Category Archives: Tools

Amazing Free Web Things Part 127: Wordle


Originally uploaded by Enda P

Wordle allows you to create a very gorgeous word cloud from pasted text, blogs, feeds or del.ici.ous users’ stuff.

To hail Wordle, and to mark the submission of the H809 ECA, I fed my 4,000 word opus (minus bibliography) into Wordle and this very groovy cloud came out.

Nice (if unsurprising) to see that ‘students’, ‘technology’ and ‘learning’ were the most prominent words.

Now, what’s next….?

How connected are you?

I am the future! Hooray!

The connected academic

Your Result: Connected academic

You are the future! You’ve taken openness, connectedness and 2.0ness to heart. You are an asset to your organisation. I would be happy to be your Facebook friend.

Mildly connected academic
Unconnected academic
The connected academic
Create MySpace Quizzes

Text-to-speech – to speak?

I am a laryngectomee and cannot speak except with a Servox electronic gizmo. Do you know of any software that will instantaneously convert my keystrokes to spoken word with both reasonable volume and natural tone? Everything I read about text-to-speech seems to be about mobile phone SMS or dyslexia, and local computer stores are useless.
Steve Rowlands 

Necessity is the mother of invention. People do find amazing things to do with technology.


Kwout: Quote web pages as images

This is a very useful tool and will spare my having to use Grab, convert that TIFF to jpg, post to a image-hosting site to create a link and then embedding that link. Instead go to Kwout and type in the page (or install the Firefox plugin), then select the part of the page you want and it renders HTML, uploads to flickr or tumblr
The amazing thing about the HTML option is that it retains links. I grabbed the tag cloud from this very page. If you click on the words in the cloud below, they behave in the same way they do in the real cloud! UPDATE: Well, it appeared to do that, but now it seems to be a flat jpg. Hmmm….
Amazing. Thanks to Grainne Conole for spotting this.

Keyboard & Mouse R.I.P.?

Bill Gates Time MagazineBill Gates is predicting that the ‘second digital decade’ will ‘be more focused on connecting people’ and see machines being trained to react as people do as well as ‘natural user interfaces’ responsive to speech and touch. The era of the keyboard and mouse, the ‘first digital decade’, is over, he claimed at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last Sunday.

Whatever you think of the outgoing chairman of Microsoft, he is worth listening to. After all, when he addressed the ICES for the first time in 1994, he made the bold prediction that entertainment would move to being delivered through the home computer. At that time, very few people has a computer in their homes and the Internet was in its infancy.

I was lucky enough to get an iPod Touch for Christmas and I’ve been very impressed by the touchscreen capabilities. So much so, that even now using a keyboard and mouse to navigate the web seems slightly less practical! Bill is on to something.

Read more Gates logs out, predicting new digital era in The Guardian, January 8, 2008.

Hello world!

I’ve decided to ditch the Movable Type blog, the site the Open University assigned to me, in favour of tried-and-trusted WordPress.This was done for several reasons:1. I’m learning a great deal of things and I don’t think I need to grapple with yet another blog tool.2. No matter how much tinkering I do, I can’t seem to get Movable Type to display anything other than September 2007.3. Movable Type is unattractive (but I’m sure it has a wonderful personality).