I love Wordle, as you have no doubt picked up if you read me often. There's a new kid on the word cloud block and I am almost tempted to make it my favourite. The twitterverse is calling Tagxedo "wordle on steroids", and I can see why.
At Tagxedo, you can easily enter not only text, but the url of a website before you generate your cloud. You can hit respin to tweak your result, or use arrows to completely change theme, font, and direction. The cool thing for me was the opportunity to have my word cloud inside shapes like star, heart or even the letters JOY. And I read where Tagxedo inventor, Hardy Leung, says you can use your own custom shapes and fill them with words too. You'll find examples in the Tagxedo gallery.
So why isn't it my new favourite yet? Well, the major problem with Wordle was not being able to save my cloud to my computer. Tagxedo offers a save function (Yay!) but it kept giving me an error message : "LOC ERROR- Unable to locate localized string for resource ID 5011..png", no matter which dimensions or file type I chose. (And I'm positive there's some string in the kitchen drawer!) Seriously, that must be just a glitch with my browser/my computer/my brain, as I have seen glowing reports of Tagxedo from others. So I resorted to screen grabs to capture the examples here. Everything else at the site worked beautifully, and I loved the colour and font options.
UPDATE: I tried multiple times with both png and jpeg yesterday, only to get the same error message. Once I read Hardy Leung's comment below, I thought I would try once more before I replied to him. You guessed it, today it works fine! Kudos to Hardy for the support!
Not sure how to use word clouds with your kids? You'll find more information on this slideshow, or in 10 Ways to Use Wordles in the Classroom. I can just see the JOY shape being perfect when it comes time to make cards for Christmas with your kids. Consider adding your word clouds to the Flickr group for word clouds too. For me, it was just good to see that Tagxedo picked up words from my blog that I like to stress: fun, literacy, resources, Art, books, kids, music, reading and love. What more could a chook want?
(Many thanks to Greg Pincus from Gottabook for removing my fears that Microsoft Silverlight, the plugin you need to make Tagxedo work, was going to conflict with my Mac. The download and installation of Silverlight was fast and easy. If you don't know Greg's 30 Poets in 30 Days series, check it out by starting on the April 1 post. You'll be glad you did!)