Free Graphics Applications

17 04 2006

Ok, I'm not a graphics guy by any stretch, but there are cases where I need to edit a photo or resize or convert images. Here are a couple of GREAT applications for just that! I use both of these on a fairly regular basis and would not go anywhere without them. (And they are so small, I carry them on my USB key!)
1. FastStone Image Viewer – "An  image browser, converter and editor that supports all major graphic formats. It has a nice array of features such as image viewing, management, comparison, annotation, red-eye removal, emailing, resizing, cropping, color adjustments, musical slideshow and much more."

    Actually they have a whole suite of great apps here! (Screen Capture, MaxView, Photo Resizer, and a 4-in-1 Browser with built in webserver and FTP client!)

2. – "Paint.NET is image and photo manipulation software designed to be used on computers that run Windows 2000, XP, Vista, or Server 2003. It supports layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools."


Flickr Leech Rocks!

10 03 2006

Ok, I admit it. I’m a people-watcher. I like to sit at the mall or airport or park and just watch people. I read blogs, watch webcams and browse Flickr photostreams. Other peoples lives are fascinating to me for some reason and my wife has come to understand.

I ran across a cool site today that displays the day’s most interesting photos on Flickr! It displays a group of phots based on “interestingness”, username, userID, photoset, or group pool. Just by selecting “interestingness” it displays a days worth of cool photos, all linked to their own personal photosets. I browse for cool photos and open them in new tabs so I can explore them separately later! Huge time-killer for me!

20″ IMac G5 – Wow! But can I connect it to AD?

6 03 2006

IMac 20

I got my MCSE in NT 4.0 back in ’99. I’ve always been a “Microsoft guy” and have been supporting Windows servers and desktops for a long time. I’ve looked, and tried, to find an alternative OS that I liked and have downloaded numerous ISOs to no avail. Either I lacked the time or lost interest before reformatting my PC back to Windows.

The organization I work for recenly got into the business of operating charter schools (high-school level). If you’ve gone from supporting a business to supporting a school, you’ll know that there are a lot of new challenges to overcome.

One challenge for us was that the kids were interested in music and movie production. We supplied them with a couple of Dell XPS Workstations with 19′ flat panels, video capure cards, and expensive movie/ DVD editing software packages. Do you know what they created? Nothing. There were way to many steps to create/ edit a movie or publish a podcast. These are 15-16 year old kids with the passion and creativity to create something great, only to be stifled by their inexperience with a PC.

I looked at different Linux distros, but that’s even more difficult  for them to use.Then it happened…and at just the right time too I might add…
An Apple sales rep visited a couple of weeks ago to discuss computer options with us. We are currently an all Dell/ XP/ AD organization, so we had little interest in Macs.  They insisted that the new Macs (10.4) played well with AD and would be much easier for the students and provided us with 2 “seed units”. We got 2 – 20″ IMac G5s running Tiger to play with. (2.1GHz PPC – 1Gb RAM).

I opened it up, plugged in the power, keyboard/ mouse, and NIC and powered it up. I opened Safari and was online. Updates were ready to install. So far so good.

I opened GarageBand 3.0 and “Create a Podcast” was an option! IMovie was equally as easy and the 20″ LCD made it a joy to work on. In 10 minutes, without ever using a Mac, I had mapped a few network drives, surfed the web, took pictures using the integrated ISight camera and PhotoBooth and played with widgets with Dashboard. I am really happy they sent it to us and would LOVE to have one for my family! 🙂
Once I get an admin account user/ pass from our sales rep. I will begin the AD integration part. I need these to join AD and be manageable via Group Policy. Any suggestions on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated!

Beautiful Images of Decay

18 01 2006

I stumbled across this site last summer and came across the most beautiful digital photographs of a ship graveyard. I revisited today as I was updating my bookmarks and there are a whole slew of great photos on display. Mr. Motts is a very talented photographer with a keen eye for subject matter. Check out his site.