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via Digital Inspiration Technology Blog by Amit on 11/06/12

Crop Images Online

The interesting parts of an image are preserved in the cropped version

Cropp is new online tool that will intelligently crop and/or resize your images in the browser without requiring any software. You can use the tool to crop a single picture or upload multiple images (max 5) and it will crop /resize them all to the desired sizes in a batch.

This is obviously a crowded field – search for "crop resize images" in Google and you'll find dozens of similar web apps that do cropping and much more –  but there are few unique features in Cropp that you'll probably like.

Many-to-Many Cropping

One, Cropp is probably the only online app that does many-to-many cropping – you can upload multiple pictures, select multiple outputs sizes and it will provide you all the cropped versions in a downloadable zip file.

The other advantage is that Cropp algorithms will automatically try to preserve the most interesting parts of a picture in the cropped version (handy when you are trying to create small thumbnails). And if you aren't happy with the final output, you can always adjust the crop marquee manually to get the desired result.

See some more useful websites.

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Digital Inspiration @labnolThis story, Online Tool Crops your Images "Intelligently", was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 11/06/2012 under Image Editing, Websites, Internet.

Related posts:

  1. Pull Images from any Web Page and Turn Them Into a Nice Photo Collage Online
  2. Zoho Online Database and Reporting Tool
  3. Optimize Image Sizes Online With Yahoo's Smushit
  4. SEO Tips for Google Images
  5. Resize Text in Firefox Without Resizing the Images


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via Open Culture by Dan Colman on 11/06/12

During the past two days, our list of Free Online Movies has been getting some good exposure. And we've got no complaints. But while assembling the movie list, we were also busy putting together a list of 500 Free Online Courses from top universities. Here's the lowdown: This master list lets you download free courses from schools like Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford, Harvard and UC Berkeley. Generally, the courses can be accessed via YouTube, iTunes or university web sites. Right now you'll find 55 courses in Philosophy, 50 in History, 50 in Computer Science, 35 in Physics, and that's just beginning to scratch the surface. Most of the courses were recently produced. But, in some cases, we've layered in lecture series by famous intellectuals recorded years ago. Here are some highlights from the complete list.

  • African-American History: Modern Freedom Struggle – YouTube– iTunes – Clay Carson, Stanford
  • Financial Markets 2011 YouTube - iTunes - Web Site – Robert Shiller, Yale
  • Growing Up in the Universe – YouTube – Richard Dawkins, Oxford
  • Human Behavioral Biology – iTunes Video – YouTube – Robert Sapolsky, Stanford
  • Introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) – Download Course – Christine Hayes, Yale.
  • Heidegger's Being & Time – iTunes - Hubert Dreyfus, UC Berkeley
  • Intensive Introduction to Computer Science Using C, PHP, and JavaScript – Multiple Formats – iTunes – David Malan, Harvard
  • Introduction to Cosmology and Particle Physics – YouTube – Sean Carroll, Caltech
  • Invitation to World Literature – Web Site - David Damrosch, Harvard
  • iPhone Application Development in iOS5 HD Video iTunes - Standard-Def Video iTunes - Paul Hegarty, Stanford
  • Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? – YouTube - Web Site- Michael Sandel, Harvard
  • Philosophy of Language – iTunes – John Searle, UC Berkeley
  • Physics for Future Presidents – YouTube – Richard Muller, UC Berkeley
  • Quantum Electrodynamics – Web Site - Richard Feynman, Presented at University of Auckland
  • Science, Magic and Religion iTunes - YouTube – Courtenay Raiai, UCLA
  • The American Novel Since 1945 – YouTube – iTunes Audio – iTunes Video - Download Course – Amy Hungerford, Yale
  • The Art of Living – Web Site – Team taught, Stanford

Visit this list of Free Courses for many more hours of free enrichment. Separately, you might also want to check out our collection of Free Language Lessons. It offers free lessons in over 40 languages.

A Master List of 500 Free Courses From Great Universities is a post from: Open Culture. You can follow Open Culture on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and by Email.


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Even simple charts can tell a story:
Regardless of your politics, this chart is a great example of how data can tell a story. It's a very simple graph by the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life showing the changing attitudes about same-sex marriage. It shows that in the past couple of years, people have begun to be in favor of same-sex marriage.
I'm showing this chart because it so clearly represents the story of the data. The eye is immediately drawn to where the "oppose" and "favor" lines cross. Other obvious choices for this data would have been a stacked bar chart or a side by side bar chart as shown here (which I created with the source data just as examples):

These two charts are fine, but they really don't tell the story of what's happening. They merely present the data. The viewer has to take the time to look at each year and detect the year where there's a flip. The flip is much harder to see in these two graphs.
It goes to show that even in the most humble charts, we must choose wisely to convey our message.

Miso: An open source toolkit for data visualisation:
Your online visualization options are limited when you don't know how to program. The Miso Project, a collaboration between The Guardian and Bocoup, is an effort to lighten the barrier to entry.
While the goal is to build a toolkit that makes visualization easier and faster, the first release of the project is Dataset, a JavaScript library to setup the foundation of any good data graphic. If you've ever worked with data on the Web, you know there are a variety of (usually painful) steps you have to go through before you actually get to fun stuff. Dataset will help you with the data transformation and and management grunt work.

One of the most common patterns we've found while building JavaScript-based interactive content is the need to handle a variety of data sources such as JSON files, CSVs, remote APIs and Google Spreadsheets. Dataset simplifies this part of the process by providing a set of powerful tools to import those sources and work with the data. Once data is in a Dataset, it becomes simple to select, group, and calculate properties of, the data. Additionally, Dataset makes it easy to work with real-time and changing data, which pose one of the more complex challenges to data visualization work.

Gonna keep an eye on this one. I'm curious to see how the visualization component starts to build out.


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via eLearning Blog Dont Waste Your Time by David Hopkins on 3/14/12

Visual.lyLike Infographics (I do), then you might like to try out, a tool that enables you to create your own (basic) infographic quickly and easily.

As reported on Mashable this week:

"The tool will eventually use APIs from sources including ESPN, the Economist and social media sites to compile and create data visualizations. At its launch, the startup is offering templates that use the Facebook or Twitter API."

How great is this – use a one-stop tool to generate an information resources for use in learning materials? OK, it is a little basic at the moment, and you'll need to be clever about how you input the details of information, hashtag, etc but you can get some good results, using the standard templates provided.

I see this as something that could grow into a valuable classroom resource, whether it is something we use to create and generate for the students to use or discuss, or something the students can use to generate work for a classroom activity, discussion, etc. how do you use infographics, and do you see this as something that you would use (if so, how?)

Here are a couple I created earlier (click to enlarge): infographic for @hopkinsdavid infographic comparing the Twitter accounts of The Eden Project and National Trust

However, be warned. I have not found it easy to create these, nor was it straight forward at all. On many occasions the infographic simply did not work, I was not able to download or embed it, I kept having new windows popping up all over the place, I was logged out countless times, and it is only through sheer determination that I continued and got these two above done – I would normally have given up long before now! I am sure the service will improve … ?

Related posts:

  1. Social Media and Social Network Educational Infographics
  2. Infographic: The Social Landscape
  3. Social Media in Universities (Infographic)


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via FlowingData by Nathan Yau on 08/03/12

James Cheshire ponders the difference between fast and slow thinking maps, and the dying breed of the latter.

So do the renowned folks at the NY Times Graphics Dept. prefer fast or slow thinking visualisations? I asked them what they think makes a successful map. Archie Tse said what I hoped he would: the best maps readable, or interpretable, at a number of levels. They grab interest from across the room and offer the headlines before drawing the viewer ever closer to reveal intricate detail. I think of these as rare visualisations for fast and slow thinking. The impact of such excellent maps is manifest by the popularity of atlases and why they inspire so many to become cartographers and/or travel the world.

A graphic that takes a little while to understand doesn't always mean it was a failure in design. It might mean that the underlying data is hard to understand. Likewise, a graphic that isn't what you expect might let you answer different questions than from the usual standby.

[Spatial Analysis]


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Data Scraping Comes of Age With

ScraperWiki Logo-1.jpgA scrappy company to help journalists dig into Big Data has come into its own in the past year, including the requisite all-night hacking codeathon this week at the Investigative Reporters and Editors Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference in St. Louis. The company is called and was started by Julian Todd and Aidan McGuire, two U.K.-based analysts who have been long involved in opening up government data to the public.


Take a look at this data that was mined from the UN peacekeeping troop levels, as one example of what you can do. It is really like the Wild West of data visualization. Todd says in one blog post about his own data scraping efforts, "Look, you have just got all this way starting from nothing, from finding something out in the world, to recognizing its potential, all the way to pulling in and transforming the original raw data and struggling for a way to analyze it."

If you are interested in writing your own data scraping routines, you can watch several how-to screencasts on ScraperWiki here. You can program in php, Python, or Ruby. Most of the time you are gonna have to know some SQL code to work your way around these data sets. At the St. Louis conference, work was begun on scraping various public data sets such as the US federal prisoners or FDA drug and food recalls. also has a collection of different databases, too, such as ones on environmental data and campaign spending, but these are only available to member journalists.

There are even bounties to be had (not much, a couple hundred bucks) if you write your own data scraping tool and make it available as part of the Open Corporates effort.

Clearly, as more data becomes available online, scraping apps abound. But part of the problem is that journalists don't necessarily know SQL, let alone Ruby or where to find these treasure troves. That is where the conference and the codeathon this week come in handy, where dozens of folks learned how to start to take a stab at these visualizations as part of their reporting jobs. We're glad to see this happening!