Archives for: 2010


7 Free Useful eBooks That Every Blogger Should Read

After a long time of silence from my side (I was busy developing WordPress Themes for customers), I'm now back sharing some interesting stuff.

This is what I found this morning in my RSS reader. It's an article from on some useful free eBooks that may be of interest for Bloggers.

7 Free Useful eBooks That Every Blogger Should Read

I checked all the links and found that all these books are really free and don't even required you to leave your e-mail address (except for one about Search Engine Optimization).

For all who don't want to give away their read e-mail address, here is an extra tip: is a free service where you can set up a fake-email that will redirect a specified number of emails to your real account and just trash all subsequent mails. It's a very good solution if you need a one-time email to sign up for a free book, since you'll never get spammed with follow-up mails.

Permalink 11/29/2010 07:33:24, von Marian Email , 167 words, 3935 views   English (US) Categories: quick tips


How to create a safe password

That's an article that I have just found in my RSS feed. It may help all of you folks who find it hard to remember so many passwords for all your Web 2.0 and social services that you have accounts for.

Permalink 10/20/2010 07:23:47, von Marian Email , 40 words, 5483 views   English (US) Categories: quick tips


Strange Facebook fbml bug in Internet Explorer

I am currently working on a facebook page for a customer of mine. When I came to build the "for fans only" page, I stumbled over a strange bug that seems to come up only with Internet Explorer (all versions) and only if the facebook page is rendered between the fbml tag


Code herunterladen

Here is what I do:

I create a fbml page in Facebook.
I enter this code:

<fb:fbml version="1.1">

<div style="
background: #DDD;
padding: 15px;
<p>Some Sample Text</p>


<div style="
background: #DDD;
padding: 15px;
<p>Some Sample Text</p>


Code herunterladen

I visit the page in firefox and it looks as expected (both texts are black on gray background).

If I call up the same page with IE6, IE7 or IE8, I get this:

facebook page in IE7

It seems that only the text within the "for fans only" section is not rendered properly.

Any hints appreciated.

=== UPDATE ===

Meanwhile I found a workaround at least. If I set the surrounding DIV a specific height, then the text will be rendered normal in IE.

Permalink 10/18/2010 14:05:56, von Marian Email , 152 words, 19151 views   English (US) Categories: Articles


What do I do for living?

Sometimes, people ask me "What do you do for living?" I usually answer "I do PHP scripting on call". In most of the social networks that I'm registered in, I add "time saver" as the tag line, where other people write "CEO of XY-company". But that's what describes best what I do when people approach me with a technical problem. After the job is done, most of them tell me that I saved them a lot of time solving their problem.

To do things like that for living, I need larger projects, usually worth several thousand dollars over a time frame of several month. I get these by being recommended by other customers. This business is not a steady one, so I may earn $10.000 one month and only $200 the next one. When I'm not working on a large project, I have more free time. That means I can do some research on new technologies or learn some new programming language or software program. It can also mean that I get bored. Without a concrete projects, it's hard to focus on something.

That's why I did so much research on virtual working platform during the last weeks. It helps to fight boredom if you can get a concrete project. And as a nice side effect, you'll get paid too, even if the payment is not as high as for my regular projects. So I developed a habit over these last weeks to apply for some virtual projects. I choose only those tasks where I see a chance to learn something new or where I can improve my existing skills.

As a result of this strategy, I have now acquired a lot of knowledge on how to create and customize WordPress themes. I was able to do that before, but after developing about a dozen different layouts with very specific requirements, I have improved my knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript a lot. Especially jQuery, that I use to apply JavaScript to my WordPress themes, is a valuable framework that I can recommend to everybody who needs to develop web pages. It helps a lot to create designs that should fit in all browser version, including the outdated Microsoft Browser IE6.

After a while, I've got bored with WordPress themes, so I applied to create Facebook fan pages. Facebook can use a special markup language known as "fbml". It's an extension to HTML and it's used to create your own design for a facebook page. I did some experiments with this before, but since I worked on two customer projects, I have now some deeper knowledge on how all this works. I learned about some of the workarounds that are needed to implement a required design. The first one was one simple page with just an image and a hyperlink. The second one did include a contact form, which was not as trivial as it seems to be.

For all who are interested in having WordPress themes or Facebook fanpages created, I currently do them for a fixed price in the range of $60 to $90 per layout. All I need is an image, preferably JPG or PNG, and an original PSD or Gimp file. This offer is valid only as long as I'm bored and don't have regular projects to do.

If you are interested, have a look at the virtual platforms where I'm active and check my portfolio and my ratings:

My oDesk profile

My VWorker profile

Permalink 10/12/2010 09:15:38, von Marian Email , 575 words, 3493 views   English (US) Categories: Just for fun, Articles


Mechanical Turk (again) - Why can it only be used by Americans?

Mechanical TurkI must say that a service like Amazon's Mechanical Turk really fascinates me. I already wrote a blog article some days ago where I explain how it works. I'm not sure how Amazon is making money out of this. I think that they will keep a commission on the paid rewards that a requester pays out for the workers.

=> Read more! (Mechanical Turk (again) - Why can it only be used by Americans?)

Permalink 07/23/2010 22:18:09, von Marian Email , 288 words, 6273 views   English (US) Categories: quick tips


Computer workers: relax your eyes

LivehackerThis is another article that I found today on livehacker (another website that I can recommend) where they write about a good method to avoid health problems if you are staring at your computer screen all day.

It's called the 20-20-20 rule and means that you should pause every 20 minutes, look at some object that is at least 20 feet away (I prefer a view out of the window) for 20 seconds.

Maybe it's not a high-tech news but I believe it's still important and I know I have to apply this rule to my working habits as well. The website also recommends software tools that can help you to find out when the next break is due (so you can even find some high-tech in this, can't you?)

Permalink 07/21/2010 13:45:24, von Marian Email , 126 words, 14057 views   English (US) Categories: quick tips


Stealing images now much harder, thanks to tineye

TinEyeDid you ever experience this? One of your pictures, that you bought from an image agency or that you made by yourself will show up on other people's websites? If they just link directly to your image, you can find out by checking your web-server log-files. But what if somebody made a copy of it and maybe even changed it?

=> Read more! (Stealing images now much harder, thanks to tineye)

Permalink 07/20/2010 12:43:42, von Marian Email , 473 words, 4094 views   English (US) Categories: quick tips


Free Sound Effects

free sound effectsI found this link last week in my newsreader. It is a blog post from "Free Technology for Teachers" about a new site where you can download sound effects.

=> Read more! (Free Sound Effects)

Permalink 07/19/2010 13:41:31, von Marian Email , 194 words, 3702 views   English (US) Categories: quick tips


Book Recommendations: Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow, For the WinToday I want to recommend two books from one author: Cory Doctorow. Both are available as free download but you can get them as printed books on Amazon as well.

=> Read more! (Book Recommendations: Cory Doctorow)

Permalink 07/18/2010 09:22:25, von Marian Email , 857 words, 4561 views   English (US) Categories: quick tips, Books


Scut Work 2.0: Amazon Mechanical Turk

Amazon Mechanical TurkDo you think, wages can be lower than what you have experienced by outsourcing work to foreign countries? I already have written an article on outsourcing work on the internet for project work, but could you imagine that people are willing to work for just one US-cent per several minutes of their working time?

=> Read more! (Scut Work 2.0: Amazon Mechanical Turk)

Permalink 07/16/2010 12:59:48, von Marian Email , 1760 words, 18938 views   English (US) Categories: Articles, quick tips


Ten Inspiring TED Talks for Startups

10 TED VideosThis one was just in my Google Reader RSS Feed this morning. You may already know the great videos that are offered from TED Conferences. You can find them also on youTube. Their programme is highly recommendable to everybody. It's a series of conference speeches from famous people coming from business, technology or other domains of knowledge like Seth Godin or Malcolm Gladwell. The only problem that you may have here is to find the right videos that you are interested in.

=> Read more! (Ten Inspiring TED Talks for Startups)

Permalink 07/14/2010 12:37:04, von Marian Email , 297 words, 4570 views   English (US) Categories: quick tips


How to micro-pay for blog posts you like

kachingleSome of you may have seen that I have a paypal button on my blog since a while (for several years to be honest) and I already received one donation from somebody who wanted to endorse my blogging effort with a dollar. After paypal had deducted their fees, I had about 50 cents left (the thought is what counts here).

=> Read more! (How to micro-pay for blog posts you like)

Permalink 07/13/2010 12:45:07, von Marian Email , 585 words, 1648 views   English (US) Categories: Articles, quick tips


Two great free tools for your blog

Web2PdfThis is one of my findings that I had in my Google Reader lately. It's a post from "The Rapid E-Learning Blog" and it describes two great Web 2.0 sites that you can use as a blogger to improve your site.

=> Read more! (Two great free tools for your blog)

Permalink 07/12/2010 14:19:18, von Marian Email , 181 words, 6260 views   English (US) Categories: quick tips


Book recommendation: Outliers

Überflieger, Malcolm GladwellToday I want to recommend another book that I have read some weeks ago. It's "Outliers" with the subtitle "The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell.

=> Read more! (Book recommendation: Outliers)

Permalink 07/11/2010 13:41:03, von Marian Email , 518 words, 1554 views   English (US) Categories: Articles, quick tips, Books


Webinar with Guy Kawasaki (short review)

I attended the free webinar at Brazen Careerist yesterday with Penelope Trunk and Guy Kawasaki. They had sound problems for several minutes at the beginning so that it was hard to understand but finally they got it fixed so that was a very inspiring and interesting session.

=> Read more! (Webinar with Guy Kawasaki (short review))

Permalink 07/10/2010 15:59:12, von Marian Email , 587 words, 1544 views   English (US) Categories: quick tips


Outsourcing your programming work:

vWorkerMeanwhile it's obvious to everybody: The economy not as healthy as it should be (not only here in europe). This usually hits smaller business much harder and I overhear in my circle of acquaintances, about people loosing their jobs and companies cutting costs.

=> Read more! (Outsourcing your programming work:

Permalink 07/09/2010 14:09:05, von Marian Email , 483 words, 5200 views   English (US) Categories: quick tips


How secure is my password?

passwordYou already know that choosing a good password is really a pain in the back. First of all you should not write it down on paper so that nobody may find it on your desk, on the other hand if it's too easy for you to remember, it's also easy for a hacker to guess. But how easy is easy? How long would it take for a bad person to hack your password?

=> Read more! (How secure is my password?)

Permalink 07/08/2010 12:19:44, von Marian Email , 247 words, 1968 views   English (US) Categories: quick tips


Free Literature on the Internet

Manybooks.netMaybe you have heard about the Gutenberg Project. It's a collection of literature that is old enough so that it's no longer under copyright. It's a great resource to find the works of William Shakespeare as plain text for download.

=> Read more! (Free Literature on the Internet)

Permalink 07/07/2010 13:20:50, von Marian Email , 268 words, 6480 views   English (US) Categories: quick tips, Books


Need a quick answer? Ask a friend (or a complete stranger)

AardvarkYou may already know about the blessings of the Web 2.0: It's interactive. Reading was yesterday (actually last century), searching (or "googling" as this is now a word in the dictionary) was still yesterday because it's sometimes hard to find a good search phrase that gives you the results that you need. So what's actually the next step?

People are now asking around to find their answers. This was possible before if you could manage to find an online forum that was dedicated to your subject of knowledge (computer software for example), but it's still hard to find a good forum in the first place.

=> Read more! (Need a quick answer? Ask a friend (or a complete stranger))

Permalink 07/06/2010 13:15:23, von Marian Email , 349 words, 102561 views   English (US) Categories: quick tips


Learning English: Pronunciation

Sometimes I find a new English word in a blog post or an ebook where I don't know how to pronounce it properly. I don't have a native speaker at hand that I can ask right away, so I use the Internet to find out the correct pronunciation.

=> Read more! (Learning English: Pronunciation)

Permalink 07/05/2010 14:54:41, von Marian Email , 248 words, 2378 views   English (US) Categories: quick tips


Book Recommendation: A Whole New Mind

Today I want to recommend a book that I have read recently. It's "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel H. Pink. Subtitle is "Why right-brainers will rule the future", and this is the very essence of the book.

You can find the full article on my secondpresentation blog.

Permalink 07/04/2010 16:31:24, von Marian Email , 48 words, 739 views   English (US) Categories: News, quick tips, Books


Adding a youTube user to Google Reader

When I read my RSS feeds in Google reader (I do this one or two times every day), I often find blogs who writes about the RSA videos on youTube. You may have seen these too. RSA stands for "Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce" and they post videos of an artists drawing illustrations along a public speech or presentation that runs as audio in the background.

=> Read more! (Adding a youTube user to Google Reader)

Permalink 07/03/2010 08:40:11, von Marian Email , 275 words, 3802 views   English (US) Categories: News, quick tips


e-learning platforms

When I checked my email today, I found this question from somebody in one of my LinkedIn Groups. I always like the idea that people who are new to some technology can just ask a plain question like this in one of their favorite social networking sites. LinkedIn is a site for professionals (while facebook was meant to be a hangout to chat with friends in the first place), so I always find their group discussions very valuable.

=> Read more! (e-learning platforms)

Permalink 07/02/2010 13:11:22, von Marian Email , 529 words, 1658 views   English (US) Categories: News, quick tips


eBook recommendation

I found this interesting PDF eBook at the site The Ultimate Guide To Gmail

Please check it out on my SecondPresentation Blog.

Permalink 07/01/2010 23:43:19, von Marian Email , 24 words, 1375 views   English (US) Categories: News, quick tips


The Interactive Offer (strategies that did not work for me)

Two weeks ago I tried to test a new strategy to find out if I can launch a product like a free eBook based on a strategy that is now sold on the Internet as "the interactive offer". I found their system very interesting and fortunately, their videos were free at this time (now they charge about $1000 dollar for it).

The first step seemed to work fine for me. I posted an article where I asked my readers to fill out a survey to tell me what product (like eBook/tutorial) they would like to get for free; a product that would help them in their everyday work.

Here is the link to the blog post.

And here is a link to another blog post on my other blog

I've got some replies, indicating interest in moodle and WordPress, so I decided to do the second step. I set up another survey for a follow-up, because I needed to know what exactly the people like to have in this product. Unfortunately I haven't got any replies for this follow-up so far.

Here is the link to the follow-up blog post.

I'm not sure what I have done wrong, but I know that I would really be upset if I had paid money for this method. Fortunately I caught the videos while they were free. I still think it might be a good method to find out customer's needs very easily, but unfortunately it did not work very well in my case.

It seems that I need to continue to publish stuff that I'm interested in writing about, until I find out what people really needs.

Permalink 06/17/2010 17:14:53, von Marian Email , 277 words, 2270 views   English (US) Categories: Articles, News


Free eBook survey: What would you like me to write for you?

As you may already know, I am offering tutoring and programming on the Internet. You may have seen some of my work already on my blog, on youTube or on WizIQ's virtual classroom. Here are some examples that I have already published:

Free eBook: Introduction to PHP
Free Video: Blender - first Steps
Free Video: Gimp - first Steps
Free Video: Become a Webmaster using
Free Live Class: Google Calendar Demystified
Free Live Class: The Firefox Web Browser: Useful Add-Ons

Now I'm planning on writing a new eBook that I want to offer for free but I need your help with this because I want to make sure it's something that people really need and appreciate. I have prepared a simple survey that you can fill out, so that I get an Idea what's the most required topic for such an eBook. If several people request the same or a similar topic, I will prepare a tutorial eBook that you will be able to download for free.

Edit: Thanks for all who did participate in the survey. Please check out this blog post for a follow-up.

Edit: This attempt has failed so far. Thanks for all who responded to the first survey, unfortunately it did not work for the follow-up. Maybe I did something wrong. Still not sure what it was. See this updated post for more information.

Permalink 06/04/2010 19:42:18, von Marian Email , 228 words, 115476 views   English (US) Categories: Articles, News


Free eBook: Introduction to PHP5

As you may know already, I offer eLearning courses about web development on my site where I sell interactive courses like HTML, PHP and MySQL. These courses have been sold quite good within the last years but I never could sell them in English for whatever reason. So I decided to make the English version of my PHP course a free eBook instead (because it's already translated in English and would be a pity to throw it away).

=> Read more! (Free eBook: Introduction to PHP5)

Permalink 06/02/2010 16:30:21, von Marian Email , 247 words, 3899 views   English (US) Categories: Tutorials, News


Creative Commons - Slideshare Presentation

This is a Slideshare presentation that provides a great presentation on the Creative Commons license.

Permalink 05/12/2010 14:38:52, von Marian Email , 15 words, 1069 views   English (US) Categories: Articles, News


3D Design with Blender

Do you want to create amazing 3D images or animations? Then you should have a look at the new, free and open-source Blender Version 2.5.

Permalink 05/09/2010 14:14:00, von Marian Email , 24 words, 1222 views   English (US) Categories: Articles, Blender


Rentatutor now on Facebook

Rent-a-tutor has now a fanpage on facebook. You can join the page using the "like" button on this site and join the discussions there:

You can also use the link and/or like-button here on the page:

like button on the page

Permalink 05/06/2010 07:50:32, von Marian Email , 43 words, 3198 views   English (US) Categories: News


Introduction to 3D-Design with Blender

Next Thursday I'll give a class on Blender (the new Version 2.5) at eduFire.

Blender is a free and open source software that you can download from It can be used to create 3D-models, images, scenes, animations and even movie films. This class will walk you through some basic steps to get familiar with the basic concepts of blender.

Here is the link to the class.

Permalink 05/01/2010 10:58:21, von Marian Email , 67 words, 809 views   English (US) Categories: Live Tutorials, Blender


3D book cover made with blender

3D Book Cover

As I have announced in my last post, I prepared a blender template for version 2.49 or 2.49b to be used for everybody who wants to create their own fancy 3D book covers.

=> Read more! (3D book cover made with blender)

Permalink 04/25/2010 17:47:51, von Marian Email , 75 words, 4438 views   English (US) Categories: Tutorials, Blender


More fancy 3D book covers

Here comes another tutorial work in progress:

I wanted to create a fancy 3D book cover like I did in Gimp (See this blog post) but this time I wanted to use blender, the open source and free 3D modeling and rendering software.

You can see the result as a 3D camera fly-around on youTube.

Permalink 04/21/2010 14:22:59, von Marian Email , 55 words, 4733 views   English (US) Categories: News, Gimp, Blender


Fancy 3D eBook Cover (Workflow in progress - final)

I know that I was lazy these days with the creation of background music for my video tutorial. But now, after I got all important work off my desk, I could finish the 3D eBook cover video for Gimp that I have shown you here and here and as a raw cut here.

You can now watch it on for a small fee of $2.97.

Permalink 04/20/2010 12:37:52, von Marian Email , 66 words, 1079 views   English (US) Categories: Tutorials, News, Gimp


Beware of google scam mails

I just received this e-mail on one of my gmail accounts. It's obviously a scam so DO NOT send your password back as a reply. I sent it right into the spam folder, so hopefully not many people will see it, but just in case ...

google scam

Permalink 04/18/2010 22:37:34, von Marian Email , 45 words, 3366 views   English (US) Categories: News


HTML5 class on WizIQ

Don't miss this class if you want to start learning HTML5. It's a live workshop on WizIQ on Thursday.

Permalink 04/13/2010 23:11:24, von Marian Email , 19 words, 3496 views   English (US) Categories: HTML, Articles, Live Tutorials, WizIQ


Blender class on WizIQ next Tuesday

I will teach a live workshop about the new blender version 2.5 on WizIQ.

More information here on my Secondpresentation blog.

Permalink 04/11/2010 19:37:13, von Marian Email , 20 words, 4966 views   English (US) Categories: Live Tutorials, Blender, WizIQ


New species found: the oxabeaver

Ok, this is not a serious post, it's just a short test for my upcoming SEO workshop on WizIQ. Anyway, I need to announce that a new species has been found. It's named the "oxabeaver" and it can be found in north America. The oxabeaver has been seen only once in a valley near a small town in Wisconsin called "Gimp Valley".

The oxabeaver is extremely shy, about 4 feet long and a very good swimmer.

oxabeaver the new species

picture credits:

Permalink 04/06/2010 16:55:23, von Marian Email , 95 words, 1213 views   English (US) Categories: Just for fun

Fancy 3D eBook Cover (Workflow in progress 4)

Over Easter I did not do much productive work.

Today I added my voice over from the original script to the tutorial. What I now need as a final touch is a background music loop.

Here is another version of the raw cut with voice over:

Permalink 04/06/2010 12:44:30, von Marian Email , 54 words, 1123 views   English (US) Categories: Tutorials, News, Gimp

WizIQ now has a Web 2.0 community

I'm a member of the Web 2.0 Community on WiZiQ. Join me on this community to get updates & access Free Resources.

WizIQ has a new section in their communities called "Web 2.0". It is for posting classes, tutorials and discussions about Web 2.0. I am co-moderating this community, so you can contact me directly if you have any questions.

The community is not yet listed in the communities overview, so you need to use the link directly:

Permalink 04/06/2010 07:56:12, von Marian Email , 79 words, 681 views   English (US) Categories: News, WizIQ


Create your first free PHP website

Don't miss this WizIQ life class tomorrow:

Create Your First Free Website with PHP Support

Permalink 04/04/2010 11:23:18, von Marian Email , 15 words, 1954 views   English (US) Categories: Articles, News, Live Tutorials, WizIQ


The WizIQ Wealth Machine Introduction

Don't miss this live class on WizIQ tomorrow. My friend George will give this class and I can really recommend his teaching style. If you are not a member of WizIQ yet, just give it a try. It's free.

Permalink 03/30/2010 10:47:28, von Marian Email , 39 words, 852 views   English (US) Categories: News, Live Tutorials, ctd, WizIQ


Fancy 3D eBook Cover (Workflow in progress 3)

Today I spent a few hours on the raw cut. You can find the first raw version on youTube. Next step will be the voice over and I also need to adjust some timing in the video.

Permalink 03/29/2010 21:55:02, von Marian Email , 37 words, 1305 views   English (US) Categories: Tutorials, News, Gimp


Fancy 3D eBook Cover (Workflow in progress 2)

Video is now recorded. I now need to cut the video.

Until this is finished, here you can watch some screenshots as a slideshow


Permalink 03/26/2010 20:28:54, von Marian Email , 24 words, 3791 views   English (US) Categories: Tutorials, Gimp


Fancy 3D eBook Cover (Workflow in progress)

In my post yesterday, I announced a Gimp tutorial on how to make a fancy 3D e-Book cover. Some people even sell these types of tutorials on the internet, so I decided to let my readers participate in the workflow on how I usually create these tutorial videos.

First of all, I had to find out how it works. After that, I did it at least three or four times to make sure I got all the necessary steps of the process right. After that, I made a step-by-step instruction text that I will use for my voice-over on the video.

Here is this step-by-step description so far:

- Create a new image 300 x 400 pixel

- add a layer make it 300 x 400 pixel and name it "front". This is the front of your book
- fill the front layer with a color, then add some text to it
- merge text layers down to the front layer
- you can make the front layer invisible now

- add a layer make it 120 x 400 pixel and name it "spine", this is the spine - or back of your book
- fill with color, then add some text and rotate the text -90 degree.
- merge text layers down to spine lawer
- make spine layer invisible

- add a layer, make it 300 x 100 and name it "paper", this is the top paper edge of your book
- fill with white, then use the noise filter to add black pixels
- RGB Noise, turn off independent RGB, slider to 0.5
- use motion blur filter to give it the paper structure
- Blur Type Linear, Length: 20, Angle: 0
- use bump map filter to give it a mor 3D like structure
- Bump map: paper, map Type: liniear, compensate for darkening, Azimuth 190, Elevation 45, Depth: 3. other values: 0

- add a transparent layer, make it 300 x 400 pixel and name it "empty".

- make all layers invisible except the front layer
- resize the canvas to 300 x 800 pixel
- duplicate the front layer
- flip the front layer
- place two guides, one horizontal at 400, one vertical at 0
- move the flipped front layer down, it should snap to guides (if not, use View - Snap to Guides)
- add a layer mask to the flipped front layer, initialize with white (full opacity)
- draw a black/white gradient into the layer mask for the mirror effect
- change the layer opacity to 70
- merge down the mirror front with the front layer

- repeat these steps with the spine layer

- when finished, make the background layer the active layer
- choose Layer - Layer to image size (so the layer will be 300 x 800 pixel)

- use Filter - Map - map Object to map the layers to a box
- Map to: Box, transparent background, create new image
- map images to Box Faces: Front: front layer, Back: empty layer, Top: paper layer, Bottom: empty layer, left: empty layer, right: spine layer, change scale x to 0.4 and scale z to 0.2
- use "show preview wireframe to control rotation
- in "orientation" set Rotation x to 20, Rotation y to -25
- Click "ok" to create the image (this may take a while)

- draw a path around the upper box (above the reflection)
- select - select from path
- use filter - perspective shadow: Angle: 145, Relative distance: 5.0, length 1.0, blur radius: 20, opacity 80, allow resizing
- cut out the part of the picture you want to use

Next step will be to create a screen capture using this step-by-step script.

Stay tuned

Permalink 03/25/2010 19:45:53, von Marian Email , 546 words, 3811 views   English (US) Categories: Tutorials, Articles, Gimp


Creating a fancy 3D eBook cover with Gimp

I often asked myself how to create a fancy 3D Book cover like this one:

Book cover

I now found out how to do this and I am now working on a video tutorial to explain how you can create fancy 3D book covers like this with Gimp.

Stay tuned.

Permalink 03/24/2010 08:48:20, von Marian Email , 48 words, 1129 views   English (US) Categories: Tutorials, News, Gimp


New free Gimp course starts April 5

I’m offering a new free Gimp course that will start on April 5th and runs 4 weeks. Check my entry at for details.

Permalink 03/23/2010 21:05:28, von Marian Email , 25 words, 862 views   English (US) Categories: Tutorials, News, Moodle, Gimp


Class request forum on my Moodle site

I have added a new forum "class requests" to the Welcome Lounge here on my Moodle site.

If you want to suggest a class or course that you would like to see here on the site, please add a new thread with your suggestion. You can also discuss existing suggestions with the other students or request admission to one of my free classes.

Have fun


Permalink 03/20/2010 18:09:11, von Marian Email , 66 words, 3330 views   English (US) Categories: Articles, News, evomlit, Moodle


EVO2010 Video in the Classroom debrief

Here is a 25 minute video of a debrief to the EVO2010 Video in the Classroom.

Permalink 03/04/2010 20:11:05, von Marian Email , 20 words, 5162 views   English (US) Categories: News, Live Tutorials, evomlit

What is chat roulette?

Did you ever wonder if it's possible to connect to complete strangers via video chat in no time? Watch this cool video about chat roulette.

Permalink 03/04/2010 17:05:36, von Marian Email , 28 words, 2327 views   English (US) Categories: Just for fun, News, evomlit


Looking for participating students

Rent-a-tutor is still offering free courses on my Moodle site (see this article for details).

Since my first offer, there was not much response. Most people who requested a free course on Gimp did not log in to the Moodle course or did not participate actively in the course. I'm offering stuff that I usually sell for money on, so what I would like to have are students who are willing to participate actively in the courses.

I have also enabled my Moodle site with the opportunity to request a course (you need to create a free account on the Moodle site first), so if you would like to participate in an interactive learning environment, please fell free to suggest a topic that you would like to learn.

Permalink 03/01/2010 16:41:55, von Marian Email , 130 words, 5895 views   English (US) Categories: Tutorials, News


PHP live classes

I'll give three live classes at within the next three weeks:

PHP Basics - Part 1: Getting Free Webspace

PHP Basics - Part 2: Getting your own local Webserver

PHP Basics - Part 3: Creating a currency converter in PHP

The classes are aimed at beginners. You should already know that HTML is and how to edit a text file. Each class can be booked independently. Please check the class description at edufire for more information.

Permalink 02/27/2010 11:18:25, von Marian Email , 72 words, 1014 views   English (US) Categories: News, Live Tutorials


Which ads do you like better?

Please check my new post on about ads in webmail.

Permalink 02/21/2010 17:30:47, von Marian Email , 12 words, 5732 views   English (US) Categories: Tutorials, News, evomlit


Moodle Courses Overview Recording

Here is a recording of my short Moodle classes introduction.

Permalink 02/13/2010 17:16:16, von Marian Email , 10 words, 778 views   English (US) Categories: News, Live Tutorials, evomlit


Web 2.0 introduction, Elluminate recording

Some of you may know that I did a live presentation at For all of you who could not attend, here is the link to the recording.

Permalink 02/11/2010 11:31:54, von Marian Email , 29 words, 1182 views   English (US) Categories: News, Live Tutorials, evomlit


Free Courses on my Moodle Site

Tomorrow (Feb 8) I will start taking enrollments for my free classes on my Moodle page at

There are two free courses in February. One is a Web 2.0 course about using Google Mail, the other is a software course on how to use the free image manipulation program Gimp.

Please check my other blog to find out more about the free courses:

Permalink 02/07/2010 11:23:58, von Marian Email , 70 words, 4217 views   English (US) Categories: News, Live Tutorials, evomlit


Web 2.0 Tools - Presentation at

I'll give my Web 2.0 introduction "Web 2.0 Tools - introduction to the social web" again next Monday on the e-Learning portal

Here is the link to the event. The Presentation is open to anyone to attend, you don't need to be a member of but I recommend to register for free to get all the benefits of their discussion groups and resources.

Permalink 02/05/2010 07:06:51, von Marian Email , 64 words, 6722 views   English (US) Categories: News, Live Tutorials, evomlit


An Idom a Day

Here is a web site that I want to recommend to all who want to learn English idoms. It's "One Idom a Day" from Dave Jackson. Dave offers one English idiom every day as a short audio podcast episode. I recommend to subscribe to the free RSS feed via iTunes or any other podcatcher to get the new episode automatically every day.

Permalink 02/04/2010 21:23:20, von Marian Email , 66 words, 1360 views   English (US) Categories: News


Short summary on EVO2010

I'm now in week 4 of the EVO2010 seminars. Unfortunately, some other work kept me from following all the activities in my 6 sessions that I have registered for. At the moment, I accomplish some tasks on some of the sessions if I have some free time.

=> Read more! (Short summary on EVO2010)

Permalink 02/02/2010 17:46:07, von Marian Email , 992 words, 82703 views   English (US) Categories: News, evomlit, tlinvw10


How to manage Web 2.0 in school

Here is another live class on Web 2.0 tools next week thursday:

Permalink 01/30/2010 19:51:32, von Marian Email , 16 words, 3329 views   English (US) Categories: News, Live Tutorials, evomlit


3D-Teaching and Learning in Second Life

Another class at eduFire

This is another free Class for Sunday Jan 31.

This class will give you a rough overview about how to use Second Life ® (SL) for teaching and/or learning. I will walk you through the process of creating your own SL avatar, so that you can start exploring the 3D community there. The class will not tell you how to use SL and how to move your avatar (I’ll prepare another class for that soon).

Permalink 01/27/2010 13:56:48, von Marian Email , 79 words, 2242 views   English (US) Categories: News, Live Tutorials


Kitchen Fire

My last activity for week 2 on the "Teaching Languages in a Virtual World" was a visit to the burning kitchen on sunday. It's a simulation built by people from Switzerland, where you can learn how to deal with a fire in your kitchen.

=> Read more! (Kitchen Fire)

Permalink 01/24/2010 21:55:37, von Marian Email , 119 words, 2005 views   English (US) Categories: News, tlinvw10


Two more tours in Second Life

I attended to two tours from the "Teaching Languages in Virtual Worlds" session.

The first one was Thursday and we visited the Holocaust Museum with an exhibition of the Reichskristallnacht (November 1938). The exhibition is very impressive and touching, because all objects are on display with recorded audio narratives from survivors of the holocaust.

=> Read more! (Two more tours in Second Life)

Permalink 01/23/2010 18:58:04, von Marian Email , 125 words, 1620 views   English (US) Categories: News, tlinvw10


Web 2.0 - Introduction to the social web

Another class at eduFire

This is a free class at eduFire for Sunday Jan 24.

About Class

Some Examples to use free web services.

The Internet is using a lot of free social web services that you can use comfortably and free. A lot of these offers are quite useless but some of them are really useful for your daily work.

I will show you some of the useful ones.

Permalink 01/21/2010 13:55:41, von Marian Email , 69 words, 698 views   English (US) Categories: News, Live Tutorials


Activites Today (Jan 19):

Today I just had one live meeting with the people of Multiliteracies in elluminate.

I did a short presentation about the WizIQ platform and Jennifer Verschoor told us something about New Media Multiliteracies in Education. You can watch the recorded elluminate session here: Go to the Recording

Jennifer had some technical problems (it's the second half of the recording) but you can get her slides as a Google Document here: Jennifer's slides.

Permalink 01/19/2010 20:06:06, von Marian Email , 72 words, 703 views   English (US) Categories: News, evomlit


Activites Today (Jan 18):

First today I joined a tour in Second Live to view some learning places. We started at the Webhead headquarters. Some people still have problems using their voice but finally most of our group of 20 people could hear our tour guide speaking.

=> Read more! (Activites Today (Jan 18):)

Permalink 01/18/2010 22:11:26, von Marian Email , 225 words, 1669 views   English (US) Categories: News, evomlit, tlinvw10


EVO2010 Overview Week 2

Here comes a quick overview of the task that I have to do in week 2 of the EVO2010 sessions.

On Monday there will be a live meeting using Adobe Connect software. The assignments are related to more video lessons from Participants shall reflect how they would use these video lessons in their classroom.

For the multiliteracies session, we will have a look at the technological lens (according to the book "from blogs to bombs" written by Mark Pegrum). Participants will explore Flickr and set up their RSS reader. We will also learn how to tag all of our activities with "evomlt" so that they can easily be found by other people.

Flickr is also a topic in this session. Participants will learn tagging their photos in Flickr, uploading and organizing their photos, and using some advanced features of Flickr. We will also learn how to use Flickr as a pedagogical tool, and learn about Creative Commons licensing.

Week 1 was very informative with discussions and videos about using drama for language learning. Meanwhile I have finished the recommended readings for week 1 (well, at least most of it) and now I'm looking forward to learn more about the process drama tools. Participants will learn how to select theme and learning area. We will learn more about context, roles and strategies. There will be a live meeting today at midnight GMT but that is too late for me to stay awake. The group is also using as an audio discussion platform.

Teaching Languages in a Virtual World will have some tours to different educational spaces in Second Life. I have marked two of them in my Google Calendar. The first one is on Monday where we will visit some educational places like Illinios State University and Second UMCS, Poland. The other one is a visit to Virtual Macbeth next Friday.

Digital Material preparation is focused on text-based materials this week. Participants will explore tools like, the Project Gutenberg, the Lorem Ipsum dummy text generator and Google Translate. One of the assignments is Data Driven Learning (DDL) which is completely new to me, so I will have a closer look at this learning tool this week.

Permalink 01/17/2010 23:12:44, von Marian Email , 375 words, 744 views   English (US) Categories: News, evomlit


Learning with Web 2.0 on WizIQ

I could not do much reading for the EVO2010 today but I gave a class on Learning English using Web 2.0 on WizIQ.

Unfortunately the recording is only partially useful. The shared videos have no audio recorded, even if the students could hear it clearly during class. And there is also no sound from the presenter recorded between 45 Min. and 56 Min. This is a software glitch in the WizIQ recording software. You may also hear that conversations between two people are not in synch when watching the recording, so it sounds like each one is talking over the other. This sounds much better live, so there is a big advantage to attend these classes live rather than watching the recording.

Anyway. I will repeat the same class on eduFire tomorrow. The software from eduFire also alows a recording, but this recording will only be available to participants who will attend the class live, at least for a few minutes.

Permalink 01/16/2010 22:34:02, von Marian Email , 158 words, 4222 views   English (US) Categories: News, Live Tutorials, evomlit


EVO2010 Video in the Classroom 2

Today was the second live conference with Sarah and Mike, who are also both very active in producing videos for English learning. You can watch it here:

Besides that, I did not find much time to do anything (apart from checking about 100 e-mails from the groups) because I was working on a PHP script for a customer (aaah yes, I have to earn some money somehow ;) ). Anyway, I managed to read some pages from the reading assignments of the drama session.

I'm very excited to see the practical part of the drama session that will start next week.

It seems that I have missed the first live chat for my multiple literacies sessions, but if I remember correctly, it was at a time where I could not attend. I hope I can make it to the next one.

BTW it's quite hard to find all the appointments for the EVO sessions. Some groups have a Google docs file, some have entered them into the Ning Events and others have them published somewhere else. There exists a Google Calendar but it seems that nobody uses it. It would be nice to have a common calendar application (maybe next year) where all the appointment could be in a central place.

Permalink 01/14/2010 19:04:52, von Marian Email , 212 words, 3920 views   English (US) Categories: News, evomlit


Web 2.0 - Learning English with Web 2.0 tools

The Internet is a valuable source to get materials for learning english. I will show you some free Internet resources that you can use to improve your English as a second language. I will cover these topics:

- Podcasts - listen to native speakers
- Videos - useful ressources on youTube
- Communities - talk to other people

Prerequisites: none

Next Class on WizIQ (Saturday):

Next Class on eduFire (Sunday):

Permalink 01/13/2010 12:28:32, von Marian Email , 79 words, 1155 views   English (US) Categories: Live Tutorials, evomlit

EVO2010 Video in the Classroom

Another interesting session that I'm registered for, is the "Video in the classroom" session.

The webheads did a very interesting live event, interviewing Jennifer Lebedev of JenniferESL and Dave Sconda of Unfortunately the time was too early for me too attend in my time zone, but they recorded the event.

You can check it out here:

another one is coming up on Thursday, and I hope I can attend this one live.

Permalink 01/13/2010 10:29:40, von Marian Email , 78 words, 712 views   English (US) Categories: News, evomlit


EVO Multi Literacies

O.K. Today I had a bunch of e-mails to read because all participants did send a short introduction of their own person. I did not read them all in great detail, but at least I got a good impression how many people are in the sessions and where are they from. I even found some living and teaching in Germany.

Somebody asked if there is a badge for sharing. The Multi Literacies team has one on their ning site, so I'll share it here with you:

Visit Multiliteracies

I was also able to do some of the suggested assignments for some of the sessions. For the Multi Literacy session, we had to enter your personal data in a google spreadsheet along with a picture of ourselves. This was a bit tricky to do, so I also recorded a quick screencast to share with the team.


Permalink 01/12/2010 14:41:04, von Marian Email , 148 words, 912 views   English (US) Categories: News, evomlit



During the EVO2010 welcome party (hosted by webheads over UStream) I became so excited that I signed up for a six session there:

  • EVO_Drama_2010 - Bringing Language Alive through Process Drama
  • Digital Materials Preparation Techniques
  • Images4Education
  • Multiliteracies for Social Networking and Collaborative Learning Environments
  • EVO Video 2010 - My Video Classroom 2.0
  • Teaching Languages in a Virtual World

The Syllabi look all very promising and I love to be challenged. So if I don't have much time during the next 6 weeks for other projects, it's related to this workload that I put upon myself :)

Permalink 01/10/2010 18:12:06, von Marian Email , 92 words, 598 views   English (US) Categories: News, evomlit

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