I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it seems like every free, easy-to-use image editor has gone under. First, it was Picnick, now Aviary. I think I should stop posting about them, because as soon as I do a writeup, they go away. So let’s all keep our fingers crossed that Pixlr is here to stay!

Pixlr is a simple, web-based photo editor that allows you to add cool filters, frames, and effects to your pictures and photos. Using their free Open Pixlr Express, I was able to turn this familiar photo of Crocker:


into a cool, vintage-looking one (complete with coffee stain):


It’s a pretty fun tool to play around with.

National Geographic Field Test: On Everest

National Geographic does an incredible job of pulling together words and images to tell powerful stories. Right now, they’re co-sponsoring (with The North Face) an expedition to Mt. Everest. They have sent a photographer and a writer to accompany mountaineers up the deadly mountain, and their trek is being documented every step of the way.

With dispatches arriving daily, you get a truly in-depth look at just how much goes into a trek like this: the preparation, the waiting, the endurance. The most recent dispatch (including video) recounts the story of how their photographer, Cory Richards, had to be rescued from the mountain after experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath. It’s pretty gripping stuff!

In addition to the current expedition, the site has pulled together great resources on the history of Everest, including this fascinating article on the evolution of climbing gear from the days of Sir Edmund Hillary to now.

Google Crisis Response

Google Crisis Response aggregates valuable research tools and resources that can help in response efforts after major disasters. Their most recent effort is in response to the New Zealand earthquake, and features Google Person Finder, incident reporting, phone numbers to emergency assistance and local officials, and Google Earth maps with the latest data. This is a really fascinating way to keep on top of current events, and to watch how a natural disaster unfolds.


If you’re a Google Earth fan, you can also find additional maps to download and view in Google Earth. These maps include interactive time-lapse animations, trajectories, and aerial photographs of each disaster.

You can also view their coverage of previous disasters. Check out their coverage of the DeepWater Horizon oil spill, or the Australian floods.


Ever wanted to tweak a photo, but have no idea how to use Photoshop? Try Picnik! It’s a free web-based application that requires NO sign-in (woo-hoo!). The basic version has some pretty great features: sharpen, crop, rotate, red-eye correction, and exposure. The interface is very simple and easy to use. Using the “Create” tab, you can add borders, stickers, and text, though many of the more fun features are available only for “premium” users (ie, those who pay for a subscription). If you just want the basics, without downloading any software, Picnik is great.