More Gagarin Goodness…


Earli­er today I noticed the Google Doodle point­ing to resources about Yuri Gagarin’s (and mankind’s) first orbit of the Earth.

A few moments ago @mynameiskate poin­ted me at the You­Tube logo — mod­i­fied too — and links to First Orbit a free fea­ture-length movie about Gagarin’s flight:

A real time recre­ation of Yuri Gagarin’s pion­eer­ing first orbit, shot entirely in space from on board the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion. The film com­bines this new foot­age with Gagarin’s ori­gin­al mis­sion audio and a new music­al score by com­poser Philip Shep­pard.

Here’s a great writeup of the First Orbit pro­ject at Nation­al Geo­graph­ic:

Pos­ted on You­Tube at mid­night GMT on April 12, the roughly 108-minute film blends a few 1960s his­tor­ic reels with mod­ern shots taken from the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion (ISS) by Itali­an astro­naut Paolo Nespoli. His video not only retraces Gagarin’s view from orbit, it shows Earth bathed in sun­light at the same angle the cos­mo­naut would have seen dur­ing his 1961 flight.

I guess I know what I’m doing this even­ing, stream­ing this video in HD through my Apple TV 🙂

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Spending good money on nothing, it’s not a new concept.

Dis­clos­ure: I’m involved with an organ­iz­a­tion that has vir­tu­al goods and cur­rency  — and yes, you can exchange real money for vir­tu­al goods in it.

fv_250.jpgThe vir­tu­al eco­nomy is heat­ing up. GigaOm reports that Face­book Could Make $250M From Vir­tu­al Goods Next Year; make money from stuff that isn’t tan­gible. Stuff you can’t hold in your hands. Yet, the concept of vir­tu­al isn’t really new, it’s really just a new label applied to an ancient concept.

It is kind of inter­est­ing, when you think of it. For the vast major­ity of human his­tory, ideas used to be the only type of non-phys­ic­al ‘object’ that people would pay money for — ideas mani­fes­ted as stor­ies, con­cepts, music, inven­tions, etc.

Someone had to come up with the idea. And if it was good, then someone paid for that idea.

Then, the idea had to be trans­formed into real­ity — a play, a sym­phony, a build­ing per­haps. The idea becomes phys­ic­al (for a short time if you’re wit­ness­ing a per­form­ance). But still you have the phys­ic­al mani­fest­a­tion of some­thing cre­ated in the mind of someone.

Today, we have the vir­tu­al mani­fest­a­tion of ideas. Vir­tu­al in that when they mani­fest, they exist only in the medi­um they were designed for — a Farm­ville farm lov­ingly ten­ded and nur­tured by someone using a key­board and mouse. Or an Elvish Arch­er who’s vir­tu­al skills and abil­it­ies have been care­fully selec­ted and honed.

Today’s vir­tu­al goods eco­nomy is won­der­ful, excit­ing, and offers huge new oppor­tun­it­ies that didn’t exist before — from the swet­shop gold­farm­er to the (mobile-device-app-store) developer– doing work that has no phys­ic­al mani­fest­a­tion can be both a pas­time and a career.

But it shouldn’t sur­prise us that people and organ­iz­a­tions can make money in this way — because we’ve been doing it for thou­sands of years. Only this medi­um is new.

This post of is one of many I pub­lish weekly at the Future Shop Techb­log. Read more of my stuff here.

Free and good? It’s for the birds!

Actu­ally it’s for you and me, and I’m refer­ring to the free online suite of tools that flies under the Avi­ary ban­ner. Actu­ally, it’s more than a suite of tools, Avi­ary is also a com­munity by and for con­tent cre­at­ors:

At Avi­ary, we believe that every­one in the world should have access to power­ful cre­ation tools. We there­fore chose our com­pany mis­sion to be We make cre­ation access­ible to every­one. Our power­ful set of tools helps ful­fill this mis­sion by enabling small busi­nesses, stu­dents, artists & cre­at­ors across dif­fer­ent genres.

What this means for us is that there’s now an awe­some set of media cre­ation tools avail­able for you to use, for the cost of your inter­net con­nec­tion — yes, the Avi­ary tools are free (though they ori­gin­ally had a sub­scrip­tion busi­ness mod­el).

My most recent for­ray into the bird­house had me using the Myna audio edit­or to trim down a mix I’d cre­ated for anoth­er blog post review­ing Seline HD (a cool iPad instru­ment).


My mix had too much dead space at the head and tale of the selec­tion. A few quick tweaks in Myna, and the mix is much as you see above.


Then, with a few clicks of your mouse, you can mix it down, and down­load it or copy some pub­lish code to embed it in your web­site or blog post (as I did here).

bard1.egg by bgrier on Aviarybard1.egg by bgri­er on Avi­ary

But this is just one of the Avi­ary suite of bird-themed tools. Oth­ers include:

  • Phoenix — Image Edit­or
    An image edit­or has lay­ers, masks, effects, undo his­tory, and all that oth­er good stuff.
  • Talon — Screen Cap­ture
    Use Talon to cap­ture screen­shots web pages from your browser or desktop and crop, res­ize or mark them up.
  • Raven — Vec­tor Edit­or
    The world’s first online vec­tor edit­or.
  • Pea­cock — Effects Edit­or
    It does so many won­der­ful and amaz­ing things, we decided to call it our visu­al labor­at­ory.
  • Roc — Music Cre­at­or
    Use Roc to cre­ate music and loops for use in Myna and ring­tones.
  • Fal­con — Image Markup
    Use Fal­con to quickly cap­ture images and web pages from your browser or desktop and crop, res­ize or mark them up.
  • Tou­can — Swatch Edit­or
    A col­or swatches and palettes tool will help you find col­ors you didn’t even know exist.

And as I men­tioned above, there’s a whole set of Avi­ary com­munit­ies focused on the tools, and on cre­at­ing, dis­cov­er­ing, mash­ing up and pub­lish­ing con­tent.

It’s free — so can you afford not to take a peek into the bird house?

This post of is one of many I pub­lish weekly at the Future Shop Techb­log. Read more of my stuff here.