Must see site – Netvibes

Web portals seem to come and go. I’ve tried a number of them out there and none of them has ever really stuck with me. They are usually either too clunky or too slow. The newest one that I’m playing with is from Netvibes.com. This one like Google’s portal offering utilizes ajax. However, unlike Google’s (for me at least) Netvibe’s works really well and is really fast. Combining the widget idea and rss feeds you can make the ultimate portal available to you from anywhere on the net. So far I’m digging it! Head on over and give it a try, you’ll be amazed at the flexibility and usefulness of Netvibes.
netvibes

Photography Podcasts

PodcastsI’ve recently started listening to more Podcasts and have really come to enjoy a couple in particular. I mostly listen to those that are tech related and have found several photography related podcasts as well. iTunes tends to be on my list of irritating software but for subscribing to and getting podcasts onto my iPod it works well. (Brandon, no comments from you either!)

Nikonians.com has a podcast page where they have several different podcasts on a variety of topics. The Image Doctors, found on the Nikonians website is a great podcast that covers many different aspects of photography. In a couple of episodes I’ve listened to Jason and Rick have been reviewing different software packages for digital photography workflow and raw file conversion. They have great podcast voices and their interaction together works well.

Tips from the Top Floor is another great podcast by Chris Marquart.

…a short and sweet with non-techy tips that you can put to use immediately. Covers everything from image composition to post processing. No matter if you use a digital point-and-shoot or an expensive digital SLR. Tips for the beginner as well as the professional photographer.

Another interesting podcast comes from the American Photo section on Popular Photography’s website. Host Jay DeFoore interviews different photographers about their work.

If you are into tech related topics 2 podcasts I recommend are This Week In Tech and Engadget.  If you are familiar with This Week In Tech you might still go check out their site as it’s had a good overhaul done on it and it looks sharp.

Must see site: Timecatcher.com

My word…that’s about all I can say about the shots that are on this site.
Here’s a disclaimer found on the Timecatcher.com site:

WARNING: Numerous scientific research has proven this site to be a real feast for the eyes. You may experience the will to quit your day job and travel. We cannot be held responsible for such actions. Viewer discretion is advised.

Scientific or not, I can attest to it…I am ready to quit my day job.

Windows Live Portal

logoThis may not be news to some of you, but I just found it so it’s news to me. While poking around some blogs I found a link to live.com and being the adventurer I am I followed the link.

What I found was a site called Windows Live beta. From the live.com blog: “Live.com is about three things:
1. The best place to search on the web. There are many ways where this is true today and we still have many areas to improve upon.
2. A personalized portal. This is the thing we are doing the most of today because most of the technology is available. It’s all about customization and control, themes, layouts, content, etc. Make it yours.
3. Get the benefits of Windows and Windows Live services. Today we have a dashboard with interactive mini-applications called gadgets where you can have easy access to the Windows Live services that matter most to you.”
You can read more on their blog here. I realize that this is certainly nothing new and that Microsoft is doing what it does alot, which is imitate stuff that is already out there. Google has it’s personalized home portal which looks very similiar. I used it for awhile, but it tended to be somewhat slow to me. So I’m going to try this for awhile and see how it performs. Besides that I have wanted to give Microsoft’s search engine a spin but never liked the MSN home page at all. They do also have a clean version of their search engine as well taking from Google’s cue of a nice clean page. I like the idea of a portal where you can customize the contents, but being the picky person I am, never really took to any of the portals out there.

Must see site: The Radiant Vista

radiantVistaEvery now and then you run across a website and think, wow. I look at a lot of websites. One reason I like StumbleUpon so much is that you get to find sites you wouldn’t normally find in your average internet explorations. The internet is a vast expanse of information and people. An overwhelming majority of that expanse seems to be filled with junk. Either people trying anything they can think of to make money or people spewing all sorts of none-sense like little children running around a playground making up fantasy games and stories.

If you are lucky you might hit 1 or 2 innovative sites a month that sincerely offer useful information in a well thought out manner. “The Radiant Vista” is one of those types of sites. I was on one of my favorite Photoblogs, Michael Brown’s “Macro Art In Nature” and he mentioned Radiant Vista so I figured I’d check it out.

Awesome! They have a section called The Daily Critique where they take photos submitted to them and do a 4 to 5 minute dialog about the shot pointing out the good and the bad. I’ve watched a couple of these and they are very good. They also have a section called The Photoshop Workbench which has some 20 minute videos with tips and tricks and other useful info on using Photoshop. As if the first two sections weren’t enough there’s also a video tutorial section covering photoshop and other photography pointers, add to that pdf tutorials and articles and you’ve got enough useful information to keep you busy for some time. It was one of the few times I thought this is something I wouldn’t mind paying some money for!

Update: I found a place to make donations on Radiant Vista’s website and made a small donation. I encourage you to make a donation also since their content is so valuable and useful. Every little bit helps with the costs of bandwidth and such.

I’ve started a page to keep track of great websites such as this one.

Sand Fantasy

Ocean

Here’s something a bit different…while Stumbling on the internet I ran across this site called Sand Fantasy. According to the website, “Ilana Yahav draws on sand, using only her fingers. As she weaves together sand, lighting and music, Ilana creates incredible three dimensional images.”

Watch the video clips to get a better idea of what she does. It’s quite impressive. The “Just Imagine” clip really shows her talent.

Photography sites and WordPress 2.0.1

Flash

I’m really trying to make an effort at writing more on my blog. I don’t get all that much traffic on this blog, but it’s fun to write anyways. Sometimes it’s just sort of theraputic to write even if no one is reading it!I ran across a very neat photography site called Digital Outback Photo. The site offers great info and focuses on “.. web magazine for quality outdoor photography using digital cameras.” I read a couple of articles so far and was pretty impressed with their indepth writing. Outdoor photography seems to be the area I am most comfortable and interested in, but even if you aren’t into outdoor nature type photography, they cover many topics that are applicable to all types of photography and post-processing.

Another great photography site I found was Ken Rockwell’s website. Someone in the forums over at DPReview.com mentioned his site, so I thought I’d check it out. He has a number of articles with great information. He has an article called “How to make great photographs“, which I found pretty interesting.

I love Photoblogs.org. Now I love it even more. They are releasing a new version of the site that has been reworked and is sharper than ever. You can check it out here. This new version is supposed to be released later this month. I really like what they’ve done with the site both asthetically and as far as how it works.

I use WordPress for my blog and a couple of other blogs that I work with like MISGuys.com, squatRSS and General-Admission.com. We’ve recently upgraded them all to using version 2.0.1 of WordPress. If you are using WordPress and aren’t using this version I highly recommend it. There are alot of new features and the admin interface is great. There is a image upload feature that’s worth the upgrade on it’s own! The upgrade from version 1.5 went very well also!

Cool Firefox Theme – iPox

iPox
I change my wallpaper at least once every 3 days. I have about 4 computers that I use through the course of a day and finding enough interesting wallpapers can be difficult. I usually find a wallpaper site that I’ll use for awhile and then find another. For quite some time I’ve been using www.interfacelift.com. That’s not actually what I was going to talk about though. What I was going to write about is how I like to change my Firefox theme, not as often as my wallpaper though. I found a theme I really like and it’s called iPox. I bet you can’t tell what it’s based off of. :) Thomas from TwisterMC.com made it and it is good. Check out his website it’s very sharp.

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