Monthly Archive for June, 2006

Animator vs Animation

For anyone that has every used Flash or seen the popular stick figure animations you will enjoy the animation below. Animator vs Animation was created by Alan Becker and shows what happens when an animation starts fighting back against the animator. Here’s what Alan Becker has to say about it:

An animator faces his own animation in deadly combat. The battlefield? The Flash interface itself.
A stick figure is created by an animator with the intent to torture. The stick figure drawn by the animator will be using everything he can find – the brush tool, the eraser tool – to get back at his tormentor. It’s resourcefulness versus power. Who will win? You can find out yourself.

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Free Study Guides for World Literature

World Literature is a required course at The Art Institute Online, so you will more than likely need this information at some point. SparkNotes is a huge resource of literary works and study guides for practically every major book, play, article, essay, etc ever written. The best part is that it is free! I used it when i took World Literature and it helped me out every single week by analysing stories, picking out quotes, summarizing plots, etc. Each week has different stories to read and the majority of them are listed on SparkNotes with tons of information and quotes about the works. Below you will find links to every required reading in World Literature that is available on SparkNotes. Enjoy!

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Don’t limit yourself to World Literature as SparkNotes can be used for any class or assignment that requires reading a popular literary work. SparkNotes is a lifesaver for those assignment that you just don’t want to read have time to read completely!

Amazon.com Customer Service Phone Number

If you have ever tried finding Amazon.com’s customer service phone number, you probably know that it’s harder to find than an honest politician. I needed to speak to a human at Amazon a few months back and went digging for the elusive Amazon.com phone number. Luckily I found it and was able to get a human…who spoke my language…clearly! I’ve had to call Amazon.com twice since then and each call has been among the best customer service experiences that I’ve dealt with lately. Save this number somewhere safe and hope that you never need it!

800-201-7575

Tips For New Students of The Art Institute Online

Danielle Bergum posted a great article about tips for students in the forum that I felt should be on the front page for everyone to see:

Hello all, my name is Danielle Bergum and I am a senior Interior Design student here at The Art Institute Online. I am the secretary of the Student Government Association, an Interior Design & AutoCAD tutor, and a student member of ASID.
With my experience at The Art Institute Online, I wanted to pass along some knowledge that may help each and every one of you on your education journey!

  • 1. Employee and Student? Many of you, I am sure, are not only half or full-time students, but also have kids, and a career or job as well. One of the biggest mistakes is thinking that The Art Institute Online is unlike an onground school in that they will work around your life! This is NOT TRUE! Distance learning is excellent! AiO gives students a huge amount of privacy and freedom, but they are still a higher education institute and must maintain professionalism to allow their courses to be accredited. With that said, don’t take more courses than you can handle. If you have a busy life – you still need to understand that your assignments are due on the due date, and you should plan your schedule accordingly! Microsoft Office is an excellent program to schedule your daily agenda and keep on track!

    Trust me, I know from experience that school and work can be stressful and take up the majority of your time. I work 40+ hrs a week, I take 17hrs per quarter at The Art Institute Online, I am a tutor, I am a member of 2 school organizations which meet every 2 weeks for 1-2 hour meetings, I teach 3 online classes, and I still have time (very little) to spend with my husband, friends, and family. I have also been lucky enough to maintain a 4.0 cumulative GPA thus far. I am a very organized person, and I know what my priorities are. Don’t take distance learning for granted!

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Google Introduces Picasa Web

Picasa LogoGoogle has just released a web companion to their popular Picasa software, which looks to be a competitor to Yahoo!’s flickr. The new service is called Picasa Web and is available for free by invitation only at the moment. If you have a Gmail account, you can request an invitation at the Picasa Web site.

Some of the features that Google mentions are:

  • One-click web upload using Picasa’s new “Web Albumâ€? button
  • Free storage space to post and share approximately 1000 photos, with the option to upgrade to more space
  • High-quality photos, automatically resized and optimized to fill available screen space
  • Pre-loaded images enable quick scrolling using arrow keys, and mimic a desktop experience of “flippingâ€? through photos, even on the web
  • End-to-end photo management that makes it easy to download uploaded photos back to your computer

Google even has a sample web album available to see what it looks like.

Picasa Web

I noticed the ability to add comments to photos, show camera data, view as slideshow, download images, and even subscribe to RSS feeds of albums. I have always loved Picasa and I think this will be a great addition to Google’s apps. I’m not sure how many people will abandon flickr, but this is a great starting point for Google to test the waters.

If you don’t have Picasa, I highly recommend it. You can download it by clicking the “Get Google’s Photo Software” button on the right of this page.

If any of you have an account with Picasa Web and have given it a try please share your thoughts!

Sallie Mae Student Loan Consolidation

Sallie Mae Logo Many of you have student loans (federal, personal, or other) through Sallie Mae and may or may not know that the interest rate on your loan is set to increase on June 30. This happened last year as the rate shot up nearly 2%! I consolidated my loans before the deadline, which means I was able to lock in my lower interest rate for the life of my loan. Sallie Mae makes it easy to do this and I encourage everyone to consolidate your student loans before interest rates rise again…unless of course you want to pay thousands of extra dollars in interest rates!

There are two ways to consolidate through Sallie Mae.

Option 1: If you will graduate or drop below half-time enrollment by June 29


Option 2: If you will still be enrolled at least half-time through June 2006.

I can’t stress enough how important this is. The money saved if you consolidate your loans can easily amount to thousands of dollars. The 30 minutes you spend doing this could easily earn you a week’s vacation! Sallie Mae is the only student loan company that I go through, but I am sure others will do the same for you. Just check with your student loan officers and ask how to consolidate student loans…just make sure you do it before June 30!

Easily Convert Movies and Videos on a Mac

Visual HubSometimes it can be a pain to convert videos and movies on a mac as there are many programs, scripts, codecs, etc. Luckily, this issue has been addressed with a sweet new program called VisualHub. It makes it incredibly easy to convert videos to just about any format on a mac. Here is the list of features taken directly from their site:

Features:

  • * Fast conversion from nearly every video format to iPod, PSP, DV, DVD, AVI, MP4, WMV, MPEG and Flash.
  • * Convert any file in three steps. Click, drag, click.
  • * Fit up to 18 hours of video on one DVD. Play it in any standalone DVD player.
  • * Xgrid support. Use the power of every Mac on your network for batch encoding.
  • * QuickTime Pro or special plugins not required.
  • * DivX/XviD AVIs, all forms of MPEG video, and many other formats QuickTime struggles with are supported.
  • * Batch Processing of multiple files. Save in-place, or to a different folder.
  • * Very comprehensive Advanced panel to modify every aspect of encoding.
  • * Dynamic Preview – See results before beginning a long encode.
  • * Stitch multiple files together to combine videos.
  • * Universal Binary for PowerPC and Intel Macs.

Head on over to the VisualHub website to try out the demo. If you like it, it’s only $23.32. If you convert videos on a mac a lot, it seems to be the best program for the job.

Free Video Clips to Use in Your Projects

Since most of you deal with some sort of multimedia there is bound to be a time when you will need random video clips and stock footage to use in a project. Luckily for you there is a growing archive of free video clips that you can browse for free and use however you like. Here is what they have to say about using the clips:

This collection is free and open for everyone to use.

Our goal in digitizing these movies and putting them online is to provide easy access to a rich and fascinating core collection of archival films.

By providing near-unrestricted access to these films, we hope to encourage widespread use of moving images in new contexts by people who might not have used them before.

So there you have it…absolutely free video clips and stock footage for you to use in your projects. Just visit: http://www.archive.org/details/movies and enjoy!