befunky: Cartoonize your favourite pictures in a jiffy

Here’s the latest addition to the Web 2.0 bandwagon – befunky – a quick & dirty way to cartoonize your favourite snaps in a jiffy.

The site sports a simple flash interface that allows you to upload your snaps (either from your Desktop or by direct capture through a webcam) and convert them to cartoon caricatures. There are a couple of easy-to-understand parameters like Sketch, Colour, Warp and Goodies which can produce widely varying end-results. You can crop or rotate the picture once you’ve uploaded it, adjust the brightness & colour levels, apply different warp brush sizes as well as do a multiple variations of flipping & layering. You can even add frames, modify facial features (hair, lips, eyes etc.), throw in accessories like jewelry, eyeware & hats and top it up with some custom funky text. The resultant pictures are really cool! Here’s a simple example with the most basic effect applied.

befunky: Before & After

Soon to come is a new feature that’ll allow you to transcend the boundaries of static pictures and apply the same effects to videos as well. Oh Yes! Full-length running videos. Ain’t that awesome?

The site sports a comprehensive Tips & Tricks section which gives you creative tips on how to best utilise the toons you’ve just created, which range from personally branded merchandise to e-cards and ways to spice-up your costume parties. All in all a very easy-to-use and useful web-application that can find a large audience – specially in graphically challenged people, like me 😀 Can prove to be a viable option for those who don’t have access to Adobe Photoshop and it’s plethora of filters.

Found via: System Hacks

Need to build a concrete reputation online? Try Venyo…

Venyo LogoThe lack of trust has always been a big issue on the Internet and with the emergence of new collaborative services revolving around Web 2.0 it has only taken a hike for the worse. With every dawning days more and more people / concerns are stepping into the world of blogging, sharing, publishing or selling online – but there’s virtually no existing mechanism to guarantee the quality and the reliability of the published material and to safeguard the interests of the buyers.

The problem is widely known in the Internet community and consequently a wide variety of methods have been adopted in order to instill sufficient trust in users by reassuring them of the quality of material or of proposed services. A couple of examples of such services would be the Merchant Rating service of eBay, Verisign, BIB (Better Internet Bureau) Certifications etc. However, none of the measures are sufficient to “prevent users from being drowned beneath waves of information, recommendations, suggestions and solutions whose relevance it is no longer easily possible to judge.

In comes Venyo with an objective to establish a free and universal online reputation management tool that would provide a unified and standardised measure of reputation of each active user online. The concept was first introduced at the third annual Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco (Oct 2006) and following up on that, today the first official public beta has been launched.

Venyo plans to achieve it’s objective by assigning a personal reliability index called the Vindexâ„¢, which is based on the evaluation of your web contributions like blog posts, pictures or videos by the community. It sort of acts like the eBay rating system – but spanning the whole web. Your Vindexâ„¢ signature is displayed on all your contributions to prove how reliable you are to the potential readers. The rating will appear in form of a button that looks like this:

Venyo Rating Button

Your readers will be able to vote and evaluate your web based publications. They can also use tags while voting to link you with subjects they find your content most relevant to. The resultant unique combination of quantitative and qualitative expressions of faith will then be analyzed by Venyo’s exclusive algorithm to calculate the global trust index expressed in percentage – the Vindexâ„¢. The rating will not only reveal the level of trust but also the evaluation related to the best tags, reflecting your specific skills.

Venyo Evaluation Module

According to Venyo, while somewhat similar localised systems are in existence – some paid and some for free, they can provide a much more far reaching service with the following benefits:

  1. User-centric – to be transportable on all Web 2.0 sites
  2. Universal – to record ratings for any kind of contributions
  3. Standard – to compare the reputation of any kind of contributors

Since this is in open public beta, you can sign-up for free and try it out yourself. The site uses plenty of AJAX – so make sure you’ve got JavaScript enabled in your browser and no Ad-Blocker blocking the scripts on the site before attempting to sign-up.

Incidentally, this is my Venyo Permalink.

A cool Web 2.0 Pixel-Art Splash

Here’s a really cool & detailed pixel-art splash featuring a whole bunch of Web 2.0 startups. I found this one at StopGeek.

Web 2.0 Startup Pixel-Art

See how many of them you can spot (it might take a while to load) !!

Incidentally, if you didn’t know what Pixel-Art is…

Pixel art is a form of digital art, created through the use of raster graphics software, where images are edited on the pixel level. Graphics in most old (or relatively limited) computer and video games, graphing calculator games, and many mobile phone games are mostly pixel art.

Desktoptwo: A serious Web OS

Of all the Web OS-es I’ve reviewed, Desktoptwo can be called a serious contender. The whole interface is flash-based giving it a very sleek look with smooth operation – although some applications might take a while to load.

The interface seems like a cross-breed between Vista’s Aero look and Mac OS-X. The application menu is similar to Windows Start Menu. There’s a handy desktop bar that serves as a quick-launch panel for some common applications like MP3 player, Instant Messenger etc. Desktoptwo ScreenshotThe desktop bar also contains a quick-search box for performing searches through popular search engines.

Desktoptwo has the most complete list of applications I’ve seen among the one’s I’ve reviewed – and all fully functional except for a few minor bugs here and there. The annoying part is that many of the applications open up in another pop-up window. This is kind of detrimental to enjoying seamless operation since it beats the whole purpose of their taskbar.

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FlyakiteOSX – Truly great OS X transformation pack for XP

When I first read about this my thoughts were – “Oh no..one more player in the already too crowded Web OS gang !!” How wrong I was ! This one turned out to be a transformation pack for Windows XP, giving you a complete Mac makeover. Visiting the site took my breath away. This one is a MUST SEE. According to the author,

FlyakiteOSX is not just a website. It is a software package designed to make an XP based computer look like OS X.

… and truly it lives every bit upto it’s claim. If the online interface demonstration is anything to go by, one can imagine what the real thing is. It’s probably the closest to a real OS interface hosted online complete with all the frills and animations of the OS X interface.

FlyakiteOSX Screenshot

Take a quick tour: FlyakiteOSX

I wonder if the author has any intentions to evolve this into a full-blown Web OS. Am sure this one will do great judging from what I’ve seen of the other ones. Any thoughts ?

Craythur Web OS

Craythur is another new kid in the ever-mushrooming Web OS block. It’s heavily reliant on JavaScript/AJAX and primarily based on the Prototype and Script.aculo.us frameworks, which originated on the Mac.

At the first glance it seems that this one is geared more as a Personal Information Manager rather than an all-rounder OS and all the utilities provided on the desktop corroborate just that. In my opinion, that might in fact spell it’s success since it’s trying to be the “Master” of a single trade rather than being the “Jack” of all. Among the installed information managers are:

  • Bookmarks
  • Contacts
  • Tasks
  • Banking
  • Notes
  • Scheduler / Calendar
  • Files etc.

Registration is free and gets you started with 100MB of disk space. For a quick tour, you can visit the Craythur Site and enter “demo” as both login and password.

The interface bears a strong resemblance to the new Windows Vista Aero look with glassy transparent title bars and nice themed icons.

Craythur Screenshot

A lot of bug reports have started flowing in – but then that is to be expected at such a nascent stage. For me it worked pretty smooth without a single hiccup.

Judging from the overall functionality, it seems this one is still in very early stages. It’ll be worthwhile to get back to it in a couple of months time and see the progress.

Why not give it a try and let me know about your experience ?

YouOS – another contender in the Web 2.0 genre

YouOS is another experimental operating system that’s built around the Web 2.0 framework and runs straight from your browser providing you with worldwide accessibility (wherever you’ve got an internet connection). Compared to eyeOS, the interface pretty much resembles a Windows or Linux desktop and you can get cracking at it right away. Personally, for me this felt kind of cliche and I’d prefer the eyeOS interface any day.

Registration of course is free and so are the default set of applications, the icons for which are loaded onto your desktop the moment you login. Similar to eyeOS, you’re provided with …

  • A File Manager
  • A Text-Editor
  • Chat Client
  • RSS Feed Reader
  • A Firefox inspired Web-browser
  • Instant Messenger etc.

There’s something about all these Web OS systems that I find a tad bit superfluous – that is creating a web-browser within a web-browser. However, I found a few handy tools that were lacking in eyeOS but are readily available with the default setup of YouOS. StickyNotes & a Shell (Command Console) were two of them. Also pre-installed is a file and music sharing application.

YouOS Screenshot

There’s a large application base and you’ve free to pick & choose and install whichever software you find conducive to your work. Some of the most common applications available for installation are a MAC OS 7 simulator, MSN messenger, GMail checker, NES Emulator, Text Editors and Process Manager.

It might take some more time for YouOS to become more useful and functional and for people who have been using Windows or other operating systems for quite a while may not really look upto YouOS very soon. But for those who would want to move around with their stuff, YouOS does a very good job. Create files and content in YouOS and save it, resume working on your stuff from anywhere.

For a quick taste of YouOS, head for the Demo.

eyeOS – a great new Web-based Operating System

eyeOS is based on the relatively new concept of Web 2.0 and provides you with a new work and organization method. It’s a completely free (Open Source) desktop system running from your browser, where anybody can collaborate and expand it.

It sports a pretty simplistic and cool browser-based interface (desktop) that’s easy to use and refreshing at the same time – though it may be because of the relatively few applications available for it as of now. Among the featured applications in the basic web-edition are:

  • eyeHome – an integrated File Manager
  • eyeEdit – a mini word-processor with a decent amount of features
  • eyeCalc – a very basic calculator
  • eyePhones – an internet telephony application
  • eyeMessages – a groupware messaging utility
  • eyeBoard – Shoutbox work-alike
  • eyeNav – an web-browser within your browser
  • eyeRSS – a RSS Feed Reader
  • and some assorted PIM (Personal Information Manager) tools…

A more complete list of applications can be found in their software database at: eyeApps.org.

eyeOS Screenshot

As stated earlier, eyeOS is primarily targetted as a groupware and collaboration OS and big corporations might benefit quite a lot from it. It offers quite a high-degree of extensibility and the ability to easily write applications for it using a combination of PHP & MySQL. eyeOS can not only run from the web – the server software can be readily downloaded and run on your office intranet providing you with the same facilities on your own LAN.

The biggest advantage of such Web-OSes are in terms of mobility and install-less usage, as in once the main server has been installed, you can work on your files using the integrated applications from any corner of the world. You’ll never have to carry your files around and/or install the required software(s) on any other system to modify them.

Interested ?? Take a quick-tour / demo at: eyeOS Demo. If you find it useful, you can register for free and start using the basic version hosted at the eyeOS site.