Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2009

Create Panoramic Photos in Photoshop

Merging multiple photographs into a single large panoramic photo can yield excellent results and with the proper software it can turn your small sensor camera into a 30 megapixel digital camera.

Adobe Photoshop CS4 has an excellent Photomerge feature that automates the tedious process of lining up and merging multiple photos into a single larger photograph. Below is the procedure for merging multiple photos into a single panoramic photograph in Adobe Photoshop CS4.

1) Open Photoshop and select "File" and then "Automate" followed finally by "Photomerge.



2) Next you will be greeted by a dialog box with several options. The Layout options give you many choices in how the final outputted file will appear. For good results I usually leave it on "Auto" and let Photoshop decide, this usually gives me decent results, but feel free to experiment with all the options here.



3) After you have selected your layout you need to select the source files. Select the br…

View RAW & DNG thumbnails in Windows 7

To view RAW & Adobe DNG thumbnails in Windows Explorer in the 64-bit addition of Windows 7 just download and install the free*** FastPictureViewer WIC RAW Codec Pack.


***(Recently FastPictureViewer has started charging for this codec pack. It is still reasonable at only $9.99 but if you still want the free version, you can download it from CNET.)

For installation instructions, follow the instructions below:

1) Go to http://www.fastpictureviewer.com/codecs/ and download the  64-bit edition of the WIC RAW Codec Pack.

2) Click on the Fast Picture Viewer WIC RAW Codec installer file that you downloaded to begin the installation.

3) At the first pop up window click "Next".

4) At the next screen, if you agree with the EULA than place a check mark next to "I accept..." and click next.



5) At the next screen you can choose to install codecs for all the available RAWs and DNG formats or just select the RAW types that you need and the Adobes DNG format. My recommendation …

Hide User Account In Windows 7

I have a home network consisting of all Microsoft Windows PCs. To make file sharing and networking easier, I create user accounts for all the users on my home network on every single computer. This works well with one small problem, each computer starts up with a welcome screen with every user listed, even though only one person really uses a particular computer. It's a small annoyance, but it bugged me a bit so I went out and searched out how to hide a user account in Windows 7 (this same tip will also work in Vista). If you have Windows XP just download TweakUI and their is an option in that free utility for hiding user accounts.

So here is a quick guide on how to hide a user account in Windows 7.

*IMPORTANT: before preceding,  know that if you hide your only administrator account you may have a very hard time getting back into your system as an administrator or logging on at all. So proceed with caution and make sure and then double check and make sure again that you are hiding…

Telus to Eliminate System Access Fees

Starting November 5th Canadian wireless provider Telus will offer simple monthly plans that include everything in a single fee. Meaning their will not be any additional system access fees or 911 fees added to your monthly bill.

The new plans called "Clear Choice" will replace the existing "Your Choice " plans. Although these new plans eliminate the system access fee of $6.95 and the 911 fee of $0.75 they also raise the monthly fee by $5.00, but basic voicemail is also included on the new plans whereas on the old plans it was an extra charge.

All in all its a move in the right direction for consumers, even if it only means a savings of a few dollars a month. The main benefit to consumers is a simple "the price you see" is the "price you pay". No more seeing a great deal on a monthly plan and then seeing it go up by 30% after all the extras and system fees are added to the price.

Here is a link to Telus's description of it's new "Clea…

Convert FLAC to MP3

Converting FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) to MP3 is a very simple process and one that can be performed using free software.

In this post I will show you the method that I use to convert FLAC files to MP3, but their are many other ways to convert a FLAC file to an MP3 using different software and most of them work equally well. This method is just what has worked reliably for me and given me excellent sound quality.

Convert FLAC to MP3 Using Foobar2000:

*Note: that most of these steps only need to be performed once, and once all the settings are in place and saved it becomes almost a two step process to convert FLAC files to MP3s.

1) You will need two pieces of free software to convert a FLAC file to a MP3 file. First click on this link and download the LAME encoder for Windows. Next, click on this link to download Foobar2000.

2) Unzip the LAME zip file and place the extracted Zip  folder in a location on your computer that you will remember.

3) Click on the downloaded Foobar2000 in…

Windows 7 vs. Vista

Since I have two laptops of similar specs, I decided to run a very unscientific experiment and make a Windows 7 and Vista compare video of the boot up of both laptops booting up at the same time. I installed one laptop with Windows 7 and the other with Windows Vista.

Both laptops have similar, but not the same specs...Both laptops are HP dv2000 14.1" laptops with 3gigs of RAM. The main difference being the Vista laptop has a 1.83ghz Core 2 Duo and the Windows 7 laptop has a 1.83ghz Pentium Dual Core.

Though in the video the boot-up times appear to be a tie, having used both operating systems I still feel that Windows 7 still feels faster and runs smoother than Vista.

Just my 2 cents!

Canada Mobile Wireless Internet Plans for Rogers, Bell, Telus and Fido

I thought I would put together some data comparing Bell, Telus, Rogers and Fido, the four largest cell carriers in Canada and the rates they charge for their mobile wireless internet using the new USB Internet sticks that are available through all these carriers.

After putting together all the data there isn't much difference between all four carriers when it comes to mobile wireless internet. So I am very much looking forward to seeing some new competition come in and hopefully drive some of these expensive data costs down.

Here are all four Canadian mobile wireless internet plans:

Telus Mobility

Fixed Data Rate Plans:

Monthly Fee
Included Data Usage
Cost per MB
$25.00
500 MB
$0.05
$30.00
1 GB
$0.03
$60.00
3 GB
$0.02

*Additional Data Rate: $0.05/MB

Flexible Data Rate Plans:

N/A - Telus does not offer flexible data rate plans


Bell Mobility

Fixed Data Rate Plans


N/A - Bell only offers flexible data rate plans


Flexible Data Rate Plans:

Monthly Fee
Included Data Usage
Cost per MB (max/min)
$30.00
Up to 500…

Remove "On behalf of Gmail" from outgoing Gmail Email

I use Google's Gmail as my central email account where I have all my email from various accounts sent to. This has worked great with just one minor problem. When you sent email from Gmail using another email account then Gmail added "sent on behalf of Gmail" to your outgoing email address. So the sender always knew you sent the email through a Gmail account.

Well there is now a solution, thanks to a recently added "send mail as" features to Gmail by Google.

Follow the steps below to eliminate the "on behalf of Gmail" from outgoing emails sent from your Gmail account...

1) On your gmail email page, click on the "Settings" link in the upper right hand corner of the Gmail inbox page.



2) Once in settings, click on the "Accounts and Import" tab.

3) Go to the "Send mail as" section and click on the "Send mail from another address" button.




4) A new window will pop up. Enter the name you wish to see on your outgoing e…

Why is the Google doodle logo a bar code today?

So why is the Google doodle logo a bar code today? Well according to the Bar Code 1 web page, the first patent filed for a bar code reading technology was filed 57 years ago today (October 7th) by Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver.

Apparently neither Woodland or Silver profited much from this brilliant invention as they sold the rights to Philco who than sold the rights to RCA many years before it's first commercial use.

Here is a link to a PDF of the bar code patent filed by Woodland and Silver from the Bar Code 1 website.


Sources:

The Christian Science Monitor - Horizons Blog Post: Google bar code logo - Latest in "doodle" line

Bar Code 1 Web Site - www.adams1.com

Wikipedia Entry - Norman Woodland

Request an Invitation to Google Wave

Google is slowly opening up their new Google Wave to select Gmail users, but you don't have to wait for an invite from Google. With past Google beta programs I have found that if you request an invite, then Googlewill invite you to their beta programs very soon after you make the request.

So to request a Google Wave account, go to the Google Wave request an invitation page, enter your Gmail address and answer a few questions. Then just wait for Google to send you an invite, which should hopefully happen shortly.





Merge Multiple PowerPoint Presentations into one File

Below are the steps that I use to merge multiple PowerPoint presentations into one single presentation. Their are a few different ways to accomplish this task, but the steps listed below are the ones that have worked well for me in the past.

Here are the steps...

1) First open up all the PowerPoint presentations that you want to merge into one show. After you have opened all your presentations you can either choose to create a new PowerPoint file or merge them into an existing file.

2) Open up any of your other presentations and select the "View" tab and select the "slide sorter" view.




3) Once in slide sorter, select the slides you wish to copy or press "Ctrl+A" to select all the slides.




4) Open the merged PowerPoint file.

5) Select where you want the new slides to go and press "Ctrl-V" to paste in the new slides. The copied slides will now be pasted into your new merged presentation, but if the slides have different templates or backgrounds you…

How to Setup Dolby Digital 5.1 Sound in VLC

Here's how to setup VLC media player for Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound output through your computer's coaxial or optical digital audio output:

1) Launch VLC and click on the "Tools" menu and select "Preferences".




2) Once on the "Preferences" page select the "Audio" tab on the left hand side of the page.



3) Place a check mark next to "Enable audio" and "Use S/PDIF when available".  For the "Force detection of Dolby Surround" setting choose Auto and under the "Output" section, choose "Win32 waveOut extension output" as output type. The rest of the settings are optional.                                                                                                      

4) Restart VLC and your done.

Add Speed Dial Button to Opera Toolbar

One of the best features of Opera is the speed dial page.  Unfortunately you can not set the speed dial page as your homepage, but you can set the speed dial to open when you start up the Opera browser or when you open a new tab. However, sometimes you may want to open the speed dial page from an existing tab without having to open a new one. You can easily accomplish this by adding a custom button to Opera's toolbar.

To add a custom speed dial to Opera's toolbar, do the following:

1.) Navigate your browser to the Drag'n'drop buttons for Opera webpage.

2.) Scroll down to the example section of the webpage where you will see two choices for a speed dial button. Either button will work, so the choice is yours.




3.) Click and drag one of the speed dial buttons to the Opera toolbar, click "ok" and you're done.





Sources:

Customizing Opera

Check Yahoo's Ymail Mail in Gmail by enabling POP3 for Free

In a previous post I talked about how to access Microsofts Hotmail in Gmail. Today I would like to show you how to check your Yahoo Ymail email using Gmail. Notice how I said "ymail" and not "yahoo.com" email addresses, this is because  this tip works for Yahoo's Ymail email accounts but not with their "yahoo.com"(or Yahoo's Rocketmail email service) email accounts.

When I tried it with a new "yahoo.com"  and a new "rocketmail.com" address I could not get it to work. Even if I tried the "channge Yahoo's regional settings for free POP3 access" trick, it still would not work. Yahoo would not give me the necessary POP3 access unless I signed up for their premium mail service and paid the $20 annual fee.

The good news is that Yahoo seems to have enabled pop3 access by default for Ymail.com email addresses. So here is how to access your Yahoo Ymail.com email for free in Gmail.

1.) Log into your Gmail account

2.) Click …

Sync Bookmarks in Google Chrome

For all you Google Chrome users, I saw this tip on the Google Operating System Blog, on how you can sync Google Chromes bookmarks. I tried this tip on two computers and the sync feature in Google Chrome worked perfectly. Please visit this blog post on the Google operating system blog for instructions.

Please note that this tip only works with the development version of Google Chrome. You can download the dev channel version of Google Chrome here.

Sources:

Google Operating System Blog

Legal Use of Software or Website Screenshots

Since I have started writing this blog and publishing to the "public" internet, questions that I never really thought of before and took for granted have started to enter my mind. One of the questions I had was concerning the legal use of software screenshots in a blog or other public publication. I am not a lawyer and I do not really have the means to hire my own copyright lawyer so I headed off to Google to do some research into the use of  screenshots.

Generally screenshots of software or websites are covered by copyright, however in the U.S. there is a rule called "Fair Use" which allows for the criticism, review, news reporting, teaching and research of a copyrighted work without getting permission from the copyright holder. Wikipedia has an excellent entry about "Fair Use", and there is also a mention of copyright issues in regards to screenshots on the Wikipedia entry for screenshots.

Now copyright law is full of shades of grey and one persons inte…

How to remove old versions of Java

I heard a great tip on the MikeTechShow podcast and his sister podcast Tech-Vets on how to easily and quickly remove old versions of Java from your Windows computer using a simple little program called JavaRa.

To remove old versions of Java you can follow the Sun Microsystems Java removal instructions but all they basically say is to go into the Windows Add/Remove programs and uninstall it that way, but if you have several old versions of Java this can be a real pain. There is an easier way....

1.) Go to the RaProducts webpage and download the JavaRa Application. Find the downloaded application and unzip it.

2.) Click on the JavaRa program file (no installation is required), and a window with a selection of tasks will appear. Click on the "Remove Older Versions" button. A warning window will pop up, click "Yes" if you are sure you want to remove older versions of Java.

3.) Another window will open asking you to close Internet Explorer (this will appear even if IE i…

Move Google Calendar to new Google Account

Over the past few weeks I have been setting up a new Google account to be used as my central hub for everything Google in my life. My old Google account was fine, it's just that I wanted a more professional user name and a username that more reflected my website. So I opened a new Google account and started investigating ways to transfer my contacts, my Picasa Web Albums and Google calendar over to the new account.

A few days ago I wrote a tutorial on how to transfer a Picasa Web Album account to a new Google account, and today I am going to show you how to move a calendar over to a new Google account.

Here is how to move a Google Calendar from one account to another:

1.) Sign into your old Google Calendar using your old Google account

2.) Click on the "Settings" tab.


3.) Under the "Settings" tab select the "Calendars" tab.


4.) Choose the calendar you wish to share, and select the "Share this calendar" link under the "Sharing" head…

Add the Weather to Google Calendar

I had seen this weather feature a few times in the settings section of Google Calendar, but I had never bothered enabling it, until today, and I wish I had done it earlier, it works great.

It gives you 4 days of weather for whatever city you specify (most likely your home town, but you can set it for anywhere you wish). The widget places a small weather icon on your calendar for the next 4 days and if you hover over the icon it gives you  more detailed weather information. If you click on the icon it gives you an even more detailed weather outlook. In a nut shell I like it....

Here is how you enable it for your Google Calendar.

1.) Click on the Google Calendar Setting button.



2.) Scroll down to the "Show weather based on my location" section and select "C" or "F" depending on what type of temperature system you use. Make sure you enter your location in the "location" section above the "Weather" section.



3.) Click the "Save" b…

Add "Save as" PDF option to Microsoft Office

It's free and easy to add a "save as" pdf option to all Micorosft Office products. Here's how to add the pdf option to your Microsoft Office software.

1.) Open any Microsoft Office application such as Word or Excel.

2.) Click on the Office ball located in the upper left hand corner of the program. Move your cursor down to the "Save As" menu item and click it.

3.) Look for "Find add-ins for other file formats" in the menu selection (see image below) and click on it.

4.) A new window will pop up. In the section titled "What do you want to do?" select the "Install and use the Save as PDF or XPS add-in from Microsoft" link.


5.)  Yet another dialog box pops up. This time select the first menu item from the first section, under the link of "Microsoft Save as PDF or XPS Add-in for 2007".



6.)  After clicking the link it should take you to Microsoft Office's download page for the PDF writer add on. Click the download butto…

Transfer Picasa Albums to another Google Picasa Account

If you ever create a new Google/Gmail account and want to make this new account link up with your old Picasa Web Albums account from your old Google account than you will soon find out that it is not possible to transfer your Picasa account to a new google account....It is the same thing with Youtube. With Blogger it is easy to transfer blogs to a new Gmail accounts, same thing with Google Calendars. Even Yahoo lets you transfer a Flickr account to a new Yahoo account.

There is however an easy workaround to move your Picasa Web Albums to a new Google/Picasa account.

Here's how:

1.) If you have a Picasa account then you might have already installed the desktop version of Picasa. If not then you will need to download and install Picasa on your computer. You can download Picasa here.

2.) Startup your web browser and login to you old Picasa Web Albums account.

3.) Click on the Album you wish to transfer

4.) Click on the download tab located right above the photos, and select "Dow…

Add Gmail to Opera's Webmail "Mail to:" feature

I have used Opera for about a year or so, and the new Opera 10 is amazing. One of the neat features of Opera 10 is the way it handles mailto: links....you know those sometimes annoying links that you click and then the browser loads your default Email program....problem is a lot of people use webmail as their primary email client. So when you click one of those mailto: links instead of your webmail program opening up (which is what you want) a program like Windows Mail that you never use pops up, forcing you to copy and paste the address and then open your webmail program.

The way Opera handles mailto: links is, on the first email link you click on after a clean install of Opera the program will ask you if you want to use the default mail program, Opera mail or a webmail service like hotmail. Once you make your selection all the mailto: links you click to in the future will open up in your preferred email or webmail client.

The problem is Gmail is not among the list of web mail provid…

Check Hotmail in Gmail

A few people who have migrated  from Gmail to hotmail have wondered if it was possible to have their old hotmail email's forwarded to their gmail account. Unfortunately hotmail can only forward email to other hotmail addresses, but there is another solution.

Recently Microsoft quietly enabled POP3 access for hotmail.....This means you can use Gmails mail fetch feature to go into your hotmail account and fetch your hotmail's email so you can check them in Gmail.

Here's how:

1.) Go into your gmails  settings, by clicking the settings link on the top right hand corner






2.) Click the Accounts and Import tab




3.) Scroll down to "Check mail with POP3" and click the "Add POP3 email account" button




4.) A pop-up window should appear, enter your hotmail address here and push "Next Step"




5.)  A new window will appear. Keep the username as is. Input your hotmail account password. Leave the use SSL box checked. The other check boxes are completely optional s…