Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Sunday Beauty

"Serenity" by Per Ola Wiberg. Courtesy of Flickr

Click on image to see more images by this artist.

June 27, 2010 Posted by | Digital Images | , , | 7 Comments

Digital Cameras and Fireworks

4th Of JulyThis week nothing is getting done by anyone except clock watching as we prepare for the greatest of all weekends — the 4th of July Holiday. Sure, we’re at work… physically.

So… I did what a lot of people are doing and just surfed the web a bit today.

Looking quite busy, I dropped by a site I have mentioned here before,, and took note of an article of his, Going On Vacation? Take Your Camera And These Tips!
I thought, well, I think a few Tech–for Everyone readers might be taking a little trip this weekend, and might like to read this collection of tips.

He also recommended a site that teaches digital photography online that I was previously unfamiliar with named Digital Photography School, and they had an article that a lot of people would be interested in: How to Photograph Fireworks Displays.

I mean, who hasn’t tried to take pictures of the fireworks and been disappointed with the result?

So, a big thanks to Timmy John Boy, and the good folks at the Digital Photography School, not only for helping me find this great advice, but for helping me look productive for a while.

Today’s free link: Don’t Sign-in on the Internet Without KeyScrambler.

Today’s free download: Monitor the Weather from your Windows Desktop

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

Share this post :

July 1, 2009 Posted by | advice, Digital camera, Digital Images, how to, Internet | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photoshop online– use the Web to edit pictures*

“Made You Look” is the marketing catchphrase for the new online Photoshop Website, and yes– I did take a look. Adobe Photoshop Express (Beta) is a Web 2.0 application for editing and sharing your digital images, and is seen to be a replacement for a program you buy and load onto your computer. It is — at this time, anyway — a free service (and surprisingly, has no ads).

I would be very surprised if you haven’t heard of Photoshop; it has been around so long, it has become a verb in today’s language (meaning “to create a fake image”). Photoshop is the tool which allows you to put your head on someone else’s body.. or make it look like you’re standing on the moon.. or remove your Ex from your old vacation pictures. (With the right starting photos, there’s almost nothing I can’t fake in Photoshop.)

Photoshop has long been considered the premier digital image manipulation program. As I discussed in this article, “Web 2.0” is all about us regular folks being able to ‘upload’ to the Web (and “share”/collaborate) instead of simply viewing (‘downloading’) content. And frankly, Adobe is not the first to the market of online photo sharing Websites, nor sites that let you edit your pictures once you’ve loaded them.. Picassa and Photobucket have been around for a while now (to name a few).

Considering Photoshop’s reputation, I wanted to know if Adobe’s online service had superior editing capabilities. editing To use Express, you must “join” the club, by providing an e-mail address and creating a user account. While you do that, you create a personalized URL (like, where you can post your pictures in “galleries”, if you want to share them (which is not required). Once you’re a member, you “upload” your pictures, and you can now edit them, and organize them into galleries, e-mail them, or use them as images on (other) Websites.

The screenshot above shows the image editing screen. Those of you who have ever used Photoshop Elements will be very familiar with this interface. The editing options (left column) provide a thumbnail range above your original so you can see, and select from, adjustments. This makes ‘tweaking’ your image quite easy and straight-forward, and allows you to experiment without ruining your original.

Is this for you? Well, as it stands, I find that there are some basic image editing features which are missing (it is possible I just couldn’t find the menu..) such as image resizing and dots-per-inch adjustment. You can crop, but not shrink.. nor adjust file type or size. I am an advanced Photoshop user, and so I find the tools in Photoshop Elements overly simplified, and these even more so– which is precisely what many people want.

While this (at least, in its current state) tool will not let you paste your head onto a super-model’s body, or pose on the moon, it will let you smoothly and easily tweak your images, remove the red-eye effect, and share your pictures with far away friends and relatives. If you are not already using a similar service.. or are not satisfied with the one you’re using.. you should give this a tryout. It is very slick and easy to use. Click the link in the second sentence, and get started.

*Original posting: 4/14/08

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

Share this post :

July 19, 2008 Posted by | computers, Digital Images, how to, Internet, software, tech, Web 2.0 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mondays: love ’em or leave ’em

One of the advantages you will gain when you elect me Exalted Supreme Dictator is that one of my first acts will be to abolish DST (daylight savings time), because I don’t like it.. and we don’t need it anymore. The primary purpose of DST is to to get the highest possible output from our factories in times of war. But we don’t have factories any more. All of our manufacturing factories are in China. All we do is sell (and buy) things.. and (rarely) service things.. which we do around the clock already.
There ain’t one good reason to keep messing with the clocks and I would end the practice (I would also abolish “erectile dysfunction” and “feminine hygiene” advertising on television) so remember folks, vote early and vote often.

Complete change of subject: High Tech changes everything. I was chewing the fat with a friend who is thinking about buying a new camera for an upcoming trip he’s taking (he’s one of those fellows who researches the heck out of any ‘major’ purchase and reads every review). This is the first time he’s thinking about buying a digital camera “good enough” that he can leave his film cameras at home.
He told me of something I had predicted, but had missed in the news– Kodak no longer processes Kodachrome. (In fact, I could only locate two places that still do, and one of them is in Switzerland.)

I have not shared this fact with you before, Dear Reader, but in one of my former lives I was a photography student. I have spent countless hours in darkrooms, and I know a thing or two about film. For instance, I can tell you that Kodachrome was Kodak’s flagship product, and the film by which other films were compared. Apparently, Kodachrome is not dead.. but it’s on life support.. and the Chaplain’s standing by.

Is it safe to say that film, in general, is on the way out? Just for giggles, I looked to see what my old camera gear is selling for on eBay. Now, my stuff isn’t shabby, mind you, and I have all the extras an aspiring photographer would want.. but it is all 35mm film gear and it is not worth squat. Cheaper to keep it than to try to unload it, practically-speaking.
I look back with semi-fond memories of my time spent in darkrooms (a nostalgia for my lost youth) but let’s be practical and realistic: processing film requires odoriferous and bio-unfriendly chemicals (which get rinsed down the drain) and it’s expensive. Even “fast” processing takes one hour, and slides (remember Family Slide-shows?) take days. Going digital does away with all that. Digital photography (with very few exceptions) is better in every way than film.. and you don’t have to pretend to be a photographer to be antisocial and hide yourself away any more.. being a shut-in is ‘normal’ now-a-days.

Complete change of subject: Speaking of nostalgia for my lost youth.. I read in the paper that Gary Gygax had passed away. You may not have heard of Gary, but you probably have heard of his invention — a little game called Dungeons & Dragons.

Over the years “D and D” had become synonymous with “geeky dork”, and people who got really involved with the game were considered to be.. well, um, er.. rejects. In our social consciousness, when we think of computer nerds (aka “geeks”) it is fairly common also think of D&D, and Star Trek. (There are, in fact, valid reasons for this.)
As it is that I am a computer nerd, I suppose it won’t shock you to learn, Dear Reader, that many life times ago I got into D&D in a big way, and spent countless hours “fantasy role-playing”. I was a durned-good Dungeon Master, if I do say so myself. It was the game of my generation.

Gary (and his friends) invented the first game that you didn’t play on a board (aka “boardgame”), but played with a pencil and paper, 20-sided dice, and your imagination. Dungeons & Dragons became a phenomenon, and changed the way we play games forever. Its legacies are still with us today in a whole genre of games and video games.. most notably in the enormously popular MMORPG World of Warcraft.. which has several million players, located all over the world.

So, if you pass your company’s IT dork in the hallways today, and he seems a little down, it may be that he’s in mourning. I know I am. (Yes. I know. Not all IT dorks are male. I’m just tired of typing “he or she”.)

Tip of the day: It has been a month since I have reminded you, Dear Reader, to defrag your machine. Eliminating your file system’s fragmentation will give you a peppier machine. For my How To on defragmentation, click here.

Today’s free link: Every now and then it can be handy to be able to draw 3D versions of your home.. and maybe move the furniture around to see what a redo of your decor will look like. There are many 3D architect programs available, but an excellent free one is Sweet Home 3D available from the good folks at SourceForge.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

Share this post :

March 10, 2008 Posted by | Gaming, tech | , , , , , , | Leave a comment