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Showing posts from March, 2014

Corel Photo-Paint Basics: Reusing badly taken photos

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Today's photo-editing software are powerful enough to let you reuse shoddy photos or image scans through filters and effects. You don't need to be an expert to use available tools to recycle old photos. This article will take a look at some of the ways settings and tools in Corel Photo-Paint can be used to transform/change an image and make the photo usable for a web or print project.

Note: This tutorial uses Corel Photo-Paint X5.
Effects and filters: Watercolor The photo below was taken indoors at an airport and lacked enough light for a proper image. The flash is reflected on the partition and ghosting appears on the right side of the photo.



After using the Crop Tool to remove unnecessary parts of the photos, the Watercolor effect found on the Effects and Art Strokes menu can create a pretty usable image that can be added to any print or image project. No additional editing was needed after the Watercolor effect even though the original needed a bit of cleaning up due to scra…

Old Tech Print Ads (1998-2001) Part 2

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Continued from Old Tech Print Ads (1998-2001) Part 1

Samsung (2000) Look at Samsung's old phones! Samsung detractors today are many but back in the late 90s and early 2000, you couldn't fault Samsung (formerly Lucky Goldstar) for trying too hard. I provided tech support for their first line of Samsung Digimax cameras but never really invested in their products save for an optical drive and much later a hard drive.
Apple (2001) I scanned a couple of Apple print ads of Apple's desktop and portable computers but preferred this particular "Think Different" advertisement over the rest. Time editors and "tech correspondents" took advantage of their largely non-technical readers and wrote severely biased and inaccurate reviews of Apple products. Microsoft and Bill Gates received plenty of venom in the late 90s such that Apple's iMac and iBook never had a single negative statement written about them while the "tech correspondents" routinely urinated…

Old Tech Print Ads (1998-2001) Part 1

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I grew up reading Time, Newsweek, and Fortune magazine and kept most of the issues that I found memorable. As I browsed through my collection recently, I felt that many of the tech print ads show just how much the technology landscape has changed . . . and how much it has also stayed the same.

Note: All scans from the author's own collection.


Nokia (1998)
Nokia used a serial connector for some time before eventually dominating the cellphone industry. The tagline is somewhat appropriate today considering Nokia's current relationship with Microsoft.
Sun Microsystems (2000)
Sun published entertaining print ads in anticipation for their role in the dotcom era. Linux users had mixed feelings about Sun Microsystems in general. Sun Microsystems (2000) History buffs will say that almost a year later after Sun published their ads the dotcom bubble burst. Sun Microsystems is now managed by Oracle. Canon (1998-2001)
Canon consistently published print ads in Time Asia during the late 90s and a…

Windows XP at the Cinema and The Winter Soldier Part 1

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I was tempted to wear my Captain America shirt to the cinema but decided against it when I realized new and younger Marvel fans by the dozens would be wearing them (I was right). The queue was short when I arrived at the mall and the ticket counter had three young ladies moving back and forth preparing for the day. Although I came alone, my patience was wearing thin after 15 minutes of being ignored so I looked at their Point of Sale machines and was aghast when I noticed they were still running Windows XP.



Windows XP! I'm fully aware there are diehard, impotent users of Windows XP out there criticizing Microsoft but holding tightly to an OS that is flawed and riddled with holes.  As I stood staring at the POS machine I took a second look and noticed that the attendants were placing newly purchased Lenovo Windows 8 tablets at the counter to run advertisements for upcoming promotions and movies. If it wasn't so sad, I would be laughing my Spidey boxers off - and I'm not a M…

Blogger.com's Mobile Template

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Like most of today's blogging platforms, Blogger.com offers a mobile template to optimize your blog for smaller screens. However, due to the increasing size of mobile screen displays and the availability of "phablets" the mobile setting is only useful if your audience uses smaller screens such as those found in the iPod Touch and 4.7" and 4.5" smartphones such as the midrange Nokia Lumia devices and basic Android phones from LG or Samsung. Otherwise, the full blog layout will be displayed on the screen.

By default, Blogger does not enable the mobile template. To enable the mobile template for your Blogger page:

1. Click the More Options button on the Blogger Dashboard. Select Template on the list.

2. Under the Mobile option, click the Customize mobile template button.



3. Select Yes. Show mobile template on mobile devices. 

4. Select a mobile template from the list.




Note: There is a Custom option at the bottom of the list. In most cases, however, you would prob…

Thoughts on scanning old film

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I recently had a brief respite from the daily rigors of work and tech and quickly realized that even my pastime involved some hardware and software (unplugged from the Internet however). I unpacked my Canon LiDE600F, went through my old records, and brought out a box of film that I always planned to scan but never got to around to completing.




The process is fairly simple: Scan the film. Open the scan in Adobe Photoshop or Corel Photo-Paint and edit the photo. Save the file as .TIFF for archiving and resize/compress favorite photos for uploading to my smartphone or tablet.  What it takes is time...and lots of it.



I've had the Canon LiDE 600F for years but even if I was using a newer model of a film scanner, it would still take several minutes to scan a single frame or set of frames using the film adapter. It takes me at least 5 minutes to scan one strip of film with four photos so I typically have BBC Radio running or an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents playing on my tablet as …

Getting Started with DIA Diagram Editor (Linux)

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Part of the process of working with algorithms or getting your feet wet as a developer is drawing structured diagrams. DIA, an application available for most Linux distributions, can help you quickly design simple to complex flowcharts of sequences, binary selections, multi-way, represent-test-repetition, and post-test repetition diagrams.




DIA works in the same way as other vector programs such as CorelDRAW, Illustrator, and Inkscape, but is extremely simple to use and removes the learning curve normally associated with drawing tools/CAD. Designed specifically for diagrams, the shapes and tools used to connect input, output, process, and terminator are all available immediately. Some tips new users can benefit from are the following;

1. Shortcuts are very easy to remember. The most important are CTRL+D for duplicating a selected object, F2 to edit the text inside an object, and R to create a box representing a pro…

Excel on a Lumia 925 Part 2

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Continued fromExcel on a Lumia 925

6. Switch to different worksheets in an Excel file - Tap the Sheets icon on the control bar.


Tap a worksheet from the list.



7. Sort content - Tap on a cell and the cell handles will appear. Tap and drag to select a range of cells and rows. Tap the Sort button on the control bar.



Select sorting options from the list and click Done.

8. Create a chart - After selecting cells on the worksheet, the Chart option will be displayed on the Control bar.



Tap the Chart button and select a type of chart. A new worksheet will be added to the Excel file with the newly created chart.



9. Format cell value as date, currency, or as a percentage - Tap to select a cell or drag the cell handles to select a range of cells. Tap the Options button and tap Format cell... Tap the Calendar, Currency, or % buttons to format the content as needed.




10. Add a filter - Select a cell and tap the Options button. Tap Apply filter. Controls will appear next to the cell content.



To execu…