Nero has been hooking multimedia hounds for years with its powerful suite of audio and video tools. With a skinnable, intuitive interface, easily accessible user manuals, and a full-featured menu, Nero 7 Ultra Edition Enhanced is big, but doesn't disappoint. Take a peep at Nero's latest audio/video toolkit in the First Look video below.
A new alternative search engine that caught my eye this morning is SearchCrystal, a very experimental-looking tool that combines multiple search engines in a rich visual design. Each search engine gets its own color code, and results that show up in a large circle. When an item is listed on more than one search engine, it's given its own geometric shape showing which engines picked it up, along with lines that link up identical results. The goal is to give you a visualized results page that lets you compare a few engines at a time without having to scroll down one large list.
The results are split up into five different areas--one for each search engine. These engines vary by what you're searching for, be it photos, videos, news, or blog postings. In the case of blogs, SearchCrystal will pull results from Sphere, Bloglines, Google Blog search, Technorati, and BlogPulse. There's also a mode to just view Wikipedia articles. Each string shows the top 10 results in order, with the ones closer to the middle of the sphere being more important. The end result makes it look similar to a dartboard.
The one real hurdle with SearchCrystal is that it's slow. Most searches took about ten seconds a pop, with the longest taking just over 20 seconds. This is just simply too long for a casual search. Likewise, it has a learning curve--you're probably going to stare at the swarm of results the first time you try it out before knowing what you're supposed to do. While not difficult to pick up, I can see someone like my mom not knowing where to start.
As usual, there's a Facebook app for SearchCrystal. You can also e-mail it, or embed it in a blog or site with the query of your choice, which I've done after the break.
Microsoft loves developers, just ask CEO Steve Ballmer. But while the company has been making some of its tools available for free, it also likes to draw the line on just how much gets given away.
According to a report in The Register, the software company has taken an aversion to TestDriven.Net, an add-on to its Visual Studio developer tools. In particular, Microsoft doesn't like the fact that the software works with Visual Studio Express, the free version of the tools. E-mail exchanges between Microsoft and the small, U.K.-based software maker have gotten increasingly testy, having … Read more
Trulia is a real estate search and information service. Users can search for real estate by zip code, or by filling in various search parameters like size, cost, and building type. Trulia also integrates several social features like a way to track buying trends, and a real-estate focused question and answer service.
Today, they've teamed up with Stamen Design, the same folks who do the eye candy for Digg Labs, to create a really neat way to look at housing trends called HindSight. Their new tool is a mix between historical real estate data, and a heat map to … Read more
The Webware 100 is going strong, and if you're still in the voting mood, Digg has unveiled their list of 10 finalists for their API visualization contest, which can be voted on by--you guessed it--digging. Like Digg Expose, which I wrote about earlier this week (and is coincidentally a nominee), each of the finalists has found some really neat ways to play with Digg user data.
One of the most interesting aspects of this contest is the use of Adobe Apollo. Four of the 10 finalists' offerings are served up as Apollo apps, which is fairly impressive considering how … Read more
I'm a sucker for data visualizations. I waxed poetic about Swivel, the site that's attempting to make data charts accessible and useful, and the things that are coming out of Digg's labs from Stamen Design continue to innovate and change the way users can interact with social sites.
This afternoon I've been glued to "Diggspose" , a mashup made in Adobe Flash that combines Snap.com's preview shots of Web pages with popular and upcoming stories on Digg.com. The result is a moving picture show of story thumbnails you can click on and … Read more
For the past few days, Josh and I have been buried in Webware 100 nominations. We've gone through the 5,000-plus entries and whittled them down to about 2,000 qualifying candidates, and we are now extracting the 250 finalists that we are going to put on the ballot for the Webware 100 in a week.
It's been a gratifying process so far. Looking at all the nominees in a big pool has validated, for me, the need not just for these awards but also for the Webware blog itself. Although there is a ton of creativity pouring … Read more
I just discovered this little golden nugget of visualization goodness recently. From a little outfit known as Barbarian Software comes a very cool add-on for iTunes (download for Windows or Mac) that mesmerizes you as you listen to your favorite songs.
Magnetosphere (download it for Windows or Mac) can simulate gravitylike effects that interact with cool, exploding, brightly colored orbs during one song, then switch to swirling green and red ribbons of color for the next.
I like that the visualizer switches its behavior with each new song, providing for a unique experience for each piece of music. A limited … Read more
There's been a lot of teeth-gnashing of late about photojournalists for the Toledo Blade or Reuters doctoring photos, but photo manipulation is alive and well--not to mention perfectly legitimate--in artistic circles as a way to dramatize. One compelling message is delivered in a batch of photos is by Chris Jordan.
Jordan created several images for an exhibit called Running the Numbers--An American Self-Portrait that could be considered a brute-force approach to the visual display of quantitative information. Each image is a montage of a gargantuan number of various objects that people in the United States consume.
One shows the … Read more
Digg's Labs section launched last year with new ways to visualize Digg activity. Last week BigSpy, a new visualization tool that's eye candy in the purest sense of the word, quietly popped up. New stories appear at the top of the page, which offsets the rest of the stories in a wavelike motion. The more popular a story, the larger it is and the bigger the "wave" it causes on other stories. It's a mesmerizing effect.