Things About Friendfeed”:
Since listening to this net@night podcast back in May 2008, where Amber and Leo interviewed Daniel Ha, the founder of the Disqus, I have been interested in implementing this kind of a community-oriented, commenting/discussion system on my blogs.
Early on, I had compared the feature set of Disqus and its competitor, IntenseDebate (“ID”), and Disqus’s feature set and looks won. Concerns surrounding the ability to import, export, sync and otherwise control my comments, held me back. I was not going to join any system where I lost ownership/control of my users’ comments.
In the interim, both Disqus and ID have added dynamic comment importing, exporting and synchronization features. I became comfortable that I would not be locked into any commenting system if/when I chose to leave. Scot Jangro’s December 30, 2008 post, ‘Comment System Review Redux’, compared the the two systems afresh and gave me substantial comfort that ID’s feature set had evolved to near parity with Disqus (see other comparisons: inquisitr.com | Mashable).
But the clincher came on Sept 23, 2008 when Automattic, the owner of WordPress, purchased IntenseDebate. (See: Matt Mullenweg’s comment – IntenseDebate’s comment – Disqus’s comment). I expect Automattic to integrate IntenseDebate’s community comment / discussion system into the WordPress core at some point. So, as a WordPress user, it seemed a no brainer to go with IntenseDebate.
[January 23, 2009 Update: Despite what I wrote above, I ultimately switched to Disqus not long after implementing Intense Debate. In my ‘Why I switched from IntenseDebate to Disqus’ post [coming soon] I describe why I made the switch.]
IntenseDebate’s WordPress Plugin features are discussed here. The newest WordPress Plugin (v 2.0.18) has been completely overhauled, making the installation and comment import/export/sync process much easier than it was.
Below I describe why I installed ID. I then walk you, step-by-step, through the IntenseDebate installation process in WordPress 2.7.
In Episode 49 of the net@night podcast, Amber MacArthur and Leo Laporte interviewed the co-founder of animoto, Brad Jefferson. animoto is a web service that generates professional quality, customized videos from your images and music. FYI, here’s Leo’s video.
I decided to give it a whirl. I am impressed. So far I’ve ‘produced’ three videos including this one of my 2002 trip to Thailand (turn on your speakers for this).
The images in this video were taken from these Thai locations in this order: Bangkok (including the backpacker Mecca of Khao San Road), Ko Samui,Ko Tao, Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, Rai Leh, Ao Nang Krabi, Kanchanaburi (Bridge Over River Kwai), Phang-Nga then back to Ko Samui
Except for the uploading and processing time, assuming your pictures are generally ordered on your computer or hosted web service in the order you want them in your video, the process takes only about 10 minutes of your time.
Animoto ‘How To’ Summary
- Select Images: Upload your pictures to animoto (one picture per second or two of music worked well for me). Alternatively, you can select pictures from your flickr, facebook, smugmug, picasa or photobucket account
- Arrange Images: Arrange the photos in the order you wish. You can tell animoto which pictures to highlight in the video
- Select Music: Select one of their canned tracks or upload an MP3 file from your computer
- Payment: Pay either U.S. $3.00 per video, or $30 for a year long unlimited all-access pass, with Paypal or Google Checkout (unfortunately no credit cards yet). Note: See the referral program info below to get $5 off the all-access pass
- Processing: animoto will churn away for an hour or two analyzing your pictures and chosen music and then create a customized video. animoto will email you a link to the finished product when done
Below I describe what you can do with the resulting video and provide a step by step guide, showing how I made the Thailand video.