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Posts Tagged ‘Software’

The Tools I Use

In tonight’s episode of the Expert Media Show, I reveal all the tools I use to run my business. Inspired by an awesome question asked at NAMS this past weekend, I will share:

  • There’s the EASY Way and the HARD Way.
  • Where to Cut Corners and When to Spend the Bucks.
  • Planning for Growth and Success.
  • The Tools I’m Using and Why.
  • And Much More!

Hope you join us TONIGHT for this no-cost webinar! If you haven’t registered yet, you can do so here:

http://expertmediashow.com/register

Free Tools for Product Creation

There are some killer free tools out there that you really NEED to use in your business if you aren’t already! In this webinar, we will take a look at the FREE tools available for product creation. We look at tools for Text Creation, Image Creation, Video Creation, Audio Creation and more!

One of the things I LOVE about this series is that it removes another hurdle many face when getting started online…the need for quality tools. Just in the past little while, the web has seen an influx of amazing, free or open-source software that enable you to accomplish tasks that, just a few years ago, would have cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Enjoy!

BTW…here is some great feedback for one of the future episodes of this series that I’ll be posting soon. The videos are a part of my Step-by-Step Info Products Membership Site:

I have watched one webinar video, #3 of the series on free tools…Tony, my membership is paid for, for the next three months at least. The value of what you provided – free auto-responders, free shopping carts, free utilities for research, keywords, I can’t even remember everything that was there. Tony, that was just one video in one series that you have…You have been hiding the value of this thing under a basket.

[FLOWPLAYER SRC=http://stepbystepinfoproducts.com/video_files/Free_Tools1/Free_Tools1.mp4, width=480, height=360]

Click HERE for more Step-by-Step How-to videos.

Amazing (and free) Image Editing Tools

An essential tool for any Information Marketer’s toolbox is a high-quality image editor. Of course, the King of the Hill for image editing software is Adobe Photoshop. Having used Photoshop for the past 18 years, I can safely say that, from a design perspective, we’re definitely joined at the hip…grin. I use it every day. The problem that crops up, however, is that Photoshop isn’t cheap and is often out of the budget range for many, especially if they’re just starting out. It doesn’t change the fact that there are still header graphics to create and photos to edit…ebook covers to design and DVD cases to finalize…but sometimes, having the best tools for the job simply isn’t an option.

There are some cheap and free software options out there, like Photoshop Elements or GimpShop. I’ve talked about (and promoted) these options before, but they are not the topic of THIS post. There are some new, amazing web-based tools emerging, that, in my opinion, could actually give Photoshop a run for their money. Adobe DOES offer an online image editor (Photoshop Express http://www.photoshop.com), but I’m not including it in this post. I personally prefer the other programs I DO include here. The point I want to make here as we begin to explore these new, online tools is that you have options…more now than ever before…and the best news is, they’re FREE!

Pixlr (http://www.pixlr.com):

Pixlr is perhaps my favorite online image editing software of all the ones I’ll be sharing today because it’s so well done. The look and feel is nearly identical to Photoshop (as most of them are), and quite honestly, it performs nearly ALL the same tasks Photoshop will. It even opens Photoshop PSD files and maintains the layers, which is a nice touch. None of the other programs offer that. It offers an extensive line of filters and editing tools, as well as everything else you would expect from a high-quality image editing software. The ONLY issue I have with Pixlr (if you even want to call it an issue) is that it doesn’t offer an option to show rulers or draw snap guides. And actually, none of the web-based programs I’m sharing here offer that feature (except for Aviary, which I’ll talk about a little later). It’s not a huge deal but it would be nice to have (Please take note Pixlr…grin). And…BTW…all the screen captures for this post were edited in Pixlr.

SplashUp (http://www.splashup.com):

SplashUp is another great online image editing option. While it doesn’t have all the features that Pixlr does, it’s still a great choice…especially if you don’t need all the extra features. It DOES have the ones that matter: layers and layer effects, some decent basic filters, etc. My favorite option in this program is how it handles type. Unlike Pixlr (where you have to enter the type into a type palette and then click “Okay” to add it to your document), you can type directly into your document…just like you would in Photoshop. The biggest bummer with this program? It doesn’t support Photoshop files. Pixlr does. In my book that’s a big deal, but that aside, SplashUp is still a great option for your image editing needs.

Aviary (http://www.aviary.com):

Aviary is more than just an image editor, it’s an entire suite of free online tools that includes an image editor, a color editor, an effects editor, a vector editor (think Illustrator), an audio editor, screen capture and more! Quite honestly, it’s one of the most amazing suites of online tools I’ve seen anywhere. When using the image editor (called Phoenix), you will notice, again, that the basic look and layout is similar to our standard, Photoshop (it doesn’t support PSD files however). What I love about Aviary is how they handle their layers. You can have regular layers (like images, text, etc) but ALSO access the Effects Editor and Vector Editor and add dedicated layers from those tools as well. This greatly expands the reach of Phoenix’s (the image editor) basic offering of tools. They also offer extensive tutorials, including how to create banners for Etsy (nice touch for one of their target audiences). All in all, this is another amazing suite of tools that is worth your time to investigate!

In addition to the three image editors I mention here, there are others as well, such as Pixinate, Picnik and SumoPaint. They each have merit, but speaking as a veteran graphic designer, the three I mention here should more than address ANY graphics needs you may encounter. What I would to you is to try out all three offerings I mention here and get a feel for what each one offers. You may prefer one over the others. Of course, the GREAT news is that you no longer have to stress about shelling out big sums of cash to address your image editing needs!

Working From Anywhere

I have to say that I LOVE what I do. Being able to have what my good friend, Pat O’Bryan, refers to as a Portable Empire is nothing short of incredible. I can literally “work” from anywhere…and HAVE…from some pretty cool places. From a little cabin out in the middle of nowhere or sitting on a lounge chair in Palm Springs, to a private island off the coast of Florida or on-board a cruise ship in the middle of the Carribean…it’s a real privilege to no longer have to work a J.O.B.

One of the keys to truly running your business from anywhere is having the right tools to do so. And while it may take you a while to put together your “team” (it did me), you can actually get started rather cheaply. Now admittedly, I am a bit of a tech junkie, so what I carry with me may be a bit of overkill, but I do like the idea of being prepared to create literally ANY kind of media project I need at anytime, any where. And OF COURSE…my commitment is to help YOU achieve your dream business as well.

Below is a photo of my backpack. This pretty much goes with me everywhere I travel and it contains EVERYTHING I need to run my business and create new products. Well…what you see plus my Blackberry Storm…and an HP Mini…and a raft of software.

Portable_Empire

Now I am obviously a photographer as well…and so it’s likely that you may not want to carry so many cameras and lenses, but what you see above has helped me create a business I’m proud of…one that I love and enjoy. And so, as you can see above, your tools of the trade should include (at the very least) a laptop with media-related software,  a video camera of some type and a phone. With just those three key items, you can create just about any type of information product just about anywhere. The broadband modem certainly extends your flexibility for high-speed internet quite a bit as does some sort of portable drive.

As for software, you really need a word processor (like Microsoft Word or Open Office), presentation software (like PowerPoint or Keynote), an image editor (like Photoshop or Paint.net), a web design program (like Dreamweaver or Kompozer) and a screencasting program (like Camtasia or Screenflow). There are other programs as well that can come in handy, like video editing software, audio software and file converters. The GREAT news is that you can find free or open source programs in every one of these categories. For me personally, here is what I use:

  • Photoshop
  • Dreamweaver
  • Camtasia
  • Screenflow
  • Microsoft Office
  • Vegas Movie Studio
  • Sony Sound Forge
  • QuarkXPress
  • Super Converter/Encoder
  • Acrobat Professional
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Artisteer
  • And a raft of other programs.

Please know that the point of this post is not to brag…heavens no…rather, it’s to encourage you to TAKE ACTION. You can DO this just as I am. In the coming weeks, I am going to be going MORE in-depth in sharing how you can get started, or move to the next level. Honestly, without the right tools, you’re going to be handicapped. Soooo…this is the beginning of helping point you in the right direction…the direction toward your OWN “Portable Empire.”

Public Domain Software

I haven’t shared much about software in the Public Domain, but tonight I found a terrific program that might be worth your attention, especially if you’re interested in Astronomy (as I am).

 Release 3.3a of Home Planet, a comprehensive astronomy / space / satellite-tracking package for Microsoft Windows 95/98/Me and Windows NT 4.0/2000/XP and above, is now available. Home Planet is in the public domain; it is free software. It allows you to view:

  • An earth map, showing day and night regions, location of the Moon and current phase, and position of a selected earth satellite. Earth maps can be customised and extended by editing a DLL which provides maps to Home Planet.
  • A panel showing detailed position and phase data for the Sun and Moon.
  • Panel showing positions of planets and a selected asteroid or comet, both geocentric and from the observer’s location.
    A sky map, based on either the Yale Bright Star Catalogue or the 256,000 star SAO catalogue, including rendering of spectral types, planets, earth satellites, asteroids and comets. Celestial coordinates are included, and an extensive and user-extensible deep-sky database includes all Messier objects and many of the NGC objects. Precession and proper motion are accounted for in the display.
  • Databases of the orbital elements of 5632 asteroids and principal periodic comets are included, allowing selection of any for tracking. These databases can be user-extended using standard orbital elements. MS-DOS utility programs are included which convert asteroid and comet orbital elements in the form published in Minor Planet Electronic Circulars (MPECs) to the CSV format used by Home Planet. Subscribers to the MPECs can thus easily add newly reported asteroids and comets to the database. Source code for these programs is included.
  • A telescope window which can be aimed by clicking in the sky map or telescope itself, by entering coordinates, or by selecting an object in the Object Catalogue (see below). Limiting magnitude, labeling, coordinate display, etc. can be defined by user. Right click on an object to display its entry in the Object Catalogue. Stellar magnitudes can be plotted for stars in a given magnitude range in the telescope window. This makes it easy to create comparison star charts for variable star observing.
  • A horizon window which shows the view toward the horizon at any given azimuth. The horizon can be adorned, if you wish, with fractal forged terrain and randomly generated scenery, including houses, livestock, and trees. The scenery is generated by a user-extensible DLL which allows customisation.
  • Object Catalogue allows archiving images, sounds, and tabular data about celestial objects. Both new objects and new categories can be added. Bidirectionally linked to the Telescope window.
  • And a lot more!

The programmer has also included the source code on the download page should you want to develop the program further. You can download a copy of this great software at: http://www.fourmilab.ch/homeplanet/

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