As opposed to services that make web research more in-depth like Worio, Skimmer simplifies multiple useful web services in an easy and elegant user interface. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Blogger are all integrated in a single, simple feed, allowing you to keep tabs on all 5 simultaneously in one window or widget on your screen. Additionally, you can upload videos or pictures to YouTube or Flickr, or change your status on Twitter and Facebook, all within this program. (To do this, Skimmer uses Adobe AIR, which must be downloaded as well.) It may seem that Skimmer allows you to waste time more efficiently, but if these services are being used by a professor to interact with his or her students, or by students collaborating on a project, then Skimmer would improve productivity and cooperation.
Another elegant tool is Cooliris, which allows users to see images and video in an interactive environment resembling a wall. These images can be files from many supported sites, including Google Images, or from the user’s computer. Cooliris could be used, as has been done by Duke, as a way to browse digital resources in a library. Additionally, Cooliris could be used in lectures, especially art history lectures, since it’s instantly so much more engaging and open-ended than PowerPoint. And since the files are already on the presenter’s computer, the PowerPoint presentation doesn’t need to be created beforehand–the files just need to be in the right folder, and that folder needs to be opened by Cooliris. One problem with this use would be that the user interface, although very smooth and intuitive, is a bit more involved than simply clicking a button. However, what can be gained by integrating Cooliris into a lecture is seamless transition between media on the computer and media on the Internet, as well as the ability to sort through a lot of media easily, allowing for non-linear presentations of videos and images. Moreover, on the Cooliris blog, they explain ways to use the PicLens Powerpoint plug-in just for this purpose. This makes an HTML document and with the associated directories, which can be opened locally through a web browser or placed on the Internet. (KeyNote users have to save the slides as jpegs and then make the presentation using PicLens Publisher.)