Archives for September 2007


Banish Boring Travel Slideshows

Travel TechYou took hundreds of photos on your trip but apart from your occasional upload to Flickr or MySpace, how will you share those photos with your friends? My wife scrapbooks our travels but they are more us than our friends and family. I’ve built slide shows with Photoshop Elements but they never quite reach the quality I desire.

Today I may have found the answer, Animoto is a new service that uses your photos and music to produce a professional quality video that you share with the people interested in your life. In their own words:

Animoto is a web application that automatically generates professionally produced videos using their own patent-pending Cinematic Artificial Intelligence technology and high-end motion design. Each video is a fully customized orchestration of user-selected images and music. Produced in widescreen format, Animoto videos have the visual energy of a music video and the emotional impact of a movie trailer. The heart of Animoto is its newly developed Cinematic A.I. technology that thinks like an actual director and editor.

The technology is still in Beta, so expect some teething problems but I think this could be the next step forward for content sharing. Check out my first creation:


Travel Photographs – Eiffel Tower, Paris

Every week I like to share some of my travel photographs and this week three uncommon views of the Eiffel Tower:

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel from Invalides

Eiffel Tower - River View


Travel Global, Eat Local

The Environmental News Network published an interesting article on eating local produce, and eating local is just what you should be doing when you travel. My strongest memories are always associated with the food I ate or the local markets I visited. Food engages all of your senses creating strong links in your brain to retain the information and associate it with the place. Banana leaves remind me of the first Malay lunch I had in 1984; rice, mutton curry, some relish and curious fried whole fish that started my gastronomic conversion from bland to spicy.

Stretching your budget on a long trip is easier if you stick with the in season local produce; create a great picnic of local cheese, a few vegetables, meat and fresh bread. Find a picture postcard view, sit down and let the food make this a moment a memory.

Fresh bread at a Portobello Market, London

A trip to the local market is also a fantastic way to meet the locals and practice your language skills, the merchants are keen to sell you their produce while other shoppers will help you find the best stuff if you ask around. Enrich your travel experience with the local food.


Are Travel Boycotts Effective?

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald asked whether travellers should boycott countries that abuse human rights or otherwise do not behave as good world citizens. What do you think, do you avoid travelling somewhere as a protest against their behaviour?



Travel Tech – Nokia Navigator

Travel TechYour rich uncle is sending you on a trip but on one condition, you can only take one piece of electronic technology. What goes into your bag?

Nokia 6110 Navigator


Video camera?



MP3 player?

Confused, want to take it all; grab the Nokia Navigator and you do have it all and get the free trip.

I’m a real Luddite when it comes to mobile phones, no frills and I leave it off as much as possible but the Nokia Navigator could finally win me over to the dark side. Most high end cell phones have cameras and PDA functionality but the GPS function sets the Navigator apart from any other phone I’ve owned. Type in your destination, select navigate and within seconds the confident voice commands are guiding you through the city. You can set it to take you via the fastest or shortest route, and it will even show you the points of interest around your location.

A few 2Gb micro SD cards with your favourite music or podcasts plus a couple more for photos and you have it all in your pocket. The photos and video quality is not going to win you any prizes but used at parties or other happy snap occasions they produce a reasonable product to share with friends.

The Active TFT, QVGA 320 x 240 pixels, 2.2 inch display supports all your on the go browsing needs and there a host of other features to long to list here. The Nokia Navigator is a winner for the light packers or your go bag.

Photo courtesy of Velorowdy’s photostream. Creative Commons (Some Rights Reserved.)