Ambon Adventure

Instead of writing a trip report about my recent visit to Ambon, I played around with a web 2.0 service I've been watching for some time to put together a multimedia essay of sorts. The service is called Vuvox, and essentially, it allows you to combine various media forms into online shows and presentations, which you can share on the Vuvox site and also cross-post to other places on the net.

I created what's known as a Collage in Vuvox, with a series of photographs and a bit of text, supplemented by a few video snippets and hyperlinks. The photos and text carry the story line, and the video segments help give you a feel for the particular animals and locations. The hyperlinks take you to additional information.

Vuvox is still in beta, so there are a few quirks here and there. I had a minor problem while putting this together and emailed Vuvox for help. A representative responded within minutes, which tells me they're on the ball.

After playing around with the service, I can say that I really like Vuvox. It's a slightly different way to tell a story, and the final product you come up with can take many forms, depending on the content, the intent and your storytelling skills (as well as how much work you want...or don't put into it).

The primary drawback I see is that whatever you create lives "in the cloud", to use the parlance of the times, which means you can't download it and keep it on your computer, iPod or other media player. That's kind of a bummer, but it's a relatively minor point, and perhaps they'll figure a way around this at some point in the future.

To all divers and fish buffs: take particular note of the segment on the newly identified Maluku frogfish. The embedded video may be the first evidence of a frogfish using toxins or some other noxious substance to ward off a would-be predator. As far as I know, there is no other documented instance of a frogfish being toxic. (If someone out there knows of such a case, please send me a message.)

The video of the Maluku frogfish fish was taken by Chutinun Mora, who is the graphic designer of FiNS Magazine.

One cautionary note: You may need relatively high bandwidth to watch the video clips. If you experience stuttering, let the clip load, then hit play again.

If you want to see a wider view of this, go directly to the Vuvox page here. The collage effect is arguably nicer with a wide screen.