Sunday, August 3, 2008

Photoshow-ing a road trip

We just spent 2 weeks visiting family and friends. We drove and, despite the price of gas, our total bill (food, gas and all) was less than it would have cost the four of us to fly anywhere in the USA. Even better, our 12-year old SUV averaged 21 miles per gallon and worked flawlessly except for a minor inconvenience with the wheel alignment traveling through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Very good news since we are not interested in buying a new car anytime soon!

Best of all, we were able to see many different people and places in a relatively short amount of time. In addition to catching up with old friends and seeing our kids with their grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles, the trip motivated me to attempt a blog revival. I tend to assume that everyone knows what I know but I realized on this trip that there are a lot of really cool resources Moms should know about but don't have time to find. I have reviewed several tools in previous postings but I thought I would test out some other tools as I mourn the end of vacation and the beginning of another school year.

I started out tonight using PhotoShow because it is incredibly easy. I simply uploaded some pictures, selected a few aesthetics and an online show was ready to go. This tool reminded me of a less flashy, more calming version of Animoto. I loved the fact that I could create my whole show and preview it BEFORE I had to set up an account. Not surprisingly, I had to set up an account to share the show but it was a painless process and it seamlessly allowed me to post the show to this blog (or Facebook or MySpace or just about any other online tool).

Despite the ease of use, the free version of this tool is limited. There are 6 stickers to spice up your photo and 5 relatively blah music selections from which to choose. More choices (including video upload options) are available for $39.99 per year. Given the vast number of digital storytelling tools available and the fact that new ones are coming out everyday, I think the price is pretty steep. The site also provides an option to buy a DVD of the show. I suppose this is an okay option in some cases, however, iDVD provides much more flexibility and customization in true Apple-easy fashion. I would encourage anyone wanting a DVD of pictures to explore it before buying from a site like this.

As far as I can tell there are no narrative options with this tool which was disappointing since I had our kids tell about their vacation via Audacity throughout the trip. Despite some clear shortcomings, the free service provided by PhotoShow is easy to use and definitely worth a Mom's time to explore especially if you have friends or relatives living far away; just be careful about getting sucked into paying for additional services unless you have explored other options first.

Stay tuned for more tool testing and enjoy the PhotoShow........


m said...

Enjoyed your blog and learned about a product that I haven't explored yet. Thanks.
Marsha Cruce

John said...

Love the photo show -- looks like a fun trip!


JoAnne said...

Just found your blog. As a technology teacher I am always looking for ways to reach my parents too. You have a lot of terrific ideas, keep it up!