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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Software: MonkeyJam – freeware lets you create cool stop-motion animation for fun and profit

My son, Joe, is a Lego fan and is always wanting to duplicate the stop-action animations he finds on YouTube. These can be quite complex and without software designed for the process is can be quite hard to do. Enter this piece of Windows software, MonkeyJam. MonkeyJam allows you to create stop-animation sequences easily using your still camera, video camera or web cam.

The most important feature for any stop-animation program is "onion skinning". This is the digital version of what hand animators used to do -- drawing in pencil on onion skin or tracing paper and then comparing that to the next drawing by flipping back and forth between the two. This feature helps to insure that you are moving your characters in small enough increments that your animation will play as a movie and not just a series of still frames.

If you have a budding animator in your house, download and try out MonkeyJam.

I first heard about MonkeyJam in the post below...
MonkeyJam – freeware lets you create cool stop-motion animation for fun and profit: "


MonkeyJam is a neat little freeware prog which lets you create those really fun, cool stop-motion animations you see around. You [...]"

Here is a short video created by the author of this blog post.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

DIY: Inexpensive Wiimote-based Smart boards

My son's school has been lucky enough to be able to afford Smartboards for each of its classrooms so that teachers can use them in a number of amazing ways. Students can interact with web pages, flash games, and software using "electronic chalk". Material, both digital and physical, is easily presented to the entire class. The boards open up a wide range of activities never before possible in the classroom, limited only by the imagination.

That said, smartboards can be exceedingly expensive. Second only to the capabilities of smart boards themselves is the inventiveness of hackers, DIY'ers and Makers who set out to use the relatively inexpensive Wiimote game controller to create an less expensive, home brew version of the Smartboard. Even better, building the system can be made part of the educational process for everyone involved .

This article from MAKE: Blog ( Make your own Wii smartboard) details how to create and use this inexpensive system in your own school or group. The video below offers a quick view of the amazing things you can accomplish with such a system.


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Friday, January 01, 2010

Lego iPhone app turns pictures into Lego mosaics

I have many friends, and also a son, who are Lego maniacs. Some belong to Lego railroad clubs, others want to build the Taj Mahal or the Death Star.

The most interesting part, though, is how they surround themselves with Lego. They have keychains and screensavers and cards and magazine and pens and more.

This new iPhone app is sure to reach deep into the heart of any Lego Maniac. It doesn't do much, but it does it pretty well. Simply take a photo with your iPhone, or use one from your Camera Roll, and it will turn it into a Lego mosaic i.e. made up of multi-colored Lego bricks. Tapping the pictures cycles through a variety of color schemes and another tap saves the Lego picture back to your Camera Roll, ready to be downloaded to your computer, emailed or printed.

The Lego app is free, so there is nothing to stop you from downloading it and giving it a try. Below is a picture snapped by my son and then turned into Lego.

Download the Lego App from the Apple iTunes App Store or directly to your iPhone

Lego Douglas

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Top 10 Posts from TechnologyIQ for 2009

Here is a list of the top 10 TechnologyIQ posts of 2009.

  1. Dilbert gets too close to the truth about tech support
  2. Game: Hedgehog Launch - Addictive
  3. Online Collaborative Whiteboard - Skrbl.com
  4. Video: Flip Ultra vs. Flip Comparison
  5. LA Street Traffic in Google Maps
  6. Fill out PDF files online with PDF Filler
  7. Elsewhere Online: Google Earth Integrates Street View
  8. Audio: State of the Music Industry Panel Discussion – Feb 9, 2009
  9. New Wells Fargo Envelope-Free ATMs confuse users
  10. DIY iPHone Dock and Moleskine Stand