Top 31 free alternatives to YouTube (video hosting sites)

Here’s a short list of free video hosting sites that you can use to display your streaming video content – apart from YouTube, that is. Most of these provide code for individual videos to enable you to embed them in your site directly. I’ll try and include a couple of lines highlighting the main features & USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of each, wherever possible. The list is alphabetically arranged and not in the order of usefulness or popularity.

AtomUploads Logo A video uploading and sharing service by AtomFilms – which is a division of the MTV Networks. As a result you can find a lot of unique web-shows hosted at this site. Not much information is available about their hosting features. However, as a MTV service you can expect the standards to be quite high. Features channel based organisation and member groups / communities.

blip.tv Logoblip.tv promises to bring to you shows – the kind of stuff you might find on television but won’t. Highly rated by PC World and Business 2.0 magazines this site syndicates its content with the likes of AOL Video, Yahoo! Video, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, MSN Video, Google Video etc. thus effectively multiplying your reach by millions. If you’ve got what it takes to create a great show, it may even get broadcast on this TV channel that blip.tv owns. And if your show’s a hit, they allow you to pick your own advertisers and earn revenue. Flash, QuickTime, DivX, 3gp – more or less all major formats are supported.

BrightCove Logo Brightcove lets you build and launch your own internet TV station. You can have your channel up and running within minutes and retain full control over the program schedule. Videos uploaded by other users can be incorporated into your shows too. Your channel is syndicated with other major players on the net and you can earn revenue through advertising as well as video sales. Features a pretty eye-candy interface.

ClipShack LogoClipShack is a community for videophiles – a place for sharing your videos with the world. Its run by Reality Digital, Inc. – a company with years of experience in catering to the multimedia needs of the corporate sector. Pretty basic interface.

Crackle Logo Crackle (formerly known as Grouper) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. It acts as a streaming entertainment network dedicated to the discovery and development of pioneering video creators across a diverse range of genres. Crackle supports multi-platform syndication to Sony devices, IPTV and major social networking sites. Crackle is all about “launching tomorrow’s stars today” and can serve as a serious platform for aspiring directors. There are contests going on all the time to hand-pick the most innovative creators and launch them in collaboration with Sony Pictures and other leading media partners.

Dailymotion LogoDailymotion is another humongous hosting cum sharing service. They have the standard set of features wrapped with a strict set of rules that prohibits any kind of adult or explicit content. If there’s one thing that sets it apart from the crowd – it’s the JukeBox feature. Video-Blogging and direct uploads from webcam supported too.

Flick Life Logo FlickLife counts among the handful of revenue sharing hosts that there are. You get to broadcast your own videos to the world at no cost at all and yet get some moollah in return. Features buddy lists. FlickLife is a privately owned company based in Columbus, Ohio.

Flukiest Logo Flukiest is an interactive community for sharing and managing digital media by artists, photographers, designers, musicians, writers, directors, producers, and technologists – which in other words mean it’s a photo and video hosting service. There seems to be a tagging engine at large judging from the humongous tag-cloud you encounter on the front page. Other services include email, buddy list, forums, blog and a separate music video section.

FLURL Logo FLURL allows you to upload and share videos under a set of pre-existing categories. Their rating system consists of a meter that displays the FLURL or HURL rating of a video. Adult content can be found profusely (there’s a separate above 18 section). Adult Filtering options are available but turned off by default for any new visitors.

go fish LogoGo Fish is a largish hosting site which helps you promote your directorial skills. The primary objective of this site is to give you your 15 minutes of fame. Documentaries, comedies, spoofs, pranks, and even episodic dramas – all are welcome here. The interface is pretty dense (and dark) and will particularly appeal to the gamers. It’s pretty easy to use though. If you’re seeking a wide exposure for your work, this could be the host for you.

Jumpcut Beta LogoJumpcut strives to make the uploading & sharing of videos and photos a fun and easy thing. Apart from instant publishing and user communities – Jumpcut has this unique Remix feature using which you can create your own version of someone else’s video without destroying the original work. For this they’ve made available a very easy-to-use and feature rich online video editing tool. At the end of your creative spree, you can let the community decide whether you’ve managed to outperform the original director.

Kewego Logo This is a German service and the interface language is Deutsch. However, the registration process and controls are pretty similar to any of the common video hosts – so you shouldn’t find it too difficult to make your way around this one, even if you don’t know the language. Incidentally, there is a small link right at the bottom of the page that allows you to switch to the English version. Keep in mind though – majority of the audience is German.

LiveDigital BetaA community based video sharing service with specialised channels where you can upload related videos. Consequently jumping channels brings up a horde of thematic videos. Permitted uploads include photos, audio tracks and videos. Features nearly unlimited (?) uploads – which in other words mean that they probably have paid, high-storage plans as well. There’s an inbuilt social networking feature in this and hence they allow you to deck up your profile in your own way using an advanced template creator. Drag & drop functionality for quick setup of photo / video journals.

LiveVideo LogoChannels, Favorites, Subscriptions, Videos, Photos – nothing out of the place that can make this service really stand out. It’s got a good blend of general features including a Hit or Miss rating system. However, it’s probably one of the very few which offer direct recording from webcams (see Viddler and VideoEgg).

Myubo Logo Myubo comes in four linguistic flavours – Czech, Deutsch, English and Slovak. It sports a mechanism to upload, view and share live and pre-recorded video via mobile 2.5G and 3G networks such as GPRS, EDGE, CDMA or UMTS, web and fixed IP networks. Pretty much covers the whole consumer wireless spectrum. Among offered features are channel based organisation, Mobile TV and user communities.

Revver Logo Revver has a clever mechanism that helps it track and monetize the uploaded videos as they spread virally across the internet – so “no matter where your creativity travels, you benefit“. Your uploaded video is paired with a targeted advertisement and the revenue is split 50/50 with you. Those who share and spread the videos get to keep part of the spoils too. 20% of the ad revenue is handed to them. Of particular interest to the developers is the Revver API, which allows one to build a video-sharing site complete with user accounts, uploading, sharing tools and access to the full Revver library of videos. The bandwidth is covered by Revver and the ad revenue is split three ways – you, Revver and the content creator.

Selfcast TV LogoA basic hosting service with standard features and channel-based organisation. Allows adult content and has a SafeSearch filter in place. One upper it has compared to other services is that it allows for direct mobile based uploads through MMS (currently in UK & Europe only).

Soapbox LogoThis is one service that I probably don’t have much to talk about. It’s part of the reknowned MSN Suite of online applications. Offers all the standard bookmarking, commenting, tagging, rating and sharing features and has it’s own flash-based player.

Spike-ifilm LogoA service by iFILM that has an extensive library of movie clips, music videos, short films, video game trailers, action sports and its popular ‘viral videos’ collection. Since October 2005, it’s a part of the Viacom network – so one can definitely trust this one. Of course you can expect all the latest and hottest of the videos here and can upload your own too. Has clips of daily TV shows from around the world.

Stage6 LogoA video hosting service by DivX for people who love videos. DivX, if you remember, is the group which came up with a similarly named format of video encoding for online distribution. DivX videos can be of pretty high quality and are rendered through a custom player which is available as a plug-in for most famous browsers. According to the Stage6 team, “Anyone can become a publisher, anyone can build an audience and every video available on Stage6 is compatible with over 70 million consumer electronics devices from every major manufacturer, making it easy to play back Stage6 videos on your television or portable device.

Tuberoo Logo Tuberoo and its sister concern Shoutwire – both of which offer video hosting and sharing services. Tuberoo recently opened up the Beta Testing of its mobile video service which will send out one Tuberoo video to your mobile everyday. Adult & explicit content is allowed and there’s no SafeSearch filter in effect.

Userme LogoThe name comes from the German word ??ber – which means “above” or “over”. The word migrated into English as uber and has come to mean. “super something that nothing is better than“. On similar lines, ??berme claims to be the ubercoolest place to showcase you uberific moments through photos, videos & blogs, form like-minded discussion groups to debate on uberhot topics or just chat the day away with your uberbuddies through their instant messenger. In short a high-flung social media site that contrives to capture the uber-elite netizens. Uberwap – a personal mobile portal keeps you connected on the move. Last but not the least – thoroughly customisable profile / homepage. Pretty ubertastic if you ask me !

Visit uVouchAnother site that offers all the standard features – video sharing & organisation, social networking, discussion groups, playlists, customisable profiles etc. There’s rating system in place with which you can vouch for other’s content. Allow for direct importing of videos from other hosting sites like YouTube, Dailymotion, Grouper, Myspace etc. Has a couple of widgets & gadgets for your site / blog.

Viddler LogoA site with simplistic but likable Web 2.0 style interface that allows you to upload, enhance and share your digital videos. Similar to VideoEgg, they offer a mechanism through which you can directly record / upload your videos using your webcam without requiring the use of any third-party recording tool. Viddler employs a mechanism which searches for content inside the videos, thus making your uploads search results relevant. Has their own flash-based player.

VideoEgg LogoVideoEgg features one of the slickest interfaces I’ve come across and offers a bag of really useful online video manipulation tools (cropping, resizing, direct recording etc.). Allows sharing through email, direct HTML embedding and Permalinks. The videos are displayed through their own interactive embeddable flash-based player. High-end sites with > 1 million visitors per month can sign-up for a revenue sharing partnership where ads are displayed beside each video and the revenue handed down to the partner. Employs content-filtering to weed out inappropriate videos.

vidiLife LogoA basic video uploading and sharing site. Has the look & feel of YouTube in it’s teething stages. What’s with the outdated template design and grainy logos? Simplicity is good but eye-candy is the order of the day and in order to survive the web-age, you gotta indulge in it as quick as possible. Has a video rating system (on a scale of 10) that shows badges about the size of the Digg badges beside each video. Sports some pre-categorised sections like Funny, Music, Stupid, Amateur, Crazy etc. Photo uploads permitted too. Claims to allow unlimited uploads.

Vimeo LogoAnother cool video hosting service that has been around since end 2004 and reflects the Web 2.0 genre of web-design. They share helpful pointers with you in case you’re lacking ideas regarding creation of unique video content. In action are a bunch of highly configurable privacy options with which you can create fine-grained access control lists to allow only select group of people to view your videos. In short, you choose who exactly sees which of your videos. Has personalised homepage where you can neatly arrange all of your favourite videos. Allows tagging of videos.

Vume Logo VuMe (most likely pronounced as View-Me) pays you for uploading quality content – video, audio as well as photos. Small banner ads are displayed beside each of these and the revenue generated when visitors watch your content and partly passed down to you. Every hit on your video, image, or audio clip counts.

Zeec Logo Zeec is another German video hosting service that you won’t find so difficult to navigate around. This one too allows you to directly record / update videos off your webcam. The interface follows the Web 2.0 ideal and has a vague resemblance to the Last.FM music cum social networking site.

ZippyVideos Logo This one offers your own sub-domain under ZippyVideos to host your profile (e.g. profile.zippyvideos.com). Unlimited uploads are permitted pertaining to the fact that no single upload is greater than 20MB. Privacy options, video organisation and social networking are an integral part of the package.

Zoopy Logo Zoopy proudly presents itself as South Africa’s first video and photo sharing social network. It’s a pretty basic service with an easy-going note that can be spotted all over the site. There’s a standing challenge that attempts to coax the hidden director in you to come out into the limelight.

Did I miss out on any of the big ones? Feel free to leave a comment on your favourite one and I’ll add it to the list.

Buy all that you want at substantial discounts with Coupon Kathy

Free CouponsWhile browsing the net I came across this cool site called Coupon Kathy. Initially it looked like just another of those online coupon code sites. But after browsing through the site I was surprised to find lots of wonderful stores and amazing discounts being offered there.

One of the best offers that I happened to see were the ones being offered at Target. Target has a wonderful collection on women’s clothing at their women’s department and as long as we follow the link provided it is possible to get free shipping on any size order for women’s clothing or accessories that are available there. Now you can shop for jeans, trousers, tops, sweaters, dresses, suits and even nightgowns sitting right at home or at office. Along with the garments there are also the bags, totes, belts, sandals, shoes, jewelry, beauty products and sunshades available here. With all the free Target Coupons from Coupon Kathy, you can easily save a substantial bunch on such purchases.

It is not just necessary to buy for oneself. Women's ClothingThe same discounts will be available for anything we buy for ourselves or for our family and friends. With all the different departments for bridals and designers it wouldn’t be too difficult choosing a gift for anyone else.

They have some special offers for students as it is time for schools to reopen. Any back to school items will be shipped to the customers free of cost. So even students can browse to check the cool must haves before returning back to another term at school. Other than the school items free shipping is also available for futons, beddings, games, storage supplies, cookware, electronics and many more such items.

The baby section also should be visited frequently. Even through there isn’t any coupon code or special discount there but special deals are always offered on baby items like cribs, toys, baby clothing etc.

Now it’s almost the whole family that can get over with their shopping online from this wonderful online store called Target which has 1500 store locations and a huge sale through their website too. Remember that for every coupon worth $50 there is a $5 discount available. It’s not just shopping but also saving online. Am off to look for my bargains and fill up the shopping carts. What are you waiting for? Happy shopping.

How to create a Web 2.0 style Compact Disc (CD) image using Fireworks

IntroductionThis tutorial was created for an opensource site named AntiLost that a couple of my friends and myself had tried to launch a while back. While the site never really took off (and has been torn down long since), some of the material that were hosted there still remains with me. I was going through them yesterday and discovered this one. It’ll come real handy to a lot of the aspiring digital artists out there. So here it is in honour of my good buddy Twitch aka Michael Land, who happens to be the original author. Twitch is an excellent graphics / web-designer and has one of the most brilliant colour matching brain I’ve ever seen.

We’ll be using the vector graphics tool named Fireworks from Macromedia (now a part of Adobe).

Step 1

Launch Fireworks and create a new document in it. Set the width and height of the Canvas at 75px each and set the resolution at 72px/inch. As for the Canvas colour, set it to Transparent as it’ll enable you to place the final image over any other artwork you like. It’ll also make it easier for you to work with the Doughnut Tool later on.

Fireworks CD Image - Create Canvas

Step 2

Now, instead of using the standard Ellipse Tool Fireworks Ellipse Tool Icon to make the outline of a CD, we’ll use the Doughnut Tool Fireworks Doughnut Tool Icon, as the generated image contains an “empty” circle in the middle which allows for seeing objects placed behind it. With the Doughnut Tool selected, draw a simple doughnut shape on the canvas in the default Layer.

Fireworks CD Image - Doughnut Shape

Once done, adjust the X, Y Coordinates of the shape to 5px each. Then set the dimensions (width & height) to 65px – so that you doughnut shape nicely fits inside the canvas leaving some marginal area around.

Fireworks CD Image - Adjust Coordinates and Dimensions

Name this layer, CD Base.

Step 3

We have our basic CD. You may want to adjust the inner radius (of the little circle) so that it ressembles a CD all the more since the spindle hole of the CD isn’t as big as that of the doughnut shape. To do so, click and drag the Diamond Dot on the inner ring till you get a shape that satisfies you.

Fireworks CD Image - Adjust Inner Radius

Following the adjustment, the image should look like this…

Fireworks CD Image - After Adjusting Inner Radius

Step 4

Now that it looks a bit more like a CD, we’re going to add some colours to it. Feel free to use whatever colours you like – but keep in mind that you’ve to pick two tones (light & dark) of the same colour. To keep to the Web 2.0 style, you should pick pastel shades. For your doughnut, change the colour to Solid > Gradient > Linear.

Fireworks CD Image - Change Colour to Gradient

Make sure your gradient band is horizontal and not at an angle – or else, you won’t get the desired effect.

Fireworks CD Image - After Applying Gradient

When you’re ready, we’ll go ahead and change the gradient start and end colours. Make the first or beginning tag the lighter one while choose the darker colour for the ending tag. For our purpose, I’m going to pick #94CAE4 and #2F8EBD respectively.

Fireworks CD Image - Choosing the Gradient Colours

The recoloured CD image should now look like the following …

Fireworks CD Image - After Choosing the Gradient Colours

Step 5

Our CD is finally coming together. Although it may not seem like it, there are only a few steps remaining now. Next apply a Stroke. This doesn’t mean “stroke your screen”. By stroking, you add a solid line in the external regions of the figure so as to define the edges. So select your CD, choose a colour that is a triffle bit lighter than the darker shade of your gradient and apply a stroke of 1px thickness. If you’ve used the colour tones that I used, #388BB4 would be a good tone to use for the stroke.

Fireworks CD Image - Adding a Stroke

You should end up with an image like this…

Fireworks CD Image - After Adding a Stroke

Step 6

This is the easiest step. Go to the Filters Panel and drop a Shadow (follow Shadow & Glow > Drop Shadow). Leave the settings as they are.

Fireworks CD Image - Dropping a Shadow

The end effect should be like this…

Fireworks CD Image - After Dropping a Shadow

Step 7

This is the second hardest part of this tutorial, but if you’ve followed the guidelines so far you shouldn’t face any problems. Create a new Layer and name it CD Ring. Make sure it is placed above the last layer (CD Base). Selecting this layer, draw another doughnut shape smaller than the CD image but overlapping it. Be careful as to not cover the spindle hole. Give it a Solid Fill (I’ve used White#FFFFFF here). If the shape inherits a Shadow by default, simply remove the effect from it.

Fireworks CD Image - Adding a CD Ring

Next, adjust the dimensions, coordinates and inner radius of the doughnut so that it fits around the spindle hole of the CD like a narrow ring. This may take some effort but eventually you’ll get it right. For me, setting the dimensions to 30px each and the coordinates to 23 x 23 and then trivially adjusting the inner radius worked like a charm. Finally, apply the same Stroke colour as before. Here’s the result…

Fireworks CD Image - After Adjusting CD Ring

Step 8

The hardest of all ! Making the reflection segments. When I say hardest, I don’t mean you require an expert to do so. However, you’ve got to be extra careful with this one as it can make or break the whole effect.

Start by creating a new Layer named Reflection. Place this in between CD Base and CD Ring i.e. above CD Base and below CD Ring. Copy your larger CD from the CD Base layer and paste the copy in the newly created layer. Remove the Drop Shadow effect from it and give it a Solid Fill with White. Remove the Stroke too.

Fireworks CD Image - Setting Relfection Layer Parameters

Next set the transparency (opacity) of this shape to about 25%.

Fireworks CD Image - Set Reflection Layer Opacity to 25%

Here comes the fiddly part. On the doughnut shape, there’s a little Diamond Dot on the Outer Ring. Press and hold down the ALT key and drag the diamond a bit along the circumference to create a segment. If you’ve difficulty working with the dot, you can always Zoom In the image. A zoom of 300-400% should suffice. Now, from the end-point of the last segment, create another segment of a different (wider or narrower) circumference and do so till you’ve created 5 segments of varying circumferences.

Fireworks CD Image - Creating the Segments #1 Fireworks CD Image - Creating the Segments #2

The reason that you create 5 segments is that 2 of them in between will act as spaces (well, 6 segments & 3 spaces – if you count in the part between the last segment and the starting point).

Now switch to the Subselection Tool by pressing 1 or A on your keyboard. Select a segment which you consider a space (will show through to the bottom layer) and press Delete on your keyboard. You may get a warning – just go ahead and click OK.

Fireworks CD Image - Deleting the Segment Spaces

Delete two more such spaces till you get your perfect CD Image with alternating reflection segments. If you did everything right, you have your Web 2.0 style CD Image.

Fireworks - Web 2.0 Style CD Image

Note: One final touch-up. I noticed that the shadow was getting cropped a bit at the right and bottom edges. Increasing the Canvas size to 77px by 77px keeping the Anchor on the Top-Left did the trick.

If you require the original Fireworks file containing all the layers, simply right-click and save the final CD image. Opening it in Fireworks will reveal all the layers.

Have fun 🙂

IBackup – the very best in paid online storage

IBackup LogoOnline storage has come to be synonymous with mobility these days and there are a horde of sites offering such solutions. However, when it comes to features, performance & security none come close to IBackup.

Though a paid storage solution, IBackup has a wide variety of pricing plans that can satisfy almost anyone. For example, in the Economy plan, 5GB storage is offered for as low as $9.95 per month. Data Storage OptionsThat may sound a bit pricey to some, but if you consider the features and services offered – it all begins to look good. IDrive – which is a small piece of code that maps your online drive right to your desktop is just one of them. IDrive gives you the ability to drag-n-drop, open, edit and save files using literally any application by making your online storage account behave like just another folder on your computer.

Now a major drawback in this regard is the latency of such online drives. However, the advanced compression algorithms silently working behind the IBackup’s desktop applications cause them to outperform the rest by a factor of at least 30-50% (in many cases). This could mean significant boost in productivity.

Apart from desktop based folder access, the Web-Manager mode enables to to access your files through a browser too. Offered in this mode are extensive file searching, sharing and collaboration utilities along with streaming tools which allow you to catch-up with your multimedia content from anywhere in the world. Sub-accounts are an integral part of the IBackup accounts, letting you create sub-sections within your main account with fine grained access control.

What more – IDrive is not just limited to Windows. It comes in Mac and Mobile Device (PocketPC, Blackberry, Treo etc.) flavours too.

In the enterprise category, they offer storage and backup solutions for a plethora of platforms (Windows / Linux, Oracle / MS-SQL / Exchange etc.).

Awards WonAs for security of your data, the servers on which IBackup’s accounts reside are continuously monitored for attempted network attacks on a 24×7 basis using sophisticated software tools. Moreover, industry leading NAS/SAN storage devices with multiple levels of redundancy safeguard your data in case of storage device failure.

IBackup has won numerous awards in the online storage category including PC Magazine Editors Choice (2003-2005), Webuser Gold Award (Webuser Magazine) and PCPro Lab’s Best Online Storage Solution.

Still not convinced? Experience it first hand by enrolling for a free trial.

The supercharged Google AdSense Referrals 2.0 ! More choices, more revenue

Just today morning, as I logged into my AdSense account a tiny message flashed below the block that displays your income overview reports.

Google AdSense Referrals 2.0 added to account

Exhilarated at the prospect of something new, I clicked on the link and let out a gasp the moment the Referrals screen finished loading. Last I’d seen of the Referrals was those measly 4 or 5 products that were being offered (for which I wrote the Google AdSense Referral Rotator widget for WordPress sidebars). It’s entirely changed now with a massive list of available referrals that can be chosen either on a worldwide or per country basis.

Banned from AdSenseThis came as a very big surprise to me, since I’d been away from AdSense for a good while. The same day that I was getting married I somehow managed to get myself banned from AdSense. The reason was invalid clicks. Quite naturally I filed an appeal and reasoned with them that it couldn’t have been me who was producing those clicks. I added that I could furnish additional travel documents if required. That seemed to do the trick. My account got reinstated a couple of days back along with the whole prior balance. Sweet !

Anyway, back to the topic. Google Referrals now come with a horde of choices. They’re divided into categories like Google Products, Automotive, Business, Computer & Electronics etc. The coolest part is that you don’t have to hand-pick and generate the referral code for each individual product anymore. Get more revenueYou’ve got this Ad Shopping Cart, where you can place your selected products (15 at the most) or add entire categories (10 at a time). In case you add the categories, the best performing ads are automatically displayed.

The code that is generated from your selections keeps rotating the referrals on its own – making my WordPress plug-in sort of redundant. But an overjoyed at the fact that this auto-rotating feature has been integrated into AdSense – it was long overdue. In effect, the random picks of best performing ads maximises the chances of clicks and referral sign-ups by tenfolds thus earning you a whole lot more revenue than earlier on. The referrals are now available in most of the standard Ad Unit formats of AdSense.

AdSense Referrals 2.0 Setup Screen-shot

From what I figured the new Referrals 2.0 feature is being gradually rolled out to all AdSense publishers. Has it managed to find it’s way into your account yet? And in case you don’t own an AdSense account yet, you can always use the following link to sign-up for one. It’s fast and easy to use, it’s free and it earns you a whole bunch of $$.

Cooliris: Get a full-page preview of links with this cool Firefox extension

Cooliris LogoThere are plenty of preview tools sprawled around the vastness of web – Snap Shots, GooglePreview etc. to name a few. Each come with its own set of features and modus operandi. For example, Snap Shots provides small thumbnail previews of a site when you hover your mouse over the link on the site. GooglePreview, which is an extension for Firefox provides automated snap shots of each site listed in a Search Results Page. But such tools have a big limitation. The previews offered are really tiny and are meant to give you a glimpse of the overall look/layout of the site. They don’t provide any real “previews” as such.

You may tend to think that Cooliris is just another preview tool – but that’s where you’ll go wrong. Cooliris has been designed ground up to overcome the limitations found in all such preview tools. Installation is as easy as any other Firefox extension and operation is seamless. Whenever you encounter a link on a page, hover your mouse on it and a small preview icon appears beside the link. Pointing your mouse on the preview icon pops open a small embedded window in the same page with a full-sized preview of the site.

Cooliris Preview Window Screen-shot

Here are some of the noteworthy features:

  • Preview web links, images, and videos without even clicking.

  • The ability to “Stack” previewed items into temporary bookmarks to review.

    Now this is one cool feature. Supposing you’re searching for details on a vacation trip to Hawaii. A standard search result would return you 1000s of pages on this topic. You can easily preview the sites without ever leaving the Search Results page, weed out the seedy looking ones and bookmark all of those which looked good. You can always come back to the bookmarked pile later on and review them.

  • In case you like a site, you’ve the ability to instantly send the link to friends and family with just a single mouse-click.

  • Perform sub-searches in Google, Wikipedia etc. by right-clicking on any selected phrase.

Best of all is that apart from Firefox, Cooliris supports many of the common browsers, e.g. IE, Safari and Flock. This is one tool that really complements your search results and makes you a far more efficient web-surfer.

To sum it all, Cooliris “gives you the power to browse and share the web faster than ever.

Get Cooliris today…

How to create a Web 2.0 style Arrow using Inkscape

Ever come across those neat graphics of directional arrows and wished you could have them on your site? They can be used for anything from grabbing attention to indicating download links.

Look no further. Here is a step-by-step tutorial that should get you on track, and enable you to create custom graphical arrows.

The tutorial is based on Inkscape, which is an open source vector graphics editor. But that doesn’t mean that the creation process is limited to Inkscape only. You should be able to follow this simple tutorial with other vector graphics editors too.

Step 1

Use the Rectangle Tool Rectangle Tool icon to draw a rectangle.

Rectangular base for the arrow.

Step 2

Using the same tool, you will need to draw a square – a perfect square that is a little bit wider than the first rectangle.

Square above the Rectangle

HintInstead of fighting with the Rectangle Tool in order to get the perfect square, hold down the [Ctrl] button while drawing the square. The length and height will snap to the same size.

Step 3

Next task is to rotate the square through 45 degrees. With the Select Tool Select Tool icon click on the square twice. The selection will change to rotation and skewing mode.

Skew and Rotation mode

Hold down the [Ctrl] key and use the corner rotate icon to rotate the square in chunks of 15 degrees. Holding down the [Ctrl] keys lets you make snapped rotations. If you do not use the [Ctrl] key, the rotation is free form and through an arbitrary degree.

Sqaure rotated through 45 degrees

Step 4

Convert the rotated square to a path, by selecting Path > Object To Path.

Convert the Square to a Path

Use the Edit Node Tool Edit Node Tool icon and select the rotated square shape. Then select the lower node and delete it.

Symmetric Triangle

This will give you a symmetric Triangle.

Step 5

Select both the shapes, and choose Align and Distribute Objects Align & Distribute Objects icon option. Next, Center Align them both over the Vertical Axis Center Align over Vertical Axis icon .

Selected Square and Triangle

Select only the triangle and move it down over the rectangle.

Triangle moved over the Rectangle

Select both the shapes and perform a Union operation. This can be done by either pressing down [Ctrl] and [+] keys or through Path > Union. What you have now is a basic arrow shape.

Basic Arrow Shape

You can apply several vector effects to this and customize it according to your needs. For example, give the arrow shape a fill color, and a darker outline color. Then copy the shape, place it below the first, move it a bit, and turn on the blur. This gives you a fancy shadow effect.

Arrow filled with colours and with a shadow

Here’s a short video showing you how to do that.

Or you can also go on to give it a nice glossy look.

Glossy Arrow

This uses the same basic shape to give a solid fill color, and a copy to give the gradient of dark to light from top to bottom. Another copy of the same arrow, combined with a free form shape transformation gives that glossy look on the side.

Here is an example of how you can use the illustration for your website …

Download Link using the Arrow

Let me know how useful this has been, and also if you would like to learn something else.

Happy vectoring!


Vyoma aka K. Mahesh Bhat dabbles in vector art as a hobby and runs his own arts and graphics design blog titled KalaaLog. This is his first appearance as a guest blogger at Chaos Laboratory.

Terrabyte Discs lurking near the horizon

Terrabyte Storage Even before Blu-Ray and HD-DVD have fought the final battle to take control of your average home, another gigantic threat has cast its dark shadow over them.

With hordes of fancy, futuristic storage concepts being born every other day, the death of optical media has been a topic of prolonged discussions. Realistically speaking, the cost vs. storage & speed ratio of optical media has so far given it an unbeatable stand. Instead of engaging in such fruitless discussions, the Israeli firm Mempile decided to take it one step further. They have extended the existent CD / DVD technology to offer 1 TerraByte (1,000 GigaByte) of storage on a single removable (inexpensive) disc.

The TeraDisc contains light sensitive molecules called chromophores (capable of switching between two distinct states upon the application of light ) which are arranged in three-dimensional hologram like matrices and give the disc is characteristic terrabyte storage capacity. That is when a Red Laser is used for reading and writing. According to Mempile, usage of Blue Lasers can eventually boost the capacity upto 5 TerraBytes.

3D TeraDisc from Mempile

However, it’s going to take at least 18 months for the first prototypes to be tested by Mempile and yet another year before this incredible disc goes into active production.

Source: Engadget, Mempile’s TeraDisc fits 1TB on a single optical disc

News blooper by The Nation makes Google launch Guardian Unlimited correspondent

Monkey BusinessHere’s a quick but hilarious one and arises from the heart of syndicated content. The Nation happens to be one of the leading English dailies of Thailand. The Nation also happens to have made Google launch Bobby Johnson, a technology correspondent of the Guardian Unlimited.

In a news report today (23rd August, 2007) that was supposed to outline the launch of Google Sky, The Nation was heard saying …

Google Sky launches Bobby Johnson, technology correspondent.

Here’s a screen-shot …

Google launches Bobby Johnson

Source: Guardian Unlimited, Google launches Guardian hack, says Thai paper

Lightning fast Nikon DSLR D3 hits the market

Nikon D3 DSL CameraFollowing a long wait and a series of rumours, Nikon has unleashed what is being deemed as the fastest camera on this planet – the D3 DSLR (SLR Digital Camera). The new flagship product of Nikon features a mind-boggling ISO equivalent of 25,600.

This 12.1 Megapixel baby doesn’t just stop at that. It sports a 920,000-pixel VGA viewfinder with a 170-degree viewing angle with live view, a 51-point AF (auto-focus) system with 15 cross-type AF points, and a 200-6400 standard ISO range and can reach upto a maximum of 11 fps in burst mode. The super hi-tech (read sensitive) innards come wrapped with a magnesium alloy body that can easily withstand a sandstorm.

Those who’re already drooling over this (that includes me), here’s the spirit dampener – the price tag. It comes at a hefty, body-only $4,999.

Nikon’s been pretty quick in releasing a new batch of lenses too. Here’s a short but sweet list that’s bound to catch your fancy.

  • AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR

Shipping starts in November … maybe … someday …sighhh!

Source: Gizmodo, Nikon’s Flagship D3 DSLR is Fastest Ever