More Gagarin Goodness…

Earth

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).

MynaEdit.jpg

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.

download.jpg

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.