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Fun Websites | Savvy Tech Tips

March 16th 2007

Motivational Posters: Make Your Own Digital Version

parody_motivator.jpgTime for some Friday fun! Despair, Inc., which makes entertaining “anti” motivational posters, has a neat Parody Motivator Generator on their site. This page allows you to create free digital motivational posters, using your own photos and text. You can then save the poster as a JPEG file. Cool!

Creating a poster is straightforward, but here is a brief set of directions if you get confused:

  • Use the “browse” button to find an upload a photo from your computer.
  • Choose from the three options of placing the photo on the poster (center will work best in most cases)
  • Choose the poster orientation, based on the type of photo you have.
  • Change the title/border color, the motivational text color, and the background color if you like, by clicking on the little squares to left of the appropriate words. The defaults generally look great, by the way.
  • Type your poster title and text. Change the font if you like.
  • Click “Create Poster”. Done!

fear.jpgIf you’ve got a photo you want to use and know what you want to write, you can make a poster in about two minutes.

After you create the poster, you’ll have an option for saving it to your computer. Very slick!

Enjoy!

Edit: To the left is my first attempt. Click to see the larger image.

January 27th 2007

Eos Tarot Card Reading

eos_tarot.jpgEos Tarot is slick little site, sponsored by Volkswagen, for getting a quick three-card reading about a question you’ve got about your life. You think of an open ended question, then deal a card for your past, present, and future. The reader then talks about the significance of each of the cards.
No signups required, and everything works right in your browser. The site works best with audio up, so you can hear the card reader talk about the cards that come up, but you can still read about each card if you’re in a place where audio would be unwise.

In many ways this site seems similar to Elf Yourself. We’ve got a corporate sponsor plugging an elegant one-page site that features some slick visitor interaction. It’s different and not quite as much fun as Elf Yourself, of course, in that you aren’t watching yourself dance around, but still, it’s nice to see these site types of fun sites coming up now and then.

Enjoy!

December 13th 2006

Fun Stuff: www.pandora.com

Computer Type: All • Level: Novice

If you like music, www.pandora.com may be the best thing to happen to you today. The site was created based on research done for The Music Genome Project, which is a long-term study of the essential attributes of songs. To date, the study has analyzed over 10,000 songs and broken down their essential elements. As the study progressed, the musicians involved realized that the research could be used as an excellent way for people to discover new music they liked.

pandora.jpgThe site is easy to use. When you get to Pandora.com, you enter the name of a song or artist you like. Pandora then searches its database of music for songs that have similar musical characteristics to your song and artist’s music. It then creates a “station” for you that will stream this similar music to your computer. As a song plays, you can tweak your results by selecting the “Guide Us” button and giving the song playing a thumbs up or a thumbs down. The station will alter the music based on your feedback.

This is simply a great way to find new music that you’ll like. If I hear a song that I like someplace, I’ll enter it into Pandora and usually end up discovering a couple of new artists that I enjoy. The site also makes for a great radio station while on your computer. You can create 100 stations, so there is a lot of room for creativity.

You might be wondering what the catch is, or how much it costs. Well, the news just keeps getting better.

First, there are two versions of the site: one with ads; one without. The version with ads is free. The ads are noticeable but hardly annoying. If they really bother you, or you want to support their project, or you’re just silly rich, there is a $36/year subscription fee that will totally remove the ads. With the exception of the ads, the two versions of the site are the same.

Second, you don’t have to download any programs to your computer, and nothing gets downloaded to your computer. The site plays in Flash right on the webpage, so chances are good that you’ll be able to listen to music right away. If anything, all you’ll have to do is download a free Flash player, which you really should have on your computer anyway.

The one negative, if you wish to call it that, is that you’ve got to create an account to listen to more than a few minutes of music. They ask for an email (for login purposes), zip code, birth year, and gender. In over a year of being registered with the site, I’ve never gotten an email from them, and the site seems very much on the up and up. I’d trust them.

Enjoy!

Relevant Links
Direct Link to Pandora
Read more about Pandora
Read more about the Music Genome Project

December 4th 2006

Elf Yourself

elfyourself1.jpgComputer Type: All • Difficulty Level: Novice

EDIT on 1/11/07: It looks as if Elf Yourself is done for the season. We’ll keep and eye on this one and see if it comes back for next year.

Want some holiday giggles? Try Elf Yourself, a free site sponsored by Office Max that allows you to stick a head from any photo onto a dancing elf. The elf dances to music for a couple of minutes and can even make a short greeting, if you have a microphone attached to your computer. The finished project is stored on the website, so you can email a link to show others your dancing creations. Perfect for loved ones, bosses, or other creatures you wish to gently poke fun of.

Putting up a photo is straightforward, but you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a photograph on your computer in JPEG format and less than 1MB (pretty large) of the person you want to make into an elf. Chances are fairly good that any photo from your digital camera will work fine. If you’re not sure about a photo, just try it and see if it works. You can’t break anything by trying to upload a photo to the site in the wrong format.

Click on “Start the Elfamorphosis” to get started. Accept the agreement, then upload a photo. Once you get the photo uploaded, you move it around and set it to get it just right. A lot of this tweaking is intuitive. Click and drag on the photo to get your head in the right place. Try to align the mouth on the guide with the mouth of the person in your photo. Move the Scale and Rotate sliders to change the size and angle of the face.

elfyourself2.jpgOne thing that is not apparent is that you can click and drag the little dots around the face to adjust the size of the cut out. Keep testing things until you get them the way you want them, then click on “Save Face”.

For even more fun, you have the option of recording your voice with your message. The website gives you a toll-free number to call, with an eight-digit code. You simply dial the number, enter your code, and record your voice. Very elegant and easy, and there is there is no sales pitch or wasted time. Done!

You can now view your dancing elf and email the address to others. Great fun, and it’s all free. Enjoy!