Welcome to the 409th issue of the PC Improvement News. PCIN consists mainly
of news and tips. There is something for everyone, and if this is your first
issue, I'm sure there will be something for you. If you give me two or three
issues, I know that you will come back for more!
I had a great long weekend away with my family. The weather was beautiful
and we had lots of fun. There was fishing, swimming, camp fires, hikes, and
more. I wish I was independently wealthy so I could retire and live up there.
Unfortunately I still have 20+ years to go!
Is it just me, or is all the buzz these days about some sort of entertainment
device. Am I the only one who uses their computer for computing, and not for
watching TV/movies or playing games? I just don't understand what all the fuss
is about. Any thoughts?
Privacy advocates and search industry watchers have long warned that the
vast and valuable stores of data collected by search engine companies could
be vulnerable to thieves, rogue employees, mishaps or even government subpoenas.
Four major search companies were served with government subpoenas for their
search data last year, and now once again, privacy advocates can say, "We
told you so."
AOL's misstep last week in briefly posting some 19 million Internet search
queries made by more than 600,000 of its unwitting customers has reminded
many Americans that their private searches - for solutions to debt or bunions
or loneliness - are not entirely their own.
So, as one privacy group has asserted, is AOL's blunder likely to be the
search industry's "Data Valdez," like the 1989 Exxon oil spill
that became the rallying cry for the environmental movement?
If there's a storage fanatic in your family, a perfect gift could be coming
for her or him toward the end of the year: 1-terabyte hard drives. Desktop
hard drives holding 1 terabyte, or 1,000 gigabytes, of storage will likely
debut in 2006, according to Bill Healy, senior vice president of product
strategy and marketing at Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. These drives,
which will have a 3.5-inch diameter, are expected to be incorporated into
PCs and home servers.
Research by BT, the University of Glamorgan in Wales and Edith Cowan University
in Australia, has found that while 41% of the disks were unreadable, 20%
contained sufficient information to identify individuals.
The research, based on the acquisition of 300 PCs from auctions, computer
fairs and on-line purchases, also found that 5% of the machines held commercial
information on organisations, and that 5% held "illicit data".
Black and White from Colour Images - Part 2 - Digital Photography
Tip of the Week
Last week I began my discussion of black and white digital photography. This
week I will further that discussion by talking about the first two methods
of converting your digital photographs to black and white, or more specifically,
monochrome. For the sake of simplicity, I will use black and white in my text,
but even traditional wet darkroom methods had ways of introducing a color tint
or tone into an image, so monochrome is a better descriptor for the final images.
The two methods of black and white conversion I will discuss this week are
desaturating the image and converting to grayscale.
Saturation refers to the intensity of the colour in your photograph. An image
with bright colors have high saturation while image with pastel colors have
low saturation. If you remove all the colour saturation in the image, you end
up with a photo that looks like a black and white image.
To desaturate an image in Adobe
Photoshop Elements 4.0 , from the menu choose Enhance => Adjust Color
=> Adjust Hue/Saturation (CTRL-U). Then, simply drag the saturation slider
all the way to the left. The same shortcut works in Adobe
Photoshop CS2 , but the menu location is different. In CS2, use Image
=> Adjustments => Hue/Saturation. However, in order to preserve image
data, I prefer to create an adjustment layer using Layer => New Adjustment
Layer => Hue Saturation. Again, simply slide the Saturation slider to
the left. Using desaturation to remove the colour from a photograph affects
the red, green and blue channels equally.
Converting to grayscale is a very simple process, but it changes the data
in your image. If you are converting to grayscale, you probably don't need
the color data anyway. When converting to grayscale, Photoshop places more
emphasis on some channels than others, in the proportions of 30% Red, 59% Green
and 11% Blue. This provides a more natural conversion of your photograph and
more closely resembles what we expect to see.
The example above shows four colors in the first row, red, green, blue and
yellow. All four have the same brightness (or luminance). The second row is
the same four colors, only this time they have been desaturated. Because they
are of the same brightness, once desaturated, they look the same. Finally,
the third row is the same colors but this time they have been converted to
grayscale. As you can see, There is an obvious difference.How do you know when
to use which method. Using the desaturate creates a very flat image that is
rarely, if ever, very impressive. Converting to grayscale is the obvious better
choice. It should yield acceptable results, most of the time. Is the best choice?
If you are using Adobe
Photoshop Elements , it is. If you are using another program, such as Microsoft
Digital Image Suite or Adobe
Photoshop CS2 , there are still better ways.
Next week I will talk about using Channel Mixer to convert you colour photographs
to black and white masterpieces.
The digital photography tip of the week
is written by the PCIN Assistant Editor, Chris Empey. Chris is a long
time photographer and is currently the President of the Niagara Falls
Camera Club. You can see more of his photography at his Photo
of the Day website.
If you have a tip to send Chris, or a question about digital photography
he can address in the newsletter, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do we select our finalists? We evaluate hundreds of candidates - some
suggested by readers, colleagues and friends, others discovered during
countless hours of surfing. Many of this year's choices are shining examples
of Web 2.0: next-generation sites offering dynamic new ways to inform and
entertain, sites with cutting-edge tools to create, consume, share or discuss
all manners of media, from blog posts to video clips. Think we missed one?
Send us your thoughts and we'll post a selection of your comments online.
There's always next year.
King Nutter is
a British site (I'm not sure what the name means) that tracks unusual eBay
auctions. You can read about auctions that include buying a town, a 1993
school bus, Brokeback Mountain Pez dispensers, and a guy selling everything
he owns. If you've got a few minutes to sell, then check
Note that there are other areas to the site that I didn't visit so I don't
know what they are like or what they contain.
PCIN is brought to you by Graham Wing. The opinions expressed are those of
the Editor, Graham Wing and the Assistant Editor, Chris Empey. Graham Wing
and Chris Empey accept no responsibility for the results obtained from trying
the tips in this newsletter.
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