Picasa 2

I can’t tell you how impressed I am with this software. I was just looking for something I could use to remove redeye from my pictures. I saw a suggestion in one of the google newsgroups about Picasa 2 and I decided to give it a go.

Holy moses does it do a *lot*! The fact that it’s free is just an added bonus. The search abilities and the sophisticated viewing / manipulation abilities rival most of the other programs I’ve been trialing (ACDSEE and Photoshop pro are the most notable ones).

Basically I’m pretty useless when it comes to photo manipulations. Trying to adjust the lighting levels and the hues and saturation really isn’t something that comes naturally to me. The “I’m feeling lucky” button in the “Basic Fixes” section usually does a great job at enhancing the pictures enough that I’m much more satisfied than when I try tweaking bits myself.
That combined with a really simple redeye remover and the myriad other cool features (check out the timeline feature) makes this a winner in my book.

Cons? Except for committing the redeye adjustment to the files on disk (saves the originals in a folder called… “originals”) most of the changes made, rotation, lighting, colors, etc. Are retained only as information in either the folder INI files or in a database someplace (haven’t found it yet need to back it up). This means that for me to give the picture files to other folks, or to upload them on my website, I need to export them. Otherwise they just see the unretouched originals. If I use the email function in Picasa this is done for me so emailing isn’t a concern. But this *is* something to watch out for if you decide to move to another photo management product. You’ll probably need to export ALL of your subdirectories just to be sure that you won’t lose all that retouching work.

I suspect most of the photo management systems have some proprietary quirks like this.
I felt it was a risk worth taking in this case.

MP3Search.Ru – Great MP3 Music Archive!

A friend sent me a link to this website recently:
MP3Search.Ru – Great MP3 Music Archive!

He’s been quite happy with it and I have to admit I’m tempted myself. I’m much more of the opinion that songs are finally reasonably priced now that we’re not forced to purchase an album of largely unwanted songs just to get the one or two that you want. So I’ve been buying all my music lately from Apple’s iTunes.

Here’s my response to my friend:
I have heard about this site before. Nothing bad, it was profiled on “The Screensavers” on TechTV last year. It is located in Russia and is, presumably, legal there. Whether or not that translates to legal here was a question left up to the viewer. But the reviewer indicated he was quite pleased and liked the idea that he could select the quality of the songs he downloaded.

I suppose it comes down to how comfortable one would be holding up a receipt from this website as proof of purchase! 🙂

News aggregators

Is anybody out there using a news aggregator?

I’m using NewsGator – it’s tied in pretty intimately with Outlook 2003 but I’m finding it works really well. The biggest issue with blogs and web sites is filtering out the stuff I’ve read before and it does a terrific job at that.

I *was* using Bloglines but I found it didn’t do a very good job at remembering what I had read before.

This blog and my photo gallery both support aggregators to let you know when something has changed. I find this useful for keeping a handle on other sites that don’t change on any particular schedule.

Let me know what tools you use for this purpose



Thanks for stopping in at my site and taking a look around.

Things are still shifting around as I explore the capabilities (and discover the limits) of the tools available to me on this hosting site.

Please take a peek around and let me know what you think, by leaving me a comment in this blog!