Digital photography has become so easy and cheap that if you’re like me I have hundreds if not thousands of photos on my computer. While Windows offers some basic photo viewing and editing options it doesn’t really allow you to touch up your photos to make them even better. One option is Google’s free photo editing program – Picasa 2 (
). When first installed it scans either your documents folder or hard drive for pictures. This can be annoying if you have graphics in your documents folder as you then have to remove them from Picasa. Unfortunately as many pictures and photos share the same file types it is very hard to distinguish them. Picasa allows you to do all the basic photo editing fixes such as removing red eye, straightening the photo, cropping and altering the colour/contrast.
As well as these there are more advanced options for tuning the light, highlights, shadows and temperatures as well as a range of effects including sepia, black & white and tint. Editing photos is simple in Picasa, I usually use Adobe Photoshop or Macromedia Fireworks but these can be complicated especially with the range of options available for advanced users. While Photoshop gives you more control over the photo Picasa is easier for the average user.
Apart from the editing functions in Picasa, it makes a good photo viewer allowing you to zoom in and out of photos as well as setting up slideshows and timelines. Picasa is similar to iPhoto on OS X while I prefer the interface in iPhoto, Picasa is more responsive when moving through a large library. Picasa provides easy ways to share your photos as well as print them. There are also options for setting pictures as desktop and screensaver.
I found the batch operations to be very useful. With my cheap Kodak camera being able to correct the colour and contrast makes such a difference to the quality of my photos. If you don’t like any of the changes made by Picasa you can revert back to the original. Picasa will work with the majority of digital cameras and is available for Windows 2000/XP and now Linux. Overall Picasa is a feature rich program that is free and will cover all the basic needs for managing photos.
It seems myspace is in the tech news almost every week so I thought it was about time to see what the fuss was about. Unfortunately unlike many others I wont be using it to organise a mass suicide however it is quite a nice site to keep in contact with people and its "free"?.
Anyway you can check me out/add me/bug me on my appropriately named profile.
Google today launched Google Pages a free website creating tool similar to Geocities. The nice part is that the interface is really nice and simple, in a way it
Went to a talk to from Rob Hopkins from the BBC, he was talking about election night coverage and the amount of effort that goes into just the one night. Was quite interesting to see what goes into broadcasting for 13hours live and how the different parts of the show fitted together.
For some reason tonight I decided to sign up for Friends Reunited, I
Posted my first article in almost a year about making money online through Google's Adsense. It could be quite useful for anyone with a website whether its on Switchweb or not.
I have been playing around with the sites advertising all day trying to get our adverts to perform a bit better. Unfortunately ImAFish isn't cheap to run so we rely on adverts to support the site.
Areas of the site like the gallery and blogs were not built with adverts in mind thus is it hard to hack them apart and add adverts into them.
One of the adverts I have been putting on the forum is to get people to install firefox - a free web browser which is advertised as being more secure than Internet Explorer.
You will see adverts like:
The other adverts are standard Google ones, when I do some more work on ImAFish over the coming months I will try to integrate the adverts into better locations to try to make money.
We had quite a bit of success with the adverts on the blending documentary website. ImAFish gets a good number of hits a day so being able to make some money off all these hits would be good.
An example of some of the Google ads is below:
There is also a google search box on the forum now which if you use it to search then click on sponsored links we make money.
Please keep clicking adverts if there is something you fancy and install firefox through one of our links!
I'm home for easter now and started work on some updates to ImAFish today. Things are going slowly and I'm trying to motivate myself enough to do some work.
One of our last lectures last term was on DRM (Digital Rights Management) that is the stuff that gets bundled with music brought from stores like iTunes to stop you sharing the songs with everyone else.
I brought up the situation where we added digitial rights to a recorded piece of silence. I would then have the right to charge people for using (and listening?) to that "track" (of silence).
Puts an interssting twist on "You have the right to remain silent - but you'll have to pay royalities on it"
I looked into it and it seems I'm not the only one to have tried this.
Version 1.1 is the latest release from OpenOffice.org - a free open source office suite which rivals other similar software such as Microsoft Office. The project has been going from strength to strength and so far in August 2003 over 18 million copies of the software have been downloaded, this excludes copies which have been distributed through Linux distributions such as SuSE and RedHat.
OpenOffice is available for all the major operating systems including Microsoft Windows, Linux and Mac which makes it a good choice for companies or individuals which use more than one OS. The office suite, which is around 70mbs to download is easily available from the projects website and comes bundled with many other packages.
Version 1.1 adds a number of new features such as saving documents in the PDF format and in the Macromedia Flash format, however only presentations and drawings can be saved in the flash format. 1.1 also adds better support for Microsoft Office documents and improved international support in a range of languages. While 1.1 adds some new features I still think they need to go further, I would have liked to have seen more templates for presentations and maybe some wizards in the writer.
To me it seems that OpenOffice 1.1 is more a fix and update of things we already saw in 1.0 rather then an abundance of new features. I have used OpenOffice for almost a year now to write the majority of the ImAFish articles but when it comes to something bigger (for college/university) I still revert back to MS Office, simply because while OpenOffice does have very good support for MS Office documents it still just isn't quite the same starting a project in MS Office (as most colleges/universities do not use OpenOffice) then finishing it off in OpenOffice.
I will continue to use OpenOffice as in my view it is the better product (and its free) but until it has a wider acceptance as a standard it will be an up hill struggle for users to be able to get the full potential out of OpenOffice.
The mobile phone retailer Phones 4U says it will ban all of its 2500 employees from using email. The statement was released yesterday saying that the company will save about ?1 Million a month. The CEO John Caudwell, would rather employees talk to staff and customers rather then write emails, he said that he was fed up of seeing workers glued to their computers all day.
Apparently each employee should have an extra 3 hours a day free because of the ban. "I saw that e-mail was insidiously invading Phones 4U, so I banned it immediately," Caudwell said in a statement. "Phones 4U staff have been told to get off the keyboards, get face-to-face or on to the phone to colleagues. The quality and efficiency of communication have been increased tremendously in one fell swoop; things are getting done; people aren't tied to their PCs," the CEO said. While this may seem a bit extreme could we see more companies in the future taking similar measures or could we see the introduction of more voice typing programs?
The search engine AltaVista this week relaunched its site with a new more simple and easy to use interface that is trying to help bring back visitors it has lost in recent years. Millions of visitors have left AltaVista to use its rivals sites that include Google and Yahoo. AltaVista have seen a 62% fall in visitors from 16million to 6 million in the last few years but the company is hopeful that the site can attract many of its past visitors back to the site with its new look and enhanced features. We tried the new AltaVista against Google to try to find key parts of the ImAFish site. ImAFish gets many hits from Google mainly looking for Xbot mainly. I first searched for ImAFish on both engines, Google came up with about 5 pages worth of links to a number of ImAFish's page and sites that mention ImAFish.
When I searched AltaVista I only found 3 results for ImAFish, 2 being the homepage and another being another site with reference to ImAFish. I searched for a number of other features from ImAFish on Google and AltaVista including Xbot and Comedy, both times Google came up with more results but Altavista did come up with the correct results for ImAFish it even gave the handy tool of translating ImAFish into other languages.
Though the new AltaVista looks a lot more up to date and is even more easier to use its still not as powerful search wise then it is compared to Google. Some people do like not having as many search results as it takes them less time to search them but most do prefer to have a number of options to look through until your get the results that you want. I think AltaVista still has as way to go before it can become better then its rivals and take back the visitors it has lost over the past few years.