Tech Talk #32 – August 20, 2016

Each version of Windows adds features and sometimes new ways of doing the same old things. But Windows doesn’t do everything by itself and probably never will. Here are a couple of utilities I use and recommend for certain tasks.

 

Reducing file size for pictures

Digital cameras and smartphones take great pictures these days and those picture are huge in terms of file size. To email your pictures to family or friends, you need to reduce the file size so you can send more than one or two pictures at a time.

 

Image Resizer is a program that lets you reduce the file size of a photo without reducing the quality of the photo.

 

Once you’ve downloaded and installed Image Resizer, right-click the photo you want to resize and click on Resize pictures. When the program opens, take a look at the settings. I use the Large setting and leave the other choices at their defaults. The Large setting reduces a 5.2 MB picture file down to 340 KB. If you leave the settings at their defaults, Image Resizer makes a copy of your original photo and changes the name of the new copy.

 

Download ImageResizer safely from here: http://www.bricelam.net/ImageResizer/

 

I’ve used Image Resizer on every computer and every version of Windows I’ve ever used. It just works.

 

Image editing

Sometimes you need (or want) to do more than simply cropping, straightening, or reducing red-eye in your photos. Adobe Photoshop might be what you need, but Photoshop costs hundreds of dollars and can take quite a while to learn. Try Paint.NET instead.

 

Paint.NET is a free image editor that gives you most of the tools of professional image-editing software. It supports layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and has a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. Paint. NET also has an active online community that provides help, tutorials, and a wide variety of plugins. Paint.Net is pretty simple to use and I did mention that it has an unlimited Undo feature? Gotta love that.

 

Download Get Paint.Net safely from here: http://www.getpaint.net/index.html

 

The download is a .ZIP file. Extract it to your downloads folder and then run the executable to install Paint.Net.

 

Fun stuff

At the risk of ruining your productivity for the rest of the day I give you: Ventusky. I know, there are lots of weather-related sites out there, but I’ll wager you haven’t seen one like this. Go to http://ventusky.com, type in the name of the city you want to check in on and you’ll get a map showing – not telling – the current temperature, wind speed, and direction. You can adjust the altitude to see wind and cloud cover at different levels, or add more layers, like cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed, snow cover, and more. Pretty neat.

 

Need to drown out some distractions? Try http://asoftmurmur.com/. Adjust the sliders to add just right amount of rain, thunder, birds, waves, or other stuff to your environment. Plug in your headphones and disappear into your own little world.

 

Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at greg@tech-hachapi.com.                                                                                         

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