Saturday, 26 March 2011

GoAnimate hits YouTube | Video

So news on YouTube this week is that they have added animation tools that allows you to create your own videos without ever picking up your camcorder. The site offers three animation packages; Xtranormal, Stupeflix and GoAnimate. So having done a bit of video editing and have a keen interest in making films I gave it a look.

Each package offer very different looks and feels and my personal favourite is GoAnimate. You get pre-designed sets, people and props to use that are all real easy to use. Special effects like cuts, pan and zoom work real well and additional effects are very good too (but don't over do using them when making a film!).

This first video I put together though YouTube to just play with the idea and see how it works. As you can see you can use a special text-to-speech tool so you don't even have to record your own voice. Its a little clunky and flat but plays quite well.

After making this video I found that while trying to make a second I could not add any more text-to-speech. I was told I could purchase more but that was a coming soon feature. So I guessed the tool is limited by how many effects you can add or that this new feature on YouTube is limited somehow. I've not been able to find out what these limits are however, as there is no details on YouTube or GoAnimate about limits / usage which is poor!

So I joined the GoAnimate site and made a second video over there. Again features appear to be limited. As you use special features these use up credits. You can get more credits form completing tasks and getting views - I think. Again I have found the details of what you can do limited and hidden from my searches. There is lots of info on going pro and paying to get 'GoBucks' that pay for this stuff but I can't tell you how much a single text-to-speech credit will use up so could not work out how much credit I would need for a video. Oh and you are limited to 2 minutes which means your making shorts, not videos.

Personnel I feel GoAnimate should have a nice page explaining what charges get applied when stuff is used, and how many hits gets you credits back. If people want to use it long term then details need to be clear - or maybe I'm just thinking like an engineer too much?

So why should you and why was I interested in animation? Well there are a number of great shows out on the web right now including; Videos by Jeri Ellsworth, EEVBlog and Jeremy Blum as well as news channels like 'Hay' etc. But these are all quite hard work to put together. Editing is going to be needed and with animation you can avoid all the filming, lighting and sound stuff and get straight to it.

I've been asked by a few people if I was considering doing a show also - well I have no intention of appearing on screen and do not have the audio kit to record good audio with. So when GoAnimation came in front of me - well I'm tempted. But my content is free and so if the time I spend on them so investing in a service like GoAnimate is not for me when its going to hit my pocket. Hopefully GoAnimate will make charges visible and then maybe... Well who knows...

Anyway this is the second video that is hosted on GoAnimate (Free-?): monpjc screen test two | show idea by monpjc

Like it? Create your own at It's free and fun!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Free Stuff : DesignSpark and element14

So over the last year I have been blogging and tweeting about electronics mainly on DesignSpark but will be doing more on element14 as well as my normal blogs on here and over on EngineerBlogs.

During this time I've collected the odd bit of free stuff from both DesignSpark and element14 so here is what I have.

As added bit of fun hopefully elemant14 and DesignSpark will reTweet the link for this blog and at the end of the week we can see who brings in most hits for me! ;o)

Full List includes:
Pens from both
Bags from both
T-Shirts from element14
Shirt and polo top from DesignSpark
Mug from DesignSpark (Tea not included!)
Sports Bottle from element14
Fold-away frisbee and pouch from DesignSpark
Ice Scraper from element14
Credit Card USB and standard USB pen drive from DesignSpark both 2GB
standard USB pen Drive from element14 1GB

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Blog Hits = X^-2 | Trends in Traffic

Over last few months I have noticed a patern to hits on my blogs. not only on my site here but on other sites also. Below is the typical graph I get for one blog post after it has been posted.

What looks to happen is after posting it either though RSS feeds, email updates or following a tweet about the new content every hits the page on the first days or so. This graph as the title of the blog suggests is a mathematical formula X^-2.

What is interesting is when you apply this to a site that posts new content everyday but none at the weekend - you get peek traffic on Wednesday due to the overlapping trends as shown below.

These graphs assume that each blog is of equal interest and the same amount of people come back each time. We know however content will differ in interest and that Fridays have a drop off more than shown here - why? Well there could be lots of reasons but you will find that traffic shape is more 'bell' shaped. I could also suggest that if you post on a site that has lots of other bloggers, then Wednesday could be your best day to post. But don't tell everyone as they will all do the same.

I'd like to hear if you have seen the same trends or have reasons for the drop off on a Friday.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Which Blog to Write Next | Result | 555 v Microcontroller

So a few days back I was wondering which blog to write next. Wanting to keep my public happy I gave the twitter poll site TwtPoll a try. The sites very good as it allows you to select different type os question formats, post your question on twitter and monitor the results.

So my question was "Which of the following, from its title, would you like me to blog about next?". This got sent out on twitter and considering I have around 200 followers I got back 28 votes. OK not a massive amount but that more than 10% which I was pleased with.

So in all I found the site helpfully at running the poll however... As shown below your given the option to display the result in your own blog page - no matter what I ajust it spills out all over the page.! :o( I'll be contacting them about this.!

As you can see I now have to go off and write about blog to see if a 555 is better than a microcontroller at being a 555 timer! The other blogs will all get written in time but now I know what will be popular with my audience so thanks for voting!