Thursday, January 28, 2010


Ok, so who's getting one?


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Google Voice comes to iPhone and Palm WebOS

It's about time. Apple previously denied Google's application for a Google Voice iPhone app, so this is a web-app. See video and web link below for details.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Apple Tablet Placeholder

Some recent tweets on tomorrow's rumored Apple tablet. No joke, less than 3 minutes later there were already 600+ more tweets on the same topic. We'll post here when we get the news, but I have a feeling you'll have already heard about it elsewhere by then if you're the kind of person who really cares.

Apply for $1000 Technology Grant Soon!

Thanks to the generosity of Jeffrey L. Seltzer and Ana L. Seltzer, the Penn Libraries (Weigle Information Commons) is proud to offer undergraduate research awards for up to six students to conduct research using new media and information technologies. Each award will provide about $1,000 worth of equipment (both hardware and software) and supplies to support a research project for up to one year.* These awards include special consideration for students enrolled in the Huntsman Program. After one year, equipment purchased through the award will return to the Weigle Information Commons for general use. Examples of technology items purchased by previous award winners include: video cameras, audio recorders, virtual reality camera peripherals, microphones, scanners, video lighting and mobile devices. Previous winners have created video documentaries, compiled audio interviews, and conducted qualitative research projects.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Upload anything to Google Docs

GoogleDocs now gives you the ability to upload any file type, store it online, and share it with others. You can upload anything (audio, video, images, text, etc.), but you can also continue to convert certain file types (spreadsheets, word processing, presentations, etc.) to formats you can actually edit within the Google Docs application suite. There's a size limit of 250MB per file, and you have a grand total of 1GB storage space (per gmail account, but really, who has only one gmail account. Am I right?)

Anyhoo, this can replace email when you're trying to get documents to other people--especially when dealing with large groups of people or with files that are too large (20mb+ usually) to email. It can replace services like (which has a size limit of 100MB per file--unless you want to pay their monthly fee and send a 2GB file). It can replace your USB flash drive, which you have to worry about losing, or forgetting to bring with you.

And one of the most powerful features for me is that you can share these files with anybody--either just with select people that you specify, or with anybody who has the link to your file.

More info on the help page at

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Upcoming Workshops

Upcoming WICshops are:

  • Excel Charts, Sat. Jan. 23, 2 to 3:30 pm
  • Audacity, Mon. Jan. 25, 10:30 am to noon – free audio editing software
  • PowerPoint Basics, Tues. Jan. 26, 10:30 am to Noon
  • BlackBoard Basics, Tues. Jan. 26, 1 to 2 pm
  • Peacekeeping/Stabilization Mission Simulation, Briefing: Tues. Jan. 26, 6:30 to 8 pm. Mission: Sat. Jan. 29, 10 am to 6:30 pm – Special event on International Relations
  • PhotoShop Layers, Wed. Jan. 27, 10 am to Noon
  • RefWorks, Wed. Jan. 27, 1 to 2:30 pm
  • Excel and Data Analysis, Thurs. Jan. 28, 10:30 am to Noon
  • BlackBoard Collaboration Tools, Mon. Feb. 1, 1 to 2:30 pm
  • BlackBoard Tests and Pools, Tues. Feb. 2, Noon to 1 pm
  • Juggle School with Google, Tues. Feb. 2, 5 to 6:30 pm – Designed for undergraduates. Special workshop on time management with Weingarten Learning Resources Center (VPUL)
  • PhotoShop Basics, Wed. Feb. 3, 2 to 4 pm

All workshops are open to Penn students, faculty, and staff unless otherwise noted. Registration and details:

Got Visual? Design a poster to describe learning. Contest deadline: February 22, 2010.

BlackBoard Walk-in assistance available on January 21, 25 and 29, and on February 3.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Largest Fountain in the World

One of our most frequent lab users, Aaron Peck, helped to design the Dubai Fountain at the recently opened Burj Khalifa building in Dubai--the world's largest fountain, and located in the tallest structure ever built by man. Plus, the fountain is AMAZING. The video below doesn't do it justice--those jets of water are shooting about 150 feet in the air (and they're capable of shooting over 3 times higher than that!) See the video below (or better yet, watch it in HD):

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Deciding on the size of your Web Page

When you're designing a webpage, it's important not to create a page that requires your audience to scroll side to side or up and down much in order to see your content (anNOYing!) But how can you know how big your viewers' browser windows will be before you even put your page up on the web?

Google has released this great tool called browsersize.

Basically, you type in the URL of a webpage in the text box at the top of the screen, and Browsersize shows you what percentage of people will be able to view a given portion of the page. It's based on the browser window size of people who visit Google, so it should be a good estimate of the total population. It's probably safe to assume that people on campus have higher resolution monitors than the public at large, so if you're making a page specifically for a Penn audience, Browsersize should provide a conservative estimate for you.

Read more about how it works at

Friday, January 15, 2010

First Person Tetris

Here's a great way to waste time and get nauseated at the same time! Use the arrow keys and space bar.

Plus, if you're anything like me, you'll have the Tetris music stuck in your head all day long.
Speaking of which, here's something else you can listen to. (It's on YouTube, but it's really just audio):

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Creating an Online Resume

Many of you will be looking for jobs soon (if you haven't started already). has an online training course on creating your own online resume. (Description below). You can see what the course includes at

If you'd like to watch it, just ask the lab consultant on duty to long you in to

In Creating an Online Resume: Hands-On Training, interactive design professor and enthusiastic educator Laurie Burruss teaches how to produce an online resume—and create a first web site in the process. Laurie suggests structure and information needed to create a winning resume, and shows how to design the pages with simple typographic principles and effective layouts. She explains how to use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and control the design and structure of HTML documents through hands-on development. Exercise files with additional supporting materials accompany the course.
Topics include:
  • Creating a simple text document for use inside Dreamweaver
  • Formatting HTML tags with semantic or meaningful markup such as unordered and definition lists
  • Externally linking a Cascading Style Sheet to a web page
  • Creating and applying unique styles to XHTML documents using HTML tags, compound selectors, custom classes, and IDs
  • Creating tiling background images in Fireworks
  • Using the DIV tag in combination with CSS to create effective layouts that organize content
  • Applying principles of web typography

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

YouTube embedding options

I don't embed a lot of videos, except for here in the lab blog, so when I embedded that wedding video a few days ago, I noticed all the options available. Check them out:

You can specify video size, whether it plays in HD, the color of the player, and more. Pretty nifty.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Welcome Back

Welcome back to campus, everyone. Hope you enjoyed your break! We're all looking forward to seeing you back in the lab!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Offline Gmail graduates from Labs

Huh. I must've missed this the first time around. Gmail's handy-dandy offline feature, which allows you to read and send gmail messages while offline, is finally a full-fledged feature, no longer to be found in Google Labs:

I believe it requires you to install Google Gears on your computer, or else you could use Google's Chrome browser.

If you're not familiar with GMail's labs extensions, login and checkout this link to find some useful additions, like the ability to unsend an email, store boilerplate canned messages, watch embedded YouTube links from within an email message, send and receive text messages (SMS) in Chat, move the chat box to the right side of the screen, and more.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Signs of the Times

Yes, the groom actually updated his facebook status FROM THE ALTAR. I love it!

Via Gawker.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

30 Rock

Come on down to the lab. We're taking advantage of these last few quiet days before students return by watching 30 Rock first season episodes on the big screen. Yes it's distracting, but we're having a good time, and isn't that what really matters?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Book cover designed in the Media Lab

Congrats to lab user and longtime library employee Faith Anderson, whose book cover design for Latanya Richardson's new book "Sister Issues," was created right here in the Vitale Digital Media Lab!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year - and no PennCash

Happy New Year and welcome back. For those of you who actually show up in the lab this week (and I'm not holding my breath), the PennCash system is expected to be down campus-wide. Since we handle printing in the lab with PennCash, please ask the lab consultant on duty for help if you need to print on January 4, 5, 6 (and possibly 7, but we'll let you know if it goes on that long).