Tech – for Everyone

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

CNet’s Webware 100

Readers excited about “Web 2.0″, SaaS, “online apps”, and/or “cloud computing” (oh.. almost forgot, “hosted services”) might like to cast their vote for their favorite cloudware apps on C/Net’s Webware 100: The official 2009 kickoff.

To read the article, cast a vote, or see last year’s 100 winners, click here.

“They’re back! Just as they did in 2007 and 2008, the 2009 Webware 100 Awards will honor the people’s choice for the best Web 2.0 apps and services. Last year, nearly 2 million votes were cast to determine the most popular Web apps. This year, the apps are better and the market is even more competitive, so we expect a vigorous contest.”

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

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February 14, 2009 Posted by | Internet, News, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

***Make $6,513 a day doing this***

(or, Fun With Spam)

I am a little bit weird I guess – I actually get a chuckle out of opening up my Spam folder. I look at the *stuff* collected there, and I ponder my fellow humans. Specifically — I wonder, “what were they thinking???”

six_grand_a_day

One yesterday caught my attention. It was from someone named “Giedrius”. The subject line said, “***Make $6,513 a day doing this***

* I have met an awful lot of people (in several different countries) in my life.. but never one named “Giedrius”. I have however, met lots of Pauls, Peters, Toms, and Joes, Jerrys, Jacks, Phils, Rogers .. and just about every other name in the book.

My second impression was.. “You know, if it said, ‘make $6,750 a day’, I might open it. But $6,513? That’s just not worth it..”
How did the crook decide on that number? Aw.. who cares?

PS – no, I did not open either the Importantt message nor the Immportant one. There’s a reason there’s a Spam folder.
* 97% of all the ‘signals’ traveling the Internet at any given moment are scam *stuff* like this. Clogging our bandwidth and wasting energy.
And, no, I don’t know what “this” is.. didn’t open it. Why validate my e-mail address?

Today’s free download: Have you encrypted your My Documents folder yet? Especially on your laptop? If you have an address book, tax info, a resume, business docs? More than half of all identity theft victims resulted from the physical theft of unencrypted laptops and thumb drives… which contain personally identifying data.

The easiest way to seamlessly encrypt your whole hard drive, folders, or just selected files, is to install the free TrueCrypt. Use this and even if your laptop is stolen, the thief won’t be able to read your files.
Be sure to set a good password!

Today’s free links:
Cupid Is Out To Get You – Valentine’s Day Spam Jumps. This article contains some excellent, and timely, advice.
And in the “cloud computing” Dept, Turn your cloud apps into desktop apps with SSB. Don’t know what SSB is? Find out.

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

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February 13, 2009 Posted by | cyber crime, Internet scam, spam and junk mail | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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, http://yourname.photoshop.com) 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

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

Explore the galaxy with the Worldwide Telescope*

Yesterday A few weeks ago I attended an event at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Research Center and learned about the technologies of the future.

Well, sort of. What I saw was an overview of what Microsoft is doing in the area of R&D– research and development.
Microsoft is planning on sticking around for a while, and they understand that technology is innovation… not a stagnant build-it-once-sell-it-a-million-times type thing, like a paperclip.

This from their Website: “Microsoft Research is dedicated to conducting both basic and applied research in computer science and software engineering. Its goals are to enhance the user experience on computing devices, reduce the cost of writing and maintaining software, and invent novel computing technologies.”

It was an interesting and informative event, and I want to take a minute and thank those folks involved.

* The keynote technology displayed was a program that is available now, and it is pretty amazing — especially when one considers the amount of data that must be accessed — it’s a virtual picture of the universe. And the best part is, you can explore it.
Yes, you can fly to Mars… or Rigel.. or the crab nebula.. or the top of Mt. Rainier here on earth (Virtual Earth is one data source).

“A state-of-the-art combination of software and Web 2.0 services, WorldWide Telescope offers terabytes of high-resolution images, astronomical data, and guided tours that bring the universe to your fingertips.” (again, from Website.)

This isn’t just pictures folks, when you right-click on Mars (for example) and select Properties, you will be offered practically every known fact about Mars. This is an unparalleled learning tool!

The engine behind this is kind of hard to explain; maybe.. real-time, super-advanced PowerPoint? Infinite MSN Maps?
But I don’t have to try to explain it. You can see it for yourself, and I highly suggest you do. Simply stunning.

To read more about the project, click here.
To download it for yourself, click here.

I found this clip which was a “sneak peak” presented by Roy Gould and Microsoft’s Curtis Wong. It will give you some idea…

*Original posting May 23, 2008.

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

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July 5, 2008 Posted by | computers, how to, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The WWDC and MobileMe

For the sake of ratings, I simply must write something about the hot topic on the Web right now– a topic so hot (how hot is it?) that the amount of “buzz” has caused the social networking/blogging site Twitter to crash under the burden.
That topic is Apple’s WWDC (aka “Stevenotes”*).

The Worldwide Developer Conference has become (one of) the venues where Apple offers sneak peek (preview) at new products and technologies… A glimpse at what the immediate future holds.
(Personally, I find such teases annoying, but the iFanatics feel different, I guess.)

For instance, this year, we were told about OS 10.6 (aka “Snow Leopard”).. which won’t offer any new features and we might see it in a year. WooHoo!!! Yay!!! I mean.. yawn.
And we’re told about a new version (2.0) of the iPhone’s OS, which will affect every person on the planet. Not.

Can you tell? Even though this event is being held right up the road, and I am a World Renown Tech Journalist, I made no effort to attend, and am too experienced to get wow!-ed by the hype. I also confess, I am not a iPerson/iFanatic.

Yet, there are some interesting and relevant items to note: Namely, Apple’s investment in bringing to us the “wonders” of cloud computing with MobileMe and the 20GB iDisk (and they’re hoping.. the 3G iPhone). This video from the conference explains, and demostrates. (For some reason I can’t embed the video, so you need to click the link. Sorry.)

This $99/year service will work “cross platform” (Windows/Mac/Linux) and across devices.

Here we really are looking at “Web 2.0”, and the future of computing. People, before too long, will be storing their whole lives and all their personal information on the Internet. So that we can share it.
Has anyone considered the security implications?

I’m an old dinosaur, and I’m a curmudgeon to boot.. I think there already is too much personal information available about us on the Web, and I’m not about to go putting my address book and calendar (and.. my accounting program?) there.
But those of the Look At Me Generation will probably be clamoring for it.

[update 8/1/08: I have been following MobileMe in various user forums, and tech blogs– the general impression I get is that MobileMe doesn’t work, and is causing intense frustration amongst the public.]

* A reference to the fact that the keynote address is usually given by Apple founder Steve Jobs.

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

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June 11, 2008 Posted by | Apple, blogging, computers, Internet, iPhone, PC, Portable Computing, privacy, tech, Web 2.0 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The WorldWide Telescope: An amazing app

Yesterday I attended an event at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Research Center and learned  about the technologies of the future.

Well, sort of. What I saw was an overview of what Microsoft is doing in the area of R&D– research and development.
Microsoft is planning on sticking around for a while, and they understand that technology is innovation… not a stagnant build-it-once-sell-it-a-million-times type thing, like a paperclip.

This from their Website: “Microsoft Research is dedicated to conducting both basic and applied research in computer science and software engineering. Its goals are to enhance the user experience on computing devices, reduce the cost of writing and maintaining software, and invent novel computing technologies.”

It was an interesting and informative event, and I want to take a minute and thank those folks involved.

* The keynote technology displayed was a program that is available now, and it is pretty amazing — especially when one considers the amount of data that must be accessed — it’s a virtual picture of the universe. And the best part is, you can explore it.
Yes, you can fly to Mars… or Rigel.. or the crab nebula.. or the top of Mt. Rainier here on earth (Virtual Earth is one data source).

“A state-of-the-art combination of software and Web 2.0 services, WorldWide Telescope offers terabytes of high-resolution images, astronomical data, and guided tours that bring the universe to your fingertips.” (again, from Website.)

This isn’t just pictures folks, when you right-click on Mars (for example) and select Properties, you will be offered practically every known fact about Mars. This is an unparalleled learning tool!

The engine behind this is kind of hard to explain; maybe.. real-time, super-advanced PowerPoint? Infinite MSN Maps?
But I don’t have to try to explain it. You can see it for yourself, and I highly suggest you do. Simply stunning.

To read more about the project, click here.
To download it for yourself, click here.

 I found this clip which was a “sneak peak” presented by Roy Gould and Microsoft’s Curtis Wong. It will give you some idea…

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

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May 23, 2008 Posted by | computers, Internet, PC, software, tech, Web 2.0 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Made You Look

This 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, http://yourname.photoshop.com) where you can post your pictures in “galleries”, if you want to share them (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 fairly 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.

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

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April 14, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, tech | , , , , , , | Leave a comment