Here are three simple digital media tools that may not have hit your radar.
PowToon: If you have always wanted to add some engaging animations and audio to your presentations, this will be of interest to you. PowToon is a cloud-based software service that lets you create animated giffs from templates that can then be compiled into a video. The video can be uploaded to YouTube and shared with folks in your social network. Additionally, premium users have the ability to download and save the video to a local computer. Applications for something like this could span marketing promotions, training, explainer videos and many others. While small businesses and individuals can take advantage of the free version, larger companies with bigger budgets also appear to be taking advantage of the cool factor and creativity offered by PowToon.
A test video that I created is shown below.
Pocket: Though Pocket – previously known as Read It Later – has been around since 2007, I only started using it very recently. Technically Pocket would fall into the category of applications that help you save stuff from the web – blogs, news items, videos – for consumption later.
It offers the ability to save content from your browser, or from popular apps like Twitter and Flipboard. Since the app is available on desktops and smart mobile devices, you can access saved content in a device-independent fashion from wherever you are. Other similar apps like Evernote offer a larger set of features and capabilities. However, it is the simplicity of Pocket that appealed to me. If you haven’t already given it a try, it is worth checking out.
Grammarly: Unlike all the tools that I have covered till date, Grammarly is not free. If your job or hobby involves copywriting and you are picky about your spelling and grammar, Grammarly may be an option for you. After experimenting with a few other spelling and grammar-checking tools like Paper Rater and After the Deadline, I invested in an annual subscription that has stood me in good stead. A seven-day free trial offered by the company will give you a feel for the tool before you decide if it is for you. At an annual subscription fee of $139.95, Grammarly is not cheap. However, with over three million registered users and a spot in Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies, Grammarly seems to be doing just fine.
So, have you used any of the above tools? Let me know if you have a favourite that I should include in future posts.